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Messages - SarahW

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31
Child Loss / Re: Missing Stephanie
« on: September 15, 2013, 10:19:56 PM »
Thank you all for the warm welcome. It is so nice to be in a place where people understand what i am going through. We burried Stephanie's ashes yesterday and it was raining but as my husband i left for the cemetary, the sun came out and as we burried our baby girl, it shined brightly and i knew we were doing the right thing, i felt like she was completely at peace now, after we left, the clouds and rained returned. I know my life will never be the same, how could it be, i have lost a part of me forever and i miss her so much. My baby girl should be 26 yrs old tommorrow but instead i will be placing flowers on her grave and wishing her a Happy Birthday in heaven. I just hope i can find the strength to go on for my Son and my grandson who just turned one this week and my husband too! Sometimes i feel so weak and i know i should be grateful for what i still have but some days i just want my daughter back and nothing else will do!

Yes, it's been a little over4 yrs for me, since I lost my son (he was 29), and I still experience that exact same feeling:  I just want my son back, and nothing else will do.

I even scream that to the air sometimes, when no one is around: "I WANT MY SON!!!"  And I still have meltdowns, though not nearly as many as I used to have.

You will find the strength you need, but it will take time.  The raw edge will come off your pain, but it won't go away, you'll just learn to manage the pain better so that you can be more functional again.

As you said, you and your life are forever changed.  It does help to focus on what remains and to focus on the needs of others, but it will take time for you to be able to do that.  Here are things that helped me:

---Talking to a professional counselor (I still see one, once a week.  It gives me an objective person to talk to who provides professional reassurance and advice, and keeps me from burdening friends and family with my never-ending grief).

---Doing things to honor my son (I go to his grave, I had a bench with a plaque put on a nature trail he often hiked, I had some of his artwork framed . . .)

---When I felt strong enough, getting back out into the world (though if I had to leave a celebration early because I couldn't keep my mind off my grief, then I left early).

---When I felt strong enough, beginning activities that focused on helping others (I do some charity work, and now have two foster daughters . . . my son was my only child, so this allows me to take care of one part of my loss - i.e., how much I missed just being a mom).

---Grieving without restraint, whenever I got a chance (crying, screaming, really letting it out during my meltdowns . . . of course, you have to do that in appropriate places/times.  At first, I often felt like doing it everywhere, the grocery store, a restaurant, anywhere, everywhere, and I couldn't.  But whenever I got time alone, I took the opportunity to "drain the wound."  Anything might trigger it, and if it does and I have some privacy, I let myself go.)

---Talking about my son and sharing good memories.

---Reading some books about grief.

---Taking some comfort here, from those who truly know how I feel.

I hope some of this can help, and I'm sure you'll find pathways of your own as you move forward from this terrible loss.

32
Child Loss / Re: Missing Stephanie
« on: September 12, 2013, 09:43:24 PM »
I'm so sorry to hear of the loss of your beautiful daughter.

The pain of losing a child is a terrible thing. 

I have found it helpful to share here, and to read what others had to say, and I still do.  So thank you for reaching out and sharing; it helps us all feel less alone.

Please stop by here anytime as you go through the difficult process of grieving this loss.

33
:tearyeyed: I really am scared because life feels so out of control. I believe in God and I love him which is why I CANNOT believe that God has total control over everything that happens in this world. If that is the truth, which most people believe, then why would he allow my babies to be taken when the never even had a chance to live? Not just mine,  but why, if he has total power would he take any one of our children of any age before their lives should have ended? In my mind, the only explanation that I can come up with is that there are very sad, random things that happen beyond any control, beyond any explanation. Where I get my faith from and my strong belief in the love that God has for me is that he is there grieving with me when I grieve. There grieving with all of us. But he cannot stop it, or he would. It's all I can come up with. Please don't be offended and feel free to comment. It's only one person's thought. But it is a thought that scares me immensely.

