Sudden Loss: 5 Ways it Differs from Expected Loss

There’s never a good time or good way to lose someone we love, but if we experience the sudden loss of a loved one…is it harder?

Sudden Loss
I shy away from this type of debate in the groups that I run. While validating a griever’s loss is one of the most important things a group can offer, a challenge of who is having it harder – or who is hurting more because of the way they lost their loved one – is not.
There are a lot of grief articles out there that discuss the difficulties of caregiving or losing a loved one to long term illness like cancer, and while this writing will not answer the question of what’s harder it will ask…is it different? And the answer is: absolutely.

Typically the support groups I have facilitated have been for the “newly bereaved” (within the first 13 months of their loved one’s passing). These are often attended by those whose loved one had been ill for a very long time, and I find typically that these grievers attend within the first three to six months of their loss.
Every once in awhile I will get a call from a person wanting to attend, and as we talk if they tell me that their loved one died a year ago or more and they’re just now feeling ready for help I will guess that they’ve experienced a sudden loss. Most of the time, I’m right.
This leads to the first way that sudden loss is different than a loss following a long term illness:
1. There is no time to prepare: It’s important to note that even with an “expected” loss, it can be challenging to adjust to a loved one no longer being here as nothing can ever truly prepare us for the finality of death. But for the griever who had no time to prepare, this challenge is greater. No time to prepare means having had no time to say goodbye, or no time to set things right. In some cases it means no time to figure out the final wishes of the deceased or what the “right” way to memorialize them would be. No time means not having the chance to say “I love you” one more time.
2. Sudden losses are more likely to happen with no one else around: I should say, at least when compared to those of someone who is on Hospice, lying in bed as their loved ones sit vigil. This can mean that survivors of sudden loss are left wondering about their loved one’s last moments. Were they frightened or in pain? Did they know how much I love them?
3. Sudden loss can leave more questions in its wake: How did this happen? Why was he/she there so late at night? For someone who lost a loved to a heart attack for example, could this have been prevented? Should I have done more? Often times a sudden loss means the loss of someone young, which will always leave behind the biggest question of all…..why???? Why him/her? Why did this have to happen? Why now?
4. The state of shock may last longer: While the “Stages of Grief” are used less often to explain the grieving process, there is still no doubt that grievers cycle through a variety of emotions as they begin to cope with their loss. Shock, numbness and disbelief are feelings every griever I’ve ever met with have experienced (again – even those who lost their loved one to a long term illness). So with no time at all to prepare, the griever with a sudden loss will likely spend more time in disbelief. The true work of grieving can’t typically start until a griever has even begun to come to terms with what’s happened, meaning a griever with a sudden loss could feel delayed in their ability to begin coping and moving forward.
5. A sudden loss is more likely to be the result of a tragic event: Of course every loss can feel “tragic” in its own way. But here it’s used to describe a sudden loss caused by something like a drinking and driving accident or an act of violence. If someone else was to blame for a loved’s passing the anger it causes can change a griever’s entire outlook on humanity and life in general. Someone who was once friendly and trusting may experience a resentment and deep-seated fury like they’ve never felt before. And for some, that rage may simmer in them for years after their loss.
In an effort to move forward, there are questions that the griever of a sudden loss may want to consider:
  • Can I accept that in life, and death, there are some questions that have no answers?
  • Is it possible to recognize that no matter how much time or energy I search in yearning for “closure” that I may never get it or find it?
  • Do the residual emotions of a sudden loss like guilt or anger serve a purpose (see previously posted blog on this subject) and can I redirect the attention of that energy elsewhere?
  • Can I find a way now to express my love and my goodbyes to the person who is gone through a ritual or a type of remembrance?
  • Can I ask for forgiveness, find forgiveness, and live in peace even if my loved one isn’t here to relieve me of the pain of any unresolved issues?
Take time with this. Sleep on it. Pray or meditate on it. Take a walk and clear your head. Give yourself permission, space and time to consider the questions that have been left in the wake of your sudden loss and recognize that letting go of the pain and hurt is not the same thing as letting go of the love and memory of your loved one.
Find people to talk to who get it… and be patient for the answers that will begin to reveal themselves. There is peace to be found in those answers.
We know how it important it is to connect with someone who has had a loss similar to your own. That’s why we’ve included a forum on “Coping After a Sudden Loss”. We also have forums for “Loss from Substance Abuse”, “Suicide Loss”, and “Loss of Loved One to Violence/Murder”. And of course there is always the opportunity to connect with those who have lost a spouse, child, parent, grandparent, sibling or friend. Join today, and find others who understand. 

