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

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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Georgette, I've got a large family and most of them are glad that my wife disappeared. It's apparent now that they did not like her. There may be good reason for that now on my part. Mary left gossip bombs behind as she left, don't know how long she was planning this. I guess I should have gotten a clue but I gave her my trust, she betrayed that trust.
People who don't understand that this heart ache stuff is real have never lost a loved one. A young lady I've know since she was four years old had just received notice from her husband that he is divorcing her. I stood in the parking lot talking with her for maybe an hour because she was so distressed. I was able to listen and really understand because this is my second divorce and both were long term marriage's. Funny thing is they both ended pretty much the same, some difference but basically the same, lying, cheating, deceiving. Mezi needed a hug before we parted.
I lived near the school drop off and Mezi's aunt would pick the kids up after school. We were friends with the aunt so she asked if the kids could come to my house until she got here. Sure no problem. One day we were sitting on the porch and all the kids except Mezi, who was about 5-6 years old, were playing in the pasture. Mezi and I were talking and out of the blue she said, "If we were the same age I'd date you." Very touching statement. I'm a good guy so don't think anything else.
Like you say, grief is hell.
Empathy!

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I love your comment about supporting each other because that's what this website does. Although grief has similar symptoms, each of us recover from loss in our own ways and in our own time. Don't let anybody tell you that you should be "over it" and moving forward in life. There are many thoughts to process before this time comes. When four family members died in 2007, including my elder daughter, the mother of my twin grandchildren, I was at a dark place in life. To complicate matters more, my twin grandchildren's father died six months later, and the court appointed my husband and me as their legal guardians. It took me several months to realize I was grieving in the order my loved ones died. Sometimes I would go forward on the recovery path, and other times I would take a giant leap backward. Yet my grandchildren gave me hope that life would get better and it did. I accepted my emotions, let myself feel them, and named them when I could. This kept me on the recovery path. Joining a support group may help you. On the other hand, if you want to be alone, give yourself this gift. In the quiet you will hear your soul–the key to grief healing.

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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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Kathy, I really understand. I met my wife lost in the woods on Oct 2, 1996, we married the same day two years later. When I met her she was grieving for her son who died in suicide. I really didn't understand this until Mary was crying, depressed and cursing her 1st x, the father of her two sons. She hated with a burning passion and dumbfounded me. I stayed with her and did what I knew to do, tried to get her into grief counseling but she wouldn't do it. It all landed on me. After a few years I finally got her to stop hating Steve L. her x husband. She started dressing in all black and I was confused but figured it out and didn't bother her about it. She went from very pretty to not so much. Poor girl is still grieving but somehow she's is taking "something" out on me. She just disappeared on Feb 1. She went to the hair shop and never came home. It's a long story so I won't bore you with it all but I can say for certain that what she did to me was indescribable and few understand. Put me in the hospital. I'm a fairly strong guy but this was out of my control.
Now I'm alone in this cottage home in the middle of no where, it's two to three miles to town and very difficult to walk, done it a few times, uphill all the way and back. I live on the flat of French Gulch Rd. Listen to a lot of music and always before I go to bed at midnight now, I listen to Christian Hymns. I really like Celtic music, bagpipes and drums, war and battle songs. Just me.
I know your pain and isolation is hard to bare but remember this, hope it's ok to post Scripture here, don't want to offend but here goes 36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: 37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; 38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: 40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect." Hebrews
Some of us really do understand. I also helped a young lady I've known since she was about 4. Her husband just dumped her and she is left to raise their really beautiful baby boy. I don't call her as I don't think it's appropriate. I'm 67 and it just doesn't seem right. If she called me I'd talk, but she's got problems to deal with herself. This happened before my wife left me. She had her horse on my property for two 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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Thanks!

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Heartache really is hard to share with people. We here understand. Just here for two days now and trying to figure it out. We do understand and really pray and wish you happiness and healing. The pain is difficult when no one understands and wants to get off the phone real quick, or make an excuse to leave even if they've come over to listen to you. Need someone who knows and will let you talk and maybe give you a big hug. Didn't mean to be so dramatic but I explained the phone call from my disappeared wife and Mike got tears in his eyes. Good brother, but not really into grief much.

"or a stillborn" This happened to my first wife Paula. The child was well along but just stopped one day and Paula was heartbroken. I really don't think I was much support for her as I was pretty clueless about things and pretty hard nosed as I'd recently gotten out of the Army. Paula had something they called a therapeutic abortion in a hospital in SF, CA. I saw the baby and was stunned but didn't know what to do. Later we named him Aaron, Moses' side kick. Later we had two sons and they're doing great.
I just got some gossip feed back from someone who should be a friend but he said, "I know about the letters!" Great! Now what. My wife did this to me. It's a small town. Got's to get some firewood for the night and feed the kitties…take care.

