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Many PBS members have lost a loved one and are experiencing grief. As we've decided on the main forum, we can help each other help ourselves. This is a place we can come to for mutual support, grief support book recommendations, talking about memorials or any way of honoring our loved ones. I would love for it to also be a place we can come to on those dreaded so-called "holidays" and "special days". Everyone is welcome to contribute equally and say as much or as little as they feel comfortable with. Please let us know if anything is taboo in the phase of your present grieving process so we can respect your wishes. PLEASE remember each person grieves in his or her own way, there should be NO CRITICIZING.
Let's please try to notice anyone who posts about grief on the main forum and let them know they are welcome here (if they're confused how to get here, you can give them my name so they can PM me and I'll help them find us, and I'm sure most of the others who will be posting here will be happy to help, too).
On the last day of April, 2005 ,my 15 year old son, Sam, went to a birthday party at a local river with some friends (adults were present, too). Sam was an excellent swimmer but was caught in an undertow (it had been storming earlier that day and the run-off went deep and sped up around curves). Sam wasn't able to get out and people who tried to rescue him weren't able to get close enough because the current tried to trap them, too. I didn't realize the danger or I wouldn't have given him permission to go and am sometimes overwhelmed with guilt that I did tell him he could go that day.
Would you like to meet Sam (hear a proud Mom brag lol)? Sam was a wonderful son and human being, I had no idea he had helped so many people until his accident when so many people wrote us letters, cards, phone calls, told us about how Sam had changed their lives, etc. Besides being my son he was one of my best friends. Police cars had to direct traffic during the evening of the viewing, there must have been hundreds of people coming in and out. At the church we had his funeral, there was standing room only and some people stood outside. He was so funny and compassionate, but a "tough guy" at the same time. He was a muscular boy and always defended the underdog. Sam was a strong Christian, so his Dad, big briother, and I look forward to meeting him again "on the other side" :) He was such a fun party animal, I picture him very happy and having a ball. And that makes me happy.
Anyone else like to share?
Thanks for starting this. I feel it's a much needed support. I lost my best friend of 33 years on July 7, 2007, My husband of almost 47 years, on Feburary 10, 2008 and my dear sister on June 12, 2008. Can you say BAD YEAR??
I'll be back. Just wanted to say thank you. I hope others will join us on this journey of grieving.
Thanks for starting this. I lost my sister when she was 25 and I was 16, way back on Easter Sunday, 1980. She died as a result of drug abuse. I've had other losses of people I have known, grandparents, etc., but none as great as a good friend of mine who died as a result of a car accident where she was driving with no passengers and hydroplaned into a tree going way too fast, in the rain. That has been 17 years and I still am coming to terms with it. More later.
Thanks for posting Cozi and Dayna. The other day was one of our cats 5 yr birthday. It was supposed to be happy but when I realized it I burst into tears because I remembered the day Sam and a friend of his were playing basketball and she came running out of the woods after the bouncing ball - she was just a kitten at the time. Sam and his friend brought ehr inside the house and told me they had caught something "really big". I was scared because I thought it was a snake - Sam was always catching critters of all sorts and showing them to me and had done it with snakes before, much to my fright! I cringed back and then he brought the kitten out. They thought it was a funny joke and the kitten was cute - she was and still is. He just loved animals and esp baby animals. That memory is normally very pleasant but this time it brought out all kinds of terrible things. For one thing - 5 years!!!! That was right beforer Sam's accident, I don't want it to be that long without him. For another thing I couldn't remember the name of Sam's friend that was with him that day and used to come over all the time. That really bothers me and I still can't remember his name. God help me, I can't remember that kid's name, how can I forget? I had to come back into the living room, wave my husband away and get my plastic bat the grief counselor recommended me get and take it back into the bedroom and beat the bed and scream and cry and beat and scream and cry. That was 4 days ago and my whole body is still sore from that rage thing whatever it was. Even worse I can feel I need to cry some more and it's going to be one of those bad periods and there's not a thing I can do. In the end I know it's somewhat of a relief to get some of the pain out but it literally feels like it's ripping my heart out in the process. I guess I shouldn't put these kinds of personal feelings on a public forum but it hurts too much to worry about and I need to get some of it out. Anybody else have any of these type feelings?
Thanks for starting this thread. I grew up with my mom and her parents. Since then, I have lost all 3. :(
I lost my grandma August 22nd, 2000. It was the day after my 15th birthday. *Can you say confused teen?!*
I lost my mom August 8th, 2004. A couple weeks before my 19th birthday. *I must say. I was a pretty angry person at this point. She was only 40 years old.*
Then my grandpa passed away April 5th, 2006. All three of these wonderful people made me who I am today and I grieve knowing that I can never talk to them about my childhood. If I have questions about a certain event, I will never get answers. I still get angry thinking about it.
