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Rob125

I don't think I should be feeling such grief

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Rob125

Five months ago I found out that a girlfriend I had in high school, who I have had no contact with in the 48 years since graduation, had died. When I heard she died I was sad but it was not overwhelming. It was when I found out a few days later that she died of cancer back in 1984, at the age of 28, that I went into a tailspin.This is causing me such severe grief that I have to think there is something wrong with me. The thought that she has been dead most of that time is killing me, even though she was never part of my adult life. It has been almost half a century since I have seen this girl (emphasize girl) who was 16 years ago when I last saw her. She has been dead for 36 years. And I have been nearly obsessed by this for the five months since this shocking discovery. How could this be so overwhelming?

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Rob125

Anybody?

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reader

Dear Rob,

It is devastating to learn about the passing of a classmate or someone your own age. It is a trigger. Makes me think how could someone so young be gone? I think about what their life and what they may have done.

Don't be hard on yourself. You cared about her and it is sad to think someone you loved has passed no matter when it happened. There is no right way or wrong way to grieve. And if you need to talk about it more that is okay.

You are not alone in your thoughts and feelings. I found additional supports at these websites.

Grief in Common

Grief Healing Blog

What's Your Grief

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Rob125

Thank you for your response. It does help to talk.

I think the shock of discovering that Linda, the girl that died,  had passed so long ago has opened an old emotional wound that I thought was closed long ago. Even during high school I did "move on" and had relationships with other girls. So I thought I was at peace in my feelings for Linda, but for several years I had a lot of regrets for not staying friends with her, and a few other people. Now when I reflect back on my life, thinking of events that happened since 1984, it kills me to think that she was already gone, and I had no idea. I just don't understand why these emotions about Linda are so powerful 48 years after I last saw her.

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Dear Rob,

I hear what you are saying, it sounds like you cared about her a lot and wanted so much for things to be different. Even for myself, I desperately want to fix the past. I want to go back in time and make different choices.  A big part of the grief is the would haves, should haves and could haves.

I don't know if you are interested but maybe consider some counselling or a support group. There are some on Facebook and through Zoom right now. Grief in Common offers a grief coach.

Keep taking your time. She was important to you and it takes time to mourn.

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Rob125

I will look into those suggestions. Talking about it does help a lot.

A lot of this is grieving the loss of history, and the regrets I have in not being in her life (and several other people's). And my immature behaviour. But I think it is pretty common for people to scatter after high school. If not for Facebook I would not be in touch with any of them. From an objective, logical standpoint these feeling seem absurd. This is a girl who was only part of my life for 2 years, and has not been in my life in any way for 48 years. Why it is causing me this level of grief I do not understand, but can only accept that it is there. It is mainly sorrow for Linda. That she met such a horrible fate, and so young. But those regrets, which I have not really felt in 40 years, are the thing that seem so corrosive. There is nothing as pointless and foolish than having angst over immature behaviour half a century ago when you were just a teenager.

I am no stranger to grief. My 13 year old daughter died in 2000. That grief is easy to understand, and you cope with it in stages, as knowledgeable people have outlined. But when it is something that logically seems absurd it is so much harder to get a handle on it.

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vswilliams

ROB!! I am going through the same exact thing. I loss my ex boyfriend in April, and I have been in a tailspin since his funeral that they streamed online. I feel the EXACT SAME WAY. Why am I having such grief over somebody that I haven’t physically seen in 25 years. As a matter of fact I hadn’t really reflected on our relationship until I was talking about it last year then he died this year. I’m comply devastated, and I have so many questions that likely will never be answered. We went together twice in high school, and I cannot remember why we broke up. I would probably not care except for the fact that my life is not where it should be and he showed me nothing but love the entire times we were together. I also realize that he is my relationship prototype. I think he was sick as well, and he left behind 2 beautiful sons. I miss him so much now in retrospect.

 

Edited by vswilliams
I left something out

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Rob125

While it does not seem reasonable, the length of time that has passed since we physically saw them  does not matter. This man was alive in your memory, and now your whole life's reality is different with one huge shock. All of your old feelings about him surface. You cannot fight these feelings. You can only accept them as they are without feeling that there must be something wrong with you for going in such an emotional tailspin over someone 25 years in your past. There is nothing wrong or "wierd" about your grief. This is normal for people that have a good heart. If anything you should be commended for being such a caring person.

As time passes we wrap our memories of our past love in a nice pretty box and put it on the shelf. Over time that box ends up on a lower shelf, and then eventually ends up in the basement somewhere. As life goes on we do not really think very much about them. Then suddenly the shock of the situation grabs that box, reaches in and slams a picture of him right in front of you. In my case, all of my old feelings about her returned, as if I just saw her yesterday. It was all consuming, and then the overwhelming grief began.

