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Loss and Pain

Updated on August 16, 2013


A husband, my father, and a son; in that order. All three deaths were sudden and unexpected. And I dealt with each very differently...

I was 24 when my husband died, we had been married a little over a year, and our son was just 3 months old. One moment my life was blissfully happy and full of possibilities; the next, as I stood in shock and disbelief, staring at the twisted metal that encapsulated my husband's mangled body, I was facing it alone again... I remember feeling as though I was in a thick fog, lost, I couldn't make sense of my thoughts; everything was just too confusing. And I remember being so fearful of coming out of that fog, because somewhere in my head I could faintly hear the harsh jangle of warning bells, and I knew that making sense of things was going to be very painful indeed. So I decided that I would stay in the fog. It was safe there. I didn't have to see things I didn't want to see, and that meant I didn't have to deal with them either. Alcohol helped a lot with that. I pretended to deal with the reality of my loss – and I was good at it. I put on a game-face for the rest of the world, and impressed them with how brave I was being, and how well I was moving on with my life; but at night, on my own with that reality I didn't want to face, and those feelings I didn't want to feel, I would drink myself numb. I went on like this for a year – almost to the day, because it was around the first anniversary of his death that the dam walls finally burst and all that pain, guilt and anger came surging up through my body and flooding into the fore of my consciousness. My doctors called it a 'nervous break-down'. It wasn't. It was grief. It was all those agonizing emotions that I had tried so hard to drown.

Two years later, aged 63, my father died. It was very quick. An aneurysm. I adored my father, I was the youngest of 3 daughters and I was his “golden girl”. But when I was told of his death, there was no fog this time. No confusion. Instead, I received the news with a flawless clarity and a steely calm, and I immediately started to rationalise his death; parents die, that is the natural course of life; and death had already stolen my husband, what could be more painful than that? Once again, I buried the pain, not so much with alcohol this time, but with the firm resolve that this was something I simply had to take in my stride and deal with. I didn't deal with it though, and the pain grew and intensified, and finally exploded out of me.

On the morning of June 13th, 2007, I found my 14 year old son dead in his bed. The night before, I had kissed and said goodnight to a seemingly perfectly healthy child. The next morning he was dead. He had gone sometime in the middle of the night; quietly and peacefully in his sleep. It was his heart. My son's death was the biggest shock of them all, it's not natural for a parent to bury their child. The fog didn't come though, and nor did the cold, calm rationalisation. This time I faced it. I made myself feel all the pain and anger and guilt. It was raw and it was agonising. But I sat in that pain, I let it wrack my body from the inside out. I had finally learned something about acceptance - that if I was able to accept my son's death as a fact of life, as something I had no power to change; I could then begin to harness the courage to be able to deal with the pain of that reality. I didn't think I would make it through some days; I would wake in the morning, under no illusion that the day would not be a struggle, or that my heart would not be heavy, and I would have to switch on to auto-pilot, just to be able to function as a mother to my three other children; then at night, I would allow the pain to come, to flood through me, and I would sob myself into a fitful sleep. But as the days passed and became weeks, and the weeks became months, the intensity of those emotions began to subside, and it became easier to remember his beautiful, smiling face, and his infectious laugh, and to share happy memories of him with others who had known and loved him too.

I still have moments, that take me completely by surprise, when pain surges through my body, and I sob uncontrollably. But they are moments, not days or hours anymore, and they are gradually being replaced by moments of memories that may bring tears to my eyes, but also make me smile, and fill my heart with joy.

"Life can change in a heart-beat of time, in a hairs-breadth of space. And without our consent..." Unknown


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    • Pearldiver profile image

      Rob Welsh 

      5 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time.

      From all familiar places around us, comes the pain... from deep within our reasoning, comes the denial... and from within our heavy hearts, comes the anger... But nothing, no singular emotion, can match the emptiness felt during that time in which we need to grieve and find greater reason to celebrate the life we have lost.

      So sorry for the harsh steps you have had to take on the brave path to here today... take care... PD

    • carmaluda profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from New Zealand

      Shiningirisheyes... thank you for your palpable empathy and acknowledgement. I find it therapeutic to translate my experiences into words, and if, by sharing those words, I somehow manage to touch another soul, it makes me smile; and smiling makes my journey easier... So thank you.

    • carmaluda profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from New Zealand

      Daniel... thank you for your comments, and I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your brother at such a young age. The pain and grief of losing someone we love is such an intensly unique experience, a journey we have to make on our own, and one that never really makes any sense or leads to any kind of final destination. Prayers to you along your way.

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 

      6 years ago from Upstate, New York

      The pain and loss you have endured is astounding, overwhelming and so heartbreaking. I am truly so sorry you have had to experience. I hope so many readers comments help a bit. I want to thank youf or being so brave penning what must have been an excrutiating write for you. I would hang my head if I saw this brave article and did not take the time to absorb it. When someone plucks out a piece of their heart and soul and hands it to you, only a fool would turn away. I admire the strength you have somehow found and my prayers are with you friend.

      Blessings and I do want to thank you again for handing all of us a bit of your heart and soul. Such an unselfish act you have committed.

    • profile image

      Daniel Peebles 

      6 years ago

      I am at a loss for words, but need to say that I deeply appreciate you article. It is raw, real, and full of courage and love. I lost my brother when he was 16 and I was 12 -- that loss has never left me in 30 years. It took me 7 years to actually feel anything -- any grief at all. I stayed buried in drugs and alcohol. I so appreciate your presence and your courage. It will help a lot of people face their grief.

