Second year seems to be the hardest

I am one year out after losing my only child my 23 yr. old daughter who died suddenly , unexpectedly and tragically Oct. 20,2018. I am feeling overcome with grief . My family and friends don’t talk about my daughter Laurel. I feel they think I should be doing “ better” and that I’m grieving too long . My husband is silent , grieving alone and doesn’t want to talk about her . He gets angry when I bring her up or cry. I’m getting counseling and it grp Los . I also go to a support group . Theses don’t take away the searing pain I feel knowing I will never see my beautiful 23 yr. old daughter again , walk her down the aisle ( she was engaged the night she died ) or be a Grandma yo her children. I Feel
I’m in purgatory . The pain is worse this second year out . I feel in
Pain and without hope .

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I’m so sorry Mauri. Everything you say resonates with me. I lost my lovely son in July 2018 and I to think this second year is harder. Everyone has now returned to their own lives and your left to get on with it. I was asked one day about 3weeks ago how I was and I just said ok. The person replied saying surely I must be more than ok by now!! For you to loose your only child is heartbreaking. I to go to a support group but I also feel like you that no-one and nothing can give me back my son. And that’s all I want. I just take one day at a time and get through it. But I live alone now and the house can be quiet. But it’s still early days and maybe the darkness will lift a bit. Please message me if you want anytime Mauri. Hugs xx

Thank you Orchard. It helps to feel validated and that I am not alone in this experience . It’s hard because the world goes on without her my precious daughter. I wake up thinking about her , rerunning tapes of the years leading up to her tragic death wondering what I missed, what I could have done differently . My husband and I almost separated when Laurel was in 8th grade. She was diagnosed with anxiety / depression shortly before this . I have gnawing guilt about this . I feel I stressed her because I instigated a possible seperation from her Dad . It was after that that big pharma and her psychologist began the long fateful , tragic journey of experimenting on Laurel with medication after medication . When those did not help her she began to self medicate with alcohol and street drugs. I can’t stop thinking of my part in her mental health issues. She was such a happy , magnetic joyful baby and little girl . It seemed that puberty changed her . I thought some was normal behavior . But when she started not attending school , breaking into abandoned warehouses to take art photos drinking and experimenting with drugs that shewas crying out for help. Anyway there was a wedge between her father and I . We both were scared and we stopped parenting together . It was a terrible time and Laurel moves out into a slum drug house . She was back within a month thankfully. Anyway my husband and I stayed together still not agreeing on everything but trying to help Laurel. I have sadness and guilt over this period in our family’s life . And that’s just one period of our life and experience trying to support and help Laurel. She would later drop out if school( to her credit she did get herGED.) Later she was on a smorgasbord of new psychotropic drugs and new labels and diagnoses along with an ever changing lineup of psychologists : psychiatrists who she said “ don’t really listen to me .” By the time she died thinking she was taking a lortab which was pure fentanyl her brain was so changed fri the years of taking them and abusing other substances . I do have guilt about that . I feel I put stress on her missed some warning signs , did not read events right, did not support her in her anxiety with the kindness she needed from me and further stressed her by almost leaving her father . All these contributed to her anxiety depression and her substance abuse . The remorse and guilt haunt me .

You’ve had a very hard journey in life Mauri. I’m glad you’re going to counseling, it will help to say everything out loud to someone. It is normal to question ourselves when we loose someone. I did it in the early days after my son died. I asked was it my fault, was it because I had done something wrong. Had I been a good mother. It is all grief talking. Grieving is a very long slow journey. I can only see the small steps forward when I look back. I used to take panic attacks when I went to shops. I had physical pain in my chest and shoulders. And every day I still think to myself ‘i can’t do this, I want him back’. But we have to keep going, hour by hour. I go to a support group nearby and it helps to be with others who understand exactly how I’m feeling. Please try not to let guilt consume you. As parents we do our best at any given time and that is all anyone can do…x

