Editor: Sonya Marvel
Contributors: All Members of My Mom Is A Survivor Shock and numbness protects you from the impact of the death for awhile. You may have feelings of disbelief, denial, anger, despair, apathy, depression, hopelessness, self-doubt and guilt. Behavioral patterns are crying, searching, sighing, physical symptoms, loss of appetite, sleep disturbance, muscle weakness, limited concentration, inability to make decisions, emotional outbursts), restlessness, impatience, poor memory (lack of concentration), social isolation, and loss of energy.
In crisis, we need to talk things out in order to refocus our interpretations. We cannot get through the mourning process alone. It is important to reach out during the first four months when motivation is high.
When I was told John was killed, my knees buckled. As I fell to the floor, my thoughts were not of myself, but of my son. I was hysterical. After I was able to see things around me again, I wanted to see him. I wanted to make sure it was not someone else lying in there. I knew my brother had identified his body, but I still couldn't believe it. I was in total shock.
When my friends and family began coming over to the house, I acted like a zombie. I saw their faces, but I didn't see them. Once I realized that my house was full of friends and family, I felt I had to make sure they were comfortable. My mind was in total shock! I remained in a dream-like or shock state for over six months. My body made the motions, but my mind couldn't catch up. I felt like I was sitting on the side and watching someone else going through this pain. Time stood still.
The day that I saw my son for the first time since his death was at his viewing. I had convinced myself that it was NOT John, but someone else I was burying. When I saw his beautiful face, it was as if he died again. At this point, there was a combination of shock and denial.
When people are in shock, I believe it's our minds taking over for us because we can not deal with the grief on our own. I began having panic attacks afterward. I thought I was having a heart attack. My heart began racing so fast, my arms became numb. I would go to the emergency room and for $500.00 I would get a card to visit Compassionate Friends! Panic Attacks are very real; shock is very real. There are times, I still can't believe my son is gone.
Mom to John
9/8/69 - 1/20/89
The doctor came into the room. The operation was over. He sat down and started to tell my husband and I about the surgery. The transplant a success, but his heart was giving out. The doctor tried all he could to get it to beat faster. It was slowly stopping. I just stared. Somehow, I knew as he walked in the room. My husband asked how did this happen. There was nothing wrong with his heart. The heart is a muscle; the liver failure weakened it. The doctor cried. He so much had wanted him to live. His beeper went off at 10:55. I knew it meant my son's heart had beat it's last beat. He was gone. I wanted to run from the room. How could my son die without me being there to hold his hand? I wanted to scream, to die myself. How could I go on without the one person who lit up my life? How could I go home without my baby? Then it hit me. I wasn't a Mom anymore. My child was gone. This haunts me everyday. I miss him so. He was my life for seventeen years. Life will not go on the same without him. Shock isn't the word for what I feel....
Putting our thoughts together is a good idea. It is hard to tell others what you are feeling. They don't want to know you are in pain. I guess they think you can just get on with your life as if nothing happened. You do go on, but life will never be the same....
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak freely about the way I feel. I know this wonderful idea you have will be so therapeutic for so many. It helps so much to let your feelings out, and know the people you are telling them to, understand.
Mom to Anthony
12-2-79 - 1-28-97
My son, Jake has been gone for 1 year and 4 months now. The week after his death there was so many people who would call and come by. The problem was I was in no shape to talk on the telephone, much less try to carry on a conversation.
Then the people stopped coming, calling, I would see people in the grocery store, and they would look at me, turn their head, and walk off, as if I had something contagious that they could catch. I solved this by grocery shopping in a near by town. I don't frequent the mall here very much and I do not go out to eat here. I don't want to put myself through seeing someone and have them act as if they don't know me. At first it made me feel like I had done something wrong, well I realized its just them... they don't know how to deal with me. Because now, I am not normal.... I am the one who runs on holidays because my family is not whole. I am the one who goes to Disney World at Christmas with my daughter, because we stay busy and don't have time to think about Jake not coming over for Christmas morning.
Reality is setting in and it is scary... my son's friends are getting married and some of them are thinking about starting a family. I am happy for them but in my heart, it hurts so bad. I won't see my son marry or have children.
