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Longer term loss

(33 Posts)
Imperfect27 Sun 17-Jan-16 16:17:12

I have recognised recently that I seem to be extra sensitised to grief, in a way I haven't been for some time. It is now over nine years since my daughter died in a car crash. There was a lot of literature that helped me in the early days and this included advice for the first couple of years, including reaching an apparent point of resolution.

I certainly identified with the idea of stages of grief and would be the first to say that I have been able to build positively and I have found new and unexpected happiness in life. And I would also say - as seems to be echoed time and again, that it takes time, but we can move on from the terrible pain of early loss and manage life well ...

But I also know that for me the tenth anniversary of everything seems very significant and brings new challenges. I have recently found a book online about dealing with longer term loss after the death of a child which is proving to be a helpful read and reassures me that this extra sensitivity in me is another stage of adjustment.

Has anyone else here found the tenth round of anniversaries more difficult and if so, what has helped you?

What makes it difficult for me is that I feel the pain of 'so much' time passed and I feel that my own children have now moved on in their lives and do not carry grief as I do. I think this is natural and I am not critical of them,/I just feel more alone in my grief and now uncertain of when to speak and when to be silent about the DD I lost for fear of upsetting them. I also think wider family members do not forget, but do not say anything about her any more, perhaps for the same reasons.

Brummiegran Sun 17-Jan-16 16:33:54

flowers. I can't imagine the pain.

Anya Sun 17-Jan-16 16:48:58

It can be hard to talk about loss, especially something as sad as losing a child, or grandchild. When an older person dies there is often the sense that their time had come. But a child ought not to die before their patents, it seems to go against the natural order of things.

And because everyone grieves in a different way, there is often no common ground that can be explored. People often hesitate to speak the dead child's name. When an older person dies, in my experience, people do talk of them more easily, remembering things they said, or did, or liked, etc. But this doesn't as much with a lost child, so the child can be lost in that way too.

Do you talk to your family about their sister, their grandchild, their daughter?
Perhaps, if you tend to keep your grief locked inside your heart, they hesitate to 'upset' you.

Anniversaries are very hard. Some more than others too. When a child would have started school, or gone to university, or had an 18 th birthday.

Have you tried putting all your feelings into words, perhaps by writing a diary to your DD? There's so much you could say to her and it might be something that your other children might read when they are much older.

downtoearth Sun 17-Jan-16 16:51:22

imperfect I have had the 12th anniversary,but am wondering wether you are dealing with empty nest as well.My son grieves for his sister(s) differently ,I believe you have sons and E was your only daughter,they appear to have moved on with wives/family of their have you recently,it is the need to remember annecdotes,and a shared life with her,as I see it,to speak her name out loud with those who remember.not There is reticence by those who where involved wether through guilt or not knowing how to deal with their pain as well as your own....would you like a PM? if that would helpxxxxx

Imperfect27 Sun 17-Jan-16 17:03:27


Brummiegran, thank you for your kindness and for the flowers x

Anya, we used to talk, but not so much recently. My DD doesn't seem to want to. She was also in the crash and sustained a head injury. My youngest son was also in the car - he tried to save the life of the sister that died. She died from a massive head injury and my ex-husband was trapped with her in the car and had head and chest injuries. They were all traumatised. All my children have had individual counselling, but I guess this has left me not quite knowing where the boundaries are for them over time. I can talk more with my eldest son - he was at home with me when the police came to the door.

I have spent many years using and contributing to a bereavement forum and in more recent years I have been more supportive than in need. I am a reflective person, able to express my emotions usually and I think I have mangred pretty well - I am just aware of the sensitivity in me. This isn't in itself a 'problem' - rather, it needs attention.

Downtoearth, in 2014 I married and then moved house, saying goodbye to the last home we had all shared and I think that has been a contributory factor over time. Even though I am very happy in my new life, I was aware of a renewed sense of loss because of these changes. My grief story is very complex for other reasons - a PM will be good xx

M0nica Sun 17-Jan-16 21:06:09

Can I enter this discussion as a member who has lost a sibling? My sister also died in a road accident The end of March 2016 will be the 25th anniversary of her death, even as I write this the tears are welling up at this thought.

The circumstances of her death were not as complex as they were for your family, Imperfect. Our parents were still alive and in their late 70s. Both of them called on all their reserves of resilience not to be terminally overwhelmed by this tragedy at that age but, like you, they had lost a child that they had brought into the world, nurtured, and watched with pride her progress as an adult. For them her loss was never far below the surface.

I do not think as siblings we can grieve as our parents do, our relationship is different and our grief is different; the grief is there but lies deeper and how people grieve is also dependent on the personality of the mourner. What I found most difficult was that, while to be a grieving parent was understood and accepted, there is no acknowledged place for a grieving sibling, we were expected to just tuck our grief away and get back to work.

