Grief After Traumatic Loss

Recently a reader emailed us and asked if we’d write a post about grieving a violent death. She’d been looking around the Internet for resources and information on the topic and had noticed the literature was a little light.  That’s not to say good resources don’t exist, it just means they’re hard to find, so if you have a recommendation please feel free to share in the comments below.  Anyway, we are going to do our part to fill in the void, however, we’re going to broaden the conversation a bit and discuss the concept of traumatic loss.

Now before I start throwing around labels and making generalizations, I have to make my usual speech about the differentness of individual grief.  Although commonalities often exist amongst people who have experienced a certain type of loss, individual grief is as unique as the person experiencing it and their relationship with the person who died. Although some people might be able to relate to aspects of another person’s grief, no one can completely understand how anyone else feels. On a whole, we recommend you learn what you can from what is ‘typical’ for a certain type of grief, but take differences with a grain of salt. Okay, with that said.

A note about trauma:

Just a little more talk of subjectivity (sorry for those of you who like things black-and-white); it’s important to note that it isn’t necessarily the specific nature of the death that makes it traumatic, rather how the event is interpreted and experienced by the individual. One cannot underestimate the impact of personal factors like emotional regulation, cognitive responses, secondary stressors, coping style, prior history of trauma, and access to support and resources in determining how a person responds to an event.  

It is true that certain types of death happen in a way that they are more likely to be experienced as traumatic, but it isn’t a given.  So, for example, it is not a fact that a loved one’s death by homicide or MVA will be experienced as traumatic, only that it potentially could be.  Ultimately, one must allow for a wide range of variability when it comes to potentially traumatic events.  All deaths have the capacity to overwhelm, shock, terrify, and shatter worldview.  In fact, research has shown that PTSD symptoms are not only found in those who survive violent and sudden deaths, but also those who experience the death of a close person to terminal illness. 

Okay, so what is traumatic loss?

There’s variation in how traumatic loss is defined in the research, but for our purposes, I think this definition from Wortman & Latack (2015) does the trick:

“A death is considered traumatic if it occurs without warning; if it is untimely; if it involves violence; if there is damage to the loved one’s body; if it was caused by a perpetrator with the intent to harm; if the survivor regards the death as preventable; if the survivor believes that the loved one suffered; or if the survivor regards the death, or manner of death, as unfair and unjust.”

That’s a pretty broad definition, and we should also add circumstances in which the survivor witnessed the death, when their own life was threatened, and when the mourner experiences multiple deaths.

In addition to the nature of the death, other trauma risk factors include:

  • Having to make medical decisions about life support, organ donation, etc
  • Uncertainty about whether the person has a died (ex. they are missing; information about their condition has not been disclosed)
  • Media attention
  • Limited opportunities for social support
  • Being blamed for the death
  • Prolonged court proceedings
  • Having a prior history trauma

What is the impact of experiencing a traumatic loss?

Generally speaking, it has been shown that traumatic death, especially violent deaths, lead to increased distress.  For example, a 2003 study looking at the bereavement trajectories of 173 parents who experienced the death of a child by accident, suicide, homicide, or undetermined causes found that five years after the violent death 27.5% of mothers and 12.5% of fathers met the diagnosis for PTSD.  These rates were significantly higher than those in the general population.

When someone experiences a traumatic death, their challenges become two-fold.  One, they must cope with the trauma and two, they have to cope with their grief.  The experiences of trauma and grief are two different things unto themselves, yet after a traumatic death, they get thrown into one big emotional blender. Things get tangled, thoughts and emotions get fused, and people sometimes find themselves utterly stuck.  Understandably, it is not uncommon for people who’ve experienced a traumatic death to experience significantly more intense, pervasive, and prolonged symptoms.

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After a Traumatic Loss One May Experience:

Shattered assumptions about the world, themselves, and others: 

Many people live with the assumption that the world is a predictable, fair, and just place.  They believe that they are in control, that they are generally safe and secure, and that other people can be trusted.  Experiencing a traumatic death, something that feels profoundly meaningless and unjust, can shatter each of these assumptions and lead to a sense that the world is unsafe and unpredictable, that others are malicious and evil, and that one is powerless in protecting themselves.  Going along with this, it is also common for one to question their faith and to feel abandoned by God after experiencing a traumatic event.


It is common to ruminate about a death regardless of the circumstances.  However, someone who has experienced a traumatic death might experience increased rumination as they seek to answer questions such as…

  • Why did this happen?
  • Who is to blame?
  • Did my loved one suffer?
  • Could their death have been prevented?
  • Did they know they were going to die?
  • Were they afraid?
  • What is the meaning, reason, or purpose for all of this?

Unfortunately, many people fail to find the answers they are searching for and they continue to struggle with the randomness and senselessness of the death as well as the pain of imagining what it must have been like for their loved one at the time of their death.

Feelings of guilt and blame:  

Even when a person is clearly not at fault, it is common to struggle with feelings of guilt and self-blame.  For example, one might feel guilty for circumstances that preceded the death but which could have played a part in the chain of events.  A person might make appraisals about the inadequacy of their own actions, feelings, and behaviors at the time of the death or even ruminate over actions and conflicts between the mourner and deceased well in the past.  Negative thoughts about guilt and self-blame can impact how a person adjusts to bereavement and are often associated with feelings of depression and anxiety.

Fear of grief and trauma reactions:  

After a death mourners often feel as though they are going crazy, and, as noted, those who have experienced a traumatic loss often experience intensified and prolonged grief/trauma reactions.  If a person interprets their symptoms as dangerous, threatening, or indicative of a larger mental or physical problem, they are more likely to fear and inhibit their reactions.  Concerns about one’s own reactions following a death add to existing emotion by causing additional anxiety, depression, anger or shame.  Those who are fearful of their reactions may also engage in maladaptive and persistent avoidance of triggers or reminders which can contribute to the development of postraumatic stress disorder and which prevent the mourner from finding meaningful ways to continue their bond with their loved one.

Poor social support:  

Evidence suggests that social support can reduce the impact of stressful life events.  Sadly, after a death, many people don’t receive effective support for a number of reasons.  This is especially true after a traumatic death when the enduring impact of acute grief can last much longer than society has been taught to expect it.  A few reasons why people do not receive effective support after a death include:

  • People don’t know how to provide grief support
  • People make comments that minimize grief, discourage expression of grief and discussion of loved ones, and push mourners to move on
  • The bereaved may be inclined to physically and emotionally isolate, especially when they feel misunderstand by others
  • The bereaved may feel they feel ashamed, abnormal, or weak because they continue to struggle
  • The bereaved may seek support from therapists who are not trained in grief and/or trauma
  • Avoidance of trauma and/or grief related triggers prevent the bereaved from engaging with others

How do I cope after a traumatic death?

After a traumatic loss, it is important to find ways to process and cope with complicated emotions and reactions regarding the death and the trauma. I encourage you to look around the site at the hundreds of articles we have about coping with grief – especially those related to coping stylesself-care, understanding avoidance, secondary loss, guilt and grief, positives and pitfalls of support groups, and identifying an effective support system.

Finally, if you plan to seek support from a therapist I want to caution you that not all grief therapists have an understanding of trauma.  Be selective when choosing a therapist, make sure they are licensed and ask questions about their experience working with trauma and grief. If you meet with a counselor a few times and don’t feel as though things are going well, then don’t be afraid to find someone else.

Check out our print resource on this topic – Surviving the Grief of a Traumatic Loss

Surviving the Grief of a traumatic loss
















July 31, 2017

85 responses on "Grief After Traumatic Loss"

  1. My mother was murdered by an ex boyfriend on the 27 February 2018. The 26th was her birthday and she spent the day in court obtaining a protection order against him. The last time I saw her was the night of her birthday. At 4pm on Tuesday 27 February I got a call from my brother to say my mom was shot. Her killer turned the gun on himself right after shooting her point blank in the face. She was my best friend. I lived next door to her. The past 10 months have been hell. I am living my worst nightmare.

