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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Jim
You been reading my mail? That sounds so true to me it's kind of like I know you already. Churchy people can be the meanest sort of self righteous nit wits. One lady on youtube caught my post which was a little bit controversial but I really can't stand uppity two shoes who think they can say things this lady has said, "God is punishing you for being, (something like a repressor of my wife and basically a real bad sinner). Well I'm no Job or anything like that but I know that God allowed the attacks and torment from Satan because he knew Job would not blame God, nor would he listen to his wife who told him to curse God and die. God didn't punish anyone but his enemies. He doesn't punish us but there comes trouble and it hurts a lot, so keep your chin up.
I know you are hurting because I've been there and I know what they do to you if you do not toe their line. Ever think of that Jim? Maybe you are right and they are wrong. I never really thought of how I was very happy and really loved singing hymns whenever I the opportunity arrived, wish I knew music.
What happened is a long story but I got kicked out of churches when I attempted to say something about their mistakes. "Get out of my house and you are not welcome back." OK! I went a bit crazy but I never cursed God. Just asked him for a brain.
I get you! Don't let them get to you. Dig out some high note music and blast it out.
My shoulder is hurting and my beans are cooked. Let's work on this because like I said, 'You been reading my mail??"

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@kdawn32

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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Think Kathy did that post on foster kids.

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@kdawn32

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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kdawn32 "but darn aren't we humans hard of hearing when it comes to him." Yes we are! Don't like it but…we can grow.
I really heard Him when I got this about four months ago. I was going to loose "my joy!". I thought it was toys but I don't have any and then Mary left. Other part of it was "70" which puzzles me. That happened about four months before she left. I'm not crazy, I'm just nuts. Hah!

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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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@muppey

Anytime someone says something like God's punishing you, they have lost all credibility with me. It's a nasty thing to say. As our pastor says, "they have a spirit of dumb!". Love it.

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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A big Amen to that Jim.

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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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@2011panc, You write hard! The lost in the woods thing has never come up in anything like me looking down at Mary, not at all. Mary used to tell everyone that "Mark found me lost in the woods". It was never in my mind something she owed me back. I did think it was kind of romantic because we went back down the canyon jeep trail and I pulled her car out with my jeep. She'd burned her clutch trying to get out of there and was saved by a boulder which caught her right rear, otherwise she'd been in the river. I took her to my cabin and fed her a tuna sandwich and then we spent the afternoon just talking. Anyway the next day I got her to an auto mechanic and loaned her some money to get it fixed. I made her pay it back.

"better than" That's a laugh! One of my prayers was "Can I get a brain!". Never thought that. We worked well together and had lot's of fun. She even learned my schedule and changed her schedule so we could have more time together when I'd come up from San Mateo.

I know a lot about her church and her beliefs and I think it's nuts but I never put her down and made sure there was gas in the car for her to get around, go to church and all that.

The "I am worthy" and by implication "you are not worthy" did bother me because her and I discussed the Bible a lot and we discussed the verse that says "there are none righteous (worthy) no not one." The funny thing is that when I'd tell a story at the dinner table, before they all became Mormons, Jon would say "Where'd you come up with that bullshit?" Well I've had a life and I'm older than you and I've done and experienced a thing or two. I never defended myself I just thought what kind of asshole would do that? Jon really did start thinking he was better than me. Guess he forget about being loaded and sleeping in our front yard. I'd look out there wondering what that was, Jon. His name was Jared back then. But I guess changing to Jon it was him putting things in the past. I know I was an alcoholic but damn, I'd put a bottle in the frig for the whole weekend and Mary would sometimes go up there to the kitchen and drink the whole thing down, found her passed out on the floor one after work, she's pounded a whole fifth. Hospital time.

I know good and well I won't be like this for to long. I have things to do which I'm not able to do right now but it'll get clear. Happened before with Paula, will happen again.

