No one should have to bury their child. A universal truth that will never be cliche. There is nothing worse than the death of your son or daughter. It haunts you forever.
I know from second-hand experience after my parents had to do just that when my sister died in an auto accident in her twenties. The Travoltas know first-hand. You can only try to cope. But how? What common lessons can be learned from such an unthinkable tragedy?
If they are like most, for one, they will feel guilty. Seeing the past television interviews it is clear the Travoltas thought they had, somehow, been responsible for their son getting Kawasaki disease when a child (see my previous post.) Although the cause of this disease is unkown, it appeared they were convinced it was their incessant carpet cleaning and chemicals used that were the culprit. Whether the disease had anything to do with his death is uncertain, but, no matter the cause, they will feel guilt. Surely they could have done something, they will think.
Also, they will look for someone or something else to blame. Whether it is conscious or not, we all think there has to be a reason for horrible events. Unfortunately, most look at the ones closest to them. Divorces are frequent after the death of a child.
They will go through stages of grief. In 1969, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, M.D. wrote an excellent book called On Death and Dying. She had spent countless hours with people at various stages of dying, and noted five common stages they went through. Those who go through a loved one’s death experience similar stages.
You think, this is not really happening. It is a mistake.
You blame God, or (fill in the blank). You ask, why me?
You promise to be a better person, if only for a second chance.
The goal is to work through the first four and get to number five. Not everyone does.
With the sudden death of a loved one, all of these stages are bunched up, condensed and confused. They crop up at unpredictable times, later, and can last a lifetime.
It is important to acknowledge these feelings and experience the pain, but not by yourself. Talk to a counselor, or someone you trust. Maybe you can find someone who has gone through similar heartbreak. You won’t be able to suppress the feelings. They will manifest sometime, somehow, and often in very unhealthy ways.
Has anyone else been through similar circumstances? Do you have suggestions, tips, experiences?