The Worst That’s Been Said?

by Lori Dwyer on June 21, 2011 · 26 comments

I was asked this question on my FormSpring quite a while back. I thought I’d blog the answer- it seemed to require too much of an explanation for a tiny FormSpring box.

Of all the things people have accused you of since Tony’s death, what has been the most painful to you? What has played on your mind the most? And has there been anything that while harsh you’re happy someone said it because it helped you?

I have to wonder where this question comes from… someone’s guilty conscious? Whatever, I don’t suppose it matters.

There have been so, so many things that have been hurtful. Being accused of causing Tony’s death, of being such a horrible person that he caused him to kill himself.. being accused of that by someone very close to him? That hurt. Unforgivably.

But I think, all along, it’s been any insinuation that I haven’t been caring for my children properly. Any suggestion that their welfare was not my main concern. Because, while I was trying to protect them, people were accusing me of hurting them, ignoring them… and I guess that hurt so much because I was doing those things too-hurting them, and ignoring them. But I was just trying to get myself back into some kind of normal place, before I went back to them.

A weak excuse, hey? I know it sounds like one. But I guess it’s not so much about me, it’s about a lot of us- isn’t our worth as mothers, when our children are small, worth more than that of our own? My children’s short term happiness and mental health was put before my own long term mental health.

But that seems to be just what we expect mums to do. Sacrifice, until there’s not much left to parent with, at all.

The other consideration, that was not so much hurtful as downright annoying, was- and is- patronising advice on what I should be doing, how I should be feeling, from people who haven’t experienced any kind of grief, trauma, or that awesome combination of both that eventually molds into PTSD. There are no words to describe how soul crushing it is, trying to survive, and having people patronise you.There were quite a few times I really felt the need to punch people in the face, but didn’t have the freaking energy to do so.

So.. that’s that.

Anonymous questions always welcome.

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

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citygirlblogs July 6, 2011 at 10:30 am

I wish that people got it or were at least more compassionate. I'm surprised that someone would ask that question and shocked that anyone would question your parenting or how you're processing *your* grief. I admire your honesty and your strength.


Just Jennifer June 24, 2011 at 10:13 am

I love that you blogged this. Honest and real and straight from your heart. Rather than point their fingers and accuse you of things, perhaps people should just sit down and talk with you. Just ask you how you're doing and if there's anything they can do to help. But I suppose it's easier to simply stand back and pass judgement.


Annabellz June 23, 2011 at 1:54 pm

I always feel I have no right to speak here on your blog because well… I don't know you. But I can't keep my fingers cold here and not just tell you again how much personally you mean to a world that needs to hear the truth of grief, mental illness and the pain suicide causes. The aftermath. Struggled with this with a family member… oh god the cruelty of those who just don't want to feel. Finger pointing and evil angry words. Insinuation. God heals all wounds and hopefully wounds all heels.


Rachel June 22, 2011 at 9:50 pm

I have very much wanted to punch some people on your behalf. Very, very much. I am not a violent person but some of the things people said to you – and by 'friend's' and 'family' were frankly fucking disgraceful and decidedly worthy of a serious smack in the mouth.
xxx tpc


Lynda Halliger-Otvos June 22, 2011 at 4:53 pm

Lori, much of what I would say to you has been said by the commenters above-take care of you. Fuck people with malice thoughts about you and how you run your life; and those with pejorative questions designed to make you feel bad. Hugs are coming over the oceans to you from California and the Redwood Trees.


