A community of peers created by the Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation
Following Deb's passing, I was very aware of everyone elses grief and accommodated them for the most part. I am not talking about my kids, that may or may not be a different subject. But, family, co-workers and friends. We had a memorial at the one year mark, my children told me to restrict it to family only. I excluded Deb's closest friends, but called them to inform them of the kids wishes, three years after her passing they have little or nothing to do with us.
The other part of this was, that after about 4 months or so, I saw a woman at the market who was a friend of Deb's, she asked how I was, I told her terrific, and you would have thought I killed her dog, I lowered my head and said, "as good as we can be". She was happier with that answer and went about her business.
So, would our grief be diferent, if we didn't have to worry about other peoples thoughts and feelings, I am interested in your opinions.
I am glad you call people on it. I totally hate it when some one says to me "I understand how you feel"...Really? You understand what it feels like to be a widow. To not see your husband come through the door at 5:30. You understand that under the Christmas tree will never be a present from him to me. Nor will I have an opportunity to celebrate his birthday, our anniversary, take our usually trips to Europe. Oh you really understand that each piece of mail with his name on it only reminds me of the emptiness within the walls of my house, because it has lost the feeling of home! People may not realize their insensitivity, but this has taught me to correct my lack of understanding in what others may be going through. I wish that I could "control" my grief, as my best-friend put it. I wish I never had to grieve in the first place. Thank you for starting this thread. It has helped me a great deal.
Hi Dobster, OK, I'm just going to come out and say it--a 'best' friend telling you to control your grief at the 1-month mark is not a 'best' friend. I've made several new friends since the deaths of my husband and son, and what I've noticed is that all these new friends are people who have suffered severe losses or trauma. They allow me to cry or vent and they don't expect me to put on a happy face. In fact, they will call me on it if they sense I'm squelching something down. So honestly, I think your 'best' friend belongs in the category of former friends since she apparently cares more about herself than the pain of what you're experiencing. My view now is that life is too short to waste time with people who are as blatantly uncompassionate and impatient as your friend seems to be. Whew, good thing I can vent here on WV!
I, too, became a caretaker for my mom after my husband died. I have two sisters but they didn't help. She had a UTI and was a little messed up on her meds, including telling the hospital that "her" husband died (she'd been divorced 42 years and never remarried). I also had two young children and had to be strong. I just didn't have time to grieve and now I am all alone b/c she started up again with her "take care of me." My counselor tells me to just force my sister to move her to the city she lives in but my sister will put her in assisted living, not get her counseling and leave her there to rot. I need a life, any kind of life but I can't abandon my mother.
I also almost lost my home but managed to get a refinance even though I had filed bankruptcy. I had a bad roofing job done on my house in 2008 and have had two more insurance claims related to it and still have a lot of work that needs to be done before I can sell it. I just want to move to another city, start over and even change my name so I don't have any ties to my past. And, have the chance to grieve and not take care of anyone but myself.
i'm at just over two years now, the first was such a blur. A newborn, 2 year old and grieving. I didn't do my hair or make-up for about 8 months. So this didn't make sense last year. This year though, I get it. I think all I've done in my interactions with friends is try to be happy and put together so they'd want to spend time with me- fearing that I'd be a downer to them. The first year was difficult (understatement), and the bombardment of the same questions was so hard to go through over and over again so that each one could feel like a good friend. I told them all that and that when I spend time with them it's nice to keep it light. And then they seemed to disappear - no one has time to get together. Now, I just wish I had my friends back and I want life to get back to "normal". I feel so lost in how to act and what to say. Where's the freaking book on staying friends through grief! seriously. =)
I did put off my grief for about 1 1/2 months. Yes, I was comforting many people it seemed, and I and my husband had commited to organizing the volunteers for a FSH muscular dystrophy walk which was held one month after his death. I had to keep it together until after the walk. Then about 2 weeks after the walk I started to fall apart. Luckily, I found out about a Family Grief retreat and was signed up by soem caring people. Then I signed up for a grief support group about 2 months after that.
To tell you the truth, because I was a spousal caregiver for many years prior to my husbands death I initially had the mind set that Id had enough grief and was done with it! Ha! was I wrong!
It's been 8 months now. It's better, not so intense, and not so often, but, I am wiser now and know that grief is here for a while. I just to know how to handle the grief monkey when he decides he needs to take a ride!
the only grief that concerns me is mine and my grown children and my grandchildren. The rest can manage their own. To me grief is a gift left for you not to enjoy but to be grateful you had that person in your life for so many years and for me it has strengthen my faith in God so much. He has shown me that my husband is in heaven and he is waiting for me. I will see him again. Dont worry about anyone else but yourself..be selfish
Floyd, thanks for this post. I have put my grief on hold for my kids...yes it was an imperative...following the death of their dad 11 years ago. Eventually it caught up with me and I paid a price.
I was determined I wasn't going to do that again. So I was surprised that following the death of my 2nd husband 14 weeks ago that again i was putting my grief on hold trying to assure others that I was fine...when all i wanted to do was curl up in a ball and cry. My parents were hurting so badly for me...that I tried to hide my grief from them as best I could. I had to return to work at 5 weeks (long before I was ready) only to find that i was expected to hide my grief from everyone there as well. It became to much and at 13 weeks i have had to take indefinite leave without pay - either that or resign as I am apparently too sad for them to have at work.
So for now I am able to 'work' on MY grief while I am alone at home during the day, then I try ot pull myself together for my 18 year old daughter when she comes home so that she doesn't worry about me too much. But my parents keep calling to check on me, and my friends feel it is their responsibility to make sure I stay 'happy'.
I'm going to take some time away on my own to try to get through some of the hard work I've been putting off, it's the only way to actually focus on what is important to me. So, yes, my grief would take on a whole different aspect if I didn't have to focus on other people's attitudes, thoughts and feelings.
Thanks for the opportunity to vent, Chez
It has been 15 months since my husband passed. I go back in forth between what everyone else would find appropriate for our (me and the kids) grieving and what we need to do to grieve. Soon after, I transferred to a new department, and a couple of weeks ago, transferred back. Everyone seems so nice, but I have heard "it's good you had the year to grieve" too many times. It's as if they think I'm done with it!
I know that family support is important and good for us. But I do feel like I have to be the strong one for my side of the family when we are together. It messes with my emotions, and gives me an upset stomach. So I actually avoid some family just because I can't "handle" it for now. I am barely getting by, just being strong for my own kids. I can't do it for anyone else.
My husband passed away suddenly on may 22 and I have found it absolutely exhausting worrying about everyone else's feelings and trying to figure out ways for them to help, basically so they can feel better about doing something for me and my daughter
It has been a year and a half for me and I think that only now have I been able to truly grieve for myself. The first year I walked on eggshells trying to make sure that I didn't offend anyone. Trying not to breakdown in tears in front of people. It is all a blur to me now. For awhile I even wanted to go and apologize to anybody I may have offended by whatever. I have now gotten to the point where it is finally me time. Looking back I can't understand why I was so worried about offending anyone, there was no shortage of people who weren't concerned about offending me. Its kind of like there was me before grief and the new me and they are definitely not the same person. I am so glad that I found this site. Finally I am able to express my feelings and have people just understand without explaining.
I've been caring for my 93 and 94 year old parents since my husband died. I had cared for him for so many years through various health problems that it just comes natural. We actually do quite well together...three people and three dogs.