Tom's Blog

Major Breakdowns ~ are they normal?

Posted by Tom Zuba on September 06, 2012 3 Comments

One of my Facebook followers, Wendi, asked for input: " ...would like to ask for advice from your followers (and you of course!). I lost my 17 yr old son in April 2011. Every once in a while I have a major breakdown. This particular one I'm in right now is the worst it has been since we first lost Travis. What can I do to help myself when the days become unbearable and all I can do is cry? I have stepped away from work a few days but need to resume but is this normal?..am I just going to go through these times every so often with no particular trigger? I think about him every minute/every day/every night and sometimes if I'm lucky when I'm sleeping. It is all consuming but sometimes it just all caves in on me and I'm reduced to a mess. I feel guilty because I don't go to his gravesite unless it is his birthday or anniversary of his death because I don't know what to do when I'm there and my thoughts turn morbid thinking of him in the ground and also I always feel close to him because I am thinking of him all of the time so I figure going out there is just asking for a sadness to take me over. I know everyone grieves differently I guess I'm just seeing if anyone may have any advice or if they felt this way in their journey. "

The responses were many, varied and worth sharing here:

Melissa Seamonson I don't think she could be any more normal. I have found that crying and letting it out..really does open the soul/heart to healing. She's out a little farther than I am in her loss...but I have learned to feel my little Blaker's by my side. I know when I need to scream, cry and be mad at the world(and I do)...and when I need to sit in silence and feel the love between my son and I.

Eva Nuñez Wendi .. I lost my 22 yr old son on August of 2007 . Next Sat will be 5 yrs . and not a morning have I not woken up to my thinking about him most morning I tear up and sometimes I break down and cry in hiding of course ( I think people around me think I should be over it ) . I also remind myself often what Justin would want for me how he would be sadden by my sadness , tears ect. I pull strength from my sons happy , smiling and loving soul to get me past the bad days . I hope this helps to know there are many of us grieving our children you are not alone my friend !

Dorothy Hills Oh Wendi, I'm know expert by any means. However, I can say that everything you are going through is a "normal" part of grieving, but what is normal has always been my question. I didn't lose a child, so I can't compare my grieving to yours, but I did lost a husband of 43 years. Which is a life time to me and I have experience the same feeling that you are going through. Today is my husband's birthday and I feel he left me way too soon. I'm doing my best today trying to focus on the happiness he brought into my life, instead of his death. All of this is very hard and the emotions at times can be unbearable. I have also given my life to God to lead me in this new life that I must LIVE! Love you and may you find some peace. Tom's site will help you, but like Tom has always said " we make the choice." I hope this helps you get through another day.

Gloriann Dawson Fist of all Wendi, my condolences to you. I can only imagine how you must feel and the pain you suffer. Do not feel guilt about going to the cemetery. When my dad died I went just about every day for months then it became less and less. What did I do there? I talked to him. My conscious mind knew it was just his body that was there but for some of us, it makes us feel closer to our loved one being there. Eventually it became a longer time between visits and now just father's day and his birthday. I realized after a time that I could talk to him anywhere - that his spirit was with me always and everywhere I went. My brother lives out of town and he comes back infrequently, but when he does he brings a chair with him and has what he calls "a visit" with both mom and dad.

Charlene Mannila While my son wasn't 17... We did lose my brother when he was... I can't 100% speak from your stand point! But I agree with Melissa... You couldn't be any more normal! It will be 20 years next Wednesday since we lost my brother.. My mom and I still can't talk to one another about him without bawling.... I don't visit his resting place (partially because I moved out of state now) because it's to much for me! Mom says the same! She goes every birthday and anniversary also! all I can say is TIME!!! Everyone grieves different! Don't put a number on your grief! And dont let anyone try to rush you to move forward... Grieve... God Bless

Rosemary Gresock I'm so sorry Wendi for the loss of your precious son, Travis...everything you do and feel is absolutely normal! I lost a very dear friend a few years back. I was so devastated that I could not attend her memorial service. I wanted to remember her from the last time we parted, which was a loving embrace. Please be gentle on yourself and take as much time as you need, because Travis would want it that way. Peace to you Wendi.