Our feelings don't always make sense, but they are what they are. I strongly encourage you to keep talking about it. The time that has passed since we saw them does not matter, because our feelings do not really expire. We simply "compartmentalize" them and move on. It is what is described in this article, which I hope will speak to you in a helpful way Disenfranchised Grief: Mourning The Loss of A Dream. Make sure you see the additional resources listed at the base.

You are not alone in this situation. Many people experience the exact same thing. We simply are suprised how much love for this person we have "compartmentalized". In my case the grief is starting to fade as I accept the situation, and also, accept my feelings for what they are. But do not expect the grief to "go away" some day. We will eventally find a way to "compartmentalize" them in light of the new reality. The love will still be there, but in the context of acceptance.

I know it is hard to find people to talk to about this. I really cannot talk about it with my wife. My love for her is not changed, but expressing my feelings of love over another woman from 50 years in the past is just not a good idea. It would really be cruel. But seek out your friends and be honest with them. And of course, we are always here to talk with you about it. I will always listen, and so will others.Just open up and don't try and suppress your feelings.

Rob

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vswilliams
While it does not seem reasonable, the length of time that has passed since we physically saw them  does not matter. This man was alive in your memory, and now your whole life's reality is different with one huge shock. All of your old feelings about him surface. You cannot fight these feelings. You can only accept them as they are without feeling that there must be something wrong with you for going in such an emotional tailspin over someone 25 years in your past. There is nothing wrong or "wierd" about your grief. This is normal for people that have a good heart. If anything you should be commended for being such a caring person.
As time passes we wrap our memories of our past love in a nice pretty box and put it on the shelf. Over time that box ends up on a lower shelf, and then eventually ends up in the basement somewhere. As life goes on we do not really think very much about them. Then suddenly the shock of the situation grabs that box, reaches in and slams a picture of him right in front of you. In my case, all of my old feelings about her returned, as if I just saw her yesterday. It was all consuming, and then the overwhelming grief began.
Our feelings don't always make sense, but they are what they are. I strongly encourage you to keep talking about it. The time that has passed since we saw them does not matter, because our feelings do not really expire. We simply "compartmentalize" them and move on. It is what is described in this article, which I hope will speak to you in a helpful way Disenfranchised Grief: Mourning The Loss of A Dream. Make sure you see the additional resources listed at the base.
You are not alone in this situation. Many people experience the exact same thing. We simply are suprised how much love for this person we have "compartmentalized". In my case the grief is starting to fade as I accept the situation, and also, accept my feelings for what they are. But do not expect the grief to "go away" some day. We will eventally find a way to "compartmentalize" them in light of the new reality. The love will still be there, but in the context of acceptance.
I know it is hard to find people to talk to about this. I really cannot talk about it with my wife. My love for her is not changed, but expressing my feelings of love over another woman from 50 years in the past is just not a good idea. It would really be cruel. But seek out your friends and be honest with them. And of course, we are always here to talk with you about it. I will always listen, and so will others.Just open up and don't try and suppress your feelings.
Rob

Rob thank you for the support!!!! I’m going to look into the resources you suggested. These last couple days have been hard because I found out more information about him, but I will just have to process it like I’ve been processing the rest!!

I really appreciate the pretty little box analogy. I often question if I loved him so much and valued him so much (I don’t know if I said before I cannot remember why we broke up?) why would his box end up in the basement somewhere, but like you said, the feelings never left they just got packaged in a different way and cane back when I realized that he was gone. That helped bring some resolve to me.

Thank you for letting me vent!!!!


Sent from my iPhone using Grieving.com

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Rob125

Don't worry about what you do not remember, and what you do. Over time those memories fade inside your brain, and you can't recall them all correctly, and which thing happened first, etc. Our recall is just not that good. What you think might have been embarassing or immature probably was not so much as you think. And nobody but you thought it was important in the first place. Unfortunately, same thing applies to all the glorious things you remember.

Finding information is important. Find out everything you can. It will make you feel better. Myself, I may be stuck in the dark forever. I don't know anything about Linda (the girl I loved) after high school. I would love to know anything. Anything at all. But I feel very awkward seeking information from other high school friends on Facebook, who experienced the sorrow of her death 36 years ago. I just don't know how to go about it.

Just remember this is a process. Don't get in a big hurry to "resolve" it. It just does not work that way. Your goal is to someday accept it. But that does not have to be today. Let it take it's time.

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