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Posted: 10/20/2004 1:36:28 PM EDT
I have been comtemplating doing this thread for some time. Now is as good a time as any.

If you have ever lost anyone close to you in a violent or tragic way, you will likely understand the point I will try to make.

There isn't any such thing as "closure."

When a parent loses a child as a result of manevolence or gross carelessness, there isn't anything that brings closure. The term conjures up some idea that after a while, things such as life, love, and memories are made pallatable if not whole again. Guys, it just doesn't work that way. If your child or spouse or sibling is murdered, the most you can hope for is simply getting used to the hurt. Trials, punishment, memorials, scholarships, all that other stuff can be real useful in softening the hurt, but the pain endures.

I have way too much experience with this. Both of my parents died of cancer when I was a teenager. My daugher was molested when she was 11 and then assaulted again when she was 19. Her mother, my wife, abandoned us. As much as that hurt, and trust me, that stuff hurt immeasurably, it does not measure up to the pain that came from our teenaged son's suicide.

At first there is denial and shock. Don't expect rational thoughts or actions from the survivors. They will often not have even a thread of reality to hang onto. They need this irrational time. Otherwise the pain would kill them immediately.

We filed a lawsuit against the school he was attending, because we needed to shift the blame away from our son. It did not work. We only became even more aware that he did what he did because of the way he was thinking at that moment.

We started a scholarship fund. After a while, the donations stopped, and he was slowly forgotten by all but his family. His friends grew up and moved on with their lives. (Good for them.)

We talked about him in the present tense because we couldn't stand the thought of letting go of him. After a while, reality sets in and he becomes the property of the past. His place in the present was replaced with grief.

When you lose those close to you, and I mean really close, you don't just hurt on birthdays or anniversaries. You hurt every day. It is just a matter of degrees. The pain doesn't go away. You simply get used to it.

Sometimes my son's name will be brought up and my emotions visibly change. The other person will apologize for "reminding me." I have to tell them that others forgetting hurts more than the reminder does. You never forget about them, particularly if you lose a child. The pain is always there. It is simply a matter of degrees.

When you lose a teenager, you also lose them as a baby, a toddler, a rambunctious kid, and in all the other ways you remember them. Every recollection has the realization of death and loss sitting like bookends on your memories.

I didn't type this for sympathy. I wrote this because all of you at some time are going to have to deal with adults who have lost a child. Even those of us who have lost children know that the death of a child delivers that parent into their own private hell. I can have more compassion, sympathy, and empathy than those other people. But I can't take away their pain. I just understand it better.

Very few marriages survive the loss of a child. Ours didn't. Less than two months after our son's death, we ignored our 20th anniversary. It did not make us better people. It made us different people. A person's true character comes out in the midst of a tragedy. After 27 years of marriage preceeded by four years of dating, our divorce will be final shortly. It isn't an amicable break-up.

If you end up dealing with a grieving parent, please keep this stuff in mind. There is no such thing as "closure." At best, you just learn to live with it.

Oh yeah, one more point to ponder. Don't wait to have time for your kids. Teach them now. Love them now. Guide them, endure their immaturity, look past their stupidity....now.

Sometimes the future never comes.
Link Posted: 10/20/2004 1:52:44 PM EDT

Hang in there and... I hope the best for you.
Link Posted: 10/20/2004 3:33:57 PM EDT
Mahatma8Rice- I'm sorry life has been so cruel to you. I won't even pretend to understand what your dealing with.
On a much smaller scale, I too am trying to get used to the hurt of loosing someone. Without going into a lot of detail, I let someone die alone at a doctors office. What I thought was a minor injury turned out to be fatal. I made the hurt worse by telling her she'd be okay and I'd see her after work.
It was bad enough loosing her but I hate the fact that I wasn't there when she died.
I'll include you in my prayers tonight.
Link Posted: 10/20/2004 3:43:00 PM EDT
I feel for you.

My co-worker just lost one of her twin daughters. She has came back to work month and a half after for a day and is back. I really feel for her because she has her other twin to remind her every day about her lose.

When she was at work I could hardly talk to her because I didn't want to say the wrong thing...
And what could I say to her that would make her feel better... NOTHING!

God be with you both.
Link Posted: 10/20/2004 3:47:46 PM EDT
Thank you for the insight, and even though your post wasn't written looking for sympathy, my thoughts are with you. Good luck bro.
Link Posted: 10/20/2004 3:58:11 PM EDT
Thank you for this post.
Link Posted: 10/20/2004 4:02:07 PM EDT
Link Posted: 10/20/2004 4:03:30 PM EDT
Thank you for sharing that and God bless you.
Link Posted: 10/20/2004 4:06:47 PM EDT

I don't know the policies at your company. If allowed, you might simply ask her how she is doing. Not in the drive-by greeting style so common today, but in a manner and tone of voice which reflects your genuine.

