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The Rabbit Hole


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I have not posted in a few weeks, however, I need to speak to each of you today and pass along an important piece of assistance which I ran across today. I saw a movie (it's a current movie) called "The Rabbit Hole." It is truly excellent. It deals with the topic of grief. It is by far the best explanation and discussion of grief - via a movie - that I have ever seen. Do yourself a favor and go to see this movie. It will help each of you to heal, and to understand what this type of pain is all about - and how it is truly a life time journey.

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I have not posted in a few weeks, however, I need to speak to each of you today and pass along an important piece of assistance which I ran across today. I saw a movie (it's a current movie) called "The Rabbit Hole." It is truly excellent. It deals with the topic of grief. It is by far the best explanation and discussion of grief - via a movie - that I have ever seen. Do yourself a favor and go to see this movie. It will help each of you to heal, and to understand what this type of pain is all about - and how it is truly a life time journey.

I saw your post and looked up the movie, "The Rabbit Hole." However, I see it's about a couple who lose a child. I haven't seen the movie, but I can talk from experience after having lost two children, one suddenly and one after two years, both from a rare genetic disease but our first baby died suddenly and was misdiagnosed on autopsy. I also had a miscarriage at five months but didn't know the cause until our last baby was diagnosed.

Now after having lost my husband from a freak bicycle accident after having had survived cancer, I don't think a movie like that would help me deal with my grief, personally speaking. Losing Dennis is worse than all of the losses I've had to face put together and I've had others. My Mom died on Xmas day suddenly in an auto accident and even our dog had to be put to sleep because of a vet error and couldn't be saved.

I just came back to edit this after I signed off because I realized I didn't even make the most important point. I had always read that losing your spouse or child are the worse losses anyone could have, but after having lost both children, I know we had each other to get through them, to hold each other, to cry, talk. I recently read that 90% of marriages fail after the loss of a child. I don't know if it's really that high but for us, it just made us that much closer and we were close to begin with. I was with him since I was 14-1/2 years old and we were together for 43 years, 38 married and went together for five.

When our first child died, I found her shortly after he left for work. I called him after I called for the ambulance and he raced to the hospital. The police took me to the hospital and a Dr. came into a room and told me that she had died and stayed with me until he came. I didn't speak, cry, I was just quiet and numb but when I heard him come into the hospital, I ran into his arms hysterical. I couldn't even cry without him so how am I supposed to survive this now without him?

I don't post much because I'm struggling and most people are doing better at this stage, it's been three years on Nov. 8, 2007. I never even heard of "complicated grief" before this but I'm living it now. I don't have much family but they've deserted me because they don't begin to understand what I'm going through. I have some friends who have stuck by me, some who deserted me immediately, one after over a 30 year close friendship who went through the whole life and death of our last daughter with me but said she didn't know what to say to me but she prays for me every day. I think it just hit her too close to home, she's five years older than me and I think she thought it might be contagious. Others have come out of the woodwork to help me out but for the most part I'm alone every day and don't feel I'll ever find happiness again until God takes me also. There's more, but maybe for another time. As it is, I kind of got off track about the movie. I'd like to see how other widows/widowers feel about the comparison of a loss of a child versus the loss of a spouse?

Hugs, Gail

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Dear Gail,

I am so deeply sorry for all of your loss. I want to acknowledge your courage for making this post. I know how hard that was for you and you did it. I just want to give my two cents worth here and say that I don't think it fair to hold yourself to anyone else's timeline as we all are indviduals with our own set of life experiences so none of us will be the same in so far as the time. It was 7 years this past December 25 that my wife committed suicide and I am now just beginning to find joy again. Your courage tonight, has given me further courage for a parole hearing that I have to go to tomorrow to give my impact statement. I too, have lost children not by natural causes but by violence and you are the first person I am telling this to, other than my wife Melissa. I so agree with you that the loss of my Melissa has been the most devistating and difficult loss of all.

Whatever time we need is alright because it is what we need. I just had to let you know how very sorry I am and how my heart aches for you.

Blessings and Courage, Carol Ann

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John,

How good to hear from you again! Thank you for passing on the info...I haven't seen advertisements about it yet but will keep my eyes posted. If the movie helps those who have NOT been through grief to have a glimpse into how it is, then it will also serve a good purpose.

