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

@harriethodgson1

First, I send you my heartfelt condolences. In 2007 my elder daughter, the mother of my twin grandchildren, died from the injuries she received in a car crash. Tears are healing. My husband and I cried anytime we needed to for as long as we needed to. We also set up a buddy system for driving to prevent a car accident. One of us would be the driver and the other the lookout. Talk about your son all you want. Say his name and say it often. He was part of your life and always will be. Remember that love lasts forever. Is there something you could do in memory of your son? You might give books to the public library, for example. Contrary to popular belief, time doesn't heal all wounds. Rather, you learn to live with loss. Your son would want you to be happy and enjoy life. Life this day in honor of him.

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One last thought. Have you heard of The Compassionate Friends? It's an international organization for those who have lost a child and family members too. Go on line and enter the search words The Compassionate Friends. The website will appear. There may be a chapter near you. This is the only organization and understands my loss and encourages me to say Helen's name. You will find understanding and support at chapter meetings and I recommend it highly.

Liked by lioness, paddingtonk

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@paddingtonk

I just saw this post on connect. My name is Sarah. My son was killed in a tragic accident August 13, 2018. He was 4 years old. It has been the worst thing I have ever had to deal with. Some days I am not sure how to even handle the pain. I am learning that the pain never really lifts or lessens. I just have to learn to carry it with me. Some days I feel like I’m doing pretty good and then BAM. I feel like it’s week one again. That pain near my heart is always there and the tears are always just below the surface. I was never a crier before. I’m a very positive person. ( Always looking for the bright side of things.) I am not seeing the bright side of losing my son. I miss him so much. It feels good to talk about him and how silly and bright he was. And to remember him. Thank you for having this outlet on here.

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@paddingtonk I'm so sorry for your loss of your son. I didn't lose my son but my husband in 2000 you will never forget and you shouldn't just think of all the fun you had with him and the happy times how he made you love, and the joy he gave you . He will always be in your heart and you will think of him everyday but I don't think he would want you to be without him and you aren't he is with you as your guardian angle maybe thinking of him this way will give you some peace . Hoping time will heal some of your lose but you will never forget as I haven't my husband .

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@lioness

@paddingtonk I'm so sorry for your loss of your son. I didn't lose my son but my husband in 2000 you will never forget and you shouldn't just think of all the fun you had with him and the happy times how he made you love, and the joy he gave you . He will always be in your heart and you will think of him everyday but I don't think he would want you to be without him and you aren't he is with you as your guardian angle maybe thinking of him this way will give you some peace . Hoping time will heal some of your lose but you will never forget as I haven't my husband .

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Lovely thoughts, @lioness

Liked by lioness, paddingtonk

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@paddingtonk Each person carries their grief in their own time, in their own way. I hope that you won't have to endure the thoughtless things people too often say, like "You should be over this by now." Or "Isn't it about to move on?" People usually have good intentions, but instead of encouragement, they inflict pain upon the pain that's already there.

The grief never goes away, but I like how you put it, I'm learning how to carry it. I won't presume to tell you how that looks. The Bible directs us to laugh with those who laugh and mourn with those who mourn. It doesn't tell us to judge the mourner, but to come along side them and join them where they are.

I've sat with a number of people who were grieving, and usually had no words to speak, and given my own grief, more often than not, silent presence speaks most loudly and eloquently. I would pray God's peace and comfort for you in the midst of your grief. I believe that he grieves with those who grieve. Please know that you're not alone.

I trust that I haven't said anything that adds to your pain. Please accept the condolences we offer.

Jim

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@paddingtonk

I just saw this post on connect. My name is Sarah. My son was killed in a tragic accident August 13, 2018. He was 4 years old. It has been the worst thing I have ever had to deal with. Some days I am not sure how to even handle the pain. I am learning that the pain never really lifts or lessens. I just have to learn to carry it with me. Some days I feel like I’m doing pretty good and then BAM. I feel like it’s week one again. That pain near my heart is always there and the tears are always just below the surface. I was never a crier before. I’m a very positive person. ( Always looking for the bright side of things.) I am not seeing the bright side of losing my son. I miss him so much. It feels good to talk about him and how silly and bright he was. And to remember him. Thank you for having this outlet on here.

