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Forever grieving


Hanna2404

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Welcome here!  It helps to read & post in a safe place where others get it and understand.  Boy your questions are some I've asked but never gotten an answer to!  Good questions!

Grief Process

This is not a one-size-fits-all, what strikes us one day will be different a few months/years from now, so please save/print this for reference!

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 its 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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4 hours ago, Hanna2404 said:

I am not a depressive or negative type of person, and I think 35 years of practice of being a strong willed, determined, forward-looking and optimistic person who never experienced any kind of wrong in her life is what has helped me stay so ‘strong’ and to keep my head above water. Deep down I want to die. I don’t want this life without him. I don’t want God knows how many years of living with this loss. He was everything. My world. A constant I fully depended on, emotionally -  not out of need, but out of want and love. 

I'm truly sorry for such a huge, tragic loss for you and your kids...and at the same time, I'm glad that you found this place to pour out your endless sorrow and emptiness. You have friends-in-grief here where we are free to let down our guards. I think of it as my grief safespace. I've found so many times that if I think it or feel something, someone here has as well and I end up feeling not so alone and weird.

It sounds like you took the recommended steps to cope with your loss...seeking counselling, journaling, being a rock for your children...and moving back home to Austria sounds like it was the right and rational decision. I wonder though, with all of that taken care of and it being not quite two years later, if it's now that you're really beginning to meet grief head-on. I think for many of us, we try to fight grief thinking that there is some valor in staying strong and not totally falling apart...and you would certainly feel tremendous pressure not to particularly for the sake of your children. But grief is tricky. There is no right way to grieve and there is no specific plan to get us out of this grief maze. For myself, I'm 62 and dealing with what's inside my grief maze just as you, at 35, are inside yours. Neither of us asked to be here. It's totally unfamiliar terrain. It's awful and unfair...and so we give ourselves a break in all of this! Like you...more than two years later, I still hold anger. My partner's death was sudden and unexpected...happened totally out of the blue. I suppose I've reached some solace in that time...back and forth on that...and perhaps you're able to see that there has been some for you too. 

This is a journey...an endless one with no particular destination. 

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Welcome , this spot has many people with hard earned wisdom. 

You are right, the absence is the hardest part. Life goes on with or without us. I may never have that easy going comfort of my love again ; at this point I don't think it will ever be able to live in my heart again. Knowledge,especially the sad knowledge we now have; once it's learned can never be forgotten. I sure wish I could be an ignorant ninconpoop again, I slept better. The only way I have found to cope is day by day and try and notice the good when I can. And there is good ; nice pretty blue sky, laughter of children, kindness of a stranger, 1st fresh strawberries of the season, dirty joke that made me laugh. Not what it was, but not nothing.

I hope your path shows you some light.

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