Editor: Sonya Marvel
Contributors: All Members of My Mom Is A Survivor
When you loose a child, there are a couple of fears that haunt you daily. At first, we are afraid to leave the house. We are afraid to leave that safe haven we call our home. If we stay inside then we are safe.
The second fear is ~ you are afraid it will happen again ~ that you will loose another child ~ or someone close to you. A death in the family is so new to you, grieving is so new to you that you begin having dreams about loosing another loved one. You begin to be a little over-protective of your other children, which is alright. Chances are your other children will cling to you more than usual.
The day I found out John died from an accidental shooting, I couldn't breath. I had to get out of that hospital as quickly as I could. I wanted to be at home, where I would be safe. I wanted to surround myself with all of the things that reminded me of John. I couldn't eat and I couldn't' sleep. I was in a zombie-like or dazed state. It was over 2 weeks before I could drive anywhere. I remember one day I decided I had to get some groceries. My husband offered to go with me, but for some reason I wanted to go alone. I don't remember how I got to the grocery store. I remember heading in that direction and even passed it for several blocks before I realized that I had passed it. I turned around to go back to the grocery store. I went inside and looked around. I panicked! I could not do this! I felt like everyone was staring at me (of course they were not). I felt like I was about to explode and I couldn't breath. I turned around and drove home as quickly as I could. My husband was in the driveway when I arrived. He knew I hadn't been gone long enough to purchase any groceries. He immediately knew something was wrong. I was crying hysterically, because I could not do the normal things I was used to doing before I lost my child. I had no interest nor desire to do the normal things. My priorities had changed drastically. My husband made sure I was in the house okay and went to the grocery for me. After a while I could go through the motions of doing the every day chores that I used to do. One thing stuck with me and this is strange. I do not like being out after dark. I am terrified of being in the dark, except in my room at night when I go to sleep. I could not be outside in the dark. I work nights. When I went back to work, I was terrified that I would get hurt or someone would attack me. I was paranoid with being in the dark. Eventually I could come home from work in the dark and be okay, but when I'm off that day, I must be inside before dark, even to this day. I can go out when my husband and I are together after dark, but I can not do it alone. I guess this is from feeling violated when someone picked up a gun and shot my son.
Mom to John
9/8/69 - 1/20/89
Fear-An agitated feeling aroused by awareness of actual or threatening danger. To feel uneasy. A feeling of deep, awe and dread.
Fear after Todd's death describes so much. When we were first called about his being shot, there was a disbelief and I guess also the horrible Fear of it being true.
I suppose the one of the worse fears is not knowing who or why Todd was killed. Could someone hate him so? There is just so much hate today in this world we live in. But Todd was a good friend to all that met him. Oh, I am not saying he was perfect but surely he did not make the kind enemies that would want him dead.
There are so many feelings I can not share at this time (because of ongoing investigation). I hope someday I will be able to speak out. That one day this murderer will be caught and pay for taking our son away from us. I have no revenge but I believe if you commit a crime, you should face the judicial system. I want to be able to look this person's in the eye and ask Why?
I have a Fear of something happening to my other children. Is that only normal after losing a child?
Fear is such a strong word, but I suppose many things can fall under Fear. It is something our society takes the wrong way, when you say you are afraid. You know I was never afraid of anything in my whole life until we lost Todd. But I know a fear no parent should have to face. The fear of not knowing!
May God give us all Peace and Love Everlasting!
Mom to Todd
5/25/64 - 10/13/96
I don't remember how long after my son's death that I felt like this, and didn't know what to call it for a long time. I would go to the grocery store, my husband with me, and it was all I could do to get through the store to pick up what we needed, I wanted to leave and get home so bad. Many times he would ask if I wanted to go to Wal-Mart, or to the mall, just trying to help me, and I couldn't. I would tell him I just want to go home. I realized later, it was a feeling of fear, not an anxiety attack, but felt similar. I wanted to be in safe confines of my home. My therapist put the name to it for me. The other fear I have had and still have, is that Andy will be forgotten. I have discovered that this is a great fear of all parents who lose a child. I heard a mother on television that lost a child in Littleton, express that fear. I want to keep talking about Andy, always bring him up, afraid that his friends that are going on with their live, will forget him. Of course, they never will. I still have his mementos hanging on his bedroom wall, pictures, homecoming mums, etc., because I am afraid to take them down. If I pack them away, who will care about them except me. When I am gone, someone will find them and throw them away. Then, will he be forgotten.
Mother of Andrew Kellar
1/20/74 - 12/7/93
I was very unsure if I would ever have another child after my daughter Sarah died from SIDS. Nature took over for me though and our daughter Emily was born about eighteen months after Sarah's death. I have never, ever known such paralyzing fear as I did in those first six months of Emily's life.
