Loss and Grief: How are you doing?

Posted by Teresa, Volunteer Mentor @hopeful33250, Jan 16, 2018

When my dad passed away several years ago I lost my keys 4 times in one month, I would wake up at 3 a.m. several days every week feeling startled. Sound familiar? These are reactions to grief. Grief is a very personal experience – everyone grieves differently – even in the same family because the relationship of a father is different than that of a wife or a granddaughter. Unfortunately, often we grieve alone. Sometimes we don’t want to “bother others” with our grief, and sometimes friends and family tell us that we should be over it by now. After all the person we lost was ill for a long time or was very old and “it was their time” or “they are in a better place now.” Sound familiar?

Grieving is often described as the “work of grief.” It does feel like hard work doesn’t it? Grief can be difficult because of the many factors related to the loss. If the loss followed a prolonged, serious illness you undoubtedly did some “anticipatory grief work” prior to the actual death of the loved one. If the loss, however, was sudden, i.e., accident related, suicide, a result of crime, etc. the sense of grief is coupled with shock.

The relationship that you had with the loved one also affects your grief experience, i.e. was your relationship close or had it been strained? Do you feel guilt that you were not closer or do you feel guilty because you don’t feel you did enough to help while your loved one was ill?

Sometimes anger plays a part in the grief process. Did your loved one get poor medical treatment or a wrong and/or late diagnosis? Did your loved one not follow your doctor’s orders with regard to their health (diet, smoking, attention to meds or exercise)? All of these factors contribute to your experience of grief.

Also, some losses are not so evident to others. These would include a miscarriage or a stillborn. Sometimes these losses are not considered as relevant to others as the loss of a person who has lived a longer life. In the case of a miscarriage, others might not even be aware of your loss.

You may think of that person on anniversary dates (their birthday, date of their death) or you might think of them constantly. Unfortunately, sometime people say things that can multiply grief. Have you ever heard someone say, “you should be over this by now?” or “I had a similar experience and I’m OK.” Well, most likely their similar experience was not the same as yours. Thinking you should be over it might compound your grief with feelings of guilt or frustration.

Whether a recent loss, or a loss you experienced a long time ago, let’s talk about it. Whatever your experience, I’d like to hear your stories and together find a way to relocate that loved one so that we can experience peace in our lifetime.

Together let us support each other in our grief journey.

Teresa

@hopeful33250

@muppey

I think that divorce and separation cause confusion of feelings and emotions. It's not just a woman thing – during a friend's divorce – after her husband had moved out and met with a divorce attorney he sent her an anniversary card (it was their 20th) then he called and said he was upset because she hadn't sent him one! Go figure 🙂

Teresa

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I won't call. I figure she left because she's sick of me and I'm not going to put myself in any position where she can say something stupid like she already did. "How are your new girlfriends?" Mary returned to the Mormon church.
It's funny because right out of the Army I had a Mormon girlfriend for a short while. I was to strung for her and she started going away. She didn't just say let's not see each other. Anyway I'd call her and she started making fun of me almost like Mary did. So I figured it out and never called her again. It's funny because Wendy has always sent messages to me and the last one I got was somewhere around Feb 4-5, just after Mary left. I don't pay any attention to those because she was mean and I just walk away.
Not nice to break people's heart in any form. Death is different but when you have to see them or they want to talk to you it's kind of strange to me. I have strong feelings against traitors, I just walk away from them and that's it.

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I can't find who posted about "missing fostering kids". My friend is single she does respite care for kids. There are way to few homes/people willing to do respite care. No you often don't have the kids for a long time, maybe just a weekend are a few weeks, but it is really needed. It sounds like you have a lot of experience with fostering kids. Is this a place where you are able to help. It isn't something I can do, but I help out where I can like collecting back packs for her. Every kid that stays with her goes out with one for their things. I know things feel empty and with out purpose, but there is a reason your here. Mine was to take care of my parents but now they are both gone. I have no idea why I am still here either. I pray in time it will revele its self to me.