I believe in God too, but I think that we must live in the world as God made it . . . i.e., a world where we have free will, and bad things can happen.  And also, I believe it is a world that we cannot possibly fully understand.

And for me, believing in God means having faith - faith that, no matter how bewildering and inexplicable the things that happen in the world seem, all is as it should be, and all will ultimately be well.

I think of God as all powerful, but also perfectly wise, and all-knowing.  There is a reason the world is as it is, and maybe one day, when I am in God's presence, I will understand that reason.

So - my thought is not "God can't stop it" so much as it is "God does not stop it."  And I can only understand it partially by thinking of God as a parent.  The only way a parent could keep a child 100% safe is to lock the child away and take away the child's freedoms and choices, and kept all risks away from the child.  It would be safe, but it wouldn't be much of a life.

Well, this is a pretty complex topic, but basically, I wouldn’t want to live in a world where a Being with super powers always made sure that nothing bad happened to anyone.   When I think of it that way, I feel as if I have a glimpse of the reason why the world is as it is.

34
Child Loss / Re: Vincent's Angel Date ((((Sarah)))
« on: July 26, 2013, 09:08:52 PM »
Thanks, Terry.

The girls and I went out of town, to visit my mother-in-law, and to go to the cemetery with her, as we've done every year. 

It was hard - it always is, to see Vince's name on that stone, but I was glad I went.

35
Child Loss / Re: This makes me nervous
« on: July 09, 2013, 09:09:18 PM »
It makes me nervous to do this as I have never posted on a board before.  But all the postings and replies I have read have reassured me that everyone seems so nice and concerned about others.  I have read the Board's Guidelines and I certainly hope I don't offend anyone by what I say. 

My son and only child took his life over 3 years ago now on February 17, 2010.  I still struggle every day to find a reason to get out of bed.  I know that I have been blessed with a very loving mom and dad who are both still alive and a wonderful sister and brother-in-law and their 3 boys.  I also have a good man in my life who loved my son as much as he did his own children.  It's just that there doesn't seem to be anything in my life left to look forward to or be joyous about.  I guess I just really need some help finding some meaning somewhere.  I thought maybe if I finally talked to people who had experienced the loss of someone they loved to suicide I could maybe start to heal with their help.

Headwitch.

Sorry to hear of your loss.  My son died 4 yrs ago.  It wasn't suicide, but it was sudden and unexpected and knocked me for a complete loop. 

He was my only child, and I had been widowed when he was very young, so he was my world.  I think the biggest thing I struggled with was, as you say, "finding a reason to get out of bed."

You are so right that you "need to find some meaning."  Keep your eyes and ears and heart open for opportunities and see what appeals to you, to start getting back into the world.  For me, eventually, it was becoming a foster parent.   I have two beautiful teenage girls that have been with me almost two years now.  It helps so much to see the remarkable growth and progress they have made, and know that I have helped them . . . and they have helped me.

That may not be for everyone - you'll find what is right for you.  But the key for me was getting to a place where I could focus outside myself and my pain.  It took time, and lots of crying and help from a professional counselor and family and friends - and I still cry and struggle.

It will never be OK, I've had to focus on learning how to accept and live with the pain rather than how to lessen the pain.

All my best wishes, and sympathies again for you loss.

36
Child Loss / Re: A tragic death
« on: July 09, 2013, 08:59:48 PM »
In some ways I cry more easily; in others way it takes more to make me upset.

When I hear of a tragic loss, I do tear up quickly, especially if a child is involved.  I think because it instantly makes me think of my own loss, and that pain is always so close to the surface and just doesn't seem to really lessen.  So it's in my face again, and I meltdown pretty quickly.

But in other ways, the loss of Vince has given me perspective so that things that used to seem so horrible don't seem so bad now.  For example, the man I had been dating for nearly a year broke up with me about six weeks after my son's death, and my friends and family took it harder than I did.  It just felt like . . . nothing to me. 

Like getting a mosquito bite after being hit by a semi-truck.  You don't really notice.

