The grief highway

HI all.
firstly this isn,t about myself. I just thought it may help for some on the beginning of this horrible journey.
ok , a bit long winded but here goes!!!

one day everything is fine, you are getting on with everything that you do in your day to day life. then it happens. you loose your child. to be honest it does,nt matter how you lost them, i,ve read enough messages on here to judge that the pain is the same for everyone. the loss hits us just as hard as the next person regardless of how you lost your child.
Thats the first step on the grief highway. the total shock, the numbness, the disbelief . suddenly you are thrown into a whirlwind of emotions that you simply can,t fathom. nothing makes any sense. time becomes irrelevant . everything keeps revolving around you, but you are just stuck rite there in that moment. for the first few days you just can,t comprehend what has happened.

then over the coarse of the next week or so you are trying to kick start your body to function. trying to come to terms . trying to sort funerals out . working out who you need to tell that your son/daughter is no longer hear. ringing your own boss up. trying to do the decent thing but really you could,nt care less about the protocols . you keep breaking down. your mind keeps slipping into being able to function and not being able to function. you are totally lost between trying to make sure everything is in place so that your son/daughter gets everything they need leading upto and beyond the funeral and being in total denial that they have actually died in the first place. family and friends are all milling around you trying to offer any type of help that they can. condolence messages are coming in thick and fast, far to numerous for you to respond to. in most cases the time between the death and the funeral is 1 to 3 maybe 4 weeks. but feels more like centuries . in that time you feel totally and utterly helpless that you can,t go and get your baby and hold them and tell them you love them. tell them its not time for them to go, they are not supposed to go yet, its not the order of things. you feel you have somehow let them down because they are lying somewhere lifeless waiting for the final end day. but in your head they are not gone, they are very much still part of you. you want to go down to the hospital or the morgue and bring them home where they belong.

After the funeral the whole world goes back to normal the dust settles all around you. but not for you. you are only at the beginning of a very long journey. The guilt or the anger or both set in, how has this happened you are the parent you are supposed to protect your children. In your head you think its the same for everyone around you. but it is not. everyone else on the peripheral just carries on as if nothing at all happened. but you are stuck in a long dark tunnel. time has stood still. then you are so wrapped up in your grief that you don,t notice at first. but people start to distance themselves from you. might just be the neighbours at first. people in your local area avoid you. they know whats happened but think its best to give you a wide birth , would,nt want to look like they were being nosey. then after maybe a month or six weeks while you have been in an absolute sodden mess it hits you that you have,nt heard from dear friends. or in some cases even family members. you brush it off at first , tell yourself its just your imagination . but as more time passes. more and more people you know or class as friends have purposely stayed away. avoided ringing you, texting you. calling at the house. in my case i gave these people the benefit of the doubt [laughingly for 3 years] then realized they were gone from my life for good.
while all that is going on you are trying to glue yourself back together. weeks roll into months the whole world has changed for you now. nothing will ever be the same again . you have been stripped back to the bare bones and now you are just trying to survive each day one day at a time. its hard to motivate yourself to even breath let alone get up out of bed a do anything constructive. some days it hits you how your behavior is affecting those closest to you. husband and wives, your other children. you are trying to balance being normal and wanting to curl up in a ball and die. laughter and smiles have long since left your body.
for the first year it feels like you are wading thru thick mud blindfolded. then its time for the dreaded anniversary. does,nt matter which one it is. birthday, deathday, christmas. graduation day. they are all dreaded mountains that lay in your way. you have spent the last god knows how many months crying and aching with pain. but this day that is looming is really going to take it out of you. but it passes, like all the other days.

by the time you get to year two. the pain has,nt diminished in the slightest. but to be honest thats not the problem . time is irrelevant. the fact you have got to year two is a milestone indeed. you never thought you would survive a day without your child, but hear you are. you are still a million miles from the person you used to be. you still have the nightmares, the sleepless nights. your friends have still stayed away. [they are no longer friends at this point] you may drink more than you used to or take sleeping pills. or go for counselling or do anything that you find helpful. but take it from me… you have travelled a long way on the grief highway. you will probably have connected with other bereaved parents by now and you are all the highway .

By year 3. you have changed beyond all recognition. you have probably taken your place up back in society. but you are just out of sync with everyone else. you can function in a fashion. just not how you used to. you are still extremely fragile. but to the outside world you look normal. that is a major achievement to do this. because you have come from the very depths of despair to now being able go to work. go on holiday. speak to people without crumbling. go for a night out. a day out. sit in the garden. make a cake. all things you could,nt do.!!!
as the years start stacking up. the anniversaries come and go and you deal with them how you deal with them. you carry your grief around with you well hidden out of site. its still there, it will always be there. the odd day will come and go when you have a break down , its only momentary . [im at year7. cried in my sleep last night] not done that in a long time…

i keep saying time is irrelevant, because it is. when you loose a child it does,nt matter if it was yesterday or 5 years ago. time does not heal you. i miss my boy as much today as i did the day he died. i always will. time does,nt play a part in it. its your mind that is the key. your mind heals. when you loose a child part of the package that comes with it is the . crippling guilt, or the anger. the could,a . should,a would,a. the moving on from all those people that ran out on you. the cutting remarks you,ve had to deal with the insensitivity you,ve had to put up with.

grief is horrible none of us would choose it if we had the choice. but thats just it we dont have a choice. but we get through one way or another.
ok thanks for listening take care
jim

14 Likes

Dear @Jim10

Thank you for sharing your post with the Community.

