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

@elainesharon I hope we hear from you soon. Doesn’t it seem like your life right now is a roller coaster mostly going down. Even if there is a little coming up the bottom drops again and your plummeting down. A little over a year ago my 91 year old father died. No matter their age or how great their life was it is never going to be long enough for us is it. It was just one thing after another, hateful sibling, work issues (so bad I thought I might quit, ended up going to mitigation). Even little bumps in the road felt so much bigger than they normally would have. You may have been starting to find a new normal after the passing of your mom (mum) then losing your place to live probably put you right back at the moment she passed. I pray you and your spouse find a safe place to live. You will come back up little by little. There will be more set backs but you need to just hang on. I’ve learned that all that pain and blindness of that comes with grief eventually some light will come. It will never be like it was, but you’ll find a new track. Hang on. No sooner had I started feeling like living again my best friend, a mom with 4 elementary school aged kids, died 9 months after my Dad. Every once in a while they come to me and let me know they are still with me. I bet your mum does too. It is bittersweet when it happens. You should know she is still in your heart. She would not want you to leave this world right now would she? No one knows what else you are meant to do here. Don’t take what ever that is away. I’m asking you to hang on in a dark place. Honestly there isn’t a lot some one half a world away can do for you. Bad things are going to happen, but you have felt the worst. You might feel it again, but there will be a reprieve. If you can just keep hanging on those little light will start making their way into those dark places. At some point you’ll have more light than dark.

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Hello @kdawn32

I appreciate your sharing an empathic response to @elainesharon. What you said about “Even little bumps in the road felt so much bigger than they normally would have” is very true.

I appreciate your posts and your encouragement in this discussion group.

Teresa

Liked by muppey

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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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Hello @elainesharon

It has been a while since we have heard from you. How are you doing? Have you found a new living situation yet? I am praying that you are finding hope in the midst of your grief and you can realize the light at the end of the tunnel.

Will you send a post soon? I would love to hear from you.

Teresa

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I am so sorry for everyone that lost someone that they loved deeply. My dad has been gone since 2001. God i still miss him so much!! When he died, it was a shock to my whole family. Who would of thought he would die before my mother. My mother passed away three years later. She was in a nursing home for twenty-five years due to a stroke she had. My dad visited her every day come rain or come shine. I still am not over their passing away. They were good people. I still cry sometimes when i think of them and still have vivid dreams about them to this day. It got easier to deal with their loss with the help from my husband Mark who loss his mother a few years ago too. prayers for everyone who loss someone, Trudy

Liked by muppey

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I really dont even know where to start. I lost my best friend, lover and husband to liver cancer 2.5 years ago. Didnt really start to grieve till last year. As to, I believe having recieved 2 foster kids 6 mos after he died. So poured everything into the kids. and delayed my grieving, untill they left my home 5 months later. Then it was like I lost and was grieving all 3 at the same time. To say the least, Im not doing so well. My friends and neighbors dont understand, and say I push them away, (not what I wanted to do, or intended to do) just didnt know how to express myself. so ended up more alone, and felt abandoned. I am a christian, and have been studying all I can in the word about grief, depression, and loneliness. My family lives far away, I thought I had the church family, but feel I dont fit in anymore, and they quit reaching out cause they feel I should be over it by now. and they dont know what to do with me, I dont fit in any of the groups that we used to be in. All I really want is to feel needed, wanted, and to belong to something, cant find the new normal, dont seem to fit in, feel more alone in a crowd, so I just stay home alone. know that is not the answer either, but dont know what to do. Want to go home to be with my husband, and all the loved ones who have died before me. At times it seems the only answer. Just waiting to die of a broken heart. I get up each day, because I have animals to care for, so all I am living for now.

