64 things about grief

64 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Grief

We think about grief a lot around here – we write about types of grief, grief theory, personal reflections, creative expression for coping with grief, practical ideas for managing grief, and on and on and on.  But there are some days that all seems like a lot to take in.  We think back to the basics.  Not the theory stuff, not the ideas about how to cope — just the really basic things that people never tell you about grief.  So, with your help, that is what we have today — a quick and dirty list of the things we wish we had known about grief, before we knew anything about grief.  If it’s in quotes, it is something one of our fabulous readers shared with us on Twitter or Facebook.  If you finish this post and you’re annoyed about all the things we forgot, leave a comment to keep the list going.

I wish someone had told me . . .

  1. No matter how prepared you think you are for a death, you can never be fully prepared for the loss and the grief.
  2. You can plan for death, but death does not always comply with our wishes or plans.
  3. “Stop avoiding and be present”.
  4. “Dying is not like you see on TV or in the movies.  It is not peaceful or prepared.  You may not have a spiritual or meaningful moment . . . It’s too real”.
  5. A hospital death is not always a bad death.
  6. A home death/hospice death is not always a good death.
  7. “There will be pressure from others to move on, even minutes or hours after a death, and this can lead to regrets”.
  8. “Death is not an emergency – there is always time to step back and take a moment to say goodbye”
  9. Death and grief make people uncomfortable, so be prepared for awkward encounters.
  10. You will plan the funeral while in a haze.  If you aren’t happy with the funeral you had, have another memorial service later.
  11. When people offer support, take them up on it.
  12. People will bring you food because they don’t know what else to do.  Don’t feel bad throwing it away.
  13. People will say stupid, hurtful things without even realizing it.
  14. People will tell you things that aren’t true about your grief.
  15. Death brings out the best and the worst in families, so be prepared.
  16. There is no such thing as closure.
  17. There is no timeline for grieving.  You can’t rush it.  You will grieve, in some form, forever.
  18. “There will always be regrets.  No matter how much time you had, you’ll always want more”.
  19. Guilt is a normal part of grief.
  20. Anger is normal part of grief.
  21. “The pain of a loss is a reflection of love, but you never regret loving as hard as you can”.
  22. Grief can make you question your faith.
  23. Grief doesn’t come in 5 neat stages.  Grief is messy and confusing”.
  24. Grief makes you feel like you are going crazy.
  25. Grief can make you question your life, your purpose, and your goals.  And that isn’t always a bad thing.
  26. We all grieve differently, which can create strain and confusion between family members and friends.
  27.  “However badly you think it is going to hurt, it is going to be a million times worse”.
  28.  You may find comfort in very unexpected places.
  29. “You should go somewhere to debrief after care giving”.
  30.  “The last 24 hours of their lives will replay in your mind”.
  31. Trying to protect children from death and the emotions of grief isn’t helpful.
  32. “It’s sometimes necessary to seek out new ways to grieve on your own, find new guidance, if the people who are supposed to be supportive simply haven’t learned how”.
  33.  “You grieve your past, present, and future with that person”.
  34. Big life events and milestones will forever be bittersweet.
  35. Grief triggers are everywhere – you will see things that remind you of your loved one all over the place, and it may lead to sudden outbursts of emotion.
  36. “You lose yourself, your identity, meaning, purpose, values, your trust”.
  37. Holidays, anniversaries, and birthdays will be hard forever.
  38. People will tell you what you should and shouldn’t feel and how you should and shouldn’t grieve.  Ignore them.
  39. “The grief process is about not only mourning the loss, but getting to know yourself as a different person”.
  40. There is no normal when it comes to grieving.
  41. Sometimes it gets worse before it gets better.
  42. “It is normal to feel numb after it happens.  The tears will come. They come in waves”.
  43. Grief can make you feel selfish and entitled, and that’s okay (at least for a while).
  44. Meeting new people, who never knew the person who died, can be hard and sad.  But eventually it can be nice to “introduce” them through stories and photographs.
  45. The practice of sending thank you notes after a funeral is a cruel and unusual tradition.
  46. “People love to judge how you are doing.  Watch out for those people”.
  47. You can’t compare grief or compare losses, though people will try.
  48. Any loss you grieve is a valid loss, though people will sometimes make you feel otherwise.
  49. “Just because you feel pretty good one day it doesn’t mean you are cured of your grief”.
  50. There are many days when you will feel totally and completely alone, whether you are or not.
  51. Grief can make you do stupid, crazy things.  They may be what you need at the time time, but you may regret them later.  Cut yourself some slack.
  52. Grief can make you a stronger person than you were before.
  53. Grief counseling doesn’t mean you’re crazy or weak.
  54. It is okay to cry sometimes.
  55. It is okay NOT to cry sometimes.
  56. “Time does NOT heal all wounds”.
  57. “Grief re-writes your address book”. Sometimes the people you think will be there for you are not.  People you never expect become your biggest supporters.
  58. “You don’t get over it, you just get used to it”.
  59. It is okay to tell people when they are not being helpful.
  60. Watch your drinking– alcohol can quickly become an unhealthy friend.
  61. You will have to face your emotions eventually – you can avoid them for a while, but they will catch up with you in the end.
  62. Talking isn’t the only way to express and process emotions.
  63. You will never go back to being your “old self”.  Grief changes you and you are never the same.
  64. Nothing you do in the future will change your love for the person who died.  Eventually you will begin to enjoy life again, date again, have another child, seek new experiences, or whatever.  None of these thing will diminish your love for the person you lost.

Watch the video we made with our readers about the 64 Things We Wish We’d Known About Grief:

What do you wish someone had told you about grief that we left off the list??  Leave a comment to keep the list going. 


COMMENTS

Tracy

Posted on October 7, 2013 at 10:08 am

Grief drives home the reality that death knocks on your door, it just doesn’t happen to ” other people” or on TV. It’s real & finite to you & those you love most.

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Becky Livingston

Posted on October 7, 2013 at 12:04 pm

What a wonderful list. Thank you for bringing all these truths together – I shall share on my Joyful Mourning page.

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The Grandpa who ruined Christmas

Posted on October 7, 2013 at 3:06 pm

Grief does not only happen when someone dies. The same kind of grief can also be felt when a family member will no longer associate with you.

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Jennifer Simpson

Posted on October 7, 2013 at 3:43 pm

It’s okay to laugh (I always think about the Mary Tyler Moore episode when Chuckles the Clown dies) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihLJrcS8lsg

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Amy Kelsch

Posted on October 7, 2013 at 10:18 pm

Thank you for this beautiful list. So much thought put into it. I recently became very ill and lost the ability to work, a job that I really enjoyed because it brought me great purpose (working as a physician). Since the loss of my physical ability to work, I have dealt with some form of grief. Your list is wonderful and made me feel less alone. Thank you!

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Litsa

Posted on October 7, 2013 at 10:32 pm

Oh Amy, I am so sorry you are dealing with the illness and the loss of such a rewarding profession. So often non-death losses are not acknowledged by others, but they can be just as traumatic and difficult. Glad this post was helpful.

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Litsa

Posted on October 7, 2013 at 10:36 pm

Absolutely- this kind of loss can be so hard because other people don’t always acknowledge just how devastating it can be, since it isn’t a death. If you click on #48 about ‘valid losses” it will take you to a post about disenfranchised grief that you may find useful.

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Litsa

Posted on October 7, 2013 at 10:37 pm

Thanks for sharing, Becky!

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Litsa

Posted on October 7, 2013 at 10:38 pm

That is so true- death and grief so often seem these abstract concepts until they touch you and those you love.

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Callista

Posted on October 8, 2013 at 12:52 am

Wow! Amazing list. I just wanted to say thank you for it. I’m 22 and my dad whom I was extremely close to passed away a year and a half ago. Many days are still a struggle and sometimes I feel guilty that I’m still grieving or get told by my siblings that I need to get over it already. This was a much needed reminder that its ok to grieve.

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Journeys Mom

Posted on October 8, 2013 at 1:11 am

Am wondering if the author has ever lost a child? (In regard to differences in loss) I humbly disagree that all losses are the same and that none worse than another. As a mother, and speaking for other mothers who are grieving their child or children of any age, I can tell you there is a difference. A big difference. I have experienced several losses (friends, other family members, etc. and none compare.) I do agree that every loss is valid and painful and even unique to the person grieving. I especially agree that time does not heal all wounds and that many grieving mothers no matter how much time has passed are functioning on Gods life support and in a state of waiting. Waiting with the promise of being reunited in Heaven with their child (ren. God bless.

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Cherish

Posted on October 8, 2013 at 1:12 am

Thank you I need this my mom just passed 2 weeks ago from cancer she has been mentally ill all my life so wasn’t as close as other mother and daughters so I truly felt I wasn’t going to have a hard time with her passing but I was truely wrong I wept like I never have before and with in days I felt guilt for the anger I had all my life towards her even if I felt justices before I felt broken when she left I’m deal and going though the motions I helped take care of her at the end made my amends and had that time but yes her passing has changed me for ever

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Patti Hall

Posted on October 8, 2013 at 1:47 am

Multiply the quality and volume of this list by the number of deaths that occur in your circle of family and friends in a short period of time.

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Litsa

Posted on October 8, 2013 at 6:20 am

Hi Christie, I am so sorry for your loss. I have not lost a child and cannot even begin to imagine the devastation and pain of that loss. We did not mean to imply that all losses are the same, but rather that you cannot compare losses. Having gone through our own losses and worked professionally with many people who have lost children, spouses, parents, siblings, etc, our experience has been that each loss is unique and extremely difficult to compare to another. It is tempting for one mom to say to another who has lost a child, ‘I know how you feel’ or ‘I know what you are going through’. Though they may have more insight than someone who has never lost a child, our experience is that each loss is as unique as the relationship between that particular mother and her child. The same can be said for spouses, children who’ve lost parents, etc- the same type of loss does not always mean the same experience.

There is no question some losses have more devastating impacts than others, but I have found it helpful over the years to look at any loss individually to understand that impact. So many people who have suffered multiple losses have shared their surprise when the death the thought would be the ‘easiest’ or the ‘hardest’ was not what they expected, so I always am cautious to make any blanket assumptions. For many who have suffered multiple losses they have shared the loss of a child (no matter the age) as the worst of those losses, but not always, which is why we caution against the idea of comparing or assuming that one can fully understand another’s experience because they have suffered the same type of death. Thank you for your insight and sharing your loss and experience here. I think as we all share experiences it makes us all a little better equipped to support each other.

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Litsa

Posted on October 8, 2013 at 6:28 am

I am so sorry about your dad. It can be so hard when others tell you when and how to grieve. It is so different for everyone, which is the worst when people start imposing their timeline or experience on you! Your grief is your own, and you deserve all the time, space, and support you need.

