No, you don’t know: Pain that can’t be understood.

No, you don’t know: Pain that can’t be understood.

No! you don’t know how I feel, but if you feel with me, I will know.

I was a married mum when our first child was born. As an only child, I never had brothers or sisters or really understood much about families or how they were created. My experiences were limited, and like other only children, I had a place to visit in my quiet times.

I could see clearly myself as a wife and a mum with many children and all of us growing up in a happy family. Experiencing all those events that I would have liked in my childhood. I had my private moments musing about maternity and how to make sure that I have a healthy child and wondering what the childbirth experience was really like.

Our child was born with many major birth issues, and we were told that she would not have a long life. Sadly, our marriage finished, and 6 months later, when our daughter was 3 years of age, she died.

Many times I try to found words to describe what I feel. Is it abandonment, intense emotional pain, desolation, betrayal, sorrow, anger, shock, denial, physical pain, incomprehension, fear, desertion, self-pity, guilt, lethargy, exhaustion, unfulfilled, sadness, relief, insomnia, nausea, overwhelmed, hostile, stunned, anxious, tired, teary, unloved, alienated, insecure, numb, worthless, helpless, misunderstood, confused, unwanted utterly powerless?

Did you have these exact feelings in mind when you reassured me that you knew how I felt and were you aware of my upbringing and my inner heart’s desires?

A father grief
Photo from Gerd Altman from Pexels

As an abandoned child I grew in an orphanage and then with many different foster parents. Despite some early minor troubles, I managed to become an electrician and marry a wonderful woman. We had children and my dream of a family came true and I was very happy

We have 2 daughters and 1 son, and we have been married for 24 years. The youngest is our son at 17 years of age, and our daughters are 20 and 22 and are both married.

Then on that fateful day, my wife was diagnosed with a stage 4 rare brain cancer called a glioblastoma. It was an inoperable condition and nothing that I can do other than pray. She did not make it…

I am totally lost and don’t know what to do or how I will manage with my life. My pain is wrecking me inside, not letting me rest nor eat. But as a dad, I can’t cry knowing I need to look after my son. My daughters have their own lives, but my son is still living at home, and I have to look after him.

I just walk around most of the time like one of those zombies you see in the horror movies. I just don’t understand how I will survive it all. My mates just want me to go to the pub with them, and they are trying so hard to cheer me up with their jokes and goodwill. They are wanting to take my mind off it all, but that is not possible. I can hardly remember the funeral. When will it all end?

One of my good mates said that he knew how I felt because his aged grandmother died from cancer. It made me so very angry, and it got worse when his wife said she also knew how I felt because she was with him at the time. How could they know when the dissimilarities are so many?


I wished my brother is still here

I am a 13-year-old daughter and a sister to an 11-year-old brother who was diagnosed with an incurable illness. My life was really very good until I heard the bad news and then everything seemed to go wrong. My brother did not know he was going to die because he was severely brain-damaged, so we all had to be careful with what we said.

His friends stopped coming to see him, which made me very angry. He went to a special school now, and they were very kind to him, and we met a lot of other families with sick kids and made friends with a lot of them. My friends were supportive of me, and I wanted to be with them most of the time. However, the more time I spend with them, the guiltier I feel when I am with my brother. Should I spend more time with my brother or my friends who have been so supportive?

My father was very annoying and always treating me like a baby or just ignoring me. Mum was good. Maybe it was because she had seen her brother die when she was about my age. Sometimes I felt like no one knew I was living in the same house. I got very angry watching my brother get worse, and I was with him when he died.

It was terrible, and I was absolutely frightened. I miss my brother so much. We were great playmates, but he could be very annoying, and I miss those moments. I think of all the things we will never do together again or even those things we could do when we got older together. It makes me very sad.

Did they think my pain was less?

Photo from Andrew Neel from Pexels

What were those people thinking that said they knew how I felt when they asked me to be kind to my poor parents who were suffering so much? Didn’t I love my brother as much? Why did I not get the same attention as them? Why did those from the hospital stop talking to me when my brother died?

I am the eldest of three brothers, and my youngest brother recently died in a car accident at the age of 17. We were a happy family in comparison to most that my friends seem to have. I am 28 years old, and I am so angry at him and the world. He was so rebellious, and we had a disagreement the day he was killed about his driving attitude.

Our family is just so shattered and at each other’s throats. We all seem to have different opinions but share the varieties of the pain of having someone die who we all loved so much. The only thing that we seem to agree on is that we all thankful he didn’t kill anybody else.

None of us is handling it the same way, and all of us are in different moods by the hour. I think I will have to get out of the house for a while as they are driving me mad and I feel unsupported.

Why did my friends have to continue to let me know that it was his fault and that it was fortunate that no one else was killed? Why is it such a big deal to them when the police are not that sure that he was being rash? What gave them the understanding and presumption of how we must feel about this piece of hellish news?


You can see how the assumptions that some people make when they choose to show their sympathy and cheer up the afflicted are so off the mark and so very hurtful

No one knows how another person feels! It is not humanly possible. Even if you have had the same event happen to you have not had the same experience. All you know is how you felt! Not anyone else! Not your partner, parent or pal.

My suggestion when you encounter someone dealing with death or a severe life event that you have had is to stop all your thoughts and desires to share. Just cease the human impulse to be of help then. Immerse yourself in a retrospective bath of memories and see how well you came out of the wash.

Let your experiences and learnings be seen in your demeanour and how well you listen and love. Let your example show your calmness, acceptance and total honesty and be the future hope for their recovery. Share tears if you wish but not unasked for advice and never proffer any profound dictums. Remember, at best, you only have your experience, circumstance and the tools with which you managed your own rebuild.

There is an enormity of unknown information that is not available to us when we meet people or even after 50 years of marriage to them. Be with them, walk beside them, encourage them to talk about their feelings and pain if they wish. Most of all, love them for you are about to share the miracle of suffering, resilience and reconstruction.

Share with us your story and how did you coping through it down the comment below. If you like this post please consider like share it or donate to help us continue.