The unreal tragedy

by Rebecca Otoole
(San diego, ca)

July 6 2012 was a great day. I remember it clearly. It was a Friday, glad to be going home for the weekend. Went home, watched a movie and went to bed. At 2 a.m., I woke to my son, 20, standing in my room with his dad. I immediately asked where my daughter was and they answered that she was fine. My son told me that I had to get up and come downstairs and then just said the words: mom, get up. Kenny is dead. I can't really remember the details of the days that have led up to today. Ken turned 23 on June 24. He left for college in 2007 to attend USC and graduated in 2011. He was only 2 hours away and would come home every holiday and to just to visit us. We emailed, texted and talked on the phone all the time. His life was full as he was a brother in Delta Chi and was very active in his fraternity and classes. He was living in an apartment with two older frat brothers and had been working until Dec 2011, when he was laid off for budget cuts. He graduated at the wrong time as we all know the economy. Anyway, I don't know what happened to him. The results are still pending. His roommates saw him at 4 pm and went to get him at 7 for a BBQ, and he was unresponsive. I planned the funeral but I don't remember it. Ii heard it was beautiful. The throngs of people were a testament of my son having the ability to be everyone's Best Friend. The sea of crimson and gold at the service was amazing. Fraternity brothers and sorority sisters flew in from all over the country to attend his funeral. I don't remember much except I was busy and it felt like Kenny was just "living in l.a." like my mind was used to. The first year he left for college, I mourned the loss of him in my daily life. That doesn't mean I forgot him, I let him grow up and I cried each night but it was happiness. I'm lost in a world of pain. Suddenly, my mind has woken up and I realize my son is gone. I panick, I cry, I haven't left my house sine Aug 8th, I read, I sleep, I cry. Vicious circle. I've joined a parent grief support group but it's as though I'm looking for answers on when this utter debilitating pain will stop and nobody can tell me. I want to be a good mom still but I don't know how when I'm frightened of the future, when my heart is breaking to hear my older sons voice just once more, etc. I walk around in circles, bawling and sometimes sitting for hours not saying a word, just looking out my window. I don't know how to live anymore. I don't see myself ever getting out of this deep hole. It's not even been two months yet and people are telling me I have to stay busy? Why? I come home and my son still isn't going to be calling me so why do anything except that I can't live another 40 years feeling this way. I'm desperate for help but I'm scared to death. I'm teetering on the edge of a downward spiral Ns I miss my son and my world is shattered and so am I.
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Comments for The unreal tragedy

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Sep 15, 2012
The unreal tragedy
by: Anonymous

I had a very hard week. The reality of my son being gone is starting to settle in. I've cried so hard for the last week, I wonder when the tears will run dry. I have been reading endlessly about ways to cope with griefs. One thing I've done is to make a goal each day and stick with it. If its just walking to the corner, it's okay. I realize I have myself in a torture chamber of guilt and painful thoughts. I'm trying to put one foot in front of the other even it's only for 15 minutes, it gets me out of the torture chamber I have myself in. It's important not to be alone, you don't have to have a conversation but just the feeling of knowing someone's by your side is comforting. Attending grief groups with other parents has helped in that I can see that with time, the pain of loss never goes away but it does ease in intensity. I can't imagine not feeling the way I do this very minute, but I have to have hope that one day I won't be in this much pain. I haven't returned to work but have been thinking lately that it might be good to occupy my mind with something other than only thinking about the terrible loss. Life does keep moving forward, even though I'm stuck in an awful place, the fact remains that time goes forward anyway. I can't imagine living the rest of my life in this pain and I do not want to. I can't imagine my son would ever want that for me. He was so full of life and such an adventurous person, he would tell me not to waste what little time we have on this Earth in so much pain. It should have been me that went before my child ...that's the normal course of life. Losing my son changed me the moment I heard the news. Everything that mattered the day before means nothing to me anymore. When I think of all the things that I used to get stressed about, they seem so trivial and ridiculous compared to this loss. My email is reebe1969@gmail.com if anyone wants to communicate. I just passed the 2- month mark...it feels like I've aged 30 years, it feels like years since I've heard my sons voice, I have been told I look different. I used to smile all the time but I'm always in such deep thought of my son, I must always have a frown on my face. I miss my son and I miss who I used to be. I don't know how to be anymore or even what my purpose of being alive still is. I have two other children who are 11 and 20. I love them with all my being but I feel that something in me died when Ken passed and I don't know what good I can be to my other kids if I'm this miserable. Does anyone understand how I feel?

