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fzald

What is "actively" grieving?

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Everything I've read on grief says that the only way through grief is to "go through it". 

Everything suggests that doing anything to try to avoid grieving is only postponing the process. That unless you "actively grieve", you will suffer later and worse for it.

But nothing i have read has given a clear idea of exactly what "active" grieving means. I already spend every single day sad, lonely, missing her. I already spend every moment I am not busy with work or household chores sitting and either crying, feeling immense pain, or sleeping. I already have too much emotion and want everything to end.

What exactly can people do to actually more "Actively" grieve? Is this even possible? I feel like I am being passive, I'm just doing what has to be done and the rest of the time I am letting myself hurt. I am letting myself feel complete and total despair. I am letting memories flood me and make me sad. I am letting thoughts of the lost future make me sad. Sadness is the only emotion I actually "feel" these days. It turns out I'm a better actor than I thought because people at work are still saying I am "a lifesaver" and "super helpful and awesome" and "so upbeat". I don't feel any of those things. I feel like I am here going through motions and getting nothing done. 

If my entire life is going to feel like this, then I want out now. If it is going to get better, how, and when, and what can I do? I don't want to be "stuck" in grief forever, I don't want to have that situation where someone pushes grief aside and ends up having it slap them later, but I also don't want to be constantly unbearably and chronically depressed and sad.

How do you actively grieve when you already hurt so much you can't take it?

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18 minutes ago, fzald said:

What exactly can people do to actually more "Actively" grieve? Is this even possible? I feel like I am being passive, I'm just doing what has to be done and the rest of the time I am letting myself hurt. I am letting myself feel complete and total despair. I am letting memories flood me and make me sad. I am letting thoughts of the lost future make me sad. Sadness is the only emotion I actually "feel" these days. It turns out I'm a better actor than I thought because people at work are still saying I am "a lifesaver" and "super helpful and awesome" and "so upbeat". I don't feel any of those things. I feel like I am here going through motions and getting nothing done. 

With what you've just said, I think nothing.  You've just defined 'actively' grieving.  

21 minutes ago, fzald said:

How do you actively grieve when you already hurt so much you can't take it?

You can't.  

 

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Maybe the word "active" throws me off. Because it feels like I would have to "actively" FIGHT my grief. I would have to make conscious choices to pretend it's not real, or to pretend I am OK. I would then have to force myself to act based on those ideas. That would be immensely hard work! 

So I feel like I am being passive. I hurt terribly, and I don't try to stop it, I just sit and hurt. And hurt, and hurt, and hurt some more. And I ask myself when the agony will end, when the pain will let up even a little, when I will be able to do anything without it being out of pure necessity and with my head in a fog. I spend any free time that I am not working, house cleaning or sleeping either reading and posting here, sitting alone, or sitting with a friend but not being very present. 

I feel I am being passive. I'm just sitting here letting life pass me by. I'm sitting here letting my mind drag me into the well deeper and deeper and deeper. I'm doing nothing to try to "help" things, I'm doing nothing to better myself, I'm doing nothing to "be OK", I'm doing nothing to live. I'm wasting away, waiting for my death, wishing for it even, and not finding anything worth doing or living for. 

If I am actively grieving, then what the heck is passive grieving??

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I think "active" doesn't mean to pretent everything's ok. It probably means you should let it happen and be conscious of your emotions instead of fighting the pain or trying to ignore it.

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1 hour ago, fzald said:

Everything I've read on grief says that the only way through grief is to "go through it". 

Everything suggests that doing anything to try to avoid grieving is only postponing the process. That unless you "actively grieve", you will suffer later and worse for it.

But nothing i have read has given a clear idea of exactly what "active" grieving means. I already spend every single day sad, lonely, missing her. I already spend every moment I am not busy with work or household chores sitting and either crying, feeling immense pain, or sleeping. I already have too much emotion and want everything to end.

