Families with a Missing Piece

By Jeffry Zaslow for the Wall Street Journal

For adults who were children when their parents died, the question is hypothetical but heartbreaking: “Would you give up a year of your life to have one more day with your late mother or father?”

One in nine Americans lost a parent before they were 20 years old, and for many of them, this sort of question has been in their heads ever since.

“I’d give up a year of my life for just half a day with my parents,” says Jonathan Herman, a 33-year-old health-care executive in New York. He lost both his parents to cancer before he was 13. “I’ve had friends complain that they have to drive to see their parents for Thanksgiving,” he says. “I tell them: I’d do anything to spend Thanksgiving with my parents.”

When polled, 57% of adults who lost parents during childhood shared Mr. Herman’s yearnings, saying they, too, would trade a year of their lives. Their responses, part of a wide-ranging new survey, indicate that bereavement rooted in childhood often leaves emotional scars for decades, and that our society doesn’t fully understand the ramifications—or offer appropriate resources. The complete survey of more than 1,000 respondents, set for release later this month, was funded by the New York Life Foundation on behalf of Comfort Zone Camp, a nonprofit provider of childhood bereavement camps.

Among the findings: 73% believe their lives would be “much better” if their parents hadn’t died young; 66% said that after their loss “they felt they weren’t a kid anymore.”

Childhood grief is “one of society’s most chronically painful yet most underestimated phenomena,” says Comfort Zone founder Lynne Hughes, who lost both her parents before she was 13. She says she is worried that educators, doctors, and the clergy get little or no training to help them recognize signs of loneliness, isolation and depression in grieving children—and in adults who lost parents in childhood.

Students are often promoted from grade to grade, with new teachers never being informed that they’re grieving. Adults visit physicians, speak of depression, but are never asked if a childhood loss might be a factor.

New research suggests it’s time to pay closer attention. Children whose parents commit suicide, for instance, are three times as likely to commit suicide later in their lives, according to a just-released study by Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore. The study also found that those who lost parents young are more likely to be hospitalized for depression or to commit violent crimes.

In the 2009 memoir “The Kids Are All Right,” four siblings from Bedford, N.Y., orphaned in the 1980s, described the risks in harrowing detail. They wrote of “growing up as lost souls,” and turning to drugs and other troubling behaviors as coping mechanisms.

It’s a common story. Gary Jahnke, 31, of Hastings, Minn., was 13 when his mother died of cancer. “I gave up on my good grades and dropped out of high school,” he says. “I didn’t do anything except drink, do drugs and be depressed. I was confused and angry, and adults didn’t know how to help me. I had a good relationship with my dad, but he was also grieving.” Mr. Jahnke credits his wife with helping him on his “upward climb,” and says his 2-month-old daughter has given his life purpose.

Support groups, which grieving adults often find helpful, seem less beneficial to bereaved children, says Holly Wilcox, a psychiatric epidemiologist who led the Hopkins study. Children are more apt to be buoyed by engaging in normal kid activities with supportive peers, and by receiving attention from adult relatives or friends who encourage them to talk about their feelings.

At the same time, the mental-health issues of grieving kids need to be better monitored by primary-care physicians in the days, months and years after their parents die, Dr. Wilcox says.

When surveyed about how they processed their grief, adults whose parents died when they were young speak of touchstones. They were helped by looking at old videos with surviving family members, by listening to favorite music and by writing memories of their parents in journals. Some chafed at more-formal approaches; 33% said talking to therapists or school guidance counselors were the “least helpful” activities.

The early loss of a parent can make some people more resilient, responsible and independent, the research shows. But there are risks there, too. Kids who get through by being stoic and behaving like adults often “pay a fierce price—namely their childhoods,” says Ms. Hughes. They focus on trying to keep their surviving parent happy or on stepping up to handle the responsibilities of their deceased parent.

Donica Salley, a 50-year-old cosmetics sales director in Richmond, Va., understands well the ramifications of losing a parent. When she was 13, her 44-year-old father drowned while on vacation in the Bahamas. “That was the onset of my depression,” she says. “My mom tried to fill the void and the hurt by buying me things.”

Two years ago, Ms. Salley’s husband died after falling off the roof of their house while cleaning the gutters. He was also 44. Their 17-year-old son has since attended a Comfort Zone camp. “It’s a safe haven for him,” Ms. Salley says. “There’s something about being with people who’ve been through it. When my father died, I didn’t know anyone who’d lost a parent. I was alone.”

The weekend bereavement camps, held in five states and serving 2,500 children a year, are designed “to catch kids at the beginning of their grief journeys,” Ms. Hughes says. About half of the camp’s 5,000 volunteers are adults who lost parents when they were young.

Christopher Blunt, an executive at New York Life and a camp volunteer, was 22 when his mom passed away. He tells of leading a “healing circle” discussion with eight campers, as they shared how their parents died—to suicide, a drug overdose, cancer.

One 10-year-old girl told the others about a day when she was 5 years old and got mad at her father. He came into her bedroom to kiss her good night, and she pretended she was asleep because she didn’t want to talk to him. He died of a heart attack the next day. “She’d been carrying this story with her for five years,” says Mr. Blunt, 48. “It’s so powerful to see the raw emotions these kids share.”

Some activists say it’s vital to start helping young people even before their parents die. To that end, the Georgia-based Jack & Jill Late Stage Cancer Foundation provides free vacations to families in which one parent is terminally ill. The organization was founded by Jon and Jill Albert, shortly before Jill’s 2006 death to cancer at age 45. Their children were then 11 and 13.

“When Jill passed away, people who lost parents when they were young told me it would be a 30-year impact for the kids,” says Mr. Albert, 48. His organization, with the help of corporate sponsors, has sent 300 families on vacations.

“These trips allow families to build memories, and to take a lot of pictures and videos together,” says Mr. Albert.

After their parents die, some of the children might find it painful to look at these last photos of them enjoying life as a family. But Mr. Herman, who lost his dad when he was 4 and his mother when he was 12, says such images can be a gift later in adulthood. For years, he resisted watching the video of his 9th birthday. But he now finds it cathartic to see his mother healthy, hugging him and calling his name.

“I haven’t heard my father’s voice since I was 4 years old,” he says. “It doesn’t exist [on tape]. It hurts not to hear him.” He admits he feels a touch envious of children who lose parents today, because they have so many more digital images to hold on to.

For many who lost parents young, one particular birthday in their adult years is highly anticipated—and bittersweet. “My mom was 44 when she died. My dad was 45,” says Ms. Hughes. “I just turned 46 in April, and it was a huge exhale for me. I had to live to 46 to break the curse.”

Ms. Hughes, who has two young children, says she has made progress in dealing with her loss. She no longer fantasizes about giving up a year of her life for a day with her parents. “I wouldn’t want to miss a year with my own kids.”

* * * *

Reposted from the Wall Street Journal. View original article.

