Losing my 18 year old son


In January I sadly lost my 18 year old boy in a car accident. I have been having bereavement counselling but struggling to build up a rapport so a friend suggested this site. Since it happened I have been struggling with anxiety and panic attacks, something I have never suffered with before, is this normal, and why does it happen? Sam wasn't just my boy, he was also my best friend, we rarely argued but when we did it was normally because I was worried about him for one reason or another. He was a hard working boy and had many friends, he was kind hearted and loved by many. So, why can't I remember any of the good times, holidays etc.. when I try to remember them the bad things overshadow them, such as imagining the accident and reliving the police knocking at the door. I constantly feel on the edge of tears, and I torture myself by sitting in his bedroom and smelling his clothes. I want to know that wherever he is, he is happy and understands whats happened? I know no one can probably answer any of my questions but I would really like to hear how people have coped in similar situations. Im a paramedic and the thought of going back to work and having to deal with similar jobs fills me with dread, I know Sam wouldn't want me to leave my job and I hope in time I will be in a better position and the thought of going back to work won't scare me quite so much. I look forward to hearing from people, thank you.

I'm sorry you haven't had any responses yet, and so my reply is to ensure that this gets back to the top of the list.
I have four kids, and seven grandkids and I can't even begin to think how I could cope with what you are going through.
I don't think there is any Normal in grief, everyone has a unique journey.
My youngest daughter was 18 when she started with anxiety and panic attacks and I remember how difficult and debilitating it was for her. Her GP prescribed citalopram and she's mostly been on it ever since. When she knew her mother was getting close to the end of her life she asked the GP to increase her dose. She says she could come off it if she chose but it does help her to live her life. She is 32 now.
It's not many weeks since January so you aren't very far into the grief process. There don't seem to be any shortcuts. In my case I can see some difference in how I am now, but I think it may go on for ever but hopefully I get better at it.

Thank you so much for replying. Maybe I haven't had any replies because people can't answer my questions? I just feel so so sad and feel the only people that can help me understand things are people that have been through the same or similar. Hopefully people may see my message at some point. Thank you for sharing your daughters journey with anxiety and panic attacks, maybe medication is what I need too. Thank you x

In reply to Deli

Hi Deli, I am so sorry for your loss , Sam was so young , my daughter Dawn was 46years old when she passed in 2016, and what you are going through is devastating,i know , I still cannot get passed the time she was dying in hospital and could not put her photo out for about 9months just found it too painful. there is not one day goes by that I don't cry for her I miss her so much.. Try and get some counselling it will help you in the first few months, and everyone on this will know what you are going through.. Time does not heal , but you will learn to live with your awful loss , , I would not have thought you would be expected to go back to work for quite awhile , Sam would not want you to give up, Hugs to you Maddie x

Hi Deli, I’m so very sorry for your very tragic loss. I’m sure your heart is broken. I cannot answer your questions to be honest. It is my husband that I lost on 31/1/19 not a child. And although some would say grief is grief is grief... I don’t think they’re right. Grief for various losses is different ie parents, partners, siblings and, God forbid, a child. Secondly, we all differ so much with how we try to cope and deal with our grief. I only realise these differences through my own experiences and also through reading the many posts on this forum.

I will say this; survival hour by hour is enough to cope with for you right now. I would suggest thinking no further than that for the time being. I wouldn’t think of work and how you will cope with it if/when you return. Forget about it for now. If sitting in your boys room with his things is what you need to do then continue to do it. Anxiety I have learned from others on the site seems to be common place, as does panic attacks. I would think your mind and body is in shock. Perhaps a visit to the GP would help with this regarding an explanation as to why it happens and possible medication to help you.

Many of us, myself included struggle, not least in the earlier days, with remembering the good times. Many of us appear to recall the days just prior to the death, and the day itself, of our loved ones. I am told that is often the case and that in time, however long time is, we start to include the happier memories in our thoughts.

All in all Deli, as heartbreaking and unbearable your situation is right now, it sounds to me to be pretty ‘normal’ behaviour from you given your circumstances and your position on this very difficult road that we all find ourselves on.

