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Guest Nicholas

Loss Of Son

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Guest Nicholas

I am new to this forum, having found it via Google. My adopted Thai son passed away on December 29th in London, UK, where he lived with me for almost 20 years, aged just 43. His death was caused essentially by alcohol which had destroyed his liver, though he did not suffer a great deal. It was unexpected, despite having cirrhosis, he was OK when admitted to hospital, but quickly deteriorated after latterly contracting sepsis whilst in hospital. The last few days of his life he was in a coma suffering multiple organ failure and, though we were told he might go on for a couple more days when we decided to turn off the ventilator, he was gone in a matter of minutes. We were by his bedside at the end.

I am no stranger to grief and loss - both my parents had died before I reached 24, but the loss of such a lively, happy son at such a young age is unbearable. I had hoped that the fact that we were both Buddhists might help as he was always joking "see you next life", but this hasn't helped me at all. The thought of never seeing him again is just so painful.

I do have friends and family and my son left behind a partner and their own group of friends, but it is the early mornings that are proving so painful, there doesn't seem any point in getting up and the thought of so many empty days ahead fills me with dread.

Thank you, Nicholas

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Dear Nicholas,

I am so very sorry about the loss of your son, I don't know the words to say of course. I know the loss of a child must be one of the hardest things in the world to deal with. I myself have no children so I can only relate in my own grief that I am struggling with. My Father died last year on Dec. 30th. He, like your son,was in a coma (also something that came on suddenly) for a few days,and on a ventilator, and we had to turn it off. I am living with guilt, and horrible memories of that. I understand completely what you said about not even wanting to get up out of bed, AND thinking about the empty days and years ahead. :closedeyes: I still cry almost everyday, I can't see any "light" at the end of the tunnel.

I am sorry that what I've written sounds so depressing (it's just my reality). I just wanted to let you know that I could relate to some of what you're going through. It's great that you found this site, It has helped me through a VERY rough year. I know that you'll meet some wonderful people here, and I'm sure they will be able to offer more "comforting" words than I have.

I am not a religious person, but always thought if I were to choose one it would be Buddhism , After my Dad died I read one of the books I have by the Dalai Lama (I'm sure I spelled his name wrong!) It brought me some peace, He is an amazing human being!

Nicholas, I wish you peace , and comfort, and look forward to hearing from you again.

Jodi -_-

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My thoughts and prayers are with you. there is no greater loss than that of losing your child. May you find happiness in his memories and joy in the knowledge that he is in a better place. My only suggestion is to keep busy; get up every day and get out for walks, work, etc. I hope you find peace.

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Guest Nicholas

Thank you both for your replies. One of my dearest friends worked for Relate, a UK organization that helps with relationship problems but she is also trained in other emotional matters and has explained to me again the traditional grieving process. At the moment I am still suffering from shock but am fortunate in that I don't feel two of the worst aspects of grief - and hopefully won't - namely guilt and anger. I suffered guilt when my mother passed away as I sort of ran away not being able to cope with seeing her suffer (she died of cancer in 1979). But I don't feel guilty about my son - I brought him from Thailand to the UK and he had a much better quality of life than he would have had there, and I don't feel guilty that I couldn't get him to stop drinking. Other than chaining him to his bed, there is nothing you can do to stop someone getting hold of alcohol, they are very cunning and will always find a way. He enjoyed drinking, never became violent or anything like that and, being a Buddhist, just lived each day as it came. What will be, will be. I also don't feel angry - well, perhaps just a little bit that he didn't reflect more on what might happen to him should he continue to drink and what might happen to us as a consequence. But, again, that is the Buddhist mentality - we are all in a state of flux, everything is impermanent and we are all on a journey to the next life. In some ways Buddhism can appear quite selfish, in others very serene and wise. And, of course, another essential Buddhist belief is that all attachments lead to suffering, so best to live unattached as a monk.

So much to ponder on and reflect on 21 happy years.

Thank you for all your support.