If you know her well enough, you might put your hand on her shoulder and tell her that you are so sorry for her loss.

I know a woman who lost one of her twins. The surviving child gave her someone to love and hold onto. Don't look at the surviving child as a negative in her life because while that child is a reminder, a child is a wonderful gift to her, too.

All I wanted to accomplish with this is to give y'all some insight into dealing with really deep grief.

I can look back on my parent's death and realize that it prepared me for making the really hard decisions after our son's death. While his mom was non-functioning, I took care of funeral arrangements. I also gave the approval for his corneas to be donated. After the funeral, we came home to a very empty home in a neighborhood full of people who we weren't close too. At this point, I began a year-long period in which I had to force myself to get up in the morning, get dressed and act like I was working.

Even though we didn't know our neighbors well, one of them mowed our yard for us. I still don't know which one did it. It was an act of incredible kindness.

Little acts of kindness and acknowledgement can mean so much.

BTW, thanks to all for the compassionate words.
Link Posted: 10/20/2004 4:10:41 PM EDT
My brother died 10 years ago, and I talk about him in the present tense to strangers. You are right, there is no such thing as closure. If someone mentions him, I go into a deep funk for a while. It just shatters me to visit his gravesite....
Link Posted: 10/20/2004 4:14:57 PM EDT

When I visit his grave, I am devasted. I rarely go there. It doesn't do him any good and it doesn't help me at this point.

Don't force yourself or anyone else to do the excruciatingly painful pilgrimages. Take care of yourself. It is good and correct and moral to be kind to yourself. Many won't understand; there is no way they can.
Link Posted: 10/20/2004 4:19:14 PM EDT

I pray that you will heal, over time, I know that the pain never goes away but I pray that it will scab over and become bearable.

Your words are very timely, my best friend's 7 year old was killed this summer by a neighbor that ran over him. I struggle every time I see them to find the right words.

I have given up in the realization that there are no "right" words, simply love that we can offer them.

My prayers are with you. Look to your God for help if you can.
Link Posted: 10/20/2004 4:27:34 PM EDT
a lot of psychologists agree that there is no such thing as "closure"; it's just a tv invention
Link Posted: 10/20/2004 4:29:21 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/20/2004 4:44:49 PM EDT by Mahatma8Rice]
How long? How long will a grieving parent grieve?

My mom's cousin and best friend came to our son's funeral. She had lost a child, a little girl, nearly 50 years previous. She told my sister that there wasn't a day that she didn't grieve for her child. That didn't mean she cried each time or even very often. Grief comes in many forms. For mom's cousin, it was a longing to hold her child again in the next life.

I know of a woman who had lost her son in a car accident decades earlier. He was her youngest child of five. As she lay dying, she said she felt excitement at getting to be with her lost son again.

You will run into people who seem to bounce back in a very short time. Only a sociopath cannot grieve. The pain is there; the depth varies. Some men are very good at hiding it. I am not one of those.

Part of my mission is to counsel young people. I tell them to avoid rash decisions. I remind them that their parents will risk their love to keep them safe. I tell them that the sun always comes up the next morning. I tell them -- don't panic, step back, gather your thoughts.

Again, there is no closure. There is simply a evolution in the pain. Offer love and understanding.

Link Posted: 10/20/2004 4:39:55 PM EDT
Link Posted: 10/20/2004 4:48:40 PM EDT
When I was 18, a friend of mine phoned me, asking me to hang out with him. Unfortunately, I declined. He killed himself that evening. I never saw it coming, there were no signs, or at least I didnt see them. Its been 26 years, and I still regret it. I dont know if my keeping him company that evening would have changed the course of events, but I do know now, that if someone, anyone calls me, I make it a point to be there, no matter what.
My family also lost my nephew in a tragic car accident 5 years ago. He was 22 years old. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I know it isnt easy. Everyday is a struggle just to move on. Keep looking up. Your help will come from above.
Link Posted: 10/20/2004 4:51:20 PM EDT
IM sent. God bless you.
Link Posted: 10/20/2004 4:53:46 PM EDT

"Looking up" helps. But if you are a follower of Christ, we are to be Him in the flesh to the best of our abilities. Don't leave the grieving to test their own faith on the anvil of human weakness. Be there for others.