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Litsa

Posted on October 8, 2013 at 6:33 am

Cherish, that is so hard and I’m so sorry. It can be do difficult when we don’t anticipate how deeply a loss will impact us. It sounds like your relationship with your mom has been complicated. As one of our readers submitted for this list, when someone dies you are often left grieving your past, present, and future with that person. That can be overwhelming, especially if the relationship hasn’t always been easy. Take care.

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joan

Posted on October 8, 2013 at 7:59 am

I recently lost in June, my ONLY child, my son Marco, after he fought 32yrs with cystic fibrosis. I raised him as a single mom, the father bailed when my son was 3. I love my son and will see him again, but in the meantime, I’m punished to be alone …no other kids, no spouse, no reason to have joy…guilt, remorse, regret…I carry darkness till I die…and wish Jesus would return so I can see my boy again

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Lucie Brandt (MA., CCC)

Posted on October 8, 2013 at 3:43 pm

It may be helpful to write some pointers for people who are grieving (or about to grieve) the loss of someone who has hurt them very deeply or with whom they have had a difficult relationship:

“if you are grieving the loss of someone who has hurt you deeply, the process of grieving may take longer and may be more difficult to process.”

“the loss of someone who has hurt you deeply will surely bring up old wounds, regrets, and “unfinished business”. To the extent that love was absent from the relationship, these wounds may make the emotions of grieving all the more difficult to tolerate.

“Remember that the brain is wired to be biased toward negative thoughts and memory recall. If possible, take the time to reflect upon / remember the positive.”

“It is normal and acceptable at times to feel relieved after someone has died.”

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Lucie Brandt (MA., CCC)

Posted on October 8, 2013 at 4:38 pm

I like the point above about not “protecting children” from grieving processes:

The following is an excellent book for parents:

WHEN A PARENT IS SICK (Subtitle: Helping Parents Explain Serious Illness to Children) by Joan Hamilton

The above resource is helpful if you and your spouse are on the same page with respect to what is going on. If this is not the case, it may be helpful to speak to a Couple and Family Therapist.

This is another excellent book which deals with death, divorce, pet loss, moving and other losses: WHEN CHILDREN GRIEVE by James, Friedman and Matthews.

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Litsa

Posted on October 8, 2013 at 5:52 pm

Great suggestions, Lucie. Thanks so much!!

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Litsa

Posted on October 8, 2013 at 5:55 pm

Thanks so much for these great recommendations! We have some grief activity books for kids here that might also be helpful http://whatsyourgrief.com/grief-activity-books-for-kids-3-9/

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Misty

Posted on October 8, 2013 at 11:05 pm

I lost my son last year. There is an emptiness in me that will always be there. I sometimes have a hard time holding back the emotion. I can just think of something and It is like it just happened all over again. God has been my constant strength through this nightmare. I smile and laugh and live life to the fullest but I will never be the same, I am just waiting on God to return so that I can see him again, hold him and tell him my heart. I dont know if I did before by now I take nothing for granted. I tell everyone I love them and hug them when I see them as much as I can. I never want my love for them to not be known. Cherish all the time God gives you with the people you love cause time is fleeding and they are gone in the blink of an eye. Also thank you for letting me know that I am normal in my grief. I am a nurse and I come into contact with alot of pain, I know God guides me through each day and uses me as a vessel through this tragedy. God has been changing my life in miraclous ways. I am blessed and thankful for the Love of Christ!

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Misty

Posted on October 8, 2013 at 11:08 pm

God finds a way to bring joy back into your life even when you least expect it. God knows our pain more than anyone for he didnt spare his son for us. I dont know you personally but my heart suffers with you as I lost my oldest son last year also. I am sorry for your lost but you just continue to hold on to the love of Christ and all the years he gave you with that precious life. He is not gone honey he just went home before you…..my love to you in Christ!

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Terrye Hunt

Posted on October 9, 2013 at 9:57 am

“She lived a good life ” because she was older ) – Is not an appropriate response to a grieving child of an older parent…

“S/ looks good ” ( viewing comment ) – Is not an appropriate statement. S/he is dead for gods sake, you are an idiot, how can she look good..

Thank god it is okay to be angry that people say stupid things … They showed up to show their support for you, their respect for the deceased * Remember that, not the stupid comments if you can…

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Bonnie

Posted on October 9, 2013 at 10:41 am

Grief – You can’t go around it. You can’t go over it. You can’t go under it. You have to go THROUGH it.

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BJ

Posted on October 9, 2013 at 11:09 am

Whether one has lost a family member, a pet, a friend, a job or something else that has held personal significance, the stages of grief are very real. Theses points and comments are very helpful, and many are ones I have shared with others or have said to myself in order to remember them. The most important lesson I have learned about grief is that there are no rules. Everyone grieves differently and in his/her own way, often without realizing what is happening to them.

Thank you for this website; I plan to share it with others!

BJ

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Chrissy

Posted on October 9, 2013 at 3:22 pm

Guilt is a waste of your well needed energy (even if years have gone by)…process it, but don’t keep processing it over and over to the point that you become harmful to your “progress in your process”. Grief is a process. I agree it is one that you never “get over”, but you will gain ‘progress’ in the healing/pain. Love every single one of these! Thank you for sharing!

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Christie

Posted on October 12, 2013 at 10:37 am

Lisa,
Well said.
I can’t imagine running into the mother who said the loss of her child or children was not the worst of her losses in regard to grief but I guess there is likely the percentage that don’t bond with their children. So sad.
Your work is good, God bless you!
?

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Eric

Posted on October 12, 2013 at 10:24 pm

First, thank you. Despite feeling like poking wounds I long thought scarred over, this trip down darker segments of Memory Ln was somehow reassuring. Contributions from my own experiences:

Your tears will bring a true and literal understanding of the term “gut-wrenching” and you’ll wish you could never cry again. Your wish will come true but this will also be painful and you’ll wish you’d never willed away the tears. This wish will also come true.

“Grief can make you question your faith.” You may not like the answers.

“Why?” and “What if…?” are unanswerable. The trick is to figure out how to live without the answers.

You may find the person you lost was the glue that held your family/friends together. You might drift apart temporarily or permanently, or you might find new glue.

Others may act like the person you lost was perfect. You’ll feel like the only one who saw imperfections and this will make you feel guilty.

It’s okay to be mad at the person for leaving you.

You will forget – things about them, or them altogether for a moment – and this will bring a new style of guilt. You will remember them in unexpected ways.

It’s okay to live, laugh, love.

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Litsa

Posted on October 12, 2013 at 10:53 pm

Eric, Thanks and these are OUTSTANDING additions. I especially love what you say about forgetting and the new type of guilt that brings- so very true. I think the reason there can be a twisted comfort in grief is that the grief itself is a sign we still remember. As hard as the pain of grief can be, reconciling the reality that we will eventually start to forget can be equally as hard. Thank you so much for adding to the list!

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Carla Hill

Posted on October 14, 2013 at 2:06 pm

Sometimes we do most of our grieving before our loved one dies. There are some things far worse than death and when you see them suffering from horrendous pain day after day…..or put through one excruciating procedure after another, you experience deep grief. You grieve for what they’re going through and grieve because you can’t help. When they pray for deliverance from a failing body and death doesn’t come swiftly enough, you grieve. When they are finally at peace, free from suffering and pain, there can be tremendous relief because you’ve already been grieving for a very long time. Does that mean you don’t miss them? Absolutely not, but you can experience peace and celebrate them home in heaven!

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Terrye Hunt

Posted on October 15, 2013 at 7:32 am

This is reassuring to read is some small way. On my Birthday this year, June 26th I sat in the middle of my living room floor and I wept and wept and wept. I prayed God would not let my mother suffer any longer. She passed one month later to the day. There are times I feel like I suffered more watching her than I have since she passed. I have created a bench at my summer place that is very park like, I’ve burned (etched into ) a bench there that reads ” Meet you by the Stream “… That is were was always said we would meet after death ( by the stream ). I have a tattoo on my foot that reads the same thing. Sometimes I question myself that the pain was more severe when she was alive than it has been since she left. I ma happy ? to read your comments. It leaves me feeling human..

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Litsa

Posted on October 15, 2013 at 7:38 am

This is so true, Carla. The pain of watching someone suffer is unbearable, and when we know death is coming it is such a common experience to begin grieving. It can be confusing when you haven’t gone through it- thank you for adding! We have a post about coping with anticipatory grief here: http://whatsyourgrief.com/anticipatory-grief/

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Nicole Jurgens

Posted on October 15, 2013 at 10:43 pm

I do agree with you on that! I also am a grieving mother…my daughter was 15 and passed 6/20/12…you are correct in saying not all losses are the same! Not even a parent who lost a child is the same as another!! I know locally of a mother who lost a child to murder one day after my daughter passed, and cannot relate to how she is grieving and her loss because i lost mine to an asthma attack which lead to brain damage….soooooo different. No loss feels the same for anyone! Thank you for saying that because I feel that way every single day

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Terrye Hunt

Posted on October 16, 2013 at 7:37 am

I would have to agree with you with all of my heart that all grieving is not the same. I think it is an insult for someone to use the line ” I know how you feel”, regardless of the loss or the relationship.

Relationships come fuull, they come void, they come filled with love and they come filled with loss.

I find it scary to write the words, death of a child, let alone think I could ever compare any of my losses to that of a child –

God Bless the Mothers and the Fathers, all of them who endure such pain

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Kaylin

Posted on October 16, 2013 at 11:10 am

Crying is necessary, but it never really helps. It never makes me feel any better. It’s not a “satisfying” cry like crying when you’re stressed.

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Christie

Posted on October 16, 2013 at 3:11 pm

?

*** Post forbidden. Need manually approve. Request number 4cfe223e9d9ef958a198cbb7b7e0a804. Antispam service cleantalk.org. ***

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Christie

Posted on October 16, 2013 at 3:14 pm

With it.

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Christie

Posted on October 16, 2013 at 3:36 pm

I agree that not all losses are the same even in the case of the worst type of loss imaginable being that of a child (in my opinion). I also can’t imagine the grief of parents of missjng children who are never found, a whole other level to which I can’t fathom.
My feeling though is that though grief is grief and is as unique as the person who has passed there IS a difference between a child loss compared to that of a friend, spouse or other family member.
It is the umbreakable bond between a mother and child that makes it so.

This explains it best:

We are connected,My child and I, by An invisible cord…Not seen by the eye…It’s not like the cord…That connects us ’til birth…This cord can’t been seen….By any on Earth…This cord does its work…Right from the start….It binds us together…Attached to my heart….I know that it’s there….Though no one can see…The invisible cord….From my child to me….The strength of this cord…Is hard to describe…It can’t be destroyed…It can’t be denied…It’s stronger than any cord…Man could create….It withstands the test…Can hold any weight…And though you are gone..,Though you’re not here with me,…The cord is still there…But no one can see…It pulls at my heart..I am bruised…I am sore,…But this cord is my lifeline…As never before….I am thankful that God…Connects us this way….A MOTHER AND CHILD…Death can’t take it away!

