On August 2, 2004, I lost my dad, my older sister, my brother-in-law, my 14 year old niece, and my 3 year old nephew in a plane crash. Since then I have seen counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists, life coaches, etc. I even spent time in the hospital a few months after the accident. I've read books, met authors, participated in support groups, etc. I lost my mom suddenly November 12, 2006, to undiagnosed heart disease. So much loss... I feel like nobody understands. Nobody gets me. I look at photo albums and feel very lonely...
Last edited by hollister04; 01-16-2008 at 06:47 PM.
I cannot imagine so much loss in such a short period of time. Do you have other family members still alive?
It sounds like you are doing all you can, but it is going to take a long time to heal. I lost my mother unexpectedly in March of 2006 and my oldest sister was killed in an accident 8 months later. Grief upon grief and yet, nothing in comparison to your loss.
I still feel the loss of them so I can empathize with you. I hope others will post but, for now, please know you have my sympathies and my support.
I am so sorry about your mother and your sister. My older sister's 41st birthday would have been today... Anniversaries are difficult, but so are all of the other days, too. Right?
I have a husband. We have been married for 16 years. Speaking of anniversaries: the day we buried 5 members of my family was our 13th wedding anniversary - needless to say, it was not our best anniversary...
I also have 2 children. I have a son, who is 14 and a daughter, who is 8. They, too, have been greatly affected by all of the losses. (Of course)
I also have a younger sister. She was married just 3 weeks before the accident and was actually supposed to be on the plane. Her husband just happened to be off that weekend, so she decided at the last minute to stay home and spend time with him - THANK GOD!!! They have divorced since then - it was a marriage that didn't begin under the best of circumstances...
It is amazing how the timing works sometimes, isn't it? My father died the Thursday before Father's Day so his anniversary often falls on Father's Day. My sister died on the day after Thanksgiving so, forever more, we will remember Thanksgiving as the last night we saw her alive.
I'm glad you have a family, Lisa. I can imagine how much this must have affected your children. I have a 17 year old son who was greatly affected by the two deaths so close to each other. He was especially close with my mother and misses her terribly.
It is hard to understand why we must endure such tragedy. I hope that each day gets better for you and that one day you can remember them with love, not tears. (That hasn't happened for me yet, but I'm hopeful it will one day)
Right after the accident, my husband and I took our children to the W.A.R.M. Place. ("What About Remembering Me") It is a place for grieving children and their families. I wanted to make sure we grieved "the right way". I was quickly told there wasn't a right way that everyone grieves differently. We were also warned that our house could become very chaotic with four family members grieving in four different ways - they were right! My son doesn't want to talk about it, my daughter does want to talk about it, I became depressed, and my husband just wants to "fix it".
My husband and kids don't remember most anniversaries - I know my husband remembers the anniversary of the accident - but I remember ALL OF THEM!
I am so sorry about the loss of your dad, your sister, and your mom. I know how horrible that feels.
I do remember my family with love, but also with tears. Some days are bad and some days are o.k. I live for the o.k. days...
Thanks, Lisa. I appreciate your warmth and caring.
It has been a hard road for us because my son was diagnosed as maybe Bipolar, maybe not in November of 2005. My mother died unexpectedly in March 2006 and her death caused my son to really plummet. He is a bright and talented young man with so much to offer, but the death was too much for him to bear. We went through some severe challenges with him and he was really starting to rebound when my sister died. He ended up inpatient that week after severely self-injuring.
Neither time did I really have the chance to grieve, but I think the loss of my mother and sister, compounded with the pain my son was in, really made it difficut to rebound as much as I would have hoped. My son is much better now, but still not back to his old self. I am surprised at how raw the emotions still are.
It helps to have others to share with. How are you children now?
Since the accident, I have wondered if I may be bipolar. I definitely have the downs, I just don't have the ups. When I went into the hospital after the accident, I was having thoughts of self-injuring (cutting, to be specific). I was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder and stayed in the hospital for almost a week. I never thought in a million years I would be in that situation... Since then, I have been diagnosed with severe depression. (Of course I am - I've lost 6 members of my family!)
My children seem to be o.k., but I keep waiting for the "ball to drop". I'm afraid my 14 year old son is "stuffing" his emotions and pain and I worry that eventually they will surface and that scares me. My daughter thinks about it a lot, but she doesn't hesitate to talk about it - at least I don't think so.
I know you worry about your son. Don't forget to take care of yourself. For me, the accident was 3 1/2 years ago, and there are many days that it feels like it just happened. Does your son have somebody he trusts to talk to? I know after the accident, my son was having a terrible day at school. Desperate, I drove around the town we had just moved to looking for help. I was so worried about my kids... I knew I wasn't in good enough shape to be a good person for them to talk to, and I'm pretty sure if they had a choice at the time of someone to talk to about the deaths, they wouldn't choose me! We drove up to several churches in the town and the doors were locked. Finally, we found an open door. The preacher talked to my son and we began going to that church. We made a lot of good friends that turned out to be a great support in our extreme grief.
I will put you and your son in my prayer journal and I will pray for ya'll. There is a lot of power in prayer - I have lived that first-hand.
Again, take care of yourself. If you take care of yourself, it will also help your son.
I'm so happy that you were able to find a caring preacher and a loving church community to help you through the hard times.
We've spent oodles of time and money trying to find a good therapist for my son, but we have been sadly disappointed. Grief subsides, but the scars remain and I feel like my son has a giant scab that could be opened at any time. He's a teenager and I think he just pushes his grief further and further back, but when he's stressed, he falls back to self-medicating. The incidents are more isolated, but it concerns me greatly that he has not learned to deal with all of the sadness that has been sent his way (including the diagnosis of a mental illness and all that brings with it).
