Jump to content
Forum Conduct & Guidelines Document ×

Looking for unique advice that applies to my situation from any Fathers.


Recommended Posts

  • Members


I am new here, but not new to grief. I am a 42-year-old father that lost my 8-year-old daughter Zev in march of 2009 to post-viral encephalitis. She was my second child. My first child is my son Lauren who is now 21.  

My road of grief has not been an easy one, and I nearly lost my marriage because of it. But things are better now. In Oct of 2013 my wife gave birth to our newest daughter Zoe. It has been a rough for me because my wife wanted to get pregnant again right after the first year of losing Zev, and I strung it out as long as I was able because I just wasn't ready myself. It was hard for me because I did not want to feel like I was replacing my daughter Zev who meant the world to me. Zev had me wrapped around her finger and I spoiled the crap out of her and loved ever minute of it. She was my favorite person in the world, and I would have gladly giving my life for hers. Since Zoe was born it's been a little stressful (new baby and all). First thing I've noticed is that my wife and I do not handle stress as well as we used to, but other than that everything has been great. But for some reason around May-June of this year I started to get into a deep depression again. All summer when I am alone I have a lot of flashbacks to the hospital and things that happened and it just won't stop. It's like I've taken two steps back for some reason. Sometimes Zoe gets to play with some of Zev's toys, and sometimes (not all the time but sometimes) she looks just like her sister, but is very much her own little person. It doesn't bother me, but is it subconsciously?

I guess what I am trying to say is that for some reason that I am unable to analyze or figure out, I have really gone back a few steps and grief, anxiety, and depression have been ripping me up all summer. Taking away all motivation to do anything. Since Zoe's 2nd birthday coming up this month, I really need to get my ass back in gear and I really don't know what to do. I am not ever getting back on anti-depressants and anti-anxiety pills, those things took me out of reality and the side effects messed me up hard core. After 4 years of being off pills I still feel the side effects on my ability to focus and remember things. 

Have any other fathers here lost a child and then had a new child? That is the advice I am looking for. How did it effect you, how were you able to deal with things that came up grief wise? I'm feeling a little lost at sea here. Thanks. 


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members
Mermaid Tears

Random....I am not a Dad....but I am a parent that has lost a child...I find it doesn't matter if our child lived 2 hours...2 days....16 years....50 years....they are still our child....our grief journey will be as unique as our child was unique...all of us have different environments....life styles....live all over the world....yet....there are some common paths on this grief journey.

   My son, John David, died when he was 42....your age caught my eye. We have 6 children...all adults now...a daughter that is the oldest...then 5 sons....John David was our oldest son. I have 14 GRANDchildren.

    I commend you and your wife for staying together. I have always wondered why parents divorce after losing a child...I use to think that would be the cement to keep them and the family together. But...now....I see with different eyes...and now understand the 'why'.....this kind of grief cannot be understood until it happens to you. My husband and I were like floating strangers...we couldn't talk...the pain was so very deep...the grief was so dark and heavy...I didn't know how to help myself...much less anyone else.

    A man wants to fix the problem.

   A woman wants to heal the problem.

This was a problem that could not be fixed or healed. I never had anger....but my husband had enough for both of us. You can wave banners all day saying we are all equal...but....men and women work in different ways. We process things in different ways. Losing a child is like being put down on foreign soil with no map. You simply have to make baby steps and try to find your footing.

     I think...and this is just the way I see things...your saying you have gone backward....I think that is very normal. I find that I take steps backward on his birthday...his angelversary...holidays...football season...hunting season...family get togethers....and now I have noticed I step back with the changing of the seasons.

     I think with the miracle and gift of your new baby girl....and with time moving forward and a layer of healing over Zev...your mind is opening some portals...and some memories are coming back.

    I think we wear a 'shock suit' very tight after losing our child.....for me....it takes a song....photo....to open a portal and some long ago memories come through....I think if we remembered everything we could have a mental collapse...I think the shock suit is a protective lining for us.

       I think you are being too hard on yourself....after all...we are just human. With the death of a child....we are face to face with the fact that our love for that child is and never was Super Control over anything that could happen....then we are faced with the truth that we only have Super Human Love for that child.

     I understand why you don't want to go back to the pills....I have never taken anything....but I do endorse taking medications to help one over this dark and empty mourning.

    We always tell parents to 'self care'.....be very kind and gentle to yourself....and I think with the anxiety and stress you are feeling now....you should look around and find ways to be very good to yourself.

   I had horrible insomnia....I still do to a certain extent...loss of appetite...etc....I tried walking at the parks but there was a memory under every tree and in each corner...so I bought myself a treadmill....for I knew that exercise was something I needed....and things are better..not great...but I will take better.

     If I have any advice for you is to get out there with Mother Nature...she is still the best healer of all....get some sunshine....push that Baby Girl in a stroller....get some exercise...just walking has great benefits for your emotional and physical health.

    Please pat yourself on the back...I think you have worked and walked this grief journey with great courage, faith, and grace.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Mermaid Tears, I just wanted to thank you for your reply to my open letter. I apologize for not leaving a door open to either gender, that was an honest mistake on my part. I am so sorry for the loss of your Son John David. No parent should ever have to out live their child.

It is true when you say a woman want to heal and a man wants to fix things. I think it's just a genetic trait. I struggle to this day with trying to figure out what went wrong and what I could have done differently, even though I know deep in my heart there was nothing anyone could have done and it was just a friggin fluke. I went through anger just like your husband did, even enough to try to blame my daughter for leaving us, like she somehow had a choice, which I knew was absurd even when I thought it. But it was so hard not to feel that when I went through the anger stage. I tried my best to keep my anger to myself, I lashed out a little bit, but also kept it well contained. 

I currently suffer from a lot of anxiety and I think about it in terms of protecting my new daughter Zoe. Knowing I couldn't protect Zev, it's making me a basket case sometimes, especially when she gets sick. Yesterday I suffered a really bad anxiety attack while we were at a restaurant trying to have lunch. It was tearing me apart and I couldn't eat even though I was starving, but I pulled myself together, drove into town, did Halloween shopping with my family and eventually straightened out enough to eat a little bit later in the night after we got home. Anxiety and panic attacks are the worst, but I fight them tooth and nail now. I fight hard. It sucks because I can't control them and even when they make me feel like I am having a heart attack or dying, I fight. I am so sick of my body doing whatever it wants to without my knowledge or permission. Today (the day after) has still been rough, but I'm still fighting away. I am so tired of my sub-conscience owning me. 

Six years later I still suffer from Insomnia hardcore also. I just deal with it and since I work at home, it just is what it is, some nights Im in bed my 2am some nights it's 5 or 6am. I will take your advice and try to get outside more. I do admit there are days I never step out of the house. I will remedy that. I am willing to try anything that isn't an anti-depressant pill. I appreciate your advice.

Thanks again for your reply and kind words. I will think more about what you said and hopefully end this reign of depression and anxiety. Thank you for responding. 


Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...

Important Information

This site uses cookies We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. and uses these terms of services Terms of Use.