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Catherine

Posted on October 23, 2013 at 10:51 pm

It is OK to be happy, to enjoy life, celebrate new life joy for
Me is very independent of my grief and I embrace
The re entering of joyous emotions.
Fortunately I had very wise counsel that had told
Me it was OK to enjoy life and I want to pass
Those words along. Let there be no guilt about it!

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Litsa

Posted on October 23, 2013 at 11:07 pm

Great addition to this list!!

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Perri

Posted on October 24, 2013 at 1:12 am

Kaylin, I completely agree with you about crying…I know it’s necessary but I do not feel better afterwards, headache, heartache, red eyes and pain.

I lost my son to suicide in Aug 2010, he was 30. My husband had a heart attack and died at work one year ago.

I would add one thing to your list: not all the people who said,” If you need anything, anything at all” are able to back that up with action. It hurts but it doesn’t mean they don’t care.

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Eileen

Posted on October 26, 2013 at 12:18 am

Any loss can cause feelings of grief, so be kind and patient

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Jeanie

Posted on October 27, 2013 at 4:11 am

Thank you for this list. We lost our younger son suddenly in June of this year. I have been amazed at how primitive people are to the grieving process. It’s hard to get out and go through daily life, and to see people consciously avoiding you because they either don’t know what to say, or fear your horrific loss will happen to them, makes the grieving so much harder. I’m sure it was on your list in some form, but the people who helped us the most just did things-didn’t say “call me if you need anything” (who ever calls? Most of us don’t) or say “what can I do?” They just saw what needed to be done and did it-so grateful. Also, be sure to text/call/ send cards weeks and months after, as you think of it. The world goes on, but the griever’s heart is stopped.

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Irene

Posted on October 27, 2013 at 7:27 am

My late father once told me – to loose a parent is normal, to loose a spouse is also normal, to loose a sibling in later life, is also normal, but to loose a child is the hardest of them all.

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Irene

Posted on October 27, 2013 at 7:29 am

Joan, my heart goes out to you.

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Lori

Posted on October 28, 2013 at 1:16 am

Irene,
Although I understand the sentiment behind what your father said, for those of us who have lost our spouses very early in life, it is NOT normal. I hate when people say that it is so much worse or harder for people to lose their children. I know that I do not have children and cannot fathom that pain, but it seems few people understand what it’s like to lose your husband very unexpectedly before you’ve had a chance to have any children. It means you’ve not only lost your partner and best friend, but that you are suddenly left with an empty home and the possibility of the future you planned. And while you’re going through this, you don’t have the person you need most to lean on as you’re grieving.
Again, I think the best policy is not to compare people’s grief AT ALL. No one’s grief is the same as another’s, and I don’t ever minimize anyone else’s grief. I wish people would stop implying that my grief is somehow “less than” because it is for my spouse instead of a child.

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Colleen

Posted on October 28, 2013 at 3:56 pm

Number 29 has me curious. Could you tell us more of what you mean. Thank you!

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David

Posted on October 28, 2013 at 7:45 pm

A wonderful couple who were members of a church I pastored lost their son in a freak accident. They grieved together and became active in Compassionate Friends, working on their own grief and supporting others who had lost a child. A few years later the husband died in a freak accident. The wife told me, “Losing [our son] was terrible, but this is worse.”
It was not that she had not bonded with her children. She was a wonderful mother to her sons.

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Kaye

Posted on October 28, 2013 at 8:33 pm

I disagree with just one thing, death can be emergent. Sometimes you only get that one moment to say good bye, or hear good bye. There may not be closure but I believe it would be easier to face the death if you have the opportunity to say a few things before they die.

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Carol

Posted on October 28, 2013 at 9:55 pm

I am a bereaved mother. I lost my youngest daughter in a tragic car accident on May 30, 2011. She had been 16 years old for only two months. Having lost both my parents, as well as all of my in-laws, grandparents, and some uncles, aunts and friends, I can tell you that there is no comparison. My father-in-law was brutally murdered in a crime that remains unsolved to this day. As horrible as that was, this is worse. I buried my baby. With all due respect, until someone has put their own child into the ground, they have no idea.

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Lori

Posted on October 28, 2013 at 11:30 pm

Thank you, David. I believe I can understand some of the reasoning behind that woman’s feelings. When she lost her son, she had the support of her husband; when she lost her husband, she didn’t have her best friend to lean on anymore.
For those who continue to insist that losing a child is the worst pain or grief, please understand that what you are doing is basically telling the rest of us that our grief is not as valid as yours. I can tell you that I am already struggling enough with feeling that I haven’t progressed as far as I had hoped at this point (it’s been almost two years since my husband passed away), and to hear that it’s not as bad because “it’s the natural order of things, unlike when a parent outlives their child” doesn’t help. It’s not natural to find your husband has passed away in his sleep without warning when you are only in your thirties. Yes, I have friends and family who are extremely supportive but at the end of the day, I’m alone in my house and wishing I could talk to my husband. I cannot begin to express how sad it is to know you are alone in your grief. I am not only grieving the loss of my husband and best friend, but also the future and family we will never have.

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Lou

Posted on October 29, 2013 at 5:57 am

Some people don’t know what to say, or will say, or will say the wrong things, but this doesn’t mean they don’t care. Consider whether you would have understood this grief before it happened to you.

Sometimes grief will become a habit, it feels safe because you’ve been grieving so long that it starts to feel like part of you, like you don’t know how to be happy, or content, or calm. Grieving will feel like you are keeping that person in your life, but you can be happy without ‘letting them go’.

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Tom

Posted on October 29, 2013 at 7:44 am

I found CS Lewis’s book, A Grief Observed to be very helpful. He opens with the notion that losing a person you love is more like an amputation that, say, having your appendix out. After the removal of their appendix, there’s a recovery period and the person never thinks of it again, except occasionally when they catch sight of a small scar in the mirror. But with an amputation, you have pain in a limb that is not actually there, often for years and no matter how well you learn to get around on your prosthetic leg, every time you strap it on it reminds you that you will never again be a biped. But this is not to say that you can’t have a good and happy life as an amputee. But you don’t ‘get over’ an amputation, you adjust to it.

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Terrye Hunt

Posted on October 29, 2013 at 7:58 am

This is interesting to read because when my sister died suddenly my mom used the amputation as a comparison. My dad was an amputee and my mom said she felt like someone had severed both her arms from her body. She said the pain was so unreal she prayed to die, she felt like she was bleeding to death, she wanted to bleed to death even but she couldn’t just choose to bleed to death.
She said I have to learn to live my life all over again without any arms. I won’t don’t but my life will never be the same.
This is the most accurate reflection of the pain that death causes that I have ever read.
God Bless

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Diane Ball

Posted on October 29, 2013 at 9:49 pm

Colleen
re #29. I understand this. My mom was taking care of my aunt when she had cancer. It was the same time I had my daughter. My mom was afraid to leave my aunt to fly and see her first handbaby. She was afraid my aunt would die while she was gone and that my aunt only wanted her there. My mom’s dr told her to go or she was going to have a nervous breakdown. It was her debrief coming to see me. Being a caregiver is a very stressful event especially if the person is a family member. It takes it toll on a person.

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Litsa

Posted on October 30, 2013 at 7:41 am

Tom, I loved this book as well. In the very first passage is one of my favorite quotes about grief: “no one ever told me that grief felt so like fear”.

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Litsa

Posted on October 30, 2013 at 7:54 am

Colleen, I agree very much with what Diane says. #29 was submitted by one of our readers, so I cannot speak for what she intended, but for me the reason this was so important to include was because caregiving can be all-consuming. Your time, energy, and identity are deeply connected to the person who is ill. When that person dies the loss can have additional dimensions after caregiving. There can be complex feelings of relief and guilt, as well as a need to re-establish life after caregiving. Taking the time to acknowledge those emotions is so important. That may be through time away with friends you can talk to, a grief retreat, or on a smaller scale just talking to a counselor or support group if ‘getting away’ isn’t an option. Finding a caregivers support group while someone is sick can be a big help as well.

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Terrye Hunt

Posted on October 30, 2013 at 8:17 am

“No one ever told me that grief was so like “fear””… The more I read on this site, the more I enjoy what I read here. This site is like having a group of silent friends. The speak, they touch your soul in a way that even the closest of friends can’t find you …

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Roger Johnson

Posted on October 30, 2013 at 7:19 pm

Thank you for your post. I’ve not heard people speak of this before and it is helpful in my circumstance. My wife was mentally ill and became abusive. So much so I had to move out. I spent her last night with her to get her to a court hearing in the morning and she took her life during the night while I was asleep. I still had love for her but there was too much fear to remain with her. Now I deal with all of the bad memories and try to forgive her for them, but there are so many of them the thoughts keep coming. We did have good times and I work to remember them. I have had some counseling but am starting another series with someone else to help deal with the PTSD associated with finding her. Thank You again.

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Stephanie

Posted on October 31, 2013 at 10:44 am

Thank you so much for this list! In 2007 I lost my little brother, age 40, who was my best friend to a single motorcycle drunk driving accident. Then 1 year later I lost my Grandmother who was instrumental in my childhood. In 2009 both of my parents (who had been divorced for 34 years) died from cancer only 6 days apart. In early 2012 I was diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer. During treatments I was diagnosed with Kidney Cancer, unrelated to the breast cancer. Today I am cancer free. I wish I could have seen this list when I was experiencing all of the loss. It strikes me that in many of the lines Cancer could replace Death and it would also apply. I love #57. Death/Cancer does rewrite your address book. I can only agree that grief lasts forever. And it blind sides you. Like a kick to the stomach at times. Like a warm embrace at others. I love with my whole heart and don’t ever regret it.

There is a moment in the movie Rabbit hole where amother who lost a child talked about it being as if she carried this brick in her pocket and sometimes she forgot for a while and lived her life but then aftef a few minutes she put her hand in her pocket and thoughf ” oh yeah. That.” Very well said.

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Eleanor

Posted on November 1, 2013 at 3:47 pm

Stephanie, I’m so sorry about all the loss you’ve had to experience in your life. Thank goodness though that you are cancer free! That is an interesting comment about these being able to apply to something like cancer, you are very right.

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Ade

Posted on November 1, 2013 at 4:02 pm

When I saw the heading I thought to myself that 64 things was rather a lot….
As I read through the list I found myself jumping ahead looking for the one that would make it better….no surprise it wasn’t there….
What I did find though was a common thread, and guilt seems most prevalent ….along with the many many positive comments …..

I lost my dear Bros earlier this year……it doesn’t matter why he died, as I’m fairly sure we all will eventually…..what matters is how he died….
He died as he wished, at home and with his Wife and Son at his side……for honouring his wishes I am eternally grateful… it just fills me with equal parts of joy and sorrow.