Mum to a Miracle June 22, 2011 at 12:55 pm

I always give people benifit of a doubt, telling myself they meant well but it just came out wrong or they just opened their mouth without thinking. Not those fuckers who said that though. There is no other way for those things to be taken. No other way to read it. I saw an article "10 things not to say to a NICU/ Premmie parent" and one of them was "What did you do that made this happen?" and I couln't understand how someone even thinks that way either, (and thankfully no-one asked me in that way)… surely its pretty fucking obvious that some things are just out of our control??? Maybe there needs to be a "10 things not to say to a grieving/ traumatised parent" too


Sweet Little Birdy June 22, 2011 at 12:12 pm

Oh Lori, Can so relate hun… I just love how the people with these opinions have never gone through the tragedy of it… my personal favourite is when they start a sentence with "I dont know how you do it, if it was ME…blah blah blah". ('I wouldnt survive', I wouldnt be able to get out of bed' etc etc) But that's in their fantasy world, not the real stark one…

I lost 12 months of seeing my children grow. I toilet trained a 2 year old and dont remember doing it. I look at photos from that time and dont remember being there. I was on auto-pilot. But not once ever did I stop loving my children or meeting their basic needs. NOT ONCE!

And you know what, almost 5 years later they are beautiful well-adjusted happy and delightful children…

So to all the opinioned people may you never have to eat your words, but some compassion and understanding would be nice x

Great post Lori x


Jodie Ansted June 22, 2011 at 10:13 am

I love what Kim have to take care of yourself in order to take care of your kids.

I'm sure there are people who really didn't mean to upset you and thought they were helping. Apart from the few 'anon' comments you got…most I'm sure who come here really feel for you and want you to recover and be well.

Including me.

Virtual hugs to you, hon.



Vicky June 22, 2011 at 9:54 am

Want to give you a big squishy hug Lori …

Just keep walking – one step at a time. And rest when you need to.

lots of love,Championing you from the side lines
Vicky xxx


Karen June 22, 2011 at 8:37 am

OMG…I hope I have never been or sounded patronising…. I would hate myself if I were on your list.

Indeed I have experienced terrible trauma, grief, close to suicide myself in the late 90s….I hope what I may have commented on was not taken the wrong way. GOD I HOPE NOT!!

Maybe I'll just read from now on and silently support you. xx


Corinne – Daze of My Life June 22, 2011 at 8:01 am

It still astounds me that people had the gall to say you were responsible for Tony's death. I just can't even begin to fathom where that thought even comes from.

In regards to your children, I was going to say what Kim has. You can't care properly for someone when you're not at your best.

You're there with your kids now, giving them the best life you can. That's all that matters.


Adalita June 22, 2011 at 6:41 am

Some people are rude, unsupportive and plain disgusting. How could people ask you that? How can a mother help her kids first if she can't focus on anything? I think you did what was best for you at the time and anyone who critises you for it is a horrible person without sympathy.

I love your blog, you have strength you didn't know you had. Your writing is beautiful and you way to deal with your grief. I will continue to send out good vibes to you as you do your best! That is all any of your true readers expect.

Hugs love ADA!
(I'll join you in punching those haters)


Jean June 22, 2011 at 6:39 am

Sometimes people say stupid things coz they don't know what else to say. sometimes they just say plain nasty things tho…things that can inflict deep damage.
Shame on that person for being so cruel.


Sandy June 22, 2011 at 3:30 pm

Because I believe things happen for a reason, I like to think that you had the AMAZING, WONDERFUL, BEAUTIFUL, HEALTHY relationship you had with Tony in the Before so that you could become the STRONG, SOLID, STABLE, WISE, CENTERED person you are.
While it's true that Tony is the one who put you in this heart-wrenching position, he did help you become someone who would find a way to handle it, even without either of you realizing it.

Of course I feel for you, more than words… which is why I check your blog everyday all the way from TEXAS…. but I have never felt that you neglected your children at any point. Nor have I ever doubted your love for him, even when you say you're mad at Tony from time to time—that's normal. And even though I've only got your side of the story to go on, I've never thought of Tony as bad guy.
I think he made a selfish decision, but I think it must have been made by an injured, or wounded mind that was in a very sad, desperate place.
I do understand relationships take two, and neither of you were angels, but no one is. I don't believe for a second ANYONE can cause someone to take their own life. We are all responsible for our own behaviour.