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@georgette12

I think guilt is a part of grief for those of us whose loved one died suddenly as in my son’s suicide or those of us who have had complicated or estranged relationships with the person who died.

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georgette, My wife's son died in suicide. I met Mary six months after that. She left me just a while ago but I dealt with her grief for all those 22 years, sometimes I did ok but I guess I didn't do so well other times. Her grief was mind numbing to me sometimes but I never got mad at her and still don't want to be mad at her.
Being a part of Mary's grief has given me something I'd have never learned otherwise. Very sorry for your loss. I still remember and think of my first wife, so I guess your son will always be on your mind. For Mary, she is a believer so I spoke to her about what was written in the Scriptures and comforted her some. Some stupid people say evil things to you out of their ignorance. One woman did that to Mary and shocked her, not going to repeat it here but it was unkind.

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@vthatch

I think that my life has more grief than anything else. I list my Dad to ALS when I was a child, my Mother told me she didn’t want to have me and my Dad wouldn’t let her get an abortion. (I am the youngest of 8 Children.). She too be from Missouri to Michigan to live with my sister who was 17 years older than me and had 3 young children. I actually didn’t know her very well when I moved there. I lost all my friends and everything that I knew as safe.
I was sexually abused by my brother in law but was able to stop it, I just lived in fear a lot. With that family we moved three times. I went to 3 different high schools. As an adult I had one miscarriage, lost 2 of my brothers who were in their 40 s, and just continue to loose people. A little over a year ago I lost my daughter to Cancer. I also List most of my life to a medical disability that had me quit my job early and loose any sense of purpose. I keep moving forward but am a bit tired of trying to be better.

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vthatch, No one should lose their child, that's pain, indescribable.
Hope your not offended by this account but to me it's comforting and was to my wife. This is a little story about King David as his new born child lay dying. David had been praying and fasting for seven days. "22 He (King David) said, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, ‘Who knows whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ 23 But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.” David said that he would see his son one day. It's sad I know but I really believe this is true. You can to and have some hope.
Years ago I wrote a poem called, It Hurts When They Steal Your Dreams Away. Maybe I'll dig it out and post it. I've shared some of my poems with Mary but not much to anyone else.
I can understand your sorrows. But I've been in good health all my life and only a few days ago had my first hospital stay. Boring!
Dreams are shattered and then you wonder why you keep on going on. Sometimes there are good days and far to many bad days. I know, been there a long time. I used to dream a lot about being successful in my endeavor's but something always stopped me and with each try, there were many, just something always ruined things.
My wife left about 45 days ago on Feb 1, just poofed away without a word, they call it ghosting. Bad thing to do to someone.
Anyway a couple of nights ago at about 5:00 I got a wash of comfort and release from my pain. I was saying to myself, "Yes, if I can hold on to this I'll be fine in no time." I was really happy. No drugs, or alcohol. Problem was it didn't show up in the morning.
I'd like to give that relief to you vhatch, it's wonderful even for a few hours, I'll take several years of it but that's not how this cruel world works.
Get well! There is always hope. I talked to the VA crisis line the other day at 2:00 am. It's principle purpose is suicide prevention but they told me it's also for people like me who just need a good talk. I was trying to prevent another seizure really because after a few of them you know when it's going to happen. It worked and I got three hours of sleep that night. The problem now is the VA thinks I'm suicidal and I'm not. I told the VA therapist chick that I'm interested in getting strong again.
Talking and writing really works as I just said above. I didn't have a seizure because of the VA. People trash them a lot but they can only do so much for very little cost to us..
Praying for a little relief for you, maybe a lot of relief. Think about it. It just came over me without thinking about it but I guess thinking is praying, whatever. I don't believe in formal prayers as they are not from the heart.

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@vthatch

I think that my life has more grief than anything else. I list my Dad to ALS when I was a child, my Mother told me she didn’t want to have me and my Dad wouldn’t let her get an abortion. (I am the youngest of 8 Children.). She too be from Missouri to Michigan to live with my sister who was 17 years older than me and had 3 young children. I actually didn’t know her very well when I moved there. I lost all my friends and everything that I knew as safe.
I was sexually abused by my brother in law but was able to stop it, I just lived in fear a lot. With that family we moved three times. I went to 3 different high schools. As an adult I had one miscarriage, lost 2 of my brothers who were in their 40 s, and just continue to loose people. A little over a year ago I lost my daughter to Cancer. I also List most of my life to a medical disability that had me quit my job early and loose any sense of purpose. I keep moving forward but am a bit tired of trying to be better.