34 Comments:

  1. Perla said on June 27, 2014 at 12:30 am ... #

    Hi Everyone,
    I lost my father when I was three from an accident. He was assaulted and killed and was found three days later. I didn’t know my dad had passed away until months later. My mom had told me he was in out of town but time had passed and I realized he was taking to long. We went to Mexico that year for the summer where he was supposed to be at and wasn’t so my mom then told me the truth. She wanted to protect me because she knew I would be devastated and I was. The death of my father created a big impact in my life.

    Today, I am 17 years old and there’s not one day i do not miss my father. My fathers presence died when he died. Nobody really talks about my father at home and when my mother does, she somethings brings out the negative things he did to her when he was alive. I was my fathers favorite and the strongest thing of all is that I look like him and act like him. My sister was younger when he passed away but her effect has not been as big as mines. My older brother was not affected as much either because it was not his father.
    My mom is a wonderful woman who has cared for me and my siblings. She met someone a few years later who she had been dating for years and finally married about a year a go. I love and respect my step dad but it will never be the same.
    Since my father died, I him been living a lonely life. Most of my family seems to be happy now but I do no find happiness in my life.There are moments in my life when I do feel happy but still feel like I have something missing.
    I have anger problems sometimes and sometimes I just want to be mean to others because I feel like life is not fair with me. Although I love school and I have good grades and plan to attend college, I have a hard time keeping my relationships with people. I get tired of people easily and push them away from my life. It also makes me mad when I have friends my age who always talk about their dad and spending time with them because I don’t know what that feels like.
    Recently, iv’e had a few problems with family and school and the absence of my dad has hit me even more. I feel very lonely and I feel like I have nobody to talk to. I wonder what my life would be like if my dad was alive because i’m sure he would be so proud of me. I am scared that I wont find happiness in my self for the rest of my life.
    My mom has been suggesting for me to seek for professional help for a long time already but I don’t want to. I am glad I found this website because I feel like there are our people out their who understand you, although I wished I would have found it sooner.

  2. Toni said on July 1, 2014 at 10:33 pm ... #

    hey everyone,
    i lost my mother at the age of 12.(im 20 now). she was always very sick throughout my childhood. she was always in and out of hospitals and had a lot of close calls, but always pulled through she was a fighter(she had type 2 diabetes, asthma, lung problems and heart problems) so not even a month after my 12th birthday the worst happened i losr not only a mother but a best friend. the day started off happy we were celebrating that me and my mother were moving into a new house in a better area and then night hit and we were driving to my sisters house to drop her off and we had to hurry and get home cause my mothers oxygen tank was getting low. somehow we lost the car keys and it took about and an hour to find so we hurried up and left after that, but on the way home she rolled down here window and was struggling to breath. i had a bad feeling expeshally after she told me she needed a hospital.(she hated hospitals and only went when nessary) i told her i loved her and she said it back. then she went uncountios at the wheel(she pulled over first)i didnt know what to do. i had no phone available and it was pouring rain, lightning and thundering out. i rolled down my window and cryed for help. no one would at first but finally someone did.( i had a panic attack for the first time that night) i rode in a cop car to the hospital and stayed the night. the next day they said she wasnt going to make it. a lack of oxygen in her brain and that she would be a vegitable. so we took her off life support. i have never cried so hard in my life. plus on to off all this i was still dealing about my parents devorce. it was just soo much to take in. after that my grades started to slip, i became a loner and didnt socialize as much as i used to. i also started bottling up my feelings. i felt alone. i have an older brother and sister but they coped with it better they understood more.(they are nine and ten years older than me)i even talked to a shcool conserler but it didnt help. i just felt like no one really understood what i went through. you know? now i am 20 and i am a little better since then but i still have nightmares of that day and i always tause and turn in my sleep and never feel 100% rested.i still keep emotions bottled up and i hate it. i lash out on people i love and i dont mean to. and it hard this year becuase im getting married in a month and i wish she could be there soo badly. i get depressed and dont have the drive to do anything and on top of that icant find a job it sucks. my fiance says to see a professional but now since i found this website i dont think ill have to. it has helped me cope a little better and not make me feel like im the only person goin through this. i hope my story helps others with grieving better. we all just have to take it a day at a time. its all we can do. we are going to have our good days and bad days. i just wish i found this site sooner.

  3. Annie said on July 5, 2014 at 11:38 pm ... #

    Hello,
    I lost my mom to cancer when I had just turned 17 she fought a losing battle for 2 years. She was my dads best friend he couldn’t cope & turned to alcohol that first couple of years after her death. I carried around so much guilt about her death for years. I was a typical teenager so I wasn’t exactly pleasant to her most normal teens grow up & get to make up for those hellish years I never got that chance , I also felt extremely guilty that my mom even though she was out of it most of the time died in the hospital late ast night alone that guilt eats me up even now even 25 years later. When I was 19 my dad married my stepmom I will admit we had a rough start but I grew to love my stepmom I have 2 kids & she was their grandma, she was in the delivery room when my daughter was born. She was my stepmom for 23 years in 2011 I go a phone call from my dad that my stepmom was being life flighted to a major hospital, she had an aneurysm/ stroke I stayed at that hospital with my dad for a week sleeping on hospital couches staying up all night holding her hand reading her the bible she loved to read the bible I was determined to not carry around that guilt again I spent every possible minute I could just holding her hand and talking to her & when decisions had to be made it was my shoulders that mostly carried those I had to id her body before creamation because I couldn’t stand to see my dad suffer anymore my stepmom was my mom for over 20 years she’s been gone 3years this feb the worst part was having to tell my kids- and now my father has his girlfriend’s (of maybe 3 months )daughter facebook message me that we are going to be step sisters cuz he thought that would be funny & that’s how I found out he is now engaged to this woman I barely know- I realize he is lonely & no I don’t want him to be alone but I find it unfair of him after the 2 hells I have already been through to ask me to accept another stranger as family into my life, I can deal with his “lady” friends as long as I have that buffer ya know that’s his part of life don’t include me please….. I just cannot cope with thinking about having to pick up the peices again. And I’m not exactly thrilled with how he thought id be ok with how he told me then when he knew how mad I was he put her on the phone I can’t even go into that conversation let’s just say I was speechless- sorry this turned into such a vent but after coping with losing my mom then my step mom I kinda just wanted to have a relationship with my dad not dad plus “new” wife. I am having a very hard time dealing with this almost to the point I just want to disassociate from him & I don’t want to do that I love my dad very much!!!!

  4. S said on July 5, 2014 at 11:49 pm ... #

    The article and many of the comments hit home.

    My mom died from cancer when I was 15. I was her favorite child. I can say this because I was her only child. 🙂 Well, I was my dad’s only child too. As far as I know.

