I would like to hear from you what issue has been the most difficult since your loss.
Is it communicating with your partner?
Is it your anger -- at your partner, caregiver, or God, etc.?
Is it the resulting behaviors of your grief, like drinking too much, isolating yourself, or seeking gratification outside your marriage?
Is it trying to be productive at work?
Is it regaining your sex life?
Let's talk about some of these issues and hopefully find some things that will be helpful in resolving them.
Hello Tim, My name is Dana. I have been searching for a support sites for grieving dads. I am so glad I have found you :)ReplyDelete
I will place a link to your blog in my Angel Babies.Would you mind doing the same ? Dana
Hi Tim, each of these issues resonates strongly for me and with a baby hanging on me right now I can suggest that each could be a blog entry on its own. I can add to the list: feelings of guilt about decisions we made in the hospital or, generalizing more, guilt about the cause of death. In my case it was vital that I found compassionate staff at the hospital who worked with me to see what could help other families. It was the most important source of healing that staff worked with us to learn from Sasha's death. I think that it is very difficult for parents of complex care and fragile kids to suddenly have no relationship with the hospital after the child's death. Flowers and cards from Palliative Care are a great start but nothing beats talking to hospital staff with so much experience in grief and bereavement. I have found most staff are happy to work with grieving parents to explore how to help other families. My wife did not travel this route with me as we had two more little girls. So one source of tension in our communication was over finding a balance where my grieving and healing did not remove me from daily family time. My wife was concerned that I focused on our dead daughter to the detriment of our living daughters and even to the detriment of my work in a family business. I have made an effort to find this balance and its gotten easier in time. Ok, gotta go, Sam is scratching at the door and infant Eve is playing with pencils!ReplyDelete
Thanks for this blog!
Thanks for being so open about what you found helpful in your grief and how that was sometimes a challenge in your relationship. There is no doubt that we each have to find our own way to work through our grief and do meaningful things to aide that process. I think it's more common in relationships to have two people with different needs rather than identical needs. The sign of a strong connection is when each person can respect the other's way of doing things, even when they can't relate.
It sounds like you and your wife have found that balance and you are to be commended for listening to her concerns and making the attempt to consider them. Of course, she is to be commended for sharing those concerns with you rather than bottling up her frustration / hurt / anger and letting them become big problems.
The bottom line is, you are both communicating. That is by far the most important ingredient in any relationship, and that is especially so when going through times of extreme stress. I hope you both know how lucky you are to have that in your marriage. Sherokee Ilse and I recently completed a book entitled, "Couple Communication After a Baby Dies -- Differing Perspectives." You might find some of our stories interesting and helpful in understanding each other's perspectives.
I, too, had a need to try and spend my energy after my daughter's death to make improvements for future families. I volunteered with a non-profit organization, spoke to hospital staff about my needs as a father, and wrote a help booklet. I needed to feel that something positive could arise from that situation, and it consumed me until I felt I'd found it. My wife, on the other hand, needed to concentrate on caring for our two-year-old and preparing herself to face another pregnancy. Neither of us had a "better" plan than the other -- we simply had different needs and respected our right to seek those out.
Please share more when you have time. Your comments are exactly what I was hoping might come from this blog. I would encourage you to share it with other dads as well as the caregivers you work with. There is no more effective way to learn than when you can hear comments directly from someone who has lived the experience and is willing to give the time in an effort to make it better for the next family.
Thanks again, Jonathan, I hope to hear more.
I just my son on Monday the 2nd at 12:03pm from HLHS. He was born on 1/31 and died 3/2. I am just so mad that God would allow this to happen to so called good people like my wife and I.ReplyDelete
The most difficult issue since my baby boy died Monday at 12:03pm is that I won't ever be able to hold him again or touch his sweet face.ReplyDelete
Hi Brad... I have been out of town, so I'm sorry it took me until today to see your comment. I'm supposed to get a notice on my cell phone, but for some reason I didn't.ReplyDelete
First of all, I want to tell you how sorry I am for your loss. Your comments about being angry with God and your pain of never being able to touch your son's face again, still bring back that knot in my stomach I felt when our daughter died. Your anger with God is both understandable and justifiable. Personally, I believe that God can handle our anger and is not only OK with it, He understands it completely. I remember wondering why parents who so badly wanted a baby experienced this kind of pain, while there seemed to be so many people out there who didn't want a child or who didn't seem to take care of them. I wish I could tell you I had some magic answer to that question, but I don't.
I will tell you that I do think it's good to feel your anger and open up about it, rather than denying it or holding it in. The more you can express your pain, the more you will release some of the pressure and be able to keep going through these difficult days. I hope you will use this space to share some of those feelings and let myself and other dads offer what feedback we can. Again, there are no answers, but for those of us who have gone before you, we can at least understand some of what you are experiencing.
Are you going to have a memorial service, or have you already? How are you and your wife / partner communicating right now? Do you feel you can be open with her? If not, is there someone else you can be open with -- clergy, friend, relative?
These first days will simply be putting one foot in front of the other in order to keep going. I can assure you that the hurt will slowly subside, but it's a slow process of one step forward and two steps backward. You aren't losing your mind when that happens. You are grieving -- and you have every right to do that.
Are you able to take some time off work? Let us know what your plans are so that we can maybe offer some ideas that helped us get through those times.
In the meantime, Brad, know that there are people out here who have never met you that care and want to help. I hope you will continue to let us. Take care.