Sunday, January 13, 2013

Surviving the death of your child...

Thank you to Jeanette Moss from Bellingham, WA for sharing this with us - it was sent to her by her sister in law shortly after Jeanette's 31 year old son Michael's unexpected death in 2010 and like many of us who find comfort in certain articles, feels this one helped her tremendously to know she "wasn't crazy" and she would survive her unimaginable loss.  Cherie H.

The Death of Your Child: How Does a Parent Survive? Written by Ron Zurko in July 2009

"I have a piece of my soul missing and will until the day I die. Parents are not suppose to out live their children and there is nothing on this earth to prepare you for the emotions when you do. My son has been dead for four years now, and I am not sure if time has made it easier to cope, or if I have been desensitized to the feelings from the years that have gone by. Either way time has made life easier to live and I am thankful for that.

The first few weeks after losing my son are some what of a blur. The funeral and visits from friends and family are not something I remember clearly. I was in a fog, or so over come from grief that I might have been in an undiagnosed state of shock. I do remember wanting to stay in bed constantly and I would only get up after major coaxing from my family and friends. At the time I had wished that they would all go away, but looking back now, I realize that without their support I do not know where I would have been today.

There is no one word that can accurately describe the sadness I felt constantly for the first month. I could not watch television with out feeling angry about people laughing or smiling as they carried out their sitcom. How could life go on after something so horrific and dreadful happening. I remember feeling anger at friends when they would make small talk about their daily goings on. It was not their fault, everyone was doing their best to bring me back from the endless black hole of grief that had over come me. There was no distraction or respite from the feeling of dread that was in every bone and pore of my body. It was steady and although sleep took me away from it for a short time, upon wakening it flooded back into my head so quickly it made me nauseous.

The guilt of being on this earth with my child gone was overwhelming. The constant state of mental pain had me searching my soul for something to make it go away. I just knew that this was the end of my life as I once knew it . I thought I would never experience happiness again and just live in this hollow and painful state. I was wrong, You can learn to live with the emptiness and void that is present after losing a child.

A month had gone by since the death of my son and I realized that the pain I was feeling would subside for short periods. By this time I had started back to my daily house hold routine, I wasn't ready to return to work yet. If I made a graph of my feelings, it would look like peaks and valleys. Sometime the pain and dread were right there and it surrounded me, almost like the first day that this happened. Other times it felt like it was further away and I could breath easier and see clearly. A friend of mine compared the ups and downs to a spiral. It comes in quickly and goes out quickly. I was spending less and less time in bed and doing little things that gave me pleasure, like baking or gardening.

My friends and family were very present in my life during this time. If they did not drop in for a visit, they would call every day. This was helpful to a point. the distraction was very welcome but I found it awkward that everyone was talking to me about everything except my son who had died. It was so apparent that their words were being chosen very carefully through all of our conversations. If I mentioned my son, a sad look would appear on their face and they would quickly change the subject. I know it was done in my best interest by trying to keep me from experiencing the painful feelings all over again, but I felt hurt by these gestures.

I was very sad that my son had died, but I would not feel better by forgetting him. He lived and was loved and for twenty five years he was in my life. I needed to talk about him to feel the warmth in my heart by remembering the wonderful life we had together. Six weeks had gone by and I decided to return to work. My co-workers were a wonderful group who had called me often while I was at home. The hardest part returning to work was the first greeting from everyone you came upon. "I am so sorry", was repeated frequently throughout that day . The first week back at work, I again experienced the same phenomenon from them as I did from my family and friends. Everyone went out of their way, blatantly so, as to not mention my son.

I needed to talk about about my son and the good things in life that he shared with me. By doing this I was able to change my sadness into a warmer and happier feeling. As time went on I was able to share this fact with the people closest to me and soon their conversations became less and less guarded. I cried often through out the days and weeks that followed , which is normal and probably a healthy way to deal with overwhelming pain. I let myself experience the daily grief, but I found by searching for wonderful memories, such as my son at the beach fishing, I would start to feel better.

Two months after his death I started to function close to normal. I have learned to live with the loss of my son by carrying his memories close to my heart. I talk to him at times, and tell him I love him and miss him terribly. I do this for me. I feel a connection to his soul and I know of no other way to communicate. I am sure he is in a much better place than we could ever hope to find here, on this earth. I also know that I will be with him again someday. No matter where or what that might be. For those of you who think it is nothing, then I will be in nothing along side of him. But for the majority of you who know that there is something, you know that we will all be there together someday. This brings me comfort.

Death is a part of life. None of us will ever escape it's fate. The hole that is torn from your soul after the death of your child will always remain. Fill it the best you can with all the warm memories that you have. 

Carry them with you and embrace them, for they are something you will never lose. Love cannot be put to death and that is something that will always remain between you and your child. It is like a line connecting your souls until you meet again. And you will."

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this message of hope.