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How do people deal with grief?

Don Stadler
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Joined: Feb 10, 2004
Posts: 451
I'd like to know how people cope when a loved one dies.

I've recently lost my mother and am pretty much alone in the place where I'm living. I know it's really going to hit at some point and I want people's advice on how to handle it.
Helen Thomas
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Joined: Jan 13, 2004
Posts: 1759
I am sorry to hear that. Not speaking from first hand experience but observing others who lost dear ones I'd suggest keeping in close touch with people who were close to your mother or your friends who didn't know her would do. It could take about a year or longer for the grieving to ease, unfortunately.

How to Cope With Grief has good pointers.

Condolences and all the best.


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Thomas Paul
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Joined: May 05, 2000
Posts: 13974
What I found worked for me when my father died was to spend time just thinking about all the good times I had with him. I needed to give myself a chance to grieve and to miss him and this really helped. I still go out to the cemetary on a regular basis and talk to him about what is going on in my life.


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Jessica Sant
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Joined: Oct 17, 2001
Posts: 4313

when my mom died my sister and I both dealt very differently. I was 17, she was 14. I basically talked to all my friends. I'd tell them the story about how she got sick (cancer), fought it, and eventually died of it. The first few times I told the story, I couldn't get past the first bit. Then as I dealt with things more -- I could get through more of the story. Until I got through all of it. I guess I was just figuring out how to accept each part of what happened. And talking about it got it out of my system.

You never get over all of it. Its been 9 years now and I every so often I still get this realization that "wow, my mom's dead. and she's never coming back" kind of thing -- childish I guess, thinking in the very very very back of your mind that one day she'll come back. Then there's the great moments that really make me think of her and smile.

Right after it happened... I think it took me a good year or two to remember her how she was when she was healthy (and how she was for almost all the time I knew her) but that first while -- all I could remember was her sick. It was nice when my mind transitioned to remembering HER... and not just her sick. Does that make sense?

Anyway -- for me -- talking helped a lot. Talking and crying and some hugs.Just keep remembering: you're not the only one this has happened to. There are plenty of people who understand what you're dealing with. You just need to talk and find out who they are.
Marilyn de Queiroz
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Joined: Jul 22, 2000
Posts: 9043
    
  10
I liked this article. Sometimes I still miss my parents very much, usually when I'm around something that reminds me of them. Sometimes something as simple as singing or walking brings back a memory. I have good memories and few regrets, but some people have bad memories and many regrets. I think that the emotions must (eventually) be dealt with in order to proceed with a normal life.

I believe in heaven, and I believe that my parents are there. I look forward to seeing them again.


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Richard Hawkes
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Joined: Jan 28, 2003
Posts: 1340
Originally posted by Jessica Sant:
It was nice when my mind transitioned to remembering HER... and not just her sick. Does that make sense?

I never heard another person talking about that aspect, but that's exactly the problem I had, so much so that I had to make a real concerted effort to think back to earlier and happier memories. It's an important step to be able to remember a person fondly and smile rather than getting upset about their final months, weeks or days. In this respect (and if possible) it helps to be around those who were also close to that person because you can share your memories, plus the chance to help others will give you a break from your own sad thoughts, at least temporarily.

It's a terrible thing however you look at it and there's no 'easy' way to deal with it. The only thing I'd add is it's imortant to let it come at its own pace. You might get angry and confused for NOT feeling bad sometimes. I remember thinking my own cynicism and anger had rendered me incapable of grieving naturally, but it was all distraction and not very helpful.
fred rosenberger
lowercase baba
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Joined: Oct 02, 2003
Posts: 10916
    
  12

I have not lost either of my parents, but my wife lost both within 3 months of each other, about a year before i met her. It seems we'd be doing something, and it would hit her all over again.

We'd talk about them, what they were like, the stupid jokes they had as a family, how well her father and I would have gotten along (and how miserable we'd have made her with our bad puns).

I guess i'm echoing what others have said. Talk to your friends. Remember the good things about her.