    Anyway, this paragraph of the story fits me to a T, and is what prompted me to leave a comment:

    “The early loss of a parent can make some people more resilient, responsible and independent, the research shows. But there are risks there, too. Kids who get through by being stoic and behaving like adults often “pay a fierce price—namely their childhoods,” says Ms. Hughes. They focus on trying to keep their surviving parent happy or on stepping up to handle the responsibilities of their deceased parent.”

    Being an only child, I already was independent. After my mom died, my independence increased exponentially as I did the laundry, the cooking, etc. I cared for my father much more than he cared for me. I venture to say I was one of the only 15-year-olds around to have his father’s credit card to buy the necessities. It was the early 1980s.

    My childhood ended at age 15. Well, actually, about a year earlier … when mom got sick. It sucks. And it really sucks since I have no siblings.

    Enter eventual stepmother into the picture. She and my dad met in the worst place imaginable: a grief-support group. They began dating less than a year after my mom died. The first time I met her was when they had come to our house to use the oven because hers was on the fritz. My dad didn’t know how to turn it on, so I had to show them. I wish I were making this up. I was, as the newspaper story says, stepping up to handle the responsibilities of the deceased parent.

    Dad and stepmother got married between my junior and senior years of high school. The years that followed were, looking back, unconscionable. After I went to college, they changed the locks on the house and told me to ring the doorbell and use the front door — of my own house! You should’ve seen the look on my first therapist’s face when I told her that one. Stepmother banished my dog to the garage and then had her “put to sleep” because my pet was elderly and started peeing on the carpet.

    This was the “thanks” I got for taking care of my father.

    And oh it gets better. Or worse. After I got my first job at age 22 in a small city three hours from their home (it wasn’t *my* home because they left that town and moved to a fancy suburb), it took them nearly two years to come visit me. The two decades that followed were — looking back — a concerted effort to drive me away, and to bring her kids in closer. I won’t bore you with the details. My therapists have already heard them … and my second one flatly said that he was surprised I had turned out “so normal.” 🙂

    Why the effort to drive me away? For 25 years I wondered, but now, well into my 40s I have more than a sneaking suspicion: Because there’s family money in the picture. My dad’s. Stepmother has been been feathering the nest since the early 1980s. And I didn’t start wising up till I started to get gray hair. Sad.

    So Dad died a few years ago. The preceding years were punctuated by several instances of complaints about me not being there for them, not meeting their expectations. What a load of crap.

    By then, the damage had been done. He was barely my father. I miss my mom about a million times more than him. My dad simply was not a strong enough person to be able to maintain a relationship with an only son and a second wife at the same time. That’s the sad truth.

    For a quarter decade I blamed myself for this. I thought … if only I had been a better son, etc. Well, that’s B.S. I’m the one who came out of this situation stronger. My father is the one who came out weaker. His death was, in many ways, liberating.

    Still, in the last year in particular, I’ve been thinking how things would’ve been different if my mom were still around … had she not died when I was 15. I don’t care about the family money as much as I care about vindication and validation … that I’m OK, and that this whole damn situation is not … and it’s not my fault.

    So … I still grieve for my mom, though it’s been more than 30 years since she died. Sorry, I don’t grieve for my dad. When I hear about a kid whose parent has died, I cannot help but hope for the best … that mom or dad won’t get married to soon, and for the wrong reasons, etc.

    Because I don’t wish this situation on anybody.

  5. Riatsala said on July 10, 2014 at 6:24 am ... #

    This is such a great place for sharing!

    I am a 32 year old teacher who lost my mum when I was 16. I was probably her favourite and have a younger sister and older brother but it hit me the hardest. For years I was numb, I didn’t cry at all when she died and it didn’t appear to affect me, although my motivation declined to a level I was doing the minimum to get through. I think I still do this because deep down I don’t really care about much.

    I had a relationship a few years later that I thought was the one, but when that failed again I just shut down my emotions – for 7 years (amazing how a smile can fool people!) It took another bad breakup to unblock many of the emotions and I went through major depression and nearly ended it. After battling through that I have reached a point of compromise. I don’t feel great but I don’t feel numb or depressed so much.

    My mum was with a friend when she started having a fit. I called the ambulance and my dad to come over. They left and I carried on as normal. After my mum died my dad got a new relationship 7 months later to a woman who went on to emotionally abuse me while my dad did nothing. The overwhelming emotion is anger but I know from experience anger is so futile.

    Talking about it does help me to manage my emotions – it’s like turning down the gas when the pot is boiling over, but it will never help me to resolve it. You start to realise as you get older that you have to compromise your emotional state and you may never be ‘whole’ again.

  6. Kiki said on July 19, 2014 at 12:50 am ... #

    I lost my father 14 days before turning 3, on the worst December of my life, 27 years ago. And here I am looking for help because I cant get over it. Its really hard trying to explain the feeling of abandonment, how sad it is to dream at night my father was returning from work, that he is there to defend you from mean kids and promises he’ll never leave again… and then you wake up. To hear your mother say she has dedicated her life to you over and over, therefore making me feel like shit because I ruined her life, like it was my fault that she could never move on. Having people tell you your mother has been both mother and father, which couldnt be further away from reality, as she became a provider, I did lost her “motherly” side, she was always exhausted, worried, angry and of course depressed.

    There was never a good time to discuss my grief, because I felt that if I spoke about it I was hurting her, and being a burden was already enough. I grew up to be a bit cold as I felt I always had myself to stand up for me and nobody else, to not wanting a relationship because I feel like he will eventually die and I’ll be miserable like my mother, and to not wanting to have children because I dont want them to suffer like I do. I know that is nonsense to think the stories will repeat, but I cant find a way around that fear, if you have any ideas please share. I wish for all of you the light I havent been able to find.

  7. Jimmy said on July 21, 2014 at 9:40 am ... #

    In march this year I lost my wife unexpectedly, we have three children ages 6, 2 and seven months. The boys are doing good so far it was rough the first couple months on them. It’s hard.

  8. Jess said on July 31, 2014 at 12:20 am ... #

    I lost my mom to a brain tumor when I was 15. I’m 23 now and I’m just starting to come out of a serious depression/depersonalization.

    The doctors found the tumor on the day I was born. My parents couldn’t take care of me while this was going on, and my dad recently told me that I didn’t live with them until I was four months old. One of my earliest memories is when I was 4 and I saw my mom having a seizure on the kitchen floor on top of my newborn baby sister. I was alone at the time and I somehow was able to move my mom into my sisters crib. I don’t remember how I did that, but I do remember putting my sister to bed in her babydoll’s wooden rocker. I didn’t think much of it then, but the images from that day have started to haunt me lately…

    I remember things very clearly and have a near photographic memory when I focus on committing things to mind and I think it’s because of that early experience. There was never a time that I can remember not knowing about my mom’s illness. When she died, I shut down completely. I faked my way through emotions when I had to but I spent a solid 9 years not feeling much of anything (I was 13 when Mom started to really decline and was verbally abused and emotionally neglected by her and my dad for most of Middle school, then souley by my dad for High school and early College). I’m getting better, slowly but surely, but it’s my little sister that I’m worried about.

