Losing one of my children would be my worst nightmare. I’m really sorry that this happened to you. Even trying to imagine what it would feel like gives me goosebumps.
I lost my mom to a very aggressive form of cancer in 2021 and a cousin to brain cancer the year before. I couldn’t go to either funeral because of travel restrictions and my wife’s pregnancy. Those were dark days for me. Not to mention the fallout in my family (complicated topic).
I’m really of two minds here: when people get depressed, they tend to withdraw from other people, stop exercising, etc. All things that have been shown to help with depression. On the other hand, you should not be forcing yourself to do things that you can’t/don’t want to do. Finding the balance is hard.
The first thing I’d do is find a therapist who is an expert in grief counseling. Whether this is just for you or a couple’s therapist, depends a little on your needs and the needs of your partner. Maybe all of the above? For various reasons, I couldn’t start therapy, but I will after moving in a few months. I really need it. My whole world changed after my mom’s death, also because of how integral my mom was in my family construct.
The second thing I’d prioritize is your relationship to your partner and, if you have any, to your other children. So you might want to consider stopping racing just to spend more time with your wife. Next come your relationships to close friends and family. Try to keep your social network, social safety net, as large as possible. It is quite likely that they will feel awkward talking to you about this, most probably don’t know how to deal with this topic either. Try to establish a support network that can hold you if you slip into darkness. If you have suicidal thoughts, tell others. (My sister has been dealing with depression for two decades and it is well managed. But sometimes she should have bad phases and then tell me that she thought of killing herself again.) From my own experience dealing with people with depression, this might go against your instincts, you might want to be alone. But this is not the best way to deal with the situation. I know, easier said than done. Also keep in mind, and I think you get that I say that with love and respect, neither you nor your wife will be at your best. When people are hurt, their tempers get shorter, you or your partner may lash out for stupid things simply because you are having trouble dealing with the pain and hurt.
One mental model that helps me is to think of things like family, friends, work, hobbies as separate pillars I rest on. Legs on a stool. Columns that support a roof. If one is weak, the others can take some of the load. So if one is weak and needs healing, try to keep the others intact.
Lastly, your training. I’d probably start by asking myself: why did training help me deal with life stress in the past? Was it the structure? Was it an outlet for my aggression/frustration/anger? Do you like the feeling of being at your limit? Etc. In my case the structure helped me. It was something I could control, I had a set amount of me time away from everyone else. But it could be that you really enjoy outdoor rides. Depending on your answer, I’d prioritize the latter. I’d try to get in at least some physical activity. But if following a training plan is too much for you, just switch to TrainNow or just ride outdoors. Stop racing if your heart is not in it.
Again, I am really sorry about your loss. Words are inadequate. No parent should outlive their child. It will get better, trust me, but it will take time. Also, my DMs are open, feel free to contact me if you need someone to talk to.