Donna Martin I lost my son at 16 terrible accident...I have felt just like you and still even at two years I have trouble going to a stie unless its his Bday or the other day..I think at times Guilt brings me donw quicker than anything....and I also have days where I am a mess...One thing that does seem to focus me and help me is to remember to celebrate his life and recall memories with others......Sending you lots of peace

Gloriann Dawson Hit the wrong button.......Wendi I work with hospice and I read quite a bit about grieving and I listen to our counselors and from what I have learned eventually your meltdowns will become farther apart. In fact, make a note on the calendar about the day it started and how long it lasted and keep track of them and what possible set them off. You might want to even journal them. That is a great way to release pinned up anger, sadness, frustration, grief, or all of the above. I truly believe that meltdowns are our body's way of processing, cleansing and returning us back to center. They are not a bad thing unless they just become all too consuming and we keep going further into a dark place. But since you are aware of them and able to speak of them, I don't see anything wrong. Grieving just takes time and like you said, it is different for everyone. (((((((((hugs))))))))))

Anna K. Bennett My girls were 14 and almost 21 when they died 5 years ago. Like you, I think about them all the time. They are always in my heart, and I firmly believe they are my guardian angels. Everything you are doing seems "normal" to me. The times that you randomly break down for no obvious reason will become further apart. I promise. But I don't think they will go away completely. As far as going to the gravesite, do what feels right to you. I don't go to their grave constantly, like some people expected me to do. I go for birthdays and such, and when I feel like it. I've put a blanket on the ground by their stone and stretched out to read a book, and a couple times my fiance and I have sat there as I told him about my girls and my other family members that died before he came into my life. Be patient and gentle with yourself. You are so new to this journey, and it cannot be rushed. (((hugs!)))

Teri Phillips Apanian So very sorry for you Wendi. We lost our 13 year old son 10 years ago. All I can promise you is it does get better, less raw. All you have to do is take one hour, one day at a time right now. Find someone that will listen to you talk about your wonderful son. As for the cemetery, I have never been a fan. My husband feels compelled, and likes going there. I am with you. Think of him at the kitchen table, and many other places. There is no right or wrong. He is in your heart always. Hugs.

Barb Johnson Horowitz Missing him is OK. Crying is OK. Friends are invaluable-use them.

Linda Peterson ‎1) It's completely normally. Don't judge yourself by the standards of everyone else who hasn't gone through a tragedy. 2) Treat yourself as kindly and lovingly as possible. Do anything that will make you feel a little better, whatever that is for you. Watch old movies, read, shop, eat, cook, spend time with friends, play video games all day. Whatever does it for you. Now is not the time to worry about extra calories, cleaning the house or what other people think about you. You are entitled to your grief and forcing yourself to join the "real world" when you're feeling like this only prolongs the process. Hopefully your overall progress will be upwards but that doesn't mean it's a straight upwards path.

Cindy Douglas It's been my experience that what you describe is totally normal. And you're not crazy or maladjusted. Never feel guilty about yourself & the way you grieve. Carrying acute grief just below the surface, every minute of everyday, is overwhelming. And you're going to crack every once-in-awhile. As long as it doesn't shut you down for too long, you'll find that these breakdowns become less frequent & soften as time passes. You just have to be gentle with yourself & accept that learning to live your new life (life after the death of a child) is beyond difficult. Reach out to everyone & each event in your life with love & allow yourself some time. It WILL get easier.