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Sarah, I am deeply sorry the loss of your son. I have buried a baby boy, it was almost three years ago that he died unexpectedly. I too used to have a cheerful, upbeat personality and things have changed so much. My friends who haven't experienced deep loss just don't get it, and it annoys me when they try to look on the bright side of my son's death. I don't think we ever need to find something positive about death do we? I am learning that grief and joy can live together. After my son's death, my six month old went into multi-organ failure and nearly died. We spent five weeks in the PICU and go back often to the hospital. I hear the flight for life helicopters and they haunt me. Every time I go back (in my mind) to the PICU and the near loss of my second son and the death of my first. It is hard to process all these things as not many of my friends have been through such trauma and shock. I wish you strength and thank you for sharing about your precious boy. He sounds like such a smart, charming little guy.

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@paddingtonk

I just saw this post on connect. My name is Sarah. My son was killed in a tragic accident August 13, 2018. He was 4 years old. It has been the worst thing I have ever had to deal with. Some days I am not sure how to even handle the pain. I am learning that the pain never really lifts or lessens. I just have to learn to carry it with me. Some days I feel like I’m doing pretty good and then BAM. I feel like it’s week one again. That pain near my heart is always there and the tears are always just below the surface. I was never a crier before. I’m a very positive person. ( Always looking for the bright side of things.) I am not seeing the bright side of losing my son. I miss him so much. It feels good to talk about him and how silly and bright he was. And to remember him. Thank you for having this outlet on here.

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@paddingtonk . I want to tell you that my son died on August 13, 2016 by suicide. There are no words that will provide comfort, ever. But I have found comfort from ordinary people like those of us on this forum. People who have been through the unimaginable feelings that we have gone through and still go through. Blessings.

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@paddingtonk

I just saw this post on connect. My name is Sarah. My son was killed in a tragic accident August 13, 2018. He was 4 years old. It has been the worst thing I have ever had to deal with. Some days I am not sure how to even handle the pain. I am learning that the pain never really lifts or lessens. I just have to learn to carry it with me. Some days I feel like I’m doing pretty good and then BAM. I feel like it’s week one again. That pain near my heart is always there and the tears are always just below the surface. I was never a crier before. I’m a very positive person. ( Always looking for the bright side of things.) I am not seeing the bright side of losing my son. I miss him so much. It feels good to talk about him and how silly and bright he was. And to remember him. Thank you for having this outlet on here.

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@paddingtonk I am so sorry for your loss. To me the grief that a person must feel from the loss of a child is unimaginable. I don't think you ever get over it but as time goes on you can hopefully have it more in the background of your emotions.
Hugs, JK

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Thank you all for the wonderful support. I am so glad I saw this group. I needed a lift right now and God sent me you guys. Henry was a wonderful little boy and I will continue to honor his memory. Thank you so much.

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@paddingtonk

Thank you all for the wonderful support. I am so glad I saw this group. I needed a lift right now and God sent me you guys. Henry was a wonderful little boy and I will continue to honor his memory. Thank you so much.

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One of the best ways we can help one another is to listen–a true gift.

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@kristap31

Sarah, I am deeply sorry the loss of your son. I have buried a baby boy, it was almost three years ago that he died unexpectedly. I too used to have a cheerful, upbeat personality and things have changed so much. My friends who haven't experienced deep loss just don't get it, and it annoys me when they try to look on the bright side of my son's death. I don't think we ever need to find something positive about death do we? I am learning that grief and joy can live together. After my son's death, my six month old went into multi-organ failure and nearly died. We spent five weeks in the PICU and go back often to the hospital. I hear the flight for life helicopters and they haunt me. Every time I go back (in my mind) to the PICU and the near loss of my second son and the death of my first. It is hard to process all these things as not many of my friends have been through such trauma and shock. I wish you strength and thank you for sharing about your precious boy. He sounds like such a smart, charming little guy.

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@kristap31

My sympathies to you in the unexpected loss of your son. Unexpected deaths have a profound effect on us that is different from other losses. I can imagine that you have had a change in personality.

I like what you said, "I am learning that grief and joy can live together." I've heard it said that life after a loss is like a railroad track. In other words, daily life is lived on one track and the grief and loss represent the other track and yet they run side by side. So while you are experiencing grief you are also getting on with your daily life.

I wish you strength and peace as you travel both tracks.