When I feel sad I just thank god (with a small g) that my Bruv was lucky enough to have been so loved….better to have loved and lost…and all that……

Ps a damn good blub and medium dose of self pity mixed with fond memories helps me.
…and as many post….’cut yourself some slack’ and.take solace where you find it
Pps. Love you Bro….xx

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Karen

Posted on November 2, 2013 at 7:37 am

I agree completely, Litsa, that every loss is an individual one. People sometimes attempt to “comfort” by saying, “It could be worse…” measuring one person’s grief against another’s. It’s never helpful. When my son Max died in utero, the comparisons sometimes got absurd — was it worse to lose a child at full term (as we did) than to have a miscarriage? Is it worse to lose a child who is 10 years old than one who is 6? Is it worse to lose a parent or a spouse?

Grief is always an individual process. It’s messy and it’s complicated. IMHO, the best thing we can do for each other is to honor a person’s own experience. Pain is pain; it lasts as long as it lasts; it is as devastating as that individual experiences it to be. All we can do is love one another through the process, without judgement or keeping score.

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Autumn

Posted on November 2, 2013 at 7:48 pm

Also know that the person grieving may have never had such a loss before, and they themselves may say ignorant things. When my dad died almost two years ago, I was 29. I had already lost most of my grandparents, but I was not very close to any of them, so my dads death hit me harder than I was prepared for. I often said that it would have been easier had I been older and thus “expecting” his death. I now know that that’s of course not true.
And telling me he had a nice long life never helped, because the age gap between us (41 years) meant that even though i was only 29, he was 70, and the unfairness of spending more of my life without a dad than with one is sometimes too much to bear. I’m glad someone pointed out the guilt associated with the passage of time; that’s been the only thing that hassle me truly feel like I’m crazy. “I want to keep hurting because that means that it just happened and I don’t have the possibility of another 50 years without dad looming ahead of me.
Also, is it possible to make a printer-friendly version of this with the helpful comments somehow included?

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Darcy

Posted on November 5, 2013 at 11:31 pm

Every death is sudden.

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Chris

Posted on November 7, 2013 at 8:50 pm

Thank you for this post, I have two children that have a degenerative brain disorder called Juvenile Batten Disease. Grief is a daily occurence in our lives as we watch them slowly lose abilities. Batten Disease causes blindness, seizures and eventually the loss of motor skills such as walking, talking and even swallowing. We have not yet lost either of our children, but I grieve every time I recognize a decline in skills, I find myself angry because other 16 year olds are getting drivers licenses, and I cry. Alot. But, I also try to find a sense of normalcy and try to keep a sense of humor, it helps. Accepting help and support is a big challenge but we are trying to get better about this. I dread the day that is coming when we will lose one and then the other of our children to this cruel disease and this type of post puts it into perspective. Thanks again for sharing this.

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Litsa

Posted on November 12, 2013 at 9:21 pm

Thanks so much Chris for sharing here. I just visited your blog and appreciate so much the incredible strength of your family and support from your friends — I was not familiar with mealtrain, but what an amazing effort from your friends. Though we often think about grief as associated with a death, grief comes in so many forms and around so many types of loss. Wishing you many happy days with your sons and continued strength, sense of normalcy, and sense of humor!

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michele

Posted on November 14, 2013 at 1:21 pm

This is so true and so important. its a different type of loss death grief

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Mark

Posted on November 14, 2013 at 6:45 pm

Thank you for this list. My wife died a little over a month a go after a 15 year battle with breast cancer. She was to an inspiration to all of us. The list you provide certainly will help my family as we grieve our loss.

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Barbara

Posted on November 14, 2013 at 10:27 pm

It’s ok to feel relief that your loved one has passed. After a long illness you may have most of your grief behind you and feel a sense of relief, release and freedom. Don’t feel guilty. It doesn’t mean you didn’t love them very dearly.

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Cindy

Posted on November 14, 2013 at 11:43 pm

Thank you so much for this list, it came at a time when I was doubting myself and wondering if I was going crazy. I just lost my husband on June 30, of this year. We would have been married 25 years in Jan 2014. It was all of a sudden even though he had been sick for sometime. I have been experiencing all of this. In fact I started crying after reading this list and relating them to how I have been feeling. Funny, I did not feel this way when my mother or grandmother passed away. When they passed, I felt relief for them and comfort. I know my husband is in a better place, and I know he is with me, and I take comfort in that.

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Nancy Patee

Posted on November 17, 2013 at 8:40 pm

Grief, makes you lose focus . I lost my husband suddenly 10 days ago. I find I can’t focus on any thing, I just can’t focus, I go from thing to thing and it is so hard to complete a task. My husband and I loved each other very much. The one thing to me has really come out was everybody around us new this, I guess in my own world and did not realize people felt that way about us.

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Litsa

Posted on November 17, 2013 at 8:44 pm

Oh Nancy, I am so sorry about the death of your husband. You are so right that grief makes us lose focus, especially early in. Concentrating can feel almost impossible. I find, even years later, that is still the case for me on especially tough days- anniversaries, birthdays, etc. Glad you found our site and hope it is of some support in the coming months.

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Janna

Posted on November 18, 2013 at 4:27 am

Tracy, So, so true! That was one of the worst parts of my grief. It’s real and so final. And it WILL happen again. The thought of that is almost too much to bear at times. I lost my dad this year and he was the first person who I loved with all my heart to go. The thought of my mom or sisters… I can’t even think about it.

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C Hedley

Posted on November 18, 2013 at 2:02 pm

When someone dies from an alleged suicide – people don’t say “I’m really sorry for your loss”. Quite often they don’t say anything at all. They should acknowledge your pain of loss, regardless how the death occurred.

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Molly

Posted on November 20, 2013 at 10:31 am

There is a difference in ALL losses. That is the point. Comparing losses and sticking one loss up as being more special, more important (and if anyone disagrees it’s because they don’t love their children enough,) is exactly the kind of hurtful behavior that this article was hoping to help people learn to avoid. With varying degrees of success.

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LW

Posted on November 24, 2013 at 1:59 am

Number 8 is a big fat lie. Death is an emergency and you don’t always get time to say goodbye. My husband dropped dead at work. Where wasy chance to say goodbye??? What about that wasn’t an emergency?? Just out of the blue to have only one symptom – sudden death. You don’t call that an emergency?

That really ticks me off.

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Lori from San Diego

Posted on November 24, 2013 at 2:43 am

RE: #29
I lost my husband on April 1, 2010. I got the Hell out of Dodge 3 days later….for 10 days I drove around California, landing in Cambria because I needed to get away from our home, where he died. I just could not cope with being in that house. I was my husband’s caregiver for the 6 weeks he spent in hospice and I just needed a break from reality. I don’t know if you’ve lost someone (and I really hope you haven’t!) but, for me, running away was a lifesaver.
Take care friend.

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Barb

Posted on November 24, 2013 at 3:19 am

Seems so negative. If I was grieving and read that list, I don’t know what I would do. Thank God I am a trained Bereavement Coordinator.

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Barb

Posted on November 24, 2013 at 3:22 am

Is there good that comes from the hard times?

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C Hedley

Posted on November 24, 2013 at 4:09 am

A bereavement by suicide is not only unexpected but it’s unnatural and in many causes extremely traumatic. Some of us can’t even begin to grieve because we’re in shock or denial. Where the death has been traumatic for your loved one, you can develop PTSD. We have so many questions about why the death has occurred and why your loved one never asked for help. And if you’re not the next of kin (because your child has married or had a child of their own) the Authorites (Police,Hospital and Coroner) in the UK won’t even speak to you to inform you of any developments concerning the death. You don’t even have the right to bury your own child and if you’re not in contact with their spouses for any reason (and tensions are usually quite high at this time) you may also experience difficulties in seeing your grandchildren.

Barb – I’d be interested to know if you’ve come across this situation before with your bereavement counselling.

http://www.justgiving.com/caroline-hedley

Raising awareness & funds for Survivors of Bereavement By Suicide in the UK

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Litsa

Posted on November 24, 2013 at 5:48 am

Hi Barb! I think there is much good that comes from grief. If you have clicked around our blog hopefully you have seen that much of our site is dedicated to the incredibly powerful, transformative nature of grief. This list was things I wish people had told me, not a list of all things about grief. Way too many people told me positive things- it gets easier after a year, this will make you a stronger/better person, etc. The reality is that take a lot of time. In the early stages of grief everyone tells you that and my experience was of constant frustration that no one wanted to talk about how devastating the loss was, but instead wanted to focus on these positives or avoid all together. It made me feel my experience was crazy or abnormal. The goal of this list is not to say there is not good that come from loss- in fact we founded this blog around that premise in many ways. It is to say I wish someone had acknowledged these things so I (and so many other grievers I have worked with) wouldn’t feel crazy or abnormal.

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Litsa

Posted on November 24, 2013 at 6:05 am

Hi Barb, sorry, I saw your other comment first and replied, so the replies may overlap a bit! I suspect this list seems negative because it is based on what I wish people had told me, not the things they did. Everyone focused on the positive- that things would get better, grief could be transformative, it would make me a stronger and better person, etc. Dozens of my posts on this site are dedicated to the ways that is true and helping others get to that place.

The problem for me was people focused on the positive when I needed people to validate the pain. I went to several grief counselors who I stopped seeing after a couple visits because all the could conceptualize was the transformative nature of grief, when in the early days that was the LAST thing I wanted people shoving at me. It takes time to get to that place. I ultimately saw a therapist who was the most helpful because he did not throw the ‘positive’ ‘transformative’ stuff at me when I was not in a place to hear it. As a counselor myself now, many years later, I believe ultimately people can guide you there, but you have to come to it on your own. In my experience people telling me those “positive” things that would come only made me feel alienated and alone. So many people are seeking validation and understanding of the negative and gentle guidance to the positive.

Thanks for visiting! Hope you take some time to visit the rest of our site!

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Litsa

Posted on November 24, 2013 at 6:38 am

Lori, I am so sorry for your loss. Being a caregiver is so physically and emotionally draining. When a person dies caregivers are often in a place of total exhaustion. ‘Running away’ can get a bad rap, but I think what you describe can be a positive and important way to get time to yourself. Getting space from the location of the death can be important or space from other people can be very helpful. I am glad the space was good for you at that time. Thank you for sharing!!

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Litsa

Posted on November 24, 2013 at 6:49 am

Hi LW, I am so sorry for the death of your husband. Sudden deaths can be especially devastating for exactly the reason you describe (and many more). This list is not intended as something in which every item will ring true for every person. Losses are each so unique that there are no universals. We asked our regular readers to submit something they wish someone had told them. Number 8 was a reader submission, so I can’t speak to how it was intended. As someone who has lost someone suddenly and unexpectedly, I absolutely agree that there are emergencies where you can’t literally say goodbye to that person. Later I found other ways to say my goodbyes -for me- but of course I never got to say them to him, so it totally different. I included everything submitted (the ones in quotes) on this list, whether I could relate or not, because the goal was not a list where everyone could relate to all things, but rather where people could share lessons they learned personally that they wish they had known. Sadly, one that isn’t on this list and should be, is sometimes you just can’t physically say goodbye. And that can be devastating.

