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Online dfosterf  
#1 Posted : Monday, May 13, 2013 5:26:35 PM(UTC)
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Sometimes life is a bitch. My least favorite day of the year is Mother's day. Veteran members will recall that my wife and I lost our (her only, technically) son a couple of years ago. I have not been able to bring myself to a point where I can convey any celebration of the day to her. I just told her that I did not forget, that it was foremost in my mind, and that I do not know how to deal with it. I also do not call my mom, or my mother-in-law.

She simply said, "I know."

I would like to improve upon my handling of that day, and would look to any of you for some wisdom, especially the few moms we have.

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Offline wpr  
#2 Posted : Monday, May 13, 2013 6:38:28 PM(UTC)
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Rhonda says, "Wow. that is hard." when I asked her for her advise. Next she said do you feel comfortable enough to both go out to his grave on Mother's Day? We drove into Chicago yesterday. Along the way we passed a cemetery that had a large Oriental group with lawn chairs and stuff. Apparently they were there for the day and had a picnic. Other groups were there too but they didn't bring their lunch.

My opinion is it is probably too soon for you. I am sure it hurts too much. Maybe you go do something together like go to his favorite restaurant. Watch his favorite movie. Cook his favorite meal.

Father;'s day is hard for me. Both of my dad's (mine and Rhonda's) are gone so I don't care about the day. I don't keep the kids from calling but it wouldn't hurt my feelings to let the day go by unobserved. I realize my dad's were in their 70's so it is an entirely different situation.
"You don't hurt 'em if you don't hit 'em." Chesty Puller



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Online dfosterf  
#3 Posted : Monday, May 13, 2013 7:47:30 PM(UTC)
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We - wife and I together- visited his grave for the first time (and last time, to date) when we had to step over it last year when my father-in-law passed and was buried. Family plot.

I strongly suspect my wife had been there many times before, as she "kept it together" when I "lost it".

I broke down and cried when doing so... as a pall-bearer of his (father in law) casket. I loved my father in law, really, he was a good man and so kind to me, but that was NOT the best time for me to see my son's grave, and I made it worse for the both of us, not to mention the hundreds of family and friends in attendance.

My son's name was Bryce. On the day he died, had I listened to his mother and her mothers intuition, vs. my tough love approach, Bryce would be alive today.

She knows that and I know that. She has never thrown that in my face, ever. I let my wife down in the most profound sense.

She wanted to search for him in the apartment complex that his buddy lived in. I thought that ridiculous, as I didn't know which apt. the kid lived in, and I just wanted to take back her car that Bryce had stolen.

If we had done what she wanted to do, we would have discovered him in the stairway of one of the buildings. Instead, 8 hours later, we pulled back up to that complex (long story in and of itself) with the police and coroner already there.

In that sense, my best thinking and my wife deferring to me instead of her best thinking killed the boy. It took fully 15 minutes for her to take her car back that morning, with me waiting in mine. You can't imagine how this eats at my heart.



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damn skippy I'm an owner. I currently own a full .00001924537805515393 % of the Green Bay Packers.



Offline wpr  
#4 Posted : Monday, May 13, 2013 7:56:32 PM(UTC)
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I am sure it eats away at you. Somehow don't let it consume you. What if you simply get away together. Take a little trip every year. I am just grasping at straws.
"You don't hurt 'em if you don't hit 'em." Chesty Puller



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Online dfosterf  
#5 Posted : Monday, May 13, 2013 8:39:38 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: wpr Go to Quoted Post
I am sure it eats away at you. Somehow don't let it consume you. What if you simply get away together. Take a little trip every year. I am just grasping at straws.


You are such a good guy, Wayne. Don't sweat it. Maryanne is an agoraphobic. There are no trips together. I've seen the planet, though more usually than not under some not so nice circumstances Sad than what I would prefer, and my house is just fine. I'm a big boy and through osmosis so are my wives. As in "ex"- and current, not simultaneous, contrasted with Nonstop, lol Many of my days off have been spent going to the funerals of our fellow fallen servicemen throughout this country, alone. . Maryanne has become quite used to that.

She has therapy, I prefer Coors light. I was in the process of saving that boy and ran into many obstacles along the way, but ultimately, it was my failing, as I had a very good idea of just how messed up our current world is, especially as viewed by that young man. There were no real answers, except one...

DOPE

As his probation officer said to me,

"Dead Or Prison, Eventually" I shared that with the lad, it bounced off, of course.

