Triggers for loss and grief

Posted by georgette12 @georgette12, Mon, Mar 25 3:07pm

I am wondering how others deal with these triggers. I made the mistake of looking at my son's pictures on Saturday. I was thrown into guilt and depression and am still trying to shake it.

@georgette12, such a good question – how does one deal with memories that trigger grief? It must be so hard, Georgette, when the memories throw you into guilt and depression. If I could ban guilt as an emotion, I would. It serves nothing in this instance in my opinion. I'm sure that your son would not want to have caused you guilt and depression. That was not his intention.

I'd like to bring a few members into this discussion to hear different experiences from @anndomico @parus @IndianaScott @dd1931 @tmmmrlts and anyone else who would like to add their thoughts. Do you try to avoid triggers that resurface grief? When do the memories become less painful? Do they ever become a welcome interruption?

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The triggers for guilt and loss come when I allow myself to think about my son telling me he planned to kill himself. He talked to me about how he researched ways to do it. He was in a different state and I didn't go to see him when I should have. I did send a mobile Crisis team to his home to do a wellness and safety check. He yelled at me for sending them and they left him in his home because they didn't think he was a danger to himself. 3 days later he was dead. I flew to his home and saw the aftermath of what happened. They had taken him away but had not cleaned up from how he did it. So I have these PTSD issues and keep seeing the scene in his kitchen. Sorry for such a long post and I hope I'm not upsetting anyone.

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@georgette12

The triggers for guilt and loss come when I allow myself to think about my son telling me he planned to kill himself. He talked to me about how he researched ways to do it. He was in a different state and I didn't go to see him when I should have. I did send a mobile Crisis team to his home to do a wellness and safety check. He yelled at me for sending them and they left him in his home because they didn't think he was a danger to himself. 3 days later he was dead. I flew to his home and saw the aftermath of what happened. They had taken him away but had not cleaned up from how he did it. So I have these PTSD issues and keep seeing the scene in his kitchen. Sorry for such a long post and I hope I'm not upsetting anyone.

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@georgette12

It is a good thing that you can use this group to write about these feelings. I agree with @colleenyoung that banning guilty feelings would be great. However, since guilt remains as one of those toxic emotions, we somehow have to learn to deal with it as best as we can.

I am hoping that others will begin sharing how they deal with their feelings of guilt.

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Hello @georgette12 I'm Scott and while I hurt over the feelings you express in your post, I am pleased to see you here on Mayo Connect talking about the difficulties we each feel as we struggle with loss, grief, and often gulit.

My situation is a bit different in that I was the caregiver for my wife during her 14+ year war with brain cancer. She has been dead for two years now, but I still grieve and I still feel intense feelings of loss. I have always believed grief is just a different extention of love — if we hadn't loved we wouldn't feel the grief we do. I also believe the grieving process is as unique to each of us as was the person we grieve and the love we feel for them. There is no formula and personally I find the stages of grief thing folks trot out often to be just one person's view of grief. Once I threw that book in the trash and allowed myself to grieve in my own way, as the right way for me, did I begin to feel less guilt!

I still have feelings of guilt over things I did, didn't do, or said when my wife was sick. However the deepest guilt I feel is from her final weeks when she would beg me to help her and there was nothing I could do. It wracked me then and it still does to this day. I cannot think of those times and feelings without crying,

We were married for 41 years so there is no way I can avoid triggers for my feelings of loss. She designed the home I am in now, but was striken when we were only in the home for two weeks. I try my best to embrace my memories, painful though some are, of her in my life. We cannot just excise someone from our mind who was an important part of it — as I am sure your son was. It is not easy!

I have many people ask when I am going to leave our house, but I have no desire to at all. Funny, when my wife was alive and I would go to work, run an errand, etc. and I would come in the door she always loved for me to say loudly, in my best Desi Arnez voice, "Lucy, I'm home!" I just went to the grocery yesterday and said it the moment I came in the door. I guess I'd have to say that one is bittersweet, but I keep doing it.

Not for everyone, but I also have kept certain things in our home the same from before she left us. The attached photos is of one of them. My wife was a smoker and called our garage her 'smoking lanai'. When she went out she always put on one of my old dress shirts and a cap. She did it from day 1 in our home and then always hung them on the newel post. They are still there today — because it would be worse for me if they weren't.