Thank you for such a quick , compassionate response. You are very wise , and speaking from your own experience . I value that . Living in this strange new landscape without my only child who I have spent 23 years loving , protecting and nurturing is surreal and at times makes me feel alittle crazy . I am forever changed . Yes I understand we as parents can only respond to the needs of our children in the moment . We can’t see the larger picture at times and we sometimes have only a part of the story. My daughter emerged from me very independent and spirited. She was not an easy toddler or teenager ( psychologists say the “ two T’s - toddlers and teenagers are both driven to push for their autonomy and independence) and she did not share all she was experiencing and even manipulated and lied to some of her counselors. When she moved out of our house at age 20 and moved to another house we own our Mother Daughter relationship improved . I worried over her not taking her meds or taking too many as she was apt to do , but the physical distance and not living together helped our relationship . We had been close through her childhood , attending church , Sunday school , playgroups , sports , dance , gymnastics , and I was a co leader of her Girl Scout troop and we were a very active troop traveling to Washington DC, , Savannah GA, Adirondacks - and she stayed active till she was in 9th grade! Then she and I ran a Colonial Gurls Club attending local Colonial sites and as costumed interpreters taught the public about life in early colonial days . So up until teenage hood she and I had been close . So in those last 3 years of her life we became. closer . Their were boundaries and she had her life with her boyfriend and friends and was happy and even considering going back to school for being a mental health counselor . Unfortunately I found a diary she wrote in the last year of her life . She wrote some hurtful , angry things about me . My friends have tried to comfort me saying that no one writes their happy feelings in a diary and that it’s often a rant , a platform to vent . I understand and some of what she says and how she embellishes some incidents are convuluted and not the whole truth. It wasn’t a gratitude diary . I have to try not to dwell on that but it does hurt. I am grateful that every time we talked , texted, or saw each other we said “ I love you Laurel.” “ I love you Mama!” The last time I spoke with her ( 9 hours before her death) we said those words. I hope she forgave me for my mistakes , and things I overlooked or ways I could have helped her but did not know how . I did my best born out of a love a deep love only a mother has for her child . I hope she felt how much I truly loved her . I guess that’s what I need to try and focus on .

Dear Mauri,
It breaks my heart to read your posts, I am so very sorry to learn about your beautiful daughter. My thoughts are with you and my heart is aching for you.
MaryL

Thank you Mary L. It helps to share my experiences around the events that led up to my daughters tragic death . From what I have learned about the grief journey I find myself in , people experiencing loss need to tell and share their personal grief stories many many times , over and over to process the events , and the death , along with helping to make sense of the new reality we find ourselves in . Then receiving caring and compassionate responses for those who have listened further continues the healing process. I have so much so much I want and need to say . Sadly , our culture shush the grieving person after one year ignorantly believing that one year is time enough to grieve and get on with . Most people don’t know what to say or do so do nothing . Friends that I thought would be standing next to me through this just can’t for whatever reason . Surprisingly people I never expected to be able to bear some of my pain are able to stand next to me in this brutal process . Only 3 places can accept my honest feelings on a daily basis . My journal , my grief therapist , and blog sites like this . So I’m grateful to this site and to people who are compassionate like you .

Dear Mauri
I’m here because I lost my younger son Henry on 20th Oct 2019. He was 30 years old. Henry and I were very close but we had fraught times too. He suffered with mental health issues and like your daughter was medicated. However he also used recreational drugs. He lived the life he wanted. I understand how hard it is when you blame yourself for decisions you made that impacted on your daughter. We’re only human, all of us and we don’t make decisions to deliberately cause distress- sometimes though, that happens.
Henry had a big heart and was always forgiving and he also wouldn’t want any of us to be sad. I think of him every day and miss him so much but I’m also continuing to live my life- for my other son and my grandson and husband. The pain is always there but the frequency of feeling the pain is lessening.

I wasn’t the perfect parent but I tried my absolute best for my wonderful boy. He’s safe in heaven and I know we will be together one day.

My thoughts are with you and I’m so sorry you’re feeling so low. The sun will shine on us all again.

Hugs and love from Purple

Thank you Purple . This grief is a heavy burden . I’m so sorry about the death of your son . Your tragic loss was one year after my daughters death to the day. With the help of blogs like this where people understand and a few friends I can talk to and be authentic with I will make my way through this . Thanks for your kind words .

hi Mauri
very sorry for the loss of your daughter,its so sad that some men prefer to bottle it up and not speak about the loss,there in making it much harder for the lady.just wish more men would open up and be there for their partners and try get through,well I mean learn to live with the loss.i mean it will not lesson the sense of loss but having support from your partner can slightly lesson the hurt.
my sister Samantha passed on5th August 1986 she was 9 years old fit and healthy before the tragic event which lead to her passing.my mum as you would expect was distraught ,so many times over the years she said out loud that she wish she had died instead.my dad didn’t really say much,must me that age group,wasnt till he was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer towards the end of 2005 and about week or 2 before he passed ,he broke down talking about the pent up feelings he had held within himself for 20 years.why he couldn’t of opened up sooner ive no idea,but at least it showed that the way he had acted and not mentioned the event of losing is one and only daughter was not the way he was feeling inside.i was there and my brothers obviously we were up set at hearing our father open up about is feelings.was mainly because he wanted us 3 boys well men to help each other and mend bridges and act like we loved our siblings .I personally dont think it helps men by holding things as it helps nobody.
I hope your husband finds a way to release is inner feelings and then show he understands how you feel and give you the comfort and support you need and well and truly deserve.
sorry if ive repeated any advice or comments from others and I hope you find help and a way to cope
regards ian

