Has anyone else had the experience of having someone in their life Really Most Sincerely Want To Help...but only if they can help the way they think you should want/need? I'm finding that I have a family member who has a very hard time supporting me if, say, I want to be distracted this time instead of talking about grief. There's lots of other particular ways this relationship rubs me wrong right now, but that's just an example. She's not very good at accepting my boundaries or what I need support-wise. And I'm just not sure how to handle her. Any advice?
For now she has to go. It may sound mean because she seems so genuine grief is an exhausting time and you must care for yourself first. So, don't answer calls or texts or be really firm and say right now I can only handle a one hour lunch date once a month.
This time of our lives is something so out of the ordinary that all we can do is care for our hearts and health.
I've been keeping things short, but am worried about the holidays. I'm planning to spend less time than usual with family this year and more time with other loved ones.
I actually have two very close or shall I say formerly very close relatives who wanted me to grieve the way they wanted me to grieve. One seemed to feel as if she knew what I was going through but actually didn't have a clue. It was really all about her wanting everyone else to see how compassionate and understanding she could be. I had to politely let her know this was not about her but about me and how I chose to grieve . We see each other at church every week but she has never asked me what I needed. The other one quickly let it be known that in her mind we were both free now(she's going through a ugly divorce) so it should be party time. Again, I had to let her know that in no way was I ready to just pick up and continue on as if the last 50 years could suddenly be forgotten. In both cases I have had to do what is best for me. Last year they had to accept that our families would not be celebrating the holidays together like we had in the past. My adult children actually seemed relieved when I told them my decision. In a few weeks they will both learn that I have already made my holiday plans and will not be in town. I have found my voice. I encourage you to take your time and do what is best for you. That may mean distancing yourself from the person. You didn't ask for the hand that's been dealt to you but you can sure decide how you're going to play the hand you have from now on. Take care.
I have had people make some really stupid statements and suggestions to me. I think they have a need to say something but just like us they are new to this and talk without thinking. I know in my situation even those with dumb comments were thinking about what they perceived to be my best interest. They said it once and moved on. If they harped on it I would address it. Thankfully we are all still talking even though I have become a bit more of an introvert than I already was.
It's been hard, because she seems to want to spend more time with me now than before my beloved passed. Still, I am talking with others who have better supported me in my grief, and making plans to get what I need, especially as the holidays approach.
Sometimes it's hard for us to articulate what we need. If our friends are people who have not experienced loss, we can't expect them to somehow intuit what we need. Obviously the thing for them to do is say "What do you need? How can I support you?" But sometimes we don't know the answer.
I posted in the Born in the 50s group about this but I'll make it short here. I went to a concert the other night and one of the songs was dedicated to the band's front man's wife for seeing him through a health scare. He admonished all the couples to hold their "special someone"'s hand. Now I'm used to this at this point and I try not to let it trigger me, but I was with my sister and brother-in-law, and she grabs his hand. There were friends sitting behind us, and the wife in this couple somehow intuited that this was a hard moment, and she put her hand on my shoulder.
I thanked her the next day, and then got a lecture about not getting stuck in grief. How can someone that intuitive be that clueless, especially when I have moved 500 miles away and built a new life with many friends? I've come to the conclusion that only people who have been where we are can provide the support we need, and that this is a mostly solitary journey.
The truth is that grief, even when it has faded to those every now and then moments, makes people uncomfortable. So they do clunky, clueless things and say clunky, clueless things. I no longer expect anyone who is not a widow to understand.
I agree with you. I have found even the most caring people do not understand. Bob has been gone over 6 years and I still feel the pain, but I don’t share these feelings with anyone else. Some people have suggested that I should move on and try to “date”. I miss what I lost and am not interested in a replacement. Peace to all.
I'm lucky in that several of the people I'm closest to know what's up with grief and good support. Of course, I'm still in the first year- who knows what things will look like in a few years. I can't imagine how I will handle anyone saying something about "getting back out there" or any of that BS. Bobbysgirl, that's exactly it- the people we lost can't be replaced.
Melissa I used to get upset when people who I knew well suggested I move on. I no longer let it upset me. I realize they mean well, they really do not understand. Bob and I traveled and I do continue to travel solo. Of course it is not the same. At first it was difficult but my sons encouraged me. After over 6 years it still is not easy but it does get easier. I wish you well. Peace to all.