Barbra Riley After the loss of my husband and mother the same month I experienced acute grief and was so overwhelmed. It has been 7 years for me and the journey is amazing., One thing that helped me was when I understood that my grief was about love. I feel the level of grief- is the level of love you had for you son. After embracing the grief, leaning into it - I would always remind myself the hurt, and the pain was love. Some how it helped me cope in a more positive way. After seven years the things that hurt and were so painful in the beginning of my grief have become memories that I hold so close to my heart. Good luck

Melanie Lukeman i lost my 3 half son from meningitus in 1996 i totaly feel the same as u i got no help & was young corey will be 20 next wk- i have just lost my 9 yr old baby through along courtcase i thought i was giving him a better life then east london i was wrong hes deeply missing his mum & brother he is now living in ireland & i wil hardly see him its grieving all over again its frightening the traumas in my life hasnt helped & have depresion i also have lupus i went foqt help with s,services for help constantly knocking the door & now they have took them both from me my other son i see but the pain he is going through & losing his brother & the worry & guilt pain &blaming ourselves is unbearable i have layed corey to rest having my two other sons alive & needing their mum is the worst as i am powerless, so alone scared &always fear the worst i feel life is not worth living but have to for my two sons but the pain every minute of the day grief is the worst i have just gone into my story sorry but i totaly relate i dont have much advice but i am with you & you are not alone have you thought about a spiritual retreat i am trying to get into one i have had theraphys nothing has helped to shift the pain.x

Beth Granger Lost my 13 year old son almost 2years ago no one can put a time limit on your grief you are Normal!

Kelly St Clair Border Coming up on 3 years for my beautiful son who died 2 weeks before his 21st. I think it's normal but that doesn't make it easier. I'm grappling with this. I still cry on the way to work every morning. I'm wondering if we should set aside time to specifically grieve in a big way, loud and active. I spend so much time trying to hold it in and get through life.

Danny Madry I was in one of those moments today when I saw Toms post. I kept wiping my tears off my cell phone to try and read the letter. I can recall my oldest son who said Dad when those times come you have to duck under them. He said crying us ok but if you don't duck the wave it will ruin your day....your week.....your life.

Danny Madry My son Brian was killed last year by a drunk teenager.

Karen Rigby Tuzik Grieving for a child is endless, it lessons but never stops. Nothing in this process is abnormal. I cry often for my 26yo Brian, killed 7 years ago. My heart aches every day. Live one day at a time. Hugs.

Debbe McDowell Topel After our dear friend's 4-year-old son died, I could go to "Nick's memory place." I couldn't go to the "cemetary" or "where Nick was buried" or to "his gravesite." All four meant the same thing, but I could only call it his memory place. The other 3 terms were too morbid for me. I could go up there and be with him when I was at his memory place. (In 4 short years, we created lots of memories with my son who is the same age.) I've learned, and am still learning to do what's best for me. I've learned however I grieve is normal. I've learned there is no normal way to grieve. ~I pray for you as you grieve. A favorite verse in a card I read was, "I pray for restful nights, peaceful days, and the gentle gift of healing."

Karen Pacholko Just cry! IT'S OK it cleanse's Life without our child will never be easy. Our son Michael was 26 when killed by a drunk driver on 01/31/10. Not a day goes by that I don't miss/think about him often. At first he was on my mind every minute. I still think about him a lot, only not as often. It's more remembering him. I have felt guilty that life took my attention away & he wasn't on it as often. I read...we didn't think of our children 24/7 when they were alive so why the need to think of them every moment now that they are gone? My daughter isn't on my mind every second of the day & she is my child just like Michael. We feel guilty over many things we go through or dream up with the loss of a child. Its up to us to make the choice to not let it consume us. You will find your way. Is it easy? NO! Is it attainable? DEFFINITELY! Be gentle with yourself. Our losses have forever changed us. Time will help adjust to the new. Its our decision every day for the rest of our lives.

Allison Hemphill Do what you need to do. I lost my little brother (more like my little child) 26 years ago to an "apparent" suicide. I think about him every day (still). I still cry. Sometimes I break down badly and cry for hours. I can't help myself. I still talk to him as if he could hear me (when no one else is around). I still feel that he can hear me, thus the talking to him. For a long time after he died, I would yell at his recliner. It was extemely therapeutic. The people we love never really leave us, they pass through this dimension into the next and are not visible to our eyes. Do what you feel you need to do. Realize that healing will take time but you will always miss him. He was a big part of your life while he was here and he is now even though he is not here.

