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Warning: My post is all about grief, really, my grief and is sad as hell

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Amy, Sep 1, 2012.

  1. Amy

    Amy Well-Known Member

    August 29th marked three months since Craig died. Three months ago I naively thought that I’d have muddled my way to accepting and becoming accustomed to my changed life by now. I thought I was healing. I started August finally tackling all the things at work that I had let slip over June and July and was so damn proud of myself for pulling up my big girl panties and getting on with things.

    Maybe there is some correlation, but as I’ve been more functional at work I’ve become less functional in my personal life. While I can’t avoid phone calls with people at work – I work from home so don’t actually see work people unless I travel somewhere - I quit answering the phone when friends call and don’t return their calls. I have almost no contact with people in real life although I do have electronic contact. I return emails, texts, post on facebook and on-line boards to keep people thinking I’m OK – and to help me feel like I’m actually OK if I can at least write and make jokes about normal everyday things. Someone told me that if I kept putting one foot in front of the other pretending everything was OK eventually I would find I wasn't pretending anymore.

    I cry all the time. I cry in my house and my car. I cry in public. In the stupidest places. The grocery store seems to trigger tears every damn week. When my father died, a friend told me to think of my father every day and smile. It is such a little thing but I found it really did make me feel better. I try so hard to think of Craig and smile but I can't do it. I always end up crying again.

    Craig’s birthday is in September. We met in October. November starts the holiday season. He loved Christmas. When I allow myself to think about the next few months I literally stop breathing for a moment. Someone said to me that with Craig’s death I lost my future. I did lose the future I thought I had and I don’t know how to create a new one. I can't imagine what it could be.

    I understand that this grief is normal, my feelings are normal. I understand that sudden, unexpected deaths are that much harder for survivors to work through. (http://www.connect.legacy.com/inspire/page/show?id=1984035%3APage%3A2625) I understand that while I am grateful that Craig was with me when he died, waking up with his body has to have had some emotional impact all of its own that I haven’t begun to recognize.

    I did see a grief counselor who helped tremendously with some big issues I had right after he died. I’ve felt like there was nothing else she could do – in part because I thought I was coping pretty well in July and in part because, well … I’m sad and what can anybody do to help with that because of course I sad. I am rethinking this and will likely call for an appointment.

    I struggle every day to understand how and why Craig died. I struggle every day to understand the concept of death. It sounds so silly but I can’t wrap my head around what is death. I struggle every day with the question of whether there is an afterlife. I’ve never believed in an afterlife. I was totally OK with that when my father died but now I want to believe Craig’s essence exists somewhere other than just in our hearts and memories. I want someone to convince that he is still there, wherever there may be.

    Early tomorrow morning I am going to a park in Coral Springs and scatter some of Craig’s ashes. We never had any true memorial service for him so I’m going to do one myself for myself. I know it’s a holiday weekend and all, but maybe if you aren’t doing something with your families around 7 am, you could take a minute to remember Craig with me.
     
  2. imjustagirl

    imjustagirl Active Member

    You will have my thoughts at 7 a.m., Amy, and I'll even set my alarm to do so.

    Please do make an appointment. There's nothing anyone can do to take the sadness away, true. But the counselor can help you deal with the sadness, and the grief, and help you move through the process.

    I'm glad we've stayed in touch, but I'm sorry that you still feel so empty inside. I adore you, and your brilliance, and your wit. It's going to be hard, I'm sure, though I've never faced anything even 1/100th of what you're going through. Just know that you have my thoughts and my friendship and anything I can do for you, just ask.
     
  3. waterytart

    waterytart Active Member

    The shock that helps you get through the first phase has worn off. You're right that your feelings are normal. Not that that helps on the next trip to the grocery store.

    The pieces of advice that you mention having gotten from friends have been good. Maybe answering the phone whenever it rings is more than you want to do right now. You could set a goal, though, that you're going to return one call from one of those friends this week, two calls next week, at times whose choice you control.

    May you feel some peace tomorrow morning.
     
  4. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    ^

    Hang in
     
  5. Care Bear

    Care Bear Guest

    Thank you for writing this. It's eloquent and painful and real and you might be helping someone else, too.

