I need to talk about my son

My 17 year old son died suddenly 18 months ago. We were very close . I think about him all the time . I increasingly feel the need to talk about him, not about when he died, or about how I feel, but about his life and him. I don’t like to do this with close friends; with them I like to do 'normal ’ things ,which helps in its own way. I have another son , slightly older, currently at university. We are also very close, and we both help each other to cope with what has happened by doing things together, and supporting each other but without talking specifically about Nick which upsets us both. What I think I want to do is talk to other parents in a very similar situation, especially dads. Not just talk but to listen too. I think I’ve accepted now that he’s gone . What I want to try and do now is be able to talk about him and remember and celebrate his life in my head, which I think would be easier with people in a similar position . Does this make any sense?

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Hi im sorry for your loss .Ive lost a loved 1 but not a child .Im sure people will write on here to .My advice is contact Priscilla (community manager ) she im sure can help you .Massive hug Colin.

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Hi, so sorry for your loss. I am in a similar position my son died suddenly in September, and I still don’t know what to say to you. It is so hard to find the words, I think for me the problem is that the loss is so huge it is hard to believe it. What sort of person was Nick? Did he have hobbies?

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I lost my son 4 weeks ago he was 33 I feel like I can’t to my family I don’t cry in front of them only when I’m on my own he was my only child his funeral was only on Wednesday

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I lost my son 4 weeks ago he was 33 I feel like I can’t to my family I don’t cry in front of them only when I’m on my own he was my only child his funeral was only on Wednesday

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Oh Charlie, I know exactly how you feel my son Sam was 34 and died here at home with me, he had a brain tumour only 4 weeks ago, and the pain is so raw I can’t seem to accept he’s gone. It feels like being in the sea and suddenly you get overwhelmed by a big wave, then you try to cope. I cry in front of my family and it might help if you did too so that they could help you and realise you’re not an island.

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I think remembering and celebrating your son’s life is a great and positive way forward. Please tell us what he was like, what he liked doing.
My son died in November so it is still very raw and I tend to go over and over his last months and days, which is ok for now I think, but at some stage I want to get to thinking more positively about his life, especially as he was always so positive.
Hearing about your son would be a great help.

Hi. Ive had a few replies but your message is the only one I’ve felt inclined to reply to so far. He was 5’10’’, dark brown hair, slim and nice looking . He had lots of friends. He had a very dry sense of humour , which he got from me but it manifested itself with him at a very young age which was unusual . He was kind and sensitive but not shy or nerdy. He and his elder brother James now 21 lived with me after I got divorced 11 years ago . We used to do lots of things together, go on holiday , visit open gardens, museums, days out , watch tv together and talk a lot, that sort of thing . I’m lucky to have lots of video’s of Nick which I took on my phone . Its still difficult to look at them at the moment without feeling sad . Both of my sons always invited friends round to the house . Its quite big and so is the garden and I was pleased they felt comfortable about doing that . I think about him all of the time . its easy to remember funny times and I talk to him a lot which helps. My elder son is at university but currently living at home to save a bit of money on lodgings but also because he likes being at home and we get on very well. He and Nick liked and loved each other very much too and were growing increasingly close as the age difference mattered less and less as they got older . I’m trying ,like you , to be positive about Nick but its very difficult not to get sad or upset, because he was so young and I love him so much . Tell me about your son if you feel able to do so .

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Hi, it sounds as if you had a great relationship with your son which is such a precious thing, and which you will never loose. Also with your elder son to share into the future.
My son, Chris had a great joy for life which attracted people to him. He loved the outdoor life, climbing, cycling and running. He worked in conservation and lived in some of the most beautiful areas of the country. He died of cancer aged 36 which I find inexplicable.
I love what you say about Nick’s sense of humour and how you remember the funny times, are you able to talk more about these ?

