The agony that obliterates every corner of consciousness in the moment she gets the news. And after – the silence, numbness, barren despair. The grief of a mother dealing with the inexplicable sudden death of an apparently fit and healthy child, with no time to say goodbye and a coroner’s verdict of “natural causes” to cope with, establishes young sudden cardiac death at the cutting edge of grief. To then learn that her child was carrying a genetic undiagnosed heart condition – leaving other children at risk until they have been screened – and that death is instant with little chance of resuscitation, leaves her not only dealing with her tragedy but also living with the terror that they too could be affected.
Ramifications of her struggle to manage can have a wide ranging effect on the family. Craving to hear or say her dead child’s name to keep their memory alive can result in her subconsciously excluding the needs of other family members. Wrestling with a deep-seated guilt that she has betrayed her dead child by failing to protect them, and the unaccountable crash of confidence that comes in its wake. Nightmares challenge her sanity, her competence, and her place in the empty new world created in the slipstream of her tragedy. No longer belonging. Stuck between death and life. And finally the expert ‘pretending’ that everything has come under control, in the attempt to normalise life for others, also suffering, to reduce their anxiety and concerns.
The impact on a mother of her child’s death is well documented. It is now properly recognised that her child cannot be “replaced” by mother having another baby, “time does NOT heal” nor will mother one day “move on.” It is my hope that this booklet will not only help affected mothers, but also others to better understand why mum has such a massive battle to reinvent herself. Why her endeavours to “reconstruct” her life must first work past the “broken woman” she has become. Family members all grieve differently and in her battle to help she can be swamped by mourning the intolerable loss that frequently, and vividly, encapsulates her with feelings so raw as to defy survival.
Leading heart charity launches new resource for mothers following the sudden death of a child Sunday March 15th (Mother’s Day) bereavement experts from the charity Cardiac Risk in the Young … Continue reading
Andrew was my only child. My world. On 12th April 2004 he suddenly died. My husband Dave and I were away. I’d telephoned him but didn’t recognise the voice telling … Continue reading
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