And I find that sort of thing continues - I mean, the everyday sort of stuff - losses and disappointments - that used to upset me . . . they feel like nothing now.   I've already survived the worst night of my life.  I know, for a certainty, that I'll never have worse one.  And while I wish I had never had to experience it, there is something freeing in that knowledge.

I'm really hard to threaten or frighten . . . everything feels like . . . . "sure, OK, bring it on - what more can anyone do to me?"

37
Child Loss / Re: Our Don has died
« on: June 02, 2013, 09:20:24 PM »
I am sorry for the family's loss. 

I never got to know Don well, but I remember very clearly the way he expressed the longing he never stopped feeling for his son.  I could tell that the ache just never lessened.  So I am glad for him now, that he can be back with his son and wife.

Sympathies to all his family and loved ones.

38
Child Loss / Re: Happy Mother's Day
« on: May 12, 2013, 04:45:11 PM »
Thanks, all, for sharing here.

Mothers' Day is such a hard day.

Mine went pretty well - the girls (foster daughters, 16 & 13) got me flowers and some small gifts, which was great.

What has been interesting is that each year, I've felt as if I had a gift from Vince as well.

The first Mothers' Day without him I don't really remember clearly, but the second one (2011), I found a nest of baby robins in the vines that grow outside my back door - such an unlikely place, so precarious!  And I watched mamma bird feed them until they left the nest one by one.  Vince was a big bird lover, so I felt it was from him

The next one, the girls got me some small gifts, among them, a little green plastic alien that looked just like something Vince once got me.  I asked them why they picked this out, and they shrugged and said "We just wanted to."

This year, the girls included one of those bird seed bells among their gifts, saying "that way, you'll see more birds coming into your back yard!"  They didn't even know about the other bird/Mothers'Day connection.  So again, I felt I had a present from Vince.

I can't wait to see what I get next year.

Best wishes and hugs to all on this bittersweet day.

39
Child Loss / Re: Death of an only child
« on: May 12, 2013, 04:37:07 PM »
It is now eight years since my only child, Vyalero Lena Khumalo passed away at the age of 10.I still weep for her. I wake up each morning so depressed that I cannot even get out of bed.I have to force myself to go to work. I feel I have nothing to live for. I have no hope of having another child. I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and HIV. I fear that there will be noone to take care of me in my old age or when am sick.I often think of how lovely life would have been with her that I cannot visualize a life without her.
After her death I got married but my marriage ended after a manic Episode. In another manic episode I threw away her photographs and now I only have one Photograph which is not in good shape because I cut it during the manic episode I am so hopeless.It is the only remembrance I have.
I would like to hear how other parents who have lost their only child are coping.

I lost my only child in 2009.

It was as you say - hard to get out of bed, hard to do anything, since he was the reason I got out of bed, he was the reason I did . . . well, everything I did.

But life has forced me forward - the dog needed to go out and be fed.  I had to make a living to keep a roof over my head (I was widowed when my son was a baby and raised him alone).  So I had to go to work, where demands were made.  There were things I had to do; expectations I had to meet.

It all felt exhausting and impossible, but looking back, I guess it was what kept me alive.

About a year after my son died, I decided to apply to be a foster parent.  Because the lesson I learned when my husband died while Vince was a baby, was that nothing helps with dealing with grief more than having a kid around.  Kids force you out of yourself; they force you to focus outside yourself.  When my husband died, I still had to get up to feed the baby.  He was cheerful and happy and wanted love and attention . . . I had to get moving.

Anyhow, two years after Vince died, almost to the day, I got my foster daughters.  I've now had them almost two years.  They have been a challenge and a blessing and have restored a sense of purpose to my life.

It's all still hard.  I missed being a Mom, so now I don't have to.  BUT, I miss my son, and nothing changes that.  It will be 4 yrs in July, but I still cry almost daily.  I don't have the major meltdowns as often these days.

I know I will always hurt and miss my son.  It is different than when I lost my husband in the way that the pain simply never decreases really. 