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Liebchen50 "wondered why things have to be so difficult to endure for some and not so much for others" I worked for a guy in our small town, he owned a successful restaurant and he'd bought a fixer upper home. He hired me to do some work there as I'm a general contractor, makes it easy as I'm responsible for taxes etc. Anyway I saw him at the hardware store one day and said, "Hi! How's it going?" He replied, "Perfect, I'm perfect!" I said good and left scratching my head wondering what it felt like to be able to say such a thing.
Still wonder about it.

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Hello @kathy4385,

I would also like to welcome you to our Connect community. I am glad that you have posted your feelings of loss and grief. You have expressed what you are feeling quite well and I see that you have insight when you reflect on the fact that caring for the foster children delayed your grief. That can happen very easily when another activity interrupts the grief process.

Please allow yourself to grieve at your own pace. Kanaaz offered some good suggestions for finding people to talk with, therapist, counselor, etc. Also you might look for a grief support group in your area. Aften funeral homes can give you good information about grief support groups nearby.

I look forward to hearing from you again. Remember, we at Connect, are here to support and encourage you.

Teresa

Liked by Parus, muppey

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@georgette12

Thanks for the insight on anticipated grief. My son planned his suicide for a year and discussed his plans with me constantly. I sent a mobile crisis team to his home in another state. They went to see him and did not take him to the hospital . he called me and screamed at me cause I sent them. He was dead two days later.

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No pain like it! I was with Mary after it happened and it took me a while to understand what was going on. I'm a slow learner I guess. Never understood emotions like that, painful stuff which thankfully few have to endure. I understand empathy now as opposed to apathy. Don't understand some things still, don't understand traitors, when someone betrays me I usually just walk away, to hard to deal with.

My heads still foggy, I may have written something already. Anyway I have dealt with my wife for 22 years over the death of her son by suicide. It's not an easy thing to go through, guess love does it. Sometimes she'd make me crazy but I never got mad at her. There was other grief and I helped her with her hatred for Clints father. He was a cop and thought his son was crazy so he 5150'd the guy which mad him more angry. He did it on Easter Sunday which is coming up soon. I can't figure if I should say something to Mary. She was pretty mean to me the way she left me.
Anyone out there have a clue? Should I send a card or just forget it? My tendency is to just let it be. I don't think she cares and she's with her son and they have a strong relationship. Used to amaze me because I never got that. Mom was a busy lady with 13 of us.

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@punkinpie

My mother just passed away this last weekend, Jan 13, 2018. I must not be handling it well cause all I want to do is eat chocolate and sleep. She smoked her entire life, and in the last 10 years got very little exercise. She had an office chair that she would roll around in in the kitchen. Rarely did she walk anywhere, only to the bathroom and bed. She had such a hard time getting enough air (COPD) and it scared her when she couldn’t catch her breath. I am about 3 hrs away for the last 18 months, so we didn’t spend a lot of time together, but we did talk a lot on the phone. Towards the end that was hard too cause you can’t breath you can’t talk. I kept telling her she needed to get up and walk, but she wouldn’t. So now at 57 I will never be able to talk to her again. Its not that she gave me such stellar advice, it was just that I had someone to listen to me. I have not made any close friends here (Rochester, MN) but I have people at work to talk to, but you have to be careful what you tell them too. I don’t want things spread all over the place. So I mostly talk to my little dog. He always has time to listen to me, his Mama. Mom and I both have depression. I hate this feeling of being alone. It is worse now. I cry at every little thing. Like I am not even taking my medicine. But I am. Is this crying, feeling sorry for myself. Is this how my life will be now. I hate crying, but some days I can’t seem to stop. My daughter said it best. She said it comes in waves. I have lived so long suffering with “waves” of depression, I don’t know if I a am strong enough to bear this too.