  2. My youngest son Mike died August 17, 2015. Nightmare. He had actually been scheduled for spinal surgery for August 10. He called me to tell me his surgery was cancelled because his insurance was cancelled. I heard tears in his eyes He so wanted to get the surgery, do rehab and get back to work. He didn’t have much savings , that plus he paid half the expenses for rent, food, etc. He lived with his son, daughter in law and grandson.
    Long story, essentially his boss was paying him under the table (he read blueprints, did estimates, ordered material, etc.). When he heard my son was looking to see if he was eligible for any financial assistance, he told the insurance company my son was no longer working there-afraid they would discover he was not withholding state and federal taxes. Within days, my son was in the hospital; he had a heart attack. Don’t know why they released him only on meds, but one week later, he called me. He was back in the hospital. They took 2 liters of fluid from his lungs. Withing couple days, we knew he had a mass in his lungs, spots in his lungs, adrenal glands, kidneys, liver, spleen and throughout his bones. He was given 3-6 months to live. I got him to my home the end of that week August 15, a Friday, with hospice and a caregiver to help me. He stopped eating Sunday. He died Monday am. My one son who leaves far was able to fly in that morning. I sat next to my son all night talking to him, kissing him, patting him. I never knew when he was awake or. His spoke to me twice. The last thing he said was that he loved me very much; that was around 2am. My other kids and his on got there early to mid morning. I told my grandson I thought his dad needed him to tell him it was OK to let go, to leave us. My son raised his son alone and they were exceptionally close. After my grandson talked to him around noon, he came out of the room and said his dad had a tear in his eye. We all went into the room and he was gone. My son was a loving, kind, generous person. He had an innocent, wacky sense of humor. He waited till his son was out of the room so as not to die in front of him. I hurt; the pain is still so strong. From planning on a spinal fusion to death; I still am reeling. He had told me he was losing weight because he couldn’t eat with the back pain. I still wonder how no physician suspected any of this. I was searching for a spine surgeon who took Medicaid so that he wouldn’t have to sit at the computer. Yes, it is good he did not have the surgery. That would have been awful on top on his cancer. However, I still can not believe what his boss did. Of all the people who helped raise money for expenses, this man just send flowers. I hurt when I think of how he suffered. He told me his was never so afraid in his life. I am grateful that he did not suffer long and that his family was there for him. But I cry, as of now. His daughter in law said, “When Pa walks in the room, he brings the sunshine with him.” His friends would not take the train into Chicago to the Cubs game because they said it was not the same without Mike. I feel “shell shocked” still after 3 years. I miss him so. I loved him so. I talked to a psychologist who had no idea of what grief is. I told a story that I thought a particular woman in my book club would enjoy. My one son and I went to the gravesite to put down a grave blanket for the winter. The Cubs had won the world series and Mike’s friends has put the small “W” flags all around his site. As my son and I got into his truck, the radio started playing, “Take me out to the ballgame”. When I told this to the woman, she asked me if I was looking for pity and said some members of the book club were wondering if I was stuck in my gried. Astounding. just a few months after my son died.

  3. On March 11, 2018 I lost the first man I had ever really given my heart to and loved with every ounce of me. He was the father of my child and we went through hell and back for years but we were really trying to make everything right bc we did love eachother and for our child. We were halfway through the process of purchasing a home together and being the family you so rarely see these days. Then one night he wanted to go out with some of his friends for their bday and I told him he could go. He went out and had drinks and pain pills he was prescribed from a motorcycle accident he had 2 weeks prior. He ended up making bad choices and mixed in some of the other drugs these “friends” did his heart couldn’t handle it. I spoke with him before I went to bed and told him I had a bad feeling but I didnt know what it was. I had a feeling in the pit of my stomach eating at me and instead of having a fit and telling him to come home, I took a benadryl and went to bed. The next day I tried to call him and he didnt answer, I text, no answer, i called his mom, his best friend and no one could get ahold of him. I finally took my children to a friends house to watch them and I went to his apartment 45 mins away. Nobody else was concerned, I knew something was wrong. There was no way in his apt bc he had a privacy lock on the door. I called the police, they busted down the door and found him behind the door dead. That was literally the worst day of my life. Then one of his ex gf he dated during he and I split ups told everyone, to the point where it was all over fb, Instagram, everywhere, that he killed himself over her. I did find out he called her that night after I got his belongings from the medical examiner and went through his phone. I’m a mess of mixed emotions. I dont want to feel anything anymore. This girl was what started all of our issues to begin with which is why we went through so much hell from the get. I dont know how to deal with it. I just try to shove it away and not talk about it, think about it, and just focus on my kids for now. What hurts the most is I prayed for so long for the Lord to help him find the Lord and get his life right and get away from the evil woman who flat out said she didnt want him to see his child, who brought him into the drugs, who destroyed everything in him and mine and my daughters life and for him to go when we were trying to get it right, me being the one that finds him, and her being one of the last people he spoke with, then her spread that rumor is beyond the most heart wrenching experience I have ever imagined.

  4. On a sunny summer afternoon on August 16, 2015, the love of my life headed out to run an errand and get gas in his truck as he did most every Sunday. Realizing he was terribly late returning, I tried to
    reach him by phone . The calls and texts were not returned . Using an app on my phone I was able to locate his phone location. He was a the gas station . But why so long? I decided he must be having truck trouble. But why wasn’t he answering my calls and texts? I called my Mama and she assured me my dad would drive there and help him out.
    I had a nagging feeling something was just not
    right… Finally my phone rang …. it was my Mama . She simply said , “Put on a clean shirt. We are coming to get you. We are going to the hospital. Dave has been shot.”
    Those words rang in my head… shot? Dave? Did he walk into a robbery at the gas station? Did somebody rob him? Shot? Dave? I ran to the end of my driveway and waited . It seemed like an eternity. I called my daughter . I called my close friend. Surely they said there must be a mistake. Finally my parents and sister arrived . No one said a word . The silence was deafening . The looks in their faces caused me to panicked. I asked had he been shot in the hand .. in the foot … did he walk into a robbery…No one answered . Mama simply said , “
    We just need to get to the hospital .”
    When we arrived at the ER, I ran to the door as my sister told me to wait on her. Once inside, I raced to the desk, told them my name, and asked to see my husband. Quietly, the nurse led me into a small room with tall windows with green glass. It never dawned on me I was being escorted into the family room. I was told he was dead. I knew they had to be wrong . They had the wrong person. I asked my sister to check . Upon her return, her face told me it was no mistake. Dave had been murdered. …shot at point blank range as he put the cap on his gas tank of his truck. Murdered by a thug , a black man who at sentencing could only tell me that on the day he killed my husband “ his mind was in the devil’s playground” . He did not know my husband nor did he rob my husband . The murderer’s driver was his pregnant girlfriend. 3 years later, I am still involved with the court system . Each time I am allowed , I address the court. Just last week, I was in court again. The murderer , who plead guilty, was trying to have his conviction overturned. His girlfriend? She only got 2 years probation for her part. Absolutely mind boggling. I can not begin to describe the heartache , fear, anger ,anxiety, and emptiness that has been mine since August 16, 2015. My life was shattered as was my heart . For no apparent reason, this thug felt entitled to take my husband’s life. I will never understand or ever stop wishing I could turn back time. It is only through my family , friends, and faith that I am able to survive this traumatic life changing tragedy. My prayers are with you all.

    • Thank you so much for sharing your story and heartache with us. I’m so sorry for your loss. Sending you so many many prayers. Unfortunately I know your pain. My father was murdered when I was 15 years old. 20 years later and the pain still remains as if it happened today. Murder is something so different and that no one can understand unless they’ve been through it. I’ve been told to move on and that it isn’t normal to grieve for this long. Well those people have no idea what I’m going through and I pray they never will!!

