Awakening from a coma

Sun setting on St Michael's MountIt’s been just over two years since I encountered the life shattering tragedy of losing my son Toby to suicide.

I have spoken before about the trauma being like a brain injury, everything I knew, believed in and valued was wiped out and I had to start living again, rebuilding, relearning about what was important, what mattered and most importantly how I was going to survive.

In the beginning that is all I did: I survived. I got up, washed, took care of the dog, took care of my Dad, I ate and I slept. At the end of the day I congratulated myself for getting through that day, but I never looked very far ahead. The day Toby died I stopped planning for my future and just started planning how I was going to get through the next hour, and then the next day, and then the next week.

Like with a brain injury things started returning to normal very slowly and very gradually, and for every triumph there were a hundred setbacks. Then gradually the triumphs increased and the setbacks decreased and equilibrium was reached.

Now two years on I can feel bits of my brain waking up. I feel excited about my future, what will I do next, where will I go, what can I achieve?

I live alone and have not been in a relationship for 3 and a half years, and after Toby died I had no interest in men or sex and thought I never would again.

I know this is a bit cringe-making for a 57 year old woman to admit, but I find myself feeling attracted to the opposite sex for the first time in years, and the feeling inside is a bit like a giddy teenager, and it feels wonderful. I never thought I would have the capacity to feel like that again.

I realised today that these are all signs I am waking up from my grief induced coma, so I want to tell any newly bereaved parent not to give up hope.

Everyone is different I know, but I now relish life again. I will never be the same person I was before with the same hopes and the same dreams. A lot of my hopes and dreams were tied up with Toby, looking forward to seeing him grow into a young man and maybe marry and have grandchildren. So I have  had to amend my hopes and dreams but it feels so valuable to know they are still there and I look forward to a compelling future.

After all that is what we all need to keep us driving forward every day when sometimes life is cruel or dreary, as long as we have that compelling vision we can live to fight another day.

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This entry was posted in bereavement, gratitude, Grief, Healing, Loss, parents, suicide. Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Awakening from a coma

  1. Wow that’s Brilliant Anne , I’m so pleased to hear your getting a little more happiness out of life if we can actually call it life ! after loosing a child to suicide I think the word Existence is much more appropriate , but hey Go with the Flow I say 🙂 if I could get hypnotised to feel anything like I was in my days before loosing my precious only son I would go for it as the hourly pain I’m learning to live with is a tall order some days . lovely to know life can blossom again if only a little beats feeling like a tree with no leaves . enjoy and have fun , do what Toby would love you to do ….BE HAPPY

    Love Ali xx

  2. oldsunbird says:

    I just found your blog. I’m so sorry about the loss of your son. I lost a son to suicide 14 years ago. Everything you say resonates with me. You are so right. Life is never the same. I’m happy for you that you are getting on with your life and even looking forward to the future. Good for you! In this way, you honor yourself, and your son. I send warm thought and best wishes. .

  3. wheresmykid says:

    There’s something about this two year mark, isn’t there? I’m so sorry about the loss of your beloved child. I’m glad the feel of the sun on your face is warm once again.

  4. Helen says:

    I lost my 20 year old son to suicide just 3 months ago & the pain is like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. Your words give me hope that some day in the future this numbness & extreme sadness may lessen. Thank you & Best wishes xx

    • annwae says:

      Hi Helen, I am so sorry to hear about another beautiful child lost to this world. You can learn to live with it but I won’t pretend it is easy. We will never be the same and our whole world has changed forever but I believe our children never wanted us to suffer and I feel Toby around me and remember all the love we shared. Please join the forum if you want to talk to other parents http://www.losingachildtosuicide.ning.com. Sending you lots of love as you walk this nightmare of a journey and know that you are not alone. Anne

    • Perhaps you’ll also find some writings that might help you on the site I’ve been curating in memory of my son, who was killed 15 months ago. http://www.scoop.it/t/grief-and-loss
      It includes blogs by bereaved parents (including this one), articles, videos and anything else that might be helpful or meaningful for parents who have lost a child.

    • Karen L says:

      i lost my daughter 5 months ago,,, it seems like yesterday. we had a nice conversation that morning, and i was going to pick her up later on my way home from work, she was going to sleep over to go to a family baby shower the next day. Before that day ended, she took her life instead. i feel like i just walk the motions of a day,,, i dont have better days than not right now,,, i am at a lost,,, that was my baby,,,, there is a hole in my left side that feels so empty right now,,,

      • annwae says:

        I’m so sorry Karen. It just doesn’t make sense and we will never know why. It is unbearable but somehow you will find a way. Your daughter did not want to end your life too. Please look in the links section and find the book by Jeffrey Jackson and join our online support group where you will be able to talk to other parents who understand. You are still in shock, but be gentle on yourself and it will get more bearable. One day at a time. Sending you lots of love x Anne

      • Karen Morton says:

        Hello Karen
        I lost my Daughter in November 2011. When my daughter got home from work she was full of all the good things she had done that day, but returning home from the cinema that night I found her. Not only was she my Daughter but I can truly say she was my friend, we shared so many special things together and she could talk to me about anything but this time she didn’t. I have never experieced such pain as I do now, life will never be the same and part of me died with her but here I still am nearly two years later, working and socialising (something that I was not able to do). My Daughter is with me everyday in my heart and mind and thoughts of the times we spent together bring a smile to my face. Life will never be the same again for me and her brother and all who knew her but somehow we carry on and one day you will get to this stage. I hope you feel the hug I am sending you, nothing I can say can help you at this time but remember there are many of us that have been through the same and if we can help in anyway we are there for you.

