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

@2011panc

I am grieving so many losses. Tears come to my eyes at random times. When I close my eyes to sleep, tears come instead.

I grieve my bickering, dysfunctional family that cannot keep from picking fights when we gather for our Mother's last hours.
I grieve that I alone sit with Mother seven hours in ER.
I grieve that as I try to quickly pack a few things to stay with Mother in a hospital 100 miles away, my husband clearly does not consider coming with me and is doing everything he can to slow me up.
I grieve as I stop at Mother's nursing home to pick up a few things for her.
I grieve as I drive through the rainy darkness to reach the hospital to help with Mother's admission.
I grieve that the calls from the nursing home and hospital are all going to my SIL when I am the one that has to respond.
I grieve that I have not eaten since early morning and I will have to wait until Mother is settled for the night.
I grieve that the time in the ER, ambulance ride, and admission to the hospital has brought on an episode of full dementia for Mother.
I grieve that Mother does not know anyone or recognize anything she sees.
I grieve that I am the only "normal" Mother can see or hear.
I am grateful that I brought along the shawl I gave her that she loves and the blanket she made for herself from her Mother's old bath robes.
I grieve that I am so tired and I still have to check into my hotel and unpack the car before I can rest.
I grieve that it is after midnight before I get something to eat and am finally in my room.
I grieve that I need to be at the hospital by 6 am to catch the doctor making rounds.
I grieve that I cannot sleep and my mind is whirling with information and todo lists.
I grieve that I finally fall asleep and do not wake until 9 am.
I grieve that I have missed the doctor and dread the walk across the street and up the hill to the hospital.
I grieve that I am so frail that I cannot walk to the hospital without stopping to rest against a light pole.
I grieve that the Covid-19 virus has caused the hospital to heighten security and it slows me getting to my Mother's room.
I grieve that I cannot walk the length of the hospital (a block long) without stopping to rest.
I grieve at the extremity of Mother's vital signs and her reaction to the hospitalization.
I grieve at how exhausting it is to keep Mother calm and encourage her to rest.
I grieve that I have to leave Mother alone in her dementia while I go to my room to rest.
I am angry and grieve that my siblings have no time and see no need to stay with Mother so I can get some rest.
I am resigned and grieve that I have to get my wheelchair out of the car and get rides to and from the hospital because I am too weak.
I grieve that on the third day I have to give the instruction to follow Mother's wishes and treat with no invasive measures and for comfort only.
I grieve that I have to call in the family because Mother is not expected to live through the day.
I am angry and grieve that siblings who have no time for Mother are now crawling out of the woodwork for public notice now that Mother is close to death.
I am grateful when siblings and their children start to arrive.
I grieve when I hear the last sibling tribe come down the hall and enter visibly and audibly sobbing.
I am angry and grieve that this family's first words to Mother are "Goodbye."
I don't want to leave Mother's side, but everyone deserves their turn, so I go to the family waiting room.
Soon everyone is in the waiting room arguing about the funeral arrangements and no one is with Mother.
I grieve the callous behavior of my siblings and their families.
I don't want to, but since there are 11 other people there, I go to my room to get some rest. Exhaustion is my first name now.
I am confused when I find out later that almost as soon as I left a cardiac doctor came in to declare that Mother would recover and we did not need to be there.
I grieve that as soon as Mother's recovery was declared all but one of the siblings and their families peeled off and left.
I am again angry and grieve that again no one thought to call me.
I was sad and could not leave Mother that night. She did not look better to me, but her vital signs and monitors showed stability. Mother would not sleep with me in the room so I spent most of the night on my feet pacing and checking.
I was anxious that Mother's rally was short term and could not relax. Mother's physical signs and her color improved over the next few days. She worked with Speech, OT and PT; showing small improvement each day. She began drinking and eating. That day I was cautiously grateful that Mother might go home the next day.
The next day I was disheartened when I walked into her room and saw that the IV was connected again.
I grieve the combative nature of Sundowner's that Mother endured every day she was in the hospital.
I grieve that Mother was discharged without my knowledge.
I grieve that moment when I stood in the doorway of Mother's empty and cleaned room and didn't know what had happened and if she had died, where was her body?
I grieve that again I was right there doing the daily work and someone else was called and again did not inform me.
I am angry and grieve that some of Mother's things were still in my car and my things had been sent home with her.
With anxiety I stopped at the nursing home to switch our things and see how Mother was doing.
The doors were locked. Covid-19 precautions put the nursing home in complete lockdown.
I was devastated that I could not hold Mother in my arms, see how she was and let her know I was there.
I was grateful when the nurse finally agreed to take Mother's things and see if she could find my things in Mother's room.
I was even more grateful when the nurse agreed to wheel Mother to the door so we could see each other and I could scream at her through the closed and locked doors. She looked really good. She was pink, sitting straight, alert, still chewing a mouthful of food and responsive when the nurse repeated what I was saying.
I am still sad and grieving, even though the crisis is over.
I feel empty and lost.
Hurt upon hurt and I am not well.
I am surviving.
And the tears, well the tears come whenever they want.