I can not even imagine the pain you must be in Suzie! It's is just more than any Mother should have to stand, I am sure.
I had been shocked at times at my lack of grief. But then, I realized that it wasn't lack of grief, it simply wasn't like I expected grief to be. I am learning to accept whatever form grief takes in my life. Not as easy thing for me.
Colleen, I'm so sorry you lost 3 loved ones so close together! ((((((((Colleen))))))))
Sheryl, Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed hearing about my Sam! :) I thank God for the 15 years I was his earthly mother and friend and look forward to seeing him again. For now he inspires me in all sorts of ways and not a day goes by that I don't think of him.
Cozi, yes that's true, we all grieve in different ways as well as in different stages. I'm grieving now in different ways that that first year when I was also in a kind of shock.
I lost my aunt yesterday. She died of cancer,of the liver, but it took her so fast. It seems like only yesterday that I found out that she was sick.
My family has grown so distant ever since my grandmother died four years ago. Its like she was the glue that was holding us all together, and once she was gone we all drifted apart. I regret not seeing my aunt more. Heck, I still regret not seeing my grandmother more.
My brothers feel badly that they didn't go to see her on. They don't realise how hard it was to see her so sick. After seeing her I knew this was coming, but I didn't really think it be so fast.
I guess what is bothering me the most is that she was so obviously not ready to die. One of the last things she said to me was "pray for a miracle".
I stayed home from work today. Ended up getting a lot done in the interest of staying busy, keeping my mind off things. I just feel so at loose ends.
My mom has been converting our old home movies to. I was a bit surprised to see how involved in my life and attentive my aunt was when I was a baby. I feel like, for the first time in my life, I know how much she loved me.
But it's too late.
What a wonderful legacy your Aunt left! I think the best way to honor her is for you to continue the legacy. If you're an Aunt now or will be in the future, perhaps you could do some of the same things for yout nieces and nephews that your Aunt did for you. And don't for a minute think that she didn't know you loved and appreciated her, I'm sure she did! I can feel it just from reading your note, I'm sure she could see it in your eyes even if words were never expressed, so it's not too late. Staying busy does help relieve some of the grief, I think you're on the right track there. I'm going to PM you with my phone # too in case you ever need to talk. Hang in there and when you feel at your worst, gain strength by the strength that she gave you. That's what I do when my grief gets very bad for my son. I remember the strong mother-son times we shared together and what a good person he was. I know I'll see him again so that helps, along with my faith in God.
My father passed away April 23, 1995 at 10:05pm. Why do I remember it like it was yesterday? Because the last thing that I said to him before he died was a lie....
I went to see my parent's in the little town we lived in and my Dad was having trouble breathing. He was sitting on the edge of his bed and kep taking really deep breaths. I told him we needed to go to the ER but he didn't want to because he said there wasn't anything they could do for him. I explained to him the strain he was putting on his heart. I made him a deal that if I called and they said they could help him, he would go. If they said they couldn't help him, he would stay home. I called one of the respiratory techs that had worked with him for the past 9 years and she told me there wasn't much they could do but to bring him in. I told my Dad that yes, they would be able to help him so he agreed to go. I followed the ambulance with my Mom in the car. It stopped twice to work on him in the 2 1/2 miles to the hospital. When I walked in the door the ER doctor asked me if I had the Medical Power of Attorney and Living Will. I had to go back home to get my copy. Even though I had those when I got back, I still had to sign for no extraordinary measures for him. Just as I signed my first name right across from his bed, my Dad had his last heart attack. They brought him back with CPR, but he never regained conciousness. He was able to squeeze my hand once but slipped away after one of my sisters and brothers joined my mother and I at his bedside in the ER. I was never able to tell him I was sorry for lying to him. I believe that he realized my deception as he lay there on the bed. My mother told me he asked for me but no, I was out of the hospital getting the papers so I never got a chance to talk to him again.
One day, I hope I can forgive myself. It took me until the middle of December of that year to cry and now I can't think of him without crying. My husband of eight years has never been to his mausoleum crypt because I can't share him yet. I have to forgive myself before I can ask him to forgive me and I just can't do that yet.
Thank you for letting me get this out finally.
Please try to let go of that guilt and understand guilt is a large part of grief. We all go through it, I still struggle with it myself. In my case it was my son and sometimes I'm racked with guilt - I should have been a better Mother, I shouldn't have let him go that day, I should have.... The thing is I know my son would indeed be very upset with me BUT ONLY BECAUSE HE WOULDN'T WANT ME TO BE FEELING GUILTY. :) And I'm quite sure your Dad would not want you to be feeling guilty, either. How about this? The next time I start feeling guilty, I will think of you and force myself to release my guilt, even if for just that moment. And the next time you feel guilty will you think of me and do the same? And would you let your husband go to your Dad's mausoleum crypt - either alone or with you, whichever you feel most comfortable with as a first step? Hang in there Emilie and PM me if you need to talk.