I am not sure that, as a family, we ever talked of our grief. That was palpable and accepted, but we never stopped talking about our sister. Initially all the time, but those referrals back to her gradually became just adjuncts to our conversations and 25 years later still are. DD referred to her in some conversation this Christmas.

Do special anniversaries sensitise you to grief? Yes, they do. The longer the period the more this is so, or so I find.

TwiceAsNice Mon 18-Jan-16 07:19:47

My son died of Leukaemia 31 years ago. Sometimes it still hurts even though I have made a new life for myself over time. He died when he as nearly 5 his 18th birthday anniversary made me feel horrendous and brought back all the early grief, it was a huge reminder he would never be an adult. We do talk about him as a family my eldest daughter has memories of him she was 8 when he died, the youngest does not, only what we have told her, she was 15 months, but at the time for a bit she grieved in her baby way.

Grief comes back to bite you on the nose just when you think you are coping better. Sometimes it bites you to the bone!

downtoearth Mon 18-Jan-16 08:31:27

monica and twice I am so glad that you have posted,twice your comments about the 18th birthday resonated for my child who died as an infant of 7 weeks,the reminder of a future denied to her,my middle daughter was 23,she committed suicide..I am sure you have seen the story on another post,which is why I have been so open to let others see that they are not alone,even though it does leeave you feeling exposed and vulnerable.
monica it is a bereavment thread and words from a sibling are as acceptable,my son has suffered immensly at the loss of two sisters the eldest born before him,had died 2 years previously ..he mourned along with my middle daughter someone missing from our life,but when my middle daughter died at 23 they had grown up and shared a childhood together they had fought together,for each other,and allied against us parents.I have a close relationship with my own brother,I would be devastated to lose him,for all of the reasons I have just said....I think exposing your stories is very brave and I hope it has helped you to share them .....thank you so I dont feel alone in exposing myself flowers flowers for you both xx

Imperfect27 Mon 18-Jan-16 13:44:46

Yes, thank you ... I was very aware, when my daughter died, that there was very little support for her siblings as they were older. Had they been children, it would have been different, but once seen as adults - one was 18 and another 20 at the time, then the support seemed to be limited to a GP recommended counsellor, who was not skilled in bereavement counselling / Cruse, who had a very long waiting list at the point of need. And there is very little literature to help. The 20-year-old was at university at the time and made use of the chaplaincy service which was a help to her. The 18 year old didn't find the GP counsellor helpful and just 'got on with it.'

If any one knows of any helpful organisations / publications then perhaps you can post about them.

Thanks again to all who have expressed such loving kindness flowers.

trendygran Tue 19-Jan-16 13:58:19

Hello Imperfect27. I fully understand your feelings on longer term loss and bereavement. Next month will be the 6th Anniversary of losing my younger daughter to suicide as a result of Serious Post Natal problems ,not properly treated in Wales. She was 33 and left a wonderful husband and daughters aged 4 and 2.
Each year seems harder and harder and I am very aware also that my elder daughter received no official help on the loss of her much loved 'little sister'.
The only thing now keeping me going is that my SIL (will always think of him as that) now has a very nice new partner who loves my DGGs as her own, and they are growing up in a loving and caring home. They both have a photo of their mummy in their bedrooms and still talk about her with my SIL . My heart will never heal fully ,especially as I also lost my DH very suddenly 16 months earlier.

trendygran Tue 19-Jan-16 13:58:20

Hello Imperfect27. I fully understand your feelings on longer term loss and bereavement. Next month will be the 6th Anniversary of losing my younger daughter to suicide as a result of Serious Post Natal problems ,not properly treated in Wales. She was 33 and left a wonderful husband and daughters aged 4 and 2.
Each year seems harder and harder and I am very aware also that my elder daughter received no official help on the loss of her much loved 'little sister'.
The only thing now keeping me going is that my SIL (will always think of him as that) now has a very nice new partner who loves my DGGs as her own, and they are growing up in a loving and caring home. They both have a photo of their mummy in their bedrooms and still talk about her with my SIL . My heart will never heal fully ,especially as I also lost my DH very suddenly 16 months earlier.

mollie Tue 19-Jan-16 14:58:11

This year will be the 12th anniversary of losing my son. Last year was hard, harder than the year before for some reason. Not sure there was a particular reason - some birthdays are tougher than others too. He is mentioned and we do the 'do you remember...' And 'Wonder what...' But I think mums feel the loss more for obvious reasons. I bump into his friends sometimes and can't help feeling hurt that they are getting on with their lives and he isn't. As you can see, there are a fair number of us who understand your loss and pain - as I was once told, it doesn't get better it just gets different.