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I think it was me you were thinking of, I have done respite care, foster care both long and short term. Love having kids in my life, and believe all kids should get the opportunity to live on a farm, and enjoy animals, and learn to work and care for animals. But it just seem that where I live there isn't a need, as I go many years w/o getting asked to take more kids, I am still open to having kids, but not asked.
I am sure you will find your purpose too, as I know a big part of wanting to live, is to be needed.
Thanks for responding, and being an encourager even in your grieving. God bless

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Your needed, by those animals. I loved reading about how many you have. Thanks for caring for them. The night before my Mom died she suddenly got very concerned about the dog and was he going to be cared for, was he ok. Weird. We didn't know it was her time to go the next morning. I assured her he was fine. I brought him in to day good night to her. God is probably trying to talk to you, but darn aren't we humans hard of hearing when it comes to him.

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@kathy4385

I really dont even know where to start. I lost my best friend, lover and husband to liver cancer 2.5 years ago. Didnt really start to grieve till last year. As to, I believe having recieved 2 foster kids 6 mos after he died. So poured everything into the kids. and delayed my grieving, untill they left my home 5 months later. Then it was like I lost and was grieving all 3 at the same time. To say the least, Im not doing so well. My friends and neighbors dont understand, and say I push them away, (not what I wanted to do, or intended to do) just didnt know how to express myself. so ended up more alone, and felt abandoned. I am a christian, and have been studying all I can in the word about grief, depression, and loneliness. My family lives far away, I thought I had the church family, but feel I dont fit in anymore, and they quit reaching out cause they feel I should be over it by now. and they dont know what to do with me, I dont fit in any of the groups that we used to be in. All I really want is to feel needed, wanted, and to belong to something, cant find the new normal, dont seem to fit in, feel more alone in a crowd, so I just stay home alone. know that is not the answer either, but dont know what to do. Want to go home to be with my husband, and all the loved ones who have died before me. At times it seems the only answer. Just waiting to die of a broken heart. I get up each day, because I have animals to care for, so all I am living for now.

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@muppey Thank you for responding to my post. I agree that it is probably too soon for you to understand Mary's side of things. Understanding does not mean agreement or approval. Please understand that I am just sharing some of my past in hopes that it may help you in some way.
You did a wonderful thing by rescuing her when she was lost in the woods. Being a curious person, I wonder if that led to an element of savior/survivor in your relationship. You did another wonderful thing by working with her and her son to get him off drugs and into a fulfilling life and lifestyle. Again did this give you an element of "better than" in either your eyes or theirs? That would be normal and not a problem unless any of you tried to use that element to manipulate or control one of the others in the relationship.
Her "church" affiliation is, in my opinion, a big part of your current situation. I understand a little of their beliefs and from my perspective her current actions are completely in line with their teachings. She needs to witness and save everyone she begins a relationship with in a certain amount of time or completely cut off all communications in order to acquire and maintain her place in the lineup for heaven, which has limited space. There are many daily rituals and requirements that I do not know but suspect she was breaking every day that she spent with you. Leaving you physically but keeping a line of communication open to save your soul would be sanctioned by her church. In her church's eyes and in her eyes you are a "sinner" or "undesirable" person needing salvation. Do you see how this additionally confuses the situation because you literally DID save her but her church is telling her that she needs to save you.
As far as where you are in this process, I think you are right where you need to be. I see you as deeply hurt, lost in feelings, resentful, and searching. That is very appropriate for you at this point. I do not think you will stay in this situation forever, but no one really knows how long that will be. It will be don when it is done.
I understand the feeling of betrayal. I felt like, "after all I have done for you, THIS is what I get back"? That is what I hear in your posts, which, again, is completely appropriate. Bottom line, I wanted. I wanted things. I wanted people. I wanted friendships. I wanted family (had to make a family life for my children). I wanted acceptance. I wanted esteem. I wanted honor. I wanted to feel honorable. I wanted so much and that wanting is what pulled me beyond an into making my life what I could accept and enjoy. I know you will get there. I also know that the time until you do get there will be taxing and difficult.
Maybe it will help you to remember that God won't necessarily give us what we want; but he always makes sure we have what we need. Bless you as you begin another new life.