Bruce Janssen My daughter, Jenna, had a seizure in April and died 10 days later. She was 26 years old.I cry everyday and miss her so much. I have no idea how long i will cry, maybe forever. Sometimes i feel like i will never get through this but i have two other children that need me. Love and prayers

Tina N' Russ Kitts It's incredibly painful, the hole that is left in your heart is massive, the loss is huge, the grief is devastating, but, in-between the storms that come and go, there is a calm, use it to remember the happy memories, the good things about your loved one to recharge your energies for the next bout of over-whelming grief. Big hugs to all.

Christine Jakes Schmaltz I'm afraid I don't have any advice. I just want you to know you're not the only one this happens too. My son died May 26, 2010, and I still have days that grief over takes me. I know this doesn't offer you any help except to know you're not crazy, you're not losing it, you're still just grieving.

Kathy Blue Quindoza My young daughter passed in 2003 from cancer. She was nine. This year has been very odd to me in that I have grieved/mourned her for a little over nine years now. The length of time she was physically alive with me. This coming February will be 10 years. Wow.... I still shake my head sometimes....9 yrs seems so long...but then it also still seems like yesterday. She would be heading to college right now had she still been here. In so many ways I am completely shocked that i am still here. I really thought there is no way I can survive this. I am telling you... to me Kiki was my everything. I can remember people saying before she ever got sick that they hoped nothing ever happened to either one of us because we were so glued together. That if something did happen the other might not survive. When she took her last breath..I really really did not ever imagine that I would be sitting on my bed with my lil purple laptop writing this. I feel tears of grief are normal...they are sacred...they are cleansing...they are necessary ...the sacred rain of the soul... liquid love falling. i tend to count them as treasures....not so much the stuffed nose...red eyes...and lack of air that can accompany them. :)) They make way for a calm to come in. I feel it is so important to be gentle with oneself. You are dealing with a catastrophic event in your life. Try so very hard not to judge yourself for the way you are feeling. Try to spend time connecting with your loved one in silence..in nature... Express in healthy ways your feelings. Try and find a good support system. Know that your relationship with your loved one is a forever relationship so keep relating and learning how to connect. If you need down time take it. Never give up hope. I never left my daughter for one second...I still to this day carry her with me...she still is the light in my life propelling me to be all I can be...with her..not without her...always "with" her. Cuz lord knows I wasn't going anywhere in this life without her. Almost 10 yrs out...I still have my moments...but I live in so much gratitude to have a nine year earthly experience as Mother and daughter with the most amazing person/soul I ever met. Because of loving her..I am who I am today....forever grateful ♥ Love and peace to you Wendi and all who are traveling this road.

Wendi Anderson Keathley Thanks to all who replied to Tom's post for me. I have been quietly reading and watching all of your inspiration and posts from the sideline for a long time and they have helped me when I needed it. The response is overwhelming and also very needed. I appreciate all of you taking time to write a little something about your experiences because although I don't like being in this "club" I am thankful there are others out there willing to share their experiences and allow others to share and be received with kindness and some clarity.

Tracy Schroeder My son died, Aug 6th, 2010. The anniversary has really knocked me off of my feet. I have cried every day for the last two weeks. I believe that crying is healing. We all grieve differently...no right or wrong...just so we grieve. I go visit Sam every single day at the cemetary. I get so much peace from visiting him there. Last Saturday, I brought my polish along and polished my toe nails. I bring Sam's Ipod and lay on the grass in the sunshine and listen to his music at the cemetary. I get many signs from Sam while at the cemetary. Lately, I have been weeding his plot. There are so many weeds there. Going to the cemetary is very healing to me.

