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dealing with the anger associated with someone's grief with the loss of a child

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grief and anger of a family member

By schmidm Leader October 14, 2010 - 2:18pm

Thank you Christime, for your comment. I have been giving them space, email or phone and leave a message once a week, getting no replies. My daughter in law is one of these young women that believes its all about her family, which started shortly after they got married. Holidays and their time off has been all about her family, I am lucky to get a crumb. I believe she wears the pants in this family, and is getting her way by pulling my son completely away from me after this tragedy. My son is typical male, and just doesn't want any conflict. This whole situation is completely breaking my heart. All I want is peace and harmony in my family. I am very afraid that I have lost my son to this situation.

By Nonilois January 9, 2011 - 6:41am

Christine, its funny that you asked how our child we had after we lost the boys is. She is 20, almost 21 and she is the reason I found this website. She was stretching her back and heard and felt a "pop" and immediately started having low back pain. After a visit to the clinic, then x-rays, then an MRI (this over a 2 month period) we found out her L3 vertebrae had actually fractured due to a large hemangioma that had replaced over 80 percent of the bone. The noise she heard was the fracture. A hemangioma is not melignant but it has damaged her vertebrae beyond repair. I came here to research corpectomy with bone graft to see what we might be up against for recovery. We will be going in to Duke Wed. the 12th to meet with the neurosurgeon
and I came here looking for any information so I know what questions to ask and what to expect. The Great news is it can be fixed and it's not cancer. She has had to drop out of school this semester and probably will loose a job she loves but she will survive it. What I CAN say is life is VERY fragile. Don't put off the things that you would love to do on a Saturday with your kids to clean your house or somthing else unimportant. Grab every second because you just don't know what might happen tomorrow!

January 9, 2011 - 6:41am
By Susan Cody HERWriter Guide January 7, 2011 - 7:35am

Nonilois

Thank you so much for sharing your story and helping other women who have gone through the kind of trauma that you also went through. I never know what to say to people who share these stories because it seems so cliched and hallmark-ish.

But I can assure you that sharing what you went through helps others enormously and thank you for doing this.

Our very best to you,
Susan

January 7, 2011 - 7:35am
By Christine Jeffries January 7, 2011 - 7:35am

Nonilois,
I am so sorry for your pain, and thank you so much for sharing your heartfelt words. What you have experienced is horrific and unfathomable. I truly hope that you have been able to find some happiness in the years since, and at the very least--Peace and Comfort.
How is that child you had after the accident? I'm so glad to hear that you have had a good relationship with your former mother-in-law. The words 'quietly available' are good ones, and although very challenging to do, it is necessary in times like these, I think.
I really feel like this thread is a great support to everyone in it. Thank you all for being here.

January 7, 2011 - 7:35am
By Nonilois January 6, 2011 - 11:35pm

Sciteacher-
I just found this website and this group. What you wrote is spot on. In 1989 both of my little boys (3 and 4 and a half) were killed in a highway accident. I don't even remember the first year after we lost them, I was out of my mind. It takes so much time to even get back to normal. The majority of marriages fail after the death of a child and mine was no exception. My advice for Schidm's would be just what you gave her. Just be patient and be there when they do reach out, and they will.
We had another child before our marriage ended and I was actually closer to my mom-in-law AFTER the end of marriage than I ever was during. She was quietly available to me. One mother's day in the first few years after I was standing in front of their mantle looking at pictures that included by sons and she just came and stood beside me and put her arm around me, never saying a word. It meant more than anything she could have ever said.

January 6, 2011 - 11:35pm
By sciteacher November 30, 2010 - 8:20pm

Ladies,

Your comments are sweet. I was fortunate to be connected with other grieving mothers thanks to a friend to sought them out for me and they (along with my faith) were instrumental in helping me to process and move along the grief path. The going was rough...and slow but I was determined to move from victim to survivor to thriver. I vowed that if I survived I would help others as I was helped...the opportunity presents itself in the strangest ways...I came to this website, for example, to get advice about a thyroid problem and stumbled upon this Schidm's post. I don't believe in coincidence...

November 30, 2010 - 8:20pm
By Susan Cody HERWriter Guide November 26, 2010 - 7:04pm

Sciteacher,

Thank you so much for your input - I could almost feel your pain with your description of your grief - how wonderfully written, even if the subject is the most devastating a parent can ever face. I am so glad you are finding some peace at last, even though your life as it was will never come back. I think your post will really help others.