Thank you Ian. I am so sorry for your loss . I don’t think there is ever getting over it . Parents are not supposed to bury their children . It profoundly goes against the natural life cycle . Our culture expects men to be strong , bear the pain and not to cry. Women on the other hand are given societal
permission to cry , emote and demonstrate their sadness. The female grief is so much healthier . As you relate your dear father bottled his pain up not letting it burst out until he was faced with his own mortality. I have participated in Support groups where men ( and some women) after years of bottling up their sadness and pain feel compelled to seek out the company of other parents who have experienced loss of a child . I have observed their intense relief as they share the story of the loss. The shoulders soften , the face relaxes and the tears come that cleanse emotionally. Studies show that people in grief heal themselves by sharing the story of their loved one and need to tell it over and over again to help them accept and process it . Our culture does not have compassion for grievers and rush us to go back to work too soon, and to function and “ be happy “ again . There are arbitrary judgements about when our functioning as bereaved individuals . I do believe my husband feels this societal pressure to be strong and not emotional and to carry on as before. I’m giving him his space to do that as he is respecting mine . I do know he feels deeply and profoundly sad about our daughter and I do think he cries just not in front or with me . I’ve read many articles about how men grieve and he is functioning as many men do in our culture.Im so glad your father was able to share his feelings , give voice to his experience and share it with his family . It must have been a loving experience drawing all together in love shortly before his death. Let us raise our boys differently giving them permission to feel what they feel, allowing them a voice to say what they are feeling and permission with no shame only compassion to authentically own with acceptance their pain and sadness . Thank you for your beautiful story . Thank you for your insights . Blessings.

Oh my - thank you Jayne ! I’m typing this when I should be heading to bed ! Apologies.

hi Mauri
you are very welcome,you were correct first time.and reading your reply.Agree whole heartedly about how talking about the loss of your loved one.i did the same when Samantha passed,but it affected my empathy for others because Samantha was only 9 I wasn’t very sympathetic to others who had lost loved ones.but when my father passed that changed again as I then woke up to realise someones age when they pass is of no relevance to the heartache it causes to those left behind.age is but a number were as the person we lose is loved and special to us and we are just devastated at the loss.
luckily I had Jayne to comfort and help when my father passed.were as now ive no one close who fully understands the heart ache im going through losing Jayne,and ive never felt as bad as this in my whole life.i really wish I could of gone instead.Jayne would of coped better than me.but talking about Jayne helps me and keeps her alive in my heart mind and soul.sorry for droning on and thank you for responding to my reply to you.
much appreciated .warm regards ian.

Ian please help me clarify. So you lost a 9 year old sibling Samantha over 20 years ago . Your father suppressed his grief and sorrow until he was diagnosed with a terminal disease but then shared his feelings and sadness with his family finally about the death of his daughter Samantha. I’m so glad he was able to do that and have some release before his own death.
You shared that you lost someone so dear to you Joyce ? Is that correct? You said she helped you with your sadness when your Dad died- accepting your sadness and being able to comfort you during your profound sadness . Now you are grieving the loss of your comforting friend and feeling alone in your grief. Please let me know If I have all these relationships correct . Thank you . I think we have much to share about our grief journey. Thinking of you -MAuri

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Hi,I’m Lindsay, so sorry to here about your loss,I to no that gut rengging pain. My daughter was 12, she went to school and was killed on the road on her way home. I was cooking her tea whilst she was under a bus! The pain is like someone peeling off my skin every day and it will be nine years in June. No your not alone,only we no this pain. It’s her 21st birthday in April, life is so cruel.Xxxxx

Sorry for your loss. My parents seem to think, if you don’t talk about it, it will go away. But it does the opposite. You need to grieve and cry about if you need to. It does help.

Hey,yes parents! No one gets it,you have to be in the club you never asked to join to get it.Xxx

I lost my eldest son to cancer in 2016 he was 30 . he married his fiance in the macmillian unit 4 years ago tomorrow 13 days later he died , shes now with another man and pregnant . I still see her and my granddaughter so Im very lucky! but I m distraught at time moving on ,things happening when it should be him . my heart breaks little more every day and I find it all very hard to come to terms with . we dont talk as a family much about how desperately sad we are I still cant look at his photos into his eyes . so I cant offer much hope only that the waves of agony get a little further apart things will get better quicker for others but for mothers I think it’s our lot till we are reunited . we will always have regrets , find it hard when others move on and miss our babies xxx

Hi,yes I think so too. It’s the bond.Xxx