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Hello @2011panc,

While I understand your heartache and despondency, I must congratulate and tell you how touched I am by the way you honor your feelings with words. As I read each line of your post (which were all "I" statements) which started with "I grieve" or "I am grateful" I have found new ways to deal with my own grief at the loss of my mother just a few months ago (on Thanksgiving Day).

I would like to one more "I" statement and say,

I am grateful that @2011panc could write so many "I" statements to explain her grief and frustration.

Thank you for the inspiration you provided for me and others, @2011panc. I hope to be able to point other grievers on Connect to use your method in order to deal with their own grief!

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@hopeful33250

Hello @2011panc,

While I understand your heartache and despondency, I must congratulate and tell you how touched I am by the way you honor your feelings with words. As I read each line of your post (which were all "I" statements) which started with "I grieve" or "I am grateful" I have found new ways to deal with my own grief at the loss of my mother just a few months ago (on Thanksgiving Day).

I would like to one more "I" statement and say,

I am grateful that @2011panc could write so many "I" statements to explain her grief and frustration.

Thank you for the inspiration you provided for me and others, @2011panc. I hope to be able to point other grievers on Connect to use your method in order to deal with their own grief!

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I lost my baby boy November 19 2017 My Marty 🐻. He was 21 years old, murdered trying to protect others who were scared💙
Alice Fernandez
December 13, 2017

As I wake in the morning with the sun shining bright, your breeze blows by, leaving your loving trace of pure delight.
The warmth to heal me, the strength to keep me, the sureness you'll never leave me.
You will always hold me, the one to show me that love has no end.
My Son my courageous son.
When the sun rises with the warmth upon my face I will feel your breeze as you leave your loving trace
I ask for no answers, It takes no directions, and leaves us with no goodbyes.
As I grow stronger , I'll hold my head high to feel the guidance of your loving eyes.
Marty please always hold me and we will rise together as time goes by.
I love you my Son. You are forever in my heart Mom💙
🍀I just wanted to share I wrote this for my son and myself shortly after I lost him. I'm sure I will need his💙🙏💙 my babies guidance for the rest of my life to walk through this. Bless all of you

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My husband of 65 years died Feb 8. He had been in a care center for almost 3 years and because it was 45 miles from home, I would go every other day to visit. Then this stopped!!! I did pretty well except for the days when I normally would have spend the afternoon with him. Just couldn't seem to find anything to attract my attention. I was able to be with friends for lunch and church and other activities soI did pretty well until this past couple weeks. I an so lonely now. Everything in the house reminds me of him and I find myself crying over the simplest thing. Even as I am writing this. I know "this too shall pass" and two of my children live close. I don't see them often but we talk. Friends have contacted me by phone or email and that helps, but it isn't the same, and know it never will be, but still. . . We will get through this.

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@marty1996

I lost my baby boy November 19 2017 My Marty 🐻. He was 21 years old, murdered trying to protect others who were scared💙
Alice Fernandez
December 13, 2017

As I wake in the morning with the sun shining bright, your breeze blows by, leaving your loving trace of pure delight.
The warmth to heal me, the strength to keep me, the sureness you'll never leave me.
You will always hold me, the one to show me that love has no end.
My Son my courageous son.
When the sun rises with the warmth upon my face I will feel your breeze as you leave your loving trace
I ask for no answers, It takes no directions, and leaves us with no goodbyes.
As I grow stronger , I'll hold my head high to feel the guidance of your loving eyes.
Marty please always hold me and we will rise together as time goes by.
I love you my Son. You are forever in my heart Mom💙
🍀I just wanted to share I wrote this for my son and myself shortly after I lost him. I'm sure I will need his💙🙏💙 my babies guidance for the rest of my life to walk through this. Bless all of you

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Thank you for sharing your words and memories of your son. It is a beautiful tribute and something to hold and cherish. Bless you.