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@kathy4385

I really dont even know where to start. I lost my best friend, lover and husband to liver cancer 2.5 years ago. Didnt really start to grieve till last year. As to, I believe having recieved 2 foster kids 6 mos after he died. So poured everything into the kids. and delayed my grieving, untill they left my home 5 months later. Then it was like I lost and was grieving all 3 at the same time. To say the least, Im not doing so well. My friends and neighbors dont understand, and say I push them away, (not what I wanted to do, or intended to do) just didnt know how to express myself. so ended up more alone, and felt abandoned. I am a christian, and have been studying all I can in the word about grief, depression, and loneliness. My family lives far away, I thought I had the church family, but feel I dont fit in anymore, and they quit reaching out cause they feel I should be over it by now. and they dont know what to do with me, I dont fit in any of the groups that we used to be in. All I really want is to feel needed, wanted, and to belong to something, cant find the new normal, dont seem to fit in, feel more alone in a crowd, so I just stay home alone. know that is not the answer either, but dont know what to do. Want to go home to be with my husband, and all the loved ones who have died before me. At times it seems the only answer. Just waiting to die of a broken heart. I get up each day, because I have animals to care for, so all I am living for now.

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May you be comforted among the others who mourn.

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Over the years I've lost my grandmother, father, mother, and two brothers. Feb 1, 2018 my wife of 22 years disappeared from my life, she never returned from the beauty shop, the pain of being ghosted is incredible, I wound up in the hospital due to that where I went unconscious for 5-6 hours. The ER literally kicked me into the waiting room, maybe they thought I was ok but I didn't because I knew I was going under but they wouldn't listen. Just get him out of here. This took place sometime after 1:30 am. Time is messed up but my brother had just walked in the room and I had moved away from a little girl who sat by me because I didn't want her to get hurt…then I blacked out and woke up at 12:30, 5-6 hours unconscious.
I was well aware that my family members were dying. Brother Stephen lived in the Sierras and I was 150 miles away when I decided to go get him as I knew something was very wrong. I drove up there then back down to the Palo Alto, CA, VA hospital. They thought he was just a drunk but I told them he drinks a lot of coffer and sometimes a beer or two. I'm an AA alcoholic so I know some about that. Anyway turned out he had a large tumor on his brain which the doctors at Stanford Medical removed. Stephen lived another 2 years. Right before that my brother John died at home due to some in operable stomach thing. Doctors at UC Davis, CA, could not tell us what the problem was.
There is lots more but losing your wife and she's still living far away is something no person should go through. Does she just hate me? I know death but when it happens over a course of time and you're prepared for it it's not as bad as this.
When I knew Stephen was dying I did the same thing, drove up to the mountains and brought him back to the VA Hospital where the Doctors told me he was dying. They were good to him and placed him in a home in Palo Alto where he died within a few weeks. Miss him a lot. The end for now. Good to write this stuff down. Thanks!

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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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One person I read on the internet said that your grief is real and you should acknowledge it and cry if you want and not feel like your doing something weak. Death of a loved one is rated as the most painful, and death of a marriage is the second most devastating trauma a person can go through. I suppose if you don't like your spouse or hate him then there is no problem on her part but the dumped person can suffer greatly. It hurts a lot. Grieve if you need to.
Sorry for your loss.

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@amberpep

Well, since I’m the only one left in my family behind me, being an only child, I’ve been through this a good bit. Everyone is gone. I’m grateful for my 3 kids and at least they’ll have each other when their Dad and I go. I think I grieved the divorce the most ….. everyone else was pretty abusive, and even though he was a narcissist, after 40 years, it took me about 8 years to get passed that divorce.
abby

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Amberpep, My wife just disappeared Feb 1. Just poof, gone. She called about 5-6 hours later and by that time I knew she was gone and my body started shutting down. When she called I couldn't move so it went to the recording and she told me to pick up the phone but I couldn't, then she says she is at her sons place and will not come home. Then she tells me she is divorcing me. I was clueless. The reason I went into shock was my landlord knocked on my door before the phone call and dangled an envelope at me so I said, "What's this?" I don't know Mary just asked me to give it to you. I opened it and there was some money and a receipt from the bank saying this account is closed! What? That was a blow, then the phone call then a few hours after the phone call her son had driven 150 miles to pick up Mary's clothes and medicine. Her girl friend was there and she barged into my home and Jon guarded the door. I thought he was a friend but I think Mary poisoned the well because he was angry.
Anyway I wound up in the hospital after sitting paralyzed in this chair for hours until some time after 1:30 am. Ambulance picked me up and during the ride I was about half conscious when the Paramedic was doing her tests. She yelled, "Holy crap man are you trying to kill yourself?" Well that startled me. Is Mary killing me? Anyway she told the driver to "speed'er up, we gotta get there fast." I survived but I was out for about 5-6 hours and they wouldn't let me go when my brother came to pick me up. A night in the hospital is as boring as watching paint dry. Now I've got a medical restriction on my drivers license but live in the middle of no where so I have to drive like a criminal. The law states that they can impound my jeep and in extreme toss me in jail. Mean stuff. There's lots more to this story which includes lots of deceit as I discover what she did. Gossip bombs left behind. She called about 7 times but every time she twisted her nasty dagger a bit so I'd get po'd and say goodbye and hang up on her. She was so sweet before. Then she joined a crazy church which her son and her 1st x belong to. Long story. I should stop for now…good to write it down though, thanks for listening. VA is taking care of me know.