Many people say to lose a child is the worst that can happen. It seems unnatural and we expect we should outlive our children. However, losing our partner affects us on so many levels that other losses don't so it's very difficult to maneuver through that. I have learned never to compare losses, though, because each loss should be acknowledged fully for what it is and one person's grief in no way lessens another's.

I lost a niece and a nephew to death, but even harder was when I lost a child, not to death, but to custody...it was a stepson, and I raised him the first three years of his life (fulltime) and suddenly his mother took him away and I didn't know where he was for four years...during that time I not only had the loss to deal with, but the additional hardship of not knowing if he was okay or how he was doing. When my niece and nephew died, at least I had the consolation that they were now in God's care. I cannot imagine losing my own children...although grown, the affection they hold in your heart is neverending. My heart goes out to Gail, you have suffered so much loss it's inconceivable.

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Gail,

I am so sorry for all the losses you have had and I also commend your strength for posting your story. Do not feel that there is anything wrong in the length of time you have been grieving. You are not mourning just for your lost children, but for a partner that has been a huge part of your life for 43 years. To top that, an accident that took your mom. Of course you would still be hurting. I cannot imagine how I would be able to handle all that you did.

Is there any groups in your area that you could join that might help you? Maybe someone from a chuch or maybe the hospital in your area has counsillors you could speak to. Hopefully you can find something to help you.

Please don't feel that you can't post because you aren't as far as some here. We may be better, but I think we still have many days where we feel like it's just starting over again.

As for the movie, I've never lost a child, so can't really voice an opinion.

Lainey

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Dear John,

I wanted to post to let you know that when I repsonded to Gail's post in this thread I did not mean to totally ignore your post. I just new what courage it took for Gail to make that post and it is hard sometimes when you bare your soul so publicly and you don't get much response or acknowledgment.

I will check this movie out for sure and I thank you a great deal for sharing it with us. I know that you too have suffered a great loss and I offer you my understanding and support. I have learned a lot from your posts and I want to thank you very much.

It seems I have an insatiable thirst for anything written/filmed/composed about grief and loss and I have found that I have learned and been able to keep finding the courage and motivation to keep moving through life.

Blessings and Courage, Carol Ann

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To All,

Although I know the movie is about the loss of a child I still believe it can help anyone who is dealing with grief. My intent in recommending it to all of you was not to compare different types of grief - the loss of a child vs. the loss of a partner. For me personally - and I am only speaking to my own experience - there is nothing more difficult than losing a partner. However this is only my personal opinion. In the past I have posted and noted that when the loss involves someone living in your home with whom you have everyday involvement then the loss is extremely difficult to endure, accept and recover from. The loss of a partner, with who so much intimacy is shared, is an almost insurmountable loss. As I have indicated before - for me - it is a life time journey.

Again my reason for referring each of you to this movie was not to make a comparison of different types of losses but rather to direct you each to a film which deals with the complicated topic of grief in an extremely powerful manner.

Even more than five years after my Jacks death I can honestly say that this movie is a tremendous help despite the fact that it deals wit the loss of a child - and my loss was that of a partner.

I would urge you each to see it. You will see how grief overlaps different types of loss.

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Dear John,

I could not agree with you more whole heartedly. For me, the loss of my wife Melissa has been the most devistating as well. I agree to compare one loss over the other is not the issue here either. I agree this movie is well worth the watch and I am grateful to you for telling us about it. Your journey inspires me to keep going on in mine!

Blessings and Courage, Carol Ann

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Dear John,

Thank-you so very much for the suggestion of this movie, I hope I can find it playing somewhere soon ! Is it a "mainstream" movie ? Well, I sure look forward to seeing it. I have been grieving the loss of my Dad for a year now, and I welcome any suggestions on ANYTHING that might help with this pain. :closedeyes:

I have never read your posts , but,what you and Jack had sounds like such a wonderful Love story, and I will look very forward to reading your book one day. Thank-you again !

