Heartlight

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  1. Hi everyone. Today is the worst day of the year for me. I have had a dislike-turned-hatred of Christmas since I was 12, about 30 years. Then, four years ago, my dad died on Christmas day. The first couple years after that, I grew violent at Christmas time. The sounds and sights of Christmas caused the desire to smash things. I never did, thankfully. I still hate Christmas but I'm not violent anymore. And I decided this year that I wasn't going to let my own negativity get in the way of my happiness. I know that sounds strange. But it did leave me open to being exuberant at times - I spontaneously organized the staff singing christmas carols to the clients where I work, because oddly enough, although I have always hated Christmas, I have always loved Christmas carols. I still hate Christmas. I hate that the entirety of this western society thinks I should find some meaning on this day - or find some alternate thing to celebrate: "festivus for the rest of us" is big right now. I just want peace. I want this day to just be a day off and I want to commemorate my dad in my own personal way and I don't want to have to explain, explain, explain my way through life Thanks for listening. I just needed to babble a little, to try and move some energy in me. Good luck and I wish you all peace, in your own way, for this season and the months to come. <3
  2. Thanks, Cindy Jane. I remember when you told us what your dad had said. It was good then and it's good today. Thanks for sharing it once again <3
  3. Hi everyone, It's been almost 7 years for me, for my sister, and 3 for my dad. I have changed but thankfully no one in my life expected me to be the same. There have been times in the last month that I've thought about signing in and starting my own topic looking for comfort, because the loss is permanent and affects me in different ways at different times. Today, I feel like I have a strength, compassion and a huge empowerment to live as a legacy for my lost loves. Tomorrow, I may feel weepy and lost myself. I have said and I will always say, the most important thing we can do for ourselves is be ok with whomever we turn out to be - in each moment. Sometimes, I can find great happiness. Sometimes, I feel the whimsical and playful girl I once was. But I know that the only reason I can do that (now, I couldn't for a couple years) is because I allow myself to have the sad times. I have a wonderful person who never makes me feel like it's wrong to feel so much sorrow. This allows me the freedom to feel happiness in the next moment, if it's available to me. It's a messed up journey, and I have determined it will be forever. But being at peace with our insanity makes us sane. Wishing you all peace. <3
  4. Hi Thomas123, (and warm wishes ModKonnie) It is a terrible thing that you've had to live through and blessings to your grandfather for making you eat. I am sure you are suffering from normal grief, survivor grief and post-traumatic stress syndrome. Each of these is a terrible thing to have to heal from and I can only imagine that the combination is crushing. Remember to always give sympathy to yourself, Thomas. That's the person who needs it right now. For instance, I don't know your mom but most moms would agree: no matter how angry she was that you didn't make it to the island that day, she would be blessing all the gods that ever existed that you were NOT there. That you still live is the greatest gift that can be given to your mom. I'm so sorry you feel such insanity ModKonnie is right, we welcome anyone who grieves. Read around and maybe there will be things that people say that help you understand parts of what you're feeling. When you want, express yourself here, let your pain out in your words. Most of all, be gentle with yourself. A year and a 1/2 is just a blink of the eye when it comes to this horrible loss you must feel. Find a safe place inside yourself to understand that you are exactly where you are supposed to be in all this. It is from this place you will be able to understand and accept all that you are feeling. One moment at a time. <3
  5. Hi Medic201093, I'm sorry no one has answered for the majority of the month, sometimes the spam leads us astray. As you know, it's very different for each person. Besides the pain of loss, it may be that your mother might feel guilt that she feels some relief that her mother passes after such a long bought of caretaking. And yet, she may not feel that. It is best to always just be open to whatever she may be feeling. With my own family, I found it really important not to be afraid to bring up the person we lost and what their opinion was about whatever we were doing or talking about. This made us be able to have moments of communion and make a space available for anyone who wanted to share more about how they were handling the moment. I also found it very important to have someone in my life who wasn't experiencing the same loss. Someone to whom my grief and my loss for that person was the only one that they knew. It validated my relationship and my pain because I didn't have to worry about whether they were having a different kind of pain (for the same loss). All in all, I have only known: help them understand whatever they are feeling is right and whatever it is, is important. I truly believe, having experienced it, that the only way to help ourselves is allow the fullness of our pain to exists without judgement. To allow our feelings to slow down our brain or our brain to slow down our feelings, whichever one needs the help the most in the moment. If our brain is reving up with questions or guilt, allow the love (that at first is experienced at pain) to slow that down to just feeling; or if the feelings are crazy and erratic, have the brain say soothing words inside to help slow down the craziness. If you see any of that happening from either heart or head, just be a soothing force. "Just be there" sounds like a platitude, but it is really the only thing anyone can do. Be there in full acceptance. Be a witness to whatever she's willing to share. Be real. The other thing to know is that there are two parts - grieving and mourning. Grieving happens and only the most significant act of will or the most traumatic self-preservation-shock can stop it. Mourning is expressing grief externally and helps the grieving process immensely. It may be telling a story and talking about your loved one or your relationship. It may be writing words or music or even cooking. Action taken outside of one's internal processing that allows the movement of the grief. I would also suggest encouraging that movement when you see times where that would naturally come up. Ask questions, even if it's uncomfortable to you. Mention how you thought your grandmother might have like a certain activity and maybe do it together. I hope this is of some help. My last suggestion is to remember to allow yourself to feel what you need. You will have a loss that may or may not be significant to you and it is also very difficult to see loved ones in pain. Don't try to take either of your pain away. Just be. I wish you soft moments in the days ahead. <3
