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Death of my son Joseph

Guest So very sad

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Guest So very sad

Today the pain of the death of my son Joseph (Joe) finally came .  I woke up from a deep sleep this morning, and the pain in my heart is there. 

He passed away sometime between November 11 to November 17, 2019.  The coroner said he died of natural causes -- "his heart just stopped".  The coroner named his death date November 17, 2019--the day his "separated family" found him, and called the police.  He was separated from his wife.

I had been trying to get him on the phone for several days, realizing he hadn't called me since approx November 7th or 8th, which was "normal" for us.  We were about 700 miles from each other. We called each other and usually talked on the phone twice a week.  When his wife called Sunday November 17, 2019, I just knew he was gone.  She didn't have to say anything, because I just knew.

Last week, the entire week, I felt no pain, as I was numb to the pain I didn't want to experience. I was very sad, cried, sobbed, but I felt no pain of the sorrow. I didn't want to. I have been reading my grief books... (again), and discovered I was running away from the pain and I had to let it happen.  I didn't want grief to happen....not again. My daughter died in a tragic accident in October 2010. Now both of my children are gone.  

I woke up this morning, and I could barely breathe or get dressed ... but somehow (through the Grace of God) I managed.  I drove to work, and proceeded to try to get back into my "normal" routine, as one of my grief books said to try to make this happen..  I accept everything that is happening to me, but clearly, I am not myself.  I try to keep my mind "occupied" with work--any kind of work, staying busy, so I don't think about my dear son and daughter.

I checked into a grief support group, and unfortunately, they hold group sessions only twice a month on Thursday evenings; and tomorrow being Thanksgiving, it will not be held.  There are two other support groups held in the afternoons once a week, but I work every day, so that option is not available to me.  This is why I am here on this site tonight. I made a decision to possibly cut down my work hours just to get through this death, so I can go to the two afternoon grief support groups.  I believe my boss will allow me to do this for a while. 

Unfortunately, i do not have any friends where I live because I work every day. I just do not have the time in a dy to be a "sociable" person.  The few friends I have had in the past either moved away, or died.  I also take care of my elderly mother who lives with me.  She is getting so fragile now...almost 89 yrs old, and she will not be able to stay by herself in the daytime in the near future.  This may be a good time for me to cut down my working hours for both reasons-- the death of my son, and my elderly mother. 

I plan to retire in 23 months, but am not able to do that just now.  I am 68 1/2 years old, and I want to quit working so bad, but I want to get the house paid off before I retire and start collecting social security.  I have only 23 more house payments to make on the house.  But now, 23 months seems like "forever", and the days & hours go by so slow .

My "paid off" house was suppose to go to both of my children when I passed away.  Now that is not going to happen. All my plans have been shattered, but I am surviving.

Thank you for listening.


So very sad



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I am so sorry to hear that you have lost your son Joe. And to loose your daughter in 2010 has to be so hard. There are no words.  The loss of your son is so fresh that I don't know how you are even working.  You will need time for your grief.  Support groups can be very helpful as can online discussion groups like this one you have found.  People who come here listen and know about grief.  Knowing that someone is hearing you is a good start in doing the work of your grief.  The people who come here know about loss.  Some will read, some will offer suggestions, and some will direct you to articles that just might help.  This site is available 24/7 and there is always someone who is listening.

Sending hugs to you,


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Yes, my dear, we are listening ~ and my heart reaches out to you in your unspeakable pain. I am so very sorry to learn that you have endured the deaths of both your daughter and your son. Way too much for a mother to bear. I hope you can feel the warm embrace of our collective arms around you . . . ❤️

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I caught myself holding my breath as I read your story...this is unbelievably hard, I can't imagine any mother having to lose both her children.  There are no words adequate for this.  My heart goes out to you and I am so sorry.  

I can't help but feel that attending a grief support group as well as a professional grief counselor be priority for you right now, that your boss would surely let you off work for that.  Usually it only lasts an hour, maybe you could take your lunch break to attend and eat something on the way there?  I hope you have some help with your mom.  Have you been in touch with senior services to see what might be available in your area for her?  

Right now I'm sure it's a struggle to get through the day.  I truly hope you'll keep coming here, you will need supportive contact in the upcoming years and to those of us here, this place has been a life support.  As Dee said, we want to be here to listen and care.  