Nicholas

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Hi Nicholas,

I am very sorry for your loss, my dad died suddenly at only 50, both his parents are living and are Hindu so they also believe in the next life concept and that everyone comes here alone so to avoid suffering you have to remain unattached but for me I can see although they say this on the outside my grandad goes to the toilet and cries and hides it so what's the point? Personally I was quite spiritual and believed in God but since this has happened my grandparents concept is people suffer due to karmas they have committed and for me I have seen alot of bad people and my grandparents who have been so spiritual and good kind people and now they are suffering I dont see how the karma thing works really. And as for the attachment thing it makes me angry to think of because why not live life to the fullest and be attached and give all your love to your family and make the most of it because you don't know if you will see them again. It's good to find comfort if you can truly believe in the non-attachment thing etc but it's much easier said than done and you can't mask your feelings behind them so don't do what you think you have to do and what you think is right but focus on how you feel and good luck to you

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Guest Nicholas

Hinduism and Buddhism are quite closely related. Yes, the attachment thing is a difficult concept - living one's life without any attachments whatsoever and spending one's entire existence in a monastery or whatever might be spiritually fulfilling but emotionally empty. Even the Lord Buddha had attachments before setting off for the forest and achieving Enlightenment. Pesonally, I couldn't imagine life without any emotional attachment. As for Karma, well my son lived a good, happy life, doing much charity and being kind to everyone and he loved children and animals. No one has an unkind word to say about him and he has left so many people grief-stricken. His only "weakness" was alcohol but, again, that was just part of his enjoyment of life as it never made him aggressive nor violent, just happy. Tragically, it was eventually to kill him. Deep down, he probably knew it might, but continued to live life with a "no problem" carefree attitude. He once told my sister he would be reborn as a dog, whilst those left behind, especially me, are merely left with memories.

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Dear Nicholas,

I am so very deeply sorry for your loss. I know there is nothing I can say that will ease your pain. I lost a child to violence a very long time ago so I know the pain of loosing a child. We are supposed to die before our children. I am so sorry.

I encourage you to try some journalling in the mornings, when the pain is so acute. Just write whatever comes to mind, don't worry whether it makes sense, just try to let yourself feel and the words will flow. I encourge you to write by hand, rather than type on a keyboard, there is just something about the physical act of writing that helps more than typing on a keyboard. If you like to paint at all, this is another great medium to express your pain. The key is to express it somehow, so it does not stay within you to fester.

Let your grief lead you and trust it's direction.

Courage and Blessings, Carol Ann

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Guest Nicholas

Dear Carol Ann,

Thank you for your posting. By coincidence I am - or used to be - an author and journalist, and so have written a great deal, even about my son. In fact, my first book, published in the early 1990s, recounts our travels together in South East Asia, and I re-read that book two days ago. There was so much I had forgotten about our times together that I am lucky to have a lasting, published memorial. Even his photo is in the book.

But it is the struggle to attempt to return to normality that is such a worry, especially as he passed away during the so-called "Festive Period". On Christmas Day, four days before he died, I was all alone at home and managed to eat three pieces of toast, all the while imagining the rest of the world having fun opening all their presents. I doubt I could face next Christmas home alone, that would be excruciatingly painful. I would like to return to his village in Thailand to see what work he had done there. As a Buddhist, he was always helping the poor people in his village, giving donations and "making merit".

Nicholas

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Dear Nicholas,

You are very welcome. I thank you for your support of me too. That is great that you know the value and benefit of writing. What a blessing to have a published lasting memorial. I would be honoured to read your book if you are comfortable to let me know the title to see if I could get it.

Nicholas the struggle you feel to return to normal is just that "normal" Your normal now is right where you are Nicholas. I so relate to the feelings you have around the fact your son passed away during the so-called "Festive Period" Melissa suicided on Christmas Day. Of course you only managed to eat three pieces of toast, good for you for managing that. I have faced and survived 7 Christmas Days Nicholas and I remembering feeling just as you do now. I am sorry for the storm you are feeling now. I am sure hope seems all but a flicker, it at all. Hope is still with you, just is blinded by your pain at present. Your pain is what is priority for now.

