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fzald

Thinking about death

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fzald   

Does anyone have ideas for dealing with the fact that I find myself thinking about death a lot lately, even in places I didn't used to?

For example, I got an email for a forum I am on. It had a list of forum threads that need answers. (This isn't a grief forum, it's a forum for computer techs) I used to like to go on there when I had downtime and answer questions. Now I found myself thinking "I could help these people but all of them will die, some maybe young and suddenly."

At work someone told me I was a "lifesaver" for helping them fix something. I thought in my head "I couldn't save my girlfriends life, so what?"

I was at the store today and the cashier said "See you next time." I thought "what if there isn't a next time? Any one you say that to could die and there won't be a next time."

I tried to get into some of the projects I was working on in my spare time. Projects that had nothing to do with her. Projects that shouldn't remind me of her. But I had this haze in my mind the whole time, thinking "someday this will be irrelevant because I and everyone else will die. My girl died 7 weeks ago and she won't get to see this. Neither will anyone else who dies. What's the point?"

I find myself thinking about death and how it sucks meaning out of things. Things I used to love now bring me no pleasure because what if I or someone else dies. 

Anyone experience this? How do you cope? How do you enjoy anything, get anything done? Without thinking of death?

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reader   
Quote

 

This is a very poignant question. I think this question is part of the grief journey we are all on. I go through the same thing since losing my father last year. I fear I was living in a bubble before his death. I knew death existed but I could distance myself from it because I had not suffered a major loss in my own life. Now that it has happened to me, I am consumed with pain and sorrow.  I don't understand why I'm even here? Why did I have to be born? Why do I have to suffer? And like you said, this is only the beginning because in our adult lives we will face many more losses.

Some days I feel like I'm a robot going through the motions. Because of my family and friends, I know I have to carry on, so I do. Not well some days, but I try. Because we have to survive and thrive. Its in our DNA we are going to find a way to keep going. Its not easy. I try to look for the simple joys if I can and take it one step at a time. I know I cannot keep death behind a wall because it is a hard reality of life for all us. And in some cultures there are life lessons and even gifts we can take from the experience of grief. In my case, I hope it has made me a little more compassionate and patient.

 

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Zoe jane   

Yes I been feeling the same. Worry about death. What will happen to my children. Is it because we lost someone suddenly. I just don't no. Not having support from family makes me worry more. Think what have I done to be shut out from everyone am hurting, suffering in need of help but they don't see it that way. I'm just living day to day at moment struggling feel so alone. 

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KayC   

It's very common to be more preoccupied with death once we've experienced loss of this magnitude.  Part of us is always attuned to it.  If our loved one has gone that way, we're aware we will too, we're also aware we won't know how soon this may happen.  It's brought home our mortality to us!  It's common to want to make sure our affairs are in order, we have a will drawn up, our loved ones known what we want done, we've made alternative arrangements for our pets.  We have an awareness now that we didn't before.

5 hours ago, reader said:

I try to look for the simple joys if I can and take it one step at a time.

I started practicing this art at eleven days out, it has helped me tremendously.  I say practice because it TAKES practice, it doesn't seem to come naturally, at least not in the beginning.

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fzald   

KayC, you have expressed exactly what I have felt since this started. How we all have known that death exists and happens to people from a young age, but we always were able to keep our distance. As long as death wasn't happening to anyone WE loved, it was a manageable truth, one we could just choose to ignore. With the death, sudden and so young, of someone like my girlfriend, who wasn't even terminally ill or outwardly deathly sick, I no longer can ignore death and all that it means. I ask myself questions about the afterlife, I doubt and then believe and then doubt again, I search desperately for signs and then feel like I'm trying to assign meaning where there is none. I think about how the world so cleanly "adapted" to her loss, how everything at work just goes on, and how if I were to pass the same would occur, everything would just go on. It makes me feel less than worthless, that I just exist now. I get paid for this job because I happened to be the one who was in the right place at the right time with the needed skills. But there's plenty of others with the same skills as me, even better ones, who would gladly take this job. I am not NEEDED. I may be desired, but I'm not NEEDED. 

I, and her family, are the only people who NEEDED my girlfriend. Her family still chooses to deny our relationship and won't speak to me, so I am alone with my grief. Friends of ours who know we were dating, and my family, are trying their best, but nothing can truly make it any better. Even if her family had fully accepted me, it would not make it "better". She died far, far too young, way too suddenly, without any chance for the life she deserved, wanted, lived so fully. 

I envy her. She knew death would come, but she had accepted it on the basis of it would happen when she was old. I never have truly "accepted" that I will die, but I have always been able to ignore it, to put it aside for another day and focus on what I had with her, with my life. I loved life so much that the thought that it would end was depressing so I chose not to think about it. I envy her because she had no knowledge of her death any more than the rest of us, so she did not suffer this agony, this preoccupation with death, this knowledge that every one of us dies and is replaceable and the world goes on. 

I even think back to the conversations we'd had about death, and how she knew how she wanted to die and what she wanted to happen to her after death. None of it happened. She died way younger than she wanted, she was not laid to rest in the way she had wanted, and she never got to live the life she wanted to before dying. How is that fair?