I am very pleased with the number of folks who have read this thread. I so hope that it will help others out there. I don't want my experiences, the insight that they have given me, and my ability to communicate to go to waste.
Link Posted: 10/20/2004 5:10:24 PM EDT
Your opening up on this forum has helped me to understand more of what my sister and brother in law are going thru. They are quiet in their coping with this and rarely open up to talk, but your post does give me a clearer understanding. I thank you for that. Please know that what you have said will never be laid to waste.

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart
and lean not unto thine own understanding
In all thy ways acknowledge Him
and He shall direct thy paths.

Link Posted: 10/20/2004 5:15:22 PM EDT
I know how you feel. My wife died 18 months ago a few hours after being seen by her family physician, and being sent home with an Rx and some samples.
I have been thru all the emotions you can believe, and some you might not. i have talked with attorneys, priests, psychiatrists, and God. None have brought me any peace. My daily prayer now includes a plea to God to reunite me with my wife. I know I am depressed, but I don't want to end my life, knowing that it is a great sin, but is praying for your own death a sin?

I haven't gotten used to the pain, just more tolerant of it I guess.We were married 27 years. My youngest daughter left home for college this fall, now the loneliness is unending.

My words to you and everyone who reads this post is never, ever put something off untill tomorrow. Say I love you, I need you. Hug someone an extra minute, give someone special to you a phone call to let them know how you feel. I would give my world for just one more minute.
Link Posted: 10/20/2004 5:20:53 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/20/2004 5:24:04 PM EDT by Synister1]
Mahatma8Rice, I understand and am sorry for your loss.

My best friend in the whole world shot himself in front of me when I was 15. It doesn't go away you just become accustomed to that level and live with it.

I'm now 28, most of the people I knew in school are in graves from various things. I been to the funeral home here so much I should get a job there.

Last June my nephew Kevin (19) died from a very rare side effect of a new to him medication and assisted by pure chance. It's been reallly hard on the family. 3 years ago he saved my father-in-law's life (heart attack) when they were golfing one day, and visited him every day when he was hospitalized waiting for the transplant. So you can guess how well he's handling this.

The wife and I are trying the best we can to help them sort out their lives from 1200 miles away. She talkes to her siblings and parents a lot which helps them all, I specificly call Kevin's brother (16) to talk to him, I've kinda been in his shoes. As a group we help the family's surviving great grandmother cope.

Link Posted: 10/20/2004 5:31:42 PM EDT
Edward, my cousin Eric's brother drowned at a birthday party when he was 14. Eric discovered him floating in the pool after everyone had changed clothes to eat. It was devestating to the family to be sure. Edward was the one destined for greatness according to the family. The mother ended up later in life caring for her husband who was invalid from a brain disease. She was his nurse for nearly 20 years until his death. She's 92 and still lives alone and is quite active. There is a palpable sadness whenever Edward's name is mentioned. It is a giant hole in all these people's lives and it's been nearly 50 years.
Link Posted: 10/20/2004 5:34:18 PM EDT
May we all find peace.
Link Posted: 10/20/2004 5:43:46 PM EDT

My prayers are with you. I would never even consider using the words "I know how you feel" because I can't - and to be honest I don't want to.

I can only hope and pray that the pain eases for you, and that you find other roads in life that will bring you some peace and happiness. It can be done. Of this I am sure.

Thank you for the heartfelt thread. We can all learn a little from this.

Link Posted: 10/20/2004 5:48:09 PM EDT
Wow, and I thought losing my mother was bad enough.....
Link Posted: 10/20/2004 5:56:58 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/20/2004 6:02:02 PM EDT by Mahatma8Rice]

The depth of my hurt doesn't diminish yours. Dad died nearly 34 years ago; Mom died 29 years ago. I still miss them. Sometimes I cry for my Mom. I sure could have used her in '97 when our son died.

It hurts to lose a parent. I didn't grieve for my grandparents because they were elderly when they died. Grandma died at 103. She was married to Grandpa for nearly 75 years and bore him 16 children. If you live long enough you get old. If you get old enough, you're going to die. That's the way life goes.

I'm really sorry about your loss. Don't buy into the idea that because others have had losses that appear to have been worse, that your loss is in some way inconsequential.

I lost a couple of jobs in a way I didn't see coming. For a man that can be devastating. It was at that time the biggest loss in my adult life. When I found out my daughter had been molested repeatedly, I wept uncontrolably for days. It was the worst hurt....much worse than losing my parents.

You know the rest of the story.

Again, all I want to do is give some of y'all perspective on the worst loss imaginable...the death of your own child. If I can also offer encouragement and a measure of comfort, then I have been richly blessed.
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