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flutherother's avatar

Whose death has hit you the hardest?

Asked by flutherother (29581points) December 7th, 2010

As we grow older death is something we have to learn to deal with. Whose death have you found most difficult to come to terms with. It could be a family memeber a friend or a celebrity.

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65 Answers

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

My little sister. Her death seemed to define everything about the way I would and will feel about death and dying for the rest of my life.

janbb's avatar

My brother who died when I was four and he was six; I think I am still looking for someone to fill his role in my life.

MissAnthrope's avatar

My grandfather. He was the one family member who was sane, nurturing, loving, and compassionate. He’s also the only family member I ever really identified with, seeing that I’m almost totally unlike everyone else, and he and I were extremely similar in personality.

He had a stroke when I was 19 or 20 and I was too selfish and scared to go visit him in the VA hospital. The stroke really debilitated him and he was partially paralyzed and couldn’t speak. I didn’t have much experience with death at the time, so I had no way of knowing how much I would come to regret my actions. I am deeply ashamed to admit that I avoided going to see him for about 16 months because I wanted to remember him healthy, when really I should have gone to brighten up his day and to spend time with him before he was gone forever.

I went to visit my grandmother one day and she finally talked me into going to visit him. She warned me that she suspected he’d had another stroke because he was much spacier and out of it than usual. When I saw him, I understood immediately. We visited for a time and he didn’t recognize any of us. Then, right before we left, all of a sudden, I could see the spark come to his eye, he looked at me, recognized me, smiled a little, and reached out for my hand. He took it, squeezed it, and gave me a small, loving smile.

He died a week later, to the day. He had had another stroke, but the stupid doctors refused to listen to my grandmother and missed it until it was too late.

It chokes me up, thinking about it. I wish I could go back and do it differently.

Jude's avatar

My Mom.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

The death of my parents was not easy,but it is the suicides of two of my friends that I will never understand.

SlyDogNikki's avatar

I believe that when you’re young, a loved one’s death is hardest to cope with at that time than any other. It may be the first time you’ve experienced such loss and the closer they are to you, the harder it is for you to understand why it happened. My grandfather died suddenly when I was 7. I was closer to him than anyone in my family, I didnt understand loss, or death.I never got to say goodbye since he died literally overnight, and that has impacted me in many ways as it will for the rest of my life.

flutherother's avatar

One morning long ago my mother woke me to say my grandfather had died. It was the first death I had known of a close family member and I took it lightly. My mother did all the grieving. I was a teenager and my thoughts and emotions were somewhere else. Since then there have been other deaths that have struck me more forcibly but I was close to my grandfather and I miss him no less as the years roll by. We played card games, read books together, hammered nails into wood. I can see him sitting by the fire doing the crossword puzzle, a pencil held in a hand twisted with arthritis.

Judi's avatar

My mom is dieing right now. This is really hard.

meiosis's avatar

My dad, who died 30 years ago when I was teenager. However, my mother has Alzheimer’s disease, and her death is likely to be protracted and deeply traumatic.

harple's avatar

Much love to you @Judi at this horribly difficult time. x

marinelife's avatar

So far, my sister’s death before age 50.

As an aside, I was very saddened by Elizabeth Edwards death today.

downtide's avatar

The suicide of a close friend, eleven years ago.

flutherother's avatar

@Judi I am sorry to hear that. That is an answer I did not expect.
@meiosis I am sorry, I don’t know what to say.

harple's avatar

My father’s suicide when I was just three years old has certainly had the greatest impact on my life. However, my Dad, the wonderful man who took on my mother and her four children later that same year, has had terrible health this year (he’s currently in hospital with heart problems having been in and out earlier in the year for completely different health issues) and it is suddenly apparent that he is no longer indestructable.

I dread to think how I will cope with his death when the time comes, and I realise now it will come. On the positive, he has brought so much joy to our lives, and his passing will be marked with beauty and good feelings all round – a notable contrast.

meiosis's avatar

@flutherother She’s been a great mum to me, so whatever comes I just hope I can deal with it and care for her with as much love as she’s showed me. Its going to be hard, as Alzheimer’s is a terrible, terrible illness, but she deserves the best I can give her. She got lost in her own house today and had no idea where she was when I telephoned, and the sense of shame mingled with fear she had was heartbreaking.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

Suicide of my best friend. In ten days it will be a year. I will never be the same. I have experienced different kinds of deaths in my life… But nothing is like suicide.

