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Loss and Grief: How are you doing?

Posted by @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

REPLY

I think that my life has more grief than anything else. I list my Dad to ALS when I was a child, my Mother told me she didn’t want to have me and my Dad wouldn’t let her get an abortion. (I am the youngest of 8 Children.). She too be from Missouri to Michigan to live with my sister who was 17 years older than me and had 3 young children. I actually didn’t know her very well when I moved there. I lost all my friends and everything that I knew as safe.
I was sexually abused by my brother in law but was able to stop it, I just lived in fear a lot. With that family we moved three times. I went to 3 different high schools. As an adult I had one miscarriage, lost 2 of my brothers who were in their 40 s, and just continue to loose people. A little over a year ago I lost my daughter to Cancer. I also List most of my life to a medical disability that had me quit my job early and loose any sense of purpose. I keep moving forward but am a bit tired of trying to be better.

Hello @vthatch

Thank you for joining our discussion on Loss and Grief. You have shared a lot of experiences of personal losses. I’m wondering if you could share with us what has helped you to deal with all of this loss. Is there a strong foundation in your life that you turn to when you experience these losses? I’m thinking of friends, supportive people, faith, a church community, etc.

If there are such supports in your life we would be helped by your sharing them with us. At Connect, we all learn from each other.

Teresa

@vthatch

I think that my life has more grief than anything else. I list my Dad to ALS when I was a child, my Mother told me she didn’t want to have me and my Dad wouldn’t let her get an abortion. (I am the youngest of 8 Children.). She too be from Missouri to Michigan to live with my sister who was 17 years older than me and had 3 young children. I actually didn’t know her very well when I moved there. I lost all my friends and everything that I knew as safe.
I was sexually abused by my brother in law but was able to stop it, I just lived in fear a lot. With that family we moved three times. I went to 3 different high schools. As an adult I had one miscarriage, lost 2 of my brothers who were in their 40 s, and just continue to loose people. A little over a year ago I lost my daughter to Cancer. I also List most of my life to a medical disability that had me quit my job early and loose any sense of purpose. I keep moving forward but am a bit tired of trying to be better.

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Hello vhatch.. I am sorry that your life has had so many hard things to deal with, yet here you are writing about it in a support group kind of letter which to me shows strength..and are willing to share th8ngs in your life which shows you havent completely lost your ability to trust.. i at times in my life have often wondered why things have to be so difficult to endure for some and not so much for others, and the only thing which i was able to find that makes some sense was some of the beliefs of some of the eastern religions who believe in karma and that we choose what we experience in our present lifetimes for the betterment of our souls. If we choose we can really be mad at life but content knowing we will get thru them.. Might sound a bit far fetched but to me it was something i could hold onto to give the hard times meaning. I too had brothers and sisters who were alot older than I was …my brother was old enough to be my father.. i was a midlife accident i believe 🙂 but i truly feel i made my fathers last years on earth happy, and he gave me wonderful memories he died of alzeiheimers when i was a teen and my mother and I had to move to a small house 50 miles away that became available for sale next door to my sister. And experienced things as you mentioned starting a new school in high school, making new friends, dealing with a kinda new culture (each area is different). and i think i have been looking for someone like my father ever since someone that had such kindness. Sometimes when i am really down i try to concentrate on the really good people that have been in my life (and do get sad that they are gone) but at least i got to experience them. I also try to concentrate on the strength i have developed in dealing with the things i have and havent stayed bitter.. dont get me wrong at times i am very bitter but i always seem to manage to pull myself out of that frame of mind and try to think of the blessings i have experienced.. there is verses in the bible that was made into a song back in the 60s called turn turn turn a time to be born etc.. and i truly believe that is life and we are to experience all of it with all the sadness, happiness, fear and other feelings and come out on the other side feeling our strength in having surrvived or enjoyed each experience life may bring us.. sometimes its truly in the way you look at things even horribly hard things to look at.. i hope day by day your strengh grows and your confidence and your tolerence to this thing called life, believe me i know at times its not easy at all…take good care and enjoy at least some part of your weekend 🙂

I have had a strong faith in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit all of my life and that has been my ROCK of support!!. My family never talked about death and grief so no support there. The first time I have felt any other form of support has been after my daughter died. I have a friend who lets me be who I am and where I am at any point in time. Most of my life I have been the strong one and supported everyone else. I was also a Hospice Nurse because I felt I had experienced loss enough to understand it and help others in their journey know that wherever they were and whatever they though at any given time was ok. I was also able to teach them about aspects of death and of grieving.
My daughter also had a strong community of support and they have been kind to me. My church has also been supportive with her death.