LITTLE BY LITTLE
Little by little, step by step
I learned that I didn't need
To hang on to the death
To remember the life.
What a joyous discovery!
- Kittie Brown McCowin, in memory of her child
I KNOW YOU BY HEART
There's time and space between where we are and where we've been
I grieve for what I cannot have or ever hold again
Just when I think I'm all alone cause you're so far away
It suddenly occurs to me I see you everyday.
You're that hint of inspiration urging me to carry on
A boost of needed energy when all my strength is gone
You're a single ray of shining hope when faith is hard to find
And twenty-twenty vision when grief has left me blind
You're a lonely roads companion when it's hard to find a friend
A much needed reminder that good-bye is not the end
You're calm and reassurance when I scream for answers, why
A gentle voice that whispers Daddy it's okay to cry
You're a part of everything I am and all I'll ever be
The one who when I'm at my worst still sees the best in me
And though you're just outside my reach we are never far apart
I recognize you everywhere child I know you by heart.
-By Alan Pedersen for Ashley
This is not at all
How we thought it was supposed to be
We had so many plans for you
We had so many dreams
But now you've gone away.
And left us with memories of your smile
And nothing we can say
And nothing we can do
Can take away this pain
The pain of losing you.
And we will cry with hope
'Cause we know our good-bye is not the end
And we will grieve with hope
'Cause we believe with hope
There's a place where we'll see your face again.
And never have I known
Anything so hard to understand
And never have I questioned more
The wisdom of God's plan
But through the cloud of tears
I see the Father smile and say "well done"
And I imagine you
Where you wanted most to be
Seeing all your dreams come true
'Cause now you're Home
And now you're free.
-By Stephen Curtis Chapman, in memory of his child
Last Edited on: 9/26/08 5:03 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
This years Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting will be on Sunday, December 14, 2008, 7 p.m. around the globe.
Light a candle for all children who have died.....that their light may always shine.
If you are a bereaved parent or know someone who is, please pass this info along so they can start preparing. Some people like to have groups (local Compassionate Friends groups or groups of friends & family, church, etc.) where they light candles in unison and share photos of their children and some people prefer to light a candle for their child alone. Personally, I like to try to make everyone I possibly can aware of it, but I prefer to light candles for Sam in privacy and I know that all of our relatives and friends are doing so as well. It's a great comfort to include him symbolically in the Christmas season.
*Many of these speakers are authors of books that can be found here on PBS. - Suzie Healing the Grieving Heart
*Many of these speakers are authors of books that can be found here on PBS. - Suzie
Healing the Grieving Heart
Thank you Emilie. I'd like to recommend a book I got here off PBS that I particularly found helpful:
A Decembered Grief: Living With Loss While Others Are Celebrating
I got quite a few books to help cope with grief but I think this is the one I remember most. I would love for anyone else to share any books that you found esp. helpful?
I originally posted my story about my brothers passing and have decided to take it out of the forum. I just don't think I am quite ready to share it completely with others.
Sorry to hear about everyone's losses of loved ones! Just remember they are always with you!
Last Edited on: 11/10/08 1:05 AM ET - Total times edited: 5
Tiffany, that took a lot of courage to do. My brother and I are very close also, but I don't know if I would be able to tell him that or not. I am so sorry for your loss. I hope you are getting better.
I'm also very sorry for the loss of your brother and so many of your other loved ones in such a short period of time. I'm also sorry you've been ill and hope you are doing better. (((((((Tiffany))))))))
Thank you for this thread Suzie. I'm sorry for all of your losses to everyone who posted in this thread.
My thoughts and prayers are with you all.
Suzie, I'll light a candle on December 14, 2008 at 7pm. I'll also pass the information along to friends and relatives who have lost children. Thank you for the information.
Last Edited on: 1/5/09 10:24 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Thank you Mimi, I appreciate everything you said!
Today (Wednesday the 28th) would have been my son's 20th birthday. We bought 20 red roses (his favorite color) and I'm going to arrange them and take them to his gravesite. My Mother owned a florist for many years - a family business where I worked. It's always painful to make floral arrangements for my own son's grave but at the same time it's comforting, something I can do for Sam that makes me feel less helpless. By the way, if anyone would ever like to ask me anything about flowers, plants, memory gardens, etc. for your loved ones, I'll be more than happy to tell you whatever I know. It would be my pleasure if I could help ease another's grief, even a little bit.