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Treceda S

Posted on November 24, 2013 at 8:26 am

Grief can make you push people you love away a bit. My mom died by self inflicted wounds when I was 16, I was in a fog first, struggling through each day with waves of sorrow, empty spaces, and reruns running through my head for months. After the numb walking came the blame stage, what could I have done different? this stage lasted for two decades. Nightmares where she was hidden off with my dad that she had divorced when I was three and suddenly there they both were. Guess my grief of not knowing him blended in with my grief of losing her. Then came the anger stage, I am still mad at her for leaving me in such a way. I am angry because she missed knowing my children and my grandchildren. Then I think of the love she showed us, the choo choo trains of all of us dancing through the house in a line singing who wears short shorts? the sacrifices she made to keep all of us together. I am in my fifties now and I just wish she had been here for my life. Reflections on how it would have been different with her guiding me instead of me being thrown into a world too soon with so little ammunition to cope. But I had her mother there with her pearls of wisdom to guide me when I would listen. It’s hard to listen when your head is full of grief and you put on a face that ‘I’m alright” to the world.

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Colleen

Posted on November 24, 2013 at 11:24 am

I was off from work for 11 months, caring for my husband. The hospice CNA could only stay 2 hours, 2 days a week, for me to get away. The nearest city was a 20 minute drive. Some of that time away I was “drive-by shopping” for a house in town to buy. I knew I had to plan ahead, that was part of my self induced therapy. Day dreaming and setting goals kept me sane. I wasn’t sure if this running away
statement was aimed at during the loss or after. He was with hospice 6 months before he passed of COPD.

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Sherry Marts

Posted on November 24, 2013 at 12:44 pm

Thank you for this, what a gift it is!

One thing I would add: death is not the only thing we grieve over. Some things we (or those around us) may not think of as the “loss of a loved one” bring grief – the loss of a job or career (even if the choice was yours), the end of a relationship, moving your home. (What we call “homesickness” is a form grief.)

Another thing I’ve learned is that in our “get over it and move on” culture, people often (usually, in my experience) need permission to grieve.

May you grieve deeply and well.

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Pamela King

Posted on November 24, 2013 at 1:16 pm

This is a really good and comprehensive list. Thank you for the contribution.

Where author’s are quoted (and thanks for doing so), please also give attribution to author and/or book title. Their words are their living and it would really help them out. Remember, sage as they may be, they are our fellow “grievers” and have put words to our emotions. They deserve credit for helping us break out of our sorrowful shells. Thank you.

And thanks again for this spot on list.

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Litsa

Posted on November 24, 2013 at 1:53 pm

Hi Pamela, glad you enjoyed the list. Those in quotes were things posted on our facebook page (I said I wanted to make a list and asked people to comment with suggestions) so I will see if I can go back to that facebook post/comments and see if I can perhaps embed the post and comments here. Thanks for the suggestion!

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Litsa

Posted on November 24, 2013 at 1:58 pm

Thank you Sherry- that is such an important point! We grieve so many things- loss of home, loss of job, divorce, loss of friendships, loss of health/mobility, and on and on. What is also important is that each of those losses is deeply individual and unique. One person may move from a home and adjust quickly and easily, another may find that loss devastating and struggle to adapt. There is not recipe for grief- it is as unique as each of us and our relationship with whatever or whoever we have lost. Thank you for your insight!

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Alan Lopez

Posted on November 24, 2013 at 5:11 pm

Interesting list. Here’s my comments on it:
12. Nobody brought me food, but I wasn’t able to eat anyway.
16. I hate the term “closure.” Bank accounts are closed, windows are closed, but the love we carry for those closest to us never closes.
17. But too many people want to impose time limits for us.
27. I never knew there was pain this deep.
28. And pain too.
38. And it’s always people that don’t know what they’re talking about. Nobody can tell anyone how to feel.
42. I’ve always been jealous of widows who say they are numb. I wish I were numb so I wouldn’t feel the pain.
49. So don’t make big decisions based on the fact that you feel good or bad that day.
53. Just the opposite.
54. I got sick of being told “It’s OK to cry.” As if men don’t know that, and I hadn’t already cried a river.

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Maggie

Posted on November 24, 2013 at 6:35 pm

I would add:

Don’t throw away the deceased’s personal possessions too soon, or too quickly. After things quiet down, you may find that you actually wanted to save more of their ‘stuff’ than you thought.

Don’t be surprised if you have difficulty focusing, even on important tasks. After a big loss, it’s not uncommon to find your ‘mental computer’ slowing down like a laptop with too many programs running, while the grief runs in teh background of whatever you’re trying to do.

Let somebody else do the driving for at least a few days.

It DOES get better. Slower than we would wish, but it does.

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Hank

Posted on November 24, 2013 at 7:06 pm

This is a very comprehensive and helpful list. As someone who has lost both parents, a brother-in-law, and a daughter–as well as presided at more than 200 funerals (yes, I am a pastor), I found it generally very accurate from both observation and from my own personal experience. I especially appreciate comment #16; I actually cringe every time I hear someone talk about bereaved people “finding closure.” Those words have to come from someone who has never really experienced grief.

I have also found that for myself, I cannot say things have “gotten better;” I find it more appropriate to say they have gotten “less difficult.”

I would also note that for many people grief is cumulative. Each subsequent death of a person important to us is amplified the grief we experienced over those who predeceased them.

And there is one other very important thing I would stress: People of great faith, profound, belief, trust in the Divine, and anticipation of an afterlife are not immune to grief. Those who say if you grieve you don’t truly believe are woefully wrong.

In my retirement, I am still called on from time to time by local funeral homes. I hope that it would be acceptable for me to copy this list and make it available to people I work with who may need to read it.

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Litsa

Posted on November 24, 2013 at 7:07 pm

Thanks Maggie! Everyday I get excited about the more great things added to this list. I think soon we are going to need a 64 MORE things list.

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Litsa

Posted on November 24, 2013 at 7:14 pm

Thank you Hank, both for your service as a pastor to those grieving, and for your outstanding comments on this list. Please feel free to share this (and any other post on our site) with anyone who you feel may benefit.

I think your comment about cumulative grief is especially important. We have a post about that here that doesn’t get nearly as much play around the web as this post has, but I think it is such an important consideration in grief, as I am sure you are aware having suffered numerous losses. The link to that post is here: http://whatsyourgrief.com/cumulative-grief-aka-grief-overload/

Thanks for visiting and sharing!

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Hank

Posted on November 24, 2013 at 7:49 pm

Thank you, Litsa! I did share this article on my Facebook. Thank you as well for your permission to share the article further (and likely others too). For sure, I will make this one available to others whom I think would need to read it. Now, I’ll check out your “grief overload” article.

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Joyce

Posted on November 25, 2013 at 1:45 pm

All of the things on the list touched me so deeply. death is so final. My wishes are to just touch Mom again and feel her angel kisses on my cheek and say my name, which noone does, would make me so happy. I need someone who has been by a loved ones side and talked them through the dying process and felt their last heartbeat. Not many have done this and I find that lots of people cannot understand what death is all about. I cherish that last moment. I feel at peace that Mom is in a better place now, but only if I could hold her again.

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Elisa

Posted on November 25, 2013 at 2:43 pm

Everyone grieves differently and no one death is the same as another. My husband died at 42 unexpectedly and I thought it was the worst thing that would ever happen to me.2 years and a week later my son disappeared, it took 6 months to find him in his truck in a canal. I learned never to say this is the worst thing that can ever happen. I learned that all the comments made about losing a husband were true. I learned losing a child is a lot worse than losing a husband. But, I also know you live your own experiences and realities and telling that to someone grieving over a spouse or parent makes no sense. Their reality is their grief and it’s the worst for them.

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Lori

Posted on November 25, 2013 at 5:16 pm

Do not allow anyone to tell you how to grieve. They will tell you to let go and get over it and stop crying it won’t bring them back…etc…DO NOT LISTEN TO THEM. I have found that these are the people who have never experienced a tragedy let alone an sudden unexpected tragic death of a loved one. You have to go through the steps of grief in the order that they come to you and resolve them and work through them in the tine that it takes you. Do not gage your grief by the way others grieve as everyone is different. A large regret I have is not putting my for down to my family when certain members took it upon themselves to control aspects of my husband’s death that were quite frankly not their business to handle. My husband’s mother went through all of his belongings and took what she wanted for herself and her husband, then allowed her other son to go threw everything and take what he wanted. Then gave what was left to my kids and I. My children had every right to their fathers belongings and instead of fighting for that I let it go as to not make waves and never cause them any more pain then they already were going through. I know I had the most respectful of intentions and I’m happy to have not upset any of them but my children have nothing of their fathers. The little that was allowed for us to take was clothing…This brings me to my largest regret. My own mother…My mom, not having liked my husband therefore having no love loss with him passing took it upon herself to remove all of his clothing em she could grab before my coming outside to her car and she took it all away. I attempted to grab some shirts out…favorites I bought him or the kids would remember him in but she took it all away. I was able to call her and beg her to not dispose of them as she planned to give it all to charity. (Again…NOT HER PLACE TO DO SO!!!) but as she is a seamstress I begged and pleaded for her to at least do a quilt project with our 2 kids and allow them to select from his clothing special pieces and cut quilting squares out from them and sew blankets so they can always have a special keep sake to feel close to him. They selected their favorite pieces of their daddy’s clothing…she set them aside…and she got rid of all of it. I wish that I was not ands respectful towards her when she took all of his clothing. I wish I would have fought her on it harder and to any means possible. I wish I would have stood up to both mothers…my children’s grandmothers, and demanded his property back and had the balls to put them both in their place so my kids could have some of their daddy’s belongings. In the moment when all I could do was try to get up everyday and keep moving forward comforting my kids, raising them and providing for them…The last thing on my mind was anything material. He had multiple cars. Some specialty mustangs that Kurt kind of “disappeared” on his own family’s side. Our kids would have lived and cherished those and used them as well. I wish I knew to fight for their rights to their daddy’s belongings from theft, thoughtlessness and destruction. I just had so much more on my mind that it hardly registered. If i went back I would have taken it all and locked it up and kept the key hidden away for my kiddos. And every time anyone told me to get over it…I now wish I would have slapped em all. Not to be violent but quite frankly they deserved it. I should have kept the kids and my own needs in front of others nosey rude ways and fought them all. But i wanted to keep peace and never cause any problems for anyone. Now I’m left with regrets for not having a backbone and there is nothing I can do about it.

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Melody Montgomery

Posted on November 26, 2013 at 11:38 am

You do grieve what you never had, children never borne because of cancer.