  6. I'm so sorry about your dad William_Chen. I have never lost anyone to suicide so I can't even imagine the additional pain and suffering on top of the horrible ripping of sudden loss I remember the unable to breathe feeling. I remember the inability to live feeling. I took myself to a counsellor about two weeks after my sister suddenly died because I didn't know how to exist anymore. I only knew pain. From the moment my sister died, it was wrong for me to be in this world. I don't know the additional tearing of your heart you must feel from your dad deciding to leave so suddenly, but I wanted to send out a caring word. Don't breathe, if you don't want to, until you do. Don't listen to them when they say be ok, until you can. Be sad, miss your dad, be confused, be angry, because you are going to be what you are and there's very little that will change this first shock and deep, desperate reaving of your soul. Just hold onto yourself as if you were your dad... give yourself and your family the love that you want to give to him to help yourselves through it. I wish you and your family moments of peace and love. <3
  7. Dear victoria2998, I'm so sorry about your dad You are not wrong to be mad. It is so very natural for the hurt and grieving part of us to be crying out "what about me?" We so much want for someone to understand our pain, someone to see how important our relationship was, someone to see the ripping and tearing that happened to us when we lost this most important person in our lives. And, completely contrary to all that, if someone dares try to understand we get angry because they can't, they never could, never would they have even an inkling of the importance of who we lost or how we feel. Grief is insane. You are not wrong to be angry. You are very smart and understanding that you need something from her is a really good start. You both are so young to be experiencing this that it is very understandable to me that she wouldn't know how to help you. I think it's a very good thing that you've expressed yourself here because part of our process of grief is mourning... expressing our feelings, sharing them outside of ourselves. It's hard for adults who have lived many years and exprienced lots of life to be able to help someone grieve. Eventually, you may see that she is only being as she can be and forgive her, as you may eventually forgive yourself for your anger. You ask what should you do? It's hard but if you want this friend to help you, then you may have to be the strong one and start that process with her. She doesn't know what to do just as much as you. It is very ironic but sometimes the grieving person has to teach those around them how to help. It is hard and it is unfair, but in the end, it is more helpful then waiting for them to do something neither you nor they know what. If it were me, I would think about what I needed from her and then I would tell her. I would say, "I need to talk about my dad for a while and I really need you to just listen." and then I would start. Or I would say, "I'm having a terrible struggle today and I think it would be helpful if you could come over and sit with me, maybe listen to some of his music with me." or things like that. It seems very basic, but it is something you can do. It's not wrong for you to be angry. And it's not wrong for her to not have helped you as you wish up till now. No one knows what to do. Death is the hardest part of life and our living relationships can suffer terribly through our grieving because no one knows what to do. Young or old. Be patient with yourself. Understand what you're feeling is ok, at all times. Take each day one at a time and come back and share with us, if with no one else. <3
  8. Hi sissy, (and warm wishes to ModKonnie) When I was in my worst grieving times, it was very helpful when people didn't hide from my pain because of their own discomfort. When people asked a question that was difficult for them (because of their uncomfort) but important to me, because it was about my relationship and my pain, those actions helped me to understand that everything I was feeling was right, that I didn't have to question my own questioning. I felt safe to exist in the pain that was the only way I could exist for a while. They knew that I had nothing else in my existence except learning how to struggle to live each and every moment with such unbearable pain. The people who helped me the most made me feel like whatever I needed to be in each moment was ok. There is such insanity in grief... and feeling like it's ok to be insane at times is the most amazing gift I was given. Whenever you feel you can, help him to understand that everything he is feeling and questioning is natural. Help him feel safe in his insanity. And I agree with ModKonnie to tell him about this site. I have seen it be helpful to many people on their journey. Maybe even reading some of the stories he will be able to understand some of what he, himself, is feeling. <3
  9. Hi MMartins, It's been a long time since you've written and I hope you get this. I just wanted to say first, I'm sorry for all the loss you are experiencing. The grief of losing someone is hard enough but then the times of feeling betrayed, of feeling frustrated because you cannot do anything about your questions and you cannot take action on the information you've been given must be unbearable at times. It seems like it would terribly compound the hell that grief is already My thoughts in this are very, very simplistic: people are only as they can be. We are such complex creatures and each of us has our past and subconsious reasons or taught morality for why we do things. None of us are perfect and, no matter what we think is the right way to think or what we would prefer other's morals and scruples to be, we've all even acted against our own a time or two in our life. I'm not saying this so to imply forgive what you can't even confirm about your husband, I say this to encourage you to remember the good parts that you got to experience with him, too. It's easy to be confused in the situation you are in, but even had he lived, and you knew that he had strayed outside the marriage, my advice would be the same: you chose him for a reason, allow yourself to not forget that. You saw a special piece of him that was only yours. And no matter if he was not perfect, you were right to believe that special piece was worth believing in. You Were Right. I encourage you to not let the actions of a confused and abusive man make you cut off your own feelings of love. The greatest thing we have in this world is the capacity to love, not the ability to receive love. Regardless of how a person treats us, it is our ability to return to the capacity of love that is our grace. Friend #1 and Friend #2 and anyone else may be correct in this shouldn't be done or that shouldn't be said but it has been done so there is no point in arguing over it. Take your steps forward finding how you want to express in this life time and slowly allow yourself to be the love that you are inside. Be friends with them if you want, because they too, are fallible. As are we all. My greatest point is be who you want to be and don't question that you are the best person to determine who that is. Love the best parts of what you had, without question, if that's what you want to do because in every person's heart, your husbands' included, is a small, innocent child that deserves that love. And you will always feel better, taking the path of love. <3