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I remember dropping him at school when he was about 8. Just as he was getting out of the car he turned to me and said ’ dad , no one likes you and you’ve got no friends ’ He knew it would make me laugh and it did ! On another occasion we’d been looking round Ely cathedral when all of a sudden he started pushing me . I asked him why and he replied with a big smirk that God had told him to do it . I remember grabbing his arm and holding it so he couldn’t do it again with him protesting that he wouldn’t do it again and both of us laughing so much . Once when we were at Corfe Castle in the tea room there, he videoed me on my camera drinking tea and suddenly switched the camera to the castle and started shaking it, announcing that there was an earthquake . We both started laughing . He was about 12 at the time . So. clever and dry and funny . I do believe in an afterlife and not just after what happened but long before and I know he’s around and that one day we’ll meet up again but I just wish we could have stayed together longer in this life . Tell me about Chris if you can .

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Yes, great memories of your son, very clever, funny and very perceptive.
Chris loved to know how things worked. He was given an antique pocket watch by his grandfather when he was 6 or 7 . To my dismay, he had it in pieces in next to no time.
He said ’ don t worry Mum, I just wanted to know how the pieces fitted together ’ then before long, he had it back together - and working.
Last Christmas, he found a book by Richard Scarry that he had loved as a child, all about vehicles and how they worked. He bought it and gave it to his nephew as a present and we have the most lovely photos of the two of them pouring over the pages. They had a real special bond. Charley is only 3 and keeps saying he is going to get a really tall ladder to bring Chris back home from the sky.
I also believe in an afterlife. I still feel him around the house, especially in his room, which is still, calm, and peaceful.
Please tell me more about Nick, if you can .

He had shortish dark brown hair and hazel eyes . I often used to hear him pretending to sing in an opera style but la la la in the bathroom which always made me smile and still does . We were in France a few years ago and we saw a group of teachers and children with mental health issues visiting a church . We both watched them in silence for a few minutes and then he said that he’d like to do something similar when he grew up . He was a thoughtful and sensitive young man . We used to have long conversations about different things . I loved to chat with him because he was interesting to talk to and made an effort but he was a good listener too. I used to have friends round regularly and he and James would often be there especially when they were a bit younger , and both enjoyed talking to adults and felt confident in their company . He could be a monkey at times but that’s normal . I miss the hugs and kisses the funny comments and sitting on the sofa watching Frazier or suits or Tbe Office USA . He’d be coming up to 19 now and would probably have been at university now so I wouldn’t have had him around so much . It helps me to deal with it but clutching on to thoughts like that sometimes . I don’t want people to feel sorry for me and want to live and make the most of the rest of my life. . I liked your storyb about Chris and the watch . He sounds like an older version of Nick .

Chris also had dark brown hair, and grey eyes, flecked with hazel, he was tall with a lean frame. He thought very deeply about spiritual and philosophical matters but could also be very practical and disciplined. A room would light up with his presence, and his smile. I found myself this morning calling him to come down for breakfast. He used to like 'ready break ’ as a child and called it rebbyreck. He went back to eating it when he was ill.
People talk about what happened to Chris as a tradegy but I don’t want him defined in that way, which is why it was so good to see your message wanting to talk about your son in a positive way.
Did Nick have any idea what he wanted to study at university ?

He was in the lower sixth when he died and he was preoccupied with socialising with the new friends he made at the sixth form to think too deeply about what he’d study at university . I think he’d have chosen an arts subject , possibly history or English. I find myself talking to him most days , often in the car when I’m driving . I can see him sitting in the front seat of my car , his legs crossed in a gangly way as teenagers do . It’s painful to see families with two teenage sons as sometimes happens when I’m in a restaurant or other public place .I feel quite restless a a lot of the time especially when I haven’t got enough to occupy my mind and it helps to take my mind off the horror of what’s happened to keep busy but his death has also given me a renewed impetus to make the most of the rest of my life . It helps greatly that I have a brilliant relationship with James my other son . It all helps to give me an incentive to live and to be grateful for and to appreciate the positive aspects of my life ,I’m sure Nick wants me to be like this Fron what you’ve said I think you feel the same .