You say you're not yourself, that is truly understandable.  Death has changed our lives, but the death of your children, that's beyond anything.  You're right to sit with your pain and  allow yourself to feel it.  It's part of the processing of grief.  (((hugs)))

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Guest So very sad

Dear new friends on Grief Healing:

Thank you for your condolences.  Today I don't feel "so alone" at this moment, but in reality i really am. If it weren't for my best friend Jesus, God's only son, I do not know how I would be able to breathe.

Today, being it is Thanksgiving, I am suppose to be thankful for all that our Heavenly Father has given me.  I am.  I just don't understand.  I am not angry for Him taking my two babies back to be with Him, I just don't understand why.  I do understand He has a working plan in progress, but at this time, I do not know what that is.

My son Joe came to live with me from April 2017 to May 2019.  I treasure the good memories I have when he was here with me.  I called us "a team"--we worked very well together.  We installed a new flat roof on the porch, rebuilt the well motor, did yard work together, and made an extended patio from the back porch.  I treasure all those moments as I sit here crying.  I loved him so much. 

He had found a good job he liked while living with me, but he was an alcoholic. This was the cause of his separation from his family.  Unfortunately, he got a DUI and lost his drivers license while he was staying with me. He traveled to work every day on his bicycle. In March-April, he had a "clear sober mind" and understood what he did to himself, his wife, his sons, etc.  His new goal in life was to make up for all the wrongs he had done.

After a year and a half of being sober, he made the decision in March-April to move nearer to his 2 sons--700 miles away from me.  I felt it was much too soon to move, but I could not keep him here with me because he was a grown man, not a child. I didn't want him to go. 

He had great expectations, but they never came to pass.  He "wife" refused to bring his 2 sons to visit him.  His family was only 35 miles away from him.  He could not ride a bicycle that far-- the only road to them was an interstate highway. She KNEW his situation, but did NOT allow his sons to ever see him. She refused to drive them to see him.

In July, Joe fell on his bicycle on the interstate, and was in the hospital with eight stitches in his head.  He did not tell me until August.  You can imagine how devastated I was to hear this news.  At that point, he told me he was so afraid of getting on the bicycle and going anywhere.  Every road in his town were highways.  Much different than where I live.  He said he did go to an AA meeting once a week, and to the grocery store. 

At the time he left from staying with me, (May)  he was grieving the loss of his best friend/cousin. The two of them were like brothers, they were so close.  He and his cousin lived together for many years.  He missed him so much, and he was missing me, his job, his friends he had met while he stayed with me, and missing his 2 two sons.

When he was in the hospital in July, that was another incident when I could not reach him on the phone for several days.  I almost called the police to have them check up on him, but Joe called me that same day.  Another time, he had lost his phone for 3-4 days.  And yet another time, his phone was broken, and had to get a new phone.  Truly, he did put me through a lot of anguish from May until November. The DUI while living with me was bad enough, but all of the above was heart-wrenching.

I do not know my daughter in law or my two grandsons. We are complete strangers.  My life isn't suppose to be like this--to not even know my grandsons. I wasn't raised that way.  SHE wants it to be this way.   Joe and she were not legally separated through the Court.  So, they were "just separated" for 8 years.   She refused to sign the divorce papers 8 years ago.  Joe always paid child support.  Joe did not understand what her intentions were, not myself. 

Joe just wanted so much to make up for all the wrongs he had done. He did not expect them to be ever be man and wife again, but he did want to be with and see his 2 sons.  She took in a "live-in" man about seven years ago.

I have left messages for the daughter in law to call me this past week, but she does not return my phone calls. 

It is very difficult to love her......but I do.  I just don't like her, or her way---the way she treated my son, the way she treats me, and the way she treats my grandson's great-grandmother-my mother.  I didn't want Joe to marry her, but he did.  At least when Joe was alive, we had each other to talk to.  Now all that is gone. 

I feel I have said too much, but this is the truth. I have no one else to share this with until next Thursday, at my first visit with a support group.

Thanks you for listening.

So very sad

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1 hour ago, So very sad said:

Today, being it is Thanksgiving, I am suppose to be thankful for all that our Heavenly Father has given me.  I am.  I just don't understand.