We had her on a shop bought monitor and it wasn't too good and used to alarm all the time for no reason. One night we had trouble waking Emily so rushed her to the hospital where she was admitted. I remember standing in the driveway as my husband backed the car out of our garage and wanting to just flee, to run away from everyone, as I couldn't face the fear of losing another baby. This feeling, in many ways, was worse than dealing with my grief over Sarah's death. At least there, to some extent I knew what I was dealing with, but the worry every minute of every day, that Emily might die too nearly destroyed me. I considered suicide more than once, if only to get a respite from the constant dread that filled my mind.
At night I would stay awake listening to the ticking of the monitor (we got a hospital one after the scare) and would beg my husband to sit up at night to listen so I could get some sleep. Crazy, because if Emily had stopped breathing, the monitor would have alarmed loud and long!!! It did a few times and scared the life out of us. Even now, three and a half years later, if I hear a similar beeping noise I go cold inside.
I also worried about my other daughter, Katy, and my husband Phillip. I still do, and I overreact whenever the kids hurt themselves, and I know I am overprotective of them.
When I got pregnant with our son I was devastated, and didn't want to continue with the pregnancy, so badly had I suffered when Emily was born. I felt that we were almost past the "danger" period for SIDS and I just couldn't go through it all again. But of course Joshua was born and although we got a monitor, I chose not to use it in the end. We checked him constantly but the fear somehow wasn't quite as great as it had been with Emily.
I still worry if they sleep later than usual, but I feel when Josh reaches the "magic" age of two in November I will leave this fear behind a little. There will be no more children for us now, I am almost forty, but whenever I have idly contemplated having another baby the thought of that FEAR stops me short.
In Memory Of My Daughter Sarah
10/5/94 - 22/9/94
Since Jamie's death, it seems I fear everything, but his death was also my greatest fear. A parents nightmare come true. Now, I fear the loss of my other son, Michael, knowing for sure, that it would destroy me completely. Afraid to even think it, in case it comes true.
I fear not having justice done for Jamie, and what that would do to me and my family. I fear someone not doing their job, or a judge who has an attitude or a jury who is lenient towards criminals. I fear what I'd be tempted to do, if justice is not served by the courts.
I fear feeling for the rest of my life the way I feel now. Sadness, pain, numbness and no pleasure in life. I fear waking each morning for the rest of my life as I wake each morning now. Lying in bed and trying to convince myself there really is a reason I should get up. And once I'm up, trying to find a reason why I should keep on trying for just one more day.
I fear that my home and my heart will always be this empty. That the part that was ripped away will consume everything. I fear that I will never find all the pieces of me and my life that was lost.
I fear loving, as sad as that is. I fear loving, because losing hurts so bad and I fear never being able to open to love fully again.
I fear most of all, next to losing the son I still have, that Jamie's life will be forgotten. That the monumental wrongness of his death will be forgotten. That the warm, loving and giving man that he was, will be forgotten by all but a very few.
Mom To Jamie
2/12/73 - 5/12/98
I didn't realize how fortunate I was until my 51st year of life. Although my only "grandma" died when I was 11 and my only "grandpa" died when I was 13, that was normal. When my first born daughter died, during my 51st year, that WAS NOT normal!
I sailed through life as a single, struggling parent for many years, encountering all types of hardships, and I still believed that my little family would go on forever and ever. I never knew anyone who had a child predecease them. Until now......
When Suzy died as a result of a car crash, her younger sister (in my grief stricken eyes) became "mortal" and I was obsessed by fear! Fear that history could and might possibly repeat itself. I tried everything I knew to not let Stacey out in her car. When she told me. "Mom, I'm going to meet my friends..." I would bolt upright and say, "You can't go out now... it's dark out." To which her reply was, "Of course it's dark out... it's nighttime." A few nights later, I informed her she couldn't go out because it was raining... You can imagine what my 21 year old, independent daughter said to that!
After several weeks of my "looking for excuses" to keep her home, she politely sat me down and quietly informed me, "Mom, you cannot keep me in a bubble." This was exactly what I had tried to do. I agreed with her. Yet, since that time, I still live in fear wondering if tragedy would ever strike again. Logically, I know that --according to Harold Kushner in his book When Bad Things Happen to Good People -- losing my first born child in a senseless auto accident was pure randomness. She was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Being a "thinking" kind of person, then how do we know when another loved one will be in another "wrong place," hence, my continual fear. I try very, very hard to tame these feelings. And, I would welcome any thoughts, suggestions, criticisms, advice, etc. on how to quiet this monster known as "fear."
Mom to Suzan
3/4/64 - 4/22/88
Fear is the realization that the photo album may be put away, the pictures will no longer be displayed and his name will not be mentioned anymore. Fear is having others forget that your child has died, but worst of all, it is having them forget that your child has lived.
