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

You may find comfort in linking objects–something or several things that remind you of your loved one. At Thanksgiving I put my mother’s cut glass water decanter on the table to remind me of her. Linking objects can provide a measure of comfort.

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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

What a lovely story about you and your mum! She and Peggy were your “chosen family” and it sounds like you were really blessed by them both. I can understand your profound sense of loss.

I feel privileged that you shared your story with us. If you are comfortable sharing more, let us know what your favorite memory is of your mum and Peggy.

Teresa

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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

Liked by muppey

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@georgette12

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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@georgette12

I’m so glad that you can find comfort in these products that your son used. They are important reminders of the place he had in your heart and life. It really doesn’t matter if other people “don’t get it.” If it is important to you, that is all that matters.

Thank you for sharing that lovely idea with the rest of us.

Teresa

Liked by muppey

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I wear my son’s scarf and sweater. This is strange. I will tell you why. My so was a heavy smoker and all of his stuff wreaked of smoke. Yuk! I have never smoked. Hated the smell all my life. Now, even after 18 months, the smoke smell is still there. I totally love the smell from his clothes. It brings me great comfort. I won’t was anything he has worn.

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I should add that the only way I even have these clothes is because of the following reason. When I got to his apartment in Chicago. .. (I lived in a different state) the place had not been cleaned up. I was shocked to see crime scene tape all over. I ran in and grabbed whatever items I could. I tried not to look at anything unless I had to. So I opened his drawers and closet and took stuff and also went into the bathroom and saw pomade and cologne. I just ran out of there as that was where he took his life. Gosh…I apologize if I have triggered anyone. I tried not to include details.

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This is my first visit to this thread. I am so grateful to have found it. I come from a large family with 2 even larger extended families. I have lost many loved ones during my brief lifetime and can attest that my grief for each is different based on the relationship (or not) we had during their lives.
The people I miss the most are the ones that showed me love even through discipline and let me know that they cared about me. Other people cannot relate because they either resented being corrected or considered me favored and/or spoiled by the deceased. I still sometimes feel so much loss. My selfish self wants to talk to them about things, get a hug, have them sit with me or hold my hand when I suffer. Then I remember the agony and difficulty they faced the last days of their lives and remember that they lived long, fruitful, productive, and full lives. They gave me every good thing they had to give and deserve to be where they are now. I cannot resent their joyful lives in Heaven and am eager to be with them again there.
The people I feel most conflicted about are the ones that “should” have loved, cared and protected me and did not. Other people cannot relate because they were not treated the same way and did not witness or believe my betrayal. I am relieved these people are deceased, but do not feel comfortable speaking freely about that feeling because it seems that everybody else lauds these people. I feel guilt for feeling relief. Then, I resent their praise for the deceased. it feels like a second betrayal. I pray a great deal about forgiving everyone involved and focusing on the present. But I still keep my guard up because of my belief that “birds of a feather fly together.” By that I mean that I don’t fully trust anyone that did not see or does not believe my reality about the people that betrayed me when I was a child.
I have only felt anger once over a deceased person. That was a teenager who absolutely knew better but drove under the influence, without safety belts, and too fast for the roadway and conditions. Even driving too fast under the influence, they would have all survived and those hurt would not have been as badly hurt if they had only used their safety belts. What a waste of young lives and potential. I have a handicapped child who exerts as much willpower and effort to walk one block as these young people would exert to hike one mile of the Appalachian Trail. It isn’t fair. I do understand that their values were formed by their families and friends and I am not responsible. It still bothers me.
I only treasure “links” from the people I miss. I have my grandmother’s opal pin, my father’s foreign money from when he was in WWII, my other grandmother’s rocking chair. I have mementos from the people I feel conflicted about. I keep them to help me remember how it could have been and how it really was. I also keep them because other people expect it of me. Since they think I should feel such devastation, I feel like I need to keep something from them.
I am going to ask this here because I still do not understand it. After my father’s funeral, mother said to me, “You lived him best.” Does anyone have any ideas on what she might have meant by this?
Thank you for providing this opportunity to share and thank you to any of you who have read this entire missile. It has been quite cathartic for me.

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@georgette12

I should add that the only way I even have these clothes is because of the following reason. When I got to his apartment in Chicago. .. (I lived in a different state) the place had not been cleaned up. I was shocked to see crime scene tape all over. I ran in and grabbed whatever items I could. I tried not to look at anything unless I had to. So I opened his drawers and closet and took stuff and also went into the bathroom and saw pomade and cologne. I just ran out of there as that was where he took his life. Gosh…I apologize if I have triggered anyone. I tried not to include details.

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@georgette12 Know the feeling. It is a traumatic experience. Hope you are doing okay enough.

