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Bereavement due to traumatic death

Changing emotions and physical reactions

After bereavement due to a traumatic death people often feel deeply shocked and unable to believe what has happened. Crying is an understandable reaction. Some feel depressed and even suicidal. Pat said that her son’s death had shifted the foundations of her life. People felt terrible grief, isolation, anger and loneliness, and described their turbulent emotions.
 

Michelle's feelings overwhelmed her after her mother was stabbed to death. She could not put them...

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Age at interview: 40
Sex: Female
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You mentioned emotions of shock, disbelief, anger, sadness. Did you feel any other emotions?
 
Disgust, hatred. I thought that the person that done it was vile, absolutely vile. Loneliness, isolation, complete loss, totally overwhelmed, the overwhelming feelings of what’s happened, and what’s happened to your mum, just it’s just absolute horror. Just you can feel it running through you, and your heart, you, get your adrenaline every time you think about what’s happened you get an adrenaline pumping through your body and anxiety and, there’s, there’s feelings I felt that I can’t even put into words to be honest, I can’t name them. I don’t know, I don’t know what, what I would call them.
 
So it physically affected you too, because you had this…?
 
Oh it does. You don’t want to eat, you just, I wanted to die. I wanted to go to sleep and not wake up, or I wanted to swap places and I wanted it to be me that it had happened to, and that my Mum was still here.
 
You can’t get away from yourself, or what you feel, but you feel like running and there’s nowhere to run to. You just want to run away and, you just want to make it go away and you can’t. It’s like being trapped in this, I don’t know, this big black dark empty mess. You can’t see an easy way out. You know it’s going to take years to see even a glimmer of light. 
Anger and guilt were two common emotions after a traumatic death. Ann felt a great rage after Westley was stabbed to death. She also was fearful that the men who were responsible for his death might not be convicted and sent to prison. She felt that after her son had died all the colour had gone from her life.
 

Ann felt many emotions including fear and anger. She decided that she must do something with the...

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Age at interview: 57
Sex: Male
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What did you fear the most? You said you were fearful?
 
I feared that the person, or persons would get off. That was the biggest fear.
 
That ultimately there wouldn’t be someone answerable for this terrible, terrible loss.
 
So what other emotions did you feel over those last years?
 
Well there have been times of anger of course.
 
Rage. I understand that to be a very normal emotion, what I realised quite quickly was that something had to be done with that rage. Those times when that anger and rage came to the fore, I needed to do something with it because it’s that element of the grief which is the most damaging, I believe. I believe that to be damaging in many ways, in the physical health sense, in the mental health sense, and most important was I needed to keep a grip otherwise the devastation would be greater for Westley’s brother and sister.
William regretted that he had not spent more time with his daughter, Lauren, the morning she died and felt guilty about the times he had been cross with her.
 

William felt regret, and also anger - he believed his daughter, Lauren, had died because of other...

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Age at interview: 48
Sex: Male
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There were two main emotions that were very near the surface, and one was guilt and the other was anger. And the guilt was firstly, you know the very obvious guilt that at her time of need, that the moment of the accident on 21st June 2005 that I wasn’t there to meet her needs. But also that earlier on that same day, you know, when I was getting her out for school that morning, normally I would hug her, give her a wee kiss and make sure I’d said bye-bye properly, but on that particular morning her brother woke up early and as she was leaving the house I was attending to her brother, and it was just a very quick cheerio, or “See you.” And so I didn’t really even get to say bye-bye properly on that morning, and I never got to speak to her again.
 
And so guilt for that, and guilt that I’d, for every time that I’d shouted at her, guilt for times that I’d raised my voice with her, not because of anything particular that she had done, but because I was in a bad mood.
 
Things like that. And the other emotion was anger. Anger that because of the actions of another individual, and in fact the actions of three other individuals, you know the bus driver, the teacher and the lorry driver, that my daughter had lost her life. And, it’s not that I was wallowing in self pity thinking, “Poor me”, you know, “look what lies ahead for me,” it was the unfairness to Lauren because she was a wonderful child. She never gave me any cause for being anything but proud of her, she had a lovely nature, she was very loving, and very well behaved and because of the actions of others she didn’t get the life that she deserved. And there’s unfairness with regard to her brother as well, because her brother lost a wonderful sister, and is now an only child, and that has taken him down a different path. 
 

Dorothy felt disillusioned with the justice system and with politicians after her son died in an...

