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

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Loss & Grief Support Group.

You are so right @harriethodgson1

Anticipatory grief can go on for years before the actual date of death. I appreciate your contribution to this discussion, please continue to contribute as you feel led to do so.

Teresa

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Thanks for the insight on anticipated grief. My son planned his suicide for a year and discussed his plans with me constantly. I sent a mobile crisis team to his home in another state. They went to see him and did not take him to the hospital . he called me and screamed at me cause I sent them. He was dead two days later.

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I have been trying to write about grief and loss . my actual profession is as a writer. But I mixed that with working in health care for a long time. So I am stuck in my writing on this. My grief counselor encourages me to write. I joined a writers group online and maybe that will help. I don’t know.

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@georgette12

Yes, I was thinking about anticipatory grief just now, the thought occurred to me that the family members and friends of chronically depressed individuals do suffer a lot of grief beforehand. I know that your attempts to help your son showed that you cared. His anger cannot be understood, but you did try and that was important. I appreciate your sharing that thought with us, Georgette.

Teresa

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Brian L. Weiss, MD. Many LIves, Many Masters. Writer is a highly esteemed psychiatrist. This is the author who changed my own psychiatrist’s life. I had read all of Weiss’s books back in the 1970s already but I reread this book. Yes, once again it helped. But I already have had the background in using hypnosis and regression therapy. I think I really have to strongly add that I personally accept all different viewpoints on this discussion. I , for myself only, believe a human mind is way too limited to know anything for sure. I have genuine support for other people and respect what they believe.

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@hopeful33250

@georgette12

Yes, I was thinking about anticipatory grief just now, the thought occurred to me that the family members and friends of chronically depressed individuals do suffer a lot of grief beforehand. I know that your attempts to help your son showed that you cared. His anger cannot be understood, but you did try and that was important. I appreciate your sharing that thought with us, Georgette.

Teresa

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The only way to write is to do it. The more you write, the better you get.

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Sorry to report that I will not be able to continue sharing with your Mayo Connect. My blepharospasm and dry eye does not like me to be on the computer or do any texting. Doing all my specialist at Mayo directs me, but my dystonia plus dry eye is preventing me to continue at this point. Wishing you all well!
Agent Darien

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You will be missed, @AgentDarien. Sounds like you are taking wise steps with your current eye situation. Please rejoin us whenever your eye allows.

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@hopeful33250

@georgette12

Yes, I was thinking about anticipatory grief just now, the thought occurred to me that the family members and friends of chronically depressed individuals do suffer a lot of grief beforehand. I know that your attempts to help your son showed that you cared. His anger cannot be understood, but you did try and that was important. I appreciate your sharing that thought with us, Georgette.

Teresa

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Yeah. True. I started out in print publishing in 1973. This is the subject matter that is so hard. I have no problem with other topics. I think it’s too personal. But I also think it would be healing.

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@AgentDarien

Sorry to report that I will not be able to continue sharing with your Mayo Connect. My blepharospasm and dry eye does not like me to be on the computer or do any texting. Doing all my specialist at Mayo directs me, but my dystonia plus dry eye is preventing me to continue at this point. Wishing you all well!
Agent Darien

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@AgentDarien You will certainly be missed. I appreciate all of your posts in the past.
I hope that your eye problem resolves in time and you can join us again. In the meantime, take care of yourself.

Teresa

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