@vthatch

I have had a strong faith in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit all of my life and that has been my ROCK of support!!. My family never talked about death and grief so no support there. The first time I have felt any other form of support has been after my daughter died. I have a friend who lets me be who I am and where I am at any point in time. Most of my life I have been the strong one and supported everyone else. I was also a Hospice Nurse because I felt I had experienced loss enough to understand it and help others in their journey know that wherever they were and whatever they though at any given time was ok. I was also able to teach them about aspects of death and of grieving.
My daughter also had a strong community of support and they have been kind to me. My church has also been supportive with her death.

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Hello @vthatch and thanks for sharing all of the supports that you have in your life. It sounds like you have experienced much loss, but you have also helped others because of those loss experiences. I am happy that you are posting in this discussion.

Teresa

@vthatch

I think that my life has more grief than anything else. I list my Dad to ALS when I was a child, my Mother told me she didn’t want to have me and my Dad wouldn’t let her get an abortion. (I am the youngest of 8 Children.). She too be from Missouri to Michigan to live with my sister who was 17 years older than me and had 3 young children. I actually didn’t know her very well when I moved there. I lost all my friends and everything that I knew as safe.
I was sexually abused by my brother in law but was able to stop it, I just lived in fear a lot. With that family we moved three times. I went to 3 different high schools. As an adult I had one miscarriage, lost 2 of my brothers who were in their 40 s, and just continue to loose people. A little over a year ago I lost my daughter to Cancer. I also List most of my life to a medical disability that had me quit my job early and loose any sense of purpose. I keep moving forward but am a bit tired of trying to be better.

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Thank you for your encouragement. I don’t believe Karma is a part of this. I have tried very hard to live my life with love and kindness toward everyone. I have taken in and helped a number of people in my life too.
I have a deep faith in God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. ThT hasgitten methrough the hard times.

@vthatch

I think that my life has more grief than anything else. I list my Dad to ALS when I was a child, my Mother told me she didn’t want to have me and my Dad wouldn’t let her get an abortion. (I am the youngest of 8 Children.). She too be from Missouri to Michigan to live with my sister who was 17 years older than me and had 3 young children. I actually didn’t know her very well when I moved there. I lost all my friends and everything that I knew as safe.
I was sexually abused by my brother in law but was able to stop it, I just lived in fear a lot. With that family we moved three times. I went to 3 different high schools. As an adult I had one miscarriage, lost 2 of my brothers who were in their 40 s, and just continue to loose people. A little over a year ago I lost my daughter to Cancer. I also List most of my life to a medical disability that had me quit my job early and loose any sense of purpose. I keep moving forward but am a bit tired of trying to be better.

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Hello @Liebchen50

You have shared some wonderful ideas with us on coping with loss and grief. I like what you said, ” I try to concentrate on the really good people that have been in my life (and do get sad that they are gone) but at least I got to experience them.” Being grateful for what we have had in the past helps us to see loss a little differently.

I’m glad that you posted about your experiences.

Teresa

@vthatch

I think that my life has more grief than anything else. I list my Dad to ALS when I was a child, my Mother told me she didn’t want to have me and my Dad wouldn’t let her get an abortion. (I am the youngest of 8 Children.). She too be from Missouri to Michigan to live with my sister who was 17 years older than me and had 3 young children. I actually didn’t know her very well when I moved there. I lost all my friends and everything that I knew as safe.
I was sexually abused by my brother in law but was able to stop it, I just lived in fear a lot. With that family we moved three times. I went to 3 different high schools. As an adult I had one miscarriage, lost 2 of my brothers who were in their 40 s, and just continue to loose people. A little over a year ago I lost my daughter to Cancer. I also List most of my life to a medical disability that had me quit my job early and loose any sense of purpose. I keep moving forward but am a bit tired of trying to be better.

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@vthatch

Yes, in giving yourself to others you do help yourself!

Teresa

@vthatch

I think that my life has more grief than anything else. I list my Dad to ALS when I was a child, my Mother told me she didn’t want to have me and my Dad wouldn’t let her get an abortion. (I am the youngest of 8 Children.). She too be from Missouri to Michigan to live with my sister who was 17 years older than me and had 3 young children. I actually didn’t know her very well when I moved there. I lost all my friends and everything that I knew as safe.
I was sexually abused by my brother in law but was able to stop it, I just lived in fear a lot. With that family we moved three times. I went to 3 different high schools. As an adult I had one miscarriage, lost 2 of my brothers who were in their 40 s, and just continue to loose people. A little over a year ago I lost my daughter to Cancer. I also List most of my life to a medical disability that had me quit my job early and loose any sense of purpose. I keep moving forward but am a bit tired of trying to be better.