    • epigramman profile image


      6 years ago

      I have no family at all in this world - but of course two loving cats - Little Miss Tiffy and Mister Gabriel - let's hope I don't knock myself out dead on the edge of a coffee table and let them sniff a dead man days later - now that is loss - but you my friend have so moved me with your open eye honesty and the fact that you are such a world class writer makes me love your craft even more - sorry for your loss as well - but you seem to be a true survivor, a woman of substance to be admired and respected and one heck of a communicator - your words are taken in here by the epi-man with awe and admiration and my love of you just being you - lake erie time 6:01am ontario canada

    • carmaluda profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from New Zealand

      Victoria... your hub on loss really did touch my heart, in so many ways. Thank you for your kind words of support and encouragement and for your follow. :o)

      Wewillmake... thank you for your kind words and prayers.

      Thank you Marcy, for your prayers and words of encouragement.

      Bankscottage... I am so very sorry to hear of the loss of your son, to lose a child is just devastating and no, the pain never goes away, but time does help to heal the rawness of it.. my heartfelt blessings and prayers go out to you.

      vnsatakopan... thank you for your thoughts and kind words

      Niel... Thank you for your comments and yours words of encouragememnt and kindenss

      Rahul... Thank you for your condolences and understanding, and yes, time is a great healer.

      Thank you all.

    • rahul0324 profile image

      Jessee R 

      6 years ago from Gurgaon, India

      I am sorry about your loss! But I comment your strength in coming out and sharing it with the right people!

      Loss like this brings an infliction of pain and misery which is beyond words! If I say I feel your pain then I am lying! Rather I would say... I understand your pain my friend

      Time and patience will heal their way through

      Luck and respect

    • Neil Sperling profile image

      Neil Sperling 

      6 years ago from Port Dover Ontario Canada

      So much all over a short time frame. Most of us deal with similar events - but few of us deal with them in such a short time frame. Through all this you will find a compassion for life beyond understanding, and you will also develop a power few will ever know. I'm sending you happy thoughts while asking the universe to bring you wisdom and inner strength.

      Thanks for sharing your soul so openly!

      Love - Light - Laughter


    • vnsatakopan profile image

      Dr.Vangeepuram Navaneetham Satakopan 

      6 years ago from Chennai, India

      Really touches the heart. Happy to know that you have managed well to deal with these losses.

    • Silver Fish profile image

      Silver Fish 

      6 years ago from Edinburgh Scotland

      Your story has touched my heart, I feel your grief and there are tears as I write this. We live at the other side of the world, but my heart is with you.

      You are very brave to share this, and I feel very privileged that you have shared a piece of your heart.

    • bankscottage profile image

      Mark Shulkosky 

      6 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Carmaluda, I am so sorry for your losses. My heart and prayers go out to you. You have endured more loss, more grief than anyone should have to in a lifetime.

      The loss of a father is sad, the loss of a husband at such a young age is tragic, but nothing is more tragic than a parent having to bury a child. I know, like you, I have done it.

      Our son was 28 when he died unexpectedly. There isn't a day that goes by that my wife and I don't think of him. The pain has eased, but will never go away. We pray that the memories will always be strong and clear for both us and for you.

      May peace be with you.

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 

      6 years ago from Planet Earth

      You have been through more than most people ever have to face. My prayers are with you. I admire your ability to analyze your path of grief and put it into writing for others. You are strong, probably more than you even realize.

    • wewillmake profile image


      6 years ago from kerala-INDIA

      Iam very sorry to hear your losses. But i admire your courage and the determination. It is a nice quality and very brave . Not many person in this world having this quality. I will also pray for their souls....

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 

      6 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      carmaluda--When you said on my hub about death that you could relate, I had no idea. What heartache you have been through. I can not even imagine. It is hopeful to see that your grief comes in moments and not continually. You have a lot to say to the world, and you say it well. I'd like to follow your journey here on HubPages.

    • carmaluda profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from New Zealand

      Vincent... I am so sorry to hear of your loss and your pain, anger and confusion. Grief is an intensly personal experience, a journey we have to make on our own... Blessings and peace to you too.

      Sligobay and Cris Sp... Thank you for your condolences. I hope it is helpful, it is cathartic for me to put it into words... words are my salvation...

    • CrisSp profile image


      6 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      I am sorry about your losses. Sad, indeed but your courage to express yourself here is quite admirable. I hope you find solace in writing. Life can be hard sometimes, but surely, it's going to be okay. Peace and love to you.

    • sligobay profile image


      6 years ago from east of the equator

      CARMALUDA: This article will help many deal with their own grief with knowledge of the grief which you have endured. Please accept my condolences. Thank you for sharing your heart so intimately.

    • profile image

      Vincent Moore 

      6 years ago

      I am very sad for your losses, I to sustained a loss that altered my life, I still have not recovered from it. It filled me with anger, nightmares, sadness and betrayal. I almost took my life, for I could not deal with my loss. It's been 13 years now and I still have severe bouts and my Muse steps in and helps me find release in my writing. I can only go forward and deal with life day by day. But I know I lost part of me that I have never found again. Peace and blessings to you, I hope to that you have been able to find that "peace".


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