I think there's times it's very understandable that we don't feel "thankful," this is one of those times.  As for the "why,"  I'm not sure we ever understand, IF there is a "why."  


1 hour ago, So very sad said:

I feel I have said too much, but this is the truth.

And that is okay, your feelings are very understandable.  My DIL never returns my calls, doesn't talk to me, she was different when she was trying to lasso my son, but now that she has him, she doesn't treat me very well either.  I deal with it as best as I can for my son's and grandkids' sake.  It's hard.  I'm sorry you're going through this.

You can share your heart here.

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Guest So very sad

I managed to get through todays' Thanksgiving meal I prepared.  So many memories of when Joe was here with me the last two Thanksgivings. SIGH, I miss him. 

My mom really enjoyed her meal.  I actually "forgot" and almost called Joe today on the phone. Then, in an instant I remembered he is not here on this earth anymore. 

The first thing I did this morning was go to my computer and found a photo of him that I cropped, edited  & printed so I could put it in a frame to sit beside his sisters' photo. I searched for a photo that he looked like the last time I had seen him. Then I went to my closet, found my old box of frames, and proceeded with my project.   Unfortunately, the two years he lived with me, we forgot to take any photos.  I realized this when I saw him the last time,  when I took him to the airport.  We are the type of people that just doesn't take photos. Unbelievable, but true. 

I gathered all my stuff I had found for my photo project and set it aside. I then chose to write on this site early this morning.  After that, I started preparing our Thanksgiving meal.  Mom & I haven't been eating too well the past days because of Joe's death, and her brother is in Hospice.  We both had a fill of good food for a change.

At this moment, I feel ill--like my food isn't digesting in my stomach. I hope I don't vomit.  I just don't feel good.  My mom & I have been "nibbling" on food these past 12 days simply because we know we both need food in our systems.  I did mange to eat my lunches at work this past week.

 Right now, I am just existing. I just hate grief.

So very sad

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Welcome, and I'm sorry that this devastating loss has come to pass.  I felt a little eerie reading your first post as my given name is the same as your son's and my birthday falls within those days in which no one knew he had died. 

2 hours ago, So very sad said:

Right now, I am just existing.

That's exactly how it feels.  😞

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16 hours ago, So very sad said:

We are the type of people that just doesn't take photos.

Me too.  I wish I did but don't seem to change that about myself.

I hope you were able to complete that project.  I'm sorry food isn't setting right with you, possibly because of the stress of your grief.  I lost weight at first then gained it as I stuffed my emotions.  One things is for sure, grief does seem to affect our eating, one way or another.  Oh to eat what we need, no more, no less!

16 hours ago, So very sad said:

Right now, I am just existing.

Survival mode.  Just get by, one day at a time.

I wrote this about ten years after my husband died of what I'd found helpful, I hope even one thing in it is of help to you, if not now, later on down the road.  


There's no way to sum up how to go on in a simple easy answer, but I encourage you to read the other threads here, little by little you will learn how to make your way through this.  I do want to give you some pointers though, of some things I've learned on my journey.