Sep 04, 2012
Doreen
by: Anonymous

I do still cry everyday. I miss him greatly. My attitude is the way is has to be for me. I personally feel selfish by no means was I saying it is selfish of anyone else. I did not mention my son was born with a heart murmur and a cleft lip. He was not developing right inside me. I think of how lucky I am to have even had the years I did with him. He ended up a not only a healthly man but an awesome man. I broke down yesterday trying to finish the school stuff I was doing for my other kids when I got the call about the accident. I cried this morning. I am sad that he is gone but so proud of the way he lived. I found his Mother's day card he got me this year, brought me to tears but then made me smile. All I am saying is I can not change what is (I do wish I could) I feel like in these last two weeks I had to learn to breath again learn to do everything I have been able to do so far and I have a lot of things I haven't been able to do. I know I am not healed by any means. I just find comfort in thinking of all the good and being so very lucky to have had the type of son I did. It hurts it hurts bad! I am better than I was last week and getting better each day. I am not the same person I was I do feel empty but I also feel a great pride in my son. I feel selfish when I want more. I was given a wonderful gift in him and can't ever say it would have been enough time. I wouldn't change this pain if when I had him I was told you will only have 20 years of smiles and joy, I would take the time still. I have thought about the holidays without him and cried but I am still going to put his stocking up I will write him a letter to go inside instead of presents I will find a special tree topper to remind me of him I will still hang his "kindergarten noodle craft" on my tree(see that makes me smile). I am a very lucky woman to have had him at all. We just never know when we can loose someone and I am determined to make the most of the time we have with them. I will honor him it is my turn to make him proud.

Sep 04, 2012
2 weeks ago
by: Doreen U.K.

To the lady who doesn't know where she is in her grief, but yet she is clock watching for the time of her son's death. You may be in DENIAL. I hope not. You have a lovely super attitude toward your son's death that somehow seems unatural not to feel some emotion. I don't think that no matter how positive a person thinks that they can control their grief and not grieve. Grieving is normal and natural for us when we lose someone. You say you don't want to be selfish by wanting your son to stay longer in a world that is not so good. One doesn't know what we are spared from in this world when loved one's pass away early in life like your son did. I have never thought of myself as being selfish by wanting my husband to be alive and us have some retirement together. But I don't know what God spared him from by taking him now early in life. But my heart still aches. I wish he didn't have to die. I WISH I HAD YOUR ATTITUDE. I CAN UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU ARE SAYING AND THE REASONS YOU ARE SAYING THIS. Often people come into our lives and are a pure blessing to us each day. Your son had a lovely attitude to life and taught much from his young life that makes you feel Blessed to have him as your son. Now I wonder where he learnt to have this lovely attitude from? Must be you since you brought him up. I hope that your days of grief may not cause you the pain we all go through in life that is so very painfull. May you continue to feel and be Blesssed in Life and to pass on this Blessing to others. I WAS BLESSED BY YOUR POST.

Sep 03, 2012
Be Still
by: Doreen U.K.

Thank You to the person who replied using the Bible Scriptures. I believe like this and it was especially good to hear these echoes. BE STILL! Know that I am God. God is all we have. He put us here on earth for a purpose and when we have fulfilled our purpose for being here, we too will go on to our final resting place full of HOPE that we will see our loved ones again and be reunited with them. Without this HOPE I couldn't go on another day or moment. Jesus was a man acquainted with sorrows and grief. We too will encounter this. I wish you God's richest Blessings throughout your life. And the comforter to comfort you and all of us on this grief site. Till we go HOME!!.

Sep 03, 2012
2 weeks ago
by: Anonymous

Today is 2 weeks since my son died. I am not sure where I am in my grief. Today I am clock watching for the time of his death. I have found comfort in knowing that I was truly blessed to have had him for the 20 years I had. I can not be selfish and say it wasn't enough. Most people would not say I am a lucky person but I see it different. I had a wonderful son and in the state of the world today for him to be the type of person that he was is amazing. I found in his wallet a fortune cookie paper that had to have been special to him to put in there it say "Don't persue happiness...create it" that sums him up to a tee. We get so busy looking for happiness and it is right there for us to create with what we have. He continues to amaze me. I am blessed that I was even given him as a gift for the 20 years I had. How can I be selfish and say it wasn't enough? I could have not had him at all. There is no time that it wouldn't hurt only if I went first but that too is selfish. I could not leave him to feel what I now feel. I shake as I type this. I miss him greatly. I just have to be so thankful for the gift I was given and not be selfish and want more. I have to trust that there is a reason and not let his life be all about his death. Two weeks ago he was killed in an accident at work. He got hit in the head by a piece of equipment that my father was operating. My father was the man in his life. His biological father left when he was 2 and never heard or seen of again. I do not question the accident. I know he was not alone. I know my dad did everything humanly possible to save him. I know he would have traded places with him in a heart beat. I do not have anger, I do not have the questions that alot of people have. I know things are out of our control sometimes and God knows what he is doing. I have to trust Him and just be thankful I had my son for the time I was allowed. I have to keep my son in my special place and continue to grow and live with him there. I have to help my dad get through this. I have to help his younger brother and sister get through this. I reflect back on his life and look at pictures and I can't find any of him not smiling, busy doing something. That boy has done more than me in his lifetime! I have to smile. I think of how he lived his life and I have to learn from him(kinda funny since I'm the mom)I found a picture of a homeless man on his tablet. He told me about him. My son loved to fish and made friends with a homeless vet he called "Henry the hobo" he took him sandwiches. My son would hold doors for people,he would pick up things for people when they dropped something, he made friends with a 90 year old man on the job site (who attended his funeral). He was a different sort of kid than what I see coming up in this world. If he was that amazing on Earth why wouldn't God need him in Heaven?