Hi you mentioned you and your son enjoyed going to gardens and museums, was there anything you particularly shared at these places ? And is it something you continue to do ?
There is an arboretum fairly near me, which we both used to love going to it is really beautiful at all times of year and has a great sense of space and openness. It was lovely to see the changing seasons - and also had a great cafe which we both enjoyed sitting and chatting. I still go there, and can feel Chris in the breeze , very uplifting but desperately sad that he s not with me.
You 're right , about focusing on the positives helps me to see a way forward, and it is definitely what Chris would want.

It’s a strange thing ; on Saturday it suddenly struck me that I was getting used to Nick not being around .Im good at blocking stuff I don’t want to think about , it works well with work related stuff. I talk to him everyday , that hasn’t changed but it’s similar to talking to James by email or text and if Nick had been alive he’d have been at university or out and about .The truth is I’m kidding myself ; I know that . I’m too scared to confront the horrible reality . When I do go there sometimes by accident or intentionally the pain is so intense and almost too much to handle . So it’s easier to block the pain but it’s always ther just below the surface; is that how you feel? James told me at the weekend that he wasn’t sure he would be able to enjoy his life again after Nick died but he can . I feel the same but it’s a different type of enjoyment to the way I was felt before Nick died. I still want to live and to make the most of life but I find myself not wanting to plan too far ahead ; maybe a bit of carpe diem in there somewhere .

I very much live in the moment. I used to think of it as denial, but don’t now think it is, as I do acknowledge - and sometimes have to confront what has happened. But I don’t think I could possibly live with the confusion, dread, and meaninglessness of what has happened for too long.
I’m not sure at all that I’m making the most of everyday, but just letting things unfold in their own time. Sure life will never be the same again, how could it be ?
For me it’s how do I incorporate what has happened and move forward to a new reality. In a way it’s very energising, but at the same time I’m exhausted.
Thanks for the concept of 'carpe diem ’ - I’m still living in an absurd world !

I agree that it’s both energising and exhausting at the same time . Barriers are exhausting to keep up but after a while it’s less so because I guess it becomes second nature . I do feel like I’m in a dream world most of the time even when I’m at work . Believing in a life after this one is a help because I know I’ll see him again and I know he’s around even though I can’t see hear or feel him . I still want to live , not least for James but I’m not afraid of dying one day . I’m pleased it will be Spring soon and then Summer because I can go in my garden or to my favourite beach at Mersea or Wivenhoe and look at the beauty around . It does get easier to deal with , that’s my experience but life will never be the sane. But life is constantly changing anyway .

Is the beach somewhere you went with your boys ?
I am planning a trip to Manorbier in the spring. The beach there is somewhere Chris loved. He talked about the wonderful light, and openness of the horizon. He had a dog there, and loved running with her along the beach, and watching her swimming in the sea. I am going to scatter some of his ashes there so I’m looking forward to going, but feeling a bit scared as well. In no way do I want to be saying goodbye, it will be more a celebration and recognition of a place he was happy.

I think thats a really lovely thing to do. Its so difficult to think of all the happy times when something like this happens but you will meet him again , just as i will be with Nick one day too. I know it sounds a bit desperate to say that but I really do believe it to be true . Life is that a such a transitory state, I’m 56 but it only seems like a few years ago when I was in my 20’s like James is now and starting out . Nothing stays the same for any length of time, even if things like this hadn’t happened and I think we just need to grab the good bits when they happen and wring them dry for as much pleasure and happiness as we can but accept that at the end of the day we are all just tiny specs in time . Thats what I’m trying to do . It helps me to feel that way because all human kind is in the same boat . Nick wasnt a fan of the beach after i took to a beach in Norfolk a few years back after a particularly long car jouney and promptly fell asleep. After that he insisted that beaches were boring but I think he would have changed his mind later . I love the coast ; I love the smell of the sea and the sand and the air, and the sound of the wind and the waves. I feel beaches especially uncrowded ones are paces where you can quietly commune with the spirits and with yourself but I love them when they are ful of people as well . when I get the courage to go in the sea, once I’m I love the feeling of floating and the salt water in my face. Chris is with you, you said before you felt that .

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