  5. APRIL 21, 2018 is etched in my mind for the rest of my life. I can not undo it, I can not unsee it. It took me 40 years to finally meet the love of my life, 10 years to become best friends, partners, and love to love completely. And less than five minutes and a stupid choice to end it and take it all away. My husband chose to perform a dangerous act of sexual gratification on that day while I was working, after not being able to reach him after several attempts, I left work to go check on things at home because I just had a really weird feeling. I found my husband watching porn with a ligature tightly around his neck. I cut it from his body and heard the last air to ever pass through his mouth ever again. His eyes were looking at me and I was in shock and panicking trying to understand exactly what was happening. It took until after I called the police to grasp the reality that I just found my husband “DEAD”. Oh my God….no,no, no,no,no,no…THIS is not real! Somebody please wake me up! I still can’t believe it on most days. I wake up(when I can sleep) screaming. I cry every night until I’m exhausted and as soon as my eyes open each new day. Nothing feels right anymore, doesn’t mean the same things, doesn’t taste the same, and every single thing I look at reminds me of him. I called the authorities so quickly and then they took him from me without being able to hold his hand just for a moment or say goodbye. I sometimes wish I would have waited a little longer to be with him as odd as that sounds, but I never again got to see him, or touch him, and I’m left with those last haunting images until my last breaths come. I have dreams of him telling me things, but I never want to leave my dreams because we’re together. I miss him in every single aspect of life, and I’d do just about anything for five more minutes. I go to the cemetery everyday still, only have missing a couple, although I know he’s not there. BUT it’s the closest to the part given to me for all those years. How could this happen….it’s like a cruel joke. I have to try and put on a somewhat happy face and continue to pretend I’m ok but I’m dying inside. I keep expecting him to walk back through the door, but he never will. Kind of like he’s just away someplace or had to take an extended leave but he’ll be back. I still text his phone everyday and tell him I love him and share my day with him. I don’t know how to live without him, I never pictured this life for myself in any way possible. I just want to feel his comfort in the worst days and months of my life…and there’s just Nothing! I just want to wake up!

    • That is a date we share Cora, with the same ending. I wish it weren’t so, I want to wake up from this nightmare as well. My husband shot himself that day and I found him. Still so many unanswered questions, he was the love of my life.

  6. This article touched me in soooo many ways. The love of life was murdered 7-28-18 and I’m in so much pain mentally and physically . As I read each story , I PRAYED . It’s really hard for us all and to know that someone understands, helps . MY heart hurts even more for your losses. LORD HELP US

  7. Yvette, this article really helped me. To hear all these stories lik e mine I’m not alone. On February 15, 2015 my oldest son Alex 30yrs old was found dead in a car burn up. Then on December 29, 2016 my baby boy Andrew 30 yrs old was shot and killed in ATL where he was a song writter. by a blood gang member my son not in a gang but buying a hot dog at a gas station getting gas. They caught the monster the trial not yet scheduled. We are still in shock and in trauma we all have PTSD. My husband and i lost both our sons. My daughter now is alone. No siblerys left. My heart is broken as a mother I was the first face the seem when I brought them into this world. I think it’s unfair that I can’t keep at least one. But we all feel this unfair feeling. I hope we all find peace and meaning to our lives in the years to come. Peace!!!!

  8. June 24, 2018 I played my four month old son down while I vacuumed. He was put how doctor told me at am angel to to severe throwing up and had his blanket. I checked on him periodically and finally I go back and I remember he was just motionless and I saw he was blue and eyes barley open. I screamed call 911 I began CPR for 15 mins waiting I. That time I thought he’s gonna be OK he’s got to be he gave me a gasp and then nothing. They rushed him to hospital as I’m screaming help my baby. Save him. We got to the hospital and they worked on him for 45 mins no pulse doctor said he isn’t going to make it.. I lost it my son was no longer here. That night I cried laying there thinking if I didn’t lay him down he would be OK did he suffocate did he just stop breathing no answers to why my son is gone. I’ve been struggling so hard my whole world is just falling apart. I have no answers to whyy son passed away..

  9. Thank you so much for posting this. I’ve been struggling with grief for so many years, and just tonight I connected the words “grief” and “trauma,” wondering if my grief is actually trauma. Reading this article, and the subsequent comments, I feel like it has been waiting here for me to discover it.

    My mom killed herself, and I how I found out was like something out of a movie.
    My dad killed himself a few years later. They had been divorced a long time, and the incidents were not connected.
    My oldest friend, since the age of 3, killed himself a few years ago.
    My brother drank himself to death, and I found him after he’d been dead in his new apartment for over 48 hours.
    …there are others, but that’s the top 4.

    My life started to unravel this year because I couldn’t handle the grief. I’m taking some time off from work right now to try to figure things out.

    I was watching the movie The Tale on HBO tonight, which is about a woman, the same age as me, trying to figure out how her life was affected by traumatic sexual abuse as an adolescent. While this story is not my story, the emotional parallels were so similar (seriously, lines of dialogue were things I’ve said, fights with her partner were the same fights I’ve had, even the closing song is a song important to me). It made me wonder why it resonated with me so much, and I wondered if grief could be trauma. And, I found this article, and it is a revelation. It reframes my experience of grief entirely.

  10. 22 July 2017 ,that was the end of life as I knew it,when I lost my husband,my 12 years old son and my 8 years old daughter in a car accident I felt like I’ve died too but they just forgot to burry me,I can still see their terrible injured corpses when I close my eyes,I feel sick,overwhelmed,broken,empty ,lonely,defeated and weak,friends do not come over anymore,I cry every day I wish dearth can swallow me so that the pain can stop,I’m all alone,where do I go from here

  11. My 6 month old daughter was brutally murdered by her father in 2016. I was 3 hours from home when i was informed she was dead. It took until nov 2017 for trial to take place. Her father did ths horrible act in front of the eyes of our other daughter that at the time was a year in a half old. I still am not right nor do i think i ever will be. I miss my baby girl so much its taring me apart! I blame myself for not being there to protect my baby girl…. and unfortantuley nothing will ever bring her back or take this pain away. I feel like im crazy and days just mix into others. I have 3 other children and i feel like im failing them due to not being the happy mom i was. How do i get my life back from here? I have no friends i spend time with and while the kids are at school i rather say in my room. Which upsets me even more. I just am so lost and drepeased i cant find my way back up again. I just want to find myself again.

  12. U have just found the love of my life dead , it was sudden and no cause as yet. We had 40 years of love and passion, how can he have left me….cannot have life without him,although i have to for my 6 children and 14 grandchildren…I am broken….

  13. Thank you for this article and everyone for their stories. My husband was killed on March 1st, 2018, from losing control of our new car in the heavy rain and running into a tree 2 blocks from my work place. I wasn’t allowed to see his body as there was too much damage. He was only 54. We have five daughters, and we are shell shocked. I blame myself so much. If I hadn’t bought the damn car. If I hadn’t asked for a ride home from work. Did he suffer? Was he scared? I want answers so badly, to put purpose to this senseless death. The children and I miss him so much, one of them has even decided he is merely on vacation, fishing in Alaska for salmon, like he did every year. I don’t know how to wake us up from this nightmare.

  14. March 3 ,2018 my 18 yr old pregnant daughter in law was t boned by a semi going 70 moh,he drove into a cemetery and pinned her up against a huge tree. My baby boy watched as all this happened to his love and unborn baby. He was the first one to her. Her legs came off at the thighs in the wreck. She lost the baby,and passed the next day due to brain trauma. I loved her like my own. I can’t go on,I do feel like I’m going crazy. I pray to find peace one day. Y her,y now?