Maybe one of my problems is that I never really wanted much. If people didn't like me or betrayed me I said goodbye, got enough problems without you turning your little dagger in me. Don't like traitors and guess I never will. Haven't ever had one apologize to me.

One verse out of one of my poems goes, "And I fail to see the arrows fly…Into my soul as if I'd die.
When someone does something mean it's always a surprise attack and it baffles the mind when they do things like that. Happened in the Army. I just left them be and had nothing to do with them which puzzled them but what they did was cruel. I'd talk about that in private but not here. It's a short story but not nice at all.

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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

I'm sure sorry that you've had such bad experiences with people. Most of my life, I was able to let things just slide by. I would just forget things that were said. I guess that's one time when it's good to have a lousy memory.

Jim

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@hopeful33250

Hello @harriethodgson1

I’m so glad that you shared “linking objects” with @georgette12 and the rest of us in this discussion. Yes, linking objects are very special things that bring us comfort.

My dad loved photography and had won several awards in photography shows. So after his death, I was able to take a couple of his framed photos and placed them on my walls. His photos are my “linking objects.”

I’d love to hear from others about their linking objects. What do you keep or use that helps link you to your loved one?

Teresa

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hopeful33250 and harriethodgson1 You girls are making me laugh at myself. I've never even thought about what you girls do. When I last saw my wife she was picking up her furniture with her son. What really bugged me was she'd come up to where I was sittiing at my desk reading the computer which I always do. (I'd already helped with the heavy stuff and they could do the rest, yeah I know,) anyway Mary would come up to me and give me some trinket, she did it several times and I just tossed them aside. What the hell is that. You think a trinket is going to make me think of you or whatever, comfort me?
The last trinket she gave me she put her hand on mine which was resting on the chair arm. I was still in shock and it pissed me off and did not comfort me at all. I didn't pull away and she stayed there for a minute and then left, after she started crying.
I don't get this "linking objects" idea at all. Am I just to darned hard nosed or what? Stuff never impressed me, sorry but I'm looking for more than trinkets and stuff.
Not being argumentive, or belittling, I just really don't understand.

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@badboys1965

I am so sorry for everyone that lost someone that they loved deeply. My dad has been gone since 2001. God i still miss him so much!! When he died, it was a shock to my whole family. Who would of thought he would die before my mother. My mother passed away three years later. She was in a nursing home for twenty-five years due to a stroke she had. My dad visited her every day come rain or come shine. I still am not over their passing away. They were good people. I still cry sometimes when i think of them and still have vivid dreams about them to this day. It got easier to deal with their loss with the help from my husband Mark who loss his mother a few years ago too. prayers for everyone who loss someone, Trudy

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@badboys1965 Not dismissing your pain but you seem to like your cat. Muppey is my dog's name which Mary now has down in the SF Bay Area. She's a little ten pound poodle mix.

Hi, Iike your cat, got two left from a litter that a momma cat brought to our place. We live in the Sierra Foothills and we've had dogs, cats, two horses, cows, we rounded up as they had escaped or were abandoned, the cats and dogs were mostly lost, but some were abandoned, not all were strays but owners wanted back and they appreciated our connecting them, sometimes through Animal Control or they still had collars. People used to abandon the poor things on French Gulch Rd., I guess because it's easy access from two directions and is isolated.
Anyway the momma cat brought her kittens here I guess she saw our lights or something. In the morning I went outside and could hear the kittens. We gathered them up and contacted this really nice lady in town who was connected with animal rescue. It was great because she took care of all the shots and we kept the kittens in our living room and because I was taking care of them they'd come rushing up to me and I'd have 6 kittens climbing my leg up to my shoulder and it was fun and comical. Found homes for them and we still have two black cats from that litter. They were all potty trained and people thanked us for doing that which made adoption easier for them. I never liked cats before that, but when one pokes his head through a knot hole in the low deck you just have to take care of them.
I'm just writing this because I guess I need a distraction to something fun.
I understand some of what pain your going through and I know it's very difficult. Do you have anyone to talk to? I know most people don't have the patience but some do. There's a song I like a lot…"Be still my soul, the Lord is on thy side", '2nd Chapter of Acts' I listen to the Blue album showing on youtube mostly and just before I go to bed. Beautiful music if you're interested.
Mark

