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We all grieve differently

I have always wanted to be a mother and encourage our children to be honest, caring, empathetic and great communicators.  All the parenting books never prepared me to help my three children grieve the unexpected loss of their father. His death was a shock- all three children helped thousands of searchers try find our Travis.   On the third day- a family member found his body and face submerged in water. All our prayers, all our cries were not answered. Any death of a loved one is difficult, the books that I have read say unexpected loss adds more anguish because of all the unknown and questions that will never be answered.

How does a parent try stay afloat and feel the raw suffocating emotions that come with the loss of their soulmate- yet also comfort their children. Everyone of us is different. We all grieve differently- not one is right- not one is wrong. I encourage my children to talk to me, journal, talk to friends, family, counselors, teachers.... Talk to anyone. Talk to their dad in heaven, talk out loud, cry, scream, allow their emotions to come out.

We all struggle, its been 126 days since their father was alive.  They were not able to say "good bye", they did not say "I love you". They were cheated. He was cheated.  It was all so unexpected. The youngest, just turned 13 only ten days after finding his dad's body, doesn't want to hear his dad's name. He doesn't want to talk about it. Refuses to go to counseling, I haven't seen him cry since the funeral. 

The middle child, whom is 14 went to four counseling sessions and refuses to go again for "they don't help". She also does not like to talk about her father for it "hurts too much". 

Our oldest, a twenty year old is in counseling and throws herself into college and work.  She has created a blog, a journal about her life after the unexpected death of her father. This blog has now reached others throughout the world. Others have commented that her writings habe helped them through their grief. Her siblings eagerly await her posts being comforted knowing she has experienced the same virtual hell they are living. 

My oldest daughters most recent post shares advice that she has for friends and loved ones of someone whom recently lost a father, mother, grandparent, sibling, aunt, uncle, loved one. 

My daughter, Sydney Ann would also like to share with you: 

ADVICE TO THOSE WHO CAN’T RELATE

Millions of people experience traumatic losses some point in their lives. Thousands of people experience friends undergoing the process of grieving. Yet, only hundreds of those friends can succeed in a positive friendship with a person who has had a traumatic loss in their life.

I wish I had a legit source to site for the information just stated above, but I don’t, just something I believe.

I, as the individual who has had a traumatic loss in life, has experienced that person who thinks i’ve changed since the death of my father. I hope that with this post, people can learn not only through the experience i’ve gone through, but take my advice I offer to help. Help that friend you have or will have that will experience death. The death of someone who left too soon.

I’ve been told almost 200 times since November 6th that i’ve changed. “Sydney, you just aren’t yourself anymore. You don’t seem as happy. We’re always scared to talk to you because we don’t know what you are thinking.” “Sydney, we want to not be walking on egg shells with you. You always seem too hostile and mad.” “It’s like you’ve stop caring what people think of you. You don’t really seem to care about much anymore.”

Many times after being told I’m not happy, scared to talk to, and careless, I run away from the situation. The emotions soon catch up with my body and it happens, a break down. No one wants to be told that people are scared to talk to you. No one wants to be told anything negative about themselves. You only want to hear the good, right? I’ve always been the type of person to wants to be told things how it is. Not sugarcoat anything, just state the truth. The truth sucks to hear a lot of the time. Hate admitting that the other person might be right. I have learned through experience, hearing the truth in the first place is better to hear in the long run. Sorry, getting off topic.

The hardest part about having relationships with people who experience basically anything traumatic in life is the fact being they don’t understand. They can’t relate to you. They don’t know what it’s like losing a parent from cancer, sister from a drug overdose, brother an alcoholic, and the list could go on and on. How is a friend supposed to help the person in need? How is a friend supposed to talk to a person who seems angry 24/7? How is a friend supposed to feel normal as an individual themselves after watching a traumatic death affect another person? There isn’t a right answer. There isn’t the best of the best answer. I wish I knew all the answers, but I most certainly don’t.

The people who had thought I changed after my father died, I have to thank. I thank you for showing me the truth. The actions you’ve shown conclude to simply not being able to be that person that I need in a time like this. I don’t need someone to talk behind my back saying how much i’ve changed since this death. First off you look kinda silly because of course someone is going to change. Secondly, it’s rude to blame the death of someone the reason why “they’ve changed” or “not the same” you know, “different”. Why is it rude? Well, because you don’t knowYou don’t know what it’s like in that persons shoes. You have absolutely no right to judge their actions because you simply can’t comprehend what it is like. Why judge someone off of something when you don’t get it? I will never understand.

I have a few examples I want to list off of what has happened to me in the past. These stood out to me because they were the most common. These examples seemed to always happen every other week. Here is the advice that I would offer to those who ever have a time where you just don’t know what to do anymore. How to make things better? I guess it’s not so much a positive and uplifting list, but just things to not really try to do… to those who are suffering from a traumatic loss or incident in life.

