Response

Response #
7
Person who died
Sibling
Category
Past experience of grief
Respondent details
25-34 | Female | British
Q1: What was the nature of your relationship with the person who died?
My Sibling
Q2: How has the person’s death affected you during the hours, days, and weeks that followed?
Significantly:

1. Ongoing anxiety about the potential death of loved ones. As a child, I would be terrified to be left alone, as I felt like I was going to be abandoned.
2. Depression which manifest in late teenage years which was historic.
3. Memory loss regarding the years as a child when the incident took place.
Q3: How, if at all, have your relationships with other people (particular individuals and other people in general) been affected by the bereavement?
-General day to day relationships were/are mostly unaffected.

- My relationship with my mother very badly affected. My mother suffered a mental breakdown after my brother died. [....] Obviously, it was difficult growing up with a mother who is grieving and suffering as a result and our relationship was, and continues to be, very difficult and unpleasant.
Q4: Does the surrounding world seem any different to you while grieving? If so, how?
It's hard to say, as I was a child and I remember little from that time as a result of my dissociative amnesia. It certainly impacted the way that I viewed (continue to view) the world but I can remember little of the embodied experience of grief at that time.
Q5: Has your experience of time changed in any way?
Only indirectly, as a result of amnesia.
Q6: Has your body felt any different during grief?
It's hard to say, as I was a child and I remember little from that time as a result my dissociative amnesia.
Q7: Has grief interfered in any way with your ability and motivation to perform various tasks, including paid work?
Only indirectly, as a result of the depression in latter life that this triggered.
Q8: Is your experience of grief changing over time? If so, how?
n/a
Q9: Have you ever found yourself looking for the person who died or expecting that person to appear?
yes - especially as a child.
Q10: Are there times, places, and occasions that have made you especially aware of the person’s absence?
Yes, Christmas (my mother is very upset) and his birthday. At big events like for example graduations, birthdays etc. is when I miss him the most.
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?
My mother would often say this, and would describe experiences like these when laying in bed. I have times where I think of him randomly, but I wouldn't describe this as feeling his presence.
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?
Yes. I feel very connected to him as we have many shared interests and hobbies which make me think of him. I have pictures of him in my house which make me think of him often. Also, I have felt more connected to him through my depression (in terms of understanding).
Q13: Since the person died, is there anything that you have been doing in order to feel close to them?
I used to read his poetry a lot which he wrote in the years before his death.
Q14: Is there anything that you do in order to avoid being reminded of the person or of their death?
I generally don't like visiting his grave (although I think this is because I would often go with my parents, and would have to deal with a difficult situation with my mother).
Q15: Has anything in particular helped you to cope with grief? Has anything made you feel better or worse?
Therapy in recent years has helped a lot. I wish I had had this as a child however.
Q16: How understanding have other people been? Have others said or done anything that you've found especially helpful or unhelpful?
I have found most people to not be very helpful. As I was a child, most people say things along the lines of 'well surely you don't remember him/ the event'. I find this particularly hurtful and unhelpful. As a child, I felt like my own grief was forgotten and superseded (perhaps understandably) by the grief of my parents.
Q17: How, if at all, has your experience of bereavement changed you as a person?
Significantly. I feel that (i) I grew up emotionally (and otherwise) more mature than others my age and (ii) my experience of bereavement had a significant causal role in my choice of career in philosophy, as well as my philosophical beliefs (I often think about the relationship between experiences of grief, depression and the endorsement of anti-natalism, for example). I imagine my situation to be similar to those who have experienced grief and become extremely religious. While the two may sound quite different, the search for understanding and meaning prompted by extreme negative experiences is the same, I think.
Q18: How, if at all, does grief over the death of a person differ from other forms of loss that you have experienced?
It is deeper, more painful and longer lasting.
Q19: Are there any aspects of grief that you find particularly puzzling or difficult to put into words?
The saliency of the belief that one is a mortal being.
Q20: Are there any important aspects of your experience that we have not addressed?
no