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

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Loss & Grief group.

@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

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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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@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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