Thank you for including me in your prayers. You are in mine as well.
You know, nobody has really helped us through the hard times, though many I'm sure have tried. I guess that's why I'm here on this message board - hoping for help...
We have also spent lots of time and money, but most of it has been on me. I have seen many counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists, life coaches, etc., etc. I , too, have been very disappointed. I'm tired of being asked how I feel and I think I've tried every anti-depressant on the market! Like you said, at the end of the day, the scars are still there, and there's this big black hole in my life where my family used to be. Everybody deals with grief in their own way - it just may take your son longer to heal. I don't think we ever really heal, but we do have more and more good days. And I know we become stronger. Your son sounds like a wonderful young man - you should be very proud! One day, he will be able to help many people - people who are dealing with grief and people who are dealing with a mental illness. He will be o.k.....
Your description of the black hole where your family used to be is so accurate. My dad died many years ago, but for years it was my Mom and her three girls (ok, girls is a stretch considering our ages, but you know!) My two sisters were 10 and 13 years older than me so no matter how old I became, I was always the baby.
When my Mom died unexpectedly, we were grief-stricken, but we took comfort in the fact that she lived a life with few regrets. At 86, she was still beautiful and had found love again with an old friend. We valued and appreciated her and she knew it. Her short illness and death brought my sisters and I even closer.
When my oldest sister was killed 8 months later, the grief was unbearable. Her death was so sudden and we were still grieving for my mother. All of a sudden we went from the 4 of us to the 2 of us and the balance of our family was completely changed.
My loss pales in comparison to yours, but I know that you understand the sorrow I still feel. Know that I am here for you.
I am also from a family of 3 girls... I am the middle girl (the "Jan Brady" if you watched the Brady Bunch) My older sister was 22 months older than me - she was the sister I lost in the plane crash - she was 37. My younger sister is 31 - I am 39 - so I guess she is about 8 years younger than me. She was actually supposed to be on the plane, but she had just gotten married 3 weeks before the accident and just before the trip my family was taking to Branson, Missouri, she found out her husband was going to be off that weekend. She decided to stay home and spend time with him. (Thank God!!!) For a long time, she wished she had been on that plane. I don't know if she still feels that way - if she does, she doesn't say it.
My mom and dad divorced when I was 17 - the summer before my senior year in high school. I continued to have a relationship with both of my parents, but my sisters "chose my dad". Anyway, my mom remarried in 1998. Just after the accident, my step-dad was diagnosed with alzheimer's.(sp?) My mom was his only caregiver. She was also my best friend - the only person who really understood me. She died suddenly November 12, 2006. Autopsy revealed heart disease. She was 59.
Your loss is so great - my heart goes out to you. I know you miss your family so much. Aren't there times you want to pick up the phone and call one of them so bad? One of my counselor's told me to get a phone that doesn't work anymore and "pretend" to call one of them and talk to them. Just not the same.....
Thanks for sharing with me and "listening" to me - it really does help...
I think what I miss the most is the connection to people who truly understand. My mother used to call 10 times a day with one thing or another. I always thought I had alot of people calling because my phone rang constantly and it wasn't until she died that I realized most of the time it was her! My son always said that she chronicled her life in 5 minute phone conversations!
I didn't talk with my sister as often, but all 3 of us lived in the same town so we always saw one another. Any time there was an event, family or otherwise, we were all together. Sometimes it was suffocating and we all complained at one time or another that the amount of time we devoted to family precluded us from having large groups of friends but, on the other hand, family was always a constant.
How is your younger sister now? Was she close with your Mom, too?
I appreciate the connection with you, Lisa. It helps alot.
Lisa - I just wanted to say I'm terribly sorry for your tremendous losses. I can't even imagine what you've gone thru. The only thing I can suggest is maybe try a support group, although that's what you did with the kids, but maybe you should get into another one that meets regularly. Nothing can prepare you for something like you've gone through, and I know you are a very strong lady, you would have to be. Keep posting here, that will help. My sympathy to you and your loved ones.
Both of my sisters were estranged from my mom. I was the only one with a relationship with her. I couldn't have had it any other way - she was my mom... But I didn't judge or blame my sisters for the choices they made about having a relationship with mom. That was their business, not mine. But my sisters did judge me for having a relationship with her. Not fair - but they did. My younger sister has apologized for her behavior since the accident, but my older sister never had the chance.
My younger sister is real happy now. She got married 3 weeks before the accident. Needless to say, that marriage ended in divorce a couple of years later. She has since met somebody she adores. They are engaged to be married this summer and are having fun planning their life together. She misses our family we have lost terribly, but feels a sort of "freedom" that she can do what she wants to do without having to answer to anybody or be judged by anybody. (I am the only one left - and I don't judge!)
I wish I could feel that way. I wish I could miss them terribly, but at the same time feel a real happiness. I just miss them terribly... I'm waiting to feel the real happiness...
Last edited by hollister04; 02-04-2008 at 06:14 PM.
Reason: forgot names
Thank you for your reply. I have been to many support groups. I have also been met with many obstacles... Most of the support groups I have found are primarily for grieving spouses - my situation is so different.
What tends to happen in support groups I attend is that my story makes others feel better about their situation.
What I would really like to find is a group of people that have lost "more than one" person at a time. It really is different. I lost 5 family members at once. I buried 5 family members on the same day. I did go and meet the author of the book "A Grace Disguised". He lost 3 family members in a car accident. There was a different kind of understanding. It's so hard to explain...
Again, thank you so much for replying - this message board has helped me more than I had hoped...