I am here and as you can tell love to 'chat' as do so many others here in the Connect community.

Strength, courage, and peace!

shirtAndHat

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@IndianaScott

Hello @georgette12 I'm Scott and while I hurt over the feelings you express in your post, I am pleased to see you here on Mayo Connect talking about the difficulties we each feel as we struggle with loss, grief, and often gulit.

My situation is a bit different in that I was the caregiver for my wife during her 14+ year war with brain cancer. She has been dead for two years now, but I still grieve and I still feel intense feelings of loss. I have always believed grief is just a different extention of love — if we hadn't loved we wouldn't feel the grief we do. I also believe the grieving process is as unique to each of us as was the person we grieve and the love we feel for them. There is no formula and personally I find the stages of grief thing folks trot out often to be just one person's view of grief. Once I threw that book in the trash and allowed myself to grieve in my own way, as the right way for me, did I begin to feel less guilt!

I still have feelings of guilt over things I did, didn't do, or said when my wife was sick. However the deepest guilt I feel is from her final weeks when she would beg me to help her and there was nothing I could do. It wracked me then and it still does to this day. I cannot think of those times and feelings without crying,

We were married for 41 years so there is no way I can avoid triggers for my feelings of loss. She designed the home I am in now, but was striken when we were only in the home for two weeks. I try my best to embrace my memories, painful though some are, of her in my life. We cannot just excise someone from our mind who was an important part of it — as I am sure your son was. It is not easy!

I have many people ask when I am going to leave our house, but I have no desire to at all. Funny, when my wife was alive and I would go to work, run an errand, etc. and I would come in the door she always loved for me to say loudly, in my best Desi Arnez voice, "Lucy, I'm home!" I just went to the grocery yesterday and said it the moment I came in the door. I guess I'd have to say that one is bittersweet, but I keep doing it.

Not for everyone, but I also have kept certain things in our home the same from before she left us. The attached photos is of one of them. My wife was a smoker and called our garage her 'smoking lanai'. When she went out she always put on one of my old dress shirts and a cap. She did it from day 1 in our home and then always hung them on the newel post. They are still there today — because it would be worse for me if they weren't.

I am here and as you can tell love to 'chat' as do so many others here in the Connect community.

Strength, courage, and peace!

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@IndianaScott thank you so much for your words. They are powerful and convey much ard won wisdom. I really like the way that you look at guilt as an extension of love and that you cannot feel love without also balancing with guilt at times. That is a very visual image for me.
Ginger

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Thank you @IndianaScott and to ginger for those posts. Hearing how others feel does help. It's been 2 and a half years but I do have a grief counselor. Other than that this is not a subject people want to talk about "in real life".

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The pleasure was mine, @georgette12 I agree that most folks do not want to talk about grief, loss, guilt, etc. Then again I find it amusing (and at times irritating) so many folks do feel the need to comment/criticize how I personally deal with it! I guess in this day and age everybody is a critic! 🙂

I hope the sun is shining wherever you are today!

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@georgette12

Thank you @IndianaScott and to ginger for those posts. Hearing how others feel does help. It's been 2 and a half years but I do have a grief counselor. Other than that this is not a subject people want to talk about "in real life".

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@georgette12 Mortality in general is often a taboo subject. Add in the death aspect and people want to hide their heads. It's good you have a grief counselor. In the past I have had interface with many suicidal individuals. If this is truly something they want to do, they will be successful. No matter how many reach out to them, no matter who loves them. The darkness and pain is overwhelming and seemingly insurmountable. Sending gentle hugs.
Ginger

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@gingerw and others who have commented. My therapist told me that if someone is in a great deal of pain to the point that they completely believe the only way out is suicide, then their decision is made and you can't really stop them. I guess a person can be delayed from committing this act, but intellectually I guess I believe if that's what they intend to do, then they will find a way to do it at some point. But of course that's my intellectual thought only
As a mother I will never resolve the guilt and feeling I could have saved him. I know this topic is depressing so I appreciate you all listening.

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