I was cleaning at my Mom's house last week and I found my son's book that seniors are given at graduation. He was going to be married at 25 and have 2 children, and live in a nearby town. No where in there does it say he was going to be killed in a car wreck at 23 by a drunk driver...
It seems since the first year anniversary I am not coping very well. I go to work, stay busy, I am involved with my daughter and at night, I cry myself to sleep.
Several months ago, I felt like I was feeling some peace in my life, and for some reason, it is gone. I don't know what happen to change it. I really don't pray alot, because right now God is not one of my favorite people. I try but the words won't come, when they do, they are not nice.
Well, this is where I am at 1 year and 4 months later. He was killed on Oct 17, 1997, I have had Thanksgiving, Christmas, Birthday (Feb 14), Mothers Day, then one year anniversary, Thanksgiving (went to beach), Christmas (went to Disney) and his birthday (stayed home and remembered his birth).
At this point, I feel like I am lost. I feel like someone has gone in and ripped out 2/3 of my heart.
2/14/74 - 10/17/97
Shock...my dictionary defines it as ..To disturb the emotions or mind. Such as horror or sorrow. I do not remember a lot of the first few days after Todd's death. Murder.. A friend that was with me from the time we were told until....Says that I kept telling her "It can not be Todd", I said this over and over.. Also I kept telling her someone is playing a sick joke.. She says she believes I did not "really" believe Todd was dead until the night of visitation...then is when I lost it...I had severe panic and anxiety attacks..so bad I was given medication and taken home before visitation was over.. You have to understand that the night Todd was murdered, we received a phone call from my sister.. not a call from the police....not a visit from the police. I was waken from deep sleep by the phone ringing at 3:35 A.M. on October 13,1996. My sister lived in the same city as my son...the person that owned the business where Todd was killed called her...she in turn called me. She asked for my husband and I just thought she was having problems with her boyfriend.. Walt (my husband) took the phone to the living room.. I followed to see what was going on...I saw my husband's face turn white and he said "No, No, No"! He looked at me and right that moment I knew it was Todd.. my husband began to cry and shake as if he was having chills. I asked what is wrong.. He answered with Todd has been shot. I immediately asked where and how bad...that is when all life left my husbands body. I said..no..no.. Pat is playing a sick joke (my sister was known for her horrible pranks) ..I said this is just too much and I took the telephone...she told me again Todd has been shot and he is "Dead". I remember screaming, no..no.. It is not Todd.. There is a mistake.. It is not him.. go see.. See they are wrong...she said she would go to the place he was and call me when she found out more...it seemed like my whole body died...my husband called my best friend, Connie, and she came right over (she lives across the street). My Mom lived with us at the time and she had gotten woke up by me screaming. When Connie came she called our pastor and he came right away. He called the Tuscaloosa police to get information about what had happened, they of course would not tell him...then my sister called and told us it was Todd and he is dead. I do not remember much after that until the day of Todd's funeral.. I remember being taken to my daughter's car and people coming to the car and hugs and sorrys... so I suppose I was in shock for days.. maybe even weeks.. the only memories I can be sure of are in a journal I began keeping the day after the funeral...Todd was killed early on Sunday morning. His body was not brought to our town until Tuesday morning. They performed autopsies in 2 different cities to confirm how he died...he was shot point blank in the left side of his head, just behind the ear. They say he did not feel it, but people on the scene said he was not killed instantly.
I pray to God that he felt nothing. Emergency paramedics tried to revive him with no response. Shock....it is a disturbance to the mind.. but I do not believe it only last a few days...I still sometimes feel in shock...can not believe my precious son is gone...forever.. The stages of grief of an unsolved death have been said to last for a lifetime...I can relate to this. True, we go on; we live life from day to day...but Never, do we forget...we are never the same person we were before this tragic happening in our lives...There is a hole in my heart for my son, whom I will never hear the words I heard every time he called "whatch doing Momma? "or "Love ya Momma". People say...it is time to move on.. "Get over it"...hey... there is no "Getting over it".......it has been 2 years, 16 days, since Todd's death and not one day in all that time have I not thought about my son, how he died, how I was not given the chance to say goodbye or I love you....not even given the courtesy of a phone call from the police...Shock...it is still here. There is still a lot I can not talk about in the homicide case of my son. There are places I can not go...things I can not watch on TV, foods I can not buy because they were his favorite. It took me months to be able to go to the grocery store without breaking down because someone would ask about the case or the old...are you about over it yet? Or the one that makes me so mad....if he had not been in the wrong place at the wrong time.. he would be alive...NOT...his death has nothing to do with where he was or wasn't...
