CRY has a
network of individuals who
have suffered a tragedy, all of whom have done our Skills Course and are available to support others through their loss.
If a specific diagnosis of cause of death cannot be
made, such deaths are classified as death from natural causes.
Yet there can be nothing less natural than to lose an active young
person in this way. Frequently there have been no apparent symptoms.
Usually the young person will have died whilst engaged in some perfectly
normal activity of eating, drinking, taking exercise or in their sleep.
With Sudden Death Syndrome, not only has there
been no preparation for such a death as in terminal illness, nor is the
death accidental when there is an obvious and direct link between an
occurrence and the tragic consequences. This can lead to those closest
to the one that has died blaming themselves for overlooking possible
symptoms. Dealing with their terrible loss is then compounded by
feelings of guilt.
The death of a child or young adult is so totally out
of order with the sequence of life that it can have devastating
consequences within the family.
Sharing the way you feel about what has happened is
very important. It is not always easy to do this with others that are
suffering directly from the same loss.
Sometimes there can be a great deal of anger about
what has happened.
Sometimes trying to cope with the feelings of other
family members can exacerbate the grief you are trying to come to terms
Sometimes it is difficult to understand and accept
that men and women can grieve in very different ways.
Sometimes it is easy to forget that children need
special attention at this time. Their needs can so easily be overlooked.
Sometimes family members literally wonder if they are
going mad with grief, and are fearful of sharing such thoughts with
others that they love.
Sometimes there is a terror of letting members of the
family out of sight and immediate control, in case the same thing could
Sometimes there is the knowledge that the condition
that has been diagnosed could be inherited with all the serious, and
Sometimes you will need to talk things through with a
professional counsellor, and sometimes you might crave to talk to
someone else who has suffered in similar circumstances to your own.
Alison Cox is a Bereavement Counsellor whose aim in
founding CRY in May 1995 was to help families who had suffered from a
young sudden cardiac death (Sudden Death Syndrome)
Devastating grief is not just something that will
affect your emotions. It can also have physical consequences that leave
you exhausted, feeling sick and unable to eat or sleep. When there has
been a young death from a heart disorder, particularly if there is a
potential for this to have been a genetic condition, family members can
subsequently start suffering from breathlessness, chest pains and
dizziness - all recognisable cardiac symptoms which can in themselves be
Such a reaction is completely normal at times of
intense stress, and shock. It could help you to talk about them, and
might be useful if this can be with someone other than your own direct
family who might be afraid of what this means.
You may find it easier to adjust to what is happening
if you can find someone to share it with, who you can talk to about your
true feelings, no matter what they are. If you bottle up these feelings
they will probably resurface later. They can go deep inside and although
you might temporarily feel you have them under control - expressing
them, recognising them and thus including them in your life can help you
move forward through a period of readjustment to reconstructing a world
that you know will never be the same again. Now is a time of enormous
grief and devastation. You might find it difficult to believe that the
weight of this grief
will ever be lifted from you. It can take months for the immediate shock
to recede and a lot longer for the raw hurt to ease.
Grieving is not something that can fit into a specific slot. Each
person will feel the need to cope with their loss in a different way.
Alison Cox MBE, CRY Chief Executive
development of CRY's counselling programme was initially funded by a
awarded by the Department of Health
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