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@hopeful33250

@muppey

I think that divorce and separation cause confusion of feelings and emotions. It's not just a woman thing – during a friend's divorce – after her husband had moved out and met with a divorce attorney he sent her an anniversary card (it was their 20th) then he called and said he was upset because she hadn't sent him one! Go figure 🙂

Teresa

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@muppey

Mark,

I met my wife in Atwater, California. I grew up in New York, from Brockport to Canandaigua to Jamestown. After I graduated from Jamestown high school, I went to Bible College and earned a BA in music and Bible. While I was in college, my father resigned from his position as pastor of a church and began to pastor a church in Atwater, California. My wife's family attended that church, and after I graduated from Bible College, and she graduated from Cal Berkeley, we were married.

I lived my whole life behind a mask. I always felt that if people knew what went on behind the masks, they wouldn't be saying such good things about me. I was a great pianist, but since I retired, I stopped practicing, and by now, when I play for worship at church, I know that I've had to simplify my playing because I don't have the technical skill to play as well as I used to. I want to practice, but with depression, I just walk past the piano and sit in my recliner.

As I said yesterday, I lost the message I wrote, so I'll try to summarize what I wrote in a separate post. I have to stop right now to call the doctor, and I'm afraid that I'll lose what I've written when I make a phone call. I'm sure it's possible to pause in my writing, but with my somewhat limited knowledge of the workings of my new phone, I don't know how to pause and return. So, I'll stop and write more later. Warning – I tend to get started writing and just keep going on.

Jim

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@hopeful33250

@muppey

I think that divorce and separation cause confusion of feelings and emotions. It's not just a woman thing – during a friend's divorce – after her husband had moved out and met with a divorce attorney he sent her an anniversary card (it was their 20th) then he called and said he was upset because she hadn't sent him one! Go figure 🙂

Teresa

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Mark,

Maybe what I write is more than anyone wants to know, but I agree with you that it helps to put some things in writing.

After college, I began 25 years of music ministry in California and Oregon. Much of my PTSD is attributable to bosses who mentally and verbally abused me, my bosses being pastors. My last ten years of active ministry was being a pastor in a very small, remote town. I had planned to stay for 20, but mental health issues and pseudo Christians cut that short. A few women who were angry that I wouldn't permit them to use our church for meetings. They were part of a group that was meeting in another town. They teach things that I, and my denomination, don't subscribe to. Because I was so deeply depressed, it took me awhile to check them out, get direction from my superiors, and tell them my decision. They went ballistic! They got together and made up some lies about me and over the course of 6 months infected the congregation with their slander and libel. The letter writing stopped when I threatened legal action against them.

I guess it should go without saying that all of that garbage, added to the depression, anxiety, PTSD and suicidal ideation, forced me into early retirement on Social Security disability. I resigned in October of 2006. We moved 175 miles away from there. It took me 31 trips with the pickup and horse trailer, the pickup and Uhaul trailers, twice with the biggest Uhaul truck, plus our other vehicles. Not one person offered to help with the move. It took us 3 or 4 months to get everything moved. I'm sure that we'd have done it much more quickly if I hadn't been curled up in bed so much of the time.

I'm still ordained, and occasionally fill in for pastors, and I lead worship from the piano on Sunday evenings. The pastor only knows a small percentage of my history, but he does know about the depression and chronic pain. He's been going through treatment for several years for cancer, and after some of the treatments he becomes very depressed and sits in his recliner under his blanket. So he understands what I feel. The difference is that his is short term and connected to the treatments, while mine is never ending. Often, I want to stay home on Sunday, but my wife reminds me how much it means to the people for me to play and sing. So, I get dressed and make the drive.

I guess you can tell that I understand the gossip issue, Mark. It only takes a few false remarks to do permanent damage, and once it's been said, there's no taking it back.