    Perhaps sharing your feelings, as you just did, will help you move forward. All I know for sure is isolating and hiding, while seemingly the better options at first, lay waste to your insides. They make everything so much worse, even if it doesn't seem like it in the moment. I've been there.

    I believe that that you are one strong woman. I hope you continue writing your thoughts and feelings.

    Best of luck to you.
     
  6. YGBFKM

    YGBFKM Guest

    Amy,

    Whenever I would see you post around here, I would wonder how you were doing. I can understand to an extent your desire to avoid contact that is anything more than superficial and emotionally "safe." I had a stretch of years where I didn't want to answer calls or leave my house. I did that because of a life-altering event, but not one that in any way compares to your tragic loss. I'm no expert on feelings or why we respond to life and death the way we do, but I recently lost my father, and while it was expected, it was the first time in my 40 years that I had to face the loss of anyone even remotely close to me. All I know is that the couple flesh-and-blood people I have in my life give me the chance to respond to loss in a way that wasn't possible before. They allow me to smile, they allow me to cry, and they allow me to be honest about those feelings I used to be so confused about. Even if it's just one person -- a friend, a relative, an sj member you meet up with -- I urge you to seek out the human contact that we too often try to keep at bay when we need it the most.
     
  7. WriteThinking

    WriteThinking Well-Known Member

    Amy,

    We are privileged that you've shared this with us. It shows amazing trust and an incredible effort to reach out, and I just want to recognize that.

    That said, you hit the nail on the head, I think, in saying that your grief is not necessarily only about the loss of Craig, but also the shattering of what you figured was your future -- a future you obviously thought about and hoped for and nutured with someone very significant to you.

    Of course you miss Craig, and you may do so for a long time, for years to come, even. But it's the life-altering, life-defining-ness of this that makes it all the harder to deal.

    My experiences with similar things -- some of which you know about -- prompt me to warn/remind you that moving through such a grieving process and on to what will be a new phase in life will probably take, literally, years, and it will likely be an ongoing process.

    Treat yourself well -- gently and kindly -- in the interim. And forgive yourself if there's anything for which you blame yourself concerning Craig's death.

    Whenever you're ready to move on to at least speaking to people more regularly -- or, more probably, whenever you're finally forced to do so by daily circumstances that stop for nothing and no one -- your life will be different. There's no doubt about that, and no changing it, unfortunately.

    So whenever you're ready to face the future, or, again, more probably, whenever you're forced to do so -- try to focus on making it a good different, rather than a bad different.

    You just can't know what's going to happen. Nobody can. But you're an amazing, good and strong person, who, it seems, was made all the better for your having known and been involved with Craig.

    Good things will happen again for you. I'll pray for it, but I'm sure of it anyway.

    It sounds like we have different views about the afterlife, as I believe there is one, and I'm confident and trusting that I will see and know my loved ones again, even after death.

    If you have never been active in a church, I'd like to suggest that you try going to one, or several, for a while, to see if you get anything from it, or if your thoughts, feelings, hopes and beliefs about such things as life, death, and the afterlife begin to change at all, or at least become more clear or helpful to you.

    I only suggest this because you're obviously searching, and churches are full of searching, hurting, but also good people who may be able to empathize, advise, and certainly comfort you.

    Whatever you do, reaching out will be important, even imperative, after a while, so waterytart's suggestion is a good one. Give yourself goals, deadlines, and such -- even if they're generous, modest, easy ones at first, so that you just don't allow yourself to become totally mired in grief beyond a certain point.

    And, yes, consult again with the grief counselor. You need help and should definitely ask for it, even if it is only from him or her. Trust that you will get through this, because you will, if you allow it. In the end, eventually, patients heal themselves, in their own ways, and in their own time, as long as they keep trying.

    I am so glad you posted this here, and shared this, because I know it couldn't have been easy. And I'm glad that you've become a member and stayed on here in the interim since Craig died. Please know that you've been a great addition to this board in your own right, and I, for one, feel privileged to have gotten to know you a little bit.

    I'll be up and thinking of you and Craig tomorrow morning at 7 a.m., and I hope maybe you'll feel all of us there with you in spirit at your little memorial service for him.

    Craig is definitely someone who should be remembered, and rest assured that, around here, he is, and will be.
     
