I lost my 23 year old son, Brian, in a drowning accident in the Pacific Ocean 20 days ago. Nobody saw what happened, but it is believed that he was somehow thrown into a rock causing both head and neck trauma, and the medical examiner's report is death by drowning secondary to trauma.  He was in the water with a friend who got out to grab his camera, and when he got back in, Brian was gone.   I have four other sons (ages 19, 11 and 10 year old twins), and I am not sure if it is harder to grieve for Brian, or if it is harder to grieve for them as they not only lost their brother, but their innocence and belief that life is always good.  3 weeks ago I was the happiest woman on earth, knowing how blessed I am to have these 5 beautiful boys and the sweetest husband on earth.  Today, my yellow, happy world has turned gray and I no longer live a joyful existence. Mostly I just try to keep myself held together so I can be there for my sons and husband, who luckily let me cry with them.  I don't think it has even begun to hit that he is truly gone.  The first week was overwhelming, with the first 25 hours after his accident being spent praying that they would find him safe, followed by the discovery of his body, trying to plan his celebration of life, working with the American Red Cross to get my 19 year old home from military service, writing his obituary, and just trying to make sure that our surviving 4 kids as well as Brian's grieving friends had our complete attention and support.  I can only imagine how hard it would to lose a brother, but I don't want them to feel that they lost their parents as well by us succumbing to our intense grief.  After the memorial service, everyone left and went on with their lives, but this is NOT my life-- this is the new life that is part of the divide between life before Brian's death and the life after Brian's death.  They are not even remotely related.  I truly don't believe I will ever have true happiness again -- I do find moments of happiness, but they are always  with an undertone of sorrow. I think of him all the time while I'm awake, but although I pray for him to come to me in my dreams, I don't even dream anymore, so that hasn't happened. I'm trying hard to hold on to the positives that we have identified since we lost Brian: we had a wonderfully loving and supportive relationship, the last words I said to my son were that I love him and his last words to me were I love you too, Mom, they were able to find his body and return him to us (the last two people who drowned at that spot were found 1 year and 6 years later), and I know that my son knew that we would do anything we can to take care of his 7 month old daughter.  I'm on this massive roller coaster of emotions and although I hear constantly how well I am coping and how strong I am being, the only people who really seem to understand how broken I am is my husband, my best friend, and my other 4 sons.  My heart is absolutely devastated, and any strength that I display is a complete act to hold my family together.  I'm "lucky" to have people close to me that have lost children, and I reach out to them a lot to ask how to proceed.  Not only am I grieving the loss of my son, but I am beyond angry with the media and the San Diego Lifeguards about things that they said about my son and did that I feel were completely inappropriate. Two weeks later, they did the exact same thing to the family of a 4 year old who drowned several miles from where my son was lost, and I know it increased their pain as well. I plan to address this when I get stronger -- they so totally victimized my son with no regard to how our family was doing.  They didn't even bother to call me when they found his body -- they announced it to the media, and I got calls from friends asking if I knew.  I should have been the first person notified, not the stupid news reporters!  They also shot pictures of my son, dead and naked in the rocks where he was found, but apparently that is fine if they just blur out the picture a bit.  However, when I saw it, it was heartbreaking and I have no clue why that was necessary except to sensationalize the story.  To me, this isn't a story.  This is my beloved son, a child I nurtured and loved with all my heart for 24 years (including my pregnancy with him).  I am so angry at them and so hurt that they showed such little compassion and respect for my family! Nobody can do anything for me because the only thing I need or want is Brian back.  I don't know what to do, and I don't want to keep bringing it up to my loved ones because it makes them feel helpless.  I don't want to be the bereaved mother of a lost son -- I want to be the lucky mother of 5 wonderful boys.  If I could turn back time 20 days, I would beg him not to go to the beach that day.  Instead, I will wake up tomorrow morning, open my eyes, and get smashed in the heart by the elephant in the room who will announce that it has been 21 days since the ocean broke my child and then drowned him.  I will get out of bed and hold my boys while they cry, and try to hold together a family in deep mourning, all while trying not to show the millions of cracks in my own heart and soul.  It just seems so surreal, this can't be my life, or Brian's life.  He is beautiful, whole, wonderful, compassionate, loyal.....how can he be dead???  It just doesn't make sense.

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Replies to This Discussion

I am so sorry. There are no words to articulate how badly I feel. I lost my beautiful 34-year-old son nearly two years ago. All I can say is your feelings are your feeings and there is nothing we can do to not have to go through the grief stages and don't let anyone tell you that you are going too slowly. And you are right, it just doesn't make sense. It just doesn't.

im so very sorry for your loss and the unbearable pain you are in. I to lost my beautiful son, my only child,  I cry every day and night, I want more than anything to go with him. without shawn I have nothing. its like im falling deeper and deeper into a very big hole.  we are all here for you, hugs  kim

I am so very sorry for your and your family's tremendous loss. I lost my 17 year old son almost 3 years ago. I still ask "How can he be dead?" I only survive because I believe his spirit lives on and guides me through the hell that is my life now. Sending you love and prayers. Connie

Brook-I am so sorry for the loss of your son. There are no words I can offer that don't sound trite because believe me I have heard them all many times. What I can say is that here you can vent, "scream" or whatever it is you need to do. This site has been here for me faithfully when I have needed a friend. I lost my beautiful 34-year old son December 7th. I have a 26 year old that lost his only brother so very unexpectedly. Please know that we are all here.

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