    • Christy – on December 29, 2017, our beautiful daughter-in-law, that was 34-weeks pregnant with our first grandchild, a little boy, collapsed and died. The baby was taken by emergency c-section, but only lived five days (he was without oxygen for too long after his Mama died.) Our family has been devastated. My son (husband and father to this new baby) is a Student Pastor – his faith is amazing. While none of us “get” why this happened to our family, we just trust that God has a plan. The grief is so painful and I can’t really say that it has gotten much better. I think it may take years. We all have OK days and really crummy days. We continue to rely on the strength and grace that God shows us every day. I hope that you can too!

  15. I’m so glad I found this website! I had been divorced 25 years and met a wonderful man on a Nickelback FB page who was going to the same concert last summer. He only lived 1/2 hour from me. He had lost is wife of 25 years 4 years ago. We talked everyday in March, had our first date in April and was inseparable after that. I had finally found my soulmate! All of my friends and family were surprised that this forever single gal had found a great guy! We had literally everything in common. I was falling in love with this man. We spent every weekend together and he moved in with me at the end of September and we had plans for our future. It was great to be in a relationship finally, I remember the morning he told me he loved me and he said, I don’t say it that much cause when I do, something bad happens. I told him I loved him and nothing bad is gonna happen. I’m not going anywhere! I got up every morning to find messages he had sent me when he got to work, he messaged me on his lunch break everyday. I got up on Halloween morning 2017 like any other day. Flipped open my laptop and saw he had not been active on FB in 14 hours. That was NOT like him. No message from him. Had a weird feeling then. I was scrolling FB and saw a local news station had posted about a 3 car accident that happened that morning on the road he took to work. I commented what time did this happen? Someone wrote 6:30. Checked back to see if he had seen my message, still nothing..not active on FB. THAT very moment I had a feeling in my heart and gut something was wrong. I just knew it. I wrote him again, I called his phone 2x..voicemail. Checked on the page that told about the wreck, it had been updated that air care had left without the patient, one deceased, two taken to hospitals. I’m not knowing what to do? Who do I call? He has a grown daughter who was at work. I can still remember and feel that panic..I just knew something wasn’t right, I was ready to start calling hospitals, I was ready to go wherever to be with my sweets! Then the noon news came on, it was breaking news, they were on the scene of this wreck and I nearly fainted….there was Randy’s car on its side, mangled. They said the person in the car died! My world was spinning…no! This can’t be right! I’m looking at his car on TV! Then a couple minutes passed and I hear a ding on my laptop, a message from his daughter, asking my #. She didn’t have my number but we are FB friends. She called and asked if I had heard about Randy and said those words…she was hysterical. I just slid to the floor crying. Since his license had his old address on it, the sherriff went there, which his where his daughter and boyfriend lived and informed his family. Then her boyfriend had to drive to her work and break the news to her. It took hours for me to find out. The driver of a big Ram truck fell asleep at the wheel and crossed the center line and hit him head on at 65+ mph, the car rolled, he was trapped in the car. I had 2 people tell me that day that he probably went instantly, didn’t feel anything. All I could do was cry, rock back and forth like a baby and cry some more. This can’t be happening?! The next day, his daughter came here to pick out clothes for the funeral, she thanked me for making her Dad so very happy…it was terrible…the loss. She had lost her Mom and then her Dad. She included me in going to the funeral home to take the clothes, I wanted to see him, to touch him, rub his hand. We all knew he was trapped in the car, but not for how long? He did wear his seatbelt everytime he drove. Then we found out the crash happened at 6:22 a,m, not dispatched until 6:33, EMS arrived at 6:42, In my mind I am screaming! WHY? Why did it take so dam long? I was so upset and still am. A nurse had jumped out of her car to go check things out and she said he was alert, saying he couldn’t feel his legs. That haunts me and will forever. I wonder if he went into shock? How bad did he suffer? What was he thinking during all that time? He was alive in the car close to 1 1/2 hrs, he passed away the minute they removed him. He held on that long with 2 broken legs, all broken ribs, blood filling his lungs and who knows what else! I cry everyday still..It will be 18 weeks this coming Tues. I dread Tuesdays, getting up and reliving that day all over again. It’s so hard to go to bed at night. remembering our evening before…how he said I love you baby, I told him I loved him too and then snuggled up against him, arm around me, falling asleep not knowing that was our last night. I’m thankful if you can word it that way that the last words we said to each other was I LOVE YOU. At 54 yrs old we found love and I feel like I was robbed of him in a tragic way. Our time together was too short but I have so very many wonderful memories I cherish. It feels so empty and weird here, his daughter came and packed up all this clothes and belongings 2 weeks afterwards and all I could do was cry..I remember him bringing it all in just a month prior. I did get to keep a few things of his, a few pieces of clothing I loved, I sleep everynight with the shirt he wore to bed the night before, his cologne that I open and smell ever now and then, still where he put it. We are still waiting on the court date for the idiot who killed him. He had Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Valenties day with his family, while I missed out on all of those firsts we should have had. I’m so glad to have found WYG. I have nobody who really understands how bad off I am over this that I can talk to. His daughter and I still keep in contact, she keeps me updated on whats happening with everything and we have met for lunch, we vent to each other. Thanks for listening to my story. Hugs to all!

  16. Our only child was murdered by a childhood friend on June 23, 2017. He was just 18 years old. The trial is set to start in May. They are already talking about a plea bargain and I do not hold out any hope, in fact, nothing can bring our dear boy back to us so really there is no justice. We will wade through the legal system and try our best to cope with this horrible and lonely life we now lead.

    • Hi Jenny

      I understand your pain. My 26yr old brother was murdered in July last year. They have still not made any arrests. She was are just waiting and anticipating the day we are told they have got him.

      I hope the person who done this to your son gets a long long time in prison. There are so many evil people in this world.

      I was talking to a mother who lost her son last year and she said the trial was so painful because they try and make the victim sound like a bad person,it’s disgusting.

      I think when the trial comes I won’t be going to it but I will go on the day that a decision is made.

      I hope pray for you and your family.

  17. Thank you for this important information.

  18. Wow! Thank you for this! Thank you to all who have shared your lives here as well.
    As read everyone’s stories I am broken hearted for everyone yet knowing others understand is comforting in the fact of I’m not crazy or alone.
    May we all find a peace that passes all understanding.
    Lost my brother to suicide 9 years ago and I still have haunting images and what ifs and why couldn’t I save him. A piece of me went with him that day. I am still learning to live life a “new” way.
    Love and peace to all of you.

  19. My brother (26 yes old) was murdered on 8th July 2017. We’re still awaiting arrests. It has devastated us. There is no point in life. The only reason I am still here is because of my family. It has been nearly 7 months but feels like it was yesterday. Pain still not easing. It is like it is ripping your stomach apart.

  20. My 18 year old autistic son fell off the cliffs in Arbroath..Scotland on Feb 25th 2017 on a day out with his dad and my other autistic son…now aged 12…who witnessed this awful tradegy of his big brother’s death….later that day my closest family came to me to be by my side then unbelievably that evening….my closest cousins both were murdered in the street for absolutely no reason….they were only there that night to console me… it’s near 1 year since it all happened…it’s just me and 12 year old autistic son and I am no where near ever dealing with…or coming to terms with or moving on at all….if anything…I feel more traumatised now than I did when it happened…I’m totally stuck xxxx

  21. My Lydia 23 took her life on January 20 2016. I found her in the basement. will never get what i saw that day out of my mind. I can never go down our basement again. I now have anxiety, PTSD. I never thought my golden years, I am 64 would be spent in such unbearable pain. I will be out of this pain on the day I die. cannot wait. carrying this pain is so unbearable and my body, soul, and spirit is so tired!

    • My 33 yo son took his life July 26, 2016. I found him in his home after as well. That vision is forever embossed in my mind. I feel for you and your grief. It will never end. God Bless You.