    She tells me that she can’t remember much of her childhood and since Mom died when she was 11, I worry that she might think she doesn’t remember her either. We’ve talked about our childhood and growing up together, and she’s told me things that I had forgotten so I know she DOES have those memories in there. I just don’t know if she knows that…

    My sister is 19 and a very… extreme person. Where I dealt with things by shutting down emotionally and retreating from the world, she did the opposite. She threw herself into the social scene of drinking and doing drugs (pill-popping, mostly) and started cutting herself, smoking cigarettes, and putting on a lot of weight since she hit puberty.

    I’m very worried about her but I don’t know what to do to help… It’s only recently that I’ve even started to FEEL things again and I worry that it was my emotional distance that contributed to her self-destruction. I just want to help her, but I don’t know what to do other than lead by example. I’ve lost nearly 60lbs since last year and have been trying to improve myself in all aspects of my life but my sister has just seemed to get worse. Now I worry that she may be becoming resentful of me for my old memories and new successes.

    We live together in an apartment now. It was my choice to move, but a few days after I had told him of my plans, my dad kicked her out after he found out she had stopped (or never started) going to College. He just proposed to a woman with the French spelling of my sister’s first name a few days ago… (The name thing REALLY bothers her and I don’t blame her for that). We’ve been out of the house for less than a week and even I can’t help but feel replaced at this turn of events.

    I just want to help her. She’s sweet, funny, clever, loyal to a fault and willing to do anything for someone she cares about. But she has no self confidence, self esteem, or self respect and I don’t know how to give those things to her…

    The stress is getting to me. I’m not okay either, and learning to have emotions again is hard enough without seeing the state my sister is in. Like nearly everyone here I will never get over what happened to my mom or to myself when I was younger… But I don’t want to lose my sister, too so I have to be strong. She shouldn’t have to worry about me. I’m her big sister, I have to make sure she’s okay.

  9. Carl V. Lewis said on July 31, 2014 at 5:00 am ... #

    I, too, am humbled and saddened by these stories. I lost my dad to melanoma at 22 (he was 48) and my mom to medical malpractice (negligence) 15 months later after a nurse forgot to remove her PICC line before discharge for a minor fall. She was also 48, and a beautiful woman inside and out. And now my dad’s family and business partners are trying to embezzle every penny my parents left my brother and I. We get nothing. They planned it all along while my dad had melanoma. We just have to pay taxes on it that we can’t afford nor have any say in.

  10. Joan Johnson said on August 10, 2014 at 1:37 pm ... #

    Stay strong, life does go on. My mom passed away from an anoxic brain injury after getting a cavities filled at a dentist office. Went into a coma and passed away almost 5 yrs ago in 2010. I grieve everyday for her we were very close. I am working on becoming a Nurse and music teacher. I am 30 yrs old she passed away when I was 25 yrs old and in college. I keep strong in my faith and know we will connect again in heaven and this keeps me strong everyday. Joanne my mother is a great person and nice in every way.

  11. John Carlson said on August 13, 2014 at 10:34 am ... #

    I wish there was this support “back in the day”. My Mom and Dad were divorced before I had any memory of my father. My mom was diagnosed with brain cancer, in 1977, when I was 13. Later that same year, my brother, my only living relative, left home for college and I became my mother’s caretaker. She passed away when I was 16. I went on to attend college, get married, and have two children. All these years later I only recently have realized that I had become a caretaker for the people in my life, from my mom to my wife (who was comfortable in the role of being cared for), and then my children. But I was lonely. What I lacked was someone that knew how to take care of me. I fell in love with a women who had lost her father when she was 12 and her mother years later. My marriage ended badly, of course, but I finally found a real partnership and relationship. I lost many friends in the process, my friend’s parents who were my “adoptive” parents, and my daughter won’t talk to me. I think I was so busy trying to please everyone, looking for a kind of parental approval that I can never remember receiving. If you’re just starting down this road, make sure you don’t ignore the so called “Orphan’s Syndrome” of replacing love with approval or acceptance. Peace to all.

  12. hard said on August 26, 2014 at 8:42 pm ... #

    My mother died when I was 4 and my sister was 1. I have no recollection of it, except for an incident where blood was on the fridge and there was a lot of crying and screaming. She died of misdiagnosed breast cancer and had the BRCA1 gene. My father remarried, and that was a botch. That cow took everything he had and mistreated me and my sister. After that, he became a recluse and died an alcoholic. I was not permitted to ever ask questions about my mother, ask her name or anything of the sort – I didn’t know her name until I was in my late teens and a relative told me. The relative (and aunt who also died of breast cancer) told me that I cried for a year when my mother died but I have no memory of that. My father tried to strangle my stepmother at the foot of my bed when I was 10 and I think he was jailed for that or there was extreme trouble. I left home at 16 and started injecting morphine, taking acid, pot, mushrooms, sniffing petrol everything I could get my hands on. At an earlier age, I would capture stray dogs at night (I would have been around 12 or so) and torture them with cigarettes, cut them etc. I was extremely intelligent – still am. I achieved scholarships to uni etc without really trying. I was aimless and hitch hiked a lot, all over the country, and met my future wife. I went back to her city (hitchhiked around 5000km to get there, including over a desert), completed my tertiary studies, became an exec and made a lot of money. Then I got caught for sex crimes and went to jail. That was 15 years ago. I now work, we are happy and live in a mortgage free two storey house in an excellent suburb. Two kids, 6 grandchildren. I am hard though, hard in the heart and probably the soul. I don’t have a lot of mercy. The loss of my mother, the effect on my father, the strange way I was brought up – basically, not having a mother in your life and losing her at an early age can harden your heart to other people’s suffering. However, I don’t feel animosity to the world – or at least, I don’t think I do.

  13. Navjot said on September 5, 2014 at 7:00 am ... #

    Hi all..I am from india..my mother died on 18th august this year to cancer..my father died 3 years back to Parkinson’s disease.
    I loved my mother a lot and she is my heaet.
    I looked after her for 8 months..and being in medical profession, I thought that it would be easier to cope with this loss.
    I was so wrong..I feel devastated all the time..nothing gives me happiness.
    All I remember of is when my mom collapsed in front of my eyes.
    Not a day in my life of 32years had passed that I hadn’t spokeb to her but now that won’t be anymore.
    My whole life seems a waste when I cant even talk to her or hear her voice.
    I think I would not be able to be happy again.
    She left me and took away my happiness with her.
    I miss her every second.