Imperfect27 Wed 20-Jan-16 08:22:01

Dear trendygran and mollie, thank you for your posts. Despite belonging to a bereavement forum for seven years, I have not had a lot of contact with other people who have lost a child (no matter what the age).

trendygran, it is good to know that over time your SIL has found new happiness. How lovely and reassuring for you that your GC are growing up in a warm and loving home where the memory of your daughter will be honoured. But also very poignant for you. Have you been very involved as a GP and is this changing for you as they settle into being a new family?

To face all this pain alone is very hard. I was divorced when my daughter died and had been single for six years. It is very hard to have no-one to grieve alongside. No-one else can understand what you have lost.

Mollie, I find contact with my daughter's peer group very difficult. Her childhood sweetheart always leaves a valentine on her grave - I struggle a bit with this to be honest. When it was her 21st birthday, some of her friends left cards and messages which were very touching, but also a reminder to me that they are living life to the full and that brings home the loss so much more at times.

As mothers, I think we simply carry the loss of our children, in the same space that we carried the mother-daughter / son bond over the years. I have found the arrival of my first GC - a little boy- very comforting - not healing, but I am aware of a joy that I did not expect and a love I did not expect that come from this same source.. For this I am very grateful.

Hugs to you both. flowers flowers

mollie Wed 20-Jan-16 13:08:44

Imperfect27, my son died in strange circumstances - in a recording studio in Soho with his band. He literally dropped dead. He and the band were getting to be well known in the Camden area of London, something he loved! When he died people came to his funeral and talked about a man I didn't know and shared lots of photographs that I'd never seen before. To them he was a 'rock hero' (albeit a very minor one, lol!) and I still get emails from people who knew him and still talk about him and his music. But to me he was someone different - a quiet, thoughtful lad etc. - and after a while I found their stories hard to hear and their video clips difficult to watch. Boys that I knew as spotty teenagers dosing down on my floor are now in their mid-30s with children and having a lovely time. I suppose all bereaved parents have the same feelings - why isn't my lad doing what they're doing, or your daughter in your case. I've also struggled with understanding why he died - one of those Sudden Adult Deaths that you hear about. A few years ago they quoted a tally of 8 such deaths of young adults every week - I think that's why anniversaries and birthdays vary, I've not really accepted the circumstances and still chew it over at times.

Sorry, rattled on...

trendygran Wed 20-Jan-16 15:46:09

Hi again Imperfect 27. Thanks for your understanding. Unfortunately I rarely see my DGDs ,not because anyone prevents that, but because they live 300 miles away in Wales, They returned here for a few days after Christmas ,staying with my SIL's Mum . I and my DD here were lucky enough to see them for 4 hours before they had to leave back for Wales as my SIL had to return to work, That was their first trip back here since Christmas 2013!
I intend to do my best to get to see them sometime this year,but it' s a case of fitting in with their work,school holidays etc and other family members who all want to visit as they live near St,Davids -a lovely holiday destination!
Mollie I feel for you so much. not even knowing why you lost your son must be so agonising. I can't even say that time heals because I know too well that it never will completely.

Judthepud2 Wed 20-Jan-16 22:19:18

flowers to all those who have lost children. I can't imagine how terrible the pain of such a loss must be, no matter what age they were.

My mother in law lost a son when he was 6 weeks old and told me she was never allowed to talk about him. As a result , she never managed to deal with her grief. In her last year of life as she became more unwell and confused, she talked about him incessantly. It seemed to give her some relief to be able to name him without being told to stop.

TwiceAsNice Wed 20-Jan-16 23:14:07

Imperfect and downto Earth thank you for your comments I'm sorry for your loss, we belong to a club nobody wants to join!

This is a poem read out by my vicar at the time for my sons funeral, it's always given me comfort I hope it helps a bit.

Gods Lent Child

I'll lend you for a little while
A child of mine God said
For you to love the while he lives ( or she)
And mourn for when he's dead
It may be six or seven years
Or forty two or three
But will you till I call him back
Take care of him for me

He,ll bring his charms to gladden you
And should his stay be brief
You,ll always have your memories
As a solace for your grief
I cannot promise he will stay
Since all from Earth return
But there are lessons taught below
I want this child to learn

I've looked this whole world over
In my search for teachers true
And from the ones that crowd life's lanes
I have chosen you
Now will you give him all your love
Nor think the labour vain
Nor hate me when I come to take
This lent child back again

I will I thought I heard them say
Dear Lord thy will be done
For all the joys this child will bring
The risk of grief we'll run
We'll shelter him with tenderness
We'll love him while we may
And for the happiness we've known
Forever grateful stay

But should the Angels take him
Much sooner than we planned
We'll brave t he bitter grief that comes
And try to understand

I would rather to have had my lovely little son for the time I had him than not have had him at all

Synonymous Thu 21-Jan-16 00:43:24

twice that is a beautiful poem, thank you so much for sharing it. flowers comfort and blessings to all those who mourn.