40 thoughts on “Sudden Loss: 5 Ways it Differs from Expected Loss”

    1. I agree . There is no different types of grief for differing death circumstances .They both hurt the same .You may think you’re prepared to deal with the loss of a terminally ill loved one when their death becomes official but you aren’t.
      My elderly mother was taken off life support and put in hospice.If anything it made the grief last longer and for me it’s been as intense as if it were sudden , unexpected death.
      Depression, sadness, loneliness , insomnia, loss of appetite

  1. Two and a half years since my mother and her best friend were murdered by the best friends son and girlfriend. They stabbed my mother 17 times and strangled his mother because she grabbed the phone to call for help. The house was robbed of everything for drugs.
    My mother was physically and emotionally abusive. She didn’t speak to me for five years before she died. That leaves with other issues to deal with on top of her abuse.

    I have had several losses and betrayals in my life and this has taken that distrust to a whole other level. I’ve been in counseling, but that in no way takes the loss of her and the her betrayal or others away. Grief can be for those we lose to death and for those that are still alive that we have lost relationships with.

  2. Lost an adult daughter with my ex-husband, her father, in a violent car accident in September 2016, exactly a week before my birthday. She was 46 and such an excellent human being, goal-achiever, friend, confidant. I am in counseling, but it’s one day at a time. I am aching inside to hear her voice on the phone. We lived 4 hours apart. My heart is shattered. It happened on a Saturday, the day after we texted each other and made plans for her to call me on Monday evening to catch up. That call never came.

  3. So where is the other HALF to this story? Im not reading anything that deals with the challenges associated with long term grieving and terminal illness? Not saying one is any easier than the other. Just that knowledge is power.

  4. I lost my son to suicide on June 2, 2016. It was one month and one day after his 26th birthday. He was in jail and was found hanging in his cell. I have had so many questions and doubts about the whole thing. I think I still wait and hope that it’s all just a nightmare. That somehow it’s not real… There isn’t a moment I don’t miss him. I sometimes feel like people are tired of my grief and that they think I need to just “get over it”. I feel very alone and lost even now 2 years later.

  5. No, sudden loss is not different! Because even tho my husband was sick, we always believed he would get better. Wasn’t till that last night, I realized it was over. So sudden for me was getting the message within 24 hours. Maybe as much as a car victims wife/ husband has.

    1. I disagree
      The amount of shock from losing my husband suddenly has still after 4 years not ended
      It was a sudden nightmare that has not gone away
      I had no time to see it coming
      Nothing and then gone forever

      1. I too lost my husband suddenly just 6 weeks ago, with no warning or illness. I’m lost and in shock, daily tears, he was my everything.
        And now, gone forever

        1. Hi. I’m so sorry, Robin; sorry that you are in this awful place. I’m so sorry that all of you have had to go through the pain and struggle to put one foot in front of the other.

          I think we become protective of our loss, our story, our feelings, I know I did. Our losses are all different- like a fingerprint- as we are all different. Every circumstance within our loss is different, though there will be many similarities in what, when and how we experience loss. We can’t possibly know what another feels. We will grieve differently, in different spaces of time.
          I don’t believe a sudden loss is worse than loss that is expected though it may be different in the brain’s processing. While one’s brain may begin to process one’s perception of what it will be like when our spouse has left within an expected loss, shock and disbelief are almost certainly part of the grieving that will take place. Both types of loss will be fraught with many questions and emotions, aloneness and the immense feeling of absence of our loved one. It will likely take longer for one to grasp a sudden loss than an expected loss though that is not to say it is not possible for disbelief and lack of acceptance to block the grieving process within a loss that is expected.

          A man broke into our home and attacked my husband and I on a Monday morning, two days after Christmas, 9 years ago. Violence ensued during the brief minutes it took for the police to arrive. My husband was killed and the attacker died two days later.

          I don’t know that it’s easier after 9 years; it’s different. Easier for me to get a ‘down the rabbit hole’ thought out of my head quickly. Easier to think of my husband tho only for few seconds(hence, I may go don’t the rabbit hole). Easier to not ask, “Why?”. Easier not to be mad at G-d for not helping us. Easier to know I’m never going to know. Easier not to blame myself. Easier to be thankful. Easier to put one foot in front of the other.