Nancy Dimitri I just read this post just now. Wow. Lots of emotions and inspirations. I didn't lose a child, but had other losses, my parents and close friends. It is very difficult to cope with a loss especially if its a child. I know as others have told me. Everyone does grieve in their own ways. As for going to the cemetery, everyone does that differently too. Some go often and some go on anniversaries and Birthdays. Its okay to cry as it gets emotions out. You remember Baba Sophie's sister Ruth? We called her Aunt Risa. Well she had a Daugher named Carolyn. One day their house exploded and Carolyn was thrown outside and killed. Aunt Risa missed her daughter a lot. She never got over it. She was bitter and told people off, if they hurt her feelings or said something cruel. She was very sensitive. It was many years later she kind of started living and laughing a little. But her mind and heart was always on her daughter. I could tell the look in her face and her eyes that she was sad. I think what helped her the most was to talk about it and to have the support of family and friends. I know it is difficult but Travis would want you to remember him and to be strong. He knew he was loved and had two good parents.

Kathy Blue Quindoza My dear friend Tracy Schroeder... Your friend KBQ is losing it!! I was weeding your post...oh my!! You said you were weeding Sam's plot. I read it" weeding Sams pot." I thought to myself...Tracy is smokin pot at the cemetery?? huh? lol!!! Then I realized what it really said. THEN I thought ....perhaps weed at the cemetery is not such a bad idea!!! All my love to you sweet friend!! Sorry I had twouble weeding your post. Love you so much! ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Tracy Schroeder On Sam's anniversary, we did have about fifteen of Sam's friends there after dark. We released Sky lanterns and passed around some fortys (beer).

Kathy Blue Quindoza I will bet that was so neat. I really want to get some sky lanterns.....beer is good too ;) ♥ ♥ ♥

Tracy Schroeder It was very cool. Tyler dug a hole and we buried treasures for Sam on his plot. We were at the cemetary from 9:30 till 11:00. It was very healing.

Kathy Blue Quindoza

Tracy Schroeder I hope no one from the cemetary reads this or I will be in trouble.

Kathy Blue Quindoza Well if u do ...they will hear from like 1800 of us ; ) We have your back. ♥

Gina Bateman Buck Most important thing you can do for yourself is get in a private facebook group full of people like the ones who have posted here. They will save your life.

Kathy Nearing The hurt is like no other hurt. I lost my best friend a year ago. My mom. She was my sunshine. I told her one day that she better not ever leave me and she said , "Kathy everyone has to go some time". I wish we can have our family forever but mom was right. We all have to go some time, I begged her to stay and the days she got sick with dementia we held hands and I fed her and one day the nurse called and said her time was coming. I screamed and said please don't let her go! Then I remembered that mom said we all have to go someday and I knew I had to let her go. I never cried so hardto had the pain in my heart as I did then and even now. We have to live with their memories and their love until that one day when our time will come. Till then we have to live like they would want us to live. I try and do something nice for someone in memory of her whenever I can, I go to the cemetery and I put a small white little fence with white rocks and her frog she had by her door for years by her stone, I also pick the weeds and I think of all the great memories she gave me. Time beams with the love we bring with us from them,

Kathy Nearing That last sentence was time heals with the love we bring with us from them.

Tina N' Russ Kitts Oh Kathy Blue Quindoza that was soo lovely and poignant and sad reading your comment, it made me sob but also gives us all hope, thank you. Smiling through my tears.

Maria L. Lord If you guys are not too religion then I would suggest you to read the first book called "Conversation with God" by Neale Donald Walsch. You'll be amazed how this book helps you to deal with life, death and even losing family. It is a very uplifting book and help to see life better. My husband passed away 18 years ago and the grief was so hard but once I read all of Neale 's books I can live happy and free again. And haven't felt this great in 30 years. I'm living proof!!

Colette Raymond There is nothing worse then losing a child Live each day remembering all the time you had rather then the time you don't. Try and be the best person you can enjoy your life that is the best honor you can still give your child.Hang in there my heart goes out to you.

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