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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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jimhd, I've read your post's and seems like you've had a lot of bummer's with people too. I've always been guarded I guess, just can't stand betrayal. Seems like you've been betrayed a time of more. I know we are commanded to forgive and apologize to those who we hurt or if possible to those who've harmed us. I did apologize to Mary but those people won't pick up the phone so I left it on the recorder. I know their habits and I know Jon keeps his phone with him when they are all watching the tv. Been there many times. They are a bunch of hypocrites and liars. I know what I'm saying. They are perfect in their own eyes because they can go to the temple and baptize lots of dead people so they will pass onto Joseph Smith who seems to be more powerful the Jesus. It is very common for them to become liars because they are built on a lie and I have read some of their goofy, contradictory books, not all, it takes little to dismiss Joseph Smith if you even have a little understanding of the Bible.
Now I'm getting pissed again and so I should stop.
Thanks Jim. ps: I don't put all blame on Mary but I did trust her with a lot of my life's secrets and she blabbed them to her friend and she blabbed and it came back to me. That is wrong…period. I've not let one bad word out to anyone. I did explain what happened but just said, oh well, nothing I can do, just can't believe she would just disappear, poof, just gone, it really makes you feel like someone really hates you.
I guess I'll be here a while. Thanks again.

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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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2011panc,
I just re read your post above. I think you don't understand me at all. I've never thought I was superior to anyone. The rescue was romantic. Mary bragged about it a lot but I was just happy we met. I have never brought it up at all that I can recall…Like I saved you now you owe me. That's not how my mind works. I do something and no one owes me anything, my mind does not work that way. I do something like get cut in a knife fight, long story, in our Army barracks I didn't run to anyone and complain. It was with the Old Black Panthers, which is another thing I dealt with at the VA. The next morning after the fight the guy who almost bashed my head in was a line cook doing eggs, he just smiled and said "How you want your eggs." Sunny side over.
I could have made a stink about it and had the guy who cut me arrested and thrown in the stockade. I just wanted peace. The first sergeant was a really great guy, he was also black, but he called a formation on Monday morning and made it clear to all that there was no racial incidents in his battery. I still had about six months to go and there was peace, at least until I was gone. I was surprised when I was leaving that a couple of black guys came up to me to shake my hand and said they were sorry I was leaving. What did I do to deserve that? Two black guys from Chicago I got along with, not buddies but agreeable to each other. They were all full of knife fight scars, but they were good guys. They also were very protective of my number one canoneer, his name was Private Canon. True. He was a little guy and Moore and Turner took him under their wings. There's another story about a big fight I had to break up as I was Charge of Quarters that weekend. One black guy attempted to stab Canon. Moore and Turner found out and a fight proceeded. Big guys and when I had to wade through about twenty black guys I was a little nervous. The room was upside down and nothing in place. I told Moore and Turner to leave Hahn alone. They agreed and that was that. I put Canon in my bed because the door was visible from the First Sergeant's desk. I had to stay awake all night so I watched over him.
Got off track but I'm not really vindictive nor am I mean. Just don't betray me when I pour my heart and soul into you Mary. I didn't withhold from talking or sharing anything from her. Together we work through some of my problems and faults not all but things take time and trust. I trusted her she betrayed me. She knows all my secrets and she used all that against me and blabbed it to her Mormon son, x husband and Melchizedek Priest, Traci her girlfriend up here, her Bishop, and who knows. Should I just go, Oh Well that doesn't bother me?
Sorry but it bothers the hell out of me. Now they can all slam me and feel great about themselves. I think it's evil and they think they are superior as they are working to be GOD.

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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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@jimhd Jim:

"Selective forgetfulness" probably has some advantages! Thanks for the smile.

Teresa

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