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Surviving Grief - where I am at

(32 Posts)
Imperfect27 Mon 11-Jan-16 11:29:45

I hardly know how to begin, but I want to support this site and those of you who sadly find yourselves in the awful situation of losing a loved child or grandchild, or close family member.

I am hoping that by sharing our stories - and remember you are not obligated to share anything you do not want to - we may be of help to each other.

My DD was 12 when she died in a car accident. As well as being devastated for me, I know a light went out in my parent's lives. they were heartbroken for me and with me.

Evelyn was my youngest child - an unexpected, but delightful number four and from the start I felt she was especially dear to my mother as we had lived away for some years, but had moved closer just before she was born. My mum had been able to be hands on from the start.

Evelyn died just a few days before my mother's planned 75th birthday party. We went ahead with the gathering as we needed to draw strength from coming together as a family, - it was good that we did this. But my mother sat with me quietly and wept and said ' It should have been me. ' I know that is a common sentiment when we lose someone 'out of the natural order of time.'

I sometimes felt that both my parents tried to be very strong for me and could not show their own grief in front of me. Once my mother came all the way over to where I live on the bus - a good couple of hours journeying - and went to the grave on her own to lay flowers. She needed her own time there and didn't tell me until the following week. I understand that she needed to do that alone.

I will never forget my dad's strength, the day we went together to the funeral parlour. I was a single parent and would have been going on my own. I was so grateful he came with me. We were both so aware that this is something neither of us should ever have had to be experiencing, but we helped each other through. I have never drunk brandy before or since, but our silent mini-wake in the pub nearby was one of the tenderest moments I ever shared with my father.

There were also some very hard moments - I remember them both being so bitterly angry at times. My ex-husband had been driving. the accident was not his fault, but it was difficult and there were huge sensitivities about the funeral as by then he was in a long-term relationship with a gay man. (Yes, I really could write a book!) They sometimes lost sight of my needs as their daughter in their own grief and I couldn't always see theirs, or indeed help them, anymore than they could help me.

That's why I think a place like this could be useful.

downtoearth Mon 11-Jan-16 16:03:39

I have lost both my daughters one at 7 weeks and one age 23,my father died 6 weeks after my first daughter,and my mum kind of gave up after my middle daughter died and died 2 years later.
I dont want to bore people with my story as it touches every area of my life,and it is hard not to make reference to what has happened in conversation where it is appropriate,and I know a lot of GN have offered kind words and are aware of some of the history.
I have wondered how my mum coped I could not offer any comfort as I was in no fit state to do so,I do feel our family fell apart after losing my first little girl and my dad,at that point I also lost my mum too,and the 2nd time and I have only just started to be able to say that my daughter committed suicide whilst being abused and beaten by my GD father,how on earth did my mum cope,my brother went to tell her that night..and then had to go home so she sat alone with the news...he identified the body next day it turned into apolice investigation for 3 years and we had to wait to bury her for 11 months as the death was also suspicious...we have just had the 12th anniversary on the 3rd of jan,which is also the anniversary of my dad.

Anya Mon 11-Jan-16 16:09:37

(((hugs))) to you both. You are so brave to share this.

Bellasnana Mon 11-Jan-16 16:28:29

Both stories unimaginably and unbearably tragic. You are, indeed, very brave to share. There are no words other than to send you compassion which I do, in

Imperfect27 Mon 11-Jan-16 16:39:52

I am just entering the tenth round of all the anniversaries of loss for my daughter. in its own way, becoming a granny for the first time has triggered a lot of grief in me - the family has gained a beautiful baby, but I have felt raw about losing my 'baby' girl.

downtoearth, I feel my mother gave up too and that was hard for me. She had a heart attack 6 weeks after Evie died and developed an aneurysm - could have had an operation to fix it, but said no and simply waited to go. She died 2 years later and just weeks after my father was diagnosed with lung cancer - he died 16 months after my mother. Multiple losses can overtake us and you have had extra to bear. I am so sorry.

Anya, thank you. I think anyone who has encountered close loss learns that it has to be managed. I am really grateful that I have had happier times - I could not even imagine ever being happy again when I lost my girl, but essentially I am.

I don't think of sharing as 'brave' - you never forget and you never stop loving. I think sharing things can help us to get through.

Hugs all round methinks.

Lona Mon 11-Jan-16 16:49:20

Your sadness is unbearable, and yet you have to bear it. ??
I can't imagine such grief.

loopylou Mon 11-Jan-16 17:00:16

Just how you come to terms with such tragic deaths I don't know; I've got tears in my eyes just reading about them.
Very much humbled reading these posts; hugs and love to you all x

downtoearth Mon 11-Jan-16 17:04:55

I always say don't define me by what has happened ,but how I deal with it.
Sharing is cathartic,but now E is nearly 17 and she has met her biological father and is deeply dissapointed as he will not/or unable to answer those questions she needs answers to for closure,she is just realising the full impact and also at every stage of her life grieves for the mum she only new for 4 years this touches all areas of her life,so I have to be strong and go over and over what I know and have gleaned from our 6 years in the high court arena for custody,but I am being constantly pulled back to 2004.
I have a good partner who has been my rock we had to escape to a different county to safety to protect us all when he came out of dont get over it you learn to live with it,but it has made both E and me more compassionate to others,my son has suffered the loss of his sister badly,he lost two close friends at the same time to car accidents and his closest friend an ex soldier who fought in afghanistan committed suicide the following year.
while we talk about our loved ones we are keeping their memory alive.
I have known happiness again and live a normal life,you cannot see the scars by looking at me,I am a natural clown and love to laugh and live life as fully as I can,I am strong.
I agree a site where you can just remember ,and support others especially at the start of their journey through would be a good ideaxxx

Imperfect27 Mon 11-Jan-16 17:22:32

Couldn't agree more with the thought of not letting grief define me. Over time I have come to accept that it has created a fault-line in me and that I am not truly whole as I once was - and that is okay, because if had forgotten, it would mean I hadn't loved.

downtoearth, I am very humbled by your posts.