I'm also taking 20 candles and a couple other things. I keep a terra cotta bowl at his grave - it was designed by an Indian craftsman that Sam got as a souvenir one year on vacation. I filled it with crushed seashells and I set candles and various things in it, so that's where I'll put his 20 birthday candles. I also like to buy matching large memorial candles - one to burn at the cemetery and one to burn here in our home for any "holidays or special days". Because of my faith (and Sam's), I buy the candles with a picture of Jesus on them. The ones I have now have white wax and burn with a VERY bright light which seems to make the picture of Jesus glow, easing my grief & pain tremendously.
Sam cared deeply about people and wanted us to be happy and I know he still does, so I'm determined to distract myself as much as possible with "happy-busy things". Sam's loyal companion-dog died 2 yrs ago and we buried her in Sam's Memorial Garden. For my birthday a year ago my husband gave me a Black Lab/Boxer puppy!!! She is a delight so I'm definitely going to play with her later on (Sam would LOVE her and she would love him). She always makes me laugh so hard I double over. I'm also going to love up my 2 cats whether they like it or not, heh. Sam found both of them when they were stray kittens and rescued them.
Sorry if this was too long. I would love to hear more of other members ideas about what you do to cope on those "holidays" of your loved ones?
My mother had a stroke on April 17, 2008. She was released to a nursing home since I was unable to care for her. I know she hated it there, she was so unhappy, but I had no other option. For awhile, she would refuse to even talk to me when I would go to visit her. She never really recovered to where she was my mother, and I feel so much guilt. On August 22, I was so tired and I left early so I could go to the grocery store. I had been spending 10-12 hours a day with her and I was so emotionally and physically drained. She grabbed my hand and begged me not to leave her, but I did. Around 2am the next morning, I received a call that she had passed away. She died 3 weeks before her 89th birthday.
My mother had been living with me for the past 7 years ever since she broke her hip. At times, I was so cranky with her, and resented her because I felt as if my freedom had been taken from me. And now I would give anything to have her back here with me.
The holidays were especially hard, because I am here all by myself. My brother and sister live just a few hours from each other and they were able to be together. My daughter and her family live in California and were not able to come visit. She had come down once before Mother died and then again for the funeral and they just weren't able to afford another trip. I had spent so much money on the funeral and the trip to Dallas (where she is buried) that I couldn't go to see my daughter. I was so lonely and just tried to ignore the fact that it was Thanksgiving and Christmas.
I have sunk into this deep depression and I don't know how to get out of it. I am seeing a therapist and a psychiatrist has prescribed anti-depressant medication for me, but something is wrong. All I want to do is stay in bed. I find that I am spending about 16-18 hours a day in bed. I only get up to feed myself and the pets, and then I will get on my computer for a bit. The bad part about this is that I am supposed to be working. I have paperwork piled up around my desk from August that has not been processed. I do bookkeeping from my home and my clients are really getting upset with me. I am able to keep up with payroll and payables, and I finally caught up with the month end financials, but I still have this one report that I just cannot sit down and do. Every day I tell myself that I will stay up and work, but I can't. I just have to go back to bed and sleep.
Yesterday I started thinking about Mother and how claustrophobic she was. And I started getting a panic attack thinking about her being zippered up in the body bag on the way to the morgue. That is the first time I had thought about that, but I feel that it won't be the last.
And now it is almost February. My father passed away on February 9, 2005 and was buried on Valentine's Day. I don't know if I will be able to make it through that anniversary on top of the guilt and grief I have over my Mother's death.
I am so sorry you are going through such deep depression and such a difficult time right now. I can imagine how much worse it would be since your family doesn't live nearby. It sounds like you are doing everything right by going to the psychiatrist and therapist. Perhaps he needs to adjust your meds? I am on 2 anti-depressants that work well together. Perhaps your Dr. could also write you a temporary disability statement that you could get govt assistance with until you can cope well enough to work again? Please let that guilt go, though, you have nothing to feel guilty about and I'm sure you know it's a part of the grieving process. Check out bereavement support groups in your area and/or on-line. We went to a local group the first year after losing our son and it helped tremendously. If you live in the northeast Floria area, I do too and would be happy to help in any way I can. Just PM me anytime. I'm praying for you, God bless, Suzie
Thank you so much for your support. I did go to the psychiatrist today and he wrote me an additional prescription, he is hoping that this will give me some energy so that I can get out of bed.
Right after Mother died I checked into the bereavement counseling thru Hospice, they did not have any groups at the time, but one of the counselors did come over to the house once a week for about a month. That did help some.
Today at the therapist (I saw both the therapist and the psychiatrist today), we agreed that I was using Mother's death as an excuse to hide away from the world and not do the work I am supposed to be doing. So she gave me a challenge that I have to accomplish a certain number of work related items per day. I am going to try my darnedest to meet this challenge, I know that hiding in my bedroom is not good for me.
I just need to get through next Monday, the anniversary of my father's death and there are no more anniversaries until we get to Mother's Day.
I live in far West Texas, right on the border of New Mexico and Old Mexico in Ell Paso, TX.