  10. Dear Azaelatree, I'm very sorry about your niece. “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent” is a quote attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt in a verbal statement in 1935. It is a concept that has been expressed as far back, in literature, as 1838 by American clergyman William Ellery Channing. I believe it holds true in this circumstance. It is only you who must be ok with your actions. If you have been in touch with your brother and you are ok with your communication with him, then you must learn what it is in you that makes this seemingly hurtful person disturb you so. It's a difficult thing, I am sure, to not be there if you want to be, but your reasons are practical. What the quote above means is that you could not be suffering this confusion and angst about your decision were you not unsettled in the decision in the first place. If it were me, and I was unsettled as you are being now, I would do what I could to find out why I was feeling the angst and then change it. If your brother has already reassured you, the rest is on you. Are you that terribly worried what others will thing? Are you feeling terrible on the inside because regardless of cost, you believe you should be there? Specifically find what the piece that is unsettled is and see if you can soothe that part of yourself. However, just to give you some outside perspectives on dealing with loss... my sister died the day before my niece, her daughter's, birthday. My niece had birthday plans. She decided she was still going to go out. This did not mean she didn't still grieve, this did not mean she didn't feel the depth of pain we all did. She made a choice to go and get drunk. Not what many of us would have chosen but we didn't begrudge her her choice. Another... my Aunt didn't come up for my dad's funeral. It was quite disappointing to us, the children. But her sister, my mom, decided she was not going to be angry with her sisters for not coming. It was winter and it was a long way. They COULD have made it and we, the children, didn't understand because we would never have stayed away; however, it was square between them and so we let it go. Don't look at the person who is doing the gossiping. People who are your friends, who know you, who care about you, will see the gossip for what it is. And never try to understand that person - if you are not a vile gossiper, you will never be able to. But you can accept that she exists and move on to not letting her affect you, without rancour. Instead, just look at yourself and see what it is that you need to do to be settled in your own decision. At least, that's what I would do. Again, I am very sorry for your family's loss and that you have this drama associated to it. <3
  11. Hi again, Imp. What a beautiful, precious memory you have. When I was writing in another thread, I had tried to put myself in my sister's position if it had've been me. I can only imagine the added pain of having such innocent memories tearing at your broken heart. But truly, the only way I have found to get through grief is to honor it. Even if it's a delayed honoring. The first Christmas after my sister died, I went home for Christmas. I didn't want to be there, I was still suffering terribly, as I'm sure was everyone. I didn't let anyone see my difficulty but every moment that I was alone, the tears burst from me within seconds. That was three months later, about how long it is for you, now. I did a lot of crying. I still do. Now, I can think about my memories and not necessarily have that overwhelming, instant wave of pain. Sometimes they still come, but much of the time the memories are accompanied with feelings of love and gratitude. And it feels good now to talk about the good times we had with my mom and other sisters, about my dad and sister. I remember the first time that that happened. I was surprised and so very relieved that we were able to laugh about something that we had laughed about with them and would have continued laughing about, if they were here. There really is no help for us, you know. There is only compassion for ourselves and as much as we can muster for others. After my dad died, just a few years after my sister, my mother disconnected from the world. She sunk into a depression that we were unable to do anything about. Her doctor finally hospitalized her. I completely understand but it is terrible and horrible that we have to watch their pain, plus have our own pain. My mom lost her brother when I was young and I didn't see any grief from her after. I saw fear and anxiety before because she got a call that he was across the country in hospital and with no brain function; the doctors were calling everyone to come and say goodbye. I saw her pain before but she didn't share it with me after. She shared some of her understandings... like, years later she told me that one day, about a year after her brother died, she didn't think of him and when she realized that, she felt horrendously guilty. I was very grateful for that knowledge later, after my sister died. Because it was part of preparing myself for the understanding I was going to be required to give to myself - if it every happened, I didn't have to be guilty. Mom talks now about what she's going through with grief for my dad, how things she learned years ago were helping her to not be feel guilty now, like her continued anger at him for leaving her. I mention all that because as much as you don't want your children to experience your pain like you're experiencing your parents' pain, there may be a time when you might want to gently include them in your honoring or your learning just to prepare them for what they will, eventually and gods willing, have to go through someday. Just a perspective point which, like anything I say, anyone is free to ignore. Another thing that was helpful to me was the four counselling sessions that I had. I had 4 sessions over the first 2 years. Besides the fact that I went because there was something I couldn't move through (for example, once was severe panic/anxiety attacks), there was also true relief in it to be able to express the depth of my pain with another human being, one where I didn't have to hold back anything. Of course, they didn't hold me and comfort me like a friend would but I knew that they weren't going to judge me and I wasn't going to cause them pain so I could really, truly allow my confused, messed up and broken soul to show through. They were there just for me and that was so important. If you have anyone in your life where you can do that, I highly recommend it. Mourning, or the expression of our grief or the sharing of our relationship, is so important. The best way I can describe it is that it validates our loss which, really, validates our soul. Highfalutin words, I'm sorry. I just remember that terrible terrible time for me and want to give you as much as I can. I know it doesn't take anything away, I just always just hope that there might be little things in what I say that might help someone help themselves in those crazy, unbearable moments to allow them to survive to the next crazy, unbearable moment. <3
