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So lost and overwhelmed over the passing of my beautiful 23year old son

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Home Forums Loss of a loved one So lost and overwhelmed over the passing of my beautiful 23year old son

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  • #26101


    I’m Rose. I’m struggling with the loss of my 23year old son. Natty passed away nearly 4 months ago.
    Nattys health wasn’t great, in and out of hospital all his life. Natty is disabled and tube feed, is so amazing at communicating how he felt. Natty had such a love for life and for people, always making those around him laugh and no matter what life threw at him, he would just shrug it off and get on with life.
    I have taken care of him all his 23 years, we were a team, I always had his back. Honestly I’ve so loved caring for my son, he gave back in love. Natty had to have a huge operation last year, large bowel taken out cause he had server ulcerative colitis and got a stoma bag at the same time. We’re suppose to be in ICU for 2 nights and 1 week on the ward. We ended up in ICU for 17 nights, as he had so many set backs, and fought hard. We ended up in hospital for 2 months. I never left his side. I never left his room. We both had a part to play. Natty would fight and I be there with him too encourage him and let him know. That was our deal. I go home when Natty goes home. I’m here with him he’s going to be ok. After hospital Natty was back, up to mischief. A month after we were home at his day program Natty got Covid. In ICU for 2 weeks. I stayed by his side as we have always done. Natty fought for his life. Natty pulled through. We went home under palliative care.
    Natty was with us for nearly 9 months. I have 2 other sons 29 and 26. Nattys loss is so devastating. I have never felt so lost and lonely I feel so empty and don’t know who I am anymore.
    I feel like I have to start my life all over again. I’m 55 years old and I don’t know where my life is going and how to do it.
    My other sons are having to take care of me, as I’m always breaking down and howling and it’s worst at night in bed. It’s been nearly 4 months and I still cry myself to sleep every night. I did get myself in a bit of routine but! Im just not motivated to do anything.
    I love talking about Natty and looking at videos and pictures. My heart aches for him, I simply just miss him.
    I get so overwhelmed with grief, sometimes I can’t seem to get out of it for a few days. I never know when it hits.
    Im seeing a psychologist and have had counseling. Im on a waiting list for grief counseling and one to one.
    Sometimes the grief is so bad, I feel like im drowning in sorrow. I know Natty wouldn’t want me feeling that way. I just don’t know how to control it all? Natty was Brave and fearless and strong, courageous and so loved life. Truly my hero my heart. I feel I’m weak and letting him down by not being strong.
    I don’t understand grief, what’s right what is wrong. But I’m willing to learn and reach out . I want to be like Natty my son who has taught me so much about life.
    Thank you for listening.
    Came home and

Viewing 10 replies - 1 through 10 (of 48 total)
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  • #26102

    Rose, my heart breaks for you. I’m so sorry you’ve lost your precious Natty, who was clearly a beautiful and inspiring person, and the centre of your world.

    It’s not at all surprising that your grief is still raw and overwhelming after just 4 months. There’s no right or wrong with grief and, in my experience, it’s not something you have much control over, especially so soon after such a tragic loss. Do you have people around who can help and support you? Or who you can talk to about Natty, and look at photos together? Maybe you could find a little project you can focus on, like making a special photo album, or planting a garden. or just something mindful you can do from time to time. After my husband died, the only thing that could distract me was doing a jigsaw puzzle. I was so disappointed when I finished it!

    I wish you strength as you navigate this difficult and sad time.


    Dear Rosie23,

    Thank you for reaching out for support and sharing your loving memories Natty. It sounds like you have a beautiful and deep bond and a lot of shared experiences that is hard for anyone who has not had a high medical needs son to understand.

    The stress and strain of medical needs and interventions, along with the joys of the beautiful connection with Natty are all-encompassing. I know with my mother and my sister the bond was different to the rest of us, no less loving, just different. However, when my sister passed it was extremely difficult for my mother as her identity became the carer and supporter in my sisters’ health journeys. It left a big hole in her psyche, emotions, and day-to-day life as her days were not filled with the needs of my sister anymore, she still misses her deeply and cries sometimes, however, she has found joy again and you will too. It does take time, it does sometimes take distraction (a new hobby, meeting people, therapy, new career or study), it takes getting to know who you are as an individual again.

    Your deep sense of loss and grief for Natty is so evident in your words, as is your love of and for your sons. It is good that your sons are caring and supporting you as best they can.

    If you would prefer to speak with someone directly please contact Griefline on Helpline 1300 845 745 or book a call back for a time that suits you

    Also, here are a few resources that may help as you move through your grieving.

