Shocked finding out someone I loved died many years ago

Discussion in 'Grief in Common Updates, Questions & Answers' started by Rob67, May 15, 2020.

  1. traciev

    traciev New Member

    This just happened to me yesterday. He died in 2015 and was 45. The last time we spoke was 2004. I am not sure how he passed away but I think it was suicide. He died 01/02/2015. His funeral was January 7th this is my birthday. I turned 45 the day he was buried. I thought he was out living his life and to find out he has been dead almost 7 years is really crazy. I have been crying my eyes out since I found out.
  2. alwaysme

    alwaysme Well-Known Member

    So sorry for your loss. Go ahead and cry all you need to. Of course you are very sad, that is a normal response. And he died on your birthday, that must hurt so much. I cried every day for a long time over someone I hadn’t seen or talked to in 35 years. I find comfort here on this site. It’s a safe place where I can vent and share with people going through similar grief.
  3. Sue M

    Sue M Well-Known Member

    I am so sorry! May I ask how you found out and do you remember the last time you saw him? Are you able to talk to any of his friends or family?
  4. Sue M

    Sue M Well-Known Member

    I am so sorry, welcome to our group. You can talk freely here. We are all here to help eachother
  5. Sue M

    Sue M Well-Known Member

    I need to share my experience on Saturday. I was going to go to the cemetary, then I was back and forth if I should or not but something told me to go even though I was just there last Friday. I went and saw someone else not too far from me at another grave sitting in a chair. I minded my business and sat down and rearranged the flowers in the vase. I had a few extra flowers so I was going to find Mikes dads grave and put them down there. I was walking over and the lady got up and was walking around the area too. I asked her if she wanted the flowers for anyone and she accepted and tells me she is there to visit her 2 sons. One passed when he was 20 in a car accident and the other one she said died 9 years later, he couldn't deal with his brothers death. She asked me who I was visiting I told her I know its strange, but Im here for my first love. She says, my first love is buried right over there! So I went on about how I wasnt sure about contacting the mom and she told me to please contact her. She said if someone came to me after that many years and still remembers my child I would really want to know about it. I know Rob has said the same so that really made me decide I need to do it. Im not sure when but I will try to knock on her door. My question I have is if she doesnt answer do I leave a note ? If so what do I say in it?
    Lori68 and alwaysme like this.
  6. alwaysme

    alwaysme Well-Known Member

    Wow! I love it.
  7. alwaysme

    alwaysme Well-Known Member

    Ive been thinking about this. I say you just keep knocking until she answers. If you want to leave a note, you could briefly say you knew Mike, he was an important person in your life and you were very sad to recently learn of his passing. You are sorry for her loss, he was a good guy. You would love to talk to her if she wishes.
    Sue M likes this.
  8. alwaysme

    alwaysme Well-Known Member

    “ Coming to your own broken heart with a sense of respect and reverence honors your reality. It gives you space to be exactly as you are, without needing to clean it up or rush through it.”
    From It’s OK That You’re Not OK, by Megan Devine
    Sue M likes this.
  9. Rob67

    Rob67 Well-Known Member

    This is the common circumstance with all of us. I thought Linda was going merrify through her life like everyone else. Then suddenly I find out she died 40 years ago.

    You will cry and struggle with this for a while, and you are entitled to. It is normal, as you can see with all of the posts you see here. Try and remember the good things he was to do when you feel this grief, and keep in mind he would have not wanted you to suffer from this. I firmly believe that they can "feel" our suffering somehow. And the loving thoughts you feel are indeed being shared on a level we cannot understand in this world. You can gain strength from this and keep moving along the stages of grief.

    The biggest thing everyone misses at this point is someone to talk to. You now have people who are personally experienced this and care about you. We are here to talk.
    alwaysme and Sue M like this.
  10. Sue M

    Sue M Well-Known Member

    Ever feel like you are going backwards instead of moving on? I can't stop thinking about everything and I don't want to cause I feel closer thinking but I know it does no good. Just have to live life and hope at the end we reconnect somehow.
  11. Rob67

    Rob67 Well-Known Member

    I used to feel like I should be "getting over it". But I don't think that will ever happen completely. I quit worrying about that because it's just one more thing to create angst, and I don't need that. I tell myself it is my love for Linda that is driving my feelings and that, even after all these years, someone should be remembering her. She died almost 40 years ago. Everyone else who knew her, and even siblings still living perhaps, have put her in the back of their memory. Remembering her is just the right thing to do.

    If you look at it as an adversarial thing, where it's you fighting against the grief, it makes you feel worse. Just let it happen naturally and cherish the memories you have. And I do think we will see them again when we reach the end of our life. I really do believe that.
    Sue M likes this.
  12. Sue M

    Sue M Well-Known Member

    Thank you for saying all of that! I'm thinking maybe its hitting hard again cause I know Ill be trying to see his mom soon
  13. Rob67

    Rob67 Well-Known Member

    I know the fear and angst you are feeling about seeing his mom. Before I asked a classmate who knew Linda more than I did I was mortified. Scared to death I was going to look like some pathetic loser, or that he would be resentful that I would bring back old memories. When I finally screwed up the courage to do it the experience was exactly the opposite of what I feared. He was very understanding and helpful. I am so glad I did it. Even if he had reacted badly I would have just been where I started. You really can't lose anything here.

    I am always here for moral support.
    Sue M likes this.
  14. Sue M

    Sue M Well-Known Member

    You are an amazing person! You really do help me a lot! I am.so glad I found you on here to talk with!
  15. Lori68

    Lori68 Member

    I was glad to find this post. I'm in a similar predicament, but I knew my friend had died.