  12. Oh dear Imp, I'm sorry I completely understand your anger. I understand the feeling of selfishness. I just finished writing in another thread how difficult it was for me to be around my family when my sister died because I knew that everyone was experiencing their own loss but I needed someone to understand MY loss. When my sister died, I searched and searched the internet and there is very little that talks about the uniqueness of losing a sibling. Finally I found a woman psychologist who wrote that sibling loss is thought of as less than parental, child, spousal loss but what has to be realized is that we expect our siblings to be with us into old age and never, ever consider their possible loss. Ever. They just seem to be a part of us that is truly taken for granted (in the best possible way, of course). My first memory of life is my sister singing to me. I spent the next 40 years with the entirety of my existance on this planet, from my baby years to growing up and becoming me, with her intwined in my soul. Tell me how that is not as impactful as all those other losses, right? <sad smile> So yes, rant here. Not only will you not hurt anyone but we welcome your rant, we know it's important. I can imagine how deeply you need to be heard because I was once there. I hear you and it's ok. It's the worst time ever. Allow yourself to express here as much as you need to. And be gentle with yourself for all that you're feeling. Being gentle with yourself, more than anything, will help you be able to be gentle with them, outside of yourself, too. <3
  13. Hi Evergreen, I'm sorry you've had to experience this loss, for yourself and your husband and family. I want to give you as much as I can but do remember this is a female perspective and, by all accounts, men express differently. Not feel differently, but sometimes express differently than women. Also, I am only one person and others, I am very sure, have a different experience. For the first, horrific, shocking, horrible, remain-in-my-mind-as-trauma-for-months moment that I was told that my sister died, I had a friend who was my savior. I didn't have to be strong and experienced an instant shattering of my soul. I wavered between inability to do anything and strong for others for the first couple weeks when I was with family. Once I got home and away from all that was my family and my history and my sister, there is nothing that anyone in my family could have done that would have helped me. I wanted to be alone because it's was very, very hard for me to grieve around people who were suffering the same loss. I have learned since how to softly share my grief with my family but at first, I had such a great fear that my suffering will hurt them more; plus the loss of MY relationship, this piece of myself that was part of my whole world and whole understanding of who I was, was mine and I didn't want to share it with someone who might invalidate it - unknowingly, of course, and completely reasonably... because they lost something that was just a precious to them. The things that gave me the most relief during the first year and a half of tortuous grieving was when someone was there for me and only for me. Someone asked me about my relationship. Someone asked me about my sister and I didn't have to share her with anyone, she was all mine in those moments, my relationship with her was the most important right then and there. Someone allowed me to have the fullness of my pain without justification or question. I've learned so much in the last seven years, with the addition of my dad dying in that time. I've learned that the best thing that anyone can do for anyone (besides physical chores and such when that can't be done initially) is to be an understanding witness to their grieving process. It is so simple but it is extremely hard to see someone you love in such pain. I had another friend that a year ago, was there for me when I had a real downturn. A year after my dad died, six years after my sister died. Had a crazy, crazy day and couldn't calm down. I texted a friend and said I was freaking out and he came and held me while I cried. That's it. Didn't try to change me, just let me feel safe enough to break down. And I did and fifteen minutes later, I was better than I had been for weeks. That was the only time I ever had to do that but I was insanely grateful that I knew there was someone in my life that it didn't matter if I was crazy and just let me be what I had to be. I guess the point I don't know if I'm getting to with all this crazy female reactions is: he's going to be what he's going to be and, from my experience, the best that it can be for us who are within tortuous grieving is the knowledge that there is someone outside of ourselves who is ok with us being exactly how we are, no matter what it is. It's still very early for your husband. These are the early, crazy times so he's exactly where he's supposed to be and I think it's wonderful you are looking to see the ways that may work for you to help him know that too. The other thing I was thinking is that there is a lot of people who are experiencing grief and loss who worry about whether they should be feeling a certain way or worrying about the thoughts they're thinking. This happened to me too and I devoured the internet. Not that it was much help but it's a search that is very common. I was thinking that if you continue reading or writing in these or other forums, maybe share what you're learning with your husband. It's ok to talk about the knowledge of grief, even if he doesn't want to share his specific feelings. Just maybe gently tell him how you're learning about it and maybe there will be times he will be able to relate to something that helps his internal chatter. Finally, my grieving was made worse because I kept berating myself for not being able to be the person that I used to be. I started to truly get better because I finally realized that I am a different person and can never be that person that I was again. The world changes, and that includes you, when you lose someone that deeply connected to your soul. Instead, I allowed myself to have new preferences and new choices and new priorities and started looking at the world with the intent to find out who I was now, instead of trying to force myself to be the person that I was when my sister was alive. I finally realized that that was impossible. I have seen this realization come to almost everyone in their own way and for you to allow him the space and understanding when or if you see these types of changes would be a blessing. At least, for me it would have been, had I a spouse who was trying to support me. I hope this is even a bit helpful. Know that even though I am infinitely better than when I was in the first year and a half, I still had tears pouring down my face while writing this. Our loss never really ends, it just becomes different. I will always have deep sadness for my sister and dad, but now I can feel love again too. Be patient, with yourself even. Allow yourself to grieve how you need to, also, because there's really nothing that can hurry this along for either of you. <3 Edit: Since I wrote this, I've tried to put myself in my sister's shoes if it would have be me and she had to live with the loss of me. She is 8 years older than me and I am the youngest of 5. I am very privileged to know that when I first came home from the hospital, Traci's first thoughts when she saw me were, "She's mine." From that moment on, she did have a huge, huge part in raising me and making me feel ok no matter what I did or how I screwed up or whether I was down, etc. I can imagine that if Traci lost me, she would be plagued not only by the loss of our relationship, as I am, but she would also have all those innocent memories, those memories when she, in her young self, was pledging to always be the best sister she could for me. I can imagine that your husband, being the oldest, probably has much of these types of memories drowning him also. You can't change that. Just reach out a hand so he has something to grab when he's ready.
