Response

Response #
3
Person who died
Father
Category
Past experience of grief
Respondent details
55-64 | Female | British
Q1: What was the nature of your relationship with the person who died?
He was my father.
Q2: How has the person’s death affected you during the hours, days, and weeks that followed?
It threw me of course. I was one month into a university course and ended up dropping out.
Q3: How, if at all, have your relationships with other people (particular individuals and other people in general) been affected by the bereavement?
My relationship with my mother deteriorated for a time. I kept wishing that she had died instead of my dad. Looking back I can see that she had a lot of hurt and anger which she ended up directing at her children as she couldn't direct it at her dead husband.
Q4: Does the surrounding world seem any different to you while grieving? If so, how?
It's a bit of a blur. I felt like a ghost. I was in the world doing things but I wasn't fully present.
Q5: Has your experience of time changed in any way?
Q6: Has your body felt any different during grief?
I can't remember.
Q7: Has grief interfered in any way with your ability and motivation to perform various tasks, including paid work?
I was unable to concentrate on anything and fell behind with my studies. I lost interest in what I had been doing. After two terms I left.
Q8: Is your experience of grief changing over time? If so, how?
Yes, I was angry both for myself at being robbed at the age of 19 of a much loved father. I was also angry for him and my mother who were only in their 50s when he died. They had had a difficult life and were only just reaching an easier stage of life. Eventually I became able to remember him in a positive way - his jokes and his laughter.
Q9: Have you ever found yourself looking for the person who died or expecting that person to appear?
Yes, that happened for some time after he died.
Q10: Are there times, places, and occasions that have made you especially aware of the person’s absence?
Yes, there are places we went to which make me think of him. He was born near Christmas so that festivity always carries some sadness with it.
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?
No
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?
There were certain dialect words he spoke. When I hear these words spoken by others it makes me think of him. I also now live near a river he used to travel to for fishing. When I cross that river I feel a connection with him.
Q13: Since the person died, is there anything that you have been doing in order to feel close to them?
I keep my favourite photo of him plus a letter he wrote me on my 18th birthday in my 'treasure box'. I take them out every so often to look at.
Q14: Is there anything that you do in order to avoid being reminded of the person or of their death?
No
Q15: Has anything in particular helped you to cope with grief? Has anything made you feel better or worse?
My brothers and sisters were a big support as we had a shared grief. I also think about one of the nurses at the hospital where he died. She had tears in her eyes as she led us to a sitting room after dad had died. I felt grateful for her humanity.
Q16: How understanding have other people been? Have others said or done anything that you've found especially helpful or unhelpful?
I don't remember.
Q17: How, if at all, has your experience of bereavement changed you as a person?
I lost my faith in God after my father's death and have never refound it. I did learn the importance of valuing the people you care about though. Once my mum and I were on a level footing again I made a big effort to spend time with her and to let her know I loved her.
Q18: How, if at all, does grief over the death of a person differ from other forms of loss that you have experienced?
It's easier to cope with than divorce as the dead person has gone and you can hold on to the memories you want to. Your divorced partner is still around and if they are with a new partner that can be painful.
Q19: Are there any aspects of grief that you find particularly puzzling or difficult to put into words?
Q20: Are there any important aspects of your experience that we have not addressed?