I like to think of the pain as waves on the ocean, and all waves reach shore and dissipate. At first we are thrown into the wave, and it feels we are there without a life jacket, and barely able to get to the surface for the neccessary breath for life. In time, we learn to master the waves when they come, we learn to surf them, and the pain that feels so incredibly palpable is transformed to something less palpable and we look forward to beginning life anew.

I think it is key that we believe we can survive our pain, that we can heal. It is not a straight line Nicholas but as you will discover when you read what you have written today, a day, a week, or an month later, you will see your pain is transforming to something different. You will see that 3 pieces of toast becomes 4.

I have a fridge magnet and it reads: "I have always known that at last I would take this road but I did not know yesterday that it would be today....K. Rexroth." The furture is not ours to see yet, the moment is now Nicholas, and right now it is enough to just get through the moment you are in.

Know that I hold you in gentle prayer and thought as you weather the loss of your dear son.

Blessings and Courage, Carol Ann

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Guest Nicholas

Dear Carol Ann,

Your comments all make sense, even though yesterday was a ghastly day, my first ever (and hopefully) last visit to a Funeral Director. The staff there were very friendly and helpful but the whole thing was surreal and yet they treated it in such a matter-of-fact attitude. The cremation is now set for January 18th.

I would be delighted to send you a complimentary signed copy of my first book, no need for you to buy it. If you are able to contact me via email or some other way, then please let me have your postal address and I'll mail you a copy. I am a full time bookseller (writing books doesn't pay) so this is no problem for me. It was written in a very chatty, "British style" humour, light-hearted manner so you might not understand some of the jokes/puns, but it might encourage you to visit S E ASia!

Kind regards

Nicholas

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Dear Nicholas,

I am sorry the staff did not show you more emapthy. I am sorry that you had to go there at all. I have marked the 18th down and I will light a candle that day in honour and memory of you dear son. One moment at a time Nicholas.

Blessings and Courage, Carol Ann

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Guest Nicholas

Thanomsil's funeral was yesterday; there were three Buddhist monks present who chanted and a wonderful eulogy by my dearest friend.

This was one of the songs played - he loved the Andy Williams version.

Hope your next life is as good as this one was to you.

You're just too good to be true

I can´t take my eyes off you

You'd be like heaven to touch

I wanna hold You so much

At long last love has arrived

and I thank God I'm alive

You're just too good to be true

can´t take my eyes off You

Pardon the way that I stare

There´s nothing else to compare

The sight of You leaves me weak

There are no words left to speak

But if you feel like I feel

Please let me know that is real

You're just too good to be true

I can´t take my eyes off You

I love You baby

And if it´s quite all right

I need You baby

to warm a lonely night

I love You baby

Trust in me when I say

Oh pretty baby

Don't bring me down I pray

Oh pretty baby

Now that I´ve found You stay

And let me love You, baby

let me love You

You're just too good to be true

I can´t take my eyes off you

You'd be like heaven to touch

I wanna hold You so much

At long last love has arrived

and I thank God I'm alive

You're just too good to be true

can´t take my eyes off You

I love You baby

And if it´s quite all right

I need You baby

to warm a lonely night

I love You baby

Trust in me when I say

Oh pretty baby

Don't bring me down I pray

Oh pretty baby

Now that I´ve found You stay

And let me love You, baby

let me love You

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Dear Nicholas,

Thank you for sharing this with us. I hold it gentle care and respect. I hold you in gentle thought and prayer as you weather the loss of your son. It is a path that ebbs and flows Nicholas and my heart reaches out to you. Thank you for being such a wonderful Father to your son.

Blessings and Courge, Carol Ann

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Guest Nicholas

Thank you for your reply, I don't know if that is good or bad, I seem to recall weeping every night after my mother died but not at all so much when my father passed away, as I was much closer to my mum and younger, but losing my son seems even worse, crying day and night, at every little reminder, his shoes, toothbrush, food left in the freezer that I will never eat (he loved fish, I didn't), everything in fact. I had recently introduced him to YouTube and now I can't even go to that website without weeping.