You're doing beautifully, Lori. Be assured of that.


Eccles June 22, 2011 at 2:36 pm

Short story, made long. Picture this, it's summer in Melbourne. So it's hot – bloody hot. Walk through a carpark to see a crowd of onlookers staring into a car that is parked, you guessed it, in full sun. Mum's nowhere to be seen & there's an about 6 month old baby in the back seat, screaming her little lungs out. Onlookers are trying to shade the back window as best they can, someone FInally calls the fire brigade & then Mum is spotted walking, ever so slowly, up the hill. Until, da da da dunn, she sees the crowd and realises we're all huddled around her car & there's a siren in the background. Mum sprints up the hill, opens the car & gets bub out to the many (female) voices of "tut tut" & "How could you leave your baby" etc. You get the drift. Mum sat in the car breastfeeding bub, whilst a kind mum helped by holding cooled (not cold) water on bubs neck to help cool & calm bub down. (There was more tut tutting about the water as well…) This kind mum with the water, was the only mum to come back when the crowd had dispersed & ask the bubs mum "Is there someone at home to look after YOU". Bub's mum was shocked that anyone showed concern for HER.
So Lori, as Kim said (& I will shout this…) TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF FIRST!!! You keep doing whatever it is you have to do & we'll all keep virtually holding you up for as long as you need (& then some) (X)


Good Golly Miss Holly! June 22, 2011 at 12:21 pm

Fuck the haters, fuck them right in the ear x


Mary June 22, 2011 at 10:55 am

I was told to my face that I was selfish when I went away for a month on my own after things turned to shit a couple of years ago.

The need to have time to myself was so overwhelming – so necessary – and it did help me to do what Kim said on my return.

Fuck the naysayers and the horses they ride in on. They really have no idea.



Mich June 21, 2011 at 11:54 pm


Blogger just ate my comment as well.

But anyway, ironically, just before I turned on twitter and saw your link, I was going to ask you the same question.

I'm so glad that you an the babes are finding some sort o normalcy in Paradise.


Daisy, Roo and Two June 21, 2011 at 11:38 pm

I can see how that would be the worst thing and the one hardest to forget. I think that would be the one on my mind as well. Lori, since I've been reading your blog I have been so impressed and overwhelmed by your strength, your warmth and the love with which you speak about your children. You have done all that is in your power to do for them, and continue to do so.


A Daft Scots Lass June 21, 2011 at 11:32 pm

Its bound to happen with a bunch of opinionated bloggers out there.

You are wearing your heart on your sleeve by blogging about the incident, your grief, your feelings, your experiences.

I need to commend you on that. Not everyone would feel the strength to blog about it all and open themselves up to easy criticism.

I think you're very brave and a wonderful woman.


kim at allconsuming June 21, 2011 at 11:31 pm

GODDAMIT, blogger just ate my comment.

Basically I was saying it's the tried and true analogy of the airport safety message, fit your oxygen mask before those in your care.

You did what was right in the most trying of circumstances. That you didn't punch someone in the head is miraculous.


Anthony from CharismaticKid June 21, 2011 at 11:15 pm

Wow, I can't believe someone said that. Horrible people out there.


Hear Mum Roar June 21, 2011 at 11:13 pm

I always get paranoid that I'm going to say something terrible, so if I ever have, I'm so sorry and didn't intend to:)

I found it really frightening seeing the way some people were treating you in the earlier days. I can't fathom it


Madmother June 22, 2011 at 7:48 am

Am happy to punch anyone you want me too.

Am also available for cutting remarks, ego destruction and verbal abuse (whilst still remaining witty). xx


Crystal Cheverie June 21, 2011 at 9:33 pm

It really is shocking to me how some people think they have the right to tell you what to do, especially when you're going through something like this, but even when you're not. As for the – ahem – people who were accusing you of causing Tony's death or not being a good mother, I really hope Paradise has given you distance from them so you can get some peace.

Much love as always.


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