One thing that helps me keep going is the thought that I am doing it for Vince; to honor him and keep his memory alive.  I could always do anything if I had to do it for Vince.

So sorry to hear of your loss, and wishing you all the best -

40
Child Loss / Re: Happy Heavenly Birthday, Adam! ((Paula))
« on: April 28, 2013, 07:22:08 PM »
2 miracles happened and I believe they are from Adam.
#1 My husband's SIL has had lung cancer for 9+ years that has spread all over and she is wasting away. The most recent PET scan shows no sign of cancer=Remission
#2 Our car door is very heavy. When we were leaving Adam's grave yesterday when I sat down in the passenger seat the door closed for me.
It is still so surreal that my boy is gone however I believe that he tries his best to let us know that he is around us.

I'm glad you experienced those signs, Paula.  Sorry I missed the actual day, but I will be sending Adam birthday wishes anyhow.

I met a lady today who lost her son - she was an older lady, and her son was 49 when he died 3 years ago.  It was good to talk to her for awhile and share a bit.  Thanks, as always, for sharing your story with us.

41
Child Loss / Re: Am I normal?
« on: March 05, 2013, 07:19:09 PM »
I lost my son almost 2 weeks ago....I have looked at other Grieving Mother websites, but honestly, those ladies have scared me, so I'm staying away.  But I am desperate to figure out how to deal with this.....

Hi, Dawn.  Welcome.  I remember that feeling of overwhelming desperation when I lost my son.  Yes, it is normal.

Quote
I have realized there is no time limit for grieving.  I can be literally sobbing and unable to function, then the next day, able to look at his pictures and smile....talk about him....maybe a little tear or two....but functioning....then BAM....today for example, I'm a mess.  I don't know if it is because a week ago today, was the last time I saw him.....I don't know if it is because of the dream I had last night.....I don't know if it is just because my broken heart hurts more today then yesterday.....

Two weeks is a very, very short time when it comes to the loss of a child.  I am at about 3.5 yrs, and am still having the experiences you describe - just not as often and without so many sudden, wild mood swings - but I still have some meltdowns and times when I just cannot talk about my son at all without falling apart.

You are doing great just to be able to get up in the morning, and it's really great that you find there are times, no matter how short-lived, when you can look at his picture and smile.

It will all take however much time it takes, for it to be less raw, and for you to learn to manage the pain and the sudden attacks of grief, etc.  


Quote

I look at texts or messages I've posted, where I poured my heart out, then embarrassed to smile later because how could I have been so incredible sad hours earlier....and a-ok just hours later?  I don't understand this....I have always been in control of my emotions, very "black and white", I've turned into someone I don't know.  

You're a grieving mom.  I never really knew one either, until me.  It will take some time to get to know the new you - because you are a new you, living in a new world.

Quote

I'm worried my son is looking down at me just thinking"really?".  He used to laugh with me that we were the same.  So undramatic....but why am I being so now? I try not to tell people stuff, because they feel sorry for me.....

I can really relate to this.  Both my son and I would roll our eyes at drama queens.  But you're not being a drama queen.  You have suffered a horrible, horrible, shocking loss.

I know what you mean about not wanting people to feel sorry for you.  I am much more comfortable having my meltdowns all alone, somewhere where I can scream and cry unheard.  But I do let myself do that.  Don't judge yourself - cry whenever you need to - at the sappiest song or the most truly tragic memories.  It doesn't matter.  Give yourself permission to hurt and to let that hurt drain - there's no such thing as over-dramatic or "more tears than you should have" or anything like that at a time like this.

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I cannot explain what I'm feeling....I cannot figure out if I'm overthinking things, I don't think I am because I cannot stop thinking of him.  I try to rationalize to myself....my son was grown...he had a life....we didn't talk daily, we had a wonderful relationship, but I was always so wrapped up in my work, my grandson...he had his life...we just didn't talk daily. but now, my son is my only thought.....am I wallowing in self pity?  I don't think so, I hate feeling like this...I want to be normal...I want to function....I just don't understand this.