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Melody Montgomery

Posted on November 26, 2013 at 11:48 am

LW, I am so sorry for your loss. I am sorry you didn’t get to say goodbye.

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Tonia

Posted on November 26, 2013 at 6:05 pm

Thanks for the list. I have had to grieve too many over the last 6 months. My father on May 9, my mother on Oct 3 and my father in law on november 17. I have been up and down so much over these last 6 months. Its true the ones you thought would be there aren’t. It has made me bitter. It has torn at our family. I havnt had time to grieve one before another. My father was unexpected and sudden and was just a huge blow then my mother just 5 months later was slow and painful to watch and was absolutely agonizing then to top it of my father in law was short but drawn out in the 2 1/2 weeks it lasted. I ask the question over and over why. This has truly been the hardest year of my life. My husband and I jokingly say we are orphans now but it feels real. I feel a if my heart my soul and every being of me has been shattered into a million pieces and there is not enough glue or tape to fix it. I know I don’t want to hear it will be alright because it won’t. I want to cry, scream, fight and laugh. I just want you there when I need you there.

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Jeanne

Posted on November 26, 2013 at 9:12 pm

another one:

You will think back on all the wrongs and the hurts. There will be anger. You will survive that too.

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Linda

Posted on November 27, 2013 at 12:47 am

Hi Janna
I lost my brother (my only sibling) and I worry about having enough energy to do for my parents when they need help in the coming years, and losing them eventually. Know what u mean.

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Michael

Posted on November 27, 2013 at 8:24 am

Feel like i’m going crazy but #24 and #40 say that is normal. Does that remain so 7 years after losing 3yo son.

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Ruth

Posted on November 27, 2013 at 9:12 am

Litsa, thank you for all your replies to those who posted about your list.
You are really thoughtful and kind. I lost a beautiful, smart daughter who was 23 years old, in 1980. That’s 33 years of pain for our family. My husband only survived 10 years after her death, he was devastated by it. He was just 46 when we lost her, (she suffered for many years with epilepsy) but he never got over it. At least he lived long enough to have had a life, but my only consolation about my daughter is that she didn’t have to suffer anymore, and would never have another seizure. Losing a child is indeed the worst thing that can happen to a parent, no matter what their age. My younger brother died at 50, when my mother was 85, and it destroyed her, a very strong woman all her life, but his death just made her fall to pieces and she died a year later…so my life is measured by the deaths in our family. We who survive try to remember the good times not the deaths, that’s all we have, so we cherish the photos and the memories. You never “get over” it…

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Kirsten Jackson

Posted on November 27, 2013 at 9:16 am

Grief puts you in a club you wish you were not in…but the connection is so strong and so emotional with others who grieve, that you’re thankful for the club at the same time as wanting to escape it!

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Kirsten Jackson

Posted on November 27, 2013 at 9:20 am

P.S. This was painful to read. I had to keep taking breaks. But then I shared it with all my grieving friends. I lost my 41-year-old husband two years ago this month. I want so much to run as far and as fast from the grief as I can…while at the same time acknowledging that I like the woman I’ve become since surviving loss so much better than who I was before. It’s just one contrast after another of resisting and accepting.

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Nanette

Posted on November 27, 2013 at 10:27 am

Not all grief is from death! Betrayal is a loss that you grieve!

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Abbigail

Posted on November 27, 2013 at 11:46 am

*People will say crass and cruel things that devalue how you feel and discredit the deceased as a human being while sanctifying other deceased family members that they valued more.
*Sometimes you’ll feel like ending your life (I hope not). Just validating that those feelings are in even unlikely people. If this is you, do what I did and find a. Support system.
*Beware of counselors who are not grief related. My experience, I got diagnosed with all sorts of new Ailments and got pills thrown at me. If your dr is a good dr he will not treat you like you’re crazy. Grief is not a mental illness.
*Be on your own terms . If you do have to attend potentially uncomfortable family functions beware of triggers. Go in your own vehicle so you not stuck being dependent in someone else’s terms and always map out an escape route. You may need one.

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Denise

Posted on November 28, 2013 at 9:19 am

I was lucky,we were given a time frame, the longest was 2 years , we planned his funeral as a family , he picked it all out, wrote thank yous to the doctors, pallbearers, father and goodbye letters to our kids, they were also involved in all the medical choices, ( my dAd died when ias 16) , we had kids that age so they were involved, he got rid of his things in his time so I didn’t have too ,he made the transition a bit easier for us, however he was burn on Christmas , died at Easter time and our daughters birthday , married around thanksgiving, he nailed them all, I still talk to him very loudly and throw things just in case he’s here and I hit him, lol I get mad at dome things he left for me yo take of yet which is one , we went to our lawyer Nd accountant , to start the process of taking care of things before he died, give yourself the extra day before the funeral it’s easier , I even made the entire funeral lunch , most of the time when people ask is there something we can do let us know , bare in mid they really don’t mean it!!!! Be kind to yourself and find a really good pillow to sleep with ! I wish everyone well wishes on your personal journey !!!!

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Jo

Posted on November 28, 2013 at 11:36 am

A death of a loved one does not prepare you for the death of the next loved one.
Being in ones life daily leaves a bigger wound to heal and a scar to remember forever.

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Hilda

Posted on November 30, 2013 at 6:25 pm

I wish some had told me how it hurts to sleep without your life partner and it breaks your heart when you give the clothes away,

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robbin

Posted on December 1, 2013 at 5:22 pm

I lost the love my life nearly 13 yrs and tho I have accepted that “hes not coming back” and have done my best to continue on with life as much as I can, the pain and sadness still grab me at some point every day!! I still cry……alot!! I do what I have to do but its just always there. He was my heart, my best friend, my rock, my everything. We grew up together, married at 18 and 22, had and raised our babies together, had lots of plans for “when the kids are grown and gone and we hit those golden years”, looked forward to hanging out with our grandchildren,……….unfortunately it was all taken away too soon, the kids were 21 and 24, so we were seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and “our time” was coming………but cancer took him instead, I was 46 and he had just turned 50, married 28 great years and not a single regret, but been such a struggle since. :-( As for people “comparing” and giving advice that makes you want to run and scream is a given. My “worse” came when about a month after he died, I had just gone back to work……….when a co worker came up to me one morning and said “Well now I really know what you went thru, cause last nite I lost my best friend too”. (She was single, divorced for years, her babies were all dogs and cats which I knew she was very close to) So I said “You lost your best friend last nite? Then why are you here today”? Shes like “Well I am really tired thats for sure but thought it better to come to work and be distracted. My arms are killing me tho cause I spent the whole night, never even went to bed, digging a hole in my backyard, buried him, then showered and came to work”. Well my mouth dropped………I said YOU BURIED YOUR BEST FRIEND IN YOUR BACKYARD”???? Turns out she was talking about her DOG!! I truly wanted to reach out and choke her!! I do get it, I know people do very attached to their animals, but to say you now know how “I” felt………..you are comparing losing your dog to my losing my husband??????? I had to get away from her………..quickly!! :-(

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Jennifer

Posted on December 2, 2013 at 6:33 pm

I have buried my only two children (one from a car wreck and one from cystic fibrosis) and my mother (I was the only daughter and we were very close), but losing my husband 21 months ago has been the worst loss of all. We loved our children and I still grieve over their loss, but now I have no one to share those memories with and have lost my love, best friend, partner who was my “rock” through all the other trials of life. I have no rock to lean on now.

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Jennifer

Posted on December 2, 2013 at 6:46 pm

Losing a child, in our developed culture, does not “seem” like the normal order of things… I.e. Is not normal. But in reality in most of history losing children to illness or accidents or miscarriages, or in birth, was not that uncommon and still is part of the “normal” that many people in the world still live with. And in fact, it happens quite a bit in our USA. People just assume that it won’t happen to them, and for many people they are lucky that it doesn’t.
“You aren’t supposed to outlive your children.” Who says?? Certainly no one wants to, but we really have no idea what is or isn’t “supposed” to happen. As one who’s lost 2 children I actually find this reAlity helpful to me, to realize I am not special, my grief is not special, I am not a victim of an unjust world, I am not entitled because my loss is somehow “worse”. Life is hard, terrible things happen. My lesson is to be open to the pain of the world and try to have, more and more, a compassionate heart. In honor and memory of the angels I have lost, I hope I can live up to that lesson.

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Petal

Posted on December 2, 2013 at 10:58 pm

Jennifer – I signed up to applaud the bravery in what you’ve just said.

I agree that speaking out the truth is healing, which you have done. I am not as strong as you, the death of my dear sweet husband has just about killed my will to live.

I lost both parents young (aged 14 / my father) (age 22/my mother) lost a child, first husband pretended to be married to someone else when actually still married to me @ time (so divorce age 27), multiple serious losses and trauma due to The Troubles in Northern Ireland, and I fought back, somehow sprung back to live again … but the recent loss of my husband who embraced me with the love of Christ and gave me the happiness I’d always missed, has just about destroyed my will to live.

I have felt like I have nothing else to loose – but my professional career as a health care professional, I pray I never loose that, but nothing can replace my husband, even I met someone new – which I hope God sends my way, because this just isn’t practical, I have nothing now, and live in a strange new place as we’d left Northern Ireland due to The Troubles.

Your bravery has helped me tonight, as it is now 4am and after having an intruder in the house last week who traumatised me further, I can’t sleep properly now. Thank you for your encouragement by ‘speaking the truth in love’.

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Bear

Posted on December 2, 2013 at 11:24 pm

I drank more beer in the two years following my wife’s death than in the fifteen years before. Nothing prepares you for the death of a spouse.

Peace~Bear

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Litsa

Posted on December 3, 2013 at 12:12 am

This is so true, Ruth. So many (even who have been through a loss) may not relate to caring for someone through their death. Have you considered a grief group through a local hospice? That may be a space you could connect with others who share that common experience.

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Litsa

Posted on December 3, 2013 at 12:14 am

Oh Elisa, that is so much loss and I cannot even imagine the pain of the 6 months not knowing where your son was. Thank you for sharing here, and you are in my thoughts this holiday season . . .

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Litsa

Posted on December 3, 2013 at 12:19 am

Lori, I am so sorry for your loss, and for the pain and regret that has come from the actions of your family. You bring up such an important problem, which is the deep and painful impact of losing someone who your family may not have loved and cared for in the same way that you do. I think this is a more common experience than many people care to talk about. I am so sorry for what you went through with your mom, but I suspect your words and experience may inspire someone else facing similar challenges to stand up for their own wants and needs. This can be so hard when you are grieving and when others have forceful personalities, but it can be so important. I am know you will never be able to get those items back to share with your children, but I hope there is some comfort in the memories you can share with them of your husband.

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Litsa

Posted on December 3, 2013 at 12:21 am

This is so true and an under-recognized loss. We can grieve so many futures we will never have, for so many reasons, and this ‘losses’ of things we never had can be extremely devastating. Thanks for mentioning this one, Melody.

