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Old 01-30-2019, 08:12 AM
 
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My son unexpectedly died five years ago when he was 19, and when it comes to grief or talking about a deceased child, I firmly believe you just need to decide what is right for you, and then do it.

For me, everyone who is at all close to me knows about my son, and I no longer feel the need to tell anyone else. However, for the first year or two after he died, though, I felt the need to tell anyone who asked me, "How many children do you have?" that my son had recently died, followed by a short version of the circumstances. I think I needed to tell it in order to have some continued sympathy shown to me because I am both a strong and a reserved person, after a while, my friends and relatives just assumed that I had recovered and moved on. But then, starting about three years ago, I no longer felt the need for any sympathy from strangers, and so now, when someone asks me, "How many children do you have?", I simply answer, "My daughter, but she lives in ____" (quite a distance from me), and at that point, they usually drop the subject. So, although I am not actually lying about my son and his death by not mentioning him, I deflect any questions about him that are both painful and sad for me.

And, of course, the OP and all of you who have lost a child have my more sincere sympathy and empathy. (I also had a miscarriage when I was four months pregnant, which was devastating to me. I can only imagine how much worse it would be to lose a full-term baby or any very young child.)

P.S. Btw, although I understand that some people just want to "make conversation", I think that strangers should steer away from asking personal questions because some "innocent and friendly" questions do have the potential of making people sad or uncomfortable.
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Old 01-30-2019, 09:54 AM
 
Location: San Francisco
897 posts, read 181,908 times
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Thanks for your kind thoughts, Katharsis. I am so sorry about your son. Losing a child is so much harder (not to discount other loss); but we simply don’t anticipate/prepare for it the way we can for our parents or even a sibling or spouse. Then again, because of the complications in her pregnancy, we had fear and concern - but I still don’t think I believed it would turn out as it did.
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Old 01-30-2019, 12:21 PM
 
36,109 posts, read 13,850,614 times
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James Pennebaker wrote in his book "Opening Up" that often after a traumatic incident, people are just not ready to talk. It is too painful. However, in the beginning is when others are most willing to listen.

Then once people are ready to talk, many times others are not willing to listen. He is a professor who researched response to traumatic events and predicted to within two days after the San Francisco earthquake when t-shirts would appear reading, "Thanks for not sharing your earthquake experience."
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Old 01-30-2019, 02:05 PM
 
Location: South Carolina
13,503 posts, read 18,231,304 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CorporateCowboy View Post
I am sorry for your loss, too. In my situation, she did give birth - but had multiple complications (which started in her pregnancy). The hardest part is when people I meet ask if I’m a Dad. I never know how to answer that - without a lot of questions or confusion.


Just say I used to be and one day I Hope to be again . My brother and his wife they lost two newborns and then she finally had one and he is now 6 and they decided not to have any more children . after the first two people would ask him if he was a dad and he said I used to be and one day I hope to be again and then say excuse me and walk away .
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Old 01-30-2019, 02:53 PM
 
3,089 posts, read 744,780 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CorporateCowboy View Post
Exactly! After almost 2 years (and because she died as a newborn), I already feel some people think I should have moved on by now. But I never grieved, just as what happened to you. My daughter’s mom was an emotional wreck - I felt I should be the strong guy - and after all, she is the one that gave birth so it felt that is the way it ‘should be’. Thanks to some friends, though, I know I need to talk about it more (for myself this time) - and putting it out there is a great start, almost as if a ‘secret’ is finally out in the open.
I am so sorry for your loss. I hope you will turn to your wife instead of away from her. I understand wanting to be strong for her but you need to, IMO, allow her to help you now. Just because you didn't give birth doesn't mean you don't deserve the support now. Do you think she could give you the support?
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Old 01-30-2019, 03:26 PM
 
Location: San Francisco
897 posts, read 181,908 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grlzrl View Post
I am so sorry for your loss. I hope you will turn to your wife instead of away from her. I understand wanting to be strong for her but you need to, IMO, allow her to help you now. Just because you didn't give birth doesn't mean you don't deserve the support now. Do you think she could give you the support?
No, as I mentioned in previous posts - I am no longer with my baby’s mother. That’s why it makes it difficult to finally open up about it two years later. At the time, I was trying to be strong and support her - but since the relationship has dissolved, I’m not in a place to contact her now and expect emotional support. I’ve recently met someone who has encouraged me to get to this point - to open up and share it. She is great, but she has never experienced it herself - and I know she struggles with what to say. She has suggested counseling or some type of group - even if it’s a few times. I’m certainly open to that.
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Old 01-30-2019, 04:50 PM
 