          If you find yourself feeling like your head is going burst with your reality and you can’t get away from yourself-call someone who likes to talk alot- it will distract you till you feel better.

  6. Thank you for this article, just what I needed to read. I lost my husband 6 weeks ago due to a heartattack. My last communication with him was about what we would cook for dinner. 4 hours later I came home to find him dead. I striggle with the fact I couldn’t say goodby, one last I love you, to appologize for being so cranky the last week. We had so many plans! It’s like a bad dream from wich I cannot wake up….

  7. I lost my father in 2014 and I was a Daddy’s girl. He had been sick for several years. I was there to help my mom grieve and I grieved the loss of my dad, along with 2 sisters. We had the chance to say everything and we knew his wishes. I lost my husband to tragic accident. Totally different experience. The shock of grief is the same but there is no surprise when someone has been ill for a while. I think that may be the difference.

    1. I also lost the two most important men in my life in the most extreme opposite of ways. My Daddy was gradually robbed from us by Levy Body Dementia. It was so difficult seeing a brilliant man decline in such a way. We ordered books and educated ourselves on this disease, and we loved on him and cared for him until we held his hand and saw him take his final breath. That was a heartbreaking moment, although we knew it was coming; hospice had given us the signs to know within hours of what was to come. Loved ones are never ready for this. We can’t fathom the reality of “gone” until it happens. My sweet Daddy had a peaceful smile as his spirit left his withered body behind. We still cry and miss him terribly. Fast forward to 11/5/18. I talked with my husband on my way home from work. He was cooking breakfast for dinner that evening, as he often did. Our 16 year old son, a high school junior, had come home from basketball practice. He and his Daddy talked about practice. His Daddy told him, “Mom’s on her way home. We’re having breakfast for dinner. We’ll watch NBA at 9:00 tonight.” Our son was playing X-Box until it was time to eat. I hung up from our call at 7:27. I found him at 8:10. Hanging. There was no depression, work was great, we’d inherited some money a few months before and were paying off debts, he had reservations made for work travel, assignments to referee basketball games, notes in his office of phone calls to make the next day, no prep or plans made (he used a dog leash that stayed in the kitchen). Grief is never good. Loss is never easy. The extremes, though, are very different experiences.

  8. I lost my ten year old son on Nov 30th 2016. He went to school as usual and an hour later they called to say they were rushing him to hospital. He was gone, in seconds before they could do anything. Probably cardiac failure.my world and my life has changed. And I struggle to get through every day. Work keeps me sane, and my 12 year old daughter. No answers, no relief from the pain, no respite from tears, and no acceptance. The words of this article bring comfort, but nothing stops the pain.

  9. There is a difference between expected and uunexpected deaths. I know b/c I have experienced both with partners. The first was expected though the method was not. He’d been an alcoholic for 10 or more years and spirallung ever downward. The doctirs told me his bottom was death. On May w1 2000 their prediction came trye when he committed suicide. I grieved afterward but I had been grieving so much before that I recovered quicker than I probably would have. Understanding his suicide took years, though, even un another relationship. Finally a therapist said something and I let go.

    On the other hand, my partner of 18 years died of sudden cardiac arrest on June 30, 2018. Though he had had open heart surgery two years previously, we both thought he was stablized. Turned out he wasn’t.. He disd in front o f me as I was calling 911. Turns out his brain was deprived of oxygen for too long (ta k es 3-4 min) He was on life support for six days and his kidneys and liver donated.

    Two months later, I am in a state of shock and disbelief. Though moving forward, I cry almost constantly here a nd there. I keep expecting him to text or call then I remember he is dead. The yearning for him is overwhelming. I write daily letters to him to try and resolve everything that was left unsaid when he died. Trying to accept that someobe can die in front of you JUST LIKE THAT is hard to accept. He is here; we are preparing for bed. Now he is gone.

    Life can be fragile

    1. You too are not alone. I think only those of us who have experienced the combination of expected and unexpected can really understand what a double whammy blow it is. My condolences to you for losing two of the most important people in your life.
      The greyness in life after two such events is hard to overcome.
      At this point all I can say is keep everything. A few months from now when you feel stronger go through her things and decide what you really must have and what you can donate. My husband and son thinking to spare me boxed up all of my daughters things and donated them before I was really even able to accept her death. It was like her memories were given away. So your trunk is full. There are memories in there. When you are ready you will know what is important to keep and what can be given.