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@georgette12

This grief thing is hell. There is no way to put it. I am terribly sorry for your loss punkinpie. My grief therapist reminds me that the first year we are usually in shock. The second year and thereafter we are often feeling some tough feelings. It is important to monitor who you allow yourself to be around. I lost a friend i had known for 40 years because she would not “allow” me to mourn my son.

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The grief lasts that long? I'm like 45 days out from when my wife disappeared from my life. Head is still foggy but I don't want to worry about this for that long. We were together for almost 22 years.

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@muppey

Over the years I've lost my grandmother, father, mother, and two brothers. Feb 1, 2018 my wife of 22 years disappeared from my life, she never returned from the beauty shop, the pain of being ghosted is incredible, I wound up in the hospital due to that where I went unconscious for 5-6 hours. The ER literally kicked me into the waiting room, maybe they thought I was ok but I didn't because I knew I was going under but they wouldn't listen. Just get him out of here. This took place sometime after 1:30 am. Time is messed up but my brother had just walked in the room and I had moved away from a little girl who sat by me because I didn't want her to get hurt…then I blacked out and woke up at 12:30, 5-6 hours unconscious.
I was well aware that my family members were dying. Brother Stephen lived in the Sierras and I was 150 miles away when I decided to go get him as I knew something was very wrong. I drove up there then back down to the Palo Alto, CA, VA hospital. They thought he was just a drunk but I told them he drinks a lot of coffer and sometimes a beer or two. I'm an AA alcoholic so I know some about that. Anyway turned out he had a large tumor on his brain which the doctors at Stanford Medical removed. Stephen lived another 2 years. Right before that my brother John died at home due to some in operable stomach thing. Doctors at UC Davis, CA, could not tell us what the problem was.
There is lots more but losing your wife and she's still living far away is something no person should go through. Does she just hate me? I know death but when it happens over a course of time and you're prepared for it it's not as bad as this.
When I knew Stephen was dying I did the same thing, drove up to the mountains and brought him back to the VA Hospital where the Doctors told me he was dying. They were good to him and placed him in a home in Palo Alto where he died within a few weeks. Miss him a lot. The end for now. Good to write this stuff down. Thanks!

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Hello @muppey

I appreciate your sharing your story at Mayo Connect – and we welcome you!

You have experienced a lot of loss in just a short period of time and your feelings are certainly understandable. As you said in your last sentence, "Good to write this stuff down." Yes, expressing these experiences and the feelings that go with them is very important to your healing from losses – it is important to all of us!

If you care to share more, what type of support system do you have in place now? Do you have friends, are you part of organizations that can offer you companionship and support? Are you able to see a doctor or counselor to help you?

I look forward to hearing from you again – keep posting. We will encourage and support you.