Bluefreedom's avatar

My father. He died 10 years ago after a prolonged battle with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. Even after a decade, I still miss him very much and think of him almost daily.

cak's avatar

My father. I always knew he was the rock of the family, but I didn’t realize how much. We just went through our second Thanksgiving without him and his birthday is on Christmas Eve. It’s still hard to talk about him in the past tense. It’s a pain that I never knew existed and I wish I never learned it’s strength.

Smashley's avatar

I had a good friend die by a lightning strike a number of years ago, and that’s really the only close encounter I’ve had with it. I’ve lost all my grandparents, and a kid in class when I was 6, but none of those deaths hit me like when my friend died. I got over the pain eventually, though I still pull out the old pictures on occasion, and just sit and think about what her future should have been. I’ve since given up the vegetarianism I began on that day, but I still avoid open spaces while it’s raining.

Mikewlf337's avatar

The death of my Uncle who was one of the greatest people I have ever known in my life. I didn’t know how to feel that day. I couldnt cry but inside I was a mess. To this day I don’t know why I didn’t cry even when I was looking at his body in a casket I had this feeling of great loss but I still handled it in a way I would have never expected. I just went to the viewing and talked to my family like it was another day. I suppose i was still in shock and it didn’t sink in yet. I felt really surreal. a year ago my friend died and they same thing happened. Then a day later I all of suddened burst into tears.

Soubresaut's avatar

The closest deaths to me have been of my dog and bird… but in all the important ways they might as well have been people to me. I loved them no different.

My boy, my Leibchen, had a heart condition that slowly went downhill. He knew when his time was close. The last few months he started getting very cuddly, sitting with me for hours on end and never wanting either of us to get up. I had no idea that when he asked to be on my bed with me one night that it would be our last together… the next day he was going to a check up with the vet while I was at school. I came home to find out he had had two heart attacks, and they couldn’t bring him back from the second. It hurt like hell for the longest time, and all I wanted to do was sob forever, but would up holding it all for the most part very far inside me. If I wore the pain out in the open too much I would get drowned in the weight people trying to make me feel better. It’s still down there and surfaces from time to time… he was my boy.

And then my bird, I lost just a few months after. Losing him was unexpected. He was only half way into his life, going by age… I was groggy one morning, lying in bed, and heard some weird noises coming from his cage, some thudding around. If I had been more awake, I probably would have realized something was wrong, but still being half asleep, it didn’t really register until later… After a while I went over to take the curtain off of his cage, and found him lying in a distorted position on the bottom of it, looking up at me. I freaked out, scooped him off the ground, and held him. His breathing was fast and shallow, his neck was limp, and he was just looking up at me, beak opening and closing as if he was trying to sing… or breathe, I don’t know. I like to think sing. I just held him for I don’t know how long, begging him to hang in there, stay with me, when it finally started to sink in that he was going. And then I realized, some time after that, that his eyes had closed. As if he had been waiting for me before he let go. Slowly his body started to stiffen, and I, not really getting it, or letting myself get it, started to cry and tell him he was a good bird for getting back up. I was watching two things at once, his body slowly stiffening and emptying, and in my mind’s eye, him waking back up and getting better. I put him in a bag and in the freezer, fighting myself not to rip it open thinking he was actually fine.

I don’t handle it too well… mentally I keep them both alive, and although I know I’m just pretending, I don’t want to let them go. I wish more than anything I had been there for Leibchen, and been there sooner for Bird (maybe saved him…)

cookieman's avatar

My father. He died two years ago.

@Judi: I’m really sorry about your mom.

cak's avatar

@Judi: I’m so sorry to hear this news. May you and your be granted the peace you need during this time.

Jeruba's avatar

My father’s death 27 years ago at age 64 was very painful for me. I still miss him a lot. It was harder on me than my mother’s only two years ago, even though the final stage of her path was much longer and rougher. Maybe the fact that I was 25 years younger (and pregnant with his first grandson) when he died of cancer made the biggest difference.

As for celebrity deaths, it was Luciano Pavarottii’s, without a doubt. I was greatly saddened by the deaths of John Kennedy, Martin Luther King, John Lennon, Princess Diana, and numerous others, but Pavarotti’s cut the deepest gash in my own life.

My sympathies, @Judi. It is hard, I know. Courage, girl.

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

My father. Never got over it. I just kind of get on. I still think of him every day. I always will.

AmWiser's avatar

My Pops. The death of my 2 brothers didn’t hit me as hard and we were very close and they were young.
@Judi I know it’s a difficult time for you. (((((HUGS)))))

gondwanalon's avatar

Mr. Spock (my cat).