Love and Peace,

Jodi

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Dear John,

Thank-you so very much for the suggestion of this movie, I hope I can find it playing somewhere soon ! Is it a "mainstream" movie ? Well, I sure look forward to seeing it. I have been grieving the loss of my Dad for a year now, and I welcome any suggestions on ANYTHING that might help with this pain. :closedeyes:

I have never read your posts , but,what you and Jack had sounds like such a wonderful Love story, and I will look very forward to reading your book one day. Thank-you again !

Love and Peace,

Jodi

Jodi,

It is probably not considered a mainstream movie. Here in the Phoenix area it is playing at a well know theatre called Camelview which usually plays those "off Broadway type" movies. The movie has a more narrow appeal and the general movie going public may not be interested in seeing a movie that deals so intensely with the topic of grief. Most people (generally speaking) don't pay too much attention to greif until it effects them. So you will have to look "off the beaten track" to find this movie - but it is well worth the seach for anyone dealing with grief.

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Hi John,

I saw this movie this past weekend, and I agree with you ~ it is quite powerful. I'm not sure I would recommend it to someone whose grief is fresh, since the story involves a couple whose little boy was killed in a tragic accident some eight months earlier, and the parents' grief is palpable and raw throughout the movie. But the film addresses so many aspects of the normal grief process and portrays the parents' reactions with such authenticity that I was amazed at the accuracy of it all, throughout the entire movie. Even the ending was perfect. The acting is superb and the casting is excellent ~ even the real estate agent's and little boy's reactions in the scene about selling the family's home were spot-on! I found myself thinking that there was precious little about normal grief that this movie did not include! I wish everyone who knows someone who is mourning the loss of a loved one would see this movie ~ I think those are the folks who really need to see it (and could learn a lot from it).

As for comparing losses, I am reprinting below a response I posted in another thread some time ago:

Posted 06 March 2006 - 09:37 AM

Dear Ones,

I want to add my voice to this discussion, by gently suggesting to all our members and visitors that it is pointless to compare the magnitude of one person’s loss with that of another.

Is it harder to lose a spouse than a parent? Would losing a child be worse than losing a spouse? Would a sudden, unexpected death be harder to accept than a long, slow, painful one? And which is worse: loss of a leg, or loss of an arm? Would you rather lose your eyesight or your hearing? Your home or your job?

These losses are neither better or worse, harder or easier, one from another – rather, they are each different from one another. There is not a person among us who can answer any of these questions honestly unless and until that particular loss has happened to us, and even then, it would be different for each one of us, depending on our own individual circumstances and the meaning we attach to what we have lost.

Grief is not just confined to losing a person through death.

Intense feelings of loss can come from the ending of a marriage by separation or divorce.

A move can produce feelings of grief.

A rape. A job loss. Loss of a body part or body function.

Financial loss. Loss of dignity and respect.

Loss of a pet.

One of the most difficult counseling situations I ever had involved Jonathan

whose seeing-eye dog of ten years, Angel, died.

Angel was Jonathan's live-in partner,

his dearest family member,

his closest work associate,

his trusted servant,

his most faithful friend,

an actual extension of himself,

a literal part of his being -- his eyes.

When Angel died,

all of that was lost.

- Douglas C. Smith, MA, MS, MDiv

I believe that one of the greatest benefits of these online discussion forums is that, by posting, reading and responding to the messages written here, we'll all come to a greater understanding of the grief that accompanies all the different kinds of loss we may experience in life, and we’ll learn to be more caring, accepting and tolerant of one another. Here in this warm and caring place, we recognize that grief is neither a contest nor a competition. For every single person here, at this moment in time, our own loss is the worst that could happen to anyone. We are not here to pass judgment on the strength or legitimacy of anyone else’s grief. Where there is loss, there is grief. Pain is pain. Only you can know the special place in your life and in your heart that was occupied by your loved one, and you are the only one who can measure just how much you have lost.

Wishing you peace and healing,

Marty T

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Hi Marty,

I am so glad you had a chance to see this movie. Moreover, your review of it is perfect. As always, you continue to provide such excellent insight and advise to everyone on this sight. You give to each of us just what we need - great insight, understanding, compassion, direction and support. You have created a wonderful place for all those with broken hearts to heal. Thank you.

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Hi to all,

I've been reading posts from this group for quite some time now but have only posted a couple of times. I know many of your stories and have followed you. John, I read your website quite awhile ago and went back and read it again and remembered who you were. I'm very sorry for your loss.