Edited by user Monday, May 13, 2013 9:31:55 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

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damn skippy I'm an owner. I currently own a full .00001924537805515393 % of the Green Bay Packers.



Offline Wade  
#6 Posted : Tuesday, May 14, 2013 7:30:35 AM(UTC)
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Dave,
I have no words of wisdom. I've never been close to becoming a father, and almost certainly never will.

I will say only this: whatever you do, whatever you and your wife do, at moments like this, is the right thing to do. There are, IMO, no wrong ways of personal grieving. I've found that with my dad, with my brother, and most recently with Happy, that time doesn't "heal" all wounds, it merely strengthens the scar tissue that blurs the pain of loss. Makes it more endurable. Moves one from break-down-and-cry to want-to-cry to pervasive-sadness to bittersweet-reflection-on-good-and-bad to longing-sadness to wistful-sadness or whatever.

But that sense of loss? I don't think it ever goes away. Not for loving beings. Love is forever, beyond the capacity of even death to destroy. Color it. Yes. Make it something that ensaddens rather than uplifts. Make the sense of loss forever, that, too. But true love, like that you have for your son (and the verb tense here, "have", is critical), that doesn't die just because the beloved is physically gone.

For me, I get comfort from my faith that I will see all three again. But I'd be lying if I said that was enough to eliminate the sadness. At most, it blunts the pain a bit, and speeds the movement to the "wistful-sadness" stage a tiny bit.

So I'll say it again: whatever you do, both by yourself and with your wife, is the right thing to do. It gets you to the next day, or the next cry, and that is good.
None of the above. It wouldn't have been a wasted vote. Obama and Romney -- Those were the wasted votes.
Offline Pack93z  
#7 Posted : Tuesday, May 14, 2013 8:06:34 AM(UTC)
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I don't know that it will ever "pass".

Like others, I don't have any sage advice. I don't know how to deal with it, accept it and move on. My accident and internal war after it.. that I could deal with. I accepted it, hardened myself and moved on.

This.. not so much. I cannot imagine what you are going through, but this much I am sure from other conversations on the topic. While you might have changed the course of that day.. you still might not have changed the ultimate course without him "buying in". And knowing you as limited as I do, I am sure that the effort to "save" him wasn't lacking in totality.

I truly feel for both of you Dave, I wish there was a way to help more directly or have some sort of helpful advice.

Maybe some day I meet up with you and we can share a couple silver bullets.. that would be the best I could do in this aspect of life.

Edited by user Tuesday, May 14, 2013 8:21:37 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

I think when there's enough will and aggression, there's no shortage of talent either.

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Online DakotaT  
#8 Posted : Tuesday, May 14, 2013 8:46:54 AM(UTC)
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Well Gunny, I'm not going to be tactful and give you a big sloppy kiss on this one. People that take their own lives are depressed, which is a condition of mental illness. Unfortunately for decades, this has been the one medical condition that carries with it a "stigma" that no proud family wants to accept. For some reason there is shame involved with it, which I call bull shit and once again challenge people's Christianity for acceptance of other's differences. I do feel very bad for your wife though. Julie and I were challenged with Mia's condition, but that was nothing like Mrs. Gunny. I don't want to know that feeling, ever.

I was in a place once similar to your step son a long time ago, and I did attempt my own life. If I would have paid more attention in chemistry class I would have been successful. In those dark days of my life, I found no self worth or love. I just wanted out. I wasn't a coward, I was just sick. I needed some special help, and I was able to receive it. It is too bad your step son didn't find his way out and that must be difficult for you all to live with.

The first thing your wife needs to understand is that this isn't her fault - which I'm sure she feels some guilt about it. The what ifs that go through her mind must be intense. But like I said earlier, your step son was sick and needed a very specialized help, but sometimes that help never presents itself. I was very lucky to escape that demon, because most people don't. They either don't seek the help, or the right help is not available.

Didn't mean to make this about me, but sometimes having something to compare to helps. It's funny, I don't talk about this stuff with anybody, but in here, it just feels natural. I'm closer to nameless, faceless strangers than to people who are required to love me - weird!!!!
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Offline Wade  
#9 Posted : Tuesday, May 14, 2013 12:19:04 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: DakotaT Go to Quoted Post
Well Gunny, I'm not going to be tactful and give you a big sloppy kiss on this one. People that take their own lives are depressed, which is a condition of mental illness. Unfortunately for decades, this has been the one medical condition that carries with it a "stigma" that no proud family wants to accept. For some reason there is shame involved with it, which I call bull shit and once again challenge people's Christianity for acceptance of other's differences. I do feel very bad for your wife though. Julie and I were challenged with Mia's condition, but that was nothing like Mrs. Gunny. I don't want to know that feeling, ever.