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Age at interview: 65
Sex: Female
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How have your feelings changed, if they’ve changed at all? Are they just the same, or have they changed in any ways, and what other feelings have you had?
 
I think, I mean in that time I would say there’s probably not a day gone by when I haven’t thought of Mark.
 
So, the anger I suppose is under control, lets put it that way, it’s there, but I control it, it’s under control. I think as time’s gone on and I’ve met more people and you know the justice system and the politicians, I think my, my disillusioned by the system has grown. I have no faith, no faith in the system here at all, and I suppose at sometimes I have no faith in my fellow man really, but occasionally you meet someone, there are, there are people out there who are giving their all, you know trying to support someone, or trying to campaign, or trying to battle or whatever.
 
 
So in some ways I don’t know, I think possibly my disillusion has deepened, my anger, I wouldn’t say it’s lessened, it’s there, it’s in there, I just keep it bottled up, I keep it under control. Some days I feel life’s not worth living, other days you know I think I’ve got to go on and do something, so its, I take each day at a time really.
Many continued to feel this pain and anger for years. One woman said, “It doesn’t get any less painful, you just get used to it.” Cynthia said that initially she felt angry with herself. Gradually she realised that she was not responsible for her daughter’s death and she decided to direct her anger elsewhere to prevent other deaths on the road. A friend encouraged her to go to see an art exhibition, which helped her to realise that others felt as she did.
 

At first Cynthia felt suicidal and angry. She blamed herself for everything that had gone wrong,...

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Age at interview: 64
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Anyway, I was suicidal, really suicidal. I was in a terrible state of shock and incomprehension. And couldn’t make sense of anything, and I really was in a desperate state for a long time. And two things were kind of turning points. I just felt that I was no longer the same person. I didn’t know why I was different because my brain was like a robot, I couldn’t think of anything. But I just knew that I wasn’t the same person anymore but didn’t know what I was, and it was like being a tiny child again. I didn’t know how to make sense of the world anymore. And then a friend, a very old friend said, “Well you used to like art, so I’m going to take you to an art gallery, and see if you still like art.” So without knowing what we were going to do, she took me down to the Royal Academy and the exhibition at the time was of Botticelli’s drawings for Dante’s Divine Comedy, and I didn’t know anything about that either, but I walked to the top floor where it was and at the entrance to the exhibition there was a quote from the poem, “The Divine Comedy” which said, “Midway along the journey of our life I woke to find myself in a dark wood.” And I thought, “So I’m not the first person to feel like this. I’ll go and watch this exhibition.” And I went back I think five more times, I went six times altogether to the same exhibition and again I didn’t know why. I knew that I was thinking about something but at the back of my head so I didn’t know what I was thinking about, but I knew I must be thinking about something so I just went with it and carried on looking.
 
And then one day I went out with a colleague from work, for a walk, and bumped into the lorry driver’s barrister, who I remembered from the court, and that was like an electric shock, it really was. I went home and I started crying, and I didn’t stop crying for three days, but at the end of those three days my mind was clear. It was like, you hear these stories about people suddenly remembering something, and it was like that, and at the end of those three days of crying I knew, I knew that my suicidal feelings were actually because I was very, very angry, and initially I turned that anger in on myself, and I’d blamed myself for the rubbish trial thinking that I’d been too naive, too trusting, and I blamed myself for everything that went wrong. But then gradually I started to realise it wasn’t me that was responsible for that, but also I realised that I was so angry at what had happened I wanted to change what had happened. I was not willing to just put up with all that rubbish, and I realised that through meeting other people and so on and talking to other people that a lot of other people had gone through similar experiences and that we could only change things if we were all together, fighting the same corner. 
Most, but not all people we talked to felt angry after a traumatic death and blamed someone else for the death of a loved one. Ian said that he had never felt angry. Erykah had initially felt angry when her brother was shot, but she said that she no longer did. Elizabeth felt terribly sad after her daughter died in a car crash. She said that the grief never goes away, but she blames no-one for her daughter’s death. She is sure it was an accident.
 

When Ian trained as a counsellor he was told that there are stages in grief and that one stage is...

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Age at interview: 39
Sex: Male
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Did you feel angry at all?
 
