Three days ago, the 13th August, would have been my Father’s sixtieth birthday. I’m not sure exactly what I’m looking for in writing this post, other than to try to reach out to others who’ve had a comparable experience.
The inner resolve that must be necessary to survive such a long and arduous journey is the incredible thing really. How the body and the mind manage to get through the worst of experiences.
I’ve done it all on my own.
That deserves a little more than a pat on the back, doesn’t it?
My son and daughter recently lost their dad - his first anniversary is approaching. Their dad was 60 when he died. I know the inner turmoil that they are going through. They do not have to say anything, as their mother their face and voice says it all.
To have lost your dad at such a young age is something I cannot comprehend but I am sure others in a similar position will respond to your post.
I note from your post that your struggles are more intense now than in childhood. I know that the things that my own adult children are struggling with is the fact that they cannot share their achievements or concerns with their dad. Future celebrations such as weddings and christenings etc and their dad is not here to share the joy.
Hoping that you get some answers from others. And yes you do deserve something more than a pat on the back. I tell our kids everyday that their dad loved them and was so proud of everything they did and that hopefully he is watching over them.
Thanks for replying. It means a lot. I’m sorry to hear about your son and daughter’s losses.
Yes of course it has been hard and it that would be understating it. But sometimes I feel as though the hardest part is watching what my mother has had to go through.
To lose a partner of thirty years or more…that too is very difficult if not impossible for me to wrap my own head around. You didn’t mention whether their Dad was your husband or partner but it sounds as though that was the case. You are very brave for raising children through that.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that bereavement affects everyone in the family differently. It has this ripple effect. Sometimes I still feel this sense of shock, and I have to ask myself, ‘has this really actually happened to me?’ - I still feel that way now, and I guess, yes, in that sense, that feeling has become more intense over time. Because I keep getting reminded of how much I’ve lost and how much I’ve missed out on. As more and more time passes and more and more of life ebbs away without him, the sense of the scale of the catastrophe and disaster of it only grows and becomes harder to cope with and make sense of. It’s the absolute opposite of what the textbooks say. That’s what I’m still learning about grief. It gets harder, not easier. I miss him very much, and have found it all to be an exquisitely lonely experience if I’m being totally honest.
Thank you. It is my husband. We were married 38 years and together 42. He went out last September on his motorbike and never came back.
You are right the grief is very different. Our children have lost a huge part of their lives. As his wife I have lost everything. Your description of a ripple effect is correct. That’s how I try to describe it. I am at the epicentre and the effects hit as the waves move out over. Our son had only recently had a son of his own and our daughter lives down south and had not seen her dad for months due to the lockdowns.
Life now often feels like a ‘soap opera’ - unreal and just being acted out with our normal family life waiting to return to what it was. And you are also right about the textbooks. For me as time passes it is only getting harder. But - and probably like your mother - I drag myself out of bed each day and go to help with the grandsons.
The way I see it for me is that our legacy lives on through our kids and grandkids. I have to make sure that they have the best chance at life now. I refuse to let a motorbike define our kids/grandkids future. What I would say is that my husband was 11 when his dad left his mother to raise my husband and his two brothers. That had a profound effect on him and made him more determined in adult life. He drew his values from what he experienced as part of my family (he was 17 when we first met).
In terms of your mother. Just continue to be there for her. If she is able let her share her memories of their life together. You do not say if you have family of your own but if you do make sure they understand the family history. After my own dad died I started to research the family history to understand what drove my dad to be the person he was. This gave me a sense of connection even though he is no longer here with us.
Thanks for taking the time to explain that. My first thought is that you are in the ‘freshest’ period of grief, as it were. Bear in mind that when I was where you were, I was fourteen years old. One thing my stepdad always encourages me to notice is how lucky we were as a family not to have any sudden death experience. I have no experience of that but believe that the absence of any period of preparation is doubly traumatic and destabilising for a person/family. On a general note I would say that it’s important to be patient and acknowledge that a process is underway that takes time, involving lots of changes for everyone involved. For me that process began thirteen years ago. Whilst sometimes I do feel the need to point out all the difficult and tragic aspects of this reality, at others I have drawn strength from the fact that I’ve still been able to acheive a lot in this life so far. I went to university still, played in a successful band, and am going to law school in September. The uni years were hard and it took me a very long time to graduate (seven years). I feel like your also taking that mixed approach in your message above, which I think is healthy. You mentioned lots of helpful points and positive ideas in your message which I’ll revisit, but I think there has to be a time where your allowed to simply dwell on the awfulness of it all. I think our culture has a tendency to overemphasize buoyant optimism in the face of adversity but personally I believe that that particular trope has only stalled my process of coming to terms with death. I think people mistake trying to confront a difficult experience with ‘navel-gazing’ or ‘dwelling’ or ‘reminiscing’, and unfairly criticise those processes, but I think that they are important for healing. And the desire to push it all away and rush on with life isn’t necessarily a signal that you’re ‘moving on with your life’. Anyway, the whole subject is very complicated but I’m happy to have found an intelligent partner to discuss it with, and am happy to continue doing so
Thank you. I share your approach and it is certainly the most realistic. Our society and culture shuns away from discussing grief.
I actually worked in a University in their Faculty of Business and Law so congratulations in wanting to pursue a career in law. Also congratulations in having had a successful music career. I understand how hard university study is. I completed my BA (finance pathway) over five years on an evening basis. The fact that you have already completed university studies shows that you have the resolve and resilience to be successful. If you are studying in London I am sure that you will have plenty work placement opportunities.
Thank you so much for starting this thread and for reaching out for support. I’m so sorry to read about your Dad and that he would have been sixty this week - to have lost a parent at such a young age is so very hard.
In case you aren’t already aware, I wanted to let you know about a Facebook group called Adults Bereaved As Children run by Winston’s Wish. The group is there to discuss your bereavement as a child openly and honestly with people who have experienced it themselves - I thought you might find it helpful.
Thank you again for sharing about your Dad and so openly about how you are feeling - keep reaching out.