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

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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@georgette12

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

I would certainly encourage you to write as well. I believe you have gifts to share with others!

Teresa

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You will be missed…but you are also an example of how important it is to make decisions to take care of yourself. Many blessings.

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Hi I lost my mum in August due to dementia she was the most precious person in my life I loved her so much I am struggling to come to terms with losing her I wasent there when she died but was staying not far from the home she was in I went to see her and I just cried mummy don’t leave me in December I tried to take my own life and still want to I can’t survive without her even though mum had dementia she still knew who I was the deteriation I saw wasent good she had stopped eating and drinking so couldn’t talk I told her everyday I was there that I loved her I’m missing her so much . My doctor has put me on these tablets but it’s not tablets I want it’s my mum she was 91 when she died (good age) but that doesn’t matter she was my mum (adopted by her when I was 12 but knew her at a nursery in London when I was 3 can’t help the way I feel

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@elainesharon

Hi I lost my mum in August due to dementia she was the most precious person in my life I loved her so much I am struggling to come to terms with losing her I wasent there when she died but was staying not far from the home she was in I went to see her and I just cried mummy don’t leave me in December I tried to take my own life and still want to I can’t survive without her even though mum had dementia she still knew who I was the deteriation I saw wasent good she had stopped eating and drinking so couldn’t talk I told her everyday I was there that I loved her I’m missing her so much . My doctor has put me on these tablets but it’s not tablets I want it’s my mum she was 91 when she died (good age) but that doesn’t matter she was my mum (adopted by her when I was 12 but knew her at a nursery in London when I was 3 can’t help the way I feel

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Love and prayers for you. Losing a parent is very difficult. Keep telling yourself that you are important and of value.
It sounds like you and your Mum had a very close relationship. Be patient and gentle with yourself and the things you feel and experience. Reach out to this group or anyone else close to you whenever you feel you can’t go on. We will support you and love you.

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@elainesharon

Hi I lost my mum in August due to dementia she was the most precious person in my life I loved her so much I am struggling to come to terms with losing her I wasent there when she died but was staying not far from the home she was in I went to see her and I just cried mummy don’t leave me in December I tried to take my own life and still want to I can’t survive without her even though mum had dementia she still knew who I was the deteriation I saw wasent good she had stopped eating and drinking so couldn’t talk I told her everyday I was there that I loved her I’m missing her so much . My doctor has put me on these tablets but it’s not tablets I want it’s my mum she was 91 when she died (good age) but that doesn’t matter she was my mum (adopted by her when I was 12 but knew her at a nursery in London when I was 3 can’t help the way I feel

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It is not easy to lose a beloved parent. I feel so badly for you, and want to remind you that you also are “precious”‘. There are people just like me that you have never met or seen, but I can assure you they feel as I do and care about you! Hard to lose those who share a history with us and have been with us from the beginning (like parents). My mother is my best friend and 97 years old. Her strong faith is one I share, and that is what I rely on for the good days, and the bad ones. I truly feel your loss, and hope you will feel the care and encouragement that is being sent your way.

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@georgette12

This grief thing is hell. There is no way to put it. I am terribly sorry for your loss punkinpie. My grief therapist reminds me that the first year we are usually in shock. The second year and thereafter we are often feeling some tough feelings. It is important to monitor who you allow yourself to be around. I lost a friend i had known for 40 years because she would not “allow” me to mourn my son.

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You are so right hopeful. Often, well-meaning people, who perhaps have not gone through what we have will say the “annoying” oh, you’ll be fine …. just get out there and get busy. My father died of Alzheimers about 15-20 years ago, and as you know, it’s a sometimes slow, sometimes fast progression downwards. I do think I was grieving right from the get-go …. he became a shell of the man I once knew as Dad. There were a few times which stung deeply and really dug that knife of grief in even more deeply … one of which when I went to see him and he had no idea who I was. I can still see where he was, where I was standing. When he said that, my X turned and walked out of the room …. I don’t know if he was feeling badly (doubtful as he’s an N), or just wanted to escape. There were several times during those several years of his deterioration that things like that happened. I know I was grieving to some extent all through that time, but ….. when he finally died, I felt sick, even though I knew he was out of his suffering, if he even knew. I think I walked through the next few months like I was in some sort of fog ….. not with it, but able to do what was necessary at home. I still think of him and how horribly my mother treated him, and it pains me. He was what you call a “functional alcoholic” to the extent he was able to work til he retired and later the Alzheimers showed up in full. My mother was an “ugly alcoholic”, and as much as I hate to say this, I honestly don’t know if I ever grieved her death. She made it almost impossible. Grief is one of those things that everyone experiences differently, and for some ….. we may not feel any at all.
abby

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@georgette12

This grief thing is hell. There is no way to put it. I am terribly sorry for your loss punkinpie. My grief therapist reminds me that the first year we are usually in shock. The second year and thereafter we are often feeling some tough feelings. It is important to monitor who you allow yourself to be around. I lost a friend i had known for 40 years because she would not “allow” me to mourn my son.

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As I wrote this, all the thoughts of my Dad passed through my mind and heart ….. and then again the tears start. As I think back over my parents’ relationship (or non-relationship), my heart aches for him ….. everything he had to put up with ….. the hateful venem spewed from my mother’s mouth. God rest his soul.
abby

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@georgette12

This grief thing is hell. There is no way to put it. I am terribly sorry for your loss punkinpie. My grief therapist reminds me that the first year we are usually in shock. The second year and thereafter we are often feeling some tough feelings. It is important to monitor who you allow yourself to be around. I lost a friend i had known for 40 years because she would not “allow” me to mourn my son.

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@amberpep I appreciate your sharing these very difficult thoughts. I can understand them entirely. My mom, while not an alcoholic, also had a very venomous tongue due to mental illness and my dad was quite passive. It is a very frustrating place for a child to be raised, isn’t it?

The tears that are starting are good thing. Tears based on sadness and grief expel toxins that build up and getting them out is a good thing. (See an article from Psychology Today that discusses the health benefit of tears, https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/emotional-freedom/201007/the-health-benefits-tears).

Teresa

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