Personally, I didn’t no. I always say that you know, even when I did my training as a counsellor, I was told that you know there are so many stages in grief, and one of them is, is anger, feeling angry and it’s been ten years, you know since his death, and I’ve never got to that stage, I’ve never experienced that stage. I never ever felt angry. I told you earlier on about the faith I had in God, and even then I wasn’t angry at him, I mean I just wanted to understand what did I miss, what did I miss here, because I wasn’t expecting this to happen to me, so I never ever experienced anger, and I know anger, and I’ve experienced anger in many, many ways in many, many experiences in the past, but during my brother’s death I was never angry. I was never angry.
 
How about have your feelings changed over the ten, over the years?
 
Well yeah my feelings have, have changed a lot. I don’t feel I’m shocked anymore. I was, I was greatly shocked at the beginning, hearing of his death, I was extremely shocked but that has gone, I’m no longer shocked. So that’s changed in me. I feel that I’m much more proactive with my life. I take more risks with more life. Before I was very, very a very complacent person really, I was someone who was just happy to have, you know, with my lot, really. I think since his, my brother’s death there’s a part of me that’s living for him as well.
 
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More than two years after her daughter's death Elizabeth still felt weighed down by grief. She...

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Age at interview: 52
Sex: Female
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How are your feelings changing? Over all those early months you were in just shock and couldn’t feel anything but disbelief.
 
Mmm, well you do believe it but I kept thinking that any minute, and I still think it, that she’ll walk in, you know, that it will be and you just get this terrible sadness.
 
And that doesn’t go away, and in a way you don’t want it to go away because that’s what you have of them now and you don’t want the distance, you don’t want the time, you don’t want to be parted from them in time or space so you want to stay where they were and you feel very heavy and very just, just weighed down by this huge weight of grief I suppose. And I mean I can understand when people say they can’t even get out of bed, I did actually work; I just buried myself in work and the only way I could sleep was literally to work to the point of exhaustion.
 
Your feelings do change but they don’t, it doesn’t get easier and I don’t think that I thought it would you get more used to dealing with it but I just miss her more, I miss her and it just seems so long since I’ve seen her and so long since I’ve talked to her and listened to her, argued with her, I’d give anything for her to come out and give me a snarl, you know, or be grumpy, I’d give anything to hear that.

 

This was a terrible, terrible accident and it was actually nobody’s fault it was an accident in the true sense of the word and, you know, you can’t go around trying to blame somebody, it was an accident. But I often think about people where there is blame, it must be horrible, I haven’t got that, you know, there is nobody to blame it was an accident.

 
Because of her medical condition?
 
Yes, and I think I’m lucky that there’s nobody to blame because I don’t know how I’d feel if there was, I can’t imagine that. 
Some people said that they felt guilty if they allowed themselves to enjoy life or think about something else for a while. It took Linda months to realise that she could not think about her son all the time. She missed him terribly but decided it would be healthier to set aside half an hour a day to think about him and to cry; that helped.
Susanna found it hard to sleep and had nightmares after her brother was killed in the Bali bomb. For months she felt shocked and confused; she had to readjust her sense of where she fitted into a different world. She also experienced survivor’s guilt.
 
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Susanna described survivor's guilt and other emotions after her brother was killed in a bomb in...

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Well one of the things that, one of the typical responses of a bereaved individual is that it also intensified other issues that may have been going on anyway, so in many ways you’re, and there’s a huge amount of survivors guilt, even though you weren’t there, you know.
 
The other thing you’re so blooming tired, and you’re in such a pickle that you don’t really remember very clearly quite a lot of the things that went on, although apparently you, I appeared quite lucid at the time, I don’t think I was really. I wrote an article recently which was published in the Independent, about how you feel, and that was quite cathartic because you just had these extraordinary states of partial confusion and shock going on for months and months and months, compounded by the sleeplessness and the nightmares and the, and this distracting smell of death.. And when you do, you feel like you’re going to make an effort after three or four months and really start to concentrate, try and concentrate at work and then the trials start, and, the press are phoning up, and that’s very difficult coping with the, accidents happen, but the fact that people intended to do it was, was, took a long time to cope with, so you’re competing with this huge variety of conflicting topic areas, well not necessarily conflicting but you’re suddenly having, you know, this huge information dump thrown at you, which affects you in every single part of your life. And, and the effect of having a brother die is, I don’t have any other siblings, so that’s biologically he’s almost identical to you, and he’s just, poof that’s it, he’s gone and the most extraordinary shock.
Some people experienced physical reactions as well as changing emotions after a traumatic death. Problems with sleeping were very common. Dolores said she could not sleep for many months. She saw a cranial therapist, who helped her sleep much better. Elizabeth worked until she was exhausted so that she could sleep. Carole had a lot of undirected anger. She took up running, which helped her to get rid of her anger and which helped to tire her physically. Ann could not sleep either, but avoided sleeping pills because she did not want to become dependent on them.
Some found it helpful to resume work after a few weeks, others found it impossible to work for a while. Dolores, for example, had to stop work for six months and then gradually started again.
 
