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I'm new here. I came because for the sixth night in a row I can't sleep. Last Monday a friend of mine was killed in a car accident. Her three children were in the car, the nine and eleven year old were perfectly fine, in fact just scratched. Her four year old was severely injured and helicoptered to another hospital. She died the next day. Mother and child were buried together in one casket. She was a friend from the past, but we had parted ways over the years. She still had a close relationship with my sister and my niece and her eleven year old are close friends. This was not a death I would consider very close to me, although close enough to hurt.

Anyway, I've become so paranoid I can't sleep. I can't imagine the father of that child not having her around anymore. I can't imagine him going to an empty bed at night. I keep imagining her little girl with her gorgeous curls and cherubic face lying in that coffin cuddled in her mother's arms. I'm so saddened by it all I can't breath. I'm missing moments of the day that I don't remember and I can't sleep. I didn't eat until 9pm and didn't realize it until my husband asked if I'd eaten. I feel so crazy because as I said, we weren't extremely close anymore, but there's a bond among mothers, and parents. A death of a child is always close. I can't hug my three year old without crying. I can't sleep because of the images in my m ind. My husband has been off this week so we've been together. He goes back to work tomorrow and I'm so scared something will happen. My children were eating dinner and I pulled their chairs close to me for fear they'd choke. My son fell out of bed and started to cry and I had a panic attack checking him over. I'm so scared to experience the same losses that I just watched someone else go through. I feel so selfish for thinking that way and now I have that guilt too. He and his other children were so peaceful at the wake and funeral. Solemn, but peaceful. My friend was a very - no stress allowed- type of person. Don't stress what you can't change. I wish I could wrap my mi nd around that instead. I just can't get past this fear. This has been a week from hell. My Great Uncle died 5am Mon., my friend died 1pm Mon., my friend's four year old daughter died Tues., a ten year old girl my niece knew died 7am Weds., and then on Saturday at that little girls funeral a police man directing the funeral procession was killed. I'm scared to move. It's like this town or this week or somthing is cursed. I know, I sound crazy. What a week to run out of Zoloft.

Thanks for the ventilation, sorry for the depression. I'm open to any advice on getting to sleep without pills. I've been taking a lovely mix this week and now I'm out and can't sleep because I have nothing to stop the pictures in my mind. sad.gif

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My dear friend,

I’m so very sorry to learn of the multitude of losses you’ve experienced in so short a span of time, and it is no wonder to me that you are reacting the way that you are. I doubt if any one of us could go through a week like this without feeling as you do. Your reaction is not unlike what is seen in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

When a person is hit with sudden, unexpected death – and in one short week, you’ve experienced several – the stress can be overwhelming. Your capacity to cope is diminished because the world as you’ve known it is abruptly destroyed and completely shattered. All your assumptions, expectations and beliefs about whatever control, predictability and security have existed in your life up to now have been violated. Your sense of security and confidence in the world are profoundly affected, leaving you fearful of the next unexpected loss and overprotective toward your husband and your own children, as you try to defend them from another sudden, unforeseen trauma. It is difficult if not impossible to make sense of the accident that killed your friend and eventually took her daughter. Because it happened so suddenly, there was no opportunity to finish whatever relationship you had with this friend, probably leaving you feeling robbed, bewildered, insecure, anxious, and hurt.

It’s important for you to know that the reactions you describe (paranoia, depression, insomnia, profound sadness, panic, anxiety, fearfulness, etc.) are normal under the circumstances. When the deaths of loved ones are this sudden, unexpected, multiple, and traumatic, such responses as you describe are typical and predictable, especially at this early point in your bereavement. It is only if these responses go on too long, and if these deaths so severely disrupt your life that your ability to function on a daily basis is seriously impaired, that there would be cause for concern.

I want to recommend some online resources that I hope you will find informative and helpful as you struggle to make some sense of all of this. I think it’s especially important for you to learn more about PTSD and how it may be affecting you. See especially these sites, which are listed on my Grief Healing Web site’s Links page, under the Traumatic Loss category:

Article: Reactions to Sudden or Traumatic Loss

Article: Grief Due to Complicated Death

Article: Frequently Asked Questions about PTSD

Article: Coping with PTSD

Article: Seeking Help for PTSD

Gift from Within: National Organization for Survivors of Trauma

Trauma Information Pages

I also hope you’ll do some reading about grief, bereavement and loss, so you’ll have a better idea of what is normal and what reactions you can expect. A good place to start is on my Grief Healing Web site.

Finally, I hope you’ll consider talking to a grief counselor or a therapist about all of this, if only to be reassured that your reactions are normal. In the meantime, please know that you are not alone and we are here for you.

Wishing you peace and healing,

Marty T

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I'm more of a reader than a writter. I feel a little strange, and a bit guilty, when I talk about my grief. My dad passed away Feb. 2,2004. On Nov. 15,2004,my daughter's best friend died sudenly from an athsma attack. She had just turned 16, and I considered her part of the family. She and our daughter were allways together.In June of this year, the same daughter, suffered another loss. Another friend, took his own life. I didn't know this boy, but it was very painfull for her and her friends. One week later one of her friend's 15 year old sister, took her life. I did know her, although, only in passing. I know the older sister of course, and was just getting to know her family a bit better. So I am grieving. But not the way my mother is grieving for my dad, or my daughter for her friend, or the families of those kids. So I feel guilty. I mourned my father, until we said goodbye to our 16 year old friend. I felt very guilty about that also. He was 78 and got to live a full life. Now I realize that I was just putting that grief on hold while I came to grips with the other deaths. The brain can't take all of this stress at once. So I think we prioritise. Now, I find myself crying because of a song from my childhood, or at my nephue's wedding. I feel sad every time I see my daughter strugeling to get her life back to normal. I know she will never be the same again. I went through the same emotions you are going through. I wanted to keep my kids close to me and protect them. I knew I couldn't do that, and I forced myself to let them go with there friends. That has passed for the most part. I still have to fight the erge on ocasion, but it's easier now. However, I tell them I love them more than I used to. I wish I had advise for you about sleep. I still have nights when I toss and turn. I do my best thinking, when I should be sleeping. I only do this about twice a month though. It was nightly, after my dad passed and after my daughter's friend's death. The only advise I can offer you is that we do have the right to grieve for these people even if we weren't as close to them as others. My husband actually told me I had no right to cry, because she wasn't our daughter. She was a big part of our lives, and I miss her. I caught him with a tear in his eyes more than once. I'm sure he would deny that. Best of luck to you.


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