Our Son Died on August 17

Our 32 year old son died on Aug. 17,2007. I commend Naomi for returning to work. Our mornings are unbearable – our family does not know how to go on from here. We look at his pics and smile and then start crying. What could we have done differently we ask ourselves every minute. I am going to grief counseling but my husband cannot. Our son had won his battle with his demonswe incorrectly believed. He too, had started on a new journey, as a partner in a thriving business, looking for a new house and then this needless end to it all. Such futility?

Dear Bea,

We are so very sorry for your loss. Losing a child, regardless of his age and circumstances, is the hardest thing most of us have to experience and your wounds are still very fresh and very raw. A month is such a short time and we encourage you to be gentle with yourself. Crying is very healthy after such a loss and we encourage you to express your feelings whether through words or tears.?

One group we?ve found that is very helpful is Compassionate Friends. They have groups all over the country to help grieving parents by giving them help and comfort. Each member has experienced the death of a child and each has survived and grieved in his or her own way. With this group you do not have to walk this path alone and that is so important. We encourage you to go to http://www.compassionatefriends.org/? and see if there is a group in your area and to get involved as soon as you can. They can help you and your family know how to go on from here.

We also invite you to listen on Thursday mornings to the radio show Healing the Grieving Heart? You can find information about it and a link to it on the first page of http://www.thegriefblog.com? You might also find a number of past shows that can give you help and comfort at http://thegriefblog.com/grief-grieving-death-of-a-child/?

We are posting your letter and our response on The Grief Blog. Many people read it every day and your letter may help others who are experiencing such a loss as yours. You may see it at http://www.thegriefblog.com.


Drs. Gloria and Heidi Horsley

The Open to Hope Community

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  • Cynthia Young says:

    I lost my 31 year-old son, Aaron, on August 9, 2007. He drowned while spear-fishing in Mexico. It has been almost 6 weeks. I miss him unbearably but mostly, right now, I feel numb. I think it is the only way I am able to survive right now.

  • Dear Bea and Cynthia,
    I lost my 31 year old son on 4/18/07, 5 months ago today. He had struggled with a terrible drug addiction problem for about 13 years. Approximately one week before his death, he finished a 3 month detox/rehab program and was doing beautifully. He had gained weight, he was happy again, he was involved with new friends he had met in rehab, they were going to Narcotics Anonymous meetings together, and he was playing rugby again–which he absoutely loved. Unfortunately, he met up with some old drug friends during that week and he used again. This time he overdosed. We found him unconscious on his bedroom floor. I’m a nurse, so I tried to perform CPR and I had my younger son call the paramedics. My husband and I got to the ER at the same time the ambulance did (it never hurried or turned on sirens). When they opened the ambulance doors, my son’s legs looked so blue. They worked on him in the ER for what seemed like an eternity and then told us he had passed away. I could not believe my ears (even though clinically, I know I knew they would say what they said). I walked into the ER room and closed his eyes and held his hand and cried and cried and cried and cried. They wouldn’t let me take the endo-trac tube, IV lines, etc out. I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone. Though it’s been 5 months, everything I just described floods back frequently. When it does, it feels like it all happened just a few minutes ago. In fact, I had a complete melt down on the way to work today. Some days everything seems ok because I pretend he’s just gone somewhere. Most of the time, however, I feel sad even when I try to act upbeat for people around me. No one but my Compassionate Friends group or friends I know who have lost children understand. People seem to want to help but they don’t know what to do. My son’s birthday is coming up in 2 weeks and my husband will be out of town on a business trip. I’m not sure what I’ll do on that day. It will be hard. But everyday is hard. I have a friend in Compassinate Friends who says all you can do right now is keep trying to survive. I’ve found that is true. My faith in God is strong, my marriage is sound, I have wonderful friends/family, but this loss is so all-consumingly painful. Sometimes I go into my son’s room and just rest on his bed. Sometimes I look at pictures. Frequently, I go to his gravesite and tend to the grass, take new artificial flowers, and occasionally I take a live single white rose, which is what he gave me on the last Mother’s Day we had together. Sometimes I just cry. Sometimes I just hold my chest because it hurts like my heart is breaking. It’s very hard. I’m so sorry you both lost your sons, too.