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Of course, this is a cliché but he was your son, children aren't supposed to die before their parents. I can relate in the way that where you are now I was the same, I couldn't do anything without crying, my dad's shoes are still at the back door his brand new glasses on the table every time I saw them I would cry. Now it's 11 months exactly today and I can already see how different it is now to then, I long to be back to the time where I could cry all day long and everything would remind me of him but right now where I am that doesn't happen. I know how frustrating it is to hear this because up till a few months ago when people said time would make it easier to deal with, it would make me so angry I would say time won't bring him back my life will be worse in time because I'll have to accept this has happened and I didn't believe it, I don't think time has healed but I know that the stage I am at now is so different to where I was a few months ago, and I'm sure it will be the same for you.

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Does one ever stop crying?

Dear Nicholas,

I understand why you can not imagine the crying will ever end. I understand because I have been where you are now and felt the exact same way. For me, if I focused on tomorrow, it felt I could not make it through today. For me, I needed to be in the moment and breath that was here right now and just focus on the moment I was in and then I felt I could go on.

In honesty, Nicholas, the crying does end, only to come again. For me what changed was the crying at first rendered me totally dysfunctional, unable to engage in life at all. Then as time passed, when the crying came again, I could still function in life.

Time is hard to wait upon when we feel such emptiness, such sorrow, such anguish but time is what we need. I hold you in gentle thought and care and wait along with you as time passes by and you find that when you think of your son, your tears will not be born from what you have lost but will be born from what you have found.

Blessings and Courage, Carol Ann

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Guest Nicholas

Thank you for that; unfortunately every time I go to it, I cry. Last Saturday was my birthday, which also made me cry, and today I had to pick up Thanomsil's ashes from the funeral director's, which, surprise, surprise, also made me cry. That's all I seem to do these days, which I know is normal but ... each time I wake up, I regret that it is not me who has died instead. The apartment is so empty, the world so empty and there are reminders everywhere, especially in the kitchen which was his domain. And I think, 43 is far too young to die, if only he hadn't abused his body with beer. And soon I will have to organize a trip to Thailand, where I will be surrounded by happy people on vacation and yet I will be returning half his ashes to his land of birth for his family and villagers to celebrate his all too short life. And they will be celebrating the fact that he is on his way to his next life, and, once again, I will be distraught, only this time among a culture that won't understand why I am so sad since in Thailand death is merely one step closer to Nirvana.

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I'm so sorry, but all I can say is you're not alone in how you feel, my Dad's Mum always says she wishes it was her instead of my dad, it's just not right. You hear of young children dying and that's so horrible and unfair, but then on the other hand in one of my degree modules we are always learning about how people are living longer now and I always see adverts on TV doing special "50+" offers and think some people's lives begin at 50 where as my Dad didn't even get a chance. As for the going back to Thailand, I understand you because my relatives in India also don't see why we must grieve, I'm not sure what they believe but the words "Gods will" have been thrown around a lot. All I can say is don't hide how you're feeling, don't be uncomfortable crying because it's a good thing, I feel like a robot now and I know if I cry I would feel so much better. And as for the trip to scatter his ashes I hope it's a peaceful trip for you.

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Guest Nicholas

What is equally depressing is that I don't think Thanomsil's family back in Thailand really care much, I think they viewed him as a bank who contributed financially to their well-being by sending money and doing charitable deeds when he returned once a year. I know he fell out with his two brothers after his sister died; he didn't talk about it much, but the two brothers only seemed interested in getting their hands on the estate. I know they view death differently in Thailand but all their concern seems to be is on sorting out the financial side. As soon as they heard he had passed away, they were desperate for a copy of his passport, bank account and death certificate.

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Guest Nicholas

Thank you for those very kind comments; if only I'd known our time together would be so short ...

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I know what you mean, everyone says to me "you weren't to know" but IF ONLY there was so many thing I wanted to say/do and now won't be able to, some days you can deal with it and know it wasn't your fault because you weren't to know and other days its hard to deal with!

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