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

@kristap31

Hello Danielle, I have been thinking about you and your family often. I mentioned that I could share some thoughts from my own grief journey, just want you to know that everyone grieves differently. So what may be helpful for me may be irrelevant for you. I have read a lot about grief and how our culture responds to grief. It has helped me have a framework for the craziness and helped me realize that a lot of the emotions I experience are normal for grief. Just knowing that the feelings were normal was strangely helpful.

Anger, feeling lost and purposeless, feeling you have nothing to offer your other children, feeling out of control, feeling guilt, despair…those can all be normal grief responses. Many who have not experienced intense grief just wanted me to be positive and happy. Those were not attainable goals for me. Happiness was certainly not something I could begin to imagine in the early months of grief. I had to focus on getting through each minute.

I am learning to change my expectations from people, even dear friends. All my relationships changed after the death of my child. Not all were lost, but all were changed. Grief affected every part of my life. At first I expected people to know how to support me, but often I was disappointed and felt more lonely than ever when support sounded more like people correcting me on being sad. That is not what I needed. Grief is actually a healthy response to loss, and many did not understand that.

It helped me to express my grief and let my anger out in ways that did not hurt myself or others. I wondered for awhile why I felt such intense anger, and I think for me it was the feeling of being completely out of control. The most precious thing was taken from me, and I could do nothing about it.

I tried a few different grief counselors/therapists, but I have yet to find the "right" one. The ones I heard from told me to do yoga and focus on the positive…that didn't cut it for me. I have heard from others that you have to find the right one. What did help was being part of a group of women who shared similar loss. Those shared experiences helped me realize I am not the only one struggling with the loss of a child. I still hope to find a therapist who will be helpful in my situation. I hope that you can find someone to connect with as well.

I didn't like the idea of "moving on." Another grieving mom talked about "moving forward with the loss." That resonated with me, as I didn't feel I was leaving my child's memory behind, but moving forward with him in my heart. I remember you said Danica taught you so much about life and love, and she is part of who you are. Her story continues through you.

It has been two and a half years since my son died. Moving forward has not come in clear ways or even by me seeking it. It has come in thousands of tiny steps, interactions, thoughts, grief work, talking, journaling, expressing all the hard stuff, and recognizing perspective on grief. Nature has helped clear my mind in the chaos.

I will give one bit of advice. Try to be kind to yourself. Grief is exhausting and hard to carry. Try to give a lot of grace and forgiveness to yourself. You don't have to be something now. Just take care of yourself. In time other things will fall into place.

I am wishing you so much love and strength!

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@kristap31, Sending you cyber hugs. ❤

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@lisalucier

Hi, @djankord1, @wags, @tamara1967, @georgette12, @nanaand3js, @srounkle, @twobluelady, @ikampel2, @blindeyepug, @danybegood1 , @jerc15 , @roxie43 , @gagelle , @AgentDarien, @blessedforsho, @cehunt57, @carebear, @mkmenge, @elizabethzimmermann, @anon85319211, @Gray, @bobbielouise, @amberpep, @tabi , @margiery, @cdvidya, @liz223, @cnesselroad, @johndoe1, @chrissylou29, @missvee42 @IndianaScott, @emmur16, @sadiesmom, @cynaburst, @ashlandmom , @nativefloridian, @marylynette, @parus, @juliann, @missnanforever, @Liebchen50, @antessa, @dawn_giacabazi, @sarahjo, @shellwil and @jenniferjjjj. I would like to invite you to take part in this new discussion about grieving so you can meet other Connect members who have faced significant losses. This could be divorce; death of a loved one; loss of a job, home or health; loss of a loved one’s health; miscarriage or a stillborn child; loss of the life you hoped to live; or any other kind of significant loss that has impacted you.

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How can I take part?

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@ihtak46

How can I take part?

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Hello @ihtak46,

You can hit "Reply" to this post (or to another person's post) and after you write your post, just click on the word "Reply" below where you posted.

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@windwalker

@kristap31, Sending you cyber hugs. ❤

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I am grateful for this community and opportunity to discuss and share about grief. It feels so lonely with most of my friends who have never been through deep loss.