    2. Very well said….I’m living a similar nightmare. I don’t think I will ever be the same. Thank you for sharing!

  10. In 2015, I lost my 46 year old son to bladder cancer. He was ill and fighting for four years – during which he had to relocate his family to another job in another state to get insurance coverage. Shortly after his diagnosis, I moved into a retirement community – a move planned before his illness. My daughter and I rode the roller coaster of hope and discouragement along with my daughter-in-law and grandchildren. When the end came, we had been “processing” and suffering along with him for years. We treasured the good times, and got through the bad ones; and when he finally opted out of being placed on a ventilator to buy two more weeks of suffering, we supported his decision and were able to fly down and get from the airport to the ICU in time for our good-byes.
    Six months ago, in February, my daughter and dearest of friends was found lifeless in her apartment as the result of a pulmonary embolism…this was a classic case of “has anybody heard from…?” and police, paramedics, and building management waiting with me in the hall to break in. I have been “coping” for the last six months, and got her apartment cleared out, her car donated, and am sitting surrounded by her possessions. She left no will; and I’m stumbling in my efforts to catch up with her insurance, pension, and other legal matters.
    In the meantime, I haven’t been mentally organized enough to file my taxes since my son died, and my car trunk is filled with her origami supplies and vacation photographs, and letters from lifelong friends. I have made some progress in the mechanics of “placing” her belongings with charities, friends, recyclers, etc.
    In the last two weeks, I feel like I have run out of steam completely. I’m waiting for my first appointment with a new therapist, and in the meantime, I seem to lack the energy I tapped into for so many months and years. At this time last year, my daughter and I had just had a wonderful vacation trip together, and we were back into the autumnal cycle: new school year beginning, “approaching holidays”, and the prospect of surgery for her in January. So my “anniversary” seems to mark a year since the beginning of the end – an end that I never knew was coming.
    This is too long, but the experience of the two losses so close together seems to have knocked me off my feet. The “expected” loss gave us all time to live with the diagnosis and bond over it together. The sudden loss of my daughter seemed like an unbelievable lightening bolt — and the ultimate destruction of the life we survivors had tentatively begun to rebuild.
    I’m hoping my current delayed response is yet another of the peculiar phenomena which is considered “within normal limits” in this situation.
    In the meantime, anyone who is reading this far is clearly someone who is caught in their own sadness and loss, and I send my love and support to them. You are not alone; you have made it to today; and each day will very likely bring moments of relief from the weight that we carry. Treasure them, as reminders that there is more solid ground ahead – a “new normal” taking shape as we put in the time needed to incorporate losses into our lives and life stories.
    And it’s time I saw my doctor to make sure the fatigue and “fogginess” don’t have a physical cause…writing this has made me see that. Communication can be a wonderful thing!

    1. Its different..ive experienced both..theyre both hard but different..if they’ve been sick you have an opportunity to say things you want to say..but it’s hard to see them suffer..when its sudden you don’t get a chance to say I’m sorry or I love you

    2. I understand the delay in filing taxes. We could not file ours nor my daughter’s that first year. The second year we finally had everything ready for the CPA. My daughter’s taxes were easy and I should have been able to do them. Emotionally I just couldn’t and had to pay the CPA to do hers.

  11. My Condolences to You All 😭 My Heart Breaks 😭 Reading About Your Loss and I’m Sooo Sorry & I Lost My First Born Son ♥️ Jeremy Adam Danger Rightnour 😭
    11~15~1977♥️ 12~23~2013 😭 He Was in a Car Accident and Hit a Retaining Wall & I Pray that it was Instant and He Didn’t Feel No Pain and Jeremy Passed Away 2 Days After My 53rd Birthday on December 21st and I’m Sooo Grateful that I Talked to Him and He Wished Me a Happy Birthday and We Said I Luv You & I Can’t Believe that it’s been 5 Years Since Jeremy went to Heaven and I Love & Miss My First Born Son 😭 Soooooooo Much & The Pain Never goes Away

  12. November 22, 2018 I had to turn life support off on my 29 year old Son! He was angry with me and hadn’t spoke to me for about a year and told the Hospital he had no family only a Best Friend which I am eternally grateful I knew him and he called me when my Son went into cardiac arrest into a coma we drove from Washington State to California and he never came out of it.. The regrets of not being able to reconcile with him as he was so stubborn is beyond belief before turning life support off I spent some alone time with him telling him I loved him and I was so sorry he was angry with me.. Told him to go ahead and fly with the Angels that it was ok I would see him again.. a mother should never have to go thru this with there child.. I just have so much guilt over this that I couldn’t fix our relationship..

