Death of only child

tdjetApril 6, 2008

It has been just over a year since my son's life was taken from me by a drunk driver. This has been the most horrible experience of my life. My wife and I are on the verge of divorce and I am at a loss as to how to cope.

I found this forum yesterday and was hoping that it might help.

Since he was our only child and my wife cannot have another it is particularily difficult. I was not his biological father but fully loved and accepted him as my own. My wife and I had many discussions on this subject and I was very proud to have him as my son, content with the love that he and I shared with each other.

I do not feel like any kind of a man. The deep pain and sorrow that I feel is compounded by the fact that I literally don't have anybody to talk to. I have been focussing so much on my wife and the real pain that she is going through that I have fogotten about my needs to grieve. Lately I have tried to express to her that I need to start grieving but her support group (friends, family and phyciatrist) have all told her that she needs to focus on herself and the life that she had with Jarret period. I don't feel that I fit into her life or was of any value to Jarret's.

I am starting councilling for myself in a couple of days but I don't put a lot of trust in these so called proffessionals. How can they say that I am not important to my wife at a time like this? My wife has been very mean since our sons passing, which is understandable but that anger is slowly pushing me away from her. All we ever do is fight anytime we try to have a serious conversation. It has gotten worse recently since I have tried to talk about my grieving. Effectively shutting me up. So I sit patiently and listen about the pain she is going through.

Any words of advice from the community would be so greatly appreciated. Confused lost and frightened.

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I feel that I should explain a couple of things that I didn't mention in my original posting.

Jarret was 29 when he was taken from us. He was a passenger in his girlfriends car and she had had a couple bottles of wine. When they left the establishment she somehow ended up on the wrong side of a 4 lane divided highway. She walked away with a few bruises and scatches.
I apologize for the long forum.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2008 at 3:49AM
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tdjet, this forum is a good start to "talking" to others, I believe. I have not lost a child, and can only imagine the pain each parent must incur. As a mother, I can understand how I might feel my grief would be greater than a fathers' because I gave birth to that child. This is just the way I MIGHT feel. And, I say this not to belittle your grief either. However, a loss is just that. It HURTS! We all deal with it differently.

I'm very sorry that you feel that you are not getting support of others with your grief. But getting counselling is your first step, IMHO. And, if you don't have a good rapport with your first one, go to another one. Look for grief support groups, talk with your spiritual leader if you have one, join an activist group against drunk driving if that gives you an outlet. Please give "the professionals" a chance to help you, and in doing so, will give yourself the ability to cope with all the changes you have had in the past year.

Why not honor your son with living for today and the future? You shared love, How Wonderful!

Peace to you and yours.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2008 at 1:07PM
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I have never experienced anything like what you are enduring now. Losing my adult sons is one of the greatest fears of my life.

I was so struck by your comment: I don't feel that I fit into her life or was of any value to Jarret's.

Your love for this young man, whether he was your biological son or not, comes through so clearly in your remarks. You had an enormous value to Jarret! You were his father. What could be more special than the bond between father and son? Please don't minimize this in any way.

My heart aches for you. I know divorces are common after the death of a child, although I don't know why. I wish I had good advice for you. Please try not to be skeptical of counselors. If the first one doesn't "click" for you, try another. The right counselor can be a lifeline.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2008 at 10:48AM
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I want to tell you that I am very sorry for the loss of your son. I don't know what to say about healing the rift between you and your wife. Just, please don't give up on counseling before it has even begun. Go in with an open mind and heart. God bless you.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2008 at 6:18PM
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Tdjet, I'm so sorry for the loss of your son and the problems with your wife. If you are still around, please let us know how you are and what's going on. I have also lost a child and I know the pain.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 12:24AM
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I am sorry for your loss. I think maybe you should start focusing in on you. Get some help for yourself.

I don't know why they are telling your wife to only concentrate on herself. I personally think that you should also reflect outward, so you know your not alone in your grieving, which in my opinion is comforting.

Grieving is such a very long and complicated thing.. As I am learning myself.