Therapists have helped me work through the morass of long term pain and I forgave my abusers long ago. I've discovered that even having done that, the damage has been done. I know all of the self help talk about letting go of the past. Trouble with that is that things in the past can cause permanent harm, and it's a farce to believe that it doesn't. It's really hard to listen to people spout off about forgetting the past.

That being said, I'm working now to move forward as a wounded man. I know that God's spirit is in me, helping me see the things that are harming my spirit. Otherwise, I would have given up on living years ago.

I don't know how many points there were in this sermon, but I will close by saying that the promise of heaven sounds better all the time.

Jim

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@claf

My Mother is a narcissist. My bio. Dad died as a work related accident when he was 43. I was 14. My mom remarried a wonderful man that lost his wife due to car accident that occurred the same week my Dad died. I was 15. My stepdad was wonderful. After 46 years of marriage he died last Feb. at the age of 93. My Mom had isolated him as she had my bio.Dad. He became over the years very withdrawn and depressed but very caring to me. My Mom was EVEN jealous of our relationship. On we deal occasions she accused me of having an affair with him. He truly treated me with the love a father shows his daughter. She regularly screams at others even people who are to do services for HER. I only came through counselling this fall and winter understanding what she is. She totally is an overt narcissist. I am 63 my Mother is 86 and I am overwhelmed with grief in the loss of my stepDad and appalled at her treatment of him. She is a very heathy independent narcissist. I used to be her “feed” but I am now fodder. My younger 1/2 brother is her golden child. My sweet older bio. Brother is in 4th stage renal cancer and SHE is so cruel to him I CAN’T believe it.

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@claf, It's fascinating to me how this group helps. Never found something like this and I did search for some groups before this event happened to me. Stay around and let it out, it's good stuff. You been hear long. Been hear for some days but not long at all.
Your pain, no one really knows but you, but here we understand what your going through. Sorry for your loss, and the accusation against you. Some of us have had that too and it is a strange thing. Right at the moment a Christian lady is telling me I'm being punished by God. I don't believe that at all. Things happen and you're in pain. There a saying or something, "It hurts when they steal your dreams away." You want peace and love but people can be just opposite of that. Hope you have or find someone you can share with.
Cruelty, some people think they aren't, but the people left behind think different.

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@kdawn32

I made through lost my keys 4 times before the tears started to flow. Well written. It get’s old having people tell from day one that my father was old and have lived a good life. That implies that his life and his death no longer mattered. That I should never grieve. I also hate hearing time heals or aren’t yo over it by now. You are right no that even other who lose the same person you lost have different relationships to them and because of that will grieve differently.

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My brother was honest and just said, "People don't understand." I found out that my family, 11 left, did not like my wife. That was a blow as I liked her a lot. Just saying how dumb people are even if they are family.

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@georgette12

Thanks to everyone sharing grief and loss stories. So my son died on August 2016. Just now I sprayed his cologne on my wrists . I also put a bit of his hair pomade on my hair the last few days. Does anyone do this stuff. I don’t discuss this with anyone as I understand they wouldn’t get this.

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georgette12
Grieving moms do different things. My wife's son died in suicide. Mary seemed fine when I met her (lost in the woods) but after a few years she started wearing all black and dumpy clothes. I was confused but figured it out and just dealt with it. Nursed her through some awful pain and illness, cleaning the mess's and everything. She started filling better the last year or two then she just disappeared, just gone. Mean time I started buying her more colorful clothes and she really liked that. I guessed her size and bought over the internet. Perfect, after 22 years!
I really don't see anything wrong with a mothers grief at losing her child, no mom should have to live through that kind of pain. I'm really a first hand witness to that so talk to me if you want to. I'll try not to side step into myself which I do but I'm feeling better every day.

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@harriethodgson1

You may find comfort in linking objects–something or several things that remind you of your loved one. At Thanksgiving I put my mother’s cut glass water decanter on the table to remind me of her. Linking objects can provide a measure of comfort.