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@rmftucker

My husband of 65 years died Feb 8. He had been in a care center for almost 3 years and because it was 45 miles from home, I would go every other day to visit. Then this stopped!!! I did pretty well except for the days when I normally would have spend the afternoon with him. Just couldn't seem to find anything to attract my attention. I was able to be with friends for lunch and church and other activities soI did pretty well until this past couple weeks. I an so lonely now. Everything in the house reminds me of him and I find myself crying over the simplest thing. Even as I am writing this. I know "this too shall pass" and two of my children live close. I don't see them often but we talk. Friends have contacted me by phone or email and that helps, but it isn't the same, and know it never will be, but still. . . We will get through this.

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Hello @rmftucker,

You are doing well to acknowledge your feelings of grief and aloneness! Expressing these feelings can help you as you adjust to your life without your beloved husband. I'm glad that you are surrounded by a group of supportive people from your family and friends, this is important.

Yes, you will get through this. Keep feeling, keep writing. While this sense of loss will never leave you, it will lessen with time. My mom passed away on Thanksgiving Day and I've attended a grief support group where I've learned to let the feelings of grief flow through me – rather like a breeze through a window or flour through a sieve. It doesn't stay forever but just flows through my current thoughts. As you consider your grief, try to think of it this way and see if it helps.

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@marty1996

I lost my baby boy November 19 2017 My Marty 🐻. He was 21 years old, murdered trying to protect others who were scared💙
Alice Fernandez
December 13, 2017

As I wake in the morning with the sun shining bright, your breeze blows by, leaving your loving trace of pure delight.
The warmth to heal me, the strength to keep me, the sureness you'll never leave me.
You will always hold me, the one to show me that love has no end.
My Son my courageous son.
When the sun rises with the warmth upon my face I will feel your breeze as you leave your loving trace
I ask for no answers, It takes no directions, and leaves us with no goodbyes.
As I grow stronger , I'll hold my head high to feel the guidance of your loving eyes.
Marty please always hold me and we will rise together as time goes by.
I love you my Son. You are forever in my heart Mom💙
🍀I just wanted to share I wrote this for my son and myself shortly after I lost him. I'm sure I will need his💙🙏💙 my babies guidance for the rest of my life to walk through this. Bless all of you

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Such lovely thoughts, @marty1996. I so appreciate you sharing these with Connect! As you are comfortable doing so, could you share a little more about your son? I would enjoy learning more about him, he sounds exceptional.

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@hopeful33250

Hello @rmftucker,

You are doing well to acknowledge your feelings of grief and aloneness! Expressing these feelings can help you as you adjust to your life without your beloved husband. I'm glad that you are surrounded by a group of supportive people from your family and friends, this is important.

Yes, you will get through this. Keep feeling, keep writing. While this sense of loss will never leave you, it will lessen with time. My mom passed away on Thanksgiving Day and I've attended a grief support group where I've learned to let the feelings of grief flow through me – rather like a breeze through a window or flour through a sieve. It doesn't stay forever but just flows through my current thoughts. As you consider your grief, try to think of it this way and see if it helps.

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Thanks so much, Teresa. I know this too will pass but we need each other in this time of trial. I really like to hear all the comments from other people and hope a few of my messages are helpful for them also

REPLY

Thank you all for your responses to my post about my current grief. Writing things out like this helps me immensely in the "moving on" aspect of grief. I not only need to acknowledge it, I need to write it down.

I have one last grief unrelated to my Mother's health issues.

I have been largely homebound since 2011, but Covid-19 has sent that to another level. Businesses are closed or working reduced hours; curbside or home delivery removes even walking up to a counter with another person on the other side. Events are cancelled, postponed or held in empty arenas. So, not only am I home alone, I can no longer even watch people out and about enjoying life and events. I did not realize how this would impact me. I think it is probably a good thing for us all to experience and that we will come out better on the other side, but going through it has finally touched me on a personal and emotional level.

Blessings to all as we work through our near future to the "World After Covid-19"

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@hopeful33250

Such lovely thoughts, @marty1996. I so appreciate you sharing these with Connect! As you are comfortable doing so, could you share a little more about your son? I would enjoy learning more about him, he sounds exceptional.