Teresa

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@muppey

Over the years I've lost my grandmother, father, mother, and two brothers. Feb 1, 2018 my wife of 22 years disappeared from my life, she never returned from the beauty shop, the pain of being ghosted is incredible, I wound up in the hospital due to that where I went unconscious for 5-6 hours. The ER literally kicked me into the waiting room, maybe they thought I was ok but I didn't because I knew I was going under but they wouldn't listen. Just get him out of here. This took place sometime after 1:30 am. Time is messed up but my brother had just walked in the room and I had moved away from a little girl who sat by me because I didn't want her to get hurt…then I blacked out and woke up at 12:30, 5-6 hours unconscious.
I was well aware that my family members were dying. Brother Stephen lived in the Sierras and I was 150 miles away when I decided to go get him as I knew something was very wrong. I drove up there then back down to the Palo Alto, CA, VA hospital. They thought he was just a drunk but I told them he drinks a lot of coffer and sometimes a beer or two. I'm an AA alcoholic so I know some about that. Anyway turned out he had a large tumor on his brain which the doctors at Stanford Medical removed. Stephen lived another 2 years. Right before that my brother John died at home due to some in operable stomach thing. Doctors at UC Davis, CA, could not tell us what the problem was.
There is lots more but losing your wife and she's still living far away is something no person should go through. Does she just hate me? I know death but when it happens over a course of time and you're prepared for it it's not as bad as this.
When I knew Stephen was dying I did the same thing, drove up to the mountains and brought him back to the VA Hospital where the Doctors told me he was dying. They were good to him and placed him in a home in Palo Alto where he died within a few weeks. Miss him a lot. The end for now. Good to write this stuff down. Thanks!

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Thanks Teresa, I've never been very social and have a difficult time making friends. When they lie to me or betray my trust I can't be around them. I live in the middle of no where as far as walking to town to buy food. What happens when you go unconscious is the hospital reports that to the DMV and they put a restriction on your drivers licensee. I have to drive, so seems silly but I'm breaking the law. Maybe my doctor can fix that.
I thought I had two friends, a married couple, but the last time Larry came by he dropped a gossip bomb on me. He said, "I know about those letters!" It's a long story but looking back…lies and deceit which is hard to bare, can't believe Mary would do all this to me as I found her lost in the Stanislaus Forest where she'd spent the night wandering around because she'd gotten drunk the night before. At that time she was in torment because her son had just died of suicide, he hung himself in a cemetery in Oakland, CA. I talked to the Oakland police detectives who investigated and they groaned when I mentioned the episode. They didn't want to talk about it. Feel for those cops for their job and misery they encounter.
Anyway the only support I've got right now as I don't trust the gossip mongers, is with a Veterans Admin. therapist. I've been to one meeting with her and have another for April 5. My two sons Navy Chief Jesse and Stephen Luke is a PHd in Agricultural Chemistry and a chemistry teacher now. I'm very proud of them and my son Jesse called one day and said, "Dad you raised us right." Still chokes me up when I think about that. They're about the only ones for support but they live a long ways from me.
I learned that my family did not like Mary much at all. When I married her she was sort of ok for a year or so but after that she went into deep mourning and turned to just wearing black and no longer was the pretty girl I found lost in the woods, but I decided to help her and wait it out as I liked her and we had a lot of talk over the years. I also started buying her colorful clothes over the internet. I guessed her size and got it right and she really liked that and started wearing a dress and a colorful blouse and I like that. But after feeling better she disappeared, after 22 years. What is that?
Getting to long here so Thanks for your post. Gonna read it again.

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@georgette12

This grief thing is hell. There is no way to put it. I am terribly sorry for your loss punkinpie. My grief therapist reminds me that the first year we are usually in shock. The second year and thereafter we are often feeling some tough feelings. It is important to monitor who you allow yourself to be around. I lost a friend i had known for 40 years because she would not “allow” me to mourn my son.

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Please trust me on this, it happened during a Reiki experience 20 or more years ago, rather not go into detail publicly (but will privately), but I ASSURE YOU that a love that strong is too strong to end at death. Your wife is with you, albeit as a soul, and is probably around you, knows everything, and wants the best for you to move on to happiness (just as you would have wanted for her had you gone first).