What exactly can people do to actually more "Actively" grieve? Is this even possible? I feel like I am being passive, I'm just doing what has to be done and the rest of the time I am letting myself hurt. I am letting myself feel complete and total despair. I am letting memories flood me and make me sad. I am letting thoughts of the lost future make me sad. Sadness is the only emotion I actually "feel" these days. It turns out I'm a better actor than I thought because people at work are still saying I am "a lifesaver" and "super helpful and awesome" and "so upbeat". I don't feel any of those things. I feel like I am here going through motions and getting nothing done. 

If my entire life is going to feel like this, then I want out now. If it is going to get better, how, and when, and what can I do? I don't want to be "stuck" in grief forever, I don't want to have that situation where someone pushes grief aside and ends up having it slap them later, but I also don't want to be constantly unbearably and chronically depressed and sad.

How do you actively grieve when you already hurt so much you can't take it?

 

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Not going to lie..

Didn't read your whole post but if your suffering like I am...

I send you love x

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fzald---Before my loss, to me, actively grieving meant something in a movie when someone gets the bad news at the door and that person is hysterically crying and screaming, sometimes seeing someone wrecking a room. It is a big misconception what the movies represent as grieving.  Actively grieving is what you, i, and everyone here is doing.

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One thing I found was "active" grieving was talking about it. Talking to my husband's relatives and friends, talking to my friends and family, and talking completely honestly too ... not just about how I felt, but also about the bad things, the bad times, the resentment I had about being left behind to mourn, about the disappointments, and also about what I had wished for us, what I had wanted. Talking about the good times was fine, but it took talking about the bad times too that really helped me release. I hope you find solace and some sort of peace with your grief,

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I didn't know that was a thing. I thought that whatever we were doing was enough. I just figured we need to allow ourselves to feel the pain and not be in 'denial.' I am still not even sure what that is though .. like I'm aware she's gone. painfully aware even in dreams.

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Well I reckon I'd define active grieving as crying when you need to cry, not denying the grief, not trying to avoid it.  Some people run from their grief, date right away, work long hours, keep busy busy busy!  They do anything they can to avoid grief.  Active grieving would be the opposite, let yourself feel it, recognize it, deal with it, see a grief counselor, go to a grief support group, post on the forums, read grief books, etc.

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Thank you. I have tried not to deny the grief, but sometimes I do have to work so i make myself do it. I guess I worry that working is denying grief and thus not actively grieving. At least when I stay at work late because I don't want to be home. 

But I think I also stay at work late because it's almost like a connection to her. A place we shared. I only wish that she could still be here with me. Right now if she were here, we'd be having dinner, watching a movie, talking. Daily mundane things made so much more fun and enjoyable and fulfilling by doing them with my soulmate. I could still do all those things now, I could still order food, watch a movie and read or something. But alone, it's not and never will be the same.

I don't want to get stuck in grief and yet I already feel like I am. It's getting worse, not better, even though I still take days off from time to time, still can't get myself up in the morning, and still spend most of my time talking to people about how much I miss her. I talk about it, I cry when I can which isn't often, I think of her in everything I do, no matter how far away I might think I can get her from my mind ,she's present, like a persistent poke in the side. I don't know how much more "active" I can be and it's only getting worse. I feel like I'm going to break at some point, that sometime I'll just be unable to keep up with it any more.

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I don't think there's anything else you can do, the entire experience involves actively grieving. One must continue daily tasks while setting aside time to grieve, to acknowledge and express it in any way possible. Distractions are fine too. Everything is part of the process. I'm sorry that you feel like it's getting worse. 

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fzald, I think it is just part of the process. I feel worse as each day goes by but I think it has to do with reality sinking in more. Our hearts naturally want to fight it. But, ultimately, we are going to lose that fight. We have to let reality sink in if we are ever going to climb fully out of the grief pit.