    • Sandy,
      My heart aches for you, as my son John(23) took his life Feb 4th 2017, We are forever broken and left to attempt to pick up the pieces. Hugs my friend !

  22. Four years ago my only child shot himself while his father and I were in the house. I’ve been in therapy making very good progress. My husband and I will be moving out of the country in April. I want to move and generally feel happy about it but it’s bringing up all kinds of emotions I thought I had dealt with. I want to move but sometimes I feel so overwhelmed!

  23. My dad and younger sister got killed in a shopping centre collapse, together with 52 other people. Even though it happened already 4 years ago (November 21st, 2013) I still remember everything as it had happened yesterday. Me and my family was waiting the whole night until my dad’s and sister’s corpses were dug out, knowing that they are dead, but hoping and praying there were still alive. From my experience I know that the pain and this enormous grief never really leaves, there might be times when it feels better and I might think that maybe I have gotten over the pain, but then the grief comes back again and again and again. I go to work and do everyday things but I have lost any kind of joy since they died.
    Proceedings are taking place and it seems they are gonna go forever since so many people are involved in negligence that resulted in such terrible consequences. The only people that get me going is my husband and mom who is devastated and most likely will never get over this. I haven’t found an answer what I could do with all the pain that I carry with me every single day.

  24. Thank you for this piece, and your site as a whole.

    My dad was murdered in his home in Nov 2016. I’m stilling dealing with all of it, including the media and prolonged and unjust court proceedings. I have much to say .. but the one thing I want to note here is my experience of individual blasts of trauma over the last year. I had several such blasts over the weeks and months, including: the official knowledge it was homicide; the knowledge the perpetrators tied him up; the fact that a judge let one defendant, albeit charged with Murder 2, out of jail on his own recognizance; the prosecutor eventually downgrading charges from Murder 2 to Involuntary Manslaughter and soft-peddling a plea deal, in my opinion because he is counting on a potential jury as being prejudiced towards my gay father in small town Missouri…. As each of these traumatic events hit me, at first it was terrible and I was reeling. Over the course of a few days, I could feel myself “processing” this trauma. And after a week, the trauma stung a bit less. After two weeks the sting was pretty much calm. That doesn’t mean I’m not still traumatized or grieving, I just noticed how the trauma feeling in my body and mind change as I “acclimated” to the information.

  25. Im 29 years old and I lost my husband in suicide Dec 3 2017. He shot himself and was just left in our house for 1 or two days. I was notified by his son Dec 6 that he took his life, NUMBNESS AND SHOCKED! That feeling of cold creeps in your body the moment I read the email. He is 66 and has battling depression for many years, hes been seeing psychiatrist and I thought its being taken cared of- but who really knows? Weve been together for 5 years and just recently got married, I am an immigrant and moving in this country is such a big adjustment for me in all aspects. This year, it was a roller coaster for both of us. He hurt his back at work and decided to retire which I know that he is not ready, hes been working all his life and stopping right away will cause him some withdrawals- thats what I think that time. I have no friends, no family, only him! And we are okay, then suddenly I became depressed for a reason Im still trying to find out, and started affecting our relationship. I became a workaholic and I started to notice him drinking too much, sitting all day in the chair watching movies, irritable and some changes in the way he treats me- one day he is sweet after that hes not. Three weeks ago I decided to back away and a find my own place, which he helped me moved. This is to keep me healthy and need time to think. I know deeply that this decision made him worst, which I regret!!! Then he did it, he has no choice but to end his pain and suffering, I was picturing him that night or day when he did that probably he wants to take it back. Probably he was just playing with the gun and doesnt really want to end his life? What if he is calling me and reaching out his hands to me and I was not there? For sure he is!!! I am sure he is. Theres more that adds to my pain, I know hes family is blaming me for his death. Last Sunday, a detective phone me up, asking me to have some statements about how our relationship was. I came there right away by myself and then I find myself being accused if I did this to him? If I assisted him in doing this? Harassed me and accusing of lying, they wanted me to admit that I was in our house when he did it, which I was not. They searched my phone and downloaded everything, they looked my shoes maybe looking for stains of blood- I was helpless that time and let them do what they wanted to me. That is now my pain and I know the truth, I dont trust them! I wish I was there the moment I he did it, because if Im there…. Im not writing this. I wish I was there to say to him that Im choosing him and he needs to survive and choose to live a life with me. I am scared and I wish to write everything here about whats going right now with me and his family but Id rather not cause I know they are grieving too. Im thinking of going back home in my country but theres something telling me to stay after the police incident. I wont let injustice happen to me. For those who are in reading this, I wrote this for you.

    We all wanted Answers
    We all search for Meaning
    We all search for Purpose
    We all look for a Cure

    We got disappointed when we can’t find them.
    We got impatient if can’t find them.
    We got mad if those dont satisfy our curious minds and longing souls.

    But because of our flawed nature we Forget.
    The Answer is within us.
    The Meaning is within us.
    The purpose is within us.
    The cure is within us.
    That is LOVE.

    Show them love right now and reach out as possible as you can for life is so fragile.

    • Hi—
      I was very touched by your story and the emotions you are feeling. I wish I could reach across somehow and give you a big hug and hold you. I wish I could show you how much you are loved. There are so many reasons to give in and let the darkness take over. With love we see the light and are made whole. I suffer greatly too. Would you please do me the honor of speaking to me personally and sharing your feelings and compassion with me? You are a very gifted person.

  26. My Dad died in 2016. He had Parkinson’s, he was going blind, and he had Dysphasia (knowing what you want to say but your words won’t come out right). He wanted to stay at home with home health but my elderly mother was breaking down mentally. She could not understand what was happening to Dad. Against my protests, she had him committed to a locked facility that was meant for people who are delusional and combative due to Alzheimer’s. When I found out, I did not fight her because my mother was such a mess I was afraid she would hurt my father if he went home immediately. I thought we could follow the doctor’s plan of keeping Dad a week to monitor his medications then bring him home. Unfortunately, the facility did not know how to care for someone with advanced Parkinson’s. Within a week Dad was so incapacitated he was released to hospice care. He died in a matter of days.

    The guilt is overwhelming. In one of his clearer moments before his being put in the facility Dad found the words to beg me to help him. I thought I had set things up so he could stay home, but my mother had him committed when I was at work. I think over and over again what I should have done differently. I am angry with myself, with doctors and staff who did not care for him properly, with people who did not explain the nature of the facility fully to us, I can’t even begin to identify all of my feelings about my mother. My faith in the world evaporated in the blink of an eye.

    I appreciate having a place to tell my story. There aren’t enough places to tell stories like these. God knows we need to tell them.

  27. I found this article after a search for a way to deal with my ex-husband’s death one week ago (Dec 4, 2017). He was shot by the 22-yr-old schizophrenic son of a close friend. He and the friend’s wife were outside painting the porch when the son came outside with a shotgun and shot his mother multiple times, then chased my ex down the driveway and shot him multiple times. He’s in jail now and will never see the light of day again. My ex had his own issues with schizophrenia but he worked through it and was better–getting back to being the guy I married and not the one who started to abuse me (verbally, emotionally, not physically) and divorced me so many years later. I knew he was sick. I had wanted to stick around and help him get better. I’m just glad to know he did get better. The shooter will get better too and will be devastated when he realizes what he’s done. He was a good kid. This is all so fresh. I feel so bad for my daughters, my ex in-laws, and the family of the other victim, who are dear friends.