  14. Marie said on September 24, 2014 at 2:33 pm ... #

    Just found this forum it’s wonderful. I lost my husband 5 years ago after a long battle with cancer (10 years) my daughter was very young and since he passed she has been struggling with depression. She is now 16 1/2 years old. She has been to counceling during his illness, after his death and still is today. I lost my father (we were very close) when I was 13 1/2 and burried him the day before my birthday. He died at 41, was hit by a car.
    I did struggle a lot during my teenage years, but it made me resilient and stronger but not without scars.

  15. Joe said on September 26, 2014 at 6:47 pm ... #

    I lost mine at age 11, mom on xmas day, 72, dad a week after my 11th B-day. it was awful too. I help others with it, as there are so many of us with this experience. Kids esp need all the help they can get, I did not get any help as the town in lived in had little support save for alkies.

  16. emerald said on October 7, 2014 at 2:31 pm ... #

    i lost both of my parent at the age of 4. my mom was killed by mom dad and right after he shot himself.i have 4 other sister and 3 of them are older but the youngest one was in thye room when it happened. i dont remember any of exept for my parent on the groung and the phone were all dead so we couldnt call for help. it affect me through out my life and i will kill for a another day with my parents. i dont even remeber what they looked like. ever since that day i have became angry all the time. people always telling to go talk to someone but it doesnt help.i am tried of being mad all the time.

  17. Deborah Goodman said on October 7, 2014 at 2:58 pm ... #

    I think we all have a choice, whether we can see or feel it at the time, but eventually we know we have a choice to either SINK or SWIM when it comes to dealing with life after the death of a loved one, and in particular, a beloved family member, a parent, a sibling or both. Certainly, losing a child is in another category, which I saw from my mother who lost her daughter, my sister, when she was 22 (I was 17). My mom died nine years later.
    She told me to have a good life, and I honor that request as best I can.
    Its better to help others than to obsess on the pain. It is lonely when you are younger and no one else in your peer group can understand your reality anymore, and yet..we must go on, and in so doing, go on to be more than we thought we could be. Thats what they want for us. Lets all try.

  18. Maria said on October 7, 2014 at 10:57 pm ... #

    Raised by my mother, my father passed away from hepatitis c when I was one and a half years old. I am now 42 years old and a great part of me can’t seem to let go of the anger, the feeling of being cheated, or the never-ending sense of abandonment. Since I have no memory of him, as a child I created a persona that consists of everyone else’s memories of him-a superman of sorts. A man who can do no wrong, a father who would have protected me at any cost. Our family patriarch. I struggled academically through out my childhood. My mother became a widow at 26 and never dated/married again. Her depression was all consuming. My mother’s family from Italy moved in with us when I was 6. There was no structure and they took liberties discipling me. I grew up desiring the nuclear family. Less chaos, less noise, less dysfunction. I wanted to be Vanessa on the Cosby Show, shoot, I wanted Bill Cosby to be my dad. Because of my broken home life i seeked refuge a the community college where i began to excel in my studies and eventually went away to a 4 year university and earned my BA. Here I sit a grown woman grieving for someone I don’t remember or know for that matter.I once had a dream that he and I spent the day together, I do not recall looking him in the eyes, however in my dream there was an intense feeling of his presence. In the end he told me I had to go now.I don’t remember much more but only that I wanted more time. I observed the relationships that others have with their fathers and instead of being logical about the situation I become bitter, slighted, saddened by this unfortunate Fate.I do not blame others, God, or the doctors. It is what it is. The phenomenon that I long for someone I do not know, a father and daughter relationship that was never meant to be, and a past, future, especially a present that we will never share leaves me with a hollowness I cannot fill. I live a life that I as a child would have envied. A supportive husband, two intelligent and loving children who make my life worth living to the fullest. Sometimes it’s just hard being stoic and feeling like most people will never understand this grief. I am very happy to have found this site. Thank you for sharing your deepest feelings and thoughts. It’s a difficult thing to do.

  19. MM said on October 28, 2014 at 2:10 pm ... #

    I just found this forum today and I’m grateful. Yesterday was the 28th anniversary of my fathers death from a heart attack. I was 15 I’m now 43. It still affects me in certain ways. I’m finally realizing that in the past few years. My mother died 9 years after my dad. Both were sudden, no warning. My sister and I were left with the emotions, grief and mess after that plus our 88 yo grandmother we had to take care of. Although I was older, 24, when my mom died it was much harder in a way. I always compared it to losing an eye (weird but it works), losing a parent is like losing an eye, you still have one left but after losing both your completely blind. I always suppressed the idea that these two events should affect my life long term. How could it not, right? But I didn’t want to use it as an excuse in life for sympathy or special treatment. Now, I realize, why the hell not?! Of course it affected me, not just in the traditional bereavement sense but a more deeper phycological one.

    I completely relate to the idea of “touchstones” they helped me out tremendously and still do. Also, the idea of behaving like adults and being stoic but losing their childhoods, trying to keep their surviving parent happy and stepping up to handle responsibilities…My sister and I did this after our father died. With our mother we were adults although young but just starting out with our lives. Two crucial times in our lives.

    How has it affected me? I believe when I was in high school I took on that stoic, adult like quality. Not that I thought I was better than anyone but I also took on an air of “I know something about life you don’t” and all the usual high school things that kids go through and just enjoying that time was somewhat lost on me. I thought it was petty, stupid and I couldn’t wait to get out and on to college.

    College…I know for a fact that if my dad had been still living I would have gone away to college but my sister and I both commuted to college. We both felt bad about leaving our mom alone. We wanted to stay and help her take care of the house as well as our grandmother. My life would have been much different had I gone away and not just that. Gone away knowing both my parents were still around.

    After college things were good, I was ready to take on the world. A year after I finished student teaching my mother died from an aneurism. My sister and I were now blind, emotionally speaking. We went into high gear and was almost automatic and did what we had to do. Deciding on pulling the plug (brain dead), deciding on organ donation, dealing with creditors (they come out of the woodwork when someone dies), taxes, the house, our grandmother. My sister was married only 6 months prior and living an hour away. My brother-in-law and I built an apartment for my grandmother in their new house.That’s what I did that summer at age 24.and then we sold our mom’s house which I was living in…moved in with them for 1 1/2 years.

    After that it was several years of taking care of our grandmother and eventually deciding to put her into a nursing home which two grandchildren should NEVER have to do.

    I read another post on here where someone lost their dad when they were young and realized that they know nothing about women and get paranoid when things are good that the other shoe is about to drop. I can relate to that. When a 15 year old boy loses his father that father-son connection is gone. Fathers have a way of kicking their son’s in rear (metaphorically) to get out there and experience life and to learn from them.

    I have good friends but they don’t really understand what its like. They all have their parents…still and my friends are in their 40’s. Sometimes, hanging out with friends and their mom and dad on special occasions I want to leave because I wish I had the same thing and it just reminds me of what I don’t have and haven’t had for a long time. Thank God I have my sister she’s the only one who understands what it’s like. And we got through it together. I’ve told my sister out of all that negative there can be positives and we came out of it closer and stronger with the great memories of our parents.