Jude's avatar

@Judi Big hugs from me.

josie's avatar

My dad. Not because I loved him more than I did my mom. It was because I always thought of him as larger than life and invincible (which up to a point he was). His death was an uncomfortable reminder of mortality. His and mine.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

My maternal Grandfather, just as I always suspected. He was my best friend since childhood, my stand-in father, my protector, my rescuer, my teacher and my most honest critic. That’s hard to find in just one person and I had it, with all the love I could imagine.

CaptainHarley's avatar

I have seen far more of death than most people, and far more than I ever expected to see or wanted to see. However, dealing with death is not difficult for me, perhaps because of having seen so much of it. If my wife died, or if one of my children died, that might be hard for me to handle.

Berserker's avatar

When my dad died. He had plenty of faults; just like everyone. But no matter what he was, I grew up looking at him as like, infallible, always having all the answers to everything and always knowing what to do when something came up. So when he died, all those ideas shattered away lol. It’s like he let me down, but that’s totally retarded, it’s not like people do it on purpose to die, at least most times. Makes me feel pretty selfish, but sad but true.

CaptainHarley's avatar


Many people feel anger toward the one who died. It’s very normal. My ex-wife was initially very angry at her grandfather, first for getting deathly ill, and then for dying. It’s like they left without any justification or reason, even though it wasn’t voluntary. Irrational? Sure! Human? Definitely.

Berserker's avatar

@CaptainHarley Yeah, I felt pissed. And then, when people tried to console me or give their condolences, I got pissed at them, too haha. Got over all that though. I kinda figured it was normal enough behaviour, but it’s always nice hearing it from someone else so one knows they’re not crazy lol. XD

Supacase's avatar

Let me preface this by saying I have never experienced the death of a close family member. I am almost certain that will top the list when it inevitably happens.

The murder of my first husband’s mother and her boyfriend by his father. I was 14 and dating his best friend at the time. The reality of how cruel the world can be came crashing down on me. Seven years later I married my now-ex-husband and I cannot possibly explain how profoundly it affected his life and, consequently, our marriage.

KatawaGrey's avatar

Two close family members of mine have died, my grandfather and my uncle. My grandfather died of old age. His body failed him in the last few years of his life but his death was not so hard for me. I loved him very very much and I truly believe that there is no man on this earth who is as good as he is and there will be no man who will be as good as he was. He lived a good life and raised three daughters to be the best they could be. My mother was his favorite by a long shot and when he died, it hurt her far worse than I think anything ever has. However, he was ready to go and he went quietly and peacefully.

However, it was the death of my uncle that hit me the hardest. He was a good man with a hard life. He and his brother had to bear the brunt of their father’s abusive and destructive ways. They were the ones to pull him off their mother and to decide whether or not to save his life when his self destruction became literal. The difference between the two is that his brother married a wonderful woman and has a son. My uncle was married once but things didn’t work out. They had a son together but my uncle gave up his parental rights. He went to jail a few times, the second time for a crime he did not commit. He inherited his father’s alcoholism and he drank himself to death. He was a sad and lonely man who did not deserve the life he had. It hurts me to think that he could have had a good life and still be alive today. It was the most unfair thing that he died.

ETpro's avatar

My daughter, my first-born child, died 2 days after giving birth to her first child. She was so young and full of life, and it was so totally unexpected, that it took me many years to really recover from the grief. We pretty much know we are going to have to burry our parents, our favorite aunts and uncles. As hard as each of those losses are, we know it is part of the cycle of life, death and rebirth. But it’s devastating to have to bury one of your children. I would gladly have gone at that moment to let her live on with her new baby.

Her husband was a petty officer 1st class in the Navy. Fortunately, his sister loves children and adopted the baby, giving her a good, loving home. She’s a grown woman herself now, and I expect I will be hearing about her having her first child soon. So life goes on. But the lows can be awfully low == and that was my lowest.

Judi's avatar

a couple of people sent me pm’s of condolence as I watch my mom die. I accidentally deleted them, and I want you to know that I wholehearteadly appreciate your kind words and thoughts.

MissAnthrope's avatar

@ETpro – That’s tragic. I’m really sorry to hear that. :(

@Judi – Big hugs!

CaptainHarley's avatar


You’re not any crazier than the rest of us. Comforting, huh? LOL!

free_fallin's avatar

My Grandmother, who died 3 years ago.
My best friend who committed suicide when we were 16.
My cousin who died when I was 15.

