The Downward Spiral...


My world continued its downward spiral with a phone call at 8:30, Oct 18, 1997. The downward spiral is a result of my father and ex-father-in-law dying within the previous ten months. This will be dedicated to Yvonne and my experience with grief.

Being a non-custodial parent I didn't get to see Yvonne very much, because I lived in another state. All I was told was Yvonne was killed in a car wreck about 4:30 that morning. I joked with the hospital chaplain about his name and after I hung up I became numb. I did not believe what I had just heard. After several phone calls to my siblings I drove 500 miles for the arrangements. I would not let my wife drive because I needed to be in control.

All the way t to Oklahoma I kept telling myself it was not true and that I would have to see it for myself. After arriving at my ex-wife's house I still did not believe it. The next day we went and made arrangements to bury my third child. Sunday night was when realization started setting in when I looked down into a casket with Yvonne laying there. This was the first time I cried but not the last. I was only in a fog at this time. I stayed at my mom's house for a few days after the funeral.

I started coping by returning to attending the classes I was enrolled in. Everyone came up and asked how I was doing. They asked me if I could tell them what happened. I told them the story of what I knew about the accident, going to look at the accident sight, and what the truck looked like. Yvonne was not wearing her seatbelt but it would not have mattered since her side of the truck was caved in. I tried to concentrate in class but was not able to. I found out that two of my professors had similar experiences and I could talk to them any time.

Time is such a funny word now because it has taken on a new meaning for me. Whenever the thoughts get to heavy I either can not do anything or I go bust up some wood logs. I usually cry during this time and I feel a sense of relief after several minutes. I am thankful for my family's support during this time. I have called my sister because she understands how I might be feeling because she also lost her daughter July 7, 1995. Talking to another person about my feelings has helped tremendously. Because of the depth of pain, I went looking for a support group and to counseling. In November 1998, a bereaved parents support group got started and I went to the first meeting. This was very draining but helpful. I also went to a general grief support group twice a month. This year I went to Nashville, TN to a Compassionate Friends meeting. All these different groups allow me to say whatever I want without worrying what the people might think. When I got choked up, the group let me compose myself so I could finish my talking.

Being a non-custodial parent does not allow to have very many memories or pictures. I have been treated very well by getting some of Yvonne's personal belongings. I have an enlarged picture of Yvonne hanging on the wall. I feel part of my recovering had to be present when Yvonne's headstone was set. There is not a day goes by that I am not thinking about Yvonne. To know Yvonne was to know a person who cared for people's feelings and because of this and being my daughter my love for her is deep. For this reason I am in deep pain. I have read different stories and believe that it is better to have loved and lost than to not have loved at all. I will end this by saying, Yvonne I will never forget you.


You can send email to Robert at: [email protected]
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anniversary date 10-18-97
date of post 07-07-98

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Crisis, Grief, and Healing: Tom Golden LCSW