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@muppey

Over the years I've lost my grandmother, father, mother, and two brothers. Feb 1, 2018 my wife of 22 years disappeared from my life, she never returned from the beauty shop, the pain of being ghosted is incredible, I wound up in the hospital due to that where I went unconscious for 5-6 hours. The ER literally kicked me into the waiting room, maybe they thought I was ok but I didn't because I knew I was going under but they wouldn't listen. Just get him out of here. This took place sometime after 1:30 am. Time is messed up but my brother had just walked in the room and I had moved away from a little girl who sat by me because I didn't want her to get hurt…then I blacked out and woke up at 12:30, 5-6 hours unconscious.
I was well aware that my family members were dying. Brother Stephen lived in the Sierras and I was 150 miles away when I decided to go get him as I knew something was very wrong. I drove up there then back down to the Palo Alto, CA, VA hospital. They thought he was just a drunk but I told them he drinks a lot of coffer and sometimes a beer or two. I'm an AA alcoholic so I know some about that. Anyway turned out he had a large tumor on his brain which the doctors at Stanford Medical removed. Stephen lived another 2 years. Right before that my brother John died at home due to some in operable stomach thing. Doctors at UC Davis, CA, could not tell us what the problem was.
There is lots more but losing your wife and she's still living far away is something no person should go through. Does she just hate me? I know death but when it happens over a course of time and you're prepared for it it's not as bad as this.
When I knew Stephen was dying I did the same thing, drove up to the mountains and brought him back to the VA Hospital where the Doctors told me he was dying. They were good to him and placed him in a home in Palo Alto where he died within a few weeks. Miss him a lot. The end for now. Good to write this stuff down. Thanks!

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@muppey

Thanks for sharing more about yourself. I am glad to hear that you have a therapist through the VA, and that you are finding that relationship good. It is also good that your children are supportive of you, even though they live a distance from you. The fact that they express appreciation for you is important.

Continue to give yourself time to adjust to all of these losses. There is way through them, but it does take time and the amount of time is different for everyone.

I wish you well and look forward to hearing from you again.

Teresa

Liked by Parus, muppey

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@kathy4385

I really dont even know where to start. I lost my best friend, lover and husband to liver cancer 2.5 years ago. Didnt really start to grieve till last year. As to, I believe having recieved 2 foster kids 6 mos after he died. So poured everything into the kids. and delayed my grieving, untill they left my home 5 months later. Then it was like I lost and was grieving all 3 at the same time. To say the least, Im not doing so well. My friends and neighbors dont understand, and say I push them away, (not what I wanted to do, or intended to do) just didnt know how to express myself. so ended up more alone, and felt abandoned. I am a christian, and have been studying all I can in the word about grief, depression, and loneliness. My family lives far away, I thought I had the church family, but feel I dont fit in anymore, and they quit reaching out cause they feel I should be over it by now. and they dont know what to do with me, I dont fit in any of the groups that we used to be in. All I really want is to feel needed, wanted, and to belong to something, cant find the new normal, dont seem to fit in, feel more alone in a crowd, so I just stay home alone. know that is not the answer either, but dont know what to do. Want to go home to be with my husband, and all the loved ones who have died before me. At times it seems the only answer. Just waiting to die of a broken heart. I get up each day, because I have animals to care for, so all I am living for now.

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Hello @kathy4385,

Welcome to Connect; I'm so glad you've joined us – more often than not, we get depressed because of loneliness, and connecting with another person can make all the difference in recovery. Thank you for sharing your story too, because I am confident that you now belong to this wonderful community, where many members have shared similar experiences, and I hope you find support and encouragement in their stories.

It sucks to feel like this – I get it. I haven't experienced your struggles, but when I get lonely and down, I long for somebody to talk to, somebody who will understand and not judge me. At such times, I know I’m not any fun to spend time with because I have a hard time enjoying the things I used to do. The more I dwell on that, the less motivation I have to reach out to people.
It’s sad that feeling like this can sometimes drive loved ones and friends away, but I often think that maybe it's because they don’t understand, or feel awkward and don’t know how to help, or are busy?

I'm sure that @parus @vthatch @georgette12 @kdawn32 @harriethodgson1 Mentor @hopeful33250 and others in this group will return to share their wisdom and thoughts with you.

As people, we thrive on connections, social interactions. @kathy4385, have you shared your feelings and grief with your friends or relatives? Perhaps letting them know that their friendship or support will help you work towards moving ahead? What about talking to a counselor or therapist?

You mentioned you have animals to care for; could you tell us more about your pets?

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