Sep 02, 2012
I understand
by: Carol, Seans mom

Rebecca, I feel as though I could of written your feelings. I lost my 24 year old son on November 15,2011. I am still in depression. I don't imagine this hurt and pain and panic will be going anywhere anytime soon. It is gut wrenching. Sean didn't wake up for work and they discovered a blood clot sitting on his heart. Oxygen had been comprimised to his brain. I know how that usually ends, I lost a brother in law ten years ago when he had a heart attack. They saved the heart but oxygen did not go to his brain for a few minutes and that's all it takes. I could not believe what I was hearing. Life now, nine and a half months later is torture. I want my son in my life. It is not normal without him. I have two girls to look out for and I do the best I can but my pain and strain is all over my face. Sean was my oldest child and only son. Life is an uphill struggle each and every day. I hope we all learn to find some peace. It will take me the rest of my life... I am so sorry you now have this same awful pain....

Sep 02, 2012
The unreal tragedy
by: Doreen U.K.

Rebecca I am sorry for your loss of your son. I am feeling everything the way you expressed. I lost my husband 4 months ago from cancer. We were married 44yrs. How does one suddenly cancel out these years for You and Me and everyone else on this site. We are in the deepest waters of our Grief. It is a horrible pit and we are screaming to get these feelings off of us. but we go on each day in a state of shock and almost in a trance as if we are just moving and doing everything but with a deadness in us. It is as if this is not real. It is like a dream. We want to stop the world and get off. What I did was to get some grief books and work through these. I then gave myself time to do nothing but lie around the house. Just cook a meal and rest and watch TV to shut out the pain. Grief will come in stages. Not all at once. Give yourself this time to do nothing if this is how you feel. Sleep, read, anything you want, till you start to feel stronger. Take one day at a time. Don't look too far ahead to the next 40 years with this loss. This is what I did and it consumed me. I felt worse. Taking one day at a time helped me get through those first ugly horrible days of loss and grief. I can't pretend that the days ahead will leave me feeling I am getting better. Days we will move forward, and days we will regress. This is all part of the healing process. I too sit for hours saying nothing. this shuts out everyone else around me and they start to feel isolated. Days I wanted to walk out and take myself off somewhere alone where I could grieve without company. I need to get away but nowhere to go. This grief makes me feel as if my body is all beat up and I have difficulty moving around let alone go somewhere I don't have to live like this in deep sorrow and pain. How do we remove everything that belonged to them. All the clothes, personal belongings. I have to sort out Steve's tools. Everyone is taking away things that belonged to Steve and whilst I am happy for them to have these belongings I am also screaming inside. Put them back. Don't touch what belonged to Steve. He needs them. No more phone calls. No more daily interaction. This is what hurts. The EMPTINESS. LONLINESS. You could find a bereavement counsellor for support to help with the overload of pain. You could keep a journal of your thoughts and feelings and also write letters to your son. I am already doing this. I hope the days ahead will bring you Peace and Comfort from your Pain and Grief.

Sep 02, 2012
Be Still
by: Anonymous

I lost the love of my life this past year, and it brought my life to a screeching halt. I felt like I had been sucker punched in the gut. The death came out of nowhere. Never one to cry, I sobbed nonstop for months. The grief suffocated my every waking moment. Unable to wrap my brain around the thought of another 30-60 years before being reunited with my love, I can only think in terms of "today." Today I will get out of bed, today I will do laundry, ... I intentionally choose not to think about tomorrow because it is too overwhelming for me. It brings on a frenzy of despair. It is through being still - not busy - that I have been able to put one foot in front of the other. I repeat to myself, "Be still, and know that I am God." When I am still, I am able to feel God's comfort. It doesn't mean that I don't cry, because I do again and again until I am all dried up. But, I know God is with me through this pain. My love is just on the other side, this life is but a breath in the grand scheme of it all. I can persist, I will persist, until we are reunited again. The apostle Paul, facing death, wrote in his farewell letter to Timothy, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day Timothy Continue fighting the fight, running the race, and keeping the faith. You will be reunited with your son in due time. Pray for God's comfort until then.

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