Recovering from loss: How do I get back to my old self?

Posted by sharroncobb @sharroncobb, Mar 27 1:20pm

I've been depressed since i lost my dad in August 31 2022 ever since then i was never myself i shut myself from my family and pushing my bf away i know my family and my bf are trying to help but its hard to move on and get back to my old self

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Hi @sharroncobb, I'm tagging fellow members like @IndianaScott @gingerw @wreath @vfrifr and @team4travis who know what it is like to lose a beloved family member.

It sounds like your dad was very special to you. It is hard to "move on" and I don't know if one ever really can return back to their old self. But as this discussion that @hopeful33250 started a while back demonstrates, grief and joy can work together:
– Can Joy and Grief Live Together? https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/can-joy-and-grief-live-together/

Like you, I believe your family and boyfriend are trying to help. Perhaps they're not helping in the way you need them to help. Why do you think that you push them away? What do you need for you at the moment? PS: It's not selfish to think about you and your needs.

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@sharroncobb Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect.

It's rarely an easy road when we lose a family member, whether it was sudden or due to a long term illness. It takes time to come to grips with the "missing piece" in our life now, isn't it? Perhaps there were things you didn't get a chance to say, or some plan that you feel you'll not be able to see through. I get that. Have you tried writing a letter to your dad, telling him how much you think of him, and about the void in your life? Tell him what is going on in your life now, and how you are struggling. Perhaps seeing it in writing, you will be able to understand how deeply affected you are.

Be gentle on yourself. Let your family and boyfriend know that you appreciate their efforts, and it doesn't go unnoticed. Let them know how they support you, and ways they can continue to support you as you grieve. Does this sound like something you can try?
Ginger

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Hi, @sharroncobb I'm Scott and I lost my wife after her long war with brain cancer. Your post made me think about my 'old self' before I lost my wife.

I realize everyone's grief journey is unique, but one thing that helped me was when I realized life would never be back the way it was, nor would I. Rather life was now just "different".

I still miss my wife deeply and wish she was still here with me, but also know reality has dealt me a different hand now. Another thing that helped me was to keep a "To Do" list and work to accomplish one item a day on it. Some were bigger (visit the new city our children had moved to) others were far smaller — write to a friend of old, paint some of the wheelchair nicks in the house, call a friend. When I did one thing on my list, I made sure to add a new one to the bottom — it gave me a way to keep looking forward and not just back at my loss.

As others have noted, your dad hasn't been gone that long so grieving is totally natural. Personally, I believe we grieve in direct proportion to how much we loved our now missing loved one. I also think it's important to give you "permission" to grieve. While I understand how many well-meaning folks in our lives want us to move on and just be happy, that takes time — and the length of that time is very individualized.

I love this quote and keep it on my desk — it helps me when the grief rears its head again: "Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day that can only manage to whisper "I will try again tomorrow."

Strength, Courage, & Peace

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Excellent post from all. Everyone who has lost someone walks a different path. All suggestions are good. Try too use one or two suggestion. See if you can join a Bereavement support in your area. Especially y if you dad passed of Cancer or different conditions. They are great. There are trained social worker that work individually or as part of a group that incorporate art. Our feeling surface in art. There will be people there who are feeling the same as you. There are people who understand what you are experiencing.
Yes, it takes time …. do we ever get over the loss? For many people they think the answer is no… many feel the pain will not go away have many choices. Different suggestions work for different people. One shoes does not fill all.
I can sense you were very close to your father. We all grieve a different way. People around you are just trying to help/ if we push people away sometimes we can loose them forever… later. regretting it. They may not be able to help in the way you. need yet having their support and presence in a gift. Some people will just stay away.

My suggestion is the following. Have your daily schedule…. Know what our plan is for the day. Try to change just one thing a day. Prayer works again for different people in different ways. Talk to your dad in your thoughts before going to bed. Many a time, he will come to you in dream. Promise.

Write the things you wanted to tell him or forgot to tell him before he passed. Understand if he was cognizant at the time of his passing, promise he also regretted have to leave you.

Do know your father's spirit is part of you and in you forever? You carry that and if you have children someday if you don't have them already that spirts continues. You father will come to you in different forms. dreams, associations with thing he liked, music, the list goes on.

Please try not to disconnect from the people around you. It's very positive you have theses people in your life that care and love you. Many people mourning a loss have no. one. They just want to help you yet because they love you. They may not understand what you are experiencing. They may at some time just feel hopeless trying to help you and be there for you and at some point just walk away from you. Who wants that?

Think of getting out in nature if you can.Spring is around the corner. Take walks in safe area. Do not walk alone. Write that letter to your father and tell him all that on your mind. Toss it and this will help to ease your pain and cleanse yourself and help you move on. I kept my father clothing in a giant zip lock bag. On bad days I would open the bag and just absorb his scent. IT's still there. This can brings comfort and in time this will help you heal. Music is very calming. I listen to Tibetan singing bowls. on you tube. There are many. Try them once if your can. Best of luck

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Hello @sharroncobb

Sometimes grief does take us by surprise, doesn't it? Whether the death of a loved one is an unexpected/sudden event or if it came after a prolonged illness, it's important to talk about the person for whom you grieve.

Sharing with others is a healthy way to move through grief. If you would like to start that process here on Connect, share with us a little about your dad. What are your fond memories of him? What were his strengths and what were his weaknesses? What do you miss the most about him?

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I'm joining this discussion because I experienced multiple losses, traumatic losses, studied grief for years, and written 11 grief healing resources. After a loved one dies, you still have your talents, experience, and education, but you are a new version of yourself. You can help yourself by joining a support group, learning about the grief process, talking with trusted friends who have experienced grief, being gentle with yourself, and when you feel stronger, helping others in small ways. Grief expert David Kessler says grief is as unique as your fingerprint. So is grief healing. You will make your way through the grief maze in your own time and own way. Your loved one would want you to be happy. Enjoy life in memory of your loved one and yourself–a unique person with unique grief.

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I am so sorry for your loss. Losing a parent is a big deal. Even though my parents have been gone for twenty years, I still think about the loss. I was especially sad this month because my beloved dog died one year ago March 2. She was a hearing dog and the best companion I ever had. I have created a "shrine" in her honor, and have pictures of her around my apartment. I still "talk" to her, and this makes me feel as though her spirit is still alive.
After my mother died I attended a grief support group that was very helpful. Perhaps there is one in your area. I also recommend reading Elizabeth Kubler Ross's book(s) on Death and Dying, as she is brilliant in discussing death and how it impacts our lives. Even though I am 61 and my parents are gone, I still find myself thinking sometimes, "I wish I had a mom." We were never really close, but sometimes we were and those are the things I try to remember about her. For example, I do a lot of baking, as did she. Sometimes I feel like I am "channelling" her (or Martha Stewart LOL) because I am always giving away the things I bake like breads, cookies etc.

Also, I recently recommended a publication called The Margolian. It is online, free, and full of articles about grief, art, poetry and things of that nature. The publication is fantastic and one article leads to the next. One could spend an entire day reading this free publication.
Best of luck.

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