  8. Bubbler

    Bubbler Active Member

    Amy, if it makes you feel any better, and I realize it might not, you're handling it all fine.

    I've had a lot of tragedies in my life. My mom passed away when I was 12. My wife and I lost a child to an extremely rare genetic disease before he was born (it wasn't technically a miscarriage, but it was similar).

    Many people in my life know this. When they've gone through tragedies of their own, they ask my advice.

    As a rule, my advice is almost always the same ... don't judge someone's way of handling tragedy, but most of all, don't judge yourself. There's no right or wrong way to "deal" with sorrow. Everyone has their own way of dealing with it. Coping doesn't fit into an easily defined box.

    There's a lot of well-meaning, but sometimes bad, advice out there that will tell you to be "tougher" or advice on how to "move on". I recoil at it. The notion that someone needs to move on based on someone else's expectation or some arbitrary calendar is odious to me.

    I get asked that a lot. How did I "move on" from my mother's death or the pre-birth loss of a child? The truth is ... you don't move on. In my case, on some level, I just learned to live with it, but I also learned living with it means being OK with the times I feel melancholy about it. I don't let it run my life, but I don't suppress it either.

    As long as you can function in your everyday life, which it sounds like you do, you do what feels right to you and you alone. You don't owe society or the people in your life anything but your honest feelings.

    And if your honest feelings are sorrow right now, so be it. Who am I or anyone else to judge how you choose to feel or how you choose to heal? You have the right to do it in your own way.

    I'll be thinking about you and Craig today. He was a good dude. Best of luck.
     
  9. Johnny Dangerously

    Johnny Dangerously Active Member

    Amen.

    It's early here, but I am up, just a little earlier than I planned to be, and I am so there.
     
  10. Buck

    Buck Well-Known Member

    I lost somebody incredibly close in Feb. No warning, nothing. Just gone.
    It was shocking. It still is. No car wreck, no illness, just death.
    I'm still fucked about it. Really fucked up about it.

    Do your work, which for me has always been a sanctuary from my emotions. Your friends and family will be there when your grief allows or requires you to interact.
    At a certain point though, work can't cover you. There are social and familial bonds that, although not a cure, might prove to be a balm.

    Lots of people will tell you 'I'm sorry.' That won't make you feel any better, but that's OK.
    We can't know the specifics of your pain, but we empathize and sympathize with it.
     
  11. Buck

    Buck Well-Known Member

    Also, never take advice from me in any fashion.
    I'm a drunk and a former recreational drug user.
     
  12. WolvEagle

    WolvEagle Active Member

    Amy - I lost my wife nearly four years ago - Nov. 12, 2008, to be exact. Today would have been our 24th wedding anniversary; her 46th birthday would have been Aug. 30. She suffered a massive stroke and was in an ICU for 2 1/2 weeks before she died of a pulmonary embolism.

    I've walked in your shoes, and it's not easy. These things take time - a different amount of time for everyone. Our son, who is now 20, keeps his emotions inside and seems to be doing OK. Our daughter, who is now 17, had a delayed reaction, and I took her to counseling. She still has her moments, but is doing much better. The sad part is that she alienated some family members who tried to reach out to her. I hope she makes peace with them before they're gone, too. I have told her that.

    Sure, I think about my wife, especially at this time of year. Yes, I miss her. I always will. But, I know that I've got to keep moving forward, for my sake, for my kids' sake and for the extended family's sake.

    It's OK to have those "I miss Craig" feelings. He sounded like a great guy. It's also OK to go out and socialize with your friends, too. You'll find that it'll help in the healing process. They'll understand. They'll help you through this.

    Though I'm not much of a social butterfly, getting out and doing things that I like to do has helped - visiting local attractions, buying CDs I always wanted to buy and the like. Take time to do things for you, which will help you heal. Craig won't mind - honest. In fact, I think he'll be happy looking down on you seeing that you're doing things that make you happy.

    It sounds like you need to talk to a counselor. Please, please do. It will help - trust me. It helped me. You're going through a jumble of emotions, which is only natural. Talking about them with a professional will help you sort out all those feelings, and you'll feel better about yourself. It'll help with the healing process.
     
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