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It's Bad Enough, Don't Depress Yourself


tnd

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My late husband and I use to enjoy watching movies together. We were homebodies but, we didn't watch a lot of television. Just every so often there would be a movie that interested us. After he passed away I stopped watching television. Only until recently have I begun to watch movies again in the evening before (trying to) sleep. I like crime dramas and thrillers, movies that are full of suspense. I also like "chick flicks" and romance movies too but not ready for any of those just yet. And last night I discovered that I am also not ready for anything too dark or down and out. 

Since I was having a hard time falling asleep again, I sat back up and decided to watch a movie. Big mistake. Not the staying up but rather, the movie I watched. It was a real down-and-outer. And it did not have a happy ending, either. I don't even know why I finished watching it. It was terrible. And all too real. It hit home with me in so many ways that maybe that's why it depressed me. Found myself still awake after the movie had ended...and crying and feeling mad. I began thinking and stressing over things that no one should late at night like that. Or anytime for that matter. Afterwards, I asked myself, "What have I done??" The last couple of days had not been too bad, then I had to go and watch a terribly sad and depressing movie. What a waste. Brought me totally down. I won't be doing that again. I suggest that none of you do, either. 

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I can’t bring myself to watch any movies that we used to watch or any shows we used to watch …can’t bring myself to listen to music either …if I watch anything it has to be before the time we were together so it has to be after 97 …and now after his passing and that we never seen together …and it’s usually a crime drama or horror movie ….can’t  bring myself to watch any romance or family movies makes me too sad …I also watch a lot of ID (investigation discovery) no happy endings 

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I do understand what you mean.  There are any number of songs, concert pieces, musicals and other musical stage works that I may never be able to listen to again.  For 3 years, I couldn't bear to hear even the opening bars of the West Side Story Dance Suite because it was the first thing I put on my tablet to play on John's last day.  I still cannot watch DeLovely because the last song, "In the Still of the Night," is the last song I ever played for John as he left this world.  He took his last breath as the final notes drifted away.  I can still see and hear that as I was thinking, "Of course.  He was a musician to the very end."  We don't leave musical phrases unfinished; it's considered poor form.

But about 6-8 months ago, I had one of the music streaming services on and the dance suite started.  Before, I would have flown over to the remote, muted, and then skipped past it.  That time I let it play.  It was hard and I cried, but the thing is that this time I was able to envision the joy on his face playing it and not just how he looked that last day.  My point, I guess, is that it's not a bad thing to "test" ourselves over time to see if we are able to remember the good and wonderful, as well as the devastating and painful.

I intentionally do not watch certain shows or movies when I know that the subjects or plot will be too much for me to handle--unless I feel a need for a cathartic moment.  Sometimes though, a show will not itself be dark, but will have scenes that hit so close to home that there I am suddenly an absolute puddle on the floor.  I've come to understand that for me, it may always be like that.  Like you, I try not to watch anything upsetting at night.  But there again you never know.  I was watching a show that is new and new to me.  The main character is a retired police detective who lost her husband about 2 years before we meet her.  The show itself has some very light, humorous moments and she is a delight (Lucy Lawless; never watched Zena, but that woman has talent and some excellent understated comic timing!).  At 2 years, her entire world is no longer consumed by her grief, but it is always there.  And that is so much like me that I was stunned at how spot on some of the small "scenes of grief" have been.  I find myself nodding and saying, "Yep, that's right."  And so I watch it because I can relate, but also because it is not a downer for me.  If this was 2-3 years ago, forget it.  Shortly after John died, the BBC put on a new "comedy" called Mum about a 60 year old women (ding) who just lost her husband (ding) and was trying to "move on."  And right there, they lost me.  Comedy?  Hardly!

I think it's okay to watch or listen to something we know will make us sad, but only when we know we can handle it, even through tears.  For me, that is coming slowly and with years of time helping me bring forward all that good, silly, loving memories so that they mix right in there with the pain and loss and grief that was all I could see for a pretty long time.  My most recent little step forward was when What Dreams May Come came on a number of months ago.  I would have just rushed to switch it, but it's a really beautiful movie, uplifting in many ways, and John had met Robin Williams (we're originally from the bay area and were in the arts, music, and theater world at a high amateur level).  So this time, I let the movie play and, yes, I sobbed many times, especially because I could just feel that connection between the two characters and the movie makes clear what a rare gift that is.  It reminded me that not everyone finds their one true love.  Of course, the scenes where he is calling, "Annie! Annie!" were almost too much because that is my name, but it was good overall and the ending did make me smile a bit.