I'm sorry if I offended anyone with my post, please know it was never my intention in any way.

Lainey, thank you so much for your words. It's my husband that has really thrown me this time, it still just seems so impossible to me that this could have happened and my life could have ended up this way. I lost my Mom in '79 and my children in '72 and '83. I really felt like I had accepted those losses although you never forget and they're in my heart forever. My Dad just recently died in March too and although he had various problems for a long time, the way he died is hard to accept yet too, sometimes I forget he's even gone and then it comes back to me.

I have been to a hospice support group and had a social worker came here once a week for a year and have had another counselor for quite some time. I posted this in another post when someone asked if they've ever lost friends because of their losses. I'm also going through benzo withdrawal because of the xanax I was put on when my husband died. I started getting off of it about seven months afterwards and will be finished the end of May but you can have the symptoms and they keep getting worse the lower you go until your brain finally heals and it can take up to another 18 months so I still have a long road ahead of me. I thank God I knew they weren't helping me and were hurting me more and I researched it and told the Dr. I wanted off of all of them. It's another long story, different Drs. but I don't want to get into it now. If anyone is interested in it, I can post links to read about it.

Carol Ann, thank you for all of your kind words and support. It means so much to me. I guess I've tried in my own way to reach out but I've never done so by starting a subject.

I only have one daughter, her husband and two grandchildren and a sister but they've walked away from me because they don't want to understand the withdrawal and think I should just be over it. Our daughter thought so before a year was even up. She just didn't know how to deal with me so we're not even talking now. Our grandchildren just call with obligatory thank you's for gifts for their birthdays or Christmas etc. and to think we used to be SO close and do so much together and for them. They both also live in other states too. It's so hard for me to accept that this is the way it's turned out, that I could end up alone in the world without love when it's what my life was all about. I was the one who researched everything and would never let anyone be alone in a hospital or nursing home, etc.

I'm very grateful and don't know what I'd do without the friends who do help me, but I'm still usually alone most days. It's hard for me to do things now as the withdrawal is doing that to me. I used to do our yard work and this year I got my neighbor to do the grass for me and some people helped me get the pruning done when I was down to the wire. I've slowly not been able to push myself the way I used to and people tell me it will get better when I'm healed. A friend cooks for me and puts it in my freezer and another one picks up a few groceries for me and helps me make a few other little things. Even with her here, I'm doing it on all adrenaline. Another friend from Scotland no less, calls me twice a day without fail and she is the only one who would know if anything had happened to me because she knows I'd let her know if I'm not going to be here for any reason.

Another friend has reached out that we went to high school with and my husband went to grammar school with and has been picking me up and bringing me to their house sometimes and I've helped them with projects, etc. For some reason I can do it there but not here. I haven't cleaned my house for seven months now. I guess I feel like it doesn't matter anymore without him, it's just going to get dirty again.

Anyway, I'm sure I'm not explaining this very well but I just wanted everyone to know I wasn't trying to diminish anyone else's loss and hope I didn't offend anyone. I know they're all hard, we were still grieving losing our dog when my husband died.

Hugs, Gail

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Dear Gail,

I just want to say that I know what trememdous courage it took for you to make this post. I am just so sorry for all of your loss. I can not speak for others but for sure you have not offended me at all! IN fact, my heart has been aching for you and been wondering if your feeling if your pain has been acknowledged enough by all of us here! I know it is hard when we take the step and reach out and not much comes back. Please keep reaching out, some of us here can only read and not talk as our pain is just all consuming and words just don't come. You have done nothing wrong and everything right and I am just so PROUD of you!

I encourage you, I understand you, and I am so grateful to you.

Blessings and Courage, Carol Ann

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Hi Gail,

I just wanted to reach out to you with all the loss you have experienced.