Mom to Glenn Lewis
10/10/81 - 8/10/96
My son Matthew was 17. He was on his way to school. He was only about 50 feet to the entrance of school when he and another student were involved in a head on collision. Matthew died instantly, I am told. Matthew was not wearing his seat belt. I have two other children, one is 16 the other 14. I don't want them to know how petrified I am of them being in a car with another teen. My daughter has her permit. I am petrified of the day she gets her license. I don't want her to have her brother in the car with her. I'm so afraid that they too will succumb to a car accident. They know I'm scared, but they feel that they should be able to do the things that teens do and they are right I know. But that still does not stop me from fearing the worst when they walk out the door. Matthew's death has taught me to never take a second for granted because you never know what life brings. But the fear will never stop. I pray to God to keep Matthew safe in his arms and to protect my other two children. When I'm down I know I can always turn to all of you for support. God bless all of you.
Mom to Matthew Lavigne (Ruutel)
09/03/78 - 05/17/96
My fear is loving my girls too much and then losing them to some freak accident. Never being able to hold them again and hearing them tell me that they love me. See, when Matthew died, I thought it was a punishment to me for Loving him too much! My kids are my life and I was always going to parents who lost a child and helping them in any way I could. All the time to myself saying, I just couldn't live without one of my children. Now I am one of those parents trying to live without one of their children! I pray for every Mother that has lost a child. I cry for every child that has died. Even if the "child" is an adult, they are still some Mother's child!! God Bless the Children!! God be with the Mother's that have lost a child to death!
Mom to Matthew 2/5/90 - 10/11/97
I can relate to the fear of leaving my home. Outside of work I very rarely left my home nor would I allow my kids to leave our home. I feared something would happen to them. My son, who is 16, knows if he hears an ambulance go by and he is at a friends, he is to call home. I became very over protective of my children. When one of my children would complain of a sore neck or a headache, we went straight to the doctor. My son, Joshua, passed away due to a brain tumor and he complained of headaches and a sore neck before his diagnosis. My oldest daughter, who is 7, has become very "clingy" to me. She didn't want to go to school this year. Joshua died at the age of 7. The counselor we are seeing says she thinks my daughter may relate the age 7 to dying. It is only now, after three years, that I have "allowed" myself to leave the house for any extended periods of time. I still dread when the phone rings and my kids are in school! I feel safer when all of us are at home. The fear of losing another child is in the back of my mind constantly.
Mom To Joshua
I have this a lot, I never did before Larry died. If my husband is late from work which he never is, but one day he stopped to get a haircut and forgot to tell me I paced the floor till her got home, and then my Son Bill has been in the Air Force for 15 years, he skydives and just became a licensed pilot. And I worry so much, but what I have done is ask my husband to please make sure he calls me if for any reason he might be real late. And Bill I would never ask him to give up something he loves doing so dearly, and have explained my fear about losing him so he would understand, and asked him to be extra careful flying as we all know what happen to John F Kennedy Jr and his wife and sister. And he assured me he is very cautious and would never second guess anything when flying. So a Little bit this helps. I think it is very important to discuss fear with our surviving children and our spouses so they will understand about our fears.
Mom To Larry
9/18/64 - 7/04/98
I had to email you on next month's topic of fear, because last night it hit me. My son, Jake, was killed by a drunk driver Oct 1997, he has a sister who will be 18 in October of this year. She has been so responsible, calls when she is late etc. Well, last night she had dance till 6:30 P.M. and is usually home by 7:00... I had to work and arrived home at 8:00 P.M. and no Leigh. I called the dance studio, her friends, and then I took off to the dance studio. On the way I called 911 to see if there had been no accidents.
I was scared to death that something had happen to her. The thought's were over whelming. I couldn't find her. When I got back home I called my sister to come over, and I called her boyfriend's mother who happens to be a deputy sheriff, she called the local police to come see me. Because we all agreed, this was out of character for her.
To make a long story short, she was fine, she had lost her house key and we just kept missing each other.
But for a brief period the fear had set in that it had happen to my other child.
The one thing I am learning is we will never be "normal" again. That the things that most parents take for granted are a big deal to me now, and I guess they always will be. Because, never in a million years did I ever think I would bury my son. The thought never crossed my mind.
Mom To Jake
2/14/74 - 10/17/97
The first part of the story is that my father died last October. Then in February, my Axel died of a Congenital Heart Disease, so I tried to go home as fast as I could. All I wanted is to be back in MY PLACE, alone with my daughter. I wanted to listen to my feelings. But I was overwhelmed with all the visitors we had for a couple of days. After some time, we were left alone for a while. Irene, my daughter, caught a cold two weeks later. I am sure it had something to do with her own grief process. She had a little fever, but I was in panic. I feared she could get worse and I could loose her, too.
Mom to Axel
02/04/2000 - 02/05/2000
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