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All my life I've avoided feeling or expressing pain.  If something was bothering me, I'd do my best to force it out of my head.  Pretend everything was okay until whatever was causing the pain just kind of faded into the background.

Now I'm embracing it.  This should hurt, it's proof of how much I love her.  She deserves to be mourned, she's earned every single tear.  As bad as it might get, it feels right that I should feel this pain.  If I'm not hurting, that means I'm letting her go.

I don't know how healthy that is.  I don't know if that counts as "active grieving."  But I know that the alternative is forgetting about her and letting her be dead and I can't and won't ever do that.

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16 hours ago, fzald said:

I don't want to get stuck in grief and yet I already feel like I am. It's getting worse, not better, even though I still take days off from time to time, still can't get myself up in the morning, and still spend most of my time talking to people about how much I miss her. I talk about it, I cry when I can

I would hardly call this "stuck in grief".  You are still on a very short timeline, your loss is very fresh, it takes much much longer to process our grief.  You are where I would expect you to be, you are actively grieving, how can you not be?  Try not to expect too much too soon.

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I think what scares me is that life does have to go on. I can't keep taking time off of work forever. I can't push everything aside forever. Pretty soon, at some point, I'll have to be back "on my game" to be able to sustain and support myself. It's true, society doesn't really permit people to grieve at their own pace. We expect people to grieve fast and get back to it right away. Luckily I work in a place that is very flexible and understanding, and the fact that my girlfriend worked here too helps somewhat because everyone here understands the loss I'm going through, but still. Some jobs only give you 3 days to mourn. Luckily I don't have that kind of limit but there will come a point where the skills I was hired for will need to come back. 

I know I'm wrong, that you can't "actively" grieve to speed it up, you can only "reject" grief to slow it down. 

I am just so tired. So tired of being sad, upset, lonely, empty. So tired of waking up every single day and not wanting to face the world. So tired of thinking about all of the loss and sadness. So tired of every single thing in every single moment of my life reminding me of a reason to be sad. So tired of not being able to give to the world what I used to. I'm tired. I'm exhausted. Grieving is hard work, and it's taking away from the rest of me. There's nothing I can offer. Eventually the world is going to just see me as useless and people won't have much sympathy anymore. I'm not sure what to do.

 

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fzald, yes, life does go on. If life didn't go on, the world would have stopped soon after creation when the first person passed away. We wouldn't be here. None of us would have met our soul mates and experienced the time and amazing love with them. I love and miss my husband greatly, deeply. But I have no regrets for the 25 years I was blessed to share with him. We each had lives before we met, I feel cherished and blessed he chose me to spend his final years with.

I am tired too. Grief exhaustion .It takes a toll on you.It is supposed to evolve, get easier. I haven't gotten there yet.

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KMB,

You're right, we had separate lives before. Sometimes I try to remember that life and draw on it for some strength, but I find it's pointless. Of course I had a life before her, but she changed me permanently. She redefined my life. Being with her and the time we shared have permanently changed me, just as her loss will permanently change me. I can't "Go back" to how I was before we dated. 

I'm honored that she chose me too. I'm honored that she wanted to be with me for the long term. I'm honored that she spent her life with me until the very end. I'm even honored that she was still thinking of me and speaking to me until the very end. I only regret that we dove too much into work and didn't take more time together to enjoy the life we had and the time we had. We certainly did enjoy it, but there were so many more things we could have done that we never got to.

It's hard to imagine how it could ever get easier. It's so tiring and exhausting that sometimes I still hope and wish that the exhaustion will finally take me away from this place.