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After Russell died Sarah's overriding emotions were to do with protecting the children. When the...

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Age at interview: 62
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You haven’t actually described your feelings at different, in different months or years. I mean the shock to start with, no doubt.
 
Yes, the shock I suppose, but incredibly calm. We had very independent, we led very independent lives, and I spent a lot of time saying in the first few days, saying, “Well it’ll be okay for me, because I’m not the sort of person who goes home and we had tea together every night.” Because you know I lead an independent life, therefore it’ll be much easier for me than for somebody who you know they both come home from work every night, they have tea together, and they sit together all evening. And I kept thinking this is going to be, you know, thank goodness it will be easier for me than for other people. But then further down the line, when the reality actually; and at the beginning I was incredibly protective of the children, and my overriding emotions were to do with protecting them, rather than anything that was going on for me, myself. And then, then when the reality that this was here for life, for good, I went through a period in the early days of being, of hating the house, as you are going into the house, and absolutely hating it.
 
I used to get stuck in the shower; I’d go into the shower and get stuck, completely rigid and couldn’t get out. It sounds silly, I found whenever I was in the car I was reliving that first night experience, and that went on for over a year, dreadful.
 
The experience of going to the hospital do you mean?
 
Yes, reliving that story that I’ve just told you, again, and the minute I got behind the wheel of the car my brain went into, the policeman around the door, and then that whole experience. Dreadful dreams which often involved death, and often involved crashing, sometimes it was children, sometimes it was, at one time it was a room full of budgies that were all being crushed to death.
 
Awful.
 
That was bad. But then lots and lots of, “I don’t like living alone, I don’t want to be alone”, I, the future, and the absolute fear of the future. We were within, he was within six months of retiring and me a year of retiring, and we had a plan and now it felt like my whole life has been taken away because what is my future, what is my plan? And then at one stage, a complete loss of confidence in me because I was a wife, and my, it felt as though I had lost me because the person that I was had been taken away. A confident person in a secure relationship and a future planned out, and all of that gone, literally in a minute. And so I felt I’d lost him and I’d lost the me, and I’d lost the life, and then there was a period of time when I started thinking well, his needs became more than mine and I started thinking well it’s not fair that actually I’ve got a life, I’m okay, stop whingeing, I’ve got a life he hasn’t got a life, and that’s not fair. And he’d spent the last ten, fifteen years collecting things for his retirement, which he now couldn’t use, do, play with, have, enjoy, and that’s not fair.
 
And, absolute exhaustion, total exhaustion or permanently exhausted and I still feel tired really. Because all the time you’ve got a split personality, you’ve got a, a logical head that knows logically that you have, you are in a bereavement process and you are going to work through it and all will be well in the end, and then you’ve got an illogical process that puts you at the bottom of a black pit that you simply can’t climb out of.
 
So you are on this incredible roller coaster that sometimes I can be walking through town and thinking, “Right I’ve only got one life, I’ve learnt that lesson. I must make the best of it myself. Therefore I’ll do all these good things.” Then you’re feeling positive and confident, and then you can wake up the next morning, back in the pit of despair. And completely out of control, and you think, “How can this happen”. One morning I’d stood in the shower, feeling positive and confident, and thinking this was absolutely, I was in control and things were going well, I walked into the bedroom, looked at a photograph, and I describe it as being within 30 seconds I had gone from feeling positive to being back in the depths, and that’s incredibly exhausting. I can’t begin to explain how exhausting.
 
And that was just recently?
 
No, that was that was probably six, eight months ago. But even now I can have, I can, I can be confident and positive one day, I, went, in the summer which was leading up for two years I had a couple of months where I honestly and definitely felt things were getting better, and then I had a traumatic time around about the second anniversary of his death and that has put me back to a place that I was six months, eight months ago.
 
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Sarah went back to work after three weeks- the routine helped. But over two years later she still...