  14. Dear Joceannora, I just want to say that even if you feel very un-strong in the face of others seeing you that way, I too think you are immensely strong... just to have survived what must have been an incredible amount of turmoil so you could continue forward for your partner's legacy and your son's life. Even though I cannot understand that turmoil, specifically, your strength shines through in spite of what I can only imagine is a complete desire to breakdown into your own form of insanity. I also think you are a beautiful example of the reality of love. By this I mean you were put in one of the worst possible situations imaginable and your love for both of them is what has carried you through to this moment. It is so understandable to want that support, to want that counselling, because you have carried yourself by yourself for so long and with such soul-wrenching anguish. I really, really hope that what you read here or share here can give you that bit of support that you need to help you hold on, just for another little bit, until you can find someone that can support you in person. I also want to say that I agree with what you've said about the worry of mental health in western society. I have a nephew who has been in and out of jail since 16 and has a difficult time with his mental health, plus my sister who died was advocating the understanding of the change in mental health for addicts before she died. For myself, I like to participate in places that help people find understanding rather than just medication and frustration. For example, there are support groups and meetup groups that offer support and understanding for families learning about their mental differences and trying to find the normal within that. A truly industrious person could apply for grants to support the dissemination of knowledge, because it is knowledge and understanding and visibility that are needed just as much as meds, and I sometimes am sad that I am not that industrious person. I cannot even imagine what this has been like for you but more than anything I wish that you can understand that I wish I could be there for you, in whatever way you needed, to show you that whatever you're feeling, you are right for feeling it and you are a beautiful and strong soul for allowing yourself to exist for even one moment through this trauma and to please hug yourself and give yourself that honoring and acknowledging because you deserve to have the safety and freedom to breakdown in someone's arms who will tell you all of this and rocking you and saying everything your beat-up person inside deserves and needs to hear... You are right, you are beautiful, you are so strong, you are so right to be feeling like this, it's all awful, you're doing everything right and I'm so, so sorry... <3
  15. Hi never.forget, I'm so sorry you are having such a terrible, terrible time for so long. You say that you're in therapy but can you expand on that? What is the therapy for and is it with a counsellor or a psychiatrist? It would be very, very logical to me that you have p.t.s.d. associated with your sister's accident and if you're not getting therapy specifically for trauma, then it's natural if you are not getting what you need. There are many people on this forum who have suffered the same traumatic memory over and over again and that gets in the way of natural grief progressing - which is terrible anyway - but it sounds like you have had the actual physical trauma to reinforce the grief trauma. If you are getting therapy specifically for p.t.s.d. and it isn't working then I commend you for continuing to search for answers. I would also recommend that you take a moment and let yourself feel proud of yourself for knowing that you want to be better. I would suggest that you feel such turmoil right now partly because there is a piece of you that KNOWS that it can be better, you just haven't found the right tools - and I want you to know that everyone who continues to search for those tools are amazing people, so brave in the face of such torture. Yes, I mean you. I believe you can find it. I am very glad you haven't stopped searching. If you think of your sister that you lost, would you agree that she wouldn't want you to stop searching? If you are getting therapy, express to your therapist your level of anguish and that it's not working and everything you've stated here. The other thing I thought is to find a hypnotherapist in your area. I have had hypnotherapy for 2 severe phobias and my experience with them - when they're good - is that they help us bypass our conscious mind and allow the subconscious mind to TELL US WHAT WE NEED to heal from our condition. If you choose to look for one of these people, make sure you ask them how they work: whether or not they allow the subconscious to speak or whether or not they just practice re-programming (i.e. just giving suggestion). You want the one that allows for full disclosure from the subconscious and no leading from the therapist. I am not advocating a hypnotherapy as a miracle cure but as a way to have your locked up subconscious tell you what you need and if you approach them and state that, a session with one may be able to help you and give you something really concrete to work on in regular therapy. The most important thing is to know that being in a confused, crazed state from grief and trauma is so very, very natural and I know it's terrible and painful and awful and it sounds like you've been struggling for a long time. But please don't give up. Take this one step at a time, the first is to be ok with the fact of where you are. The second is to believe that someday, someway, if you keep searching, you will find the tools that will help you to find relief from the trauma. They do exist, I promise you. The next is to try, as much as possible, to not burden yourself with the overwhelming amount of problems that can't be fixed all in one moment. You may be able to fix your relationships with your family but just let that go for a while. Yes, it's sad and hurtful but right this moment you can't do anything about it. Put it to the side and keep searching for you. Please try. Be explicit with your therapist, ask everyone you know for other methods. Don't give up. Come back and tell us how it's going. <3
  16. Dear Elaavor, Koochi sounds like such a beautiful, wonderful creature. You both were so lucky to find each other. No, you weren't holding her wrong. I can't tell you what was happening for Koochi but you had her for enough time that I'm positive you didn't do anything wrong in those last moments. So many people are afraid of dying, and afraid of dying alone, but if you read around these forums you come to understand, it happens and we don't usually know why and suddenly and with mystery sometimes. Experiencing loss like this makes it so you learn to find the blessings where you can. Like for Koochi, there's a blessing to be understood that she got to be with you when she passed, and wasn't by herself in her cage, or maybe overnight at the vet. It truly is a blessing. Maybe she even knew it was coming and held on so she could have one more cuddle with you? What is obvious, as you so bravely put, is that she gave you a gift. A gift of a new life. She gave you the gift of moving through your depression and suicide thoughts and that is a gift to cherish forever. It's ok if you want to get another pet because you can always remember that Koochi came into your life to save you and that will always give her a place of honor in your heart. And when you have your tears, and they will come often probably, remember to thank her for this gift of healing that she brought to you with her own existence. And forgive her for not staying for four years and tell her that you're grateful for the four months she gave you and that if it was her time to go, you're glad you could be with her. And then hold on and love yourself because it is sad and you will miss her. Just remember to keep the legacy that she gave you -you- alive as you move forward and have the best life you can possibly have. <3
