The day that my ex-husband was admitted to the ICU started just like any other day. Little did I know that this would be a day that would forever change not only the lives of my boys, but mine as well. My son relayed the information to me that his father, who had a longstanding prescription addiction, was in the ICU. He had overdosed, and it was bad. I was angry at first “how could he do this to the boys”? It crossed my mind that it may have not been accidental, in actuality it was. The boys asked me to come to the hospital, but I declined. I thought that it wasn’t my place. I assured them that I would be there to support them as needed, but I did not belong there. After all we had been divorced for almost 16 years.
Day after day the boys would diligently visit their father. They gave me updates that were infused with their hope that things were getting better, they weren’t. On day 16 it was apparent to everyone that the end was near. My son, with wisdom that I didn’t have, said “Mom you will be sorry if you don’t go.” I knew he was right and I would be sorry. It was time for me to visit and say my final goodbye. So there I was at the bedside of a man that I once loved, that I had already grieved when our marriage had ended. My heart broke not only for my children, but for myself as well. I was surprised at the intensity of my emotions as I said goodbye to the father of my children.
Dealing with the death of a loved one may be one of the most difficult things that you will experience in your lifetime. Grief is a response to loss. Everyone grieves differently. It is an individual experience. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross first outlined 5 stages of grief in her 1969 book On Death and Dying. Not everyone will go through the stages in order, and not everyone will go through all 5 stages.
The grief experience is unique to the individual. There is no timeline. A bereavement group may prove to be beneficial as one can interact with others experiencing similar losses. If you find that your grief is so profound that it affects your daily functioning, then you may benefit from the help of a licensed mental health professional.