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punkinpie, No this crying is not feeling sorry for your self, it's called mourning, cry, let the tears go. I miss my little dog, Muppey. A sad story on our little dog, she's fine but I miss her. A little poodle mix, she used to lick my bald head when I was sleeping. I'd wake up sometimes and other times Mary would tell me that Muppey had licked my head for so long. She's cute.
OK! I am a man, men don't cry, yes we do, I've been in construction for a long time and could lift and jiggle those beams by myself. Always thought I was strong until Mary left me, ghosted, gone, no clue.
Anyway, several hours after a lot of stuff happened her son Jon and her girlfriend Traci knocked on my door, I knew Mary was already not coming home. The two acted like home invaders and I was in shock from what Mary did so I couldn't resist if I wanted to. Traci grabbed Mary's clothes and suitcase I put Mary's meds in the bag. Then they grabbed Muppey and left. They treated me like a piece of something and I thought they were my friends, they didn't even say shit to me.

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@hopeful33250

Hello @kathy4385,

I would also like to welcome you to our Connect community. I am glad that you have posted your feelings of loss and grief. You have expressed what you are feeling quite well and I see that you have insight when you reflect on the fact that caring for the foster children delayed your grief. That can happen very easily when another activity interrupts the grief process.

Please allow yourself to grieve at your own pace. Kanaaz offered some good suggestions for finding people to talk with, therapist, counselor, etc. Also you might look for a grief support group in your area. Aften funeral homes can give you good information about grief support groups nearby.

I look forward to hearing from you again. Remember, we at Connect, are here to support and encourage you.

Teresa

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Do any men post here? Maybe they don't feel like feeling. I'm a man and darned if it don't hurt a lot. Not getting drunk or anything. Sure is lonely though.

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@hopeful33250

Hello @kathy4385,

I would also like to welcome you to our Connect community. I am glad that you have posted your feelings of loss and grief. You have expressed what you are feeling quite well and I see that you have insight when you reflect on the fact that caring for the foster children delayed your grief. That can happen very easily when another activity interrupts the grief process.

Please allow yourself to grieve at your own pace. Kanaaz offered some good suggestions for finding people to talk with, therapist, counselor, etc. Also you might look for a grief support group in your area. Aften funeral homes can give you good information about grief support groups nearby.

I look forward to hearing from you again. Remember, we at Connect, are here to support and encourage you.

Teresa

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@muppey

I haven't taken part in this discussion, but I know what you mean about "don't feel like feeling". My loss isn't the death of someone close. It's more about the loss of my self to depression and other stuff. I've never been very expressive of my feelings – I could say it's a side effect of being a native New Englander, transplanted to the west coast. But in 2005, I kind of imploded – I don't know a better way to express my experience. I attempted suicide several times and spiraled downward into a deep, dark hole of depression.

I've found that depression tends to be numbing. Thoughts come, such as: I don't care; what's it like to be happy; just leave me alone; etc.

But maybe grief and loss generate numbness not unlike depression, and many people become depressed after a loss.

I didn't go back through this discussion to see what you're going through, but I know that men do traditionally stuff their feelings. I'm a prime example, unfortunately.

I get the loneliness, for sure.

Jim

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@muppey

Heartache really is hard to share with people. We here understand. Just here for two days now and trying to figure it out. We do understand and really pray and wish you happiness and healing. The pain is difficult when no one understands and wants to get off the phone real quick, or make an excuse to leave even if they've come over to listen to you. Need someone who knows and will let you talk and maybe give you a big hug. Didn't mean to be so dramatic but I explained the phone call from my disappeared wife and Mike got tears in his eyes. Good brother, but not really into grief much.

"or a stillborn" This happened to my first wife Paula. The child was well along but just stopped one day and Paula was heartbroken. I really don't think I was much support for her as I was pretty clueless about things and pretty hard nosed as I'd recently gotten out of the Army. Paula had something they called a therapeutic abortion in a hospital in SF, CA. I saw the baby and was stunned but didn't know what to do. Later we named him Aaron, Moses' side kick. Later we had two sons and they're doing great.
I just got some gossip feed back from someone who should be a friend but he said, "I know about the letters!" Great! Now what. My wife did this to me. It's a small town. Got's to get some firewood for the night and feed the kitties…take care.

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@muppey I am sorry for what has happened to you and realize this doesn't help you except to know others have been through losses and being "ghosted" is horrific. Small towns can also be cruel places to live. People can do cruel things to others in order to feel good about themselves.

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@jimhd Uh, Jim…men are not the only ones to stuff their feelings. Here is the only place I share much. Loss is a difficult thing. There are some losses one may not fully recover from. I live surrounded by death and dying. 3 apartments opened up in one week. 2 to nursing homes to wait to die and one moving in with her daughter who does not want to see her mother in a nursing home. All tragic losses have me by the throat again. My depression had lifted a little. Now reality has returned. Grief from losses also carries a lot of shame.

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