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Francine   
16 hours ago, fzald said:

I find myself thinking about death and how it sucks meaning out of things. Things I used to love now bring me no pleasure because what if I or someone else dies. 

Anyone experience this? How do you cope? How do you enjoy anything, get anything done? Without thinking of death?

Now since my Charles has gone, I do think about death more.  Before his death, I had all I needed, but now, I don't have anything.  This life, this world has no meaning to me any longer; what happens in this world and to me, happens.  Oh well.    For me, there's no excitement, no looking forward to anything; actually, I'm dreading this entire year - it will the my 'solo' year; doing everything alone.   It's almost as if I'm waiting for my time to be up on this earth so I can go to where he is. Use to think about what we were going to do tomorrow, next week, next month, this spring, this summer.  Now,  days, weeks, months don't exactly matter any longer.  

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fzald   

I have that persistent feeling of waiting. But waiting for what? To die? To see her in a dream again? 

Nothing I am "Waiting" for seems even worth the wait, other than maybe dying. At this point, the pain is so raw, so all-consuming that death would be a welcome relief. It's like people suffering physical ailments, but there's nothing outwardly visible or even detectable. 

It amazes me still how things as simple as concepts and ideas - completely non-tangible - can affect our brain, our psyche, our state of mind so profoundly. Sometimes things change in the brain that can be measured chemically, but the interesting thing is what CAUSED that change. All that has truly happened to me is that one person I love and spent most of my time with died and will never be present physically again. It's a state of being but it's not a chemical change, it's not like eating a food, taking a pill, anything like that. It's just a fact, that once it came into my awareness, has altered my brain profoundly. We still don't quite understand all of how this works at a physical level, we just know it does happen and we (sometimes) try to medicate it with chemicals which supposedly reverse or undo or balance the brain's chemistry again. But the fact is that for us, the only reason we are feeling so low in the first place is that some event happened in our lives. Nothing physically changed for us, except the AWARENESS of what is around us.

It sometimes makes me think about "false reality" science fiction, like The Matrix. How the only thing our brains have to work with is the input from our senses, and how it chooses to interpret that input. It doesn't make sense from a physics perspective: how can a mere thought trigger such drastic changes physically in the brain? And if thoughts are that powerful why are we unable to use those thoughts to change our brain chemistry "back"?

They say death is simply the cessation of life, that when we die, our body stops working. That's obviously true, but what about everything that made us a PERSON? That's the whole spirit concept, something I have been struggling a lot with lately. We know memory is contained in the brain, and we know this for sure because brain disorders like Alzheimers can affect memory. Our personalities largely come from our collected memories. So if memory is in the brain and the brain can lose access to its own memories, how is it possible that our beloveds exist in another world with memories intact? And if memories are not intact, then it means that my love might exist but not as herself, but as just a spiritual personality with a different set of memories and experiences disconnected from this world. 

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KMB   
5 hours ago, Francine said:

meaning

 

5 hours ago, Francine said:

Now since my Charles has gone, I do think about death more.  Before his death, I had all I needed, but now, I don't have anything.  This life, this world has no meaning to me any longer; what happens in this world and to me, happens.  Oh well.    For me, there's no excitement, no looking forward to anything; actually, I'm dreading this entire year - it will the my 'solo' year; doing everything alone.   It's almost as if I'm waiting for my time to be up on this earth so I can go to where he is. Use to think about what we were going to do tomorrow, next week, next month, this spring, this summer.  Now,  days, weeks, months don't exactly matter any longer.

My sentiments exactly. I find myself getting restless, like I'm waiting, waiting for something to happen, but I can't figure what? Has anyone else experienced this restless, somewhat anxious, waiting feeling?

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Guest

KMB i don't even know if it's anxiety for me. I feel like I'm waiting though. Just waiting to see when I die, waiting to see what will 'happen' however vague that is..
i think it's more of a sadness that i've never experienced so deeply before. it's mixed with numbness. i've been depressed too and this is obviously worse.
it might just be really hard to describe

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Guest

fzald,
fortunately the ocean is nearby. i walk along the beach. the vastness of the ocean is somewhat calming. i avoid places i took gran.
i don't listen to much music. instead i've begun to listen to the binaural beat brainwave stuff on youtube. feels like constant nothingness. fine by me.
none of this is truly 'enjoyable' knowing she's gone but the consistency of the waves crashing and whatnot matches what i feel.
most things get boring really quickly though. there's no one around now other than my mom who works most of the time anyway. it's the most isolating experience ever. worse than any depression i went through. but if i knew if she was out there and OK it would change my feelings significantly

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KayC   

fzald,

I used to think our "center" was our brain.  That was before my little sister had a baby born without a brain.  Little Courtney could not think thoughts, had no cognitive function, she didn't know her mommy or daddy, couldn't collect memories.  BUT she had a spirit, and we saw and felt it.  She knew pain vs. comfort, could feel good, could feel pain.  She loved being held.  She couldn't hear so never knew sounds.  But knowing Courtney for nearly two years changed my thinking and perspective about it, I no longer view the brain as being central to our being, I no longer see it as the core.  Important?  Yes.  But not entirely who we are.  It's changed my thinking forever.

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KayC   

Courtney did not make it to her second birthday, but we all loved her very much, she was very sweet.

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