  28. Thank you so much for this article.And my heart goes out to each one of you❤️.
    I lost my Mother in March 2013.She had been sick for 30 years from several strokes, and the last 15 years she lived in a nursing home sitting in a wheelchair paralysed.
    I loved her so much and did everything I could to make her life a little easier through the years.
    She got pneumonia and they told us she wouldn’t make it, we were in denial..she had been lying in her bed for the last week, had some breathing difficulties during the nights but was awake and alerte.
    The last night her breathing was very fast for several hours. I rang the nurse who gave her morphine and sedatives.After 30 minutes I rang again, her breathing freaked me out and I was so afraid, thinking she was in pain.I asked the nurse if she could have some I hate myself for this! The nurse said yes and when she came with that second injection I saw my Mom trying to show me she did not want it.I ignored this thinking the nurse knew best.
    My Mom died 2 hours later, by that time I had gone to bed and a girl from the nursing home was sitting with my Mother.
    I blame myself, it feels like I killed my Mom and also I left her and went to bed, and my brother wasn’t there.I feel a trenendous guilt and wake up everyday with the feeling that I killed the one person I loved the most:( I don’t know how I can live with myself.

  29. So, since everyone else is sharing their stories, I might as well give mine.
    Early this year, I was just released from the psychiatric hospital. I went to bed happy to be back home.
    The next morning, I woke up to hear a conversation and sobbing. I knew something was wrong, and I didn’t even want to know. However, I had to get up eventually.
    I was informed that my brother, the most important human to me, had committed suicide. Being the stupid teenager I am, I screamed, I cursed, I pounded my fist against the wall until I couldn’t feel my hand anymore.
    Months later, I cry every night, I would rather be dead. I’ve written and gone over my suicide note multiple times. The only thing stopping me is the realization that I’ll hurt more people if I go through with it.
    Thank you for reading this…

    • I also lost my brother to suicide on 14th September 2016. There are groups out there that can help you to cope. I found Sobs and Cruse particularly helpful. I’m not saying that I don’t struggle, I have anxiety etc now but hang in there you most certainly aren’t alone and talking helps x

  30. Last April 15, 2017 (black saturday) my mom died in a road accident. It happened that their car bumped with another vehicle that made a commotion with the two parties. My mom went home to get additional money to pay for the other car’s expenses. An hour before the accident, i just talked to her and said “don’t go back”. But it had nothing to do since my aunt and my youngest brother was still in the place. The time she’s crossing the street, it happened that she was hit by a hyundai tucson that made her dead on the spot. It was so hard to cope with what happened because it always comes in my mind that i must done something. Then, last August 31, 2017, two days after my birthday, my dad died due to his terminal stage of prostate cancer. We had our bond before he died by means of helping me with my school works and researches. His friend told me that he has a surprise plan for my birthday, however, it didnt happened because he was already ill and we have to spend it in the hospital until he died. I really miss them so much that i always cry everynight and when im alone, thinking of how can i deal with it? Its just a matter of 4 months? We love them so much that we can’t take it without them. What if they are still here? They must be here. It was so hard because sadness really hits me specially when im alone. However, im just being positive that God has a reason for what happened and He will dont let us in this situation if we cant deal with it. I have to move on for the sake of my siblings.

  31. I lost my sister on 7-25-2016 suddenly while visiting her. I still can’t believe she passed away. And now I lost my niece , her only daughter , like a daughter to me on 0ctober 28, 2017. She had turned to drugs and developed endocarditis last year. She had a valve replacement back in Oct, 2016. This Oct she was back in hospital with the same infection. She was receiving antibiotics. And then had a massive brain bleed… I flew again to be with her. She was paralyzed on her right side . But still could commicate with me by turning her left leg. I had hope for her still but then she had stroke after stroke and I had to make the hardest decision ever . This was the worse day of my life ever but I couldn’t leave her like that. She was only 22 years old…. I miss her Terribly.. I wish I could of saved her .

  32. It has been 20 days since my son took his life , he had turned 18 just 11 days before he died, I drove to the scene it is all still to painful to describe, my baby boy took not only his life, but I died that day to.I miss him so much and don’t think I can get through this.

    • Don’t give up. I lost my brother to suicide this year. Every day is hard but look for small ways each day was better than the day before. It has kept me going through some incredibly dark times.

  33. So many here and I’m sorry to each .
    This is a lot to read and process. Since my sons death I’ve felt it was horribly traumatic, on us both. I stayed by him for the 51/2 hours it took for his heart to give out. Horrible! this was after he had been run off the road by an oncoming car . Traumatic to day the least.
    Thank you for this as I see the double struggle with trauma and grief.

  34. I myself lost my father 5 years ago in an unexplainable drowning accident. He wasn’t even swimming, he was walking and the sand beneath his and 3 others feet collapsed taking them out into the ocean. My 7 year old sister at the time was rescued as were the other two who fell in but my Dad was sucked under in a vortex to not be found for 3 more days, the day before my birthday. I won’t get into all the details because the story is so long and I have relived that moment over and over again for many years. I wasn’t with him, he was with his younger children and second wife on vacation. I was his first born and we had a bond like no other. After the trauma of his death it took me a full year to not cry every single day. It took me over 3 to be able to look at his picture again. His death was so different and life altering that I didn’t have many people that could relate to me except for my immediate family. A trauma like this is hard to explain and have people understand what you are going through. Its taken me a very long time for the sting of it all to fade.

  35. Yes. Oh yes! This is my situation: traumatic and complicated grief. Although time does help (I lost my young adult son almost 6 1/2 years ago suddenly and unexpectedly), I sometimes find myself still not quite believing it really happened.

    Many therapist claim they are jacks of all trades (so therefore masters of none?). My feeling is that they would lie about knowing about traumatic grief. I saw a social worker a few times and participated in some child-loss groups a few times. I feel tired and not very optimistic that things will ever really change.

  36. My beautiful son took his life on 02-22-14 at the age of 37. What will haunt me until I die is that his roommate heard a thump and went in to check. My son was on the floor dying. His roommate took my son in his arms while calling 911. He says my son died in his arms. I feel the thump was my son changing his mind and trying to get help while falling off the bed. It breaks my heart continuosly.

  37. My son’s angel date is quickly approaching. He was 10 months 16 days old and died last August 31st, 2017. His cause of death is listed “undetermined” he was up from his nap sat to play on the floor then just stopped breathing and feel over unresponsive. He was pronounced dead one min after I entered the hospital. My husband has been on a business trip in OR, we live in MO, and hadn’t seen us in 11 days. I had to tell him over the phone that out baby had died and I held my son as he went from warm to cold in my arms by myself. His family and him had blamed me for the first few months after his death. I spent the first Thanksgiving and Christmas alone at his grave. My husband is still just not dealing with his death and already moving forward but having episodes of recklessness and arrests. I had to put him in the hospital with n Mother’s day, another first alone. He has recently been arrested again and I must send him a traveling for business hoping that being back to the road will bring him back instead of not being able to find work in our small town. Once again I will be planning and putting on a balloon release for our son’s one year anniversary by myself. I am not ready to let go. He was healthy, they can’t find a thing wrong and it had shattered my husband and I and the dream of what our life was going to be.

  38. I loss my 3 yr old son in 2010. He was ran over accidentally by my step-dad. I still have days when the hurt and pain of losing him hit me so hard, I feel paralyzed..but it’s not the fact of him being gone that bothers me the most, but thinking of the events of what and how the accident happened. He was with my mom and stepdad at the time so I only know what I was I play those thoughts and imagine what happened over and over in my mind to try and understand what my little boy went through at the time of his death. THAT is what bothers me the most..the unknown of “if he knew what was happening” or “if he felt any pain” and the guilt I put on myself that if I kept him home with me that day, he would still be here..

    • My Dad died in 2016. He had Parkinson’s, he was going blind, and he had Dysphasia (knowing what you want to say but your words won’t come out right). He wanted to stay at home with home health but my elderly mother was breaking down mentally. She could not understand what was happening to Dad. Against my protests, she had him committed to a locked facility that was meant for people who are delusional and combative due to Alzheimer’s. When I found out, I did not fight her because my mother was such a mess I was afraid she would hurt my father if he went home immediately. I thought we could follow the doctor’s plan of keeping Dad a week to monitor his medications then bring him home. Unfortunately, the facility did not know how to care for someone with advanced Parkinson’s. Within a week Dad was so incapacitated he was released to hospice care. He died in a matter of days.