TwiceAsNice Thu 21-Jan-16 07:00:39

You are welcome synonymous thank you for responding and for my flowers. Your grief doesn't get any less your life's grows bigger around it, and that life is different from before. You are not the same person after the death of a child, a part of you dies with them.

Imperfect27 Thu 21-Jan-16 08:31:48

TwiceAsNice. how right you are, hugs and flowers

downtoearth Thu 21-Jan-16 09:09:43

Twice that is a beautiful poem,and you are right we are in a club no one wants to join ,and we didnt join through choice,when my infant daughter died was totally different from when my middle daughter died.No one knew how to deal with it so "crossed over" to avoid me as I came out of hospital with empty arms,she stayed in hosptial for all of her tiny life.

I wrote a poem for her For Cheryl 15.9.78-03.11.78

The angels watched as you where born
And said this child is ours
Soon we will take her to play
In Gods garden of beautiful flowers
They let me keep you for a while
To know your face
To know your smile
But very soon there came the day
When the angels came to say
Now is the time to come and play
In Gods garden of beautiful flowers

Kates death was very different,very public,a complex suspicious death with many still unanswered questions,it was in the papers and everyone knew,and couldnt wait "To be involved" thrill seekers,we held a massive memorial for her in celebration of her life 300 balloons of all colours released in the town square where the church was, there where many people she was well known and liked, a beautiful free spirit ,we had to wait 11 months for her funeral,3 years for a court case to be heard,3 years for the coroners court,and I spent 6years fighting for custody of E in the high court,the coroners verdict was suicide with the rider that she took her own life whilst experiencing violence and mental abuse.

I havent witten a tribute for kate but do my level best to look after her legacy to me the child she stayed with the father for,and literally gave her life for,so that she would have better.This is my tribute to Kate.

Katherine Marie 05.06.80-03-01-04.

I am so glad this thread is able to bring us together in celebrating our children no longer with us.
My closest friend whose children grew up alongside mine,has no idea of the pain I feel when sharing her daughters achievements and life and sharing and closeness,I am glad for her but it hurts..and I absolutely would be anywhere on my own on mothers day and so would E,that day is harder than the anniversary..

Bless you

TwiceAsNice Thu 21-Jan-16 17:32:59

Downto Earth that is really lovely, so poignant to write about a beloved child. I am full of admiration for you however did you deal with it more than once. I wrote a poem in memory of my son just after he died.

Lightof my life
Flower in my soul
Special to others, never more mine to hold
Lord grant him peace and keep him safe
He is forever in our hearts
Until we meet again for all eternity

He was in Great Ormond Street Hosp for a bone marrow transplant which didn't work it was groundbreaking at the time and risky but he would have died anyway without it so no choice. I kept a diary of everything that happened and his daily drugs as a resource for the medical staff, they use it to help train doctors and nurses I'm very proud of that. The poem is at the end of the diary as a tribute to his courage

downtoearth Fri 22-Jan-16 12:28:12

Twice it helps in some small way dosent it to know that our children are helping in small way to further medical knowledge so that others can benefit.
In the late 90's information was given out about the retention of body tissues and parts kept for medical science without parents permission,I contacted the organisation that where dealing with this and found that this was the case after cheryl's death,and I had no knowlege of this,I was shocked and upset and angry.but when I spoke to the oganisation they explained that she was helping others and if I chose to withdraw my permission there would be special procedures used to destroy the tissue respectfully,I decided to let them keep the samples etc to help gain knowledge.

your tribute to your son is from the heart and it comforts us to think we will meet again dosent it...we cope because we have too dont we flowersit is amazing the courage ill children show isnt it and the trust that they place in adults to make them well,they are the true heros xxx

Imperfect27 Sat 23-Jan-16 07:26:30

Beautiful poems. Thank you for sharing them TwiceAsNice and downtoearth.

I wrote this a few days before the 7th anniversary of losing Evelyn.

Too Much Time

It's too long since I last heard your laughter,
Saw your smile and the light in your eye,
Too much time since you met with disaster
And you left without saying goodbye.

I take time to buy you some flowers,
Light a candle and watch at the door,
Though many times I have realised
You won't come home any more.

Too much time has passed since I held you
Too much time since I last waved goodbye,
Too much time since we held one another,

All the time in the world just to cry.

I don't know where it comes from, but sometimes poetry helps ...

downtoearth Sat 23-Jan-16 08:43:02

That is beautiful imperfect the last line shows of the longing for her to open the door and walk in a feeling all on this thread know only too well.I am visiting my friend in Essex today so I am able to take flowers for Kate and mum,Cheryl's ashes where scattered as where my dad's, we have added dad's name to mums headstone,I have nowhere for Cheryl, which makes me sad,we did try to find out where on her 10th anniversary but all records had been destroyed.