Shhhhhh don't talk about death....

Posted by torsum

Why can't people talk about it?

One thing that is guaranteed in this world is that we are all going to die and we're all going to lose people we love. Why then do we have such an inability to talk about death/grief and all the emotions that go with it? Our ancestors have been dying before us, and at far younger ages than us! Why didn't we learn from them? Where are our traditions apart from a funeral? Why don't we wail any more, or wear black for a year, or cut our hair off and acknowledge 'sorry time' like the aborigines do?

We think of ourselves as being so advanced this century, and we have made huge ground in being able to talk about mental health and 'stress', which once upon a time was a taboo subject. Why does DEATH still cause an emotional road block? Is it because it means that by acknowledging it we have to face our own mortality?

If we are not able to talk about it openly, then how do our kids ever learn to?

Since losing my son suddenly in 2013 I have learnt a lot about human nature, and I find myself joining more and more social networking groups of bereaved parents because they/we can't talk to anyone else about the experience. There is a huge variation in the way that people deal with what has happened to me, and hey, I'm not criticising, merely observing. Here are the different versions as I see it:

  • The comforters - these beautiful people are warm and tender. They look into my eyes and see my tears, and they seem to know intuitively what I need. They can articulate how they feel, and recognise my never-ending pain, and sometimes they don't need to say anything at all because their body language is obvious. They hug and they squeeze my hand as required. They're not afraid of their emotions and tears, or of mine. They make it clear how much they care about me and how much they also miss my son. They are, unfortunately, so rare.
  • The try hards - they have their heart in the right place, but they don't know what to say or how to be.  I totally understand because I don't know how to be either. They fumble and stumble with words, but their presence is noted and their love is felt. 
  • The fixers - these people are going to 'cure' my grief! They tell me that 'time will heal', to 'keep my chin up', to read this book, to go to church, to see another therapist, to be positive.....but have they ever lost a child? No. 
  • The drama addicts - these people were once friends, lost through the passage of time and moving cities etc. They came out of the woodwork as soon as they heard Will was in ICU. They emailed, sent texts and were wanting to know the details of my 'crisis', and how on earth I was coping. Then after the funeral, they disappeared again.
  • The avoiders - they literally turn the other way at social gatherings, or in the shopping centre. They have absolutely no ability to communicate, although they did send a card or flowers at the start. And if by chance they do interact, there is no mention of what has happened. It's like he never existed. These people are good to hang out with on days when you are trying to move forward and pretend it never happened yourself!

I'm not saying I have the answers, or that I knew any better before I crossed over to the other side and into the unpopular grieving parents club.....but I'm trying.



Mr ordinary

I'm not sure if our paths may have crossed but I feel your pain just as I feel my own. I lost my darling 22 year old son just before last Christmas to a Brain Aneurysm. The last seven months have been a roller coaster ride with many twists and turns and few ups. I split up with a so called partner after she told me that I was wallowing in self pity . Even if I was or am I have a right to be sorry for myself as I lost one of the dearest loves of my life . Most people have been very kind but it's seems now that most feel I need to move on but I can't , I'm stuck here with such sadness for my son. He had the world at his feet and was about to take his final exams at uni and would now have had his degree . A week on Wednesday my other son James and I will be attending the ceremony at his old Uni and be accepting an ungraded honours degree on our darling son / brothers behalf . It's maybe the saddest event yet . It will be a very hard day.
I have found great comfort in a few people that I've been introduced to that have also had this dreadful loss. They seem to be the only real comfort left . If you would like to chat about our awful loss please contact me at
I would be so happy to chat .
My kind regards and deepest sorrow .

Chris x

Posted by Chris frecknall