      The guilt is overwhelming. In one of his clearer moments before his being put in the facility Dad found the words to beg me to help him. I thought I had set things up so he could stay home, but my mother had him committed when I was at work. I think over and over again what I should have done differently. I am angry with myself, with doctors and staff who did not care for him properly, with people who did not explain the nature of the facility fully to us, I can’t even begin to identify all of my feelings about my mother. My faith in the world evaporated in the blink of an eye.

      I appreciate having a place to tell my story. There aren’t enough places to tell stories like these. God knows we need to tell them.

  39. A good friend killed himself in my driveway in
    My brothers car right next to my brother a few feet away from me inside my house as I was looking out my screen door I seen it and ran to him to try and keep him alive ( I’m in the medical field). we called 911 on three different phones and couldn’t get thru for help those seconds were what seemed like forever blood was everywhere I don’t think I’ll ever forget the look on his face in that first sec he did what he did to himself. I have constant waves of an uneasy feeling in my heart when I’m doing anything nothing has eased this since. I just wish everyday we would of seen this coming. Or that I would of just got up to go out there and hug him and say hi maybe that would of changed the night before Easter this year maybe he would still be here 🙁

    • A friend, it is so easy to go back and rethink every moment, wishing we had done things differently. Depression and suicide are devastating and so often even those closest to someone don’t see it coming or cannot change the outcome. We have posts on suicide, guilt, hindsight bias, regret, and self-forgiveness that may be a place to start. Please take care and we hope you find some support on our site.

  40. My sister died unexpectedly 5/13/15 from issues with her heart that we were unaware of. In fact, I had taken her to the doctor two weeks prior and the doctor said to her “well, of all the things going on with you, your heart looks great” We joked about it, laughed even. She called me the day before, I was busy..didn’t call back. Emailed that I would call her the next day. I never got the chance. At 6:58am her husband called to say he found her at her computer hunched over and blue. He did cpr until paramedics got there. They worked on her another 40 minutes to no avail. She was my best friend, my sister. I feel like a cannon has blown me apart. I cry every single day and the physical pain is unbearable. I really don’t know how anyone survives these things. I can’t come to gripes with it, can’t make it real in my head. I don’t want to.

  41. Katrin, I will be praying for you. I don’t have any other worder to confort you. I also lost the man I love 2 months ago through suicide.

  42. My mom and dad were killed by a habitual drunk driver who never went to jail.

  43. Thank you so much for this article! It helps validate my emotions and PTSD and definitely my not being able to properly mourn my loss even though it’s been almost seven years. My grief is still so raw like it happened yesterday. I would love to find more info on dealing with traumatic death because I for one do feel like no one understands it. And society should stop telling me to get over it.

    • have you jad EMDR therapy i lost my husband to suicide long story but the trauma had immense effect on my after three yrs ive just ginished EMDR its helped me so much x

  44. My daughter’s godfather saw people die in combat. Two of them were his sergeants. He liked both of them really well but he seems closest to the one who was his direct Sgt: William Blanton. Sgt. Ferguson was commander of the other unit making up the platoon.

    I feel like I know the Sergeant Blanton through his memories and he “introduced” me to Bill. He took us to Bill’s final resting place on Veteran’s Day and talked to him as if Bill could hear him. That somehow made it more personal to me even though I never met Bill in life. I was 3 when he died.

    These are the photos of his two Sergeants. I got them from Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial Fund. I don’t know how to upload personal photos. He has those too.

  45. The remaining killers of my daughter’s dad, my former husband, had their death penalty taken off the table too: no thanks to the people who had them tortured for further information and introduced a mitigating circumstance that would save their lives and make every exTREMIST Liberal feel more sorry for THEM than they do the thousands of their own people that these prisoners paid to have murdered in a terrorist act.
    Now all I ever see are 50,000 posts of “proof” that every Muslim on earth is a decent human being. Well the ones who paid to have all those people killed on September 11, and had concrete evidence tying them to the crime beFORE they were tortured, WEREN’T “nice little angels.” Being tortured didn’t turn them into nice people. It turned Dick Cheney and company into idiots. IMO. I have no ability to feel sorry for the two terrorist suspects who had evidence gathered against them before they were tortured and have shown no remorse for a single thing they did.
    Even other Muslim people I know think they did something wrong. The only people who seem to disagree are those who would be a 10L on the scale of How Liberal to How Conservative are you? That exists on Crowd Pac.
    When it comes to this issue I’m not Republican or Democrat. I’m a person who lost a family member. My daughter’s still family and it was her dad. It doesn’t feel political to me at all but I dislike the ones who did it and have solid evidence supporting that from beFORE they were tortured.
    Just because Dick Cheney thought he was Darth Vader (“We had to work the dark side”) doesn’t mean evidence didn’t exist before he (they) went and ruined the case.

  46. My 6 year old daughter (Makayla Joy Sitton) was murdered along with 4 other relatives in our house Thanksgiving night 2009. Here is a brief look into my journey of sorrow. I began writing to relieve my brain of heartache. My ramblings and poems can be found in the photo captions.

    Grief shared is grief diminished.
    Joy shared is doubled.
    (My prayer is this album will encourage others in their time of mourning)

    Here is a video from Americas Most Wanted when they were looking for the murderer-

  47. My husband had surgery on one leg when Dr. saw another clot in the other leg . They decided to do next surgery the next day. But early the next morning before they came to get him, he had fallen out of bed. His ear turned black on left side of his head. They ordered a cat scan and took him to surgary. When surgary was done. The Dr. Informed the surgary went well but he now has a brain bleed. Next came coma around 20 min. After coming in to recovery. Ten days later I had to make the of taking him off the respirator. I went and said my good bye and talked to him and less then 15 min. he stopped breathing on his own. I have guilt that if I had just taken him home from the first surgary. I could have saved him and taken him back the next day. He has been gone two years and I can’t seem to focus ,think straight, get my life on track. My family Dr. Has been great but I have been given a special Dr. But I will be making sure it is a grief Dr. I have so much gilt over it.

  48. Thank you for this thoughtful article. It is so accurate for me, especially the rumination, the social isolation, the feelings of guilt, being responsible, blaming myself – the whole thing. Less than 2 years ago my 24 year old son died of a heroin overdose. Let’s talk stigma, shame, blame, isolation, guilt…those were both our feelings. I’m on my third therapist who I found through our hospice bereavement department. She is trained in Complicate Grief Therapy.

  49. My son Michael was killed on April 16,2015. He died in an explosion at his job. He had only been working there for 3 month. Michael got up that morning went to work and never came home, he was only 29. Your article is exactly how I feel, it’s like someone can see inside me. Everyday of my life I play over in my mind his last day. I miss him so much and I am so heart broken.

  50. Very good article! Like many here, I know that to be a fact…I buried my 16.5 year old daughter Kalei, 14 years ago. She was killed in a car crash. In an effort to understand and manage my grief, I analyzed and wrote about what I and those around me experienced. I self-published Forever Kalei’s Mom in 2015.
    The book is separated into 3 lifetimes: A Lifetime Ago (those new to grief will not be interested in that life), A Lifetime I Could Not Imagine (definitely for the new to grief) and A Lifetime Ahead (maybe a later read). I also blog as often as I can. If you think it will help you, my website is
    All that being said, what I really want you to hear from me is…from my heart to yours…I am soooo sorry.

  51. Thank you for this article. I lost my 21 month old son on February 5, 2015. Almost 1 year ago. He was struck and run over by a truck in front of me. I searched everywhere for information but you’re right it is so limited. We have dealt with the media and being blamed by other people. My husband and I and our 2 other children have basically become shut ins because that’s just easier. So thank you, for letting us know we aren’t alone.