  • Take one day at a time.  The Bible says each day has enough trouble of it's own, I've found that to be true, so don't bite off more than you can chew.  It can be challenging enough just to tackle today.  I tell myself, I only have to get through today.  Then I get up tomorrow and do it all over again.  To think about the "rest of my life" invites anxiety.
  • Don't be afraid, grief may not end but it evolves.  The intensity lessens eventually.
  • Visit your doctor.  Tell them about your loss, any troubles sleeping, suicidal thoughts, anxiety attacks.  They need to know these things in order to help you through it...this is all part of grief.
  • Suicidal thoughts are common in early grief.  If they're reoccurring, call a suicide hotline.  I felt that way early on, but then realized it wasn't that I wanted to die so much as I didn't want to go through what I'd have to face if I lived.  Back to taking a day at a time.  Suicide Hotline - Call 1-800-273-8255
  • Give yourself permission to smile.  It is not our grief that binds us to them, but our love, and that continues still.
  • Try not to isolate too much.  
  • There's a balance to reach between taking time to process our grief, and avoiding it...it's good to find that balance for yourself.  We can't keep so busy as to avoid our grief, it has a way of haunting us, finding us, and demanding we pay attention to it!  Some people set aside time every day to grieve.  I didn't have to, it searched and found me!
  • Self-care is extremely important, more so than ever.  That person that would have cared for you is gone, now you're it...learn to be your own best friend, your own advocate, practice self-care.  You'll need it more than ever.
  • Recognize that your doctor isn't trained in grief, find a professional grief counselor that is.  We need help finding ourselves through this maze of grief, knowing where to start, etc.  They have not only the knowledge, but the resources.
  • In time, consider a grief support group.  If your friends have not been through it themselves, they may not understand what you're going through, it helps to find someone somewhere who DOES "get it". 
  • Be patient, give yourself time.  There's no hurry or timetable about cleaning out belongings, etc.  They can wait, you can take a year, ten years, or never deal with it.  It's okay, it's what YOU are comfortable with that matters.  
  • Know that what we are comfortable with may change from time to time.  That first couple of years I put his pictures up, took them down, up, down, depending on whether it made me feel better or worse.  Finally, they were up to stay.
  • Consider a pet.  Not everyone is a pet fan, but I've found that my dog helps immensely.  It's someone to love, someone to come home to, someone happy to see me, someone that gives me a purpose...I have to come home and feed him.  Besides, they're known to relieve stress.  Well maybe not in the puppy stage when they're chewing up everything, but there's older ones to adopt if you don't relish that stage.
  • Make yourself get out now and then.  You may not feel interest in anything, things that interested you before seem to feel flat now.  That's normal.  Push yourself out of your comfort zone just a wee bit now and then.  Eating out alone, going to a movie alone or church alone, all of these things are hard to do at first.  You may feel you flunked at it, cried throughout, that's okay, you did it, you tried, and eventually you get a little better at it.  If I waited until I had someone to do things with I'd be stuck at home a lot.
  • Keep coming here.  We've been through it and we're all going through this together.
  • Look for joy in every day.  It will be hard to find at first, but in practicing this, it will change your focus so you can embrace what IS rather than merely focusing on what ISN'T.  It teaches you to live in the present and appreciate fully.  You have lost your big joy in life, and all other small joys may seem insignificant in comparison, but rather than compare what used to be to what is, learn the ability to appreciate each and every small thing that comes your way...a rainbow, a phone call from a friend, unexpected money, a stranger smiling at you, whatever the small joy, embrace it.  It's an art that takes practice and is life changing if you continue it.
  • Eventually consider volunteering.  It helps us when we're outward focused, it's a win/win.

(((hugs))) Praying for you today.


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  • 1 year later...

Guest so very sad, it's a shame you only have a guest account (?) because I had just read through this thread and was going to send you a personal message because sometimes it feels a bit more real to know someone reached out for you privately. Anyway, just want you to know I feel for you, it must feel so wrong to lose both your children like that and then know that some day your mother too will be gone too. My grandma lived with us for over twenty years, and she was always grandma aged to me but now I see how she was much healthier early on than the last phase of life. She still got out of the house pretty muvh daily for lunch, my step-mom (her daughter; never liked saying stepgrandma) took her and they liked to go to different places and some regulars. It's kind of funny, even when we wrre in the hospital waiting room (for 7hrs plus btw, they dont care about old ladies dying slowly) she hadnt eaten in about two weeks and had diarrhea terrible before we got her to ER, and she was very weak and not fully rhere mentally but i noticed she was still observing people and mentioned to me if someone had a food bag or box like oh, they went to such and such place. So what i'm saying is it is good to know she still had things she totally enjoyed in life right up to the two werks prior to dying. Unfortunately she passed right when my dad and I were stuck in traffic on the way there! she wasn't alone though, but still i wanted to be there. however once i saw her body it was odd, it was so obvious to me in that moment, that the body is but a shell, and her spirit had flown. seeing her body lifeless, it was like 'alien' to mysenses, it didn't seem like grandma but just this worn out old skin she shed, so i didn't find it upsetting at all, it was more like uhh where did grandma go? it was the overall loss of her presence and from daily life that got to me emotionally at home. 