I don't know much about it, but around 10 years ago when i worked at a bookstore, there was one called "When Bad Things Happen to Good People" that was very popular. I never read it, don't know if it's religious, philisophical, or anything - but a LOT of poeple bought it and commented how it helped them.

And remember all your friends here at the Ranch who will be more than happy to listen and talk.


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Bacon
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Joined: Jul 14, 2004
Posts: 305
I remember my Grandmother's funeral. Folks were sitting around talking, laughing, telling stories about her, how she grew up in the depression, how strong she was internally, a tough old Scot. I really loved my Grandmother, I still do. It did not seem strange that there was laughter at her "home-going" We were celebrating her life. Don't get me wrong, there were tears, plenty of them, because we all miss her.

When I think about her today, I remember... and often smile.
Helen Thomas
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Joined: Jan 13, 2004
Posts: 1759
Deaths of non-immediate family members can be pretty hard too.

I've attended two funerals over as many years - an aunt asthmatic aged 65 years but one day gave up the struggle with her ventilator. She died on a Tuesday and the Saturday before that I'd given her a lift into town. As I prepared to reverse and drive off she, very unusually, tapped on the window and said "Goodbye" waving her hand. We were reasonably close and the grief took me by surprise remaining for several months.

The other funeral was for a young man who gave up a promising career as an Accountant for British Airways after years of study at Uni, to work with the homeless. He was watching a football match with his Dad , went into the kitchen to make a sandwich and choked while eating it. At the funeral the parents were so bewildered at their loss and I have never,never before now seen an entire congregation weep. There were several pews of rescued homeless youngsters he had worked with. In his 27 years he had packed several lifetimes worth of living.
[ August 06, 2004: Message edited by: Helen Thomas ]
Don Stadler
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Joined: Feb 10, 2004
Posts: 451
The hardest thing for me was that she lived with me. Over the past 2 years she slowed down, but I still had hope that she would get better so that we could do the things we dreamed of. She was sick but not steadily debilitated until the last. Actually it kind of crept up on us. I was so busy working and coming home to take care of her that I really didn't see it coming, even though her outings became fewer and further between.

What I'm finding now is that I'll have the freedom to do some things I couldn't do before - but the savor is out of it for now. I did something today and felt bad - because I wanted her to be alive and well and able to do it with me!
Tony Alicea
Desperado
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Joined: Jan 30, 2000
Posts: 3222
    
    5
Don:

All I can say is that I "accompany you in your sentiments" (that is literally translated from the Spanish statement that we use in many latin american societies in this situation), even though both of my parents are still alive. One 78 and the other 79 years old.

Be Well...
Mark Spritzler
ranger
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Joined: Feb 05, 2001
Posts: 17249
    
    6

One thing to realize Don is that the loss, any big loss or seperation, has 5 stages that everyone goes through, and unfortunately, everyone needs to go through. It isn't easy, and there will be tough times. But always keep this in mind, that you are normal to feel how you feel, and that others have gone through exactly what you are going through and will be there to help whenever you ask.

Mark


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Nanhesru Ningyake
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Joined: Nov 29, 2000
Posts: 452
It may help to believe in after-life and reincarnation - that way, your loved ones are never away from you. You can talk to them, preferably when alone, and try and sense/ imagine their response. Even to this day, I sometimes say 'hi ajji (grandma)' to my grandma who passed away 10 years ago, remembering her love and caring for me... I think she's somewhere out there, beaming down on her dear (and favorite ) grandson NN.

I was very mischievous, and used to keep her on her toes watching me, and (happily, I think) being the target of my pranks - like that one time during Holi, the Hindu festival where people throw and smear colors - when I had filled an ink dropper with red writing ink and sprayed her saree with it
Don Stadler
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Joined: Feb 10, 2004
Posts: 451
Originally posted by Mark Spritzler:
One thing to realize Don is that the loss, any big loss or seperation, has 5 stages that everyone goes through, and unfortunately, everyone needs to go through. It isn't easy, and there will be tough times. But always keep this in mind, that you are normal to feel how you feel, and that others have gone through exactly what you are going through and will be there to help whenever you ask.