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@kristap31

Sarah, I am deeply sorry the loss of your son. I have buried a baby boy, it was almost three years ago that he died unexpectedly. I too used to have a cheerful, upbeat personality and things have changed so much. My friends who haven't experienced deep loss just don't get it, and it annoys me when they try to look on the bright side of my son's death. I don't think we ever need to find something positive about death do we? I am learning that grief and joy can live together. After my son's death, my six month old went into multi-organ failure and nearly died. We spent five weeks in the PICU and go back often to the hospital. I hear the flight for life helicopters and they haunt me. Every time I go back (in my mind) to the PICU and the near loss of my second son and the death of my first. It is hard to process all these things as not many of my friends have been through such trauma and shock. I wish you strength and thank you for sharing about your precious boy. He sounds like such a smart, charming little guy.

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@kristap31 I am so sorry for all you have been through. The loss of a child must be unimaginable grief and then to have another child so gravely ill sounds unbearable.
I am happy for you that you have done so well being able to find some joy despite your grief. I am sure that is very difficult some days.
JK

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@georgette12

@paddingtonk . I want to tell you that my son died on August 13, 2016 by suicide. There are no words that will provide comfort, ever. But I have found comfort from ordinary people like those of us on this forum. People who have been through the unimaginable feelings that we have gone through and still go through. Blessings.

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@georgette12 I am so sorry for your loss. How old was your son? We had a nephew who also died by suicide and I know how devastating it was to everyone. He was in college. My brother was very close to him, had been a surrogate father pretty much, and I don't think he ever totally recovered from it, he passed away a year later.
JK

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@hopeful33250

@kristap31

My sympathies to you in the unexpected loss of your son. Unexpected deaths have a profound effect on us that is different from other losses. I can imagine that you have had a change in personality.

I like what you said, "I am learning that grief and joy can live together." I've heard it said that life after a loss is like a railroad track. In other words, daily life is lived on one track and the grief and loss represent the other track and yet they run side by side. So while you are experiencing grief you are also getting on with your daily life.

I wish you strength and peace as you travel both tracks.

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Thank you. I have never heard the analogy of the railroad tracks, that is so true. Thank you for sharing that.

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@contentandwell

@georgette12 I am so sorry for your loss. How old was your son? We had a nephew who also died by suicide and I know how devastating it was to everyone. He was in college. My brother was very close to him, had been a surrogate father pretty much, and I don't think he ever totally recovered from it, he passed away a year later.
JK

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Thank you. My son was 51 when he took his life. He talked about it and planned it yet I was unable to stop him. I would say the worst part of this is feeling that I could have stopped him or saved him somehow. There would be no words that I would hear that will make me feel less guilty. But I keep trying to see it differently. Blessings.

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@georgette12

Thank you. My son was 51 when he took his life. He talked about it and planned it yet I was unable to stop him. I would say the worst part of this is feeling that I could have stopped him or saved him somehow. There would be no words that I would hear that will make me feel less guilty. But I keep trying to see it differently. Blessings.

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@georgette12

One of my therapists talked with me several years ago about deserved and undeserved guilt. It was helpful for me to work through areas of guilt, separating the deserved from the undeserved. As I worked through that I was able to release the wrong guilt, and stop letting the incident or person have control of my life.

That's not an easy task. I don't know if I'd ever have been able to do it on my own, but having a good therapist to talk about stuff I'd never verbalized made it possible.

I suppose that you know about my history of suicidal ideation. It's almost like a trance. When you reach the point of putting a plan into action, and having decided to do it, the suicidal mind is not in rational mode. Suicide becomes the only rational solution for whatever is causing pain. Explaining that "suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem" is total nonsense to the suicidal mind. Of course, it's a permanent solution! That's exactly what I want!

At the moment I attempted suicide, my brain was shut down in terms of remembering the reasons for staying alive. Those reasons become irrelevant. I know it's sad, but it's true.

Over the past ten years I've been able to recognize the early warning signs, and in time the reasons I want to live come back into focus. I wish that suicidal thoughts would disappear, but it's a little like neuropathy, in that some things will be with me for the rest of my life.

I'm sorry for the pain I've caused my wife and children. That regret is part of the "rest of my life" package.

Like so many other things, it's hard to explain to someone who's never had those thoughts. I'm sorry for the pain you carry, even though it's a little bit lighter than at first. I hope what I've written isn't upsetting to you.

Jim

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