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

@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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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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Im so sorry for all the confusion you must have felt growing up with a narcissistas a mom. So many children do and never realize its mom not them… At one point in my life i wasnt even aware people like that existed, but I have come to know as an adult how difficult it is dealing with one. I am sorry for the loss of your precious stepDad. But I know he left you with loads of warm precious memories, ones that your mom will never have nor the warmth or love you have felt from him and even though that most likely doesnt mean much to her, we know better, those are the things that despite what is going on can make our hearts smile even just for alittle while. Many people dont even know the reason for the treatment and the screaming and the dr jekel/mr hyde personality which is why its good to learn who and what your dealing with and put the blame where it belongs, as things become clear.. stay your sweet self to those you care about and remember you have the ability to vacate the premises when what someone does that makes you uncomfortable.. sorry about your brother also.. stay strong and take good care of you.

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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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@punkinpie

My mother just passed away this last weekend, Jan 13, 2018. I must not be handling it well cause all I want to do is eat chocolate and sleep. She smoked her entire life, and in the last 10 years got very little exercise. She had an office chair that she would roll around in in the kitchen. Rarely did she walk anywhere, only to the bathroom and bed. She had such a hard time getting enough air (COPD) and it scared her when she couldn’t catch her breath. I am about 3 hrs away for the last 18 months, so we didn’t spend a lot of time together, but we did talk a lot on the phone. Towards the end that was hard too cause you can’t breath you can’t talk. I kept telling her she needed to get up and walk, but she wouldn’t. So now at 57 I will never be able to talk to her again. Its not that she gave me such stellar advice, it was just that I had someone to listen to me. I have not made any close friends here (Rochester, MN) but I have people at work to talk to, but you have to be careful what you tell them too. I don’t want things spread all over the place. So I mostly talk to my little dog. He always has time to listen to me, his Mama. Mom and I both have depression. I hate this feeling of being alone. It is worse now. I cry at every little thing. Like I am not even taking my medicine. But I am. Is this crying, feeling sorry for myself. Is this how my life will be now. I hate crying, but some days I can’t seem to stop. My daughter said it best. She said it comes in waves. I have lived so long suffering with “waves” of depression, I don’t know if I a am strong enough to bear this too.

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@punkinpie I bet you are strong enough. Thank God for dogs! I will say that eventually the crying will lesson. I don’t know if it will stop. Maybe for you it will. It hasn’t for me but it is less often. It happens for what seems no reason or not one that should make you cry. It’s not a bad thing let it out. At some point you will decide that you have to get up, you have to go out and do something ( I don’t know what that is for you) even though you don’t feel like doing it because if you don’t you may never get out again. When that time comes go. Go do what ever you used to do. Routine, normalcy (or something close to it) really can help. I hope you find some folks to talk with outside of work. Don’t stop talking to your dog. What kind do you have? Maybe going on small walks with your pup will help.

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@punkinpie

My mother just passed away this last weekend, Jan 13, 2018. I must not be handling it well cause all I want to do is eat chocolate and sleep. She smoked her entire life, and in the last 10 years got very little exercise. She had an office chair that she would roll around in in the kitchen. Rarely did she walk anywhere, only to the bathroom and bed. She had such a hard time getting enough air (COPD) and it scared her when she couldn’t catch her breath. I am about 3 hrs away for the last 18 months, so we didn’t spend a lot of time together, but we did talk a lot on the phone. Towards the end that was hard too cause you can’t breath you can’t talk. I kept telling her she needed to get up and walk, but she wouldn’t. So now at 57 I will never be able to talk to her again. Its not that she gave me such stellar advice, it was just that I had someone to listen to me. I have not made any close friends here (Rochester, MN) but I have people at work to talk to, but you have to be careful what you tell them too. I don’t want things spread all over the place. So I mostly talk to my little dog. He always has time to listen to me, his Mama. Mom and I both have depression. I hate this feeling of being alone. It is worse now. I cry at every little thing. Like I am not even taking my medicine. But I am. Is this crying, feeling sorry for myself. Is this how my life will be now. I hate crying, but some days I can’t seem to stop. My daughter said it best. She said it comes in waves. I have lived so long suffering with “waves” of depression, I don’t know if I a am strong enough to bear this too.

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Hi, @punkinpie — I’m really sorry for your loss. I can’t imagine how lost I might feel if my mom passed away. I think your reaction (wanting to eat chocolate and sleep) are pretty normal considering what you are going through. Very understandable.

One thing you might consider is calling or messaging your doctor on a secure portal to tell them about what you are going through and what you are experiencing. They may be able to prescribe something additional if any antidepressants you have already been taking are not sufficient for your current situation.

I am glad to hear you have your little dog to keep you company and to talk to. A discussion here on Connect that you may want to check out is this one on the value of an animal: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/what-pets-can-do-health-and-healing/bookmark/?ajax_hook=action&_wpnonce=5f9cb2a9a7

Are you up to any exercise at all right now, like a dog walking to get a little sunshine, cardio and fresh air?

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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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@kdawn32

So true, Kdawn, you understand the grief process! I appreciate your post, please continue to post as you can. Each person’s experience adds to our understanding of grief!

Teresa

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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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@cherriann

Thank you for your lovely words to all of us who have lost parents. You spoke to our feelings well. Keep posting on this discussion as you can.

Teresa

Liked by Kdawn

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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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@elainesharon

I am so sorry for the recent loss of your mum. Your mum chose you to be her child – that must make you feel very special! Continue to post as you are able, we would like to get to know you and your mum better!

Teresa

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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 Stay strong. It is great that you are getting some help. Dealing with difficult people like your Mom can be draining. I am so sorry to hear about your brothers failing health. I hope you get to spend some time with him and show him he is a loved valued member of your family even if your mother can’t.

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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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Thank you all for your really comforting words my mum worked as a nursery nurse in London I went to that nursery Iris as she was known knew the circumstances that went off at home so use to take me on holiday to Devon she had a friend called Peggy croser and I constantly went to Devon back when I was 9 my real mother rang and told Iris that she didn’t want me Iris had fallen in love with me and I went to live with her and peg they were my life my world peg died in 2006 suddenly so mum was left on her own it was 2 years ago she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s it wasent me who put mum in a home it was her niece long story this is why I’m like I am mum was very precious to me I loved her so much losing her has hit me hard I’m lost literally lost without her

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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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@elainesharon — I am so sorry for your loss.

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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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