This is a very difficult post for me to write – but I realized that I needed to do it, because I believe that if it will lend help to another person, it will also help me.
On Thursday, February 18th, my doorbell rang. Walking to the front door, I saw a police officer standing there and a feeling of almost panic came over me. He asked me to identify myself and informed me that my son Dusan was lost in a car accident.
The reaction cannot be described. It is in fact disbelief and shock, it is not knowing what to do next. It is dreading to tell other members of family along with wanting to scream and not being able to.
Some days have now passed and the emotions I went through are in my case incredibly mixed. In a way I was fortunate – my son lived and worked in Northern Ontario and until I went there, I did not realize what an incredible impact he had on lives of children. Through his work with troubled youth, his involvement with the Ontario Disc Golf Association – everywhere he went he touched so many lives and gave so fully of his time, his expertise and himself that I was left being incredibly proud of raising him so well.
It is a long story and I am including few links below this post – if you are interested in finding out more about Dusan.
My younger son Dan, Dusan’s wife Kara and I have decided to set up a foundation in Dusan’s name – The Dusan Nedelko Foundation to Enable Youth Through Outdoor Activity – to continue his work and to enable children through outdoor activities. It gives me a feeling of hope – it helps me cope with losing him, knowing that he would so wholeheartedly approve of our efforts.
What I feel is important at this point is to understand and share the grieving process:
It is definitely a personal and very individual experience.
Personality, coping style, faith and the nature of loss affect it greatly.
It cannot be forced or hurried and there is no time limit.
The pain will not go away if it is ignored
It is not important to “Be strong” – putting on a brave front. Showing true feeling helps you and others.
Understanding the five stages of grief:
- Denial: “This can’t be happening to me.”
- Anger: “Why is this happening? Who is to blame?”
- Bargaining: “Make this not happen, and in return I will ____.”
- Depression: “I’m too sad to do anything.”
- Acceptance: “I’m at peace with what happened.”
If you are experiencing any of these emotions, your reaction is natural. Not everyone goes through grief the same way – and that’s OK. And you don’t have to go through each stage either to heal, do not expect to experience grief in neat order and do not worry about what you are suppsed to be feeling. Only think about what you are feeling.
Remember that there are no typical responses to loss, because there is no typical loss. Your grief is as individual as your life. And it is a roller coaster of emotions, filled with ups and downs with a rough ride in the beginning and loger and deeper downs as you go on.
Here are steps I intend to follow:
1. Get support: – Share feelings with yout family members and friends
2. Take care of myself: That includes facing my feelings and expressing them, not letting anyone tell me how I feel. It also includes looking after my physical health, understanding that mind and body are very closely connected.
3. Planning for “Grief Triggers” meaning birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, etc. Unless I know how I am going to celebrate these, I will be setting myself up for being on that grief roller coaster down slide.
That is all know right now. I want to ask every person out there who is or was experiencing what I am going through at this time to please share. Share with me and others how you deal with something as horrible as the loss of a child. My gratitude will forever be with you!