  52. Appreciate this article. 5 years ago, I found my son unresponsive in his bed following a seizure. His sisters saw him and assisted with CPR attempts and EMT assistance. We fortunately found a great counselor who walked with us through PTSD diagnosis and grief. It’s very real. 5 years later, the images are still very strong, but we’re trying to find Joy again.

  53. Thank you for this post. Thoughts are with everyone that has commented. My husband died at 37 in a motorbike accident a little more than 2 years ago leaving behind our girls (who were 8 and 11) and me. At the time of his accident he was 16 months in remission having been diagnosed with Lymphoma. I had just started working my way through the life changes that brought and was starting to accept that he was actually in remission and that it was ok to breathe again when he died. I share my ongoing journey through my blog

  54. In 2002 my brother in law took his own life. His daughter attended her daddy’s funeral on her 8th birthday. 7 years later at 14 my same niece found her mom (my only sibling) dead. Brooke was now an orphan. She became another daughter to me instead of simply a niece. Another 7 years later and Brooke delivered her baby boy the day after her 21st birthday on August 20, 2015. She was only 22 weeks pregnant. Maddox lived for 4 weeks. After losing her mom, dad, and baby boy, Brooke’s heart was irreparably broken. We lost our beautiful Brooke on Christmas night. I don’t know that this is a grief I will ever be able to overcome or if I even want to try.

  55. Thank you Eleanor!

  56. My son was murdered last month. Myself, my husband and daughters all feel as though we are going crazy. Denial has protected us but when denial slips away, reality slams us. This horror should never have happened. I don’t know how to go on. Normal is not normal anymore because my sweet boy is gone.
    We can check off every thing on that list.

    • Veronica
      My son also was recently murdered, I am not sure how to even begin to go forward in life, if possible can you contact me? Thank you

  57. It hasn’t been six months since my husband passed. He had been in intense chemotherapy treatment, and the doctors were so hopeful. He was scheduled for a stem-cell transplant on 8/15, but suddenly on Thursday, 7/30 he had to be readmitted. It only took a couple of hours to learn that he had relapsed. The doctor met with me outside of ICU to let me know that he probably wouldn’t make it through the night. He managed to hang on until Saturday night when his heart stopped. I deal with the guilt and blame, unanswered questions, no family support, everything that was mentioned in the article, including “I don’t understand why you’re still so sad” from those who have never experienced personal loss. I’m alone and miss him every day, feel like our dreams have been shattered, just trying to find my way without him. Thank you for providing information and support through this website.

    • My husband went through chemo hell and two surgeries that ravaged his body. We too were preparing for transplant when we learned his rare, aggressive had come back with a vengeance and spread to his liver. I feel so much trauma I don’t even know how to sort it out-his suffering and the fact that we had no quality time to spend with our young kids once he was diagnosed, the trauma my babies went through, mal-practice by a uncaring ass of an oncologist, being blamed for his death by my in-laws who didn’t agree with his treatment decisions and who tried to sabotage our family when we were so raw and vulnerable, the traumatic memories of having to intensely nurse him at home between rounds… It is so hard to sort those feelings and the anger from the sadness that is sometimes overwhelming at missing my best friend and my only love, and the agony of watching our children grieve. Thank you for sharing, although our husbands had cancer, as opposed to a sudden unexpected death, it was so traumatic. Seeing a train wreck coming at you doesn’t make it hurt less.

  58. A year and a half ago my youngest son, his beautiful wife of five years and my 2-year old grandson were found shot to death in their home. Their bodies were not found for 36 hours. The police did an investigation that spanned about 20 minutes before they made the tragic call that would forever change everything about his surviving family’s lives. They called it a murder/suicide. My son was a loving and dedicated father of three. He had two grown children from a previous marriage so we all experienced who he was as a father for 21 years prior to that day. But none of that counted for anything. Of the criteria that defines a traumatic loss – we have hit almost every single item on the list. It is multiple, occurred without warning, It involved a child and though that is not on the list – it definitely should be – it involved violence, damage to the bodies, caused by someone with intent to harm, was preventable, we believe that they suffered, unfair/unjust, media attention, had to make horrific decisions that at least equal medical decision, information was undisclosed, limited social support plus so much more; like being told my son caused another family this horrific loss of their child and grandchild and that he harmed the baby “he” and I both adored. And the trauma of feeling my son has to carry this terrible undeserved legacy and we have to live with the frustration and anger of knowing that we were lied to about the thoroughness and extent of the investigation while all criminal evidence was destroyed. While we were not blamed for their deaths – we have all suffered social stigma and resulting feelings of guilt because of the determination that “murder” was involved. There are so many layers that I cannot begin to heal. I thank you for writing this but I just do not see how in fact that one can even live through something like this and stay sane. I’m strong but no one is that strong.

  59. On April 14, 2014 I had to make the decision to take my husband of just six short years of marriage (he was 63) off life support after he suffered a catastrophic stroke that paralyzed from the mouth down. He was on life support for 10 days and he could only blink in response to a question. Was it traumatic ………. absolutely, for him and for me. I live with decision every day. I know as I have been told many times, it was for the best. Yes, it was the best for him for he would have never wanted to live that way. Day by day I could tell he was giving up until the 10th day he could not even wake up. It’s those that are left behind that have to deal with having to make such a decision and I feel that is always traumatic. I miss him, very much.

    • Thank you for this. My dad died 10 days ago in similar situation- massive stroke after sepsis from complications of prior stroke. It blinded him, had internal bleeding, and he would never walk, talk or have any quality of life. He could nod or shake head in response to ques. He died ten days later in an end of life unit (we followed dr advice to place him there). I wrote in comment section somewhere else on this site that I don’t feel able to grieve because the things we witnessed in those 10 days was horrific (what we smelled, heard and saw) and those are the things that I think about and they’re huge and terrible and scary. I know I’m doing the whole avoidance thing but it seems my only option if I want to stay sane,

  60. My spouse died unexpectedly in early November. He went missing on 11.6.15 after an ATV accident. We found his body on 11.9.15. My children and I continue to live and try stay afloat with SO MANY unanwered questions. When did he die? What caused the accident? I have searched for any documentation on sudden loss and have read “I wasnt ready to say goodbye” by Noel and Blair. I recommend this book to others whom has also entered the virtual nightmare of sudden loss.

  61. yes, thank you …I know people treat grief equally and it is equitably horrible but the sudden tragic loss of my son last year is incapacitating at times. others don’t get it. No time to anticipate, no time to grieve. Its an unexpected blow.

  62. I, too, have looked for information that might pinpoint what is considered a traumatic death experience. My husband died a little over a year ago from a sudden heart attack. I had to call 911, and then I had to give him chest compressions to keep a pulse until the ambulance arrived. When they got there, he had a faint pulse; there were about 6 guys working on him for over 40 minutes. While this was going on, I was trying to reach someone by phone. He passed in the ambulance on the way to the hospital (we live about 3 minutes from there). I still feel the same way about it all now as when it was going on…in disbelief. It was real, and reality when I finally saw his body. It has been over 13 months, but I still somewhat moving is slowness, somewhat in a fog.

  63. You’ll find an extensive list of resources related to this unique kind of loss on my website’s Traumatic Loss page, here:

    • Marty, thank you. Thank you also to WYG, I appreciate this article as it is difficult to find resources and information to help with traumatic loss.
      In August 2015, my fiance, our friend, and I were attacked by 3 crazy armed men (unknown to us.) Myself and friend were forced face down to the ground. We were made to listen to them torture and beat my fiance. The robbery/attack ended in my defenseless fiance being shot in the stomach. The men ran off after the shot was made. Our friend and I tried to save my sweethearts life and called 911 too. He died in my arms shortly thereafter. Nothing could ever prepare me or anyone for such a horrific loss. The aftermath I wont even get into because I could easily write a book on this neverending nightmare.

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