    I’m doing well but once in a while all this creeps up on you even after 28 years. I realize it will never go away completely but as you age you learn more about yourself and this forum has helped.

    To get life advice from either parent, to be nagged by them, hear corny stories from them, hear from my mom if I’m eating enough, have a beer with my dad…

    Lose a year to spend with either of my parents? How about 2 years for each. That’s a no brainer.

  20. Alan said on November 2, 2014 at 6:58 pm ... #

    When I was seven months old my Dad was killed by a drunk driver . Am nearly fifty years old and still hoping to awaken and to find this was a nightmare . There have been many challenges, where I think having the influence and guidance of my Dad would have made a big difference . I have two older brother who left home as soon as they could , and moved far away . They rarely visited and stayed distant . This made me feel like I should stay in this little town and take care of our Mother . Soon after her funeral not surprisingly I have not talked to my brothers since . My brothers are successful I am not .
    Am depressed ,hopeless ,negative , and usually near broke . Have had so much family heritage and influence taken from me by the drunk driver who killed my Dad .
    I Do enjoy life it just gets tougher to feel as the years add up .

  21. Amber Wilson said on November 7, 2014 at 8:52 am ... #

    I was almost two when my mom died in a car accident. I’m 20 now. My sister and I were in the car with her, but we both survived. For a long time I thought my mom was trying to kill us bc she knew my dad was sexually abusing us. I could deal with that thought. But, here in the last few weeks i found out that before my mom died she was going to counseling bc she was gang raped by a few of my cousins when she was my age. It had never bothered her until she had two lithe girls & she become terrified it would happen to them. So, that let me know that she did not know about the abuse. My dad became a single father of two girls that he never even wanted. That lead to him drinking and doing drugs. He was arrested for psychical, psychological, emotional, and sexual abuse on both mine and my sister’s account when i was 8 years old. He plead guilty and got 20 years no parol the summer before i turned 10 years old. I went through a rough patch a couple years later and got into a lot of trouble, but something within me told me that if i kept going down this road i would be in the same place my parents were; either dead or in prison. So, i got my 14 year old life together & got involved in sports at school and graduated in the top 10 of my class. I came straight to University and I’m studying to be a social worker. I would like to open up a foster home later in life so i can help some of the kids that were like me at one point.

  22. Winter Inside said on December 16, 2014 at 1:01 pm ... #

    I lost my father when I was 2 years old due to a drug overdose, after that my mother sent me off to live with my grandmother on my father’s side and she took off, continuing to do drugs and drink she was in and out of rehab centers a few times and eventually moved across the country with a new guy, 6 years passed between my father’s death and her move. At 8 years old I remember late night/early morning getting the call that she too had passed away, she was abused and beaten by this guy and eventually thrown down a flight of stairs. I remember feeling nothing at the time, neither for my father’s passing or my mothers. I continued to be a quiet emotionless but well behaved child for all my time growing up, never given any outlet for any grieving or any way to cope I just buried it as time went on, I moved out on my own when I turned 18 and still continued in this cloud of an emotionless detached haze, only as I approached my mid 20’s have I started to really delve into the feelings I buried for so long, at first they started to flood back, it has been so hard to deal with, now at the age of 27 I feel the effects of everything, I have a loving fiancé now for the last 5 years but I fear that because of everything I am a detached individual that has problems opening up, trusting, or showing any true emotion, I can see these problems and yet cannot change them. I wonder all the time what life would be like had they still been alive, and I fear I will be like this forever.

  23. John said on February 5, 2015 at 11:16 am ... #

    I am glad I found this forum I thought I was the only one but now I know I have community. My father and mother passed away when I was one years for unknown reasons. It was forty day in between their death; I have done well for myself managing my live from small town in one of the poorest countries in the world through civil war, refugee camp and adjusting live in the USA. I can’t put In Writing all the experiance I went through to make long story short. With all the success i manage to have I have hard time relating to people. Plse keep running the page for us. This is my community.

  24. julie said on February 5, 2015 at 2:00 pm ... #

    I’ve felt less lonely reading your stories. The only happy memory I have of my childhood is the time passed with my maternal grandfather who died from cancer when I was ten.
    The other memories are horrible: my parents fighting, my mother insulting me, tears and sadness. My mother always abused me, she was very cruel and very ill. She was mentally unstable and killed herself in a violent way when I was 16. She was 42. I don’t miss her, but I miss having a mother. I’ve never had that kind of love most people take for granted.
    My father never protected me from my mother’s abuse, he has never cared about me when I was a little girl but he thinks to be perfect and a saint. I don’t have anyone I can call family, no siblings, no one. My maternal grandmother is like my mother, she always says horrible things and I prefer to have no contact with her. My relatives witnessed what I went through as a kid but nobody helped me.
    People don’t believe someone can have such a horrible childhood without anyone noticing it or helping but it happened to ME. It happened to me but it’s like it never happened.
    I felt sorry reading your stories. Kids shouldn’t suffer so much.

  25. lil764 said on February 5, 2015 at 8:01 pm ... #

    I was 17 years old when my dad died from a terminal illness last year. He was diagnosed when I was 12 years old, so I lost a huge chunk of my childhood helping my family care for him. To be told as a 12 year old Daddy’s girl that he is going to be taken away in the very near future is something I refused to come to terms with. I shut it off from the outside world, even from my friends as it was such an intense topic to bring up at such a young age, when their biggest fears was moving to high school. After watching him suffer for 5 long years and feeling so helpless, the weekend finally came when I laid in his bed and held his hand fighting back the tears because I didn’t want him to think I had given up. I woke up on Monday morning, my mum telling me he had perked up a little bit, so I went to college as normal. When I came home, my mum and grandad were waiting for me on the driveway, eyes full of tears and arms wide open and I knew what was coming. I collapsed onto the driveway and screamed and screamed, unable to get up because my body had become paralysed with the realisation and the heartache. My two older siblings came out and we just sat on the floor and held each other, until my brother carried me inside. I haven’t spoken to anyone about that day just over a year ago, and it haunts me every time I go to sleep. It’s the loneliest feeling in the world, as I am the youngest of 3 and I am the only one still living at home with my mum.
    I struggle with the loss every single day. I completely agree that not enough support is given to people my age when losing a parent. When I returned to college, a presentation was given about the “meaning of life” with Leona Lewis’ version of Run playing in the background. I was so upset, I was forced to walk out in front of hundreds of students, which caused me further embarrassment. I should never have been put in that position, but obviously I was expected to “be ok” at that point.
    My relationships have been affected, I find it too easy to push people away because I’m so used to dealing with things on my own. My relationship with my boyfriend who I was with through it all broke down, and he was the one person I could turn to at any point to make me feel better. Now we don’t even speak.
    People seem to think that at a young age you’ll just “bounce back”, but I know this will damage me for a long time. I’m expected to build my future at this critical time, get my qualifications, decide what I want to do with my life, yet at the same time I’m trying to face losing a part of me that I’ll never get back.