For now, you are absolutely right to "just say no" to anything that will pull you down further into the dark pit of despair.  But that doesn't mean you shouldn't watch or listen to things that might give you a moment of respite, a "getting away" for a short time.  In time and once you are settled into your own place, you may find that your perspective changes and that some things that flatten you now do not stay that way forever.

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16 hours ago, tnd said:

Only until recently have I begun to watch movies again in the evening before (trying to) sleep.

I've been avoiding this for the past 5 months, but lately starting to watch some movies on Friday nights.  Last Friday I watched "Ghost" -- it came out in 1990, that movie with the late Patrick Swayze, and Demi Moore.  I think I was looking for validation through fiction of what I've been experiencing lately?  Fortunately the movie didnt leave me sad but rather, hopeful.

 

13 hours ago, Malisacher said:

can’t bring myself to listen to music either

Yes --- I get this.  Cannot listen to ANY music that my wife and I wouldve listened to together, esp music in a minor key.  It just brings me to my knees.

 

7 hours ago, foreverhis said:

My point, I guess, is that it's not a bad thing to "test" ourselves over time to see if we are able to remember the good and wonderful, as well as the devastating and painful.

I really like this idea, thanks for sharing this @foreverhis .  I've pushed myself to go to diners that we both enjoyed.  At first it was hell but now sometimes I feel like my wife is there with me.

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4 hours ago, Jemiga70 said:

Yes --- I get this.  Cannot listen to ANY music that my wife and I wouldve listened to together, esp music in a minor key.  It just brings me to my knees.

I still feel this way after 16+ years!  Music was a big part of my life, it still is but I only listen to Christian music now, not our love songs or country music.  I can't go through my tubs of pictures either, not only of him but my kids, from a lifetime ago...too hard, way too hard.  Now I'm alone, everything's different.

I try to protect myself from too much news and for some reason haven't watched movies in a LONG time!  I didn't watch t.v. at all for the first four years after George died.  

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22 hours ago, Malisacher said:

I can’t bring myself to watch any movies that we used to watch or any shows we used to watch …can’t bring myself to listen to music either

Malisacher:  I can't listen to music yet either. And my husband and I use to listen to music a lot together. I can't even think about it right now. Thought that I was ready for some music but I discovered that I need to keep trying. Hope you do, too. Guess these things take time. It will happen for us when it happens. 

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15 hours ago, foreverhis said:

I was able to envision the joy on his face playing it

foreverhis:  Thank you so much for sharing your experience with this. This part where you wrote about envisioning the joy on your husband's face made me really think. My husband and I both enjoyed listening to music together, sometimes his favorites, sometimes mine. And we'd sing and laugh doing it. Made for a fun time...and created good memories. I am going to focus more on happy memories next time I try listening to music and not just let it be something sorrowful now. I guess if we keep trying it means we really want to do it. 

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36 minutes ago, tnd said:

I am going to focus more on happy memories next time I try listening to music and not just let it be something sorrowful now. I guess if we keep trying it means we really want to do it. 

I'm glad, but please don't push yourself or become impatient if you're still too swamped with grief for the next many months.  I tried after about a year, but it was still too much.  At 2-1/2 years, it was painful, but also uplifting to be able to envision and remember how much joy we had in our musical and theater lives together and to "see" his handsome, happy face as he played.

As with pretty much all related to our grief and loss, time shifts our perspective.

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2 minutes ago, foreverhis said:

I'm glad, but please don't push yourself or become impatient if you're still too swamped with grief for the next many months.

foreverhis:  Thanks. I actually tried to listen to a little music the other day. It didn't go too bad but I could only listen to about two songs. And they were ones I like but not him. I am thinking I will have a better go at this when I get my own place. Then I can make all the attempts I want at things and when/how I want. Right now I have other people around me to consider. I have very little privacy if any. 

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Diane R. E.

I couldn't listen to music for a long time either.. My husband and I had found a radio station out of Phoenix that we both enjoyed, but after he passed away I immediately turned the radio to NPR. One day NPR was talking about something depressing so I switched the radio to the music station. A song was just ending and the very next song was one of my all time favorites. Of course I cried but I also felt it was a small sign that my husband sent. I never would have known that song and the story behind it if it wasn't for my husband.

As for TV programs, I still can't watch any that we used to watch together. Maybe that will come in time ...

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