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Extreme sadness


Dawn Lee

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Im finding the sadness at the holidays is almost more that I can handle. Who else identifies with this? What things are helping you through the void??

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I am also, I feel like I did when my Husband first passed away. I'm having a very hard time getting him out of my mind 24/7. I've been spending a lot of time with my Grandkids and that seems to help somewhat.

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12 hours ago, Dawn Lee said:

Im finding the sadness at the holidays is almost more that I can handle.

Ditto. Plus we have an anniversary in early January. Thanksgiving - Christmas - Anniversary. A grieving triple-header.

For me, this coronavirus lockdown may be a good thing. I don't have to visit family or friends.  I fear their happiness would make me remember what once was but no longer is...and I'd remember previous years when she was there with me. So now I can excuse myself by using coronavirus as an excuse. I'm not putting up any Christmas decorations this year (something she really liked but it would be sad-making for me, I fear). I try to keep myself occupied, even if it's only watching Netflix or Nova or listening to podcasts or posting on Twitter.  Without intentionally invoking memories of our life, they happen involuntarily.  A picture, a vase she bought, a wall decoration she loved...and they always bring her back to my mind.  I just have to be careful not to focus too long on any one memory.

Holidays may be the saddest time of the year for me now. But I'm trying (and hoping) I can get to the point where I can remember special days without feeling an immense loss and, rather, reflect fondly on the holidays shared with the lady I loved more than anything in the world. I worked very hard and spent a lot of time to win her over--despite being in competition with a couple of other suitors.  So I feel fortunate that she chose me and that we were able to share so much together.  I know she wouldn't want me to feel as I do.  In fact, my daughter told me that my wife told her that she (my wife) was worried about how I'd handle it if she went first.  And that's another source of consolation for me.  If I had gone first, my wife might be experiencing what I now feel.  At least she didn't have to endure that.

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I've tried not doing things that we always did for fear of not being able to take the sadness but that didn't stop the sadness. So, for Christmas I wasn't going to decorate but then I decided to for my Grandkids (they're 11 girl twins) because they always come over and put up the decorations so I didn't want to take that away from them. What I did was keep some things with memories of him and then I went out and bought some new things, I even bought a new tree, I've always thought a white tree with blue lights was pretty so I bought one. I'm glad I did this it still makes me sad but I also like my new stuff. It's weird I know.

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@Rose H  No, not weird at all.  We choose to keep things the same or swap them up, however we can best get through this is what is best for us!  And that can change from time to time.  II'm glad you have the twins.  I am so sorry for your loss, yet also thankful you found this site.  We want to be here as you go through this, it helps to express ourselves and know we're heard by others that get it.

I want to share an article I wrote of the things I've found helpful over the years, in the hopes something will be of help to you either now or on down the road.

TIPS TO MAKE YOUR WAY THROUGH GRIEF

There's no way to sum up how to go on in a simple easy answer, but I encourage you to read the other threads here, little by little you will learn how to make your way through this.  I do want to give you some pointers though, of some things I've learned on my journey.

  • Take one day at a time.  The Bible says each day has enough trouble of it's own, I've found that to be true, so don't bite off more than you can chew.  It can be challenging enough just to tackle today.  I tell myself, I only have to get through today.  Then I get up tomorrow and do it all over again.  To think about the "rest of my life" invites anxiety.
  • Don't be afraid, grief may not end but it evolves.  The intensity lessens eventually.
  • Visit your doctor.  Tell them about your loss, any troubles sleeping, suicidal thoughts, anxiety attacks.  They need to know these things in order to help you through it...this is all part of grief.
  • Suicidal thoughts are common in early grief.  If they're reoccurring, call a suicide hotline.  I felt that way early on, but then realized it wasn't that I wanted to die so much as I didn't want to go through what I'd have to face if I lived.  Back to taking a day at a time.  Suicide Hotline - Call 1-800-273-8255 or www.crisis textline.org or US and Canada: text 741741 UK: text 85258 | Ireland: text 50808
  • Give yourself permission to smile.  It is not our grief that binds us to them, but our love, and that continues still.
  • Try not to isolate too much.  
  • There's a balance to reach between taking time to process our grief, and avoiding it...it's good to find that balance for yourself.  We can't keep so busy as to avoid our grief, it has a way of haunting us, finding us, and demanding we pay attention to it!  Some people set aside time every day to grieve.  I didn't have to, it searched and found me!
  • Self-care is extremely important, more so than ever.  That person that would have cared for you is gone, now you're it...learn to be your own best friend, your own advocate, practice self-care.  You'll need it more than ever.
  • Recognize that your doctor isn't trained in grief, find a professional grief counselor that is.  We need help finding ourselves through this maze of grief, knowing where to start, etc.  They have not only the knowledge, but the resources.
  • In time, consider a grief support group.  If your friends have not been through it themselves, they may not understand what you're going through, it helps to find someone somewhere who DOES "get it". 
  • Be patient, give yourself time.  There's no hurry or timetable about cleaning out belongings, etc.  They can wait, you can take a year, ten years, or never deal with it.  It's okay, it's what YOU are comfortable with that matters.  
  • Know that what we are comfortable with may change from time to time.  That first couple of years I put his pictures up, took them down, up, down, depending on whether it made me feel better or worse.  Finally, they were up to stay.
  • Consider a pet.  Not everyone is a pet fan, but I've found that my dog helps immensely.  It's someone to love, someone to come home to, someone happy to see me, someone that gives me a purpose...I have to come home and feed him.  Besides, they're known to relieve stress.  Well maybe not in the puppy stage when they're chewing up everything, but there's older ones to adopt if you don't relish that stage.
  • Make yourself get out now and then.  You may not feel interest in anything, things that interested you before seem to feel flat now.  That's normal.  Push yourself out of your comfort zone just a wee bit now and then.  Eating out alone, going to a movie alone or church alone, all of these things are hard to do at first.  You may feel you flunked at it, cried throughout, that's okay, you did it, you tried, and eventually you get a little better at it.  If I waited until I had someone to do things with I'd be stuck at home a lot.
  • Keep coming here.  We've been through it and we're all going through this together.
  • Look for joy in every day.  It will be hard to find at first, but in practicing this, it will change your focus so you can embrace what IS rather than merely focusing on what ISN'T.  It teaches you to live in the present and appreciate fully.  You have lost your big joy in life, and all other small joys may seem insignificant in comparison, but rather than compare what used to be to what is, learn the ability to appreciate each and every small thing that comes your way...a rainbow, a phone call from a friend, unexpected money, a stranger smiling at you, whatever the small joy, embrace it.  It's an art that takes practice and is life changing if you continue it.
  • Eventually consider volunteering.  It helps us when we're outward focused, it's a win/win.

(((hugs))) Praying for you today.

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I was going to try to ignore it, but that is just impossible.  My husband and I were together for 13 years, and each year we got a Christmas ornament that was special to us for that year.  I wasn’t going to put the tree up, but I decided to try it as I could always take it down if it bothered me too much.  To my surprise, I found I am glad I put it up and it is actually soothing.  I am still dreading all the rest to come, though.

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