  17. Hi Audie, I'm very sorry about your mom and what you're going through with your family and body It was a little different for me because I went through what you're going through at the loss of my sister. When my dad got sick and was dying, I already had an understanding of the craziness that grief is and I was able to avoid the majority of anxiety reactions. But that first time was hell. I've described on here before, it was a year and a half before I started to feel like a normal person again. Every day of that year and a half, I had anguish and tears as if it was the first day. When my dad died, though I was able to avoid the daily anxiety and panic attacks, I did suffer some unconscious anxiety-related symptoms, like an overwhelming fear of dying myself. It's a terrible thing, living through losing our loved ones, and when you add the stress that you've described, I can imagine it taking a toll on you physically. I hope that as you read around these forums, you can maybe learn how everything you are feeling is natural and try to be gentle on yourself... you can't change what's making you feel this bad and so you really do just have to walk through it, with as much love and companionship as we can give to ourselves. When we can give ourselves the permission to be feeling as bad as we do, or reacting badly, or not thinking clearly, or not being on top of our game, or whatever words can be used to describe how we judge ourselves, then our journey forward becomes just a tiny bit easier. I know that my knee-jerk reaction would be to have anger towards my dad if I were in your situation. So if you are, I hope that you can understand that it's also natural. What I have learned is that when we accept the emotions that are in the forefront of our being, we then have a better opportunity to choose what we want to do next. For instance, if you accept your own feelings are valid, no matter what they are, you could have a conversation with your father that comes from a place of choice rather than reaction. One that doesn't need anything from him but, instead, just expresses your reality: "I'm not ready." "I'm afraid that we're losing you too." "I'm worried about the kids." Because, truly, this is all you can do. He's going through his own struggle, even if you don't see it, and statements from you that just gently express your own truth and then don't try to fix or change things for him, will give you your own personal validation and, perhaps, allow for a non-defensive conversation that does become constructive. But it also may not. It's just really important through all of this that you always remember, what you are feeling is valid. And so is what he is feeling. Even if he's running away from it or being destructive towards himself. I have always found that gentle, compassionate, non-judgemental truth gets to the results quicker than any other direction. The results may still not be to your liking, but acting from a place of love - and of recognition of the insanity that loss creates - will help you to be compassionate with yourself for all that you have and will continue to go through, and also when dealing with your dad. Pardon a little anecdote on that point. My sister started using drugs really bad and went missing after my dad died. We didn't hear from her for over a year. We knew her address but no one was in the position financially to fly there to see if she was ok. We sent the police over but this is a drug residence and we didn't trust their i.d. of her because they didn't see picture i.d. and anyone could have claimed to be her. I sent two registered letters that required her signature but the post office screwed up and let her boyfriend sign both times. Finally, the family embarked on a "move her with love" campaign. We send happy and loving post cards and letters, her daughter's children drew her pictures, and just sent her a "hey, we love you" message from all over Canada. After doing that for a few months, she finally contacted all of us, thanking us for making her feel like it was ok to call after all this time. We were all very angry with her for dropping out, not telling anyone she was alive, not acknowledging my mom's birthday or even her own daughter's birthday or father's day or the day that my dad died, which was Christmas Day. We were all so angry that she was worrying us and keeping us stressed when all she had to do was make just one phone call. But we knew that she would just clam up more if she started to feel that shaming and angry behavior from us. Instead, we just reminded her that, yep, this s***'s crazy and we have faith you'll make it and we love you. Because at the end of the day, that's really all that's left: we love you. Whether people return our love or not, that's what we get to keep forever, our own love for them, regardless of what they do. Experiencing loss can really make us understand that. Be gentle with yourself, love yourself. Do what you have to do but find the place of love that it's coming from within, if you can. If not, love yourself through that too Wishing you great amounts of love and strength and compassion, for yourself and your family. <3 p.s. a very soft and gentle Happy Birthday
  18. Hi backyarder and Sammijo, I can't even imagine what it's been like for you both but I did have some thoughts about eating when I read your message, backyarder. First I really wanted to tell you that it's not a stupid question and doesn't even sound like a stupid question and I'm really glad you asked it. I also wanted to say that if you have any kind of internet skills, maybe you want to start up a free blog at wordpress.com and actually create that website as part of your journey? And if you don't, maybe someone who reads your very logical question will some day. The other thing that your post made me think was about the struggle I had trying to be the person that I used to be. That's what I felt like I was doing for many years, trying to recapture what I used to be. I finally started to realize that I couldn't be who I was anymore because everything had changed and I had to figure out who I now am instead of berating myself for not being that past person. The reason I mention that is because your question reminded me of that part of my grief journey... the "not expect you to be the same" part. So I thought I'd say maybe there's a way to come at cooking with a completely new attitude? For instance, I started trying recipes from this woman's website, not because I need gluten free or any political reason, but because I wanted to add more protein into my diet through using almond flour and coconut flour instead of white flour: http://www.elanaspantry.com And that might not be the website for you (although everything that I've tried on there is awesome) but maybe making food into something different than it used to be... not just finding a new way to cook but making it into an adventure or a learning exercise or something otherwise interesting or fun might help in determining how you want to eat now? Anyway, people are always welcome to ignore my suggestions, but I thought that locked in my head you wouldn't even get that opportunity. <3
  19. Hi David, welcome. I'm afraid not as many people pay attention to the topics down here so you may not get many responses. I did want to tell you though, I have a friend who was in a similar relationship as yours and had an even shorter marriage. He was also two years older. He suffered through much of the same confusion that you've expressed. I'm glad you're finding the ability to experience deeper compassion for yourself and others though. I am finding that any profound grief can open our hearts just in the way you've described. I suppose it's something of a trade-off... and that's a small attempt at humour Maybe there's even some support groups you might want to join so you can share that sense of community around? Perhaps meetup.com would have something in your area. I wish you luck in your process, David. Always try to remember to be that compassionate to yourself. <3
  20. Hello Tristenshore, (and warm wishes to you, MD) I am so sorry for all that you have been through. I have not experienced the loss of a partner so I cannot imagine what you are going through, especially with the other trauma you've experienced. In my lifetime, I have had four drug addicted sisters - zero functioning - so I have learned much about alcohol, drugs and my own experiences with grief has made me learn about that as well. As I read your message, I was thinking that it would be very understandable for your emotions and feelings to not be naturally finding balance and movement forward to more healthy feeling/thought patterns because you have included some escape from them over the last few years. I understand this and I don't say this in a judgemental way, just in a physiological/emotional way... it is very difficult to have movement from any depressed state, including the terrible pain of loss, when we don't allow ourselves healthy access to it. In other words, physiologically using alochol or drugs on a regular basis can stunt the regular processing of our emotions. Being in grief is extremely hard work and I know just for my own grief how awful, terrible, soul-ripping it is. As I read your message, I thought that maybe you could help yourself by getting some support from the chemicals and then slowly allowing yourself to move through all the terrible pain you must be in for this loss and all the trauma you've experienced. I can imagine it would be extremely scary, to not allow yourself to have the thing that is the only thing that helps, but maybe you're starting to realize that it only helps for a moment. Maybe getting rid of them will start you on the path to helping yourself for a longer time. You have a long road that may be bumpy and will be painful, but you can be happy and not in pain and not confused about your life... so long as you don't give up. Seek out the support you need in your area, and keep trying until one works for you. I wish you great peace and determination in your journey. <3