Prayers to you and yours.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2008 at 9:12PM
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Oh, I am so sorry. And a bit angry too. I cannot imagine that anyone would be so callous as to say or think that you are not as grief-stricken as your wife. Of course you love your son and it must be hell to be treated as if your feelings are secondary, that somehow your loss counts less than hers.

It sounds as though you and your wife are very different people and hard times accentuate those differences. She obviously cannot give you the kind of support you have tried to give to her, so I agree that it is time you took care of yourself. Give therapy a chance--you might find it more helpful than you expect--and if you don't get some help within a few sessions, by all means, find another therapist.

I know your son knew you loved him, that your love was not somehow flawed simply because you were not biologically connected to him. The love you obviously feel for him and the loss you've experienced over his tragic death deserves to be respected and recognized.

Please come back and let us know how you are doing.


    Bookmark   August 8, 2008 at 12:38AM
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Please do the counseling if you think you need to talk to an outsider, you will 'click' with one or another. I just feel so badly for you, I can relate to your inner pain as I lost my husband in Nov. and my oldest son in one knows your inner pain and grieving except you. I'm doing better, a little depressed I guess but each day I feel I am coping a bit more.
Many blessings to you and I feel sorry that you and your wife are pulling apart instead to being closer together.
He was your son, doesn't matter at all if he was biological or loved him period.
The Mental Health Assoc. here in my mid-sized town has grief counseling meetings twice a month but really I just haven't gotten around to going yet, keep saying that I will. You might check that out too.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2008 at 2:21AM
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My dad was supposed to be the strong one in the family. After many tragic deaths (by auto) from a first grandson at age 7 mos to an only son at age 20, it was my mother who was the strong one.

Whoever thinks that men are supposed to be stoic and let tragedy run off their backs is misguided. It is grief turned inward, for many years to come, without the support and understanding deserved that eats out the heart and joy in life.

My father suffered the loss the longest and I believe, the hardest. Only now, at the age of 58, do I realize how much that dear man suffered.

Please contact your mental health agency and get into grief counseling. He was your son, too.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2008 at 1:03PM
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I am so sorry, I know how difficult it is since I lost my eldest daughter on 07/04/08 this year. Any time I think of her I cry. She was 31 and lost her life from pulmonary fibrosis, related to the type of chemotherapy she received. Her last 2 years were full of pain and suffering. Her name was Jennifer and she was so stong through all she had to endure. She was first diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma in April of 2002. She had to go through chemo, radiation and the following year, March of 2003 was rediagnosed. She had to have a bone marrow transplant, more chemo, and the agony of what the symptoms of that can do to your body. About 10% of patients develop pulanary fibrosis as a direct result of the type of chemo used. Unfortunately she had suffered all of the effects. I was her fulltime caregiver for the last 2 years of her life. I am now blessed to have full custody of her son, my only grandchild Nathan. I know the pain, the broken heart, the regrets on can feel. I take this one day at a time trying to concentrate on my blessings. 5 minutes from her death she said I see the man, and the beautiful sunlight. That evening in the sky my family and I saw the most beautiful pink clouds with a cross in the clouds. Pink was her favorite color. We know she is in heaven but we all miss her so. Unfortunately my family are all grieving separately. It is so difficult. I understand how much you hurt. I am so sorry that your wife and you are not communicating. I also feel the need to talk to others who feel what I feel. I think your wife may be angry and mean as a way to relieve her feelings. We always tend to hurt others that we love because we know that that person will still care tomorrow. My husband uses alcohol to numb his feelings of regret, so sadly I am not able to communicate with him. I have learned how important it is to tell my loved ones each and everyday how much I care and love them, many times I think about the past and dwell on things I could have done better. I will pray for you and your family. Someone who cares, Cindy