    Wishing you well and please be gentle with you.


    Hey Rosie23,

    First and foremost, I’m truly sorry to hear about Natty. The bond you both shared is something so unique and special. It’s beautiful how much you’ve loved and cared for him all these years, and it’s evident how strong your connection was. Just like marisa mentioned, there’s no right or wrong way to grieve. Your feelings are valid, and it’s perfectly okay to feel lost, especially when such a significant part of your life has changed.

    It’s great that you’re seeing a psychologist and seeking grief counseling. Everyone’s journey with grief is different, but seeking support is a brave step. I can’t imagine the depth of your pain, but talking about Natty, looking at his videos and pictures, and sharing memories can be a way to honor his life and spirit. On that note, are there any specific memories or moments with Natty that you’d like to share with us? It could be a simple story or something that always brings a smile to your face.

    Lastly, remember that this online community is here for you. We’re all walking different paths, but we’re here to support one another. Whenever you feel ready or need to share more about Natty or even chat about your day, there are people here willing to listen and engage. Take your time, Rosie, and be kind to yourself.


    Hi there Rosie, I’m glad you have reached out here and hope you find comfort in knowing there’s other lost and overwhelmed mothers here. I haven’t posted for a while, but after sobbing relentlessly all morning, felt my son nudge me to log in and check on my friend, and there was your post, as if waiting for me to reply.
    So much you write resonates with me to the core, I want to let you know that I hear you.
    My son and I spent 9 years in and out of hospital, often months at a time in isolation, we also had our ‘deal / game plan’ how to cope with it all. Oh my, it’s unbelievable how resilient, humble and caring he was after the short card deal he got dealt. It’s been 18 months since I last held him in my arms, he was only 19…
    There is no comprehension of our losses and our lives are irrevocably changed. I, like you was a mother entirely devoted to caring for my son (and 3 other children at the same time) he was meant to get well, but he’s gone. I don’t have another version of me as a back up to cope with life without him. Who am I if not his faithful mum ?
    When I first sought counselling through griefline (they have free telephone sessions) I was desperate to connect with others who were grieving the death of their child. I’ve had counselling before after losing my parents so knew I was meant to eat, sleep, exercise right, but living a normal routine is impossible when you wake every morning at 2am from a vivid dream, remembering their touch, their voice, and lie there sobbing for hours in the dark hey. But the worst is when you first open your eyes in the morning. Actually no, I expect to burst into tears as I kiss his photo on my fridge when I make my morning coffee, even my cat knows to give me space. I’d say, get comfortable with it, our body can’t contain that much pain, but it really does get less overwhelming trust me, you can cope with it, we know that about you already. Like a heavy rock in your pocket it does get easier to carry. My saving grace was giving all that care left in my heart to being a support worker for an elderly gent, plus becoming a crazy bird lady xx


    My friend Deb on here, who I was about to say hi to sent me this when we first met :

    For Grieving Mothers by Dr. Joanne Cacciatore
    I am a mother. I am a bereaved mother. My child died, and this is my reluctant path. It is not a path of choice, but it is a path I must walk mindfully and with intention. It is a journey through the darkest night of my soul and it will take time to wind through the places that scare me. Every cell in my body aches and longs to be with my beloved child. On days when grief is loud, I may be impatient, distracted, frustrated, and unfocused. I may get angry more easily, or I may seem hopeless. I will shed many, many tears. I won’t smile as often as my old self. Smiling hurts now. Most everything hurts some days, even breathing. But please, just sit beside me.
    Say nothing.
    Do not offer a cure.
    Or a pill, or a word, or a potion.
    Witness my suffering and don’t turn away from me.
    Please be gentle with me.
    And I will try to be gentle with me too.
    I will not ever “get over” my child’s death so please don’t urge me down that path. Even on days when grief is quiescent when to isn’t standing loudly in the foreground, even on days when I am even to smile again, the pain is just beneath the surface. There are days when I still feel paralyzed. My chest feels the sinking weight of my child’s absence and sometimes, I feel as if I will explode from the grief. Losing my child affects me in so many ways: as a woman, a mother, a human being. It affects every aspect of me: spiritually, physically, mentally, and emotionally. There are days when I barely recognize myself in the mirror anymore. Grief is as personal to me as my fingerprint. Don’t tell me how I should or shouldn’t be grieving or that I should or shouldn’t “feel better by now.” Don’t tell me what’s right or wrong. I’m doing it my way, in my time. If I am to survive this, I must do what is best for me.
    My understanding of life will change and a different meaning of life will slowly evolve. What I knew to be true or absolute or real or fair about the world has been challenged so I’m finding my way, moment-to-moment in this new place. Things that once seemed important to me are barely thoughts any longer. I notice life’s suffering more- hungry children, the homeless and the destitute, a mother’s harsh voice toward her young child- or an elderly person struggling with the door. There are so many things about the world which I now struggle to understand: Why do children die?
    There are some questions, I’ve learned, which are simply unanswerable.
    So please don’t tell me that “ God has a plan ” for me. This, my friend, is between me and my God. Those platitudes slip far too easily from the mouths of those who tuck their own child into a safe, warm bed at night: Can you begin to imagine your own child, flesh of your flesh, lying lifeless in a casket, when “goodbye” means you’ll never see them on this Earth again? Grieving mothers- and fathers- and grandparents- and siblings won’t wake up one day with everything ’okay’ and life back to normal. I have a new normal now. As time passes, I may gain gifts, and treasures, and insights but anything gained was too high a cost when compared to what was lost. Perhaps, one day, when I am very, very old, I will say that time has truly helped to heal my broken heart. But always remember that not a second of any minute of any hour of any day passes when I am not aware of the presence of my child’s absence, no matter how many years lurk over my shoulder, don’t forget that I have another one, another child, whose absence, like the sky, is spread over everything as C.S. Lewis said.
    My child may have died; but my love – and my motherhood – never will.


