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Sons Exposure To Death

Guest jusjenny

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Guest jusjenny

I was wondering if anybody had feedback and/or suggestions regarding my 20 year old son who has been exposed to more death at his age than most people in a lifetime. I won't go into details but he has lost many many many friends

in the last few years. So many, in fact, that I have lost count without thinking about it. He has seemed pretty tough, but since losing my father in October and a week later being called that his best friend was in a coma and most likely brain dead from a car accident he has opened up to me about his fears and nightmares. He was very close to his Grandfather and probably, like me, thought he would be around forever. He died unexpectedly during the normal course of his day. Fortunately his friend did come out of the coma and thank God is recovering quite well.

My son has expressed that he has horrible, graphic nightmares revolving around tragic, ruthless, and savage killings/death.

He is willing to talk to someone, but honestly, we don't know who. He has also come to believe that he will die prematuely (before age 29). Cognitively, he knows where this comes from, but seems helpless to get rid of the nightmares. He successfully functions day to day. Has bunches of friends, a good job, a great girlfriend, etc, but wants to get rid of the haunts of his subconscience.

Worrying about him has taken my mind off my own grief, which, by the way has left me TOTALLY numb to life.

Any suggestions would be appreciated. I don't think the 'normal' counseling route is the way to go.



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If I didn't know better I would have thought I was reading my own story. My dad passed away almost 2 years ago. All three of my daughters took it very hard. Their real dad isn't a very loving man. My dad was more of a father to them than he has ever been. I did my best to help my youngest(now 12) and oldest(now 20). The middle daughter(now 17) prefured to talk with her best friend. She was wonderful. She stayed with her durring the showings and funeral. They were more like sisters than friends. Unfortunately 8 months latter, the best friend who was at her side for my dad's funeral, died. She had a severe athsma attack in the middle of the night. She couldn't or didn't get her parents up in time. 8 months latter,a boy my daughter knew, hung himself. One week latter,a good friend of hers phoned. She was hysterical. She walked into her house to find that her younger sister had hung herself. Since then, there has been the drug overdose of a boy she didn't know well,but had seen around. They had some mutual friends. Also, a boy from the same group of kids died, but we never heard what he died of. It is to much for anyone to take, let alone a kid. She should be making lasting, wonderful, high school memories. Instead, she now hates school. She had planned to go to college. She got A's and B's and was in the honors program in middle school. Now, she just wants to get her diploma as soon as posible and get a job. She rarely talks about college. I want my bubbley girl back. It just breaks my heart to see her giving up like this. But I know she can never be the same again. I'll never be the same again. My dad's death changed me. You just don't ever realy think your parents will leave you. The death of my daughters friend killed what ever spirit I had left. If anyone deserved to live a full life, it was her. She was a beautiful girl. Both inside and out. But I would feel better if my daughter didn't have to hurt so much.I just don't know what we can do that we havn't already done. My daughter and I talked about counceling, but she realy has a great suport group. The day of her friends death, our house was packed full of kids. Most of them are still there for her. I've always let her talk any time she needs to, and the school councelor has been wonderful. She can drop in on him any time and he is there for her. We talked about anti-depresants at one point. After thinking it over she decided she didn't want them. A couple of her friends are taking them and she said she didn't think they were actually dealing with there problems. Sorry I can't be of more help. I plan to keep up with this thread though. I'd like to see what others have to say. Lets hope time realy does heal all wounds.


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My dear Jenny and Sandy,

I’m so sorry that your children have been exposed to so much death and trauma so early their young lives, but I think it’s only natural that they would react this way to such extremely unusual and upsetting events. These tragedies are difficult enough for you as their mothers to deal with, but even more daunting for your children, whose prior experience with crisis and its consequences is less than your own, along with a smaller repertoire of coping skills. Because they are young, their capacity to confront the reality of these losses is somewhat more limited, and their ability to find meaning in life's crises is less mature. So you can reassure them that it is only natural for them to be feeling the way they do.

I also think that, after enduring so much tragedy in so short a span of time, your son and daughter are experiencing reactions typical of post-traumatic stress, and so I tend to agree with Jenny’s thinking that the ‘normal’ counseling route is “not the way to go.” In the aftermath of September 11, the tsunami in Southeast Asia, Hurricane Katrina and all the rest, we are learning a great deal about the effects of catastrophic and unexpected loss, and how to better help survivors. See my posted response to mom of many in the Behaviors in Bereavement forum, at http://hovforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?show...2171entry2171

See also the articles and resources listed on my site's Alternative Healing page, especially those related to guided imagery and visualization. And take a look at Belleruth Naparstek's wonderful book, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal.

Wishing you peace and healing,

Marty T

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