  13. I had both at the same time. We always knew my daughter would not live to old age. She had Leigh’s syndrome with a of life expectancy of 20 years. But as she got older and older, she was 38, we thought we had beat the odds. Then, suddenly, she was in ICU with one infection setting in after another. After five weeks we finally agreed to let her go. She had little to no chance of ever living without a respirator. And yet I still feel like I murdered her when I agreed to turn that respirator off.

  14. I am struggling with the question of living in peace because of the sudden loss of my wife Lisa. It was our second marriage. We were living from the narrative that “we found each other” and sevens month into it I found her dead of a brain aneurysm. She was excited and enthusiastic about our marriage and in her sudden loss we were not able to have the most important emotional conversation of our lives.

  15. I think it’s a bit different. I woke up to find my husband had died of sudden cardiac arrest and 16 months later I’m still struggling with the anger and the guilt and the sadness… I go forward five steps and then get knocked backwards ten steps. I’m just sad

  16. I am very sorry for all of your losses. My heart breaks for all of you. I lost both of my parents in the last 3 years. My Dad to Stage 4 Colorectal Cancer, he only lived 8 months from the time of diagnosis. And then this comimg Saturday 4-28-2019, will be a year since literally the worst Day of my life. My Mom went into hopspital for what was supposed to be a routine” neck surgery, because of a past car accident when she was young, she had been home for 8 Days. I got up for work that morning, and found her on the bathroom floor deceased. I just wanted to ask Eileen, have you ever been through a sudden loss? Cuz u seemed a little aggravated about it, and I get it. I was like that too when I lost my Dad. But, let me tell you the difference. I didn’t have to perform CPR on him like i did my mommy till EMS got there,I knew he was sick, my mom was not, I had a chance to say goodbye, with my mom it was just goodnight, My Dad was in Hospice, My Mom was in My house, we had time to plan for his arrangements, my mom didn’t even have life insurance being she wasn’t very old, so I had to pay to bury her. I now suffer from panic attacks, depression, and Extreme nightmares, and can no longer live in my house that we own, so we have put it on the market. Everyone’s loss is equally important however there is a differene.I wish I’d never found that out!

  17. Yes, both are different. Vastly so. In May 2017 I lost my oldest daughter to homicide. 22 days later my Dad passed away after a series of stokes and other serious health problems over a 3 year period. As a doctor I understood and recognized my Dad’s health issues and it was a relief he was no longer suffering. My daughter on the other hand was 31 and “coming into her own” with a promising future ahead of her in her new career when it was all cut short by the man she trusted and loved. Then add the pain of dealing with the court process. The DA’s office let us down with the plea bargain. We await sentencing and hope the Judge won’t as well.

  18. My son died 11/8/15. I am not “over it”…closure is a word that people use to discuss an uncomfortable, awful situation. There is no end to the pain, especially with your child. He was 23, the family “glue” in our family. He died at work, alone…we will never know why. The coroner in our area noted on the death certificate, “aspiration of stomach contents”.
    He assumed it was a drug overdose….well IT WAS NOT! two tox screens later, that were both negative, he realized the sub standard autopsy he had performed answered no questions about what physically had caused his death. He went to work just fine, no illness, nothing. We had many, many conversations with the deputy incharge with our son’s case during the week before his funeral…we cremated him, about his non drug use, his endocrine medical condition, none of which was shared with the coroner. I believe he died of an anaphylactic reaction to his prescribed endocrine medication. He had injected the medication intramuscularly as prescribed. He died directly underneath the emergency call button that he never pushed. He must have been too confused to press it. I miss him so much I no longer can love life as we did with him. I’m on depression medication that allows me to function, the pain is so unbeareable. I believe sudden death comes with its own painful circumstances. There is alot of should have, could have, and unfulfilled wishes and dreams. There is, for me at least, unrelenting and horrible pain that never lessens, it just is there constantly.