      • Karen L says:

        thank you for the words of encouragment,, my days can be full of tears,,, or fine,,, then when i get into bed at night,, it is so hard, My daughter was 25, she had just turned it the month before. I will say i have been lucky enough to have her 4 yr old daughter,, but it is still not easy putting her to rest in my heart. i do appreciate it…
        And AUSTIN… please seek help… a friend a loved one a dr at the emergency room…
        the pain you will leave your mother with is just terrible for any mother to go thru…..

    • dawn says:

      I lost my precious son sept 2013 and the pain is unbearable i dont know where to get help,i drive about on my own after dark just crying and screaming i feel as if i am going mad,am i alone in feeling like this? I just cant believe my son wanted to do this he was so happy the week before.This is torture beyond belief.I didnt find him my husband did,he had hung himself,i could have checked on him earlier but didnt ,i feel this is my fault.

      • annwae says:

        I know it is unbearable but you will find a way to bear it in memory of your son and for your family. You must believe these words. IT WAS NOT YOUR FAULT. it is natural to feel this way but it is important to fight this feeling and remember all the things you did for him and you know you would have done anything to help him.

        Be gentle on yourself and take a day at a time. There are lots of other parents who understand and you will find help and support in the forum.

        Sending you love and peace. Anne

  5. Austin says:

    I know your blog has good intentions and will help lots of people, but it is having the opposite effect on me. I am a 29 yo man considering suicide and the ONLY thing that is stopping me is the impact it would have on my mother. I came on here expecting to hear someone talk about how horrible their life has become, but yours tells me that if I killed myself, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad on my mom..

    • Jan says:

      Austin – I am really saddened to hear that you are considering suicide. As a mother who has also lost a son to suicide (almost 11 years ago), I can tell you that the lifelong impact is horrendous. We will never “get over it” or stop being traumatised by what happened; we just reach a point where we live alongside the grief, but it never leaves. We will always feel guilty and always believe that there is something we could have done to prevent the tragedy. It’s a life sentence. I think that what Anne was trying to say is that we have to carry on living because we have no other choice, but there are also many people who never move forward and are trapped in a well of intense grief. I am currently communicating with one such parent who lost her child over 30 years ago. The other reason why Anne has spoken about finding joy in life again is because families who have lost a loved one to suicide are looking for that little ray of light that will help them to carry on. When I wrote my book about the impact of losing a child to suicide, a couple of people criticised the bitterness and negativity of some of the families featured in the book, so the point is that whatever we write, we will never be able to please everyone. We are damned if we do and damned if we don’t. Anne has tried to find a balance by talking about her raw feelings in the earlier stages of grief and where she is today. Sadly, you will never know the impact a suicide will have on a surviving family until after the event. Obviously I don’t know you Austin, but I would implore you to seek professional help; there is another way and there is always someone who cares. Jan 🙂

    • Colleen says:

      Austin please think of your mom you will hurt her so bad i lost my 22 year old son on June 20th, 2013 and im not living anymore, im so sad i can’t think , i can’t DO ANYTHING BUT THINK OF MY SON JOEY i don’t what your going threw but PLEASE GET COUNSELLING YOU IT DOESN’T MAKE YOU LESS OF A PERSON if you love you mom please give it a chance because its the worst hurt she will ever have, im thinking of you, my name is colleen
      Don’t give up yhere is help out there sorry i just found this sight.

  6. Jan says:

    Thank you Austin, although as you can imagine it is not an easy read. However, it was never intended to be a grief recovery book, but one that connected to the raw emotions of the surviving family. Even when people appear to be moving forward and trying to help others, it does not mean that they are not still suffering deeply inside; it is just their way of coping. Hopefully you will find something in the book of help, but if not, please know that you will have made a valuable contribution to an anti-bullying charity, since £1 from every book sold is donated directly by my publisher to Kidscape. I wish I hadn’t had a reason to write the book and I would give anything to have my son back – and I am certain that your mom would feel the same if anything happened to you. Please take care. Jan 🙂

  7. pam says:

    We lost our son 8 weeks ago. Even though I have two other children I have never felt so sad and lonely. He was 33 years old and had been battling drug abuse for years. He went into rehab for two weeks and that was the last time I spoke to him and saw him living. He was full of hope and so was all his family but something drastically went wrong. There are so many unanswered questions to what happened to him and this is the reason we cannot get closure. Some days I dont even want to get up . Im angry one day, sad another . Im having counselling but it doesnt seem to help. I just wish he was here so I could tell him how much he was loved

    • annwae says:

      I am so sorry. You can still tell him how much you love him. He knew and he can hear you. Don’t stop talking to him. It is so hard, a mothers worst nightmare, but we survive and grow stronger. There is no closure but we learn to live with it and remember all the love. You were not responsible. Cherish your family and keep his memory alive,,his body died but he did not die. Sending you love and best wishes. Anne

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