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You can definitely reply to me if you want. There really isn't any other way to go through grief trauma without others. I am going to generalize and say that if we hold everything in we will implode, and explode at some point. Maybe there are people who don't need others at this difficult time but I haven't met or heard of any. Sending a hug.

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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,
Let me share your feelings of loss, sorrow and emptiness. Im so sad to hear about your Mom punkin.
I dont know if you read my post but I just lost my daughter, Kirstin suddenly. She was only 45. I can copy and post my horrific story for you. I need to connect to someone who has feelings like me. Like you, I am going thru crying every day feeling I could have done more. I go to pieces looking at her pic. My husband is feeling somewhat the same. Kirstin us our only child and her and I were very close.
Heres my story do you can understand…..I will copy and paste it below for you.

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@ihtak46

Punkinpie,
Let me share your feelings of loss, sorrow and emptiness. Im so sad to hear about your Mom punkin.
I dont know if you read my post but I just lost my daughter, Kirstin suddenly. She was only 45. I can copy and post my horrific story for you. I need to connect to someone who has feelings like me. Like you, I am going thru crying every day feeling I could have done more. I go to pieces looking at her pic. My husband is feeling somewhat the same. Kirstin us our only child and her and I were very close.
Heres my story do you can understand…..I will copy and paste it below for you.

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@ihtak46 I am very sorry about your daughter. Whenever I hear of anyone losing a child, it makes me so sad, knowing how difficult it would be to lose my son or daughter. I hope it’s some consolation that you spent time with her just before she passed away. It’s good that you and your husband have each other’s support, despite grieving differently. I think that’s typical of male-females.
I read your prior posts and my heart aches for you and all of those who loved her. I wish I could reach through the screen and give you a hug but you’ll have to settle for a virtual one.
Hugs, JK

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@contentandwell

@ihtak46 I am very sorry about your daughter. Whenever I hear of anyone losing a child, it makes me so sad, knowing how difficult it would be to lose my son or daughter. I hope it’s some consolation that you spent time with her just before she passed away. It’s good that you and your husband have each other’s support, despite grieving differently. I think that’s typical of male-females.
I read your prior posts and my heart aches for you and all of those who loved her. I wish I could reach through the screen and give you a hug but you’ll have to settle for a virtual one.
Hugs, JK

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JK
I THINK I MAY HAVE FELT YOUR ‘HUG’. Thank you.

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@lisalucier

Hi, @djankord1, @wags, @tamara1967, @georgette12, @nanaand3js, @srounkle, @twobluelady, @ikampel2, @blindeyepug, @danybegood1 , @jerc15 , @roxie43 , @gagelle , @AgentDarien, @blessedforsho, @cehunt57, @carebear, @mkmenge, @elizabethzimmermann, @anon85319211, @Gray, @bobbielouise, @amberpep, @tabi , @margiery, @cdvidya, @liz223, @cnesselroad, @johndoe1, @chrissylou29, @missvee42 @IndianaScott, @emmur16, @sadiesmom, @cynaburst, @ashlandmom , @nativefloridian, @marylynette, @parus, @juliann, @missnanforever, @Liebchen50, @antessa, @dawn_giacabazi, @sarahjo, @shellwil and @jenniferjjjj. I would like to invite you to take part in this new discussion about grieving so you can meet other Connect members who have faced significant losses. This could be divorce; death of a loved one; loss of a job, home or health; loss of a loved one’s health; miscarriage or a stillborn child; loss of the life you hoped to live; or any other kind of significant loss that has impacted you.

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Id like to take part. I need to take part.
ihtak46

Liked by maone

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@contentandwell

@ihtak46 I am very sorry about your daughter. Whenever I hear of anyone losing a child, it makes me so sad, knowing how difficult it would be to lose my son or daughter. I hope it’s some consolation that you spent time with her just before she passed away. It’s good that you and your husband have each other’s support, despite grieving differently. I think that’s typical of male-females.
I read your prior posts and my heart aches for you and all of those who loved her. I wish I could reach through the screen and give you a hug but you’ll have to settle for a virtual one.
Hugs, JK

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Thank you so much.

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