Anyway, Guest so sad, I relate a bit to your son Joseph, I am not an alcoholic but do have a serious substance abuse issue and I prefer not to name what it is specifically, i only drink alcohol occasionally while my substance abuse is daily. but, two peas in a pod right? theres probably not much difference in overall life effects, so i know something of what your son was going thru. i also only ride my bicycle but i never even learned to drive anyway. i was already too ill to even consider it seriously, it all seems like a world i never knew or got to experience. all ive ever done is ride my damn bike, every day i take the same route to the same store to buy the same things. it gives me comfort because the exercise feels good and it takes my mind off of home, makes me feel like im just me in those miments, im not me plus the suffeirng of all the loss at home, so it is a liberating feeling to be out there riding, and it does keep me in decent shape despite being a drug addict (i have a theory that if you exercise by necessity to get your drugs, you outlive your life expectency and thus get to take more drugs for longer, so im glad to ride if its local). I agree that 35 miles is far on a bike, but not impossible separated into a few days. One can easily do 20 miles in a day at regular relaxed speed, i have done it riding an 11 mile route and back again, i was tired later but not much different from usual really, but i probably did not ride the next day. So it would have been possible for him to ride, get a motel room somewhere or something, then continue next day, but its hard to make that commmittment if you arent even sure your wife will let you in etc so i understand his predicament. also that's sad anout his accident and resulting fear of riding. one time i was in an altercation and threatened with a gun and felt nervous to go out again after that but soon resumed. 

I think what I'd want you to understand from the perspective of someone with substance abuse issues like Joseph is... we hate it too, wish we never got involved at all with it, but it just grabs on and never lets go! we are the #1 victims, i honestly believe that, i mean yes families do suffer as a result but don't forget it is the addict themselves who is the one suffering the addiction and all the health problems and related issues, at the end of the day a family member remains whothey are independntly of the addict, while the addict has no one but himself. Also i bet Joseph used to remember his childhood and how innocent and fun life was and how he had a natural curiosity for hings and the good times he had with his dad growing up. I bet he thought you knew everything and were the coolest dad around. Those years would have seemed golden to him, soemtimes i wish i would just wake up and be eleven years old and realize it was all jst a terrible nightmare, im just a kid still, my parents are togehter,no one has died etc, not wake up and realize im a 32 year old mentally ill drug addict heading for death whose life is ruined. people think oh why dont they just stop and fix their lives? it is because the sense of hopelessness says that wont help anyway, so we take comfort in the addiction cycle even when we know it is leading to death, because death starts to feel seductive and like it will be a better place. It is sad that his sons wont have their dad anymore but maybe they will learn from the loss of Joseph and never turn to drugs and alcohol themselves, and then that was the meaning of why he died so early? if he did not die, maybe they would end up dying. maybe youll be able to get to spend time with them soon and have many great days that remind you of your son and beco e good memories for you and your grandsons. 


I would like to suggest that you leave your daughter in law more than a one line "call me" type message. She may possibly be misinterpreting things and think you have ill will for her and are calling to argue or something. I think if she read how you expressed your sadness here about not seeing your grandkids, then its hard to imagine a mother so hard hearted that she'd refuse. it's worth a try anyway, maybe you can mail her a handwritten letter? remind her even though she knows, how youve lost both your children so want to spend time with your grandkids! ask how she would feel if she lost them. reassure her you have no bones to pivk with her and won't cause any problems if you go to her house, say you understand ahe moved on with a new guy etc and you will get along with him fine. Give it a try, please dont give up on seeing your grandkids because that can be a very special relationship and i think grandfathers can pass wisdom to their grandsons better than they could to their son and your father to you etc. I still fondly remember the past day ai had with my paternal grandfather, we went for a scenic walk in England where he lived. We talked about The Beatles and his old hifi setup which had been there since the 60s in their front room. Yearsnlater after he passed Inwas looking thru their old photo stills (not sure the term, tiny little squares you had to squint to see, projector images maybe?) and realized that my dad and his parents wrnt on these walks all the time to the same places, so it was interesting to realize it was with me that he had his last long walk. I'd like to say this: dont let your daughter in law prevent you from having similar meaningful times with your grandkids. they are afterall from your son. remind her. say that by having some time with them, you feel closer to your son and it helps you. 


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13 hours ago, HG88 said:

was going to send you a personal message

It appears to be their username but perhaps they're not set up for messaging?

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