    I dated this boy, Mike, off and on since I was 16 in 1984, and then again after high school. We always remained good friends (small town) when we weren't dating, but were always drawn to each other whenever we were around at the same places. At some point after high school, he told me that our lives were running in parallel lines but not intersecting - something along those lines. He wanted me to go have a fantastic life and he didn't think he could give it to me. We were young, but close enough that this was OK and we still stayed friends. I graduated college and became a teacher, he went into the Army and was in Desert Storm.

    Fast forward a few years, I was married and a teacher in that small town. His nephew came in one day and told me his grandma, Mike's mom, had died from suicide and Mike had found her. It was a terrible thing for the family.

    A little over one year later, Mike's nephew came to class and told me his uncle had died from a self inflicted gun wound, an accident. You know what I said to that young boy? I said , "Well, that really pisses me off. How could he be so careless after his mom just dying?" I was really angry. I didn't go to Mike's visitation or funeral. This was 1998.

    I've never been able to let go of how I reacted and what I said, and I've never really mourned. I contacted the funeral home and have known the approximate location of Mike's grave for years, but never visited. I was busy raising kids and living a wonderful life. I thought of Mike anytime I visited my parents in my hometown, and told myself I needed to get some closure, maybe visiting his grave.

    Recently, an old friend of mine had her mom's funeral and I thought I'd go see if I could find Mike's grave. I did. I was expecting closure, but all I found was misery and sadness, as if it just happened, and refreshed regret for what I said to his nephew. Its like when I saw his grave, it all became REAL. Not that it wasn't real in my mind, but I guess by avoiding it, I hadn't really mourned.

    I sobbed all the way home. I also feel like this reaction isn't "normal." But, maybe it's still OK. I need to find my way thru this, but it's proving very difficult. Since he died in 1998, he's really no where to be found on the internet. I can only look back at memorabilia and pictures I have.

    I think I'm going to try writing it all out, too. That helps sometimes.

    Thanks for reading. Hang in there. It's good to not feel so alone and so weird with this.
  16. Lori68

    Lori68 Member

    Hi, Sue.
    The part about "what ifs" really resonated with me. I shared my story as a post to Tim's original post. In a nutshell, I avoided mourning my friend for 22 years.

    After his mom died, we reconnected but I was married and having babies. He never did marry, and I am constantly thinking what if I had stayed in touch with him after his mom's funeral? What if I had reached out to him throughout that next year? Would my friendship have made a difference? And the ultimate question, would he still be alive today? I'll never know those answers, and I have to figure out a way to live with that. So far, I'm struggling badly. I think I just need to slog thru whatever this process is, to come put on the other side.

  17. Rob67

    Rob67 Well-Known Member

    You do just have to let the process flow naturally. It takes quite a while to go through the grieving process. I always wonder if I could have made a difference if I could have stayed close to Linda, to comfort her or help her in any way possible. I just have to struggle through that.

    What is useful is talking about it, and not holding it in. This is the kind of grief that you can only communicate to someone else who is experiencing the same thing. And that is what we are here for.
    Lori68 likes this.
  18. Sue M

    Sue M Well-Known Member

    Hi Lori! Welcome to the group! Yes, you have to let your emotions go through the process. Your first reaction would be like what you said to the nephew. Its an honest reaction. Shock doesn't let you control anything but you were right with that thought. What did the nephew say after you said that? I hope you stay around and talk with us. This group has helped me tremendously
    Lori68 likes this.
  19. Lori68

    Lori68 Member

    Thank you. I wrote a long letter to Mike last night. It was cathartic. I am contemplating on writing a shorter note to leave at his grave, too. Not sure on that one. What purpose will it actually serve? Maybe if I write it keeping family in mind who might come across it. I don't know.

    I found an article online about delayed grief that was helpful. I'll post a link at the end of this for anyone who might be interested.

    I like when I can name something. "Delayed grief" is a real thing, which I find helpful. Most likely, I delayed for a few different reasons. One was definitely shock. And I was angry - very uncharacteristic of me, I'll add. The other thing that allowed my delay was I had just had my first child 5 months before. And then I got busy with living my life, having more kids, being a mom, doing all the kid things, etc. This, while perfectly acceptable, also has caused the guilt I'm dealing with now.

    Truthfully, just finding this group and this thread was wonderful. I felt like I was losing my mind going through "fresh" grief 22 years after the fact.

    I'll definitely be back to unload more off my soul. Thank you for being here, you and Sue in particular.

    Here is the link: https://dying.lovetoknow.com/ideas-advice-coping-grief/what-delayed-grief-means-how-overcome-it
    Sue M likes this.
  20. Lori68

    Lori68 Member

    Thanks, Sue.

    This all happened 22 years ago so my recollection might not be 100% accurate, but also feels very vivid at the same time. Mike's nephew just sort of blinked at me and didn't really know what to say. Mind you, my reaction was so out of character for me. I'm an even keel, very happy person. I'm sure he was confused. He was only a kid, maybe 14 years old. He delivered that terrible news to me because he knew I loved his uncle. I'm not talking about romantic love at that time in my life, but I did/do love Mike. (That's why this is so difficult, right?) And I had a terrible reaction. Mike is, to date, the only person in my life who I have been angry at for dying as my initial reaction.

    Anyway, thank you for talking with me. I feel like I'm already moving forward. Just knowing this is normal and others experience it is very helpful.

    Sue M likes this.