  26. Johnnie said on February 16, 2015 at 10:59 am ... #

    I was 8 when I lost my father, to a short battle with cancer. Oldest of two, brother hearing impaired, mother 27. I stepped up, became the man of the house and moved on without missing a beat. I’ve had my dark days, but I chose to live in the light. I don’t know how an 8 year old can process that kind of event and move on. I’ve never had a problem talking about it, I’m happy, I like me, others like me, I feel I’ve come through such tradgedy pretty well. However, I’m now 46 and am finally ready to settle down, and am finding some emotional issues that I think can be traced back to the early passing of my dad. We are a vulnerable species, and a peculiar one.

    Ever since I was a boy, when I’ve kept a journal, each entry always started Dear Dad,. Just a collection of letters written to my father. Day to day stuff mostly, sometimes some head stuff. Anyway…I hadn’t written for years, and now that I am dealing with some relationship issues, I have returned to writing my dad, and it has helped a lot. It has helped me process somethings that I am feeling, some things that I am letting go of, and some things that I am addressing.

    For me it was a choice to move on and live in the sunshine. But not without its consequences. New day, good day

  27. Jeff said on February 16, 2015 at 4:52 pm ... #

    Great resource here. I lost my mother at 19 two days before Christmas to allergic reaction to medicine. That was the day I stop feeling like kid. It has taken me 18 years to realize it. Lost my brother to suicide five years ago next month . I am so happy to realize how I have felt for years is understood by others. I have suffered with depression and anxiety and being a alcoholic . I sympathize with the people here.

  28. Emilee N K said on February 18, 2015 at 8:47 pm ... #

    I found this site when I was looking to see if there were other people with a passed like mine. When I was 5 years in 1997 my father died of a sudden heart issues. No one ever told me the real details, because in my family my father is a subject never to be spoken of but by me. Which is because I have only a few memories with him but I don’t know if they are real or just dreams. When I was in the first grade I hid in the brushes after recess I broke down crying. This was my 6th day of school I kept thinking why do they have two parents and I have one, I felt like if I ran home he would be there, ready to pick me up. So after they all went inside I ran home, I made it all the way to my front door knob. When the principal scooped me up in his arms and walk back to the school like that. I only live a good 8 blocks away from school. He told me he saw me running through the windows and took off after me. I didn’t tell him my reason for leaving..I never told anyone in all my yrs of elementary. Frankly with how often I didn’t get picked up when I was little should have told the teachers something..no one ever asked.The strangest part of all of this is my mother says I look, act, and walk just like him. Which isn’t a lie other family members have said those things before briefly in mid conversation. My older sibling look just like mom with almost black hair..I’m the black sheep with his red hair so to speak. It’s weird being just like someone and not knowing why? When I was younger I was mad all the time my main thought it was gods curliest joke ever. Now I love it, I understand that his time was short but subconsciously he had a big impacted on me. I believe that my mom aren’t close because I’m a living reminder of the man she lost. Yet I want to be like him, a man that in his life time saved to strangers from a two story burning building without a second thought a few days before I was born. I hope her and I can somehow find common ground to start working on our issues.I know that the scares I carry are deep, and painful. Yet oddly enough If I could trade a year of my life to see him again I wouldn’t because I know it wouldn’t be enough it would leave me even more empty. Also I wouldn’t want to life as if he shorted my life. I just hope that one day if I live my life right I’ll make it to him.Thanks for letting me share these thoughts that have ever been spoken aloud.-Emilee.

    PS

    Forgot to put mail on it. Also it is very saddening and strangely comforting to know their are other people who understand..though I sincerely wish they didn’t know it

  29. Annie said on March 1, 2015 at 3:13 am ... #

    I’m 48 years old and lost my dad when I was 4. He died suddenly from a heart attack. I didn’t attend the funeral and only have a couple of memories of him. My amazing mom had me, my younger brother who was 1, and two older brothers ages 7 and 18 to raise on her own. She didn’t seem to grieve and rarely gives any details about him or of their marriage. My aunt (my dad’s sister) who lived next door didn’t share memories with me either, which I find quite strange. My dad was loved by many, so it wasn’t like he was a bad person who people wanted to forget. Maybe it was typical of that generation to grieve that way–to just not talk about it?

    I am happily married and have two children who are ages 19 and 22. I find this year has been really hard for me. I think of what life would have been like with my dad. Just to be hugged, held, and loved by him. I imagine him walking me down the isle 25 years ago when I was married. I have some pretty deep crying sessions when I am alone. Why now? I feel sad for my brother who was 18 at the time as that must have been so hard for him to lose our dad at the age. A senior in high school. What about my brother who was 7? I wish I knew what he was feeling. I am very close to my siblings, but we never talk about my dad or his death.

    I usually don’t participate in things like this, but I have to say, it feels good to write it down and to see that I’m not alone. For those of you who have written your feelings, thank you. You have helped me. For all of you (those who write and those who only read), may you find peace. God Bless.

  30. Sarah said on March 26, 2015 at 9:05 am ... #

    Hi. I lost my mom when I was 13, and my dad passed away 6 months later. I have never really looked too deep into the affects it’s had on me as an adult. I have to write a cause and affect paper for my college comp class and looked to this article to hopefully find some affects my parents deaths has had on me. Silly dont you think? That I wouldn’t just know those things? It’s really much harder than it sounds when you have to put it on paper. I am thankful for all the input on here, it helped me identify with myself a lot the more. Hopefully I’ll get a decent grade on my paper.

  31. Dolly said on April 2, 2015 at 1:54 pm ... #

    Hi! Was a bit today. Started missing my parents whom I lost at young age.I was 17 when I lost my father. Life was not easy since I hated the idea of people sympathising with me or my elder sister.People who gave us big suggestions rarely knew what we were goingthrough. Within 5 years we lost our mother too due to ill health. Life became different. Responsibility and responsible behaviour became vital ingredients of life.till date it’s the same. At times its very tiring. Parents love is the only unconditional gift of life. I miss that. Death becomes a reality and not just a text book word. The loss taught me the basics of life. For example life is precious and relationships are very valuable.I know nothing not even a miraccan bring them back.I miss them when I am very sad.I miss their love For us.I miss them when I am very happy cause I could have shared it with them too.I miss them when I do good. I miss them when I am not well. The only time I feel fine about their loss is when I see people of their age going through immense physical or mental pain. Cause I feel that thank god “my parents” did not become as helpless as them. I dislike people of my age who exploits their parents for their vested interest.life is not a cakewalk for both of us. However we regret that we could have been gifted some more years with our parents. It’s surprising that there are do many people walking similar path of life. Parents are the best gift of God. I miss them.

