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

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 i am sorry that undeserved guilt adds to your grief. It must be such a nagging thought, but you do have to not feel guilty. I’m sure you did everything possible to dissuade him, but he was determined. He must have been in a lot of pain to not see a better tomorrow.
JK

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@contentandwell

@georgette12 i am sorry that undeserved guilt adds to your grief. It must be such a nagging thought, but you do have to not feel guilty. I’m sure you did everything possible to dissuade him, but he was determined. He must have been in a lot of pain to not see a better tomorrow.
JK

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Thank you for saying that my son must have been in a lot of pain. That's what I'm learning about suicide. That kind of anguish and searing pain does not always have an antidote. That understanding has probably helped me the most.

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@jimhd

@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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Jim, thank you so much for your thoughts. Definitely not upsetting to hear. And I identify personally with suicidal ideation. I've gone through that as well and still do. It's very helpful to hear what others have to say. Any input always welcome. Blessings.

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@contentandwell

@georgette12 i am sorry that undeserved guilt adds to your grief. It must be such a nagging thought, but you do have to not feel guilty. I’m sure you did everything possible to dissuade him, but he was determined. He must have been in a lot of pain to not see a better tomorrow.
JK

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@georgette12 I'm so sorry for your lose . My nephew by marriage committed suicide . He was schizophrenic and we all even his Mother felt he was tired of taking the meds and the awful feeling he had so he jumped of a overpass It was horrible not to diminish your son,s . Try not to beat yourself up as it wasn't your fault.

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My son was a schizophrenic as well. He suffered terribly. I really do understand that kind of pain.

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It been six months since I lost my mom; just got through mom first birthday and Thanksgiving without her. Now I have to deal with Christmas without my mom. It still hurts, I laugh at people jokes but I feel detached emotionally. It still feels different, life feels different. That besides the questions I ask myself if I made the right decisions in my caregiving duties. I miss my mom a lot, it feels like my heart been ripped out of my chest and the wound will never heal. One day at a time, one task at a time.

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You will find online support from The Caregiver Space, a non-profit organization. Go to http://www.thecaregiverspace.org and click on After Caregiving (I think these are the words) to communicate with people in a similar situation.

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@lizny

It been six months since I lost my mom; just got through mom first birthday and Thanksgiving without her. Now I have to deal with Christmas without my mom. It still hurts, I laugh at people jokes but I feel detached emotionally. It still feels different, life feels different. That besides the questions I ask myself if I made the right decisions in my caregiving duties. I miss my mom a lot, it feels like my heart been ripped out of my chest and the wound will never heal. One day at a time, one task at a time.

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Hi. Sorry for your loss.. Will keep you in my prayers. It seems as if
you will never be the same. Happened to me when our mom passed at the age
of 53 and dad before that was barely 44. I am the oldest of 7 subs. Had a
husband and son at the time. Not only did I grieve the loss of a parent I
thought I needed to become responsible for everyone. It took me on a road
of depression and anxiety on and off for years. I am now 78 and we still
feel the void. Now I am in grief for my husband who has PPA non stroke
related and AD. Had to admit to nursing home in Jan. Its,a change and
lonesome life, even with a loving family. 4 children 8 grands and 2
GREATgrands. 1st Thanksgiving celebrated without Dad, Grandpa….now
hoping we can arrange for wheel chair van for Christmas.

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Hello All: On January 16, 2018, I opened up this discussion talking about the loss of my dad. Today, I will share with you all about the loss of my mother on Thanksgiving Day. Here are some of my responses to grief and loss thus far. I'm sure that my feelings will change as time goes on.

As I look back on Thanksgiving Day, I find myself thankful for my church family as well as hospice. As some of you already know, my mother passed away on the afternoon of Thanksgiving Day. She was accepted into hospice care just a few days before she died. When she began to experience the symptoms that the hospice nurse had predicted would come at the end of her life, there were comfort meds on hand that I could administer with phone directions from the hospice nursing staff. She took her final breath in her own senior apartment with me by her side rubbing her arm so that she would know I was there.

While it wasn't a typical Thanksgiving, the support of hospice and my church's staff gave me much to be thankful for. I made many calls to the nurses on-call at the hospice organization during her final minutes. After her death friends from church and my two pastors connected with me by phone to tell me of their prayers and support.

While future Thanksgivings will carry the memories of my mom's transition from this life to her heavenly home, I'm very grateful for God's mercies to her and to me. She experienced what I had prayed for, "a peaceful homegoing."

