In 1987, my father's sister (Aunt "J") lost her two children (ages 1 and 2) in a tragic house fire. Today, in 2009, these deaths are breaking apart the foundations of my father's family. Aunt "J" never sought treatment (upon the ordering of my paternal grandmother), and as a result her grief has manifested itself into a ticking time bomb. Aunt "J" left her first husband for another man. Soon after her first marriage ended, she remarried and went on to destroy the relationship between her current husband and his teenage (now an adult) son (who are not on speaking terms due to her). At the moment she is currently trying to break apart my father's family (which consists of three adult brothers and three adult sisters) from what appears to be retaliation from the family confronting her on her need for help. The straw that broke the camel's back occurred in April when a cousin of mine gave birth to a stillborn baby. This particular cousin always considered Aunt "J" her favorite and reached out to Aunt "J" for support. Instead of getting support, Aunt "J" (who lives a block away from this cousin) returned no calls, sent no cards, and refused to go to the funeral because she claimed it brought back bad memories of the death of her children. (All of which she never explained to my cousin, but was passed on to her second hand through other family members.) When my cousin's mother confronted Aunt "J" about this, Aunt "J" immediately got defensive and has since disowned all of her brothers and sisters. She will not return calls and is leaving mean spirited voice mails on niece's and nephew's phones. My question is, is this normal behavior for a mother who lost her child 25 years ago? What does the family need to do to try to get her help? She's seeing a "therapist" but we honestly feel that she needs to see someone more competent.
Until I lost my son, I never really understood how seriously it could affect a mother, and how it never seems to get any better. I thought I knew, and it was my greatest fear, but it is like no other loss you will ever endure! There is not only a lot of pain, but anger, and unfortunately this anger can be directed towards those we are closest to. We sometimes don't know where to "put" this anger, and it can be over-whelming for a grieving parent. It doesn't matter if it was 1 or 25 years ago, she is still in a lot of pain, and obviously enduring a lot of anger. I can understand her not wanting to attend the funeral, as it would definitely only remind her of her loss, as would flowers, a card, etc. I think you are wonderful in wanting to help this poor woman, and I also believe her therapist is not helping her at all. She needs some serious help, and it sounds to me like she still has not accepted the loss of her children, or truly mourned for them. When you do this, and you think you have it neatly tucked away deep inside you, it does come back, and with a vengeance. I know it's hard on all of you, but you have to understand that this woman has been living in her own "hell" for the past 25 years, not understanding, full of pain, anger, and probably feeling like she was cheated out of seeing her children grow up. Our children should never leave this world before us, and it's very difficult to understand or accept when they do, as they are so innocent. I speak from experience, and although I do not condone her actions, I do understand them. I personally think she needs to go into the hopsital where she can be watched, and get some serious help with all this. She may even be living with some guilt for whatever reason as a result of losing her children. I feel she is a tortured person on the inside, and needs someone like you to help her get through this, and mourn for her children. Her anger is from feelings she has not dealt with. I feel sorry for her. I hope you are able to help her, and not be so hard on her. Until you've lost a child (and she lost 2 babies) there is no way for you or anyone to comprehend what we are dealing with, and all the different emotions we endure on a daily basis. The endless sadness, and void we feel, and all the whys? Time doesn't really help, you never accept it, you just keep putting one foot in front of the other, day after day. She probalby is resenting any help being offered because this means she has to re-visit what happened, and deal with it, and this is the last thing she wants to do. She may even feel she could not handle it, and is scared to death. I wish I could be of more help, and I do hope you can get this worked out, as this poor woman seems to have died with her children, which is what we feel when we lose one. Good luck to all of you, and blessings.
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