  32. kimm said on April 11, 2015 at 2:10 pm ... #

    So, today marks the 14th anniversary of my mothers death. I was ten when she died. It was two weeks before my 11th birthday. My parents devorced when i was about seven or eight but they faught so terribly that i was serverely traumatised from before i can remember. My parents continued their fighting well after their divorce. Pushing and pulling their four kids (including myself) in a game of manipulation. My mother began a relationship with a 24 year old ‘man’ who abused us terribly and caused me many psychological scars that i still carry to this day. I witnessed him forcing a garden hose down our puppies throat and turning it on as far as it could go, as punnishment for her eating strawberries from our garden.. he caused us a lot of physical harm.. and despite our pleading, our mother refused to believe us or to sepperate from this dreadful individual.

    Mum was diagnosed with cancer. She assured me she wouldnt die. It was silly to think that she would. I believed her even though i knew deep down, she was in denial..

    She died.

    My father spiraled into a deep depression that he never really recovered from until he was remarried 12 years later. My older siblings both became distant. This left me to care for my younger brother, who was only seven at the time. I would cry all night and be a mum/student/house wife all day. I missed out on being a kid. My dad drank so heavily that our relationship became quite volitile. He could not see past his depressive state and ended up making some terrible financial decisions, including selling our big family home and moving us into a caravan.. it was awful. Living in such close proximity to a depressed alcoholic was exhausting.

    I left home at fifteen due to our fights becoming more and more violent. My little brother was not the target for my dads rage so he was safe, actually safer without me there.

    I spent four long years drowning my sorrows until, like my father, i began having violent outbursts, such as smashing my belongings in a drunken haze, screaming, crying and physically harming myself. It was clear that alcohol was not going to aid my broken heart. So i quit. But the reality was that i was completely gutted by the loss of my mother. I was suicidal and had no desire to live. This continued on and off for many years. Even after i had my daughter at age 20.

    I ended up caving in and accepting medication which i had sworn against with an abselute passion! And i swear, it was the first time i began to see clearly in so long. It changed me. I was rational, content, focused and i felt what i always thought ‘normal’ might feel like..it was in this time that i happened upon the only man that has ever beenthere for me. Unconditionally. He and i fell madly in love, as did our two little girls who identified one another as sisters immediatly, with no encouragment from us whatso ever! With this beautiful mans help, i began to unintentionally explore the traumas i had experienced as a child and anylise the causes of my pain and emotional taunts.

    Upon realising how furious i am with my mother for chosing ‘him’ over her children, for cheating on my father with our family doctor (which i had found out on this journey of mine) and for ridiculing and belittling me as a child, creating a lot of the mental struggles i still have issues coping with today – i realised…

    I was not grieving for her anymore. I was grieving for my lost childhood, for the sadness that still haunted my memories and for the sheer fact that there was never a day where i didnt feel pain, sorrow and complete anguish.. id lost my ability to feel complete.

    I was always the clown, the best friend, the deffender and the outgoing girl, to everyone else. But beneath my big smile and my general bubbly naturs, i was lonely, alone, powerless and tormented. I couldnt bare to be alone for long, before the ghosts of my past would come back to taunt me..

    Since taking mum down of the pedastool i had placed her upon, i have been able to see her for what she really was. Selfish. I dont know if this anger i have is just another belated stage of grief.. but the anger sure feels better than the longing and the uncontrolable sadness. I feel as though my ability to see through my mother has enabled me to see the true root of my grief..

    So much sadness is such a poisonous thing for such a young mind. It changed me. All i had was sadness. Its all i knew. I was always unsure, unstable and unheard. I had no control in anything as a child. I was a pawn. To have all of that plus the sadness of a lost childhood and pretending to know how to raise a grieving seven year old into a stable, well rounded young man and all the bits and pieces in between.. any wonder i was depressed. Losing a parent so young is mind, soul and life cripiling. It takes a powerful person to push through to the other side. Its hard as hell and it damn near kills you. Im not guna lie. But i feellike ive been given a second chance at life. Between my family, my medication and my new found clarity, i know it wont be too much longer before i can kick the last of my grief.

    I honest to god thought id have killed myself before i turned twenty.. but instead, life threw me a curve ball.. a purpose to live.. my daughter 🙂 i look back to the time line of events and i can see how intricate my life has been planned and pulled together. Ive learned to trust that i will come to the light of every tunnel i face so long as i dont surrender to the bull shit.

    Whoever you are, where ever you are, what ever youve been through..
    Have faith in you. Youre not alone. Give life time to show you what you are here for. What your purpose is. We ALL have one
    Believe it or not. Im still grieving but i feel different some how. The sadness isnt as deep.. it doesnt cut my insides anymore. I cry.. but then i stop! I feel the pain but then i can calm it down too. I guess what im saying is that i have control. Its taken a long time. But just remember i didnt get to grieve for years. Finding my purpose, found me my peace. X

  33. Genny Lent said on April 19, 2015 at 10:54 am ... #

    My mom passed away when I was 14, during my freshman year of high school. She had an aortic dissection and went into cardiac arrest, so those two things combined killed her. She was very sick and dizzy when she woke up to get ready for work that day, and I thought nothing of it. I eventually told my dad she didn’t feel well after she didn’t come down for breakfast. I had to go to school, and an ambulance came and took her to the hospital. I was texting my dad and brother all morning for updates, and the doctors said it was probably just food poisoning. I was so relieved. But later that day in school, my twin sister and I were called down to the guidance counselors and they told us that our mom had passed away. False hope made it so much worse. She was healthy, she had been losing weight on weight watchers and started running, etc. It was so unexpected…I’m 17 now and it’s still so hard to deal with. Every day I imagine how things would be different if she were still here. As a girl, it’s been very tough going through life without a mother figure, especially during high school years.

  34. Racheal said on April 20, 2015 at 12:38 pm ... #

    I’m 36 years old, I’m happily married to a wonderful man, and I have two sweet kids. When I was at the age of 15 I had lost my mother to pancreatic cancer. The painful memories of my father as he struggled to stay strong for me, until after I married he then gave into alcohol abuse and went into a deep depression, which the many years of alcoholism caused him health problems and then he died at the age of 63. I was 33 at that time he passed away. I went through a year of very deep grief, uncontrollable crying and depression, and at times I thought I was going to go crazy with anxiety and loneliness for both my parents. It has been 3 years now since my father has passed and I’m doing so much better and stronger. What has helped me through all of this has been through daily praying and reading God’s word, grief share with a church group, and remembering to stay thankful even about the littlest things in life. Tomorrow is the day of my mothers birthday, and I’m going to take the day off for myself and journal and reflect about the wonderful memories that I have had with my parents. I am very thankful for websites like this one that reach out to the many hurting people. May God comfort and bless you all who are hurting and lonely and with that comfort may we live a life to help others that are hurting and in need.

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