Response #
Current experience of grief
Respondent details
45-54 | Female | Swedish
Q1: What was the nature of your relationship with the person who died?
It was a person or persons that never even lived. My unborn child or children.
Q2: How has the person’s death affected you during the hours, days, and weeks that followed?
Hopelessness. Feelings of being punished and being inferior. Panic at the thought of the bloodline from when there was first life on earth, through all my ancestors, my grandparents and parents would end with me.
And of course the emptiness. The person I never got to know. The love I never got to give. The things we never did together.
Q3: How, if at all, have your relationships with other people (particular individuals and other people in general) been affected by the bereavement?
This makes me cry.
The worst is the relationship with my brother.
When their children were born I was 34 and 40.
I loved to see those kids but when I came home I broke down. The reminder of what I would never have hurt so much that I stopped visiting them other than when I "had to", at birthdays, Christmas and so on. I looked forward to those days so much, but then went home and collapsed and was glad when there was a long time before I had to see them again.
So I lost contact with the people I loved the most.
Q4: Does the surrounding world seem any different to you while grieving? If so, how?
No. Things go on. That's the thing. Things go on for everybody else, while I'm standing still.
Q5: Has your experience of time changed in any way?
I think you perceive time differently when you are in one generation and have another generation coming after you. Compared to when you are the full stop. But I can't really describe how.
Q6: Has your body felt any different during grief?
Not ever being pregnant feels different from being pregnant...
Q7: Has grief interfered in any way with your ability and motivation to perform various tasks, including paid work?
Yes. What's the point when there's just me?
I'm not a person who think work is the meaning of life. But when there is nothing else? I've worked to forget, to have an identity. I'm so sick of working!
Q8: Is your experience of grief changing over time? If so, how?
It got easier when hope faded with age.
Before that I always wondered what I should do, what decisions to make, if I could do anything to change this, and if so, what.
When hope died, life got calmer. It's a lot easier now that I've given up.
Q9: Have you ever found yourself looking for the person who died or expecting that person to appear?
I've seen kids in different ages and thought "IF I'd had a child at that age, it would be this age now...
Q10: Are there times, places, and occasions that have made you especially aware of the person’s absence?
In every group of grown ups, on every occasion, people start to talk about their family's = children.
Maybe I don't feel their absence as much as I feel what I am not. I compare myself to the people around me.
The feeling of absence comes when I come home.
Q11: People who are grieving often report experiencing the presence of the person who died. Have you had any experiences that you would describe in those terms?
They're there in dreams.
Sometimes I talk to them in the car when I'm (we're) out driving. They've gotten older as the years have passed. They're teenagers or young adults now, they used to be toddlers or children in different ages.
Q12: Do you still feel a sense of connection with the person? If so, could you say something about when you feel this and what the experience is like?
Connection... It's more like a big question mark. Who would you have been?
Q13: Since the person died, is there anything that you have been doing in order to feel close to them?
I kept my children's books and some toys for many years. The toys are gone now. I still have the books. But maybe that's because I loved reading as a child, and I love books.
Q14: Is there anything that you do in order to avoid being reminded of the person or of their death?
As I wrote earlier, I avoided my brother's family for years. Still do, a little bit. Which led to other losses.
I've never talked to them about it.
Q15: Has anything in particular helped you to cope with grief? Has anything made you feel better or worse?
Staying away from people with children, family oriented places and events has helped.
Q16: How understanding have other people been? Have others said or done anything that you've found especially helpful or unhelpful?
I've never said anything about this to anyone. I think people think I just didn't want children. So I don't know how understanding they would have been.
Q17: How, if at all, has your experience of bereavement changed you as a person?
I don't know what I would have been like if I had had children. Maybe I still would have been half depressed all the time.
But the sadness, the self contempt, the feelings of being inferior, I think this is where they come from.
Q18: How, if at all, does grief over the death of a person differ from other forms of loss that you have experienced?
I suppose losing someone you've had is a lot different from losing someone you never even met.
When I've lost relatives and family there have been memories, and people to share those memories with, which there isn't when you grieve someone that was never born. It's quite lonely.
Q19: Are there any aspects of grief that you find particularly puzzling or difficult to put into words?
It took me a while to understand that what I was feeling was grief.
Q20: Are there any important aspects of your experience that we have not addressed?
You talk about loss and grief as if it can only happen when you've lost someone you've known, not someone you've never met. You've not thought of childlessness as a source of grief, I think.