Death from an accident
I never thought I'd post in this forum...
I lost my elderly father this year from a terrible fall at home. Prior to the fall, he was a vital, robust man... very active, mentally very sharp, exercised almost every day, very outgoing, loved people and loved by all. His fall occurred in the middle of the night and awoke my mom who found him at the bottom of the stairs, unresponsive. Initially, he survived the fall but it left him a quadriplegic and dependent on a ventilator. He spent a week in the hospital.
In the middle of the week, the neurologist asked my mom if they had any directives. She said he would not want to live on a ventilator as a quadriplegic, and I knew that. By the end of the week, we could see that his alertness was failing and he was no longer able to move his feet; he had no feeling from the neck down, and the ventilator was doing all the work for his lungs.
As a family, we allowed the doctor to place the order to remove his breathing tube.
At that time, we were in a complete state of numbness and shock which buffered a lot of the grief. Over the months, as the shock wore off (it's not completely gone), the feelings of grief became more real. In time, our grief has lessened and we're moving on in spite of missing him dearly.
Though he was elderly, he was such a vital man that it still seems like it couldn't have really happened. I am adjusting well to life without him, but there are still tears at times the grieving process is not yet over.
However, the hardest part is coming to terms with the accident itself. None of the other people in my life have lost a person in this manner or to any type of accident. The nature of his accident and passing is an additional layer which, I believe, most people don't experience -- therefore, most people don't understand. I keep thinking that if he died of a disease or natural causes, it would be easier. Not easy.... but easier to believe that it was "his time". My friends who lost their parents after a long-time illness were ready when it happened.... it wasn't a happy event, but they were prepared. It is difficult to describe the shock and grief that follows an accidental death of someone who was so vital and sweet and always available, interested, encouraging like my dad. It feels like it wasn't really his time, though obviously it was. Sometimes it seems like he's on the other side of a veil, I just can't see him. There was nothing to predict this, and nothing we could have done to prevent it.
One of the articles I read about grief stated that each circumstance about a death is another layer to process -- an unexpected/sudden death, or an accident, are additional layers to be processed along with the grief over just losing the person.
To those who have lost loved ones from an accident -- does it feel different to you? After coming to terms with the loss itself, did your reaction to the accident itself ever go away?
As I read over what I've written here, it sounds like I am not doing as well as I really am. I can talk about it without crying, do things we used to do together, and participate in all my previous activities. I've returned to normal life. I'm just wondering how others experience such a huge loss from an accident and if it is different than other types of losses.