Sunday, 28 October 2012

The Silent Scream

Today I sat by my keyboard and felt tears welling up as I read a blog of a girl /lady who wrote of her two children that had died. When people asked her if she had kids, she would hesitate to answer, as what or how do you say afterwards anything that is less than trite?.. She had a baby that died of meningitis when he was almost two years old, and then later, many years later, her surviving son was killed in an Army accident. So, yes she had the children, but they were taken away without her consent.. but the loss was there in the words, in the silent scream that she held in whilst she relived the events so long ago, that had no end, no conclusion , no reasons why..

It got me thinking, just how many of us are locked in that silent scream syndrome.. where we have the grief that has no end, where the depth of it is so severe that if you really did stand and take stock, the screaming would never never end?..

During my younger days, in my marriage that I saw was falling apart but I had no stop button to press, I would stand at the checkout waiting to get my items scanned, watching the other families who all seemed to be so happy and together and wander why I had failed so badly that I couldn't deal with and sort out matters to make it all better. I had my five children to consider when I thought about running away... I could not do it, because life had to go on and they had school to attend... I could not see a way to break through the routines and get us all free, and maybe make him see what destruction he was wreaking, and maybe, just maybe, he could get help and be the nice person he once had been when we first had met.. But of course it was not to be. That young man who had been so full of life and light and enthusiasm had become bound by life supporting a growing family, trying to get qualified in order to get better paid jobs, and he felt totally wiped out emotionally and physically and thought that drink might plug the gaps and make it feasible... but of course the drink didn't plug the gaps, it widened it until it could no longer hold together and the family fell apart.

Grief is all around us.. not just in people dying, but in lost ideas, causes, marriages that no longer work under pressure.. its not to say that the grief is anything like as terrible as that of lost children or people, but it is a grief no less.

For years I grieved for the loss of a lovely man who had disappeared into an abusing, shouting person that I didn't know how to treat or make better. That the father I gave my children was so damaged from his life at home as a child and adolescent, that he could never be the person they needed. The lack of being able to offer them a safe home, without shouting and fear of how each evening or day he would be.. Some days when I cowered inside waiting for his return, he would be the nicest of all, gentle and playful with the kids and really a nice person.. Another time without warning he would turn into a demon mostly after he had had a bad day at work, and stopped off on the way home..

 All these things led to my grief of trying to pretend that he was a great person, and a marvellous dad- which he was at times, but not enough times for it to be the norm.

I remember seeing on TV many years ago an interview with survivors of a terrible event in Russia during the second world war. The ladies, now old, had all had children who they had taken with them on the terrible long march to safety.. Many of the children had died en route, and when they asked one lady, rather cruelly, that she had still been a young woman when she had reached safety, why hadn't she tried to have more children, she said, that having seen four die she had no wish to see any other children die as life was too precarious in that land. Her quiet dignity despite her poverty made the interviewer gasp.. but obviously her grief was so deep it had been carried inside her for over 40 years, another member of the silent scream people.

There is no one person living who at some point in time, doesn't have a reason to scream out loud for grief or annoyance.. but all of us have to try and get along with it, and somehow damp it down until it becomes livable with.. For some that cannot be. Only this week in the UK an inquest being held was told that the lady who had just committed suicide, had had  terrible losses to bear over the years.. First her daughters died over 30 years ago in car accidents, then her husband died soon after with a heart attack... later, having a new partner, he died of cancer... she carried on bravely, finding another husband to love her and care for her, then this year, her last surviving child, a son, had been killed in a motor cycle accident, and as her husband said, it was the final straw, and this brave lady who had carried her silent screams all those years, had taken her own life.

So, is the answer to stop hiding the grief, let it pour out until it fades away, then despite the hole in your heart, you can manage to cope and carry on? or to suffer and say nothing until it just overwhelms you and you lie down and give in and die? 

I think on reflection that letting it out is best, that talking or writing it down, is a very valuable tool and it helps you sort out your griefs and file away, which is why blogging is the next best thing..  You can talk to yourself on line, and put it out there where others can read and share, and maybe just doing this, lightens the load..and is enough to give you energy to carry on.

  I am sure that this is why blogging is such a route for many cancer or other deadly diseases sufferers. They  do use this way of communication and it helps them sort out matters in their minds. It has been a valuable tool for them, despite if, in the end they die, and their partners have to finish the blog.. It is a way of being heard, of not being silent and suffering in pain and worry.

 Even if, your writing does nothing but clear your mind, it is so valuable a tool. I am glad that we are all sharing, even our most inner thoughts, because in doing so, we can download our fears and avoid being part of the Silent Scream syndrome...


  1. Sometimes it seems as if it would be better if we could scream out loud. Maybe it would help. Maybe.

  2. Your writing is so sincere and beautiful. I'm happy to meet you.

    Thank you for coming by to visit my blog.

  3. I love how your thoughts flow so freely in your writing. You express yourself so well!

    I couldn't imagine how painful life must have been for the woman in the UK who took her own life. To lose all of your children and then your life partners...I mean, at some point, you just have to sit there and wonder what you did to deserve that kind of grief. Such a tragedy.

  4. Writing your feelings like the past few post are a great way to heal some of your pain. It is very healthy. (((HUGS)))

    My heart goes out to the woman who lost all of her children. My heart goes out to you.