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You ladies remind me of things which I never think about. I don't even have a picture of my mom. Maybe I do, have to look in my papers. Thanks harriethodgson.

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@2011panc

This is my first visit to this thread. I am so grateful to have found it. I come from a large family with 2 even larger extended families. I have lost many loved ones during my brief lifetime and can attest that my grief for each is different based on the relationship (or not) we had during their lives.
The people I miss the most are the ones that showed me love even through discipline and let me know that they cared about me. Other people cannot relate because they either resented being corrected or considered me favored and/or spoiled by the deceased. I still sometimes feel so much loss. My selfish self wants to talk to them about things, get a hug, have them sit with me or hold my hand when I suffer. Then I remember the agony and difficulty they faced the last days of their lives and remember that they lived long, fruitful, productive, and full lives. They gave me every good thing they had to give and deserve to be where they are now. I cannot resent their joyful lives in Heaven and am eager to be with them again there.
The people I feel most conflicted about are the ones that “should” have loved, cared and protected me and did not. Other people cannot relate because they were not treated the same way and did not witness or believe my betrayal. I am relieved these people are deceased, but do not feel comfortable speaking freely about that feeling because it seems that everybody else lauds these people. I feel guilt for feeling relief. Then, I resent their praise for the deceased. it feels like a second betrayal. I pray a great deal about forgiving everyone involved and focusing on the present. But I still keep my guard up because of my belief that “birds of a feather fly together.” By that I mean that I don’t fully trust anyone that did not see or does not believe my reality about the people that betrayed me when I was a child.
I have only felt anger once over a deceased person. That was a teenager who absolutely knew better but drove under the influence, without safety belts, and too fast for the roadway and conditions. Even driving too fast under the influence, they would have all survived and those hurt would not have been as badly hurt if they had only used their safety belts. What a waste of young lives and potential. I have a handicapped child who exerts as much willpower and effort to walk one block as these young people would exert to hike one mile of the Appalachian Trail. It isn’t fair. I do understand that their values were formed by their families and friends and I am not responsible. It still bothers me.
I only treasure “links” from the people I miss. I have my grandmother’s opal pin, my father’s foreign money from when he was in WWII, my other grandmother’s rocking chair. I have mementos from the people I feel conflicted about. I keep them to help me remember how it could have been and how it really was. I also keep them because other people expect it of me. Since they think I should feel such devastation, I feel like I need to keep something from them.
I am going to ask this here because I still do not understand it. After my father’s funeral, mother said to me, “You lived him best.” Does anyone have any ideas on what she might have meant by this?
Thank you for providing this opportunity to share and thank you to any of you who have read this entire missile. It has been quite cathartic for me.

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@2011panc
"they were not treated the same way and did not witness or believe my betrayal." Betrayal is something I could never put up with. You betray me and I am gone. Don't need you anymore. Feb1 I was betrayed by my wife when she just ghosted me. Then her son and her girlfriend were mean or cruel, and now a person whom I thought was a friend came to my house and during our talking he said, "I know about the letters." Holy crap. It took me a few days to digest that because my head is still foggy…"OK, you know about the letters but that leads me to conclude you know a lot more than that." I don't like gossip and used to tell my wife that she shouldn't do that, and I really don't want to hear it. But it's true. Yeah so that makes it even harder to take.
I don't understand all you've gone through and are going through but I do understand betrayal. It's painful and I feel sorry for you having to deal with it. "I trusted you!" talking about my wife and her family who has turned.
Stick with people you trust. Be lonely rather than associate with traitors. If they are sincere in their apology to you then that may let the door open. But I know me and people who betrayed me. You may be a little more kind than I am.
I know betrayal so if you wonder about different perspective I can give some. I'll try not to turn it to myself which is easy at this time to do.
I won't even share my medical problem which occurred after her act. She had her girlfriend try to get it out of me but I told her I'm just fine, while my wife paced the floor behind her. Betray me and your out of the picture. I may have to live alone but who is going to get dirt on me that way?

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