    Last song my son shared with me the night before he passed xx


    Hi everyone, firstly I’m so sorry for your loss. Your pain is my pain. Thank you for reaching out to me. After I wrote about how I was feeling , I haven’t been back. I wasn’t in a good place, I’m just surviving.
    Loosing a child is pain I never knew existed. I appreciate you sharing with me. I know it wasn’t easy. Thank you. I’m now having one to to one grief counseling, and I’m so grateful. It’s truly helping me.
    I miss Natty dearly. 4 months is just like yesterday. I love talking about him, and looking at pictures. My other 2 sons, we built a book case for Natty, that was our project. And put all his pop vinyls in it. Of course toy story and Shrek. I love it. Feels good. Natty and I love Christmas, the boys and I are talking about what we are going to do at Christmas to honour Natty. I know when Christmas Day comes, I’m going to be gutted as Natty not here in person. I got Natty a Christmas present. Led Angel Wings. Will put on wall near Nattys memorial and Christmas Day, will light it up. I still cry myself to sleep. My heart aches for him.. I just want to Honour Natty as he so deserves it.


    Hi Rosie, thanks for writing back I was hoping you would. One of the things my wonderful griefline counsellor told me was we cannot know how many others might be reading these forums, feeling the same way and grateful we manage to find some words however maladroipt to express ourselves. I started posting here about 4 months after my son died, was kinda like my journal, other grieving mums and I chatted almost daily. We both found comfort in little signs from nature, if a butterfly lands on my shoulder, I still claim it.
    The one on one counselling really helped me also, I needed the space to talk about all our hospital experiences, too complicated to write here as you would know. She was patient with me as medical terminology had become my first language. Oh my those ng tubes, my son vomited them up a thousand times before they anchored it, all the meds…
    And the unspoken anticapitory grief we unconsciously beared all these years, it’s an (insert wear word) explosion of emotions, our entire being.
    Keep talking about Natty, looking at pictures, building things with his older brothers, who obviously care about you a lot. I often sit in my son’s bedroom and look through his skateboarding magazines, whilst listening to his playlist. But no more christmases for this fractured family, buried him on xmas eve xxx


    Hi Moon,

    Thank you for sharing, I do understand about all the hospital trips etc. unfortunately that was mine and Nattys life. Last year in March I was in hospital with Natty, for a life surgery . 6 hours it was. Should of been a 2 day stay in ICU and a week in hospital. It ended up 18 days in ICU and weeks in a ward. 2 months we were in hospital. I never left Nattys side or even his room. Everyone knows us in hospital. As you said, there are too many to mention. I’m glad you started posting here 4 months after your precious sons passing, I get it, it’s therapy journaling. I try and do that now still. I talk to Natty on messenger daily. It just helps me.
    I thank you for your strength and words you share here. You are so brave. I too go in Nattys bedroom. I just can picture him in his bed and his special chair and wheelchair, as if Natty is in it. Natty loves Ed Sherran. Natty loved waking up to his music. I go in every morning I wake up, open up his curtains, and play a different song every day. It’s tough, really tough. I felt your heart and your families pain having to burry your precious son on Christmas Eve. I’m so sorry. I can’t imagine how you feel on Christmas Day. I myself not sure how I’m going to face it this year. Thank you for your strength. Xx

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