Pain from Daughter’s Death

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

My daughter died last month after three decades of life. She was born at 4 pounds, and due to malpractice of the delivering ob, had severe brain and kidney damage and nearly died. She was able to heal her kidneys and come home after 6 weeks in the ICU. She was so beautiful, and so strong. She was a fighter, and wanted to live. She was happy, tolerant, cooperative, and worked so hard against all odds. Throughout her life, many medical accidents happened to her at the hands of medical professionals. Each time, she lost more of her abilities, and more of her life. The last time, five years ago, again nearly killed her, and left her in a condition of horrible pain that lasted five years, and gradually took her life away an inch at a time, with her vital organs failing one by one, until she died last month. She was literally a piece of me, she was my soul mate. We were incredibly close even though she could not communicate. Her father left when she was young, so I had to work full time during her lifetime, and for that I feel very guilty. My biggest problem now is that I cannot forgive myself for not being able to prevent the horrors that happened to her at the hands of Doctors and nurses and caregivers. Injury after injury. Now that she is gone, I just want to die, and go be with her. I have grown to intensely dislike people due to this experience. ie..medical injuries, as well as in home care staff hurting her and stealing from me. I find I have no interest in making friends or being with people, and almost fear most people. I have no trust in anyone anymore. I never go to the doctor myself because I don’t trust doctors. I’m not afraid I’ll die alone, I’m afraid I’ll be put into a nursing home and will be abused and have no one who cares about me enough to help me. I’m so very very depressed.

A. The pain that you are feeling simply proves how much you love your daughter. If you had died before your daughter, she would be feeling the same pain as you are now. I have often talked about this circumstance with my clients. I would ask them a very simple question.

“If I could hypnotize you right now and take away all memories of your deceased loved one would you want me to do so?” After all, if you can’t remember them you will have no pain from their loss, since there is no loss. They would never have existed in your life. No memories, no pain. Always, instantly my clients say, “oh no, I would rather feel the pain.”

Thus the old adage, “it is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.” How can this expression makes sense? If the loss of a loved one produces pain and not just a little bit of pain but gut-wrenching agony (perhaps to be endured for the rest of your life), wouldn’t it make sense to avoid the pain by simply not loving someone?

But the adage says no. It says “love is worth the pain of loss.” You indeed were blessed to have had someone so wonderful in your life for 30 years. Not three days, not three months, not three years. You were blessed with 30 years and yes, it was a blessing.

What advice would you give your daughter if she were the one who had survived you? If she were the one who would now be in agony at the loss of someone she loved as much as you love her?

Would you tell her to be bitter, to withdraw from the world, to be cynical and negative about life? I don’t think so. You would tell her to always remember you and to love you but to go on with her life. You would tell her to have as much happiness as she possibly can for the rest of her life. And not only would you tell her that, you would mean it.

From your writing your daughter seems like a wonderful human being. Notice I did not say “seemed like.” Many very intelligent, highly educated, accomplished people, intellectually and logically believe in survival after death. Please do not take my word for that. There are quantum physicists who have come to this conclusion. There are PhD level researchers who have come to this conclusion. There are medical doctors who have come to this conclusion. None of these people have come to believe in survival of life after death based on their religious beliefs.

If you need logical evidence to support the fact that life can continue after death, you need only to look for the published research and writings from the type of people I have listed above.

Perhaps they are wrong but perhaps they aren’t. At the very least you can conclude that they are very intelligent people and that they are able to produce very logical and convincing arguments.

If they are right, your daughter is now enjoying a perfect existence without pain, disability or discomfort. You don’t have to believe your rabbi or minister or priest. I’m not saying that you should not but what I am saying is that the opinions of these physicists and medical doctors and researchers are well reasoned and are not based on religious doctrine or belief.

You would do well to seek counseling. A good therapist would provide you with insight and advice to help you move forward and deal with the loss of your much beloved daughter.

Good luck my friend and know that I am sorry for your loss. But I also congratulate you for having had the good fortune of having had someone so wonderful in your life, every day, for more than 30 years.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 13 Dec 2013

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2013). Pain from Daughter’s Death. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 31, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/12/13/pain-from-daughters-death/

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