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Thank you Teresa..i do truly think we are blessed with good people when they do come into our lives and as much as it hurts when they are gone (death or leaving) we need to remember to celebrate that they were in our lives to begin with and have the memories of that..No one ever promised life was going to be easy and most of the time it seems it is just the opposite but dwelling on the aches of the heart and body (and believe me I am a “dweller”) just keeps them with us and up front in our minds, while the memories that would make us smile and feel peaceful are alittle deeper all we need to do is to remember to dig alittle deeper when we are hurting and go to a to place where we were happy or at least peaceful. I believe Jesus is my Lord and savior as I was raised but i dont turn my back and i dont think either would he at the people who are truly trying to comfort and help by the words beliefs and philosophies they may have. I think we are all connected as well as our ideas and beliefs..hope your having a peaceful day Teresa 🙂

I just read all of these posts and am grateful for such honest and words of hope to give to each other. I was raised Catholic and studied eastern religions and read everything I could on life, loss, death, life after death. My conclusion is that everything I read and all of these differing views are valid. And helpful to one degree or another. I go to a Christian bible church, and a unitarian univeralist fellowship and a Catholic church depending on how I feel. Some days I use the idea of karma to get through the day. Somedays I lean on more Christian beliefs. No human being knows anything for sure because we are still in a body. I think, anyway.

Oh, I do want to say that I have had a psychiatrist and therapist most of my life. An assortment of different belief systems. My new psychiatrist lives in Israel. I see him through Skype. He actually discusses eastern religions such as karma with me and he has had some experiences. He was educated in the U.S but lives in Tele Vive. Did I spell that city right?

How very interesting that must be…has he helped you with whatever issues you are dealing with?
I know that is one of the hardest things in therapy is connecting with the therapist.. as far as spelling not entirely sure the first part looks right 🙂

@georgette12

I just read all of these posts and am grateful for such honest and words of hope to give to each other. I was raised Catholic and studied eastern religions and read everything I could on life, loss, death, life after death. My conclusion is that everything I read and all of these differing views are valid. And helpful to one degree or another. I go to a Christian bible church, and a unitarian univeralist fellowship and a Catholic church depending on how I feel. Some days I use the idea of karma to get through the day. Somedays I lean on more Christian beliefs. No human being knows anything for sure because we are still in a body. I think, anyway.

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I agree with you 100% and thing they are all part of the whole. I did the same thing when i was younger and certain things just didnt fit completely so i went on a “spiritual quest” so to speak thru books and anything i could get my hands on to find truth and what felt like it could be and a part of all seemed to be the answer.. as you said we are still in body and cant be 100% sure what is except for what feels right to you..

@vthatch

I think that my life has more grief than anything else. I list my Dad to ALS when I was a child, my Mother told me she didn’t want to have me and my Dad wouldn’t let her get an abortion. (I am the youngest of 8 Children.). She too be from Missouri to Michigan to live with my sister who was 17 years older than me and had 3 young children. I actually didn’t know her very well when I moved there. I lost all my friends and everything that I knew as safe.
I was sexually abused by my brother in law but was able to stop it, I just lived in fear a lot. With that family we moved three times. I went to 3 different high schools. As an adult I had one miscarriage, lost 2 of my brothers who were in their 40 s, and just continue to loose people. A little over a year ago I lost my daughter to Cancer. I also List most of my life to a medical disability that had me quit my job early and loose any sense of purpose. I keep moving forward but am a bit tired of trying to be better.

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@Liebchen50 Yes, as you say, “the memories that would make us smile and feel peaceful are a little deeper all we need to do is to remember to dig a little deeper when we are hurting and go to a to place where we were happy or at least peaceful,” are very important words.

Might we all spend time today, “digging deeper.”

Teresa

I think caregivers need to be aware of anticipatory grief, a feeling of loss before a death or dreaded event occurs. If you’re caring for a loved one who has dementia you’re going to feel anticipatory grief. If you’re caring for a grandchild who has a faulty heart valve you’re going to feel anticipatory grief. Anticipatory grief is powerful and can take over your life. A health/wellness writer, I’ve written grief reconciliation/recovery resources, including a book on this form of grief.

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