I do agree with those who say we can't compare losses...each of us experiences loss of all kinds in our own way. Frankly, for me I can't imagine a loss greater than the one I am now grieving.... I have never had children but have lost many people in my life. This loss is gigantic for me, the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with. The worst day of my life. It sounds like you are saying the same thing...that this was a huge loss for you...the worst in your life. I am just so sorry for your loss. The two of you went through so much together...events that brought you even closer. Somehow we will all make it through these dark days. mfh

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Dear Gail,

I just want to say that I know what trememdous courage it took for you to make this post. I am just so sorry for all of your loss. I can not speak for others but for sure you have not offended me at all! IN fact, my heart has been aching for you and been wondering if your feeling if your pain has been acknowledged enough by all of us here! I know it is hard when we take the step and reach out and not much comes back. Please keep reaching out, some of us here can only read and not talk as our pain is just all consuming and words just don't come. You have done nothing wrong and everything right and I am just so PROUD of you!

I encourage you, I understand you, and I am so grateful to you.

Blessings and Courage, Carol Ann

Thank you so much Carol Ann. I can see from all of your posts how wonderful you are to everyone even though you've gone through and are going through so much yourself. You're a very special person. I appreciate your encouragement and understanding very much but not sure why you'd be grateful to me, but I'm so glad I've "met" you and that you're in my life.

Hugs...Gail

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Hi Gail,

I just wanted to reach out to you with all the loss you have experienced.

I do agree with those who say we can't compare losses...each of us experiences loss of all kinds in our own way. Frankly, for me I can't imagine a loss greater than the one I am now grieving.... I have never had children but have lost many people in my life. This loss is gigantic for me, the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with. The worst day of my life. It sounds like you are saying the same thing...that this was a huge loss for you...the worst in your life. I am just so sorry for your loss. The two of you went through so much together...events that brought you even closer. Somehow we will all make it through these dark days. mfh

Thank you very much Mary. Yes, I'm definitely saying the same thing. I've had many other losses of people I've been very close to but nothing compares to this or ever will. We met when we were freshmen in high school and I just knew the minute I saw him, I asked a friend who he was and then when we sat down in our Science class, he was seated behind me...and we found out our phone numbers were just one number apart. I wasn't even allowed to date yet but he could come over. Our Moms became friends and his Mom used to come over and visit with mine sometimes and we loved that because he could even stay later.

We've been through so much more than I've even said and it can either drive people apart or bring them closer and it definitely just kept making us closer. Things were still so romantic between us after 43 years. I'm still not sure how I'm going to do it, I honestly don't want to. I just keep praying to God to please tell me my purpose because I just don't know anymore. I've reached out to some and have helped some people but I still feel I have to die somehow, not by my own hands, but for God to take me because I honestly can't imagine living years like this alone, without him. My counselor said it's not good to put my hopes on dying, but I just can't help it.

Hugs...Gail

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Dear Gail,

I concur with both Carol Ann and mfh. Cound not say it any better myself. Peace and love to you my dear friend.

Thank you very much. I'm sorry it took me so long to reply. Some days I just can't face even turning the computer on or doing things which is another symptom of the benzo withdrawal. However, I started that journey in June of '08, he died Nov. 8th, 2007, and I am starting my last cut tomorrow and will be free of these drugs the end of May! It can still take up to 18 months for my brain to heal and the symptoms even get worse when you're off of the drug but I'm determined to do it. I've never skipped a day since I started and luckily, I've met the leaders in the field on this and they've been so wonderful to me.

If anyone's interested, this is a link to the symptoms by category that's easy to read. If anyone would like anymore information about it, I'll give you a couple of other links. It's even harder to get off of these benzo's than street drugs. If someone would have ever told me I'd end up in this mess, I could have never imagined it in my worst nightmare. We never even smoked marijuana when our friends were doing it. I always had my Dad in my ear telling me it could be a bad batch.

http://www.non-benzodiazepines.org.uk/benzo-withdrawal.html

It made me feel good for you to call me, "my dear friend." Thank you so much!

Hugs, Gail

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Dear Gail,

Thank you for the compliments and how you describe me is what I aspire to be like. I want to help you understand why I am grateful to you. You felt some intense fear, you faced it, conquered it, and attained some healing for yourself. I am grateful to you because your courage is inspiring, it gives birth for others to find their courage and find some healing. I am grateful to you because I am talking with my therapist about the loss of my three children to violence. My courage came forth as I witnessed your's. Thank you for this blessing!

Blessings and Courage, Carol Ann

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