Rest assured that by continuing to post on this site you will be cared about, encouraged and supported whenever you need it and I am sure, like myself, you will learn so much and soon realise your experiences and behaviour are as unique as you are and yet exactly the same as the rest of us on here. We all do whatever it is that helps and works the best for us. There isn’t a right or wrong way.

I’m so pleased you found the site and I’m sending you love and hugs x

In reply to Deli

Hello Deli, I am so sorry to hear about your son. I understand exactly how you are feeling as I to lost my son 8 MTHS ago in an accident. He was 27 and my heart broke that day. I miss him terribly. I to suffered from anxiety and panic attacks. I didn't go out to anywhere local for a long time. I think I just didn't want to face people.bi would go another town for shopping where I knew i wouldn't know anybody. In time I started to go to local shops but the first couple of times I took a panic attack. They will pass in time Deli. I wouldn't think about work for now. You will know within yourself when the time is right. I was off five months. I also have my son's clothes in my room as I can smell him when I walk in. Anything that comforts you is right for you. I don't think I will ever get over this. The pain is awful. But others tell me that you build a life around the pain. For now I just get through a day at a time. Please continue to use this site. I found it invaluable in the early months. And message me anytime if you would like. Take care x

Hi , sorry for your sad loss. I too lost my dear son in January. I'm devastated, still in shock and I'm really struggling. Im so sad all of the time , I think of him every minute of every day and still think he's going to walk in the door. I'm not coping at all and try and get through each hour of the day best I can . The thought of living the rest of my life without him is heartbreaking. He was 25 years old and like your son he had his whole life to live. He was a caring , unselfish loving person who always put others first. He was loved by many and always will be . I think I have an understanding of how your feeling. Just take one day or hour at a time, that's all I'm capable of. I couldn't think about going back to work, I'm not physically or mentally capable .I'm here if you want to chat .everyone's grief journey is different, I seem to be getting worse every day and my husband is coping a lot better .I just feel like shutting myself away and hiding from the world . But that's my way at the moment. Take care love Tracey xx

I'm so sorry for the loss of your son. My heart breaks for you. You have been hit with a terrible shock all I can say is stick with the counselling I lost my partner suddenly in May he was only 48 and this site has helped me a lot because we all understand I hope it helps you too .
Christine x

In reply to Deli

Hello Deli. My heart goes out to you. I don't post very often but so much of what you said struck a chord so I just had to reply. My daughter killed herself just over two years ago, aged 35, after suffering mental health problems and I changed from being a confident, outgoing, sociable person, the ultimate multitasker, into being a virtual recluse only comfortable in safety of my home with just my husband for company. Heidi used to say I was more than a Mum, I was her best friend and the best support worker she'd ever had, we were very close, so her death came as a complete shock. I started to have anxiety attacks and often felt mentally out of control. I was continually exhausted yet couldn't sleep. I tried so hard to remember the good times but it was the bad, and the few times we argued, that always surfaced first. I kept in touch with friends by email, couldn't face meeting up with them for coffee etc for months. I got comfort from smelling my daughter's clothes and holding her two favourite cuddly toys which she'd kept from childhood so I totally understand why you want to spend time in your son's bedroom. Somehow it brings them closer.

I don't know when things changed, or how, but gradually I realised I was having days when I felt more normal (the new normal) and gradually I started meeting up with people again and having more good days than bad. The anxiety attacks stopped as suddenly as they'd started and I felt more in control. There isn't a day when Heidi isn't my first thought every morning, my last thought every night and several thoughts in between but the overwhelming sadness has eased and I believe that now she's safe home and out of pain, and am convinced that when my time comes she'll be there smiling, waiting for me, ready to welcome me into the next life.

People said take one day at a time, but the thought of a whole day panicked me so I split the day into small sections, a couple of hours at a time, and I found that helped to keep me calm. Mornings were my worst time so I found it helpful to ease myself slowly into the day rather than rush around as before. We're all different and you'll find what you're comfortable with, and what works for you, but I found this site an absolute Godsend, just knowing that what I was feeling was normal and hearing how others coped. Keep reading even if you don't feel up to posting. We all know what you're going through. Sending you big hugs, Kathy xx

Hi Maddie
Thank you so much for taking the time to reply, I'm very sorry to hear of your loss too. Sending hugs back x