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Litsa

Posted on December 3, 2013 at 12:24 am

Oh Tonia, that is an unimaginable amount of loss in such a short period. If you haven’t already, it may be helpful to check out our post on cumulative grief. It may give some insight into some of the unique challenges of coping with so many losses. I am sure these holidays will be so tough — wishing you comfort and strength.

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Litsa

Posted on December 3, 2013 at 12:29 am

Michael, sorry for the delay in my reply. The thing about grief is that it ebbs and flows — we can go for months or even years and feel pretty stable, then have something trigger our grief to resurface with a vengeance. It is normal to feel crazy, but if you are concerned about the degree or duration I would strongly encourage you to see a counselor or attend a grief group.

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Litsa

Posted on December 3, 2013 at 12:33 am

Oh Ruth, I can relate so much to what you say about measuring life in deaths in your family. Period in my life are defined as before or after the loss of certain people. Friends and significant others can be defined by whether they met or did not meet certain important people in my life. I suspect you are right – the best we can do is remember the good times, and treasure each day knowing exactly how precious life is. Thank you so much for sharing your experience here.

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Litsa

Posted on December 3, 2013 at 12:39 am

Kristen, I am so sorry that you lost your husband – an so young. . . I think our initial inclination is to run from the grief and the pain. I mean, why would we want to do anything but run from it! But I have no doubt you are right that it can make us stronger, fiercier, and more amazing people than we ever knew we could be. If only we didn’t have to find such pain to grow into the people we become after a death.

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Litsa

Posted on December 3, 2013 at 12:40 am

oh, I am so sorry Hilda. Thank you for sharing. I am sure so many people can sadly relate . . .

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NavyWidow

Posted on December 3, 2013 at 1:01 am

Although I agree with these for the most part some are different when it comes to a child. I lost a husband and a daughter. I find myself on a weekly basis grieving over the things I didn’t get to experience with her.

I’ve lost more friends since their passing and cut more family out of my life in the last several years because people just don’t get it. I’m never going to reach a point in life where “POOF” I’m better and back to my normal self. That part of me died when they died.

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Sandy

Posted on December 3, 2013 at 11:07 am

My Husband passed at the age of 44 due to complications from diabetes on Feb. 4th 2011. We were married 23 yrs. and have 3 children. I will never get over losing Him in this life. Our love Story is not over and I believe We will pick up when My time comes to join Him in Heaven. He was My Soul Mate and My Children have said I need to look forward…sorry but I can’t….not now……I can not let go…..I still have all of his things just as they were….His cologne and tooth brush still on His side of the sink….I still watch the video that was made to play at His Funeral….I still need to see Him…just wished I could hear Him say…I Love You…one more time….

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Sandy

Posted on December 3, 2013 at 11:09 am

I totally agree…My prayers are with You…

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Carolyn Cochrun

Posted on December 3, 2013 at 2:56 pm

I wish someone had told me about the physical pain that is felt. I was 19 when my father passed at age 41 and I was sick to my stomach for weeks after. Then when by oldest brother died at 59 and I was 61 I felt like someone kicked me in the stomach. I felt that pain every time I would think about him. It’s been 3 years since we lost my brother and I still feel that pain at times. My mother has never gotten over grieving for my dad or for my brother. Sometimes grief never ends. We just learn to live with it.

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davis

Posted on December 4, 2013 at 3:54 am

I’ve got a couple.

1.
Members of your immediate family will began to play a strange little game called “I hurt the most. ” It will consume them, and may simply fail to see the grief in others.

My father moved to CA when my mom passed away. My brother wanted to move into the house, and I was not allowed to stay. I was forced to find a place in a month.

I felt abandoned and alone. It wasn’t easy, but I had to let it go, it was destroying me.

2.
Nothing will ever prepare you for seeing a loved one on a respirator for the very first time. It is extremely mechanical, and was the farthest thing from breathing normal I’ve ever seen.

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melody wronkow

Posted on December 4, 2013 at 7:14 am

I have to agree, Carol. My God, there are no words for this at all. I tried to use words but the best I could come up with was – Now,I believe in Hell because I´m in it. That was 9 1/2 years ago. My daughter was 14 1/2. I would´ve gladly thrown myself in the grave so she wouldn´t be alone and, yes, so I could escape the pain.

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melody wronkow

Posted on December 4, 2013 at 7:55 am

Even when you are half insane from grief , bills still need to be paid. On Time. Sounds like a no-brainer? At the time it struck me as odd – don´t “they” know I lost my child? That I walk out the door like a zombie with two different shoes on and talk out loud to my daughter in the street? That´s a mighty humbling lesson – the world goes on and your broken heart is one of millions and milions and millions and is just that – your own private broken heart. Felt like I swallowed a hand grenade but still had to balance the checkbook.

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Mel

Posted on December 4, 2013 at 8:49 am

This is a great list but I would add that there are people who will become better friends because they really want to help but they don’t always stick around. They move on and their increased friendship was brought on by good intentions but it’s over for them or they don’t know how to handle the grief or new you.

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CherylAnn

Posted on December 5, 2013 at 3:56 pm

((((Melody)))

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CherylAnn

Posted on December 5, 2013 at 3:58 pm

(((Jennifer)))

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Michelle

Posted on December 5, 2013 at 4:55 pm

Death has no time frame nor does it have an age limit. Guilt accompanies laughter. Let the guilt go.

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Keri

Posted on December 5, 2013 at 4:58 pm

Years later, you may have a moment when you forget that person is dead, and you will lose them all over again.

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Litsa

Posted on December 8, 2013 at 11:41 pm

Everyone has to grieve in their own way and at their own time. Though I am sure your children just don’t want to see you suffering, the reality is that you have to grieve in the way that works for you. It can be very hard to part with belongings and there is no ‘right time’. Some people cannot bear to look at things and want to get rid of them right away, other people keep things for years. We have some tips and discussion around this topic here: http://whatsyourgrief.com/sorting-through-belongings/

Videos and photos can be of great comfort and those can be a part of your life forever. In my mind “looking forward” isn’t about one day turning off the past. Instead it is about integrating the past with a new present and a new future — it isn’t about “letting go” so much as finding a way to incorporate the past into a present and future that we can feel positive about. That can take a lot of time, but take it at the pace that is right for you. Seeing a grief counselor or going to a support group can sometimes help with that. Take care this holiday – you’ll be in our thoughts.

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Litsa

Posted on December 8, 2013 at 11:45 pm

Carolyn, that is a great point about the physical pain. I am surprised others have not mentioned it! That pain is such a common experience, coming in different forms, but effecting so many grievers. I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your father and brother . . .you are very right that grief never ends.

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Marek

Posted on December 13, 2013 at 1:02 am

This may be true but I have seen in the last 6 months 2 mothers say in groups that their grief was worse than others. One was a mother telling one of her surviving children her grief was worse than sibling loss. The other a mother said that her grief was worse than losing your spouse of 25 years. When you are in grief it is the worse one. It is a very bad idea to compete for who is grieving the most and making it into a competition rather than being supportive.

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Pam

Posted on December 13, 2013 at 1:08 pm

I would only add that grief is not about death, it is about loss. I lost my mother to cancer and my father to alzheimers. Watching them suffer was one of the worst experiences of my life. My mother’s death was like literally watching the worst horror movie ever made. It is nothing like death is portrayed in the media. It was nasty, smelly, nightmarish; the adjectives fail me. While my father’s actual death was much more peaceful, his life during those final years was disturbing and very painful. I lost him years before he actually died.

I have breast cancer. As a result, I lost my health, my career, my financial stability, my marriage, my home, many “friends”, my children’s innocence, my ability to mother. I endured amputation of a beloved and important body part; I endured incomprehensible physical pain; I endured significant physical changes; I live with the fear of an excruciating death by a known and monstrous enemy; I lost “me” as I knew her. I cannot really even describe the losses caused by serious illness. I can only tell you that I have had days where I nearly prayed for the cancer to kill me just to avoid more loss and pain. Grief did not destroy me only by God’s grace and mercy.

So, I say that grief is fundamentally about loss. Deep, permanent, profound loss. There is no comparison between loss because each of us experience losses differently. It is critical that we respect each person’s truth. Respect your own truth. DO NOT LET ANYONE TELL YOU HOW OR WHAT TO FEEL WHEN. They will try. RESIST. Own your truth.

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Marg in Mirror, AB

Posted on December 14, 2013 at 1:18 pm

Read the list, but not all the comments so apologies if someone has already mentioned this:

Not only should you “debrief” after care-giving but also during care-giving. I took care of my late husband for 10 years before he died. Eventually a weekend away every 3-4 months wasn’t enough, but it was better than never taking time away.

Also, with every new loss, the old ones rise up in memory.

Eventually you have to stop feeling sorry for yourself and embrace joy again — because joy is possible — eventually. It may take some time, and every one has a different experience, but it will come…if you allow it.

Recovering joy in your life is not a bad thing.

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WendyWoo

Posted on December 16, 2013 at 9:15 pm

1) Whatever you are feeling is right for you to feel – trust yourself.

2) If you find you can’t picture their face, don’t panic – that ability will return when to do so is not so painful.

3) Religious faith can also be strengthened by loss.

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Karla McGill

Posted on December 31, 2013 at 12:00 am

Glad to see someone who feels like I felt. Thanks for sharing.

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Paula Dono

Posted on January 1, 2014 at 10:10 pm

Yes, death brings out the best and the worst in families but I have found that the money, the estate and money brought out the worst in my family. Behaviors I have never seen… I am just glad it is all over and divided but still have some healing because of it.

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Litsa

Posted on January 1, 2014 at 10:16 pm

I am so sorry- what you experienced in your family is all too common, unfortunately. We have a post about exactly what you describe here: http://whatsyourgrief.com/family-fighting-after-a-death/. Not sure if it would be helpful for you at this point, but I figure it couldn’t hurt to pass along. Wishing you continued healing in the new year.

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Susan Lenard

Posted on January 2, 2014 at 12:13 am

Lori, I agree with you. I lost my husband when he was 35, and it was the hardest thing I have ever experienced. It is hurtful to have people tell you it is the natural order of things, or make your grief feel invalid. Please do not be so hard on yourself. 2 years was a hard time for me, the first year as special dates came and went , I would think last year we did this or that last year, and have a memory, but the 2nd year, all I thought was he wasn’t here last year either. It was an extremely hard year for me. It has now been 22 years, and I have gotten used to it but not over it. God Bless you, I will remember you in my prayers.

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ruth

Posted on January 2, 2014 at 3:03 pm

Number 21) is not always right as I do regret loving as the pain is so bad. I wish I had never met my husband and had three children as he has left up up the swanney now and I feel that he caused his own cancer by being so highly strung and not dealing with his childhood issues, made him push his limits physically, emotionally and financially in all areas. He has left me now completely devastated to live the same life without him bringing the kids up with no money, a sad mother and a shit future. So, yes, I do at the moment regret loving. All you ‘floaty people get a grip.’ Grief is not pretty.