Mom to Todd
5/25/64 - 10/13/96
I guess I can say that I was numb for a very long time. Especially as I was in the hospital for six weeks, I never got to see our house during that time, nor Liam's room or stuff. Of course, I also never got to be at the funeral, but the funeral home did bring him to me at the chapel into the hospital so I could say goodbye, and I remember that clearly. I do believe that my mind let my body take over for a while in that time in the hospital and concentrate on recuperating physically to a certain degree before I could deal with the reality of the loss. I think I did somewhere deep down, figure that when I got home, he would be here, and of course he was not. Then when I got here to the house, I could not do stairs, wheelchair bound, so I didn't see his room for a while after that. The day I finally decided to go up the stairs was so hard, I sat on the bottom stair and cried and cried for a while. I was shaking so violently I couldn't even get myself to move, finally after what seemed forever I willed myself to go up the stairs and go see his room, I just sat there and cried and cried, holding on to his crib. I think that was when it was truly real to me, that he was gone and never coming back.
Mom to Liam
11/11/92 - 1/18/94
Shock: The last time I saw my son, before the accident, was 2 days before it, when he, his brother, John, and his sister Stacy took me out to breakfast for a belated birthday gift. At the time I was living 50 miles away from them, with my soon to be husband. This was our special times me and the kids, once a month, I would drive out and meet them for breakfast on one of my weekends off. It was about the only time I saw them, since we all worked different hours and days. The last thing Joey said to me was, "Mother? When are you and Bill going to move back here to the Island? I miss you very much, and I love you very much, and I don't see enough of you." The shock of knowing I will never hear him call me Mother ever again almost destroyed me.
Shock: Seeing my Joey as he was wheeled out of the recovery room, after undergoing brain surgery, his face gray, and his life slowly leaving his body. I almost fainted, and the next few hours are much of a blur. I knew when I saw him then, that his time was almost up. Two weeks later to the day, it was up. By then I had said my goodbyes to my second born, and very loved child.
Shock: The day I saw him in the casket, when it hit me that he was really gone. No more phone calls from him whenever he needed something, or just wanted to talk. No more bear hugs, no more he and I playing with the computer, and discussing my web pages. No more him and I watching Wrestlemania especially when Hulk Hogan was on. No more yard sales, would we go to together, no more Mom and Son talks, visits, or calls. A piece of my heart has died along with my son. God I miss him so much!
Mom to Joey
6/21/71 - 6/23/98
When I walked into the room at Jamie's and saw his body and the blood everywhere, I dropped to my knees and wailed. My mind went numb, my body went numb. My mouth went completely dry (one of the big indicators of shock) and stayed that way for weeks. Instinct took over then, but my mind was gone. I remember running frantically through his house searching for his phone and standing helplessly over his body. It's like shutter clicks. A bit here, a bit there. Later, I discovered bruises on my legs and body from crawling through the window and running into things in his house. I never felt them at all.
After I got back home hours later, I was worried about the house. My poor relatives and friends had to clean my house. Insane? Yes, but I was a zombie. Twice that day, I felt my mind slip. I knew if I didn't grab hold and hang on, I was going to go insane. I remember people coming and going, but only a few could I identify.
Later that day, we had to all go back to Jamie's house to be fingerprinted by SLED, in his front yard, in full view of news crews and the curious, with Jamie's body still inside. I was sweating profusely (another sign of shock), couldn't get enough water because of my cottonmouth.
My appetite totally disappeared. For 3 weeks all I could manage was Sustacal. I still have a problem with eating. I've lost 25 lbs since his death. I developed a racing heart and irregular beats. I have to take anti anxiety and anti depressants. Every little bit of stress causes a flair up of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
It took months for the shock to wear off. People thought I was handling it so well, but I was numb and in shock. I was so physically tired I could hardly move and I still can't focus well enough to accomplish much and it's 10 months today (March 12) that he died.
Mom To Jamie
2/12/73 - 5/12/98
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