Schmidim
We have not heard from you in a while - how are you doing? Thanksgiving must have been really tough for you and your son/daughter-in-law. We'd love to hear from you,
~Susan

November 26, 2010 - 7:04pm
By Christine Jeffries November 8, 2010 - 12:21pm

Thank you for your insight. I know there is nothing that can be said to replace that life that was lost, so I'll just say, I'm sorry you and your family had to endure that. I'm glad you have come through it and together now are able to move forward.
I feel your words may be able to provide some comfort to the grieving grandmother, and others who find this thread.
Thank you for your strength and willingness to share your experience.
-Christine

November 8, 2010 - 12:21pm
By sciteacher November 6, 2010 - 9:29am

Schmidm,

Hello...what a horrible place you find yourself in. I think I can add some insight. My husband and I lost our beautiful two year old son in a about 8 years ago. I don't know how long ago this happened to your son and daughter in law, but I can tell you that on average it takes couples about seven years to adjust to a new "normal". In the first year or two, a grieving, a parent is only able to deal with their own grief. I was not even able to deal with my husband's grief. We literally existed side by side that first year or two but neither of us could really support the other. I could see his pain but I couldn't do anything about it. Grieving a child is a tremendously personal and lonely afair. It took all I had just to keep myself together. It seems strange now but I was very possessive of the grief I felt. It was MINE, MINE, MINE and I could not, would not share it with anyone. Who could possibly understand what I was going through? I remember being resentful of anyone who brought their own grief over the death of my child (specifically my mother-in-law) to me. My mom and dad and siblings live 10 hours away, so I didn't experience that with them, and of course my father-in-law did not come to me with his grief. So when my mother-in-law would come over and cry and carry on I would just seeth inside. I literally just stared at her with dry eyes and did not say a word. My thoughts, "How dare she come add to my grief...I am barely hanging on!", and "It was MY child...this is MY grief and she can't even possibly understand the fatal wound that was inflicted on me. I'm bleeding out and she sitting there weeping for herself." It wasn't until YEARS later (maybe 4 or 5) that I was able to wrap my mind around how the death of my child affect other people. Of course NOW I understand that it was perfectly reasonable for her to want to come share her grief. I just couldn't then. I love my mother-in-law and I didn't understand then why I felt such anger toward her...and even that just added to my tremendous guillt, which made me resent her even more. Your daughter and son are probably still at that stage. You lost a grandchild you loved and adored and at the same time you feel a instinctual need to protect your own child from this pain and you are being closed off from him. Ouch! I agree with Christine, they need some time (longer than most people would think) to process what just happened to them...it's a long hard road. Be there to offer practical support, suprise them with a meal, volunteer to shuffle their other children around, put together a scrapbook of pictures you might have of the child they lost and just leave it for them to page through "when they are ready", plant a tree in his/her memory, leave a card with a brief note of support, hire someone to mow the lawn, send a card "your dinner will arrive at 6:00 pm tonight" and then order pizza to be delivered, or volunteer to help write thank you notes. Now is not the time to be intrusive. Don't force yourself in...just make it known that you are available to help. If they don't accept it don't be surprised, maybe they can't yet...just keep yourself open to it. I can recommend the book "Roses in December", it gives practical advice about how to help grieving parents. What ever you do...don't rush them through the grief process. It can't be rushed. Comments like, "you need to move on" only make matters worse. They can't imagine right now moving forward without their child and they won't for a long time. The good news is...they will recover...they will...in time. My husband and two boys are happy, healthy and live with wonderful memories of our son. My in-laws live across the street from us and we are very close with them. It seems very daunting right now to think you may have to watch your child's pain from a distance for a long while before you are allowed in...but pushing the issue could create permanant damage. Above all else, do not take it personally. Stand back, offer support, pray...
much love...

November 6, 2010 - 9:29am
By Christine Jeffries November 2, 2010 - 1:10pm

Hi schmidm,
Thanks for posting. I'm sorry your family is going through this difficult time. Was there a falling out of any kind? Have you told them either by phone or mail simply that you love them, you know they are hurting right now, and that you will be ready to talk or visit when they are ready?
I am not a therapist, but I think it's understandable they may need to distance themselves from things while they are mourning. I could not imagine what they must have gone through. Everyone grieves in their own way, and it's OK.
Perhaps it may help you in your own situation to talk with your doctor or a therapist to be able to voice your concerns, and/or get ideas for how to be there for them in your own way, even if that means giving them space they may need right now. I realize as a mother it may be hard to sit on the sidelines and not worry about your son and his wife. Let it comfort you to know that you can't lose him, he will always be your son no matter what.
Not sure if this is any kind of help. What do you think about it?
-Christine

November 2, 2010 - 1:10pm