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@lizny

It been six months since I lost my mom; just got through mom first birthday and Thanksgiving without her. Now I have to deal with Christmas without my mom. It still hurts, I laugh at people jokes but I feel detached emotionally. It still feels different, life feels different. That besides the questions I ask myself if I made the right decisions in my caregiving duties. I miss my mom a lot, it feels like my heart been ripped out of my chest and the wound will never heal. One day at a time, one task at a time.

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@lizny It's surely difficult (difficult isn't the best word but I can't think of an appropriate one). My mom died 3 days before Christmas, and Dad died on Father's Day. My grief for Mom's passing was more intense and immediate. In our family she was the comforter and the glue. When Dad died I shed some tears at his memorial service, but it didn't hit me for a few months, until I needed to call him and ask his advice for something. It's at times like that that bring up the feelings.

The grief process is different for each person. And for the most part, it never goes away completely. I think that's a good thing because it keeps alive all that person meant to us. I remember some of the unpleasant experiences, but mostly as time goes by I tend to focus more and more on the love we shared and the good memories.

I encourage friends who are grieving to acknowledge the grief, and not to be afraid of it, and not to feel guilty for feeling it for being affected by it for a longer time than some people do. There will be people who think you should be over it by now, and you should be moving on. But those are unkind, thoughtless things that people who've never been there.

Feel your pain. It's ok. It will be a salve.

Jim

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@hopeful33250

Hello All: On January 16, 2018, I opened up this discussion talking about the loss of my dad. Today, I will share with you all about the loss of my mother on Thanksgiving Day. Here are some of my responses to grief and loss thus far. I'm sure that my feelings will change as time goes on.

As I look back on Thanksgiving Day, I find myself thankful for my church family as well as hospice. As some of you already know, my mother passed away on the afternoon of Thanksgiving Day. She was accepted into hospice care just a few days before she died. When she began to experience the symptoms that the hospice nurse had predicted would come at the end of her life, there were comfort meds on hand that I could administer with phone directions from the hospice nursing staff. She took her final breath in her own senior apartment with me by her side rubbing her arm so that she would know I was there.

While it wasn't a typical Thanksgiving, the support of hospice and my church's staff gave me much to be thankful for. I made many calls to the nurses on-call at the hospice organization during her final minutes. After her death friends from church and my two pastors connected with me by phone to tell me of their prayers and support.

While future Thanksgivings will carry the memories of my mom's transition from this life to her heavenly home, I'm very grateful for God's mercies to her and to me. She experienced what I had prayed for, "a peaceful homegoing."

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@hopeful33250 Oh I'm so sorry for your loss but rejoice in her new home with you. My husband died Dec 22 so I am happy to know where he is but it is a sad day and still is. The holidays you will never forget but with the faith in God our father you have it will be o k. and easier to get through the day. take care my heart is with you . Linda

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@lioness

@hopeful33250 Oh I'm so sorry for your loss but rejoice in her new home with you. My husband died Dec 22 so I am happy to know where he is but it is a sad day and still is. The holidays you will never forget but with the faith in God our father you have it will be o k. and easier to get through the day. take care my heart is with you . Linda

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@lioness, Thank you!

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@lizny

It been six months since I lost my mom; just got through mom first birthday and Thanksgiving without her. Now I have to deal with Christmas without my mom. It still hurts, I laugh at people jokes but I feel detached emotionally. It still feels different, life feels different. That besides the questions I ask myself if I made the right decisions in my caregiving duties. I miss my mom a lot, it feels like my heart been ripped out of my chest and the wound will never heal. One day at a time, one task at a time.

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@lizny Hi Sunshine. I know how difficult it is to go through the holidays after having lost your mother fairly recently. In my experience, there will always be that hole, but in time you learn to live with it and it takes more of a backseat. I lost my parents when I was much younger — I was 15 when my father passed away, and 27 when my mother died but I still miss them. I am sure you did everything you could in caregiving, please do not feel any guilt. As an aside, interestingly, both my daughter and my sister's daughter, neither of whom were born while my mother was alive, feel strong attachments to her. When my daughter was going through a tough time a while back she asked for pictures of my mother because she felt her presence strongly. I do believe our loved ones are always with us, just in a different way.

To all of us who are grieving the loss of a loved one, I wish the holiday season will still be one of some joy and happiness. Your loved one would want that.
Hugs to all, JK

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