Take care of yourself.

Pepsi

1 Like

Can’t possibly add anything to that, dear Jim.
Just thank you for being on here and reaching out in support.
Love and hugs, Ann :heart:

2 Likes

Thank you for that Jim and I am sure that it is going to help someone that is just beginning their journey and are farther along in their journey it brought tears to my eyes because it’s so true!

3 Likes

Thank you Jim for that. I’m only 6 months in, but I would rather have you ‘telling it like it is’ to the dozens of people, who have never lost a child, and tell me that I will get over it’ without any knowledge to back it up. I don’t want a false rosey picture that I can’t live up to. I’d rather know what to truly expect and to learn to live with it as best I can. So when I’m suddenly back in that dark place I know it’s ‘normal’ and not a sign of weakness or being selfish. I don’t want to be fed fairy tales of everything going back to ‘normal’ when I know I have to learn to cope with a new ‘normal’. You are still alive and generously share your insights. They help me and I’m sure they help many others. Thank you Jim xxx

3 Likes

Ann, Racy , thanks for your comments. Nell2. Sorry my description does sound rather glum. But I would rather not give false hope to people. Hindsight is a marvelous thing. But I remember when I first lost my boy. I had no idea what to expect. People don’t suddenly jump out of the woodwork and give you advice about how to cope. Nobody says here, take these magic tablets and it will all go away. I stumbled around in the dark for a long, long time after he died, I had no idea how long it would last, or wether I could ever find my way back to normal. People try to tell you all sorts of rubbish. Like, just get the first year out of the way and your laughing. Or the worst thing is people won’t talk to you about it at all. I reached the very bottom emotionally. There are no guide books , or step by step instructions. Took me forever to realize this is a journey we have to make on our own. I literally don’t no how I have made it this far, it’s only looking back that you realize you have come on leaps and bounds.
In general I’m not to bad these days. I have my moments. Watching stuff on the tele or the odd record or someone’s throw away remark can have you in tears. But back then for the first couple of years my mood swings were terrible. I would disappear down a dark tunnel for days on end. I would go without speaking to people for days. I would go for long walks over the moors for hours on end in the pouring rain.
That’s why I think this site is invaluable. For me it’s the only place where you can get a true picture of what it is really like to experience the grief of loosing a child, also you learn a lot but gauging yourself against other people who come hear. You are right Nell . You adapt to the new normal, that’s exactly what you do. I never ever thought I would reach this point mentally. There is definitely a light at the end of the tunnel. I wish I could explain to every newly bereaved parents what lays ahead for them. I would have given my back teeth for someone to explain to me what I should experience ahead of me. Everytime I do something like a holiday or a night out or any significant event. I realize I,m getting there, coz there was a time I couldn’t even eat or sleep or leave the house, I would cry constantly. There are definitely better days ahead, might not feel like it somedays. It is a bit of a roller coaster,. You can only do what you can do on any given day.
Take care my friend
Jim

2 Likes

Hi Jim, thanks for the insight, I’m still at the beginning of the grief highway and feel utterly lost. I spend most days sat in with the curtains shut hiding away from everything and everyone. Life outside continues for others I am now stuck in a void.
Take care. Love and hugs to all on this tortuous grief highway xxx

3 Likes

Don’t apologise for telling the truth. It’s a positive for me and way better and more honest than the idea that it’s all done and dusted in 12 months. It won’t be. You have learned to live with it as best you can. I’m going to try and do the same, knowing that it will be ups and downs, and I, like you can survive. Thank you for all your sharing. X

3 Likes

We turned our young mans life support off the day after he became ill, he was 24/7 but we were in a routine and he had a really good life then woke up one day fitting life support then when we saw him
he was just a shell so asked for machine to be turned off the decision was hard but I will never forget
the crying and screaming didn’t think I would ever put my grandson in this earth before me . It happened January 22 . Because he went to specialist school then college so many people wanted to come my poor husband could’t and still can’t speak without crying so I had to make arangements for people to come and we were kept busy. The physical pain was so raw I would lie on his bed for hours. one month after we spread his ashes it was his 21st birthday we are 7 months down the road we are not as bad as we were in public but the visits dropped because the world carries on on bad days I still dont get dressed my husband has better days but sits in the garden talking to him. My heart goes out to you all I dont think this will ever end the rawness is going but moments come from nowhere and the tears fall and that heartbreak is back , love to you all xxx