It all still hurts more than I could ever express.

partyparty's avatar

My dad – he was killed in a car accident many years ago. I still miss him to this day.

gamefu91's avatar

I have only witnessed one death and i don’t think i can bear another one.My cousin was murdered 2 months back.And I have no idea who did it and why.I cannot forget his face,his voice,the cremation,funeral…..I can’t make myself believe the fact that i won’t see him ever again,i will never hear is voice again.Once he was and now he is no more,doesn’t exist anymore.Difficult to believe this awful and upsetting fact.Too many unanswered questions :(

cak's avatar

@gamefu91: I’m so sorry.

GracieT's avatar

My mother’s. I think that it is because I was in the same accident and had suffered a brain injury (I was in the back seat with out my seat belt.) I hit the front window and went into a coma for the next month and a half. Because you usually don’t just wake up from a coma (at least one that long) remembering everything and wearing perfect make up, I was in rehab for the next 5 months after that, and not really completely aware until late July. (The accident was in the middle of April.) I wasn’t conscious to go to the funeral, they really didn’t know if I would ever be conscious again. and so I only know what happened to mom because I was told. I also think that I subconsciously believe that she will still come home, and because of where my injury was in my brain (frontal lobe) I still haven’t fully accepted what happened.

gamefu91's avatar

@GracieT sorry for your are you now?

flutherother's avatar

@GracieT I am sorry to hear you have lost your mother. That is a very difficult thing to come to terms with especially in the circumstances you describe. Good luck, best wishes and God bless.

Sweetpea's avatar

The death of my mother-in-law, 3 years ago, July 4th. I loved her so much. She was a friend, a mentor, the best roll model. I could talk to her about anything. She taught me so much about the important things in life. She was the family grape-vine. She was the most humble, hospitable, kind-hearted, loving person I know. Her death left an empty space that is still waiting, hoping for another such friend.
I believe I will see her again some day, and what a wonderful day that will be!

Meego's avatar

My husband, he was a great man I lost him just a little over a year ago and 8 months before he passed I lost my father to stomach cancer. Both were major male role models in my life and my daughters. My husband was an exceptional drummer/paramedic/football player and a stand up all around amazing guy. Geez I miss him bad. My father would do anything for anyone, little English but reveled in the fact that he was “still going to be here next year”. Right down to his unspeaking moments, as his stubborn side didn’t want us to see him suffer cuz our “bladders were to close to our eyes”. I’m not as angry with my fathers death because god gave us the gift of closure. I feel many unanswered questions with my husband as it was so unexpected. He died from pneumonia and ironically escaped near death 2 other times before. Once he had pressure on his brain, the next he had flesh eating virus which he was still recovering from. I feel very cheated and pushed into a decision to turn his machines off when it’s not what I wanted, but his mother went screaming around the place “turn them off, no more suffering!”. I feel like I let him down and I believed in god and hope but I felt that was over looked with man made choices and everyone else’s feelings in mind. That part makes me so bitter, no one stood up for him only me and everyone over ruled me anyway instead of letting god do his work. Or was that gods work cuz I sure don’t feel like it was.

MissAnthrope's avatar

@Meego – Wow, that’s really rough, and in such a short period of time, and still so recently. I’m very sorry to hear that. I can’t imagine how hard it is to deal with both of those deaths together. <hugs>

Meego's avatar

@MissAnthrope Hug back and thanks for that, I am just telling my story and yes it is a major suckfest, and it all happened around this merry time of year, which makes most of my Xmas spirit wander elsewhere but I think my purpose around this place is to be challenged, but then to gain strength from that, because to be honest I always have relied a lot on others to help me grow in life so this must just be some kind of weird learning experience as much as I hate it and want to disagree it went this way for a reason. My husbands life was always challenging as well. Actually besides of my husbands awesome charisma and loving, kind, gentle, do anything for me character, one big thing that first brought us together is we decided to face it all together with each others support. But I shouldn’t be fooled he left some of his spirit behind in my daughter and my 2 big labs :)

Fairylover78's avatar

Definately my Mothers Death. I moved away and got married a year before she died. I was only 19 when she passed and starting a new life. It was so unexpected. About 6 months before it happened, I got a call that she was in the hospital and they were doing test, I came from Ill to Ga right away… The Doctors assured me that she was fine, there was nothing seriously wrong with her and they didn’t keep her in the Hosp. She was having pain in her left arm and it was turning purple, being assured I stayed a few more days and then went home….. 6 Months later I get a call at 6am from my hystarical sister, mom wasn’t breathing and they were at the hosp. Comfirmation of her death came about ½ hour later. She died from Hardening of the Arteries, apparently the Docs didn’t catch it. I was incredibly angry with the Hospital but also angry with mom, she was always so strong and active, I just didn’t understand it, she was only 42. She was my best friend. I eventually got over the anger, but I’ll never stop missing her, there have been so many times over the years I just needed my mom, and I still hear her in my head when I need a little advice or just need to be assured. I am so Thankful for My Husbands Mother who really took me in and has always treated me as her own.