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I feel like that too, the fear that life 'goes on'. I don't want to forget her and I know I won't. I'm afraid of forgetting how much it hurts because I can't let go. I feel I'm going at a slow to moderate pace. I can't make it any faster, and I don't need to right now. I don't want to. I'd like to think my small desires still matter a little bit. But at the same time I feel like I know there's nothing I can do about her death. It's done and I have to figure out how I'm going to continue. I continue to cry and grieve. I really don't know how to measure that, I'd like to think it helps to cry but at the same time I feel it doesn't. even though I want to hold onto the pain, I can't keep going on like this. Or maybe I can, I don't know. sometimes it feels like any path I choose I'll end up at the same spot, alone and sad. I can pretend that life is enjoyable, but sooner or later it won't be. I can put myself into deep misery but I know that that won't help me either. I do prefer to suffer though, because at least I don't have to create high expectations. I don't want to experience happiness because once it goes away, I am left feeling worse. I remind myself, nothing is permanent. I don't really care what happens to me unless it hurts the people I know. But I still care about others. I just force myself.. day by day to do normal activities and not overdo it.

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The sad thing is that death IS permanent. 

We are always told it will get better. We are always told that everything is temporary. But from our perspective on this Earth, death is PERMANENT. People never come back from the dead. The best we can hope for is perhaps a visitation dream. But death, at least from our perspective here, is permanent. It is life that is temporary. And I suppose since life defines our existence here, everything is temporary, including ourselves, but the death of someone we love, at least to us, is permanent.

If there is an afterlife and we will get to experience eternal life and happiness there, then death is temporary. But we don't know that for sure. And even if death is temporary in that sense, so is the rest of the world. We will have to "give up" everything we have done and built and made here, everything we own, all the experiences we have had here, for that next world. It truly makes you think about value of things. I used to be an avid collector of a few different things, but lately I have felt no motivation at all to collect anything anymore. It'll all be gone when I die, right? And my girlfriend also collected things, and she couldn't take anything with her either. It seems futile.

 

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What I mean is our lives are not permanent (along with all the thoughts emotions experiences) and that I keep telling myself this. but I see your point I should have phrased it differently.
I'm sorry that you feel no motivation. same here really.
I still hope that I can find value in things. I hope for visitation as well but no luck.
I just wait to see how long I can last.

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Everything being temporary just depresses me more. I feel like what's the point? I have lost the purpose of my life, my reason for keeping going. My love brought happiness into my life that made anything, even the temporary nature of life, worth it. Now without her, why bother? Make this world great and then pass out of it myself? Spend my life alone without the one I love? She gave me a reason to live in the face of eventual death. Now I don't feel any reason to keep going. I don't have any children or pets. I have only a very small circle of friends. Even though she had a larger family and a larger circle of friends, she still devoted a lot of her time to me, and knowing she was there made those times she was away for any reason bearable. I would take advantage of some time alone and indulge in my hobbies. But I always knew she was coming back. Now, she never will come back. 

The best way, for me, to end this lifetime is to have accomplished something great and to have had a soulmate to appreciate and love you along the way. My girlfriend had someone to love her, but she didn't have enough time to accomplish the great things she wanted to. I now have time to accomplish great things, but no soulmate to share life with. She got the better deal in some ways even though she was so young, of course any young death is so unfair, but at least she got to love until the end. 

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4 hours ago, fzald said:

Luckily I work in a place that is very flexible and understanding,

You're indeed lucky. I was too. When I told my bosses that I couldn't do my job as a manager anymore because I had to stay home all day they were very supportive. I could work home office three hours per day and still have heath insurance for my familiy etc. Now I work in production 30 hours per week and it's good to have an easy job that still supports me and my stepdaughter (I've worked there years before and was manager of that department 10 years ago).

There are so many companies where I would just had to quit to support my wife. We should be grateful that at least we don't don't have to worry about a job in the midst of dealing with all that pain.

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15 hours ago, new133 said:

I'm afraid of forgetting how much it hurts because I can't let go.

This is common in grief, but our pain at their loss does not hold us to them, our love does.  It's okay to let go of the pain, it's okay to smile again (when we're able to, can be some time), it doesn't mean we're getting further away from them, we won't do that.  We will always carry them with us in our hearts.

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