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Age at interview: 62
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While I did not have difficulty with eating, and in general slept well, I did tell you about the incredibly horrific and scary dreams I had, though they too have lessened in frequency. I found waking in the mornings particularly difficult and often felt very ill, non specific, complaint, but just 'too ill' to get out of bed. Fortunately going back to work after 3 weeks helped enormously with this as it gave me the impetus and made me get out of bed. For me maintaining a routine definitely helped. While feeling ill in the mornings was regular during the first year it has certainly lessened with time, though some mornings for absolutely no reason that I can identify it still happens, and is horrible.
 
The ‘realisation hit’.... This is a very unsettling feeling, and usually happens quite out of the blue. I may be thinking something and then quite suddenly realise what has happened. For example, washing up one day, I hear a car and think 'that will be Russell home' and then realise it can't be as he has been killed. That thought is accompanied by what feels exactly like a hard blow just above my stomach in the lower part of my chest. It all happens much quicker that it takes to say far less write, but what feels like a very hard physical blow causes a sharp intake of breath, and I then have to do a couple of deep breaths to get back on an even keel. An unpleasant sensation, particularly as it comes completely without warning and seems to be a subconscious reaction.
 
I have had two or three occasions when contact with a person in uniform, usually a security guard in a store has caused an instant 'panic attack' reaction. For example one day a security guard came up behind me and said 'excuse me' and as I turned and saw him went into instant panic mode. Actually he was just saying that the store was about to close, but for a moment I nearly lost it. He was wearing the white shirt and dark trousers of the police men who came on that first day. It has happened to me a couple of times since, and as it is quite unexpected can be alarming. I find hearing ambulance sirens quite difficult too. I do manage my feelings with strong control and these physical manifestations come without warning, are completely subconscious, and therefore impossible to control, and so can be quite frightening.
 
Finally the most difficult thing and something I still have not faced and does trouble me a lot, is that I cannot actually think about what happened to him without feeling physically sick. Even writing this is bad so I will say no more.
 
I was a normal woman living a normal life at 4.30 on the 21st September, now I feel I will never be normal again. My mother's mantra was 'acceptance', and that to find happiness and peace in life one must accept what happens to one. I find this impossible as what has happened to Russell and our family is unacceptable in every sense. 
 
Some people couldn’t eat, had terrible dreams, felt sick, felt terrified, and out of control. A few found they could cope only by smoking or drinking more than usual, and realised that sometimes they were drinking excessively. A few were convinced that their physical problems, such as stomach ache, had been caused by stress, and Dean suspected that their sudden bereavement had exacerbated his heart condition and his wife’s stroke.
 

Jayne was inconsolable for years after Jonathan was murdered. She felt physically sick, petrified...

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Age at interview: 44
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There’s no doubt about that. I mean I can’t, I remember feeling a lot of shame about what had happened, a lot of shame about how I was feeling, I couldn’t look people in the eye. I couldn’t make eye contact with people.
 
Why did you feel ashamed?
 
Because I think that for me the feelings associated, you know I’ve had time to think about this, because it went on for quite a while, the feelings associated with being bereaved in such a way, and the grief it leaves, you know, the word is grief, but I mean it’s all sorts of different emotions involved with it, leave you feeling ugly, like really everything is ugly. Because you’ve lost everything, you know you’ve lost absolutely everything and I think, that kind of raw emotion is not presentable is it? Its not attractive to people, it’s not something that’s easily shared or witnessed, and I remember going out to Italy when we took Jon’s ashes back, and the, and the best man who was Italian out here, I don’t speak Italian, he doesn’t speak English, I saw him walking towards me and he had to prise my chin up off my chest, just to look at him, because I just didn’t want to look, I didn’t want him to see me, I just wanted to hide away.
 
But why would you feel shame? You felt people couldn’t share your grief, but?
 
Well shame and how raw it was, just it’s like, you just completely, it’s like your wearing your, your insides on your outside constantly.
 
And that wasn’t acceptable by other people?
 