  21. Hi dsean, I'm so sorry about your Mom and the terrible pain you're finding yourself in. I know it's hard. Each one of us that comes here has found this place because we've experienced the terrible, ripping, fracturing, insanity, <insert any other soul wrenching word> that is loss of someone we love. The least I can do is tell you that I've had some of the same thoughts. I don't have a belief system that keeps me here on this earth but the pain is tortuous and I experienced not understanding why we even need to be here. That's what I called it. My search for meaning in this life was based on the fact that I didn't understand why we shouldn't just cut out and run. But, like you, I never seriously considered completing suicide because once I experienced this pain, it is beyond me to ever, intentionally, make another human being feel the loss of me. So finally, after my second loss, I started a desperate search for meaning, instead. I've also thought about the "if they're spirit, are they watching" conundrum. Even though I completely lost my faith when my sister died, I didn't lose my ability to reason so my reasoning on that one was: doesn't matter the school of thought, there is a thread of similarity - if they are some form of spirit watching over us, they are not experiencing existence as we know it. Instead, there is no judgement, there is only pure love and desire for our soul expression. There is no 'human' filter that they would be seeing us through. I realized that if those thoughts were ever making me constipated, so to speak , I had to stop thinking of them in my human relational way and give an after-life a bit more credit; because if there is one then, yes, it does have a little more compassion and understanding for us than we give to ourselves and they're not going to care what I'm doing. It is so new for you that I'm afraid the only help is to just not judge yourself for the times you're experiencing that pain. If you allow yourself to have it, and you allow yourself to have the times when you're fine, you will learn to find a balance within the pain. It is a phenomenal thing, as you have described, to be fine one moment and then to have your being crushed in an instant again, without warning sometimes. It is like not only do we have to experience this loss but we have to experience the horrific impact of it again and again until we finally learn to incorporate the loss into our being... as if our psyche doles out the impact of it in bits and pieces, each being only as much as we can take, which is horrendous as it stands, because we would explode if we were fed it all in one moment. The only way that I know of to help is to be soft with yourself during those times. I also know it's difficult to maintain for your family's sake... on the first Christmas after my sister died, I went home to my family and I felt too uncomfortable to grieve in front of them. I ended up bursting into tears each and every moment I was alone, in the bathroom, or outside to smoke, within less than 3 seconds of being alone, I broke down. This was three months after my sister died and it's only been less than two weeks for you. I know it's not sounding too hopeful because if you read around here you'll hear others, myself included, talk about the pain we feel even years later. The loss will always be there so we will forever have the totality of our feelings for that person available to experience in any given moment. But the harsh, insane feeling from the very beginning does morph, as we find a way to accept it and love ourselves (not judge) through it. We still have access to the pain, and it can come sneaking back as we least expect it, just like now, but we start to have access to our love for them again, without the pain. If you can, I would suggest talking to your wife. Another thing that I have learned is that if we have a witness to our grief, someone who is just for us, who will allow us to be the pain that we feel and will, at every turn, validate our feelings and our relationship that we lost, it is also made a tiny bit easier for ourselves. It is a scary thing, to trust someone with that vulnerability, and many times we have to teach them what we need, but if we're successful, we do feel supported. Of course, my mom was suffering terribly at our losses too and, in the begining, I felt like if I talked about my grief, it would be a burden to her. But now, after so many years and so much learning about this terrible part of life, I am able to express my sadness to her and she to me and we talk about the grief journey and what we've both learned. It is not much but when you feel you have nothing, it truly is everything. You may find that gently allowing yourself to express your grief with your dad or sisters or children, you may all feel supported together. For now, dsean, I can tell you that you are not alone in your feelings of pain, sadness, confusion, depression, worry and anything else you feel or think. It is a tortuous time and I would think it is very, very rare for someone not to question their own being on this earth for even a tiny while, whether seriously or not. So please, please be gentle with yourself, give yourself a break, for all that you feel... and for how it expresses out of you. It is the best coping method I have found. <3
  22. Hi Shawn, (and warm wishes BaileyB and Tina) I'm sorry to hear about your dad and your concern for your mom When my dad died, me and my other sisters rallied around our mom. It's really hard not too. It's terrible feeling grief and seeing someone go through it. My mom isn't the same person anymore. For the first two years (it's been two and a half), she sunk lower and lower and we all thought she was going to follow him but nothing anyone did or said made any difference. It was a struggle to get her to eat and even to speak sometimes but she had enough facilities to threaten each one of us to take her affections away if we did anything drastic, like bring in outside help. It was a crazy time and it finally ended when my sister snuck a note to her doctor and he put her in the hospital. As you might imagine, those two years were crazy for us... grieving children, watching our mom suffer. It was exactly two years after my father died that my mother rejoined the land of the living. She didn't go out or visit people or do anything special but she started eating and speaking again. She didn't leave her house for two years but has recovered enough that just the other day came out to visit me for three weeks. She's still not the same person and I'm seeing through her another example of how a person really does just have to find a way to live in this new world again. When my mother started being active again, I suffered insane grief for my dad all over again. It was just as if it was the first day. I learned from that, that sometimes people cut themselves off from part of their grieving because they are more concern about someone else. I tell you this so that in the event you have a renewed sense of your own grief sometime in the future, you understand that it's normal. It's a very, very difficult place for you to be in, having such care for your mom and not being able to do anything for her. I know. What I hope you learn from these forums is that everyone has their own time and their own way and there's really nothing we can do but be a safe place for them to have that time/way. The way that I feel it/understand it, very clearly, is that being an unjudgemental witness to someone else's grief is the most healing thing we can do for them. I know you don't want her to suffer. I know that part of you suffers for that suffering. My only suggestion is to really, really allow her to be her own suffering. It is a very painful thing we have to do - to stand by and watch someone