You are not wallowing in self-pity.  You are experiencing very normal grief.

You will never be the same, but you will find a new normal, and a new way to function.

Don't try to understand it; you don't have to understand it.  Just let yourself go through it.

I can't remember how long it took for me to stop thinking of my son every second, non-stop.  At 3.5 yrs, I am sure I don't go a half-hour without thinking of him.  But that's OK.  That's how things are right now for me.

I have always been so self-reliant and it sounds like you are the same way.  Here is something that really helped me:  Getting a professional counselor.  I still see him one hour a week.  Among other things, it gives me someone to talk to so that I don't talk incessentally and crazily at my friends and family.

All my best wishes to you, and I am so very sorry to hear of your loss.

42
Child Loss / Re: my own head is my worst enemy
« on: February 22, 2013, 09:25:05 PM »
I am living under continuous stress. I can pinpoint for you almost 100% of my stressors from the past and present. I KNOW that I need to live in the moment. However I am having great difficulty doing so. I fear so much for Kate. I worry about Matt & Josh dying. I worry about my relationship with Craig. There is no sense to worry; it accomplishes nothing. It's all the past grabbing at my ankles and pulling me down saying "You see, what happened before, can happen again!". With therapy, medications it's not getting much better. I need to find a way to live in peace.

Don't be too hard on yourself.  Knowing something and being able to do it are two different things, and it took me awhile to even begin to realize I was focusing constantly on my loss and my worry about future losses.  And then it took me awhile to realize I shouldn't be doing that, and to realize "finding peace"  should be a goal, instead of the impossible goal I really had:  Getting my son back, please, please, please, please, please.

And I couldn't even tell anyone that, because how crazy does that sound?  But down deep, that was my goal.  To heck with finding peace.  I wanted to find my son.

So, you have made some progress down the road toward more peace, just by realizing you need to be on it, and by wanting to be on it.  I know how hard it is to even get to that place.  And give yourself credit too, for reaching out here on the board, and both seeking and providing comfort.

It may sound foolish, but I remember getting some temporary solace from a song that became popular right after my son died -  Green Day's 21 guns. It hurt to listen to it, because it was so on target about my pain (When you're at the end of the road, And you've lost all sense of control, When your thoughts have taken their toll, and your mind breaks the spirit of your soul . . .).   But it has a hopeful chorus that suggests that despite the fact that "you're in ruins," you can find peace through accepting your fate (lay down your arms, give up the fight) and welcoming whatever's to come (throw up your arms, into the sky).

All easier said than done of course.  But in those early days, listening to or reading things that suggested there was hope would help me feel better for a little while - not more than few minutes usually - but that was few minutes better than never, and I would treasure those few minutes of feeling a tiny bit better.

Getting better and moving forward and managing the pain is an extremely slow process.  It can't move very quickly when the building blocks are those very short-lived moments of feeling a tiny bit better.  But look for those moments and gather them to you, and go back for more.

Be good to yourself.  You are dealing with the worst of what life can throw at you.

Much love - you are often in my thoughts,

Sarah

43
Child Loss / Judy Collins
« on: February 17, 2013, 10:38:01 PM »
I picked up Judy Collins' book (Judy Collins - Sweet Judy Blue Eyes - My Life in Music) at the library because it was sitting out on display - it was was a very random choice; I was waiting on my foster daughters and just trying to stay occupied.

Anyhow, it was pretty interesting, so I took it out and brought it home.  She wrote about her life, including her son and only child, Clark, who, as a teenager, developed drug and alcohol problems.  However, he gets sober and married and has a child and seems to be doing well.