4 Likes

So sorry you need this site, but it’s a place you will find love and support and kindness. You can say whatever you feel, no one judges or tells you what to do or think, so keep posting and although no one can make it ok again we are here to share your grief and pain. With love :heart: Ann xx

2 Likes

thank you xx

2 Likes

Thank you for your honesty Jim. I am 5 weeks in having lost my beautiful daughter Holly to a pulmonary embolism that led to a cardiac arrest. She was 24. I can’t imagine a future without her but I have to try for my remaining daughter and my husband. Heartbroken :broken_heart:

3 Likes

Dear Barbara, all of us on here know the pain of heartbreak. We are mostly mums but Jim is a wonderful dad who explains so clearly what we all feel. His posts are always helpful and inspiring. (You know I mean it, Jim)
Post on here and share your almost unbearable grief. We will listen and send you our love and support as you struggle through these early days without your beautiful girl.
You will find the strength somehow.
Sending you, and Harrysma, much love :heart: xx
Ann

2 Likes

Thank you Jim . That made me cry . I’m 3 years along the road in October . Everything you say I have experienced and my thanks to you for taking the time to write everything down and share.
I keep it all to myself . I miss my boy so much .
Love to everyone on this road … x

4 Likes

Hi all, there are no words that explain what loosing a child feels like. Or what it does to you as a parent. The people on this site however come pretty close to describing what we all experience. By connecting to or just reading others accounts. Gives you a sense that you are not going mad. You may have a complete mental breakdown, I did,. I’m at year 7. I only found this site by chance 6 or 7 months ago. Before that I never really spoke to anyone about my loss,. You quickly learn that unless you are speaking to someone who has also lost a child. You are speaking to people who simply don’t understand,. They have no grasp of the situation. If you are newly bereaved or have just not spoken to people in the same situation as yourself. Then this is a fantastic forum to find some sort of reality.
When you are going about your business and you suddenly want to drop to your knees and scream. Those around you will recoil in horror as they simply don’t get it. When I lost my son, I also lost myself. I’m a completely different person than I used to be. It takes a long time to understand that you have to adapt to the new you. My life now consists of “before and after”. You don’t ever get over your loss. You either lost a child or you haven’t, I don’t take a blind bit of notice of the nuggets of wisdom or the advice of the people that haven’t lost a child, they no nothing. But the people who have lost a child you have an unwritten immediate connection/understanding. Us in the “club”. Have an appreciation of the pain, suffering and loss. The life you build for yourself afterwards is a long slow journey. But eventually you get a form of normality back. It’s not the same but then it never can be. It’s really hard trying to juggle everything. Trying to pretend to be normal for those around you. People can’t feel what you are going through so they can’t possibly understand that you have off days. Or you don’t want to do stuff. But you can’t be to hard on yourself you have to heal. The sun will rise and fall a million times before you are ready to appreciate it again. But you will. You very much learn to live again.
Thanks for listening
Jim

5 Likes

Hi Jim I know what you mean about the so called friends I had a friend of 16 yrs we kind of lost touch I moved away to be with my partner. But when I lost my daughter and the funeral was approaching she was on the phone every morning saying she would support me etc. The funeral day arrived I was a total wreck she was there NR me after we laid her to rest then we had a get together and she said she d always be there day or night. Hmmm well she doesn’t txt or ring unless I ring or txt her and when I say il pop over and see her I get a load of excuses so I still keep txting her just to be polite I suppose it just shows you who’s genuine and who you can rely on when you truly need a friend to talk to I don’t know if anyone else is experiencing this shellyanne

1 Like

Hi shellyanne. I think it’s quite common. I know all the reasons. " We don’t know what to say". " Thought we’d give you some space". Blah blah blah. I don’t have a single friend from before my boy died. Lived in the same area for 50 years had lots of friends. Some of them very special. Don’t see any other f them anymore. My wife and I had to reinvent ourselves. We made new friends. It used to bother me for a little ng time. But it be let it go. You can’t force people.

1 Like

Yeah very true when I moved in with my partner I moved 30 miles away and I moved away from my kids as they are all grown up have their own children and their own lives. I visit them once a month but speak on the phone every day but there’s only one friend who I could phone day or night it just shows you who I can trust shellyanne

2 Likes

Hugs Jim, you describe it all so well, I’ve just had the 18th Anniversary, but feels like yesterday I lost my son, he would have been 45 today, so a hard day today, I don’t even recognise the Carole then, to the one I am now, she died that day too, take care Jim, thank you, makes me feel not so alone, in how I feel and who I am

2 Likes

Hi barb - so sorry to hear what you are going through. It’s utterly heartbreaking. There aren’t any words really to describe the shock and pain and yearning. I lost my daughter 6 months ago and finding this website has really been a good thing that helps. We all ‘get it’. Sharing with others made me realise I wasn’t going mad, We are all different but all sharing the worst of losses, to loose a child. Sending you hugs and wishes for some peace. Xxx

2 Likes