I was in a place once similar to your step son a long time ago, and I did attempt my own life. If I would have paid more attention in chemistry class I would have been successful. In those dark days of my life, I found no self worth or love. I just wanted out. I wasn't a coward, I was just sick. I needed some special help, and I was able to receive it. It is too bad your step son didn't find his way out and that must be difficult for you all to live with.

The first thing your wife needs to understand is that this isn't her fault - which I'm sure she feels some guilt about it. The what ifs that go through her mind must be intense. But like I said earlier, your step son was sick and needed a very specialized help, but sometimes that help never presents itself. I was very lucky to escape that demon, because most people don't. They either don't seek the help, or the right help is not available.

Didn't mean to make this about me, but sometimes having something to compare to helps. It's funny, I don't talk about this stuff with anybody, but in here, it just feels natural. I'm closer to nameless, faceless strangers than to people who are required to love me - weird!!!!


Amen, brother.

Technically, most of us aren't nameless. It's just that we go by "dumbass" and similar names more often.

But otherwise, you're absolutely spot on.



None of the above. It wouldn't have been a wasted vote. Obama and Romney -- Those were the wasted votes.
Offline Wade  
#10 Posted : Tuesday, May 14, 2013 12:48:50 PM(UTC)
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I want to add one thing. Dave, I absolutely don't think either you or your wife should get hung up on the what ifs. I was here for some time before Bryce died, and I remember watching all the things that you did do as he was grappling with his addiction and his other issues. You were there. Consistently and regularly. You weren't just saying "buck it up, kid!" You were, pardon the mixed metaphor, there in the trenches, and so was your wife, trying to deal with a son with a complex set of problems, doing the best you could. "Semper fi" doesn't just describe your life in uniform, after all; you've shown us all, time and again, that it describes your life, period, and it would even if you never wear those funny pants again.

The problem with mental illness is that the state of our collective understanding is somewhere back in the Stone Age. We literally don't yet know what to do, whether we are the sufferers or we are the sufferers' families, neighbors, and friends.

Sometimes the meds work, sometimes they don't. Sometimes the head talk helps, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes prayer and faith do the trick, other times they don't. Sometimes tough love works, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes ....well, sometimes. THere is no magic recipe.

About the only thing I think of as "wrong", and not even that is always wrong if it comes from someone very close, is the "just buck it up, guy!" advice. I've used the phrase or its variations occasionally, but ONLY with one or two people who I have a very long personal relationship that includes a lot of sharing about our respective depression/anxiety illnesses. But it seriously bugs me when I hear it being used by someone who does not have that kind of relationship.

Just a few days ago, I was at work. My door was open as it usually is, and I overheard part of a conversation between a friend next door and another colleague. My friend, who has grappled with the depression demons for many years, has had a particularly bad spring, stresses that make my whining about my job and my mom sound like, well, the whining of a little kid. Right now he is taking pretty significant doses of antidepressants just to get through the term, and is considering applying for disability. I don't remember what set the discussion off (I was only eavesdropping, after all), but this chirpy person must have said something annoying, because my friend, who never snips at anyone, blurted out something about "only with massive doses of antidepressants." And Ms. Chirpy, missing even that clue, says, clear as day, "Just buck up, guy, summer is just a few days away, life is good." Completely, entirely, clueless.

But that isn't you, and it wasn't you back then. Sure, you can be blunt. Sure, you can do the wrong thing or say the wrong thing. . Everyone does. Everyone will. You can get frustrated and let the frustration pull you temporarily here or temporarily there. But you aren't clueless and unseeing like Ms. Chirpy. And whatever you did or didn't do, whatever Mrs. Foster did or didn't do, you did the right things by your son.

You did your best. And you did it well.

You loved well, my friend.

You did.





None of the above. It wouldn't have been a wasted vote. Obama and Romney -- Those were the wasted votes.
Online dfosterf  
#11 Posted : Tuesday, May 14, 2013 7:06:26 PM(UTC)
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This was all good stuff, guys, and I very much appreciate it. You are good people. Very, very nice, all of you. Thank you.
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