I was cluelessly reading along, and got stunned when she tells of her son's death in 1992 (suicide, shortly after relapsing and staring to drink again).  It made me cry, but it also made me feel less alone, and I wanted to share a part of what she wrote - she herself is an alcoholic, though she hasn't had a drink since 1978 - she is writing about coming across a note he wrote her:

I wept when I found this letter again many years after he had sent it, many years after his death - a letter from the grave.  Like the touch of his hand, like the dreams I have of him that have come in startling numbers over the years since, they reassure me that I am not separated from him in any but a physical manner.  He is here in his daughter's beautiful bright eyes, in how his name comes up often in the world, in the memory of his sweet soul.  I will never be apart from him.

When Clark died, I dug myself out of the pit of despair again, Louis by my side all the way.  Each day I chose not to drink.  And I chose not to take my own life.

I must make these choices anew every day, one day at a time, and on many days it remains the only thing I do that feels right.  I find great comfort in talking to other suicide survivors - great peace, in fact, in telling them that there is a gift in every loss and that they can survive.  I tell them my story, and tell them what I do, and hope that it helps.  That way I can keep Clark's legacy alive, and keep my own heart busy so that it will not break, though the breaking heart can be a healing heart as well.

When my son died, I began to understand what heartbreak really was.  It turned out I hadn't had a clue.


Here is a song she wrote about dealing with his death:



And another:

JUDY COLLINS - "Wings Of Angels" 2002 Small | Large

44
Child Loss / Re: My late brother's 65th birthday
« on: February 17, 2013, 10:12:00 PM »
My brother passed away in July of '55 at the tender age of 7 from Leukemia after only being diagnosed 3 months prior. I was a newborn when this all happened. I grew up in a household of sadness & grief. Never did I think I would have so much in common with my parents. I feel the loss of knowing I had a sibling that I never got to know, I share the pain of losing a child, I feel the anguish of the unfairness of it all. It's hard to reconcile that a child who passed away at age 7 would have been 65 today. He waited 58 years for both his Mommy & Daddy to be reunited with him. I hope that this long overdue birthday celebration in Heaven is a grand one!

When you get into the second half of your life and look back, you realize how truly unimaginable, unfathomable our lives are.  When we are young, we think we see a path so clearly . . . we make plans and work toward them and think that's enough to feel secure in predicting our futures.

Then it all falls apart and comes back together in ways we never dreamed of.

You could never have guessed how your parents' experience with their son would resonate for you.  But I think you are right about that birthday celebration.  I send a Happy Birthday skyward.

45
Child Loss / Re: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
« on: February 09, 2013, 10:47:45 AM »
How many of you have been diagnosed with PTSD since the loss of your child? And if so, can you please share with me therapy treatments that have worked for you.
Thank you.
Paula

Paula:

My counselor did tell me that my sleep problems and occasional meltdowns, and . . . those sudden attacks fo grief that feel so out of the blue, and the way my mind in times of rest seems to default back to my son's hospital bed and reliving the moment I lost him - were symptomatic for PTSD.

I haven't been on meds, but after 3.5 years, I still see my counselor for an hour once a week, and mostly, he encouraages me to continue finding activities that add purpose and joy to my life, but also, that provide what he calls simple "distraction."  I try to focus outward and forward as much as I can, though I am terribly imperfect at that - which is to be expected, and I have to forgive myself and pick myself up and take that next step just about every other day still.

He also encourages me to look at this (the pain, the symptoms) as something that I have to learn to manage, not as something I am going to completely get over.  He tells me to stop thinking that someday I will be all better, but rather, that I will get better at living with this as time goes by.

I have gotten better, but it has been very slow.

I only very recently - in fact, earlier this week, thinkiing about some plans I have with the foster daughters and thinking of their future, realized, that for the first time since I lost my son, I was feeling the balance starting, just barely, to tip - that I wanted to live, more than I wanted to die.  I credit my two beautiful girls for this.  At this point, no matter what happens, I know they will always be in my life, and that has helped.

Stuff like this - what will really help you - can be very individual, but for me, it's been about acceptance, and pushing myself to move forward, and forgiving myself for the 20 million times I've had to deal with my backsliding.

Best wishes, Paula - my love and thoughts are with you,
Sarah


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