I hope people will feel this can be a safe space to share and to remember loved ones. I have run out of energy for today, but it would be good to start other threads e.g. poems / songs / writings that have helped us.

I am just about to start reading a book on dealing with longer term grief - I am not sure if I can quote the title online - I found it searching on Amazon and it is about dealing with the loss of a child several years on. It has slipped behind the bookcase where I rested it today so needs rescuing - grrrrr. I can PM the details if you are interested once I recover it and remind myself of the title.

Regalo Mon 11-Jan-16 17:50:01

Losing loved ones, especially children or babies is unbearably hard. I think it is so important to be able to share how we are feeling with others although opening up can be hard. We lost twin grandsons so not only did we have to cope with our own grief but also our daughters. As a family, we did not hide how we were feeling and I think this helped us all. I still feel the need to talk about George and Harry but do do a quick mental check as to whom I am talking to and whether they would understand.

Imperfect27 Mon 11-Jan-16 18:05:30

Regalo, how very sad. What lovely names, George and Harry. Sometimes we need to say and write our loved-ones names - to 'keep' them before us.

I am so sorry for you and your daughter xx

hummingbird Mon 11-Jan-16 18:37:28

Dear friends, I have not suffered this sort of loss, but I know it would be unbearable. My thoughts and prayers go out to you. flowers

downtoearth Mon 11-Jan-16 19:00:56

letting things out bit by bit like a pressure cooker is a good idea,and like you I have a few invisible fault lines,before and after,but hey ho they are like the external stretch marks to prove I have carried these children,they stretch but dont tear and bounce back into shape,but not quite the same shape as I was before.I agree with regalo keeping our loved ones names before us,and it is good to hear a grandparents story,while we remember George and Harry,also Evie, and my daughters cheryl ,and Katy.
Imperfect yes PM me and I would like to read the book...what a pain its fallen down the back of the bookcasexx

Anya Mon 11-Jan-16 19:16:15

Regalo your last sentence resonates with me. That is why I think those of you who are able to talk about your losses are very brave. You certainly fnd out who your true friends are at times like this - and it can be a real eye opener.

grannyqueenie Mon 11-Jan-16 21:02:25

I'm humbled just reading these posts but also amazed at the strength of the human spirit - as I have been both in current voluntary work and in my previous work life encountering people experiencing huge losses. Anything that gives people the chance to talk openly and share experiences in a supportive environment can only be a good thing.
Respect, admiration and flowers for all who are living with loss xxx

Synonymous Mon 11-Jan-16 21:50:34

(((hugs))) flowers and blessings to all who mourn and prayers for your comforting.

Crafting Tue 12-Jan-16 19:18:06

flowers for you all. I imagine this will be a really good thread for those who have suffered loss.

Regalo Wed 13-Jan-16 18:35:22

Thank you imperfect27, Anya and downtoearth for your care and compassion. I have today been removing thousands of miniature beads from a donated wedding dress for a friend who remakes them into exquisite gowns for lost babies from the very tiny to the full term. Although emotional for me, I feel I can pay back a little....a volunteer had knitted the most beautiful outfits and blankets that George and Harry were dressed in...that wonderful lady will never know how much that act of compassion meant to me.

downtoearth Wed 13-Jan-16 19:22:29

Regalo a labour of love for you and a kindness being passed on to some other grieving family,it is so important with us our small angels are wrapped securely and kept "cosy" the mothering instinct is very strong and we still want to protect them.When Cheryl died at 7 weeks -37 years ago things where very different she had been in SCBU and never came home,she was severley brain damaged due to lack of oxygen at birth,the very day I went out to buy her some clothes other than paper hospital gowns was the day she died ,she wore her pretty dress to be buried in.

Regalo Wed 13-Jan-16 21:38:55

It is those treasured memories that are so precious downtoearth: your angel Cheryl would have looked so beautiful . We are lucky that times have changed and we have photos of George and Harry who too were buried in their little knitted outfits and the tiny toys our wonderful family bought for them. Never a day goes by without thinking of them and I am sure the same is for you with your little lass. Thoughts and hugs. X

TriciaF Thu 14-Jan-16 17:38:58

I put off reading this thread, losing a child, or grandchild, must be the saddest thing of all. They were here for such a short time but only brought love with them, perfect souls.
Blessings and prayers from me too. flowers

Falconbird Fri 15-Jan-16 08:39:28

This helped me. flowers

downtoearth Fri 15-Jan-16 08:42:50

Beautiful Falconbird

Anya Fri 15-Jan-16 08:52:19

These pictures and the thoughts and feelings they contain can be very helpful, especially those that speak of surviving somehow. Thank you Falcon

Imperfect27 Fri 15-Jan-16 09:04:16

You can survive. I guess that's what I want to say to other people who go through a close loss. You can survive and you can even want to take hold of life again. But it takes a time and that time varies from person to person. My husband's best mate has been in touch this week to say his son has died, - he was only 27. So here is a family at the beginning of a very hard journey.

When we lose someone unexpectedly - and with the death of a child or grandchild this is often the case - loss is accompanied by shock and it is widely recognised that the shock can take around 2 years to be processed. When I was first told this by a friend who had lost a baby, just a few weeks after losing my daughter, I was resentful - I felt that seemed like imposing a sentence upon me. Over time I came to realise that she was really trying to tell me was to be gentle with myself and not to be surprised it I found it very hard at times even a way into the future.

A bereavement card that really helped me was one that said simply ' Be gentle with yourself.'