13,333 posts, read 13,016,136 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CorporateCowboy View Post
No, as I mentioned in previous posts - I am no longer with my baby’s mother. That’s why it makes it difficult to finally open up about it two years later. At the time, I was trying to be strong and support her - but since the relationship has dissolved, I’m not in a place to contact her now and expect emotional support. I’ve recently met someone who has encouraged me to get to this point - to open up and share it. She is great, but she has never experienced it herself - and I know she struggles with what to say. She has suggested counseling or some type of group - even if it’s a few times. I’m certainly open to that.
Most of my friends who have experienced a severe loss at the level of what you have experienced have found some comfort in groups. You should give it a try and if you find you're not comfortable in a groups situation, some conversations with a therapist could also be helpful. Even just a couple of sessions.

What you experienced was a very specific kind of loss. Not only have you lost the myriad of futures that were possible at your child's birth, but you never knew your child or interacted with them even though you fully expected to do so. TBH, it would be rather strange if you did not have feelings of intense anger at times - you were robbed of something priceless.

What struck me in your intial post was the devastating loneliness of your position that you find yourself in right now. I really think you should give the grief support groups a try, and it might mean shopping around to find the right one. OK, "shopping around" for a grief group sounds awful, but really there's not a huge point to it unless you find a group you can stick with, share your story with and feel supported by.
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Old 01-30-2019, 10:40 PM
 
Location: San Francisco
897 posts, read 181,908 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JrzDefector View Post
Most of my friends who have experienced a severe loss at the level of what you have experienced have found some comfort in groups. You should give it a try and if you find you're not comfortable in a groups situation, some conversations with a therapist could also be helpful. Even just a couple of sessions.

What you experienced was a very specific kind of loss. Not only have you lost the myriad of futures that were possible at your child's birth, but you never knew your child or interacted with them even though you fully expected to do so. TBH, it would be rather strange if you did not have feelings of intense anger at times - you were robbed of something priceless.

What struck me in your intial post was the devastating loneliness of your position that you find yourself in right now. I really think you should give the grief support groups a try, and it might mean shopping around to find the right one. OK, "shopping around" for a grief group sounds awful, but really there's not a huge point to it unless you find a group you can stick with, share your story with and feel supported by.
Thanks for posting, Jrz! The hard part is actually that I’m not lonely in all other areas of my life (which is what makes me feel so lonely in this area, the stark contrast). I do have a few friends that have shared the past few years - but my focus back then was helping my baby’s mother through it. Now that I feel I’m the one who needs to talk about it, I don’t want to unload on those friends (and I know they want me to - it’s just I need to hear from other people who have gone through a similar experience). I’m definitely going to consider a support group.
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Old 01-31-2019, 12:54 AM
 
Location: colorado springs, CO
4,480 posts, read 2,045,238 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CorporateCowboy View Post
Exactly! After almost 2 years (and because she died as a newborn), I already feel some people think I should have moved on by now. But I never grieved, just as what happened to you. My daughter’s mom was an emotional wreck - I felt I should be the strong guy - and after all, she is the one that gave birth so it felt that is the way it ‘should be’. Thanks to some friends, though, I know I need to talk about it more (for myself this time) - and putting it out there is a great start, almost as if a ‘secret’ is finally out in the open.
I did a quick search online & was surprised at how many resources are geared towards the mothers, some state “parents” or “couples” & I couldn’t find anything specifically for “fathers”. This organization has groups all over: https://www.compassionatefriends.org/ & they have been around for a while.

You should be proud of yourself for acknowledging your vulnerability & wanting some support. Unresolved grief is an extremely painful & harmful state of mind.
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Old 01-31-2019, 01:51 AM
 
Location: San Francisco
897 posts, read 181,908 times
Reputation: 371
Quote:
Originally Posted by coschristi View Post
I did a quick search online & was surprised at how many resources are geared towards the mothers, some state “parents” or “couples” & I couldn’t find anything specifically for “fathers”. This organization has groups all over: https://www.compassionatefriends.org/ & they have been around for a while.

You should be proud of yourself for acknowledging your vulnerability & wanting some support. Unresolved grief is an extremely painful & harmful state of mind.
Thanks Christi! That definitely seems to be the problem I’m up against - finding a support group specifically for Dads or at least individuals (rather than couples). I did check your link, and I appreciate it. It would be great to connect with a few people who can understand/relate. But it has also been extremely helpful to just ‘put it out there’ - and yes, realizing it doesn’t mean I’m weak as a man to say, “hey this isn’t easy and it sure would be great to have an ear”. So thanks again, Christi!
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