#1. This is the number one thing that I find people struggling with comprehending, but the most important fact to remind yourself when having a person who has gone through a traumatic loss… DON’T think you can fix the problem! No matter what you say or do, nothing will change what had happened. Nothing can make the pain or experience go away. As hard as it is watching the individual struggle with all the heavy loads of new emotions, know that you cannot make things normal for them.

#2. Don’t avoid the person. It may seem scary to be around the person who is unstable with the “crazy” emotions. You may often think that you might make the situation worse when just being around them. You may not want to physically see what happens to an individual who losses someone so quickly. Often, you might just want to avoid the person because it reminds you nothing but horrific memories. They need you in this time. They need some help. Don’t try to run away from them!

#3. Please don’t call them names. Yes, we’ve all heard this before many times in life. Treat others the way we want to be treated, right? The truth about calling names to those who have just recently experienced almost anything difficult in life, not just death, is one of the worst ways to help them. You only create more problems for that individual who already has enough going on as it is. Being called names doesn’t make the person feel any better about themselves whatsoever. They don’t really care what you think because thinking about how people view them in life really doesn’t matter to them..which leads to my next topic.

#4. Telling the person they don’t care about the same stuff they used to care about. Congratulations, you’ve notice a change in someone after their father suddenly passes away. I’m sorry if I offend anyone, but what the heck do you expect? Am I supposed to act like the same person I was before my father died? Am I supposed to not change at all after something like that happens to me? Here’s the problem…put things in a different perspective. Try to view things differently.

What if you were told that one of your grandparents would pass away tomorrow? “Hey, grandma isn’t doing too well in the nursing home. She’s been on breathing tubes the past couple days and nothing is improving. We need to pull the plugs tomorrow.” It would be pretty sad to hear, right? You wouldn’t know where to begin when comprehending that grandma isn’t getting better like she was supposed to, and instead she has to die. She needs to go to heaven.

What if you are told that little five year old cousin Sandy didn’t wake up from her sleep last night? Her stage four cancer has really been kicking her butt, and things didn’t turned around. She died in her sleep from her horrific cancer.

What if you were told that your brother was planning on committing suicide? No matter what anyone says to him, his depression is so deep that nothing can fix his desire to commit suicide.

I could come up with several scenarios of various people in anyone’s life dying from whatever reason it may be. Each scenario up above isn’t true. Nothing like that happened to me or anyone I know. I made them all up to think in someone else’s shoes. Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes to try and help you understand what it’s like in their life. Just because you do the same things, have the same interests, eat the same food, have the same friends, etc…. doesn’t mean you are the same person. Every person in the world is different and experiences different memories that they handle in whatever way suites them best.

Yes, I completely agree with the fact that I have changed since my father died. My scenario wasn’t something that I was prepared for. My scenario wasn’t something where we could say our last goodbyes before we turn off the breathing tubes. My scenario wasn’t something that I could fix with surgery. My scenario wasn’t something that I was informed before the death occurred. It was a surprise! The worst surprise I have ever received. Please don’t tell me i’ve changed. I know i’ve changed as a person.

So I guess what I am saying is, don’t be mean to the people who are hurting inside, don’t be mean to anyone. There is always a way the victim will find  out the truth. The truth about what people, did, said, believes, etc… about you. Everyone figures out the truth about everything eventually. I just don’t understand why people would want to hurt those who are already hurting inside. Why waste time and energy on such hostility and sadness?

Those who are capable of admitting their faults, wrong actions that occurred.. blah, blah, blah.. basically, those who can say that they have screwed up, or was wrong.. or hey, wanna apologize.. something about adults or “older people” have a tough time admitting when they are wrong. It’s crazy to me for how often it occurs. Those who are scared, run away, and keep everything side are making themselves worse in the long run. Things would be so much easier and less drama in life if people (mainly girls it seems) could say they were wrong, things would be different.

If you ever have people who make you feel kinda how I have when it comes to hearing the truth about those people who you trusted..know that you are not alone. People like them are brought into your life at an unexpected time where you don’t really understand why, but accept it anyways. And then they leave? Or something happens, right? It happens and it  may never really make any sense, but accept it. Once you’ve been able to accept that you don’t need those people in life anymore, you’ll be a different person. There’s a reason why things happen the way they do in life. We just have to sit and wait to see what God has in store for us!

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About the Author

My soulmate died unexpectedly on November 6, 2015. We always wanted to spend our lives with him, instead he spent his entire life with us. I am a wife (now a widow) of the most amazing man. I am a mother of three strong courageous children. Never, in a million years did I imagine I would start a blog to share our feelings of grief and despair which were caused by my husbands unexpected death. Our lives are shattered- yet will remain strong, for we are the “5pack” as he called us.

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