Mark


Thanks, Mark. Earlier this week I thought I was in acceptance but Friday was a bad day with a lot of despair and anger. That is why I posted. I haven't bargained, and denial was only partial and for a couple of days right after. I was aware of it but wasn't thinking about it because there was nothing I could do right then. These things go slowly in the UK. I'm back in acceptance now, thank God. But it's not going to be that easy, I know.
Don Stadler
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Joined: Feb 10, 2004
Posts: 451
I want to thank everyone for your very kind words. This helps a lot!
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Hi Don,

My Conolences. It usually helps to talk to people, as you know. If you feel like you're alone and can't talk to anyone, try writing. The act of expressing your thoughts will help you work through them.

--Mark
Frank Silbermann
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Joined: Jun 06, 2002
Posts: 1379
From what I've read, it is normal for the feelings of chronic sadness to last about a year. Denying or repressing the feelings will only delay the recovery.
Don Stadler
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 10, 2004
Posts: 451
Originally posted by Mark Herschberg:
Hi Don,

My Conolences. It usually helps to talk to people, as you know. If you feel like you're alone and can't talk to anyone, try writing. The act of expressing your thoughts will help you work through them.



This is very true. I've been working through some issues which are too sensitive to share here, but I wrote them out in an email and sent it to my aunts, who have been helping me through it. It does help to get things out into the light of day.
Don Stadler
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 10, 2004
Posts: 451
We finally had the service today at the crematorium. It was quite wonderful. A good old priest officiated and the things he said really helped me to understand that I should be glad for her. I wept freely, but this time they were healing tears.

Thanks to everyone for the help.

Don
Helen Thomas
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Joined: Jan 13, 2004
Posts: 1759
I wept freely, but this time they were healing tears.

That's good progress, Don.
Maulin Vasavada
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 04, 2001
Posts: 1871
Hi Don,

Sorry for your loss. Hope you have strength to deal with it.

I am comparatively just a kid against all of you people and have not seen much of serious life so far but I certainly understand what parents means to us.

Regards,
Maulin
John Dunn
slicker
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Joined: Jan 30, 2003
Posts: 1108
Don,
First off, I'm sincerely sorry about your loss. Mourning is so necessary, painful as it may be. I think that to get the total enjoyment of a loved one, lost for the future, we MUST mourn properly. (How's that for incentive.)

This could be a good opportunity for you to take a step back and embrace the notion of death. We all talk about it and know about it, but I mean on a real deep level. Look around tomorrow at all you friends, colleagues and of course yourself and ask yourself, "Can I accept that they will die?" We all understand that life has no guarantee and ANYONE'S life can end at anytime, yet many of us do not really fully grasp it.

My best buddy died at 11 (I was twelve) and I really didn't accept it until I had nearly died. I was "lucky" enough to be in a position where I could seriously have died, yet was cognizant to mull it over for a full weekend. It took a few months for me to get the nerve to admit it to myself but eventually I did. I began to look at death and life differently. Keep looking at your buddies and know that ANY of them may leave at any time. Forever. AND it would NOT be that "life was cut short" or "so and so died early". There is no guarantee, so when it ends, it's over. Plain and simple. Your life is the 'in-between', birth and death.

This line of thinking helped me come to terms with the fact that I almost caused my own death in an experimental surgery and the guilt and shock associated with that. Also it helped me understand the harshness of losing my buddy and finally it helped me accept and incorporate the death of my daughter, who only lived for seven days.

I'm committed to living. I'm going to enjoy my life, come what may... I'm going to utilize my existence. I guess a sense of spirit helps me feel that I am not alone. So losing the tangible part of a person I love, is only that. My wife and I held our daughter as she died. I asked my wife to open her heart wide and welcome our daughter's spirit inside her and it would be with us for as long as we live.

You could do something meaningful in regards to your Mom and feel her presence. That love and spirit can and ~hopefully will~ empower you to do something positve, as a final gift to you from your Mom - (you get to pick it), It can also be shared with others, as when you speak of your Mom, etc.

Good luck.
[ August 13, 2004: Message edited by: John Dunn ]

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