suffer. But we can't change it. At all. And if we can find the strength and soft compassion to just allow them to have it, in whatever form it takes, then they feel ok to be who they are and to be feeling what they're feeling. Which they're going to feel anyway, and there's nothing we can do about it. If my mom had told me about putting my dad's food back, I would have told her that was sweet and made a soft joke to make her feel like it was ok, like maybe she should put a tiny plot of grass back there so it'll turn into a nice little 'garden' eventually It's definitely scary though. We thought our mom was months away from dying and we were all crazed. But there's nothing we can do. And she really did need hospitalization. So two years from now, if your mother is not eating, then I'd say something is wrong. But right now... grief is the accepted insanity. You both just have to slowly, gently, pick your way through life and learn what this new world is all about. And suffer. And the only help for suffering, that I have found, is to allow the depth of the suffering to exist. The way out is the way through, so to speak. But come back, write for you or for her, ask her if she wants you to ask any questions of people, involve her in what you're learning or what you're sharing with people, be open with her about your own grief and let her be open about hers, no matter what it is, and you will both survive this together. <3
  23. Hi Ml, (and warm wishes BaileyB) Like BaileyB, my story is different than yours. But through the two different losses, I've had different aspects of not knowing how to go on. When my sister died, suddenly, I had to take myself to a counsellor because I didn't know how to be ok. I knew that was where I was supposed to eventually get to and I wasn't putting pressure on myself, but my mind, and therefore my emotions, were trapped in the absolute knowing that nothing was ever going to be ok again. Nothing. And it's true that nothing is the same again. But the counsellor asked me one simple question: what's the alternative? In that question, the impact of all the potential answers flew through my mind and each of them ended in the knowledge that my sister would desperately want me to be ok. My sister would never, ever want me to be suffering the tortuous pain I was suffering. So what I did with that is that I allowed for the fact that ok would come. And a little more than that, I had made her a promise that I would be ok so with this stark statement and conscious realization of what the alterntive was, I realized that it was ok to not be ok for now, but that I would never stop searching until I found a way to truly be ok - and I allowed for the potential of ok to exist, in her honour. A similar thing happened when my dad died. As you have been feeling, grief if the most tremendous, long-standing suffering a person experiences and my version of "how do I be ok" when my dad was dying was knowing that I needed something even bigger that would help me; because my dad getting sick just a short time after my sister died made me realize how many more people I have the potential of losing in a very, very short time. I needed something that would make living worth the pain of this terrible grief we have to go through. So I felt deep, deep despair when I lost my sister, for a year and a half before it started to really change, but because of that initial counselling session and my promise, I just held on, and held on, always searching, never giving up, but some times really, really wanting to. I felt great and terrible sadness when my dad died, to this day I feel like a little girl who's lost her daddy, but I have allowed myself to go deep into life, to learn as much as I can, to experience as much as I can, to try and find the balance that this life must have and in that process, I have found out how to be grateful and thankful to our relationships and feel the love again without the suffering. As BaileyB said, and I agree, you don't ever get over the loss of someone, but with patience and a great deal of loving understanding towards yourself, you can recapture the love that you feel without the pain sometimes. When we lose someone so close to us, it is like losing a piece of ourselves. Like you have shared, you have lost your confidence, your self esteem, there are so many parts of ourselves that we lose access to because we are so intricately tied to the person we lost that a piece of us truly goes with them. But with that slowly moving towards your pain and your loving and expressing and being insanely compassionate towards yourself, we do get to find our shattered pieces again, they're just mixed up in all that love that we have for the person we lost that we don't have access to our parts because it's too painful. Don't be hard on yourself for still being in turmoil right now. You have a deep relationship and it is natural you will have deep grieving. But continue with counselling, they can be very helpful to let you see what the pieces are in yourself that need you to love the most. And this is what we forget to do, to love ourselves; because this person who loved all the little bits and piece of us is gone and we don't even know that we are lovable anymore, we don't believe there will ever be a person on this earth who can know us so fully and just 'be' with us and we feel ripped and torn because they were part of us. And most times, there really is no one that will be that again... except us. We have to do for ourselves now what they once did for us, even if it is just in their name, because we know that they would want that for us. It's such a hard, hard journey. Don't judge any place that it's taken you. Just don't give up. <3
  24. Hi Siennia, I am so, so sorry about the terrible fire and your Mom and Honey I haven't experienced what you have, it must have been terrible, but I was struck by something as I was reading your message. First, let me tell you the only thing that I know that helps guilt: determination. We feel guilt because we've made a decision about something that vilifies us. The only way to alleviate guilt is to re-evaluate that decision and come to a different conclusion. You say that logically you know that you could not have gone back, but this is obviously not the re-evaluation you need to do because it isn't helping. So I say, leave that one and start looking for others. For instance, does it make you feel like a bad person? Do you feel like she suffered intolerably and it was your fault? Ask yourself questions so you can get to the heart of your guilt so it can express itself fully to you so you can understand it and start working through it. It's not going to be easy, and might be very painful. When we are deep in our grief anyway and we approach these feelings that we've put upon ourselves as responsible-for, it can be very difficult. Having losses in my life has made me re-evaluate what I think about this earth in a spiritual sense - as in, I lost my faith and now I have no clue as to what to believe. But something that I didn't lose is the understanding that there exists - whether it be for a spiritual reason or a physiological reason - a "state of grace". I believe that there are times when those of us alive on this planet, animals included, enter into a state of grace. This is a state where we are placed above the potential for suffering. When I was reading your message and hearing about the fact that Honey didn't come when called and yet she was not injured in the fire, I immediately thought that perhaps she had entered into that state of grace. There is also the fact that you could be stuck in a loop of post-trauma-related memory. When we're experiencing trauma, anything we see, hear, smell, think, can get set up in our brain on an infinite and instant recall. You have experienced a terrible trauma so that would not surprise me if your added trauma that you couldn't go back for Honey has set up residence and is plaguing you beyond normal guilt. Please realize, you have been through a terrible trauma - be gentle with yourself as you pick your way through this time. <3
  25. I am very glad you are finding some balance, Tina. I see you've been helping others and I find that really helps me. I know it's still not easy, and I'm sure it's still sometimes crushing for you but I'm glad you have an outlet here and that you seem to be picking your way. I do hope you go to al-anon, even just to say it isn't for you. But you may learn some things that really help you move past the past and discover anew all the ways your mom loved you. "Drink lots of water, take your vitamins, and try to get enough sleep." Back at ya <3