    Bookmark   September 10, 2008 at 11:36AM
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My advice is that you go with an open mind to counseling as many others her have said. My late husband and I lost 3 children by miscarriage before successfully having our daughter. I can't say the pain is the same but I have been through the grieving along with my husband. There were moments where he was far more torn up about our loss than I seemed to be and I came to realize it is very common for couples to break apart after the loss of a child. Just b/c it is common does not excuse the behavior but it does give you great hope that these professionals can give you the tools you need to grieve and also try and keep your marriage together. It's very easy to become angry with the person you are closest too when you should be crying on their shoulder, relying on eachother, walking through the grief together.
After the loss of my husband people told me to only focus on myself, part of that is very misguided. My tragedy doesn't stop the world from turning so how can I just think of myself alone?
I hope that you and your wife can reconcile, that you find the strength to deal with her anger, that she realizes the depth of your love for her. If you love one another than you are ahead of the game.
My thoughts are with you.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2008 at 2:22PM
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I can relate to what you are going through. The only difference is, I am the mother of the child. My Husband and I lost our little Daughter (2 years of age) from an accident. My Husband loves attention and always has, so he used that as an excuse to attempt sucide, but he had also done that many times before her death. I couldn't talk to him about it, or bring her name up around him. I had no one to talk too, except his councelors, which told me to leave him, because he was dragging me down. They said, he was an attention grabber and I was just ennabling him. After 17 years of this, I did file for divorce. It worked, because it seems like he grew up over night. He realized other people have needs and feelings and hurt the same way. We did go back together, and have been married now for 40 years. The only advice I can give you, is give it a little longer, because time does help. As a matter of fact, time and talking to God is the best help.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2008 at 2:53PM
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I am so sorry for the loss of your son. I lost my only son 13 years ago from a football accident. My husband, daughter and I were devastated. We all loved him so much. We were all grieving. I learned that we all grieve differently and were all missing different things we loved about David. I think each person has to really work thrugh their grief on their own. I learned that we all needed to be really patient with each other.
As his mother I sought out a support groups. My husband, as is not so unusual for a lot of men, did not. I finally persuaded him to attend a meeting of Compassionate Friends and he related to the men there. Compasionate Friends is a nationwide organization founded and run by parents who have lost a child or children. They have groups all over the US.
I don't know where you live but if you Google Compassionate Friends you might find a chapter in your area. All the people in the organization have gone through the loss of a child and have experienced many of the other relationship issues that go along with that. It might help. He was your son - biological or not. It is the greatest loss. We are not supposed to outlive our children.
Take care of yourself during your grief journey. It takes a lot of time. I know it doesn't seem possible now but you will have joy in your life again.
My thoughts are with you.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2008 at 11:41PM
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It's been a while since your post, and I hope things have gotten better for you. You may want to explore these 2 excellent forums for grieving parents.

My prayers are with you.


    Bookmark   September 23, 2008 at 2:02PM
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Thank you so much for the kind referral. As a grieving Mom of my only child also, I do my best to help others who are trying to survive this journey. Nothing will ever fill the hole in my heart, however having MCLG as my new purpose in this life and knowing it truly does help people, makes a huge difference on my surviving this journey.

Our forum is quite active in posting and members meet face to face quite often, from all over the world.

My wish for any bereaved person is light hope and peace

Chris's Mom
Founder of MCLG

Here is a link that might be useful: My Child Loss (main website)

    Bookmark   December 29, 2008 at 11:13PM
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I lost a daughter and I know there is no greater loss in this world then the loss of a child. It's true that everyone grieves differently and at the time of the loss it is hard to understand someone else's manner of grieving when it is not like your own. I also had alot of anger. Anger at everyone and everything. I went so far as to resent the birds having the gift of life because my daughter didn't. Nothing seemed fair and I did and still do have trust issues because her death was the result of medical negligence.
This is the most difficult time for you and your wife and your marriage. Drifting apart is also normal-because when we hurt so bad that out insides feel like they are ripping apart we pull away from others instead of toward which would bring us closer and make our pain less because it is then shared, I guess it's just so hard to accept and believe that we just can't seem to get past our individual pain. I don't think your wife is angry with you; she is devastated and I know you are too.
My marriage did end. His way of dealing with the pain was to seek out other relationships, and that just broke my already broken heart one to many times....
Take care and try to understand; when parents do make it though the shock often they do come together and can support each other. I just think that is asking too much right now. Your wife will go through many stages of grief, but eventually with a lot of love and patience she will some day come to you and hold you and you two will then be able to share your pain.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 3:17AM
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