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Well where would I start ? First I'd like to say I will take any moment in time to talk about my Marty 🐻. Thank you so much.
He was a bear a gentle giant
6"4 280 lbs and full of love and life.
His name is Martin Fernandez please feel free to look him up on FB that's how proud I am of him. His family and friends continue to keep his memory active. I have two Son's My oldest is Mick 🍀 also my treasure and Marty was our baby born 4/26/96.
He had a rare way of touching people's lives at times when they needed him the most without using his size but his heart and kindness to resolve the issue. He was a rescuer of hurting hearts. He was a comedian anything to make you laugh. Both Sons great Cooks…. PLEASE I CAN GO ON ABOUT BOTH OF THEM SO PROUD.💙💙❤

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@marty1996

Well where would I start ? First I'd like to say I will take any moment in time to talk about my Marty 🐻. Thank you so much.
He was a bear a gentle giant
6"4 280 lbs and full of love and life.
His name is Martin Fernandez please feel free to look him up on FB that's how proud I am of him. His family and friends continue to keep his memory active. I have two Son's My oldest is Mick 🍀 also my treasure and Marty was our baby born 4/26/96.
He had a rare way of touching people's lives at times when they needed him the most without using his size but his heart and kindness to resolve the issue. He was a rescuer of hurting hearts. He was a comedian anything to make you laugh. Both Sons great Cooks…. PLEASE I CAN GO ON ABOUT BOTH OF THEM SO PROUD.💙💙❤

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Ok the hard part as I said my son was a protector well he died doing just that. On November 19, 2017 San Jose CA. I apologize I don't have the strength to tell the story so I will copy and paste link.
If you find interest.its ok💙❤

Just Google Martin Fernandez
21-year-old man stabbed to death in San Jose is identified – The Mercury News
Crime & Courts … PUBLISHED: November 23, 2017 at 12:46 p.m. | UPDATED : … who was stabbed to death in his San Jose home has been identified

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@johnbishop

Thank you for sharing your words and memories of your son. It is a beautiful tribute and something to hold and cherish. Bless you.

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Thank you so much. Tend to be much like my son a happy goblucky positive although private person. I want send great thanks to all of you that took interest in this post a minute to draw my attention because I have been looking at this grief group for a while , well you know thank you…😪😉💙❤

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@marty1996

I lost my baby boy November 19 2017 My Marty 🐻. He was 21 years old, murdered trying to protect others who were scared💙
Alice Fernandez
December 13, 2017

As I wake in the morning with the sun shining bright, your breeze blows by, leaving your loving trace of pure delight.
The warmth to heal me, the strength to keep me, the sureness you'll never leave me.
You will always hold me, the one to show me that love has no end.
My Son my courageous son.
When the sun rises with the warmth upon my face I will feel your breeze as you leave your loving trace
I ask for no answers, It takes no directions, and leaves us with no goodbyes.
As I grow stronger , I'll hold my head high to feel the guidance of your loving eyes.
Marty please always hold me and we will rise together as time goes by.
I love you my Son. You are forever in my heart Mom💙
🍀I just wanted to share I wrote this for my son and myself shortly after I lost him. I'm sure I will need his💙🙏💙 my babies guidance for the rest of my life to walk through this. Bless all of you

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@marty1996 Im so sorry for your lost I have an only son and this has to be so devastating . The tribute you gave for Marty was very heartwarming . I know he feels your love and always will as you will his. God bless you .

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@lioness

@marty1996 Im so sorry for your lost I have an only son and this has to be so devastating . The tribute you gave for Marty was very heartwarming . I know he feels your love and always will as you will his. God bless you .

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Thank you, the hardest part I have to say is when I hear that someone else suffers a tragic death lose it's almost like well reliving but he was so full of joy it's hard to be sad like he he would not approve.💙 again thank you🍀

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@marty1996

I realize from experience that the pain or sadness does lessen over time, but I think that most of us just learn to live with the feelings of loss eventually. One of my sisters died too young in her 50s with no diagnosis for the symptoms she suffered with. Of my five siblings, I was closest to her, so I think I grieve her transition to heaven more than I would if it had been another brother or sister. For a long time I would have a question or problem that I'd want to discuss with my father, but then it would hit me that he was gone.

I appreciate the words I've been reading here the past few days. Words of tribute are encouraging words.

Jim

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Hello Jim
I do hope this is helpful to and others. But I find at there a certain butterfly at the lake or a hawk on the way home from town or then maybe it's that Cardnel that hangs out in the yard by the bird bath. I really don't know but I do believe that My 💙 watches over us. He's with me in one form or another sometimes silly smells. Anyway sometimes it gets me through crying and a memory makes us smile which was always better in Marty's eyes. Thank you and bless you.

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