Our Daughter was 33
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Our Daughter was 33

by Bill

April 21st 2012 our world changed from a normal family with normal problems to a family destroyed by the sudden death of our daughter. She left two beautiful girls age 11 and 15. I could write a book about the sadness, grief, shock, pain and anger, instead I will fast forward to today and the emotions we all feel in the present.

The girls are coping but still carry a heavy burden, filled with anxiety and the reality that mom won't be there as they make their way through life. My wife is still trying to pick up the pieces of her broken heart and honestly I don't think she will ever fully recover. When we lose a child it changes our lives in a way that only our peers who have suffered the same loss can understand.

Meantime as a father I have to work, try to help the rest of the family and find time to grieve myself. It's very hard and just an hour ago I screamed nasty words at my wife for not understanding what happened the day our darling daughter passed away. Am I becoming a bad man? Should I seek counseling? All they will tell me is what I already know. It's not going to change and I need to put one foot in front of the other and time will heal the pain.

I'm at a loss as what to do going forward. The eldest of the girls came to live with us and has taken the hard road. That again had us putting all our energy and focus on getting her back on track. My wife and I argue constantly because of the Agra daughter we love. I find I'm almost to a point where I am prepared to as her to leave at the age of 18. Is this the answer? I don't know.

What I do know is, if I don't start putting myself first I'm not going to be around to help anyone else. O much of a plan...always have patience with your fellow person and you never know what's going on behind their eyes .

Comments for Our Daughter was 33

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Thank You Bill
by: Katrin

Dear Bill,

I'm so sorry for your loss. I can not even begin to imagine what it feels like to lose a dear daughter who also leaves young children behind.

Thank You so much for sharing your story and feelings. It will help others to not feel so alone when going this lonely hard road of grief.

That is one thing that I found very hard, the feeling of being alone, the disconnectedness. Even though we had lost the same person, the differences in our way of grieving overshadowed the things we had in common. The differences and instances where we couldn't support each other just seemed so much stronger or important.

I wonder if it might be this experience of disconnection that causes the arguing and also the troubles with your granddaughter? A disconnection that's only amplified by the absentmindedness that comes with the work of making sense of what happened to your daughter.

There are two things that I'd like to share with you at the moment.
Firstly a few ideas that might help you to (re)connect your family
and secondly how I personally experienced counseling.

Tr (re)connect I found the six stages of attachment to be wonderfully handy categories of little doable steps to take. (originated by Gordon Neufeld, I lean on the explanations by Susan Stiffelmann in her book parenting without power struggles)

1.Stage: Proximity / Closeness
Showing that you want to be in the company of your loved ones (even if only for a few moments at a time) maybe through hugs, invitations to do something together like a walk in the park, doing the dishes together or sharing memories...

2.Sameness / things you have in common
whether you enjoy doing the same thing or you have a common interest, emphasize those. If that seems very hard to do, find something your granddaughters care about that you can relate to.
Or maybe it's something you both dislike / would like to change.

3.Belonging or Loyalty
Showing that you're on your loved ones side. Sharing memories, offering comfort, advocating for each other can all be helpful.
On the flip side, I could sense my partners impatience with my progress in grieving, even though he tried to be patient and not say anything.
If something like that is an issue for you, Byron Katie's "the work" could help (http://thework.com)

4.Significance / appreciating each other
letting your loved ones know how special and important they are to you

5. Love / nourishing affection
like just smiling at each other, and enjoying each others company without demanding anything of each other

6. Being Known
the final and deepest stage of attachment is about true openness and honesty without fear.

in regards to counseling - I suppose I experienced it a bit like you would have experienced writing this story about your family. My counselor would largely just listen to my story and at times reflect what I said but not judge anything or giving any advice or pretend to know anything better.

However in the process of telling my story to someone and asking my questions myself I found more and more clarity about my thoughts and feelings and what steps to take next.

When my thoughts got stuck her reflections and guiding questions opened up new angles to explore the whole situation from and also helped me to stay focused and find at least one little thing that I could easily put into practice during the next couple of days to move forward.

Having regular appointments also helped me to really set the time aside and take care of myself. The way I experienced it I really can only recommend it.

And no, I don't think you're becoming a bad man. The day my partner lost it and shouted at me I realized that indeed he was grieving too. In a way it gave me a chance to take care of him too.

Wishing you and your family all the best

Love and strength


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