I felt that it was too much for people really, it’s, it was too much for me, you know? Because it was almost like you’d, for me, you like you might wake up okay, well not okay, you might wake up and think, you know you might wake up and get up and get dressed, and then it’s almost like you walk through some space and you completely dissolve, do you know, your whole insides, you just feel physically sick, you feel completely out of control, you feel, I mean bereft is a you know, and Paul Rock who’s an academic, I read some of his work years after and it says, “Bereavement after homicide is a kind of terror for people.” You know everything, everything you believe in, every kind of sense of safety you have is shattered and that’s how I felt, I felt I was in terror about it, so you, you’d get up and you’d get dressed and you’d get breakfast, and then you’d walk, it was almost like you walked through this air pocket where you feel the terror and you’re crying and you’re inconsolable and, your heart’s stopping, it’s almost like panic attacks all the time, and then you walk out the other side of it, and you watch telly, and you have a cuppa, you know, and you have conversations with people, and then you walk back through it again. You know, and that, that went on for years and years for me, you know it didn’t stop after six months or twelve months, or anything, I felt an enormous amount of ugliness about it.
 

Terri could not sleep after her son was murdered. She relied on alcohol, could not sleep, became...

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Age at interview: 43
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So how are you over all this time? You told me about your terrible state of shock and not being able to sleep to start with.
 
Yes, that went on for a long time. I was completely, couldn’t sleep. I was drinking probably a couple of bottles of wine every night. I just could not get to sleep. It was horrendous. The first four months I became quite agoraphobic which anyone that knows me knows that’s not me, I’m a very, very sociable person. I hated any noise. I couldn’t stand the telly or the radio on. I couldn’t bear it, it was just unbelievable. So I just didn’t have any form of communication in the house at all. I couldn’t stand it. I wouldn’t go out shopping. I got palpitations all the time, especially in the morning when I woke up. My heart was fluttering. I used to think I was going to have a heart attack. It was just all these symptoms. And I just couldn’t sleep. The only way I could get to sleep was to have wine.
 
Oh dear.
 
And then I realised I was on the slippery slope really. And I thought this has got to stop. I need to get back to work. Ben died in the June so the girls were off all over summer. So I had like the rest of July, August, the beginning of September with the children. And then when they went back to school, I was lost really.
 
And that’s when I started to, to really feel it.
After a sudden traumatic death it is not unusual for relatives to be more anxious, and to see the world as a more dangerous place, at least for a while. However, some people experienced more serious mental health problems after they lost a friend or relative due to a traumatic death. Lisa was very ill for many years after two of her friends were murdered. Nina also said she had a ‘kind of breakdown’ more than two years after her husband’s death.
 

Lisa was very unwell after her friends were murdered. She self-harmed and could not stop crying....

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Can you describe any other feelings you had?
 
Reality had changed. The world had changed for me. It was just this does not happen, you know. It’s not normal. It’s reality, what’s happened? Why, why are people behaving like everything’s normal now when it’s clearly not? I just cried. I cried and cried and cried and cried and cried and I felt like I was made of tears. I cried, and self harmed which is … I never thought I would ever do that. And now looking back, I can’t, I feel so sorry for myself that I felt that felt that bad. And I would never consider it again. And I’ve got a few little scars and you know, I don’t want to particularly show them to people.
 
And I’m sad that I’ve got them. But I’ve moved on and I’ve, I’ve let go that now.  
 

Nina campaigned tirelessly for compensation for all the Potters Bar rail crash victims. The...

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Age at interview: 84
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But then very slowly I did begin to understand what had happened, and it had been, what had happened was there was a fault in the points, someone had, Railtrack insisted were, could have been sabotaged, which was a load of old rubbish as it was quite clear to everybody that it was these particular points that had been bad, had been badly aligned, and it was a matter of, as the health and safety executive that came said, “It was a matter of piss-poor maintenance.” It’s a good phrase, “Piss-poor maintenance”
 
But they still wouldn’t admit liability. And so for the two or three years after the crash I wasn’t doing what they call grieving I don’t think. I was on the rampage.
 
 
Was compensation paid by the rail company?
 
Compensation was, was, was eventually paid, decent, decent compensation I’m glad to say, I don’t know whether… there were two women whose mother who was an old age pensioner and was killed walking under the bridge where the train went into it, and was killed by falling bricks, and they were told originally they would get nothing, because she wasn’t, she wasn’t supporting anyone. As if she was worth nothing. They said her life was worth nothing. But they did eventually admit liability to my great relief. And I think it was then I realised that Austen wasn’t coming back.
 
 
I, this is what happened to me after I’d realised that it had actually happened. I suppose I can, I had a kind of a breakdown. I haven’t been out of the house properly for for, since then. I’m frightened of leaving the house; I’m frightened of going into crowded places.

Last reviewed October 2015.
Last updated October 2011.

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