Palindrome's avatar

I lost my father when I was 1&½ & I don’t remember him, but it was hard growing up without a father.
I’ve recently lost my aunt just this week which has been pretty hard on me and still is. & I also think my grandma’s death was the hardest next to my aunt.
Idk, There’s always this element of disbelief because both my grandma and aunt died in Turkey. All of my family is in Turkey and I couldn’t even go to my grandma or aunt’s funerals because of the distance and how expensive it is. But I think it’s harder on others who are actually there when their loved one is dying because you’re being hit with the reality of it and it hurts..bad..

@Judi My condolences to you. (hugs & love)

Judi's avatar

Thanks. She went home the day before yesterday. If death can be good, she died well, with us singing to her and rubbing frankinessence on her feet. It was a beautiful passing. No suffering.

janbb's avatar

@Judi I’m sorry for your loss but it sounds like a peaceful death.

tranquilsea's avatar

Very definitely my mother. She was sick and we all though she was going to pull through with antibiotics. As she worsened we got more concerned. She went from being admitted to the hospital to two days later being put on a respirator. She was on the respirator for 10 days when we made the decision to take her off as she was probably going to die with no one around her and we all needed to be there when she died.

It was a shock.

My head injured sister lived with her and couldn’t be left alone. I packed her up and moved her in with us. Our lives where turned upside down and I wasn’t able to fully grieve for a long time because I was in constant crisis mode.

I still think about watching her pulse drop from 80 to 50 to 40 to 30 to 20 to 10 to nothing.

Nothing prepares you for that.

Meego's avatar

@tranquilsea I can sympathize with you. That actually sounds pretty much similar to the way my husband died. He went in for the same kind of thing and I actually thought everything was ok. I did not look at the pulse thing to much I just buried my face in his stomach, which I really wanted to crawl on the bed. But I looked up once to see this nurse I will never forget, she was just doing her job I’m sure but her attitude just reminded me of being really “sketchy” like she was doing something she wasn’t supposed to be doing, I will never forget her and if I ever see her again it will always rub me the wrong way Then I had to battle my MIL who treated me like crap and I lost everything I worked for while she claimed it all long story I miss him big time. I’m really sorry about your mom.

tranquilsea's avatar

@Meego I’m sorry for your loss too.

Meego's avatar

@tranquilsea loss really sucks.

Jeruba's avatar

@Judi, death can be good and beautiful, and yes, that was a good one. I sometimes think there is nothing better we can wish for one another after a long life than an easy passing. How grateful you must be that your mother had that, even though it is still a painful loss for you. My condolences.

ETpro's avatar

@Jeruba & @Judi How true. My grandmother was 88 when she died. Shortly before passing away, I was visiting her and she told me quite directly that she was ready to die. She said she had outlived all her friends and was looking forward to peace. Not long after that, she died one night in her sleep. She was found in the morning with a smile still on her face.

Judi's avatar

Yes. At this point anyway, moms death was not the hardest. She died well. My first husband commited suacide when my kids were young and that was hard. My dad also died when I was 10 and growing up without a dad was hard.
Mom lived and died well. No one can ask for more than that.

ETpro's avatar

@Judi I know that is how I’d prefer to go. I want no heroic end-of-life efforts just to prolong the suffering a few days or weeks longer. Of course, If I stand a chance of recovery, I want to live. But I know it isn’t forever.

Here is a song from Moby—When it’s Cold I want to DIe. Some think it is depressing or even macarbe. I definitely do not. I think it is expressing exactly what my Grandmother meant about life. She was done. I love this song. To me, it is peaceful and comforting.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@ETpro I totally cried.

Meego's avatar

Ok since we are sharing songs I think this was sent to me with an intended message its a moment in particular after my husband passed away. It was probably 7 months after before I actually sat down to watch and fully get engaged in an entire movie. That used to be one of our most favorite things to do together, movie nights! So on this day I asked my husband to help pick a movie and I surfed the channels until I found a movie that was starting that was free. I found one, ironically I cried through most of the movie just wishing it could actually just have happened in my life. There was one song afterward I had to buy the iTunes album for as I kept humming it. The movie Henry Poole is here I recommend it if you have not seen it, it’s a beautiful plot. The song speaks to me, and could not of been more moving unless my husband were actually singing it to me.
P.S. The moby song was beautiful also moving, I had to download it as well.

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