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@2011panc

This is my first visit to this thread. I am so grateful to have found it. I come from a large family with 2 even larger extended families. I have lost many loved ones during my brief lifetime and can attest that my grief for each is different based on the relationship (or not) we had during their lives.
The people I miss the most are the ones that showed me love even through discipline and let me know that they cared about me. Other people cannot relate because they either resented being corrected or considered me favored and/or spoiled by the deceased. I still sometimes feel so much loss. My selfish self wants to talk to them about things, get a hug, have them sit with me or hold my hand when I suffer. Then I remember the agony and difficulty they faced the last days of their lives and remember that they lived long, fruitful, productive, and full lives. They gave me every good thing they had to give and deserve to be where they are now. I cannot resent their joyful lives in Heaven and am eager to be with them again there.
The people I feel most conflicted about are the ones that “should” have loved, cared and protected me and did not. Other people cannot relate because they were not treated the same way and did not witness or believe my betrayal. I am relieved these people are deceased, but do not feel comfortable speaking freely about that feeling because it seems that everybody else lauds these people. I feel guilt for feeling relief. Then, I resent their praise for the deceased. it feels like a second betrayal. I pray a great deal about forgiving everyone involved and focusing on the present. But I still keep my guard up because of my belief that “birds of a feather fly together.” By that I mean that I don’t fully trust anyone that did not see or does not believe my reality about the people that betrayed me when I was a child.
I have only felt anger once over a deceased person. That was a teenager who absolutely knew better but drove under the influence, without safety belts, and too fast for the roadway and conditions. Even driving too fast under the influence, they would have all survived and those hurt would not have been as badly hurt if they had only used their safety belts. What a waste of young lives and potential. I have a handicapped child who exerts as much willpower and effort to walk one block as these young people would exert to hike one mile of the Appalachian Trail. It isn’t fair. I do understand that their values were formed by their families and friends and I am not responsible. It still bothers me.
I only treasure “links” from the people I miss. I have my grandmother’s opal pin, my father’s foreign money from when he was in WWII, my other grandmother’s rocking chair. I have mementos from the people I feel conflicted about. I keep them to help me remember how it could have been and how it really was. I also keep them because other people expect it of me. Since they think I should feel such devastation, I feel like I need to keep something from them.
I am going to ask this here because I still do not understand it. After my father’s funeral, mother said to me, “You lived him best.” Does anyone have any ideas on what she might have meant by this?
Thank you for providing this opportunity to share and thank you to any of you who have read this entire missile. It has been quite cathartic for me.

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@2011panc

I am glad that you found this discussion group and I’m glad that you found your post “cathartic.” It is often true that what we write is very healing. Thanks for sharing your “linking objects” from your loved ones. You have done a good job in acquiring things that bring you comfort.

I don’t know what your mother meant by her comment – is she still alive so you could ask her?

Keep posting – we are glad to hear from you.

Teresa

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Your mother’s comment may have referred to your father’s values and that you lived them and made them part of your life–a comforting thought.

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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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Hi lisa I’m not doing good I’m just lost and well I’m just about to be evicted from my flat so things aren’t good for me I don’t have anywhere to go so considering ending my life I’m only 327 rent arrears but I know I don’t owe that I don’t have any money so me and hubby are really down . Losing mum hasent got easier for me I thought moving into this flat would start me a fresh before I moved here I had a little money from mum so when we got the flat we spent most of it on it now I’m being evicted for the amount when I lost mum the feeling hasent gone away I’m crying as I write this as I’ve hit rock bottom and can’t find away out of it I’m so sorry for writing this

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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’m so glad that you posted and shared what you are facing right now. I’m so sorry to hear that you are having financial problems. Financial problems have the power to make anyone feel very helpless, don’t they? I can understand your depression. When problems pile up on top of grief and loss everything can look really bleak.

I just read a quote from a Moderator at Mayo Connect and I want to share it with you, “You don’t overcome challenges by making them smaller but by making yourself bigger.” I’m wondering, how can you and your husband make yourselves bigger in this situation? Are there any organizations that you can turn to for help right now?

Please be assured of my prayers for you during this time. Will you keep in touch and let us know how you are doing?

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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Hi @elainesharon,

I’m the moderator taking care of Lisa’s groups today, and I want you to know that you don’t have to apologize for anything! One of the best things about joining Connect (we’re so glad you did), is that you have a community ready to listen and hear you, so please keep talking and writing. You’ve come to a safe place where you can talk about your fears, your anxieties and just be yourself.

I know you are feeling lost, but I also want you to know that things do get better. You may not believe it now, but the way you’re feeling will change. @elainesharon, do you have a friend or relative you can call, or with whom you can stay? I apologize if I’m assuming, but if you belong to a Parish, could you call someone from there?

Losing your mum has been so hard on you – but from reading your posts, I also see that it was hard for you to see her health deteriorate, and when she wasn’t eating and drinking, right? You also mentioned that she was 91 years old, so try and keep the good memories – she lived until a good age, and more than that, she found a daughter and friend in you.

@elainesharon, do you live in United Kingdom? if at any point you start to feel like you may consider hurting yourself, please call Samaritans (116 123) which operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year.
– Hotline: +44 (0) 8457 90 90 90 (UK – local rate)
– Hotline: +44 (0) 8457 90 91 92 (UK minimum)
If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at jo@samaritans.org.

We know it can be difficult to pick up the phone, but reach out to somebody and let them know how you are feeling. Your safety is the most important thing to us and needing to talk to a professional doesn’t show weakness, it shows strength!
I’m also calling Mentors @jimhd @gman @hopeful33250, and I know that their messages will reassure you that you aren’t alone.
Remember, if you feel like you’ve hit rock bottom, another way is to swim up! I look forward to hearing back from you.

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elainesharon, hi, just read your post on this sunday night. thank you tons for writing! Please keep writing. i have been in your situation a few times. from my experience, making those phone calls to get help will really save you. you cannot do this alone. none of us can. and i also considered taking my life at the time it was happening. it works to make those calls that our caring moderators are suggesting. please consider it. and, n case you haven’t followed me, my son killed himself when he felt desperate and hopeless. if he had waited, he would have seen that his situation changed not long after his death.

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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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Hi, @elainesharon — I’m really sorry to hear you are not doing well and are facing possible eviction from your flat. It also sounds like losing your mum has been really difficult for you.

Just wanted to touch base and see how you are doing now?

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