  19. All Death is painful, I know , But that sudden death that comes out of nowhere is different. My nephew died in April, a beautiful healthy 25 year old Young man, drug overdose. It has changed my entire family, I still keep thinking its not real , mabie I dreamed it, and I see it is real, but still in my mind, its not, I know everyone hurts when they lose a love one, but I promise you , there is very much a difference, in being able to move forward. You have to go threw it your self to really understand it.

  20. I lost my father recently to a sudden heart attack, and have been the strong one for my family. They needed someone who could hold it together, while they fell apart. Now I don’t know how to grieve. Crying isn’t coming. I really don’t know what to do. They’re half way across the country with each other. I’m alone.

  21. hi every one im so sorry of all your loss we all feel so much pain from our loved ones there isnt any type of exsprestion to fix how we all feel all of our lives have been cut short everything has come to a holt i to have loss my wife she had small cell lung cancer in readmistion 10 yrs been with my wife the whole time she was my world every thing life was great we went to buy an apple phone so i could see her with face time when at work ,Valentines night i open the door dark in the house i yelled im here honey i called my wifes name no ancer i turned on the light , and there she was lying on the floor ice cold ,,,,, that was the End of my life i dont do hollidays anymore ..i go to work come home to cry ,its just a place to sleep,i talk to her always .i have no life im not happy,just sad i keep her photos under my pillow at night, weekends come who cares im depressed of life nothing is the same and never will be its me and our 2 dogs and an empty house ,, GOD BLESS YOU ALL 2 14 18

  22. I watched my husband die(dieing) in the bathroom while the emt’s where working on him. I knew he was going to die. Said my good byes in the ER after the decision was made to turn off the machine that was keeping his heart “alive”. I feel for all of you. God Bless…I hope the tears for all of us will soon ease.

  23. I lost ‘my beautiful, sweet, cute, tender, tough, lil Gf very much Wife (March 2020)…it was sudden, but with the fact it was this 7th hospital admission, on these same symptoms to her ‘unknown true medical to me’ during our 7 relationship – it took her. 🙁 She never allowed me to get close to her, to let me get involved. I more than feel this could had been prevented and have been in deep ‘compounded/complicated grief’. I more than cry for her 🙁

  24. My wife of 57 years went to bed one evening with some stomach issues. I woke up the next morning and found her on the floor in the bathroom deceased. I screamed and immediately called 911. I performed CPR per the instructions of the 911 operator screaming for her to wake up. The medics arrived and after about 10 minutes emerged from the bathroom saying there was nothing further they could do. My wife had minor issues with her knee and hip but nothing serious according to the doctors. The cause of death was determined heart failure. This was the worst day in my entire life. I screamed for her to take me with her. It’s been 5 weeks and I still am devastated and empty and want to be with her. The support of family and friends has been amazing but I still feel so alone. I now know the meaning of true heartbreak. Since her passing I have seen cardinals and butterflies and am hoping these are signs of her presence I am devastated and empty. As a friend of mine said, who has also recently lost his wife many years, “,I am not suicidal but if God took me tomorrow, I would not be unhappy. My feeling to this very moment.

  25. It is different, if they were sick well you come to the conclusion that they could die and that prepares you but when you had no idea never even a thought, it is a total shock and you are kind of left in the shock because you never saw it coming, both ways are hard to deal with but I do believe sudden death is harder to cope with.

  26. I am glad I found this site. I lost my 19-year-old son, Robert, in a car accident 5 years ago and this would have been his 25th birthday. The driver was speeding at about 80 on a 30 mph curvy country road after 11 PM; we got the call to come to the ER about 1AM. He was already gone so no goodbyes. It was a rollover crash with 5 people in the car, he was the only one who didn’t make it. The driver was unscathed and only got 4 MONTHS in jail for vehicular homicide. I was doing OK (again) until the 5th anniversary of his passing on 10/6. (My other 21-year-old son’s birthday is Oct 10th so it is hard to celebrate 100% on his birthday.) I keep thinking of the milestones he never got to achieve. Driver’s license, first real serious relationship, deciding on a career, buying his first car, getting married. During his teen years, we lost our house to foreclosure and had to move to a small 2 BR apt. that was not in the best condition and we had financial difficulties that whole time. 10 years in that situation, and when we finally were able to buy a new house he can’t be here to enjoy it, along with the better financial position we are now in. I am going through counseling because I have a hard time feeling anything when I look at his photos and I know I need to move forward and feel again. My therapist likened my experience to PTSD and that helps me get a different picture of my current situation but I know I’ll never not feel broken inside.

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