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Shannon

Posted on January 2, 2014 at 10:35 pm

Some people are athiests and are completely not comforted by religous platitudes. I don’t believe i’ll see my dad again or that he is in a better place. Every time someone patted my arm and said they would pray for me I wanted to scream. It is important to be aware of the beliefs of the person who is grieving, otherwise you can end up making that person feel angry, isolated, and even more bereft.

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Grieving widow and mother

Posted on January 7, 2014 at 1:41 pm

Is there a difference in losses? I think so. I lost a child of less than a year old and at times I still grieve over that loss that happened 50 years ago. I lost my husband a year and a half ago and there are days that I don’t think I can bear that loss. Maybe it’s due to time and to my age now. I don’t know.

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Vikki

Posted on January 7, 2014 at 8:22 pm

I am 57 yrs old, And I the only one left….my brother dropped dead at the age of 56, that will be 2 yrs in Feb,,, to see my family, I go to the cemetery, and see my shadow standing over them…..
I have not grieved my brothers death,,,he was my only sibling,,,,,now I have this huge hole, an emptiness I can’t fill…I am afraid to cry, so therefore, I haven’t,,,,,
I have 3 beautiful grown kids, and one grandson,,,they are my world,,,,but. It’s still empty.
Thanks for hearing me out..

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Litsa

Posted on January 8, 2014 at 7:36 am

Oh Vikki, I am so sorry for all the loss you have suffered. Sometimes we need to give ourselves permission to grieve, even when it is terrifying to let go and feel those painful emotions and tears. There is a well know book called The Empty Room about sibling loss. Though the authors lost her sibling as a child, but the book is absolutely applicable for anyone who has had the devastating loss of a sibling- a loss that isn’t always as acknowledged by society. Here is a link to the book: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0743201523

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Litsa

Posted on January 8, 2014 at 7:43 am

I absolutely agree. I think each loss, and the grief that follows, is as unique as the relationship we had with the person who died. I think it also undoubtedly is influenced by where we are in our lives, other losses we’ve experienced, and countless other things. I am so sorry for both the devastating losses you’ve been through.

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Djane

Posted on January 9, 2014 at 1:15 am

I am a nurse. I do grief counseling, death preparation, and I care for people when they face death. Nothing, absolutely nothing, in my education prepared me for the experience myself. Tears flow at sometimes the most embarrassing times, just from out of the blue, for no apparent reason. No regrets-but I don’t think one ever gets over a great loss. It’s about learning how to deal with it in the comfort of memories and thankfulness.

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Rivkah

Posted on January 9, 2014 at 1:24 am

So very true. I have a daughter who cut off all contact with me ten years ago this month. No one knows why, her dad doesn’t know, we have never been able to understand. I was and am a good mom; no drinking or drug addictions, very involved and stayed home with my kids. We had a wonderful, wholesome life. I have have another daughter who has never shunned me and through her, I now have two beautiful grandsons. My estranged daughter is having a baby next month, whom I may never see. I have sometimes had thoughts that if she had died, it might have been easier in the long run. No offense to those who have lost a child, that is a pain I can not begin to imagine. These are just the ramblings of my mind……

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Lisa

Posted on January 9, 2014 at 6:00 am

I did not read all the comments, but wanted to add to the list that grief is a good time to be careful of people who, even if you thought they were friends, will try to take advantage of your financial situation. I was offered paltry amounts of money for vehicles and other valuable items by people who claimed to be trying to help out but where essentially counting on me being not in right mind and assuming I needed money quickly. Also not to let too many strangers know you are recently widowed. Unfortunately there are a lot of predatory people out there. Of course I don’t want to eclipse all the wonderful people that will be there to help you if you let them, just to understand that you’re in a vulnerable state of mind, to say the least. It’s good to have a true close friend to run all these issues through since you aren’t thinking straight and won’t be for a while.

Hang in there, it does hurt a million times more than one can imagine hurting. But you live through (if is never over) changed but still capable of finding peace and happiness. – Lisa

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Debbie Pellegrini

Posted on January 9, 2014 at 6:38 am

Grieving never becomes easier- just “less hard”. Grief doesn’t have a timeline, but for me, memories are what keeps Mom alive. I now see her in my mind when she was healthy and she lives in my heart forever. I passed thru the tunnel of grief, and came out on the other side. So there is hope and comfort in knowing that.

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Mattie

Posted on January 9, 2014 at 7:52 am

As a Daddy’s girl, it was extremely hard to have my Daddy go home when I was only 24. My grief did heal in time but I learned not to push myself. I still miss him and post on his birthday and Father’s Day. When my Mom left I was fifty. I nearly lost my job because even though I thought I was functioning properly I wasn’t. Thank God for a supervisor who knew what was happening and gave me a deadline for my work. Nearly forty years after Daddy and over ten for my Mommy, the grief is different. I don’t mourn like I used to but I miss them still, not just for me, but for my children and grandchildren.

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Christopher Casey

Posted on January 9, 2014 at 10:53 pm

This is a wonderful list, and thank you so much for developing it. My only cavil is that, with the exception of #22, there is no real mention about the impact of grief on one’s religious, spiritual or philosophical beliefs, or conversely, the impact of those beliefs on coping with grief itself. I have experienced at least two traumatic losses in my life: my mother died under pretty tragic circumstances and, as a therapist, I lost a client to suicide. In addition to many, many clients I have worked with over the years who were impacted by bereavement, grief and loss issues, I also spent a year as a social work intern in a hospice agency. The latter experience definitely helped to deepen my own understanding of the grieving process. As a result, I believe strongly that this is a period when those Meaning of Life questions hit us smack dab in the middle of our faces and our guts. Personally, my Christian faith, and its implicit belief in a life hereafter and the continuation of our consciousness in a realm beyond this one, has made an enormous difference in how I view the loss of my loved ones, as well as the suffering that has accompanied the twisting arc of my life journey. While it might seem like a quaint notion to some, I truly believe I will eventually encounter family and friends who have passed on when I reach that Other Side (an afterlife conspicuously missing the archaic notion of hell, I should add). Those with a strong religious faith along these or similar lines (such as reincarnation) should feel that it is okay and fine and blessed and amazing to feel solace, comfort and hope because of their faith. And those who remain convinced that our consciousness does not continue after death should feel empowered to say and feel whatever is congruent with their own existential take on life, without feeling pressured to believe something they cannot embrace. The fundamental point I am trying to make here is that when death knocks at our door, it involves more than just dealing with the clinical dimensions of grief and bereavement. It strikes to the existential center of our being, and challenges us to ponder our core philosophical and spiritual stance towards life. So…….I thought something like the following should be added to this list: “My grief might cause me to question or modify my belief system, my spiritual faith, or my philosophy of life. It’s okay if I need to give up part or all of those beliefs as a result. It’s also okay if I cling to those beliefs even more strongly, realizing in the process that, although my beliefs might be shaken to the core, they remain a fundamental part of my being.”

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Eleanor

Posted on January 10, 2014 at 2:18 pm

Christopher, thank you so much for this addition. It’s funny I was literally just talking to someone about how we really ought to write an individual post on this topic. Thank you for your perspective, I am sure many many many people who find there way to this list are indeed struggling with understanding their faith in the context of profound loss.

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Nat

Posted on January 15, 2014 at 6:19 pm

Wow what a list. I have experience all of these. I lost my father 12 years ago, a year after he passed I went away to college and would wake up with nightmares about losing my mother and could not go back to bed. I had a hard time dealing with death and was afraid of dying. I took a death and dying course in university that helped with this. I think it’s normal to get these anxieties after the death of a loved one.

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Stacy

Posted on January 15, 2014 at 10:17 pm

Thank you. A million times over for this. I lost my dad a week ago. He was ill and I knew eventually this day was going to come. In his illness I became frustrated easily & thought I had time to say the things I needed to say. When he literally fell at my feet & his heart stopped beating I rolled him over & began to do CPR. Through sobs I begged him to come back. I NEEDED to tell him everything I was so terrible at expressing. He didn’t & I now sit here so angry with myself. I know that he knew I loved him. But I hate myself for not saying it as freely as he did. I lost the only person on this planet who believed in me. I can’t do anything but I want to do everything. I’ve always been a very dedicated & hard worker. I can’t work now. Not even for 5 minutes. I am 29 and never experienced anxiety. I always felt horrible for people who did suffer from it but never knew first hand. Now I feel like I’m going to implode at any given moment. I can’t sit still. I want to rearrange everything in the house and did just that. I keep changing everything for no reason whatsoever. I can’t sleep but I’m so tired. I get hungry but can’t seem to bring the food to my mouth. I feel disabled. I had someone tell me today “why can’t you just get over it” and I shook from head to toe in anger. Don’t you think I want to feel better? Don’t you think I want to sleep? I’m so frustrated & confused by all of this. I’ve never experienced grief. I’ve never experienced something hat is so many things all at once. My heart is beyond repair. I feel like someone cut my feet off at the ankles & switched them onto the other leg & I’m expected to just know how to run a marathon. I’m sorry if this is all just a ramble. But I found some comfort in this list.

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Litsa

Posted on May 30, 2014 at 4:01 am

Laura, I am so sorry. It is amazing how we grieve for a future that won’t be there with that person, not just for ourselves but for our children. We have a post about children who won’t remember the person who died that may be of interest- it has ideas and also talks about a nice kids book about thay situation http://whatsyourgrief.com/when-kids-cant-remember-am-i-like-my-daddy/

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Maggie

Posted on January 16, 2014 at 9:40 am

Oh, I so hear you, Stacy; this place where you are is so hard. Decades later, I don’t live there anymore, but I can recall it to mind and remember it as if it were yesterday. I was 23 when my Dad died.

The country of the orphan is a scary place at first. Later you will discover joys and freedoms here, but first there is this awful feeling that nothing is in the right place, that if I had just done everything even more right than I could have done it, that somehow he wouldn’t have died.

Just now I hear the rawness of new loss. I remember it as so overwhelming, I couldn’t even look at it for more than a few minutes at a time. I felt like I wanted to jump out of my skin.

This part passes. It does. But not quickly. The body recognizes that this can’t go on, and finds other ways to cope. The mind gradually accepts what cannot be undone.

I have some advice, if you want it – take what you need and leave the rest. Or even, stop reading right here if ‘advice’ is not acceptable just now. I send you my love either way.

First, if I were you I would go ahead and tell people what’s going on. Something like ‘my Dad died last week, it was sudden, it was traumatic, and I’m a little fragile just now.’ Most people will cut you a break. Some won’t, but they’re usually the ones who wouldn’t cut you a break if your leg got broken right in front of them.

Later, I suggest you look around for a grief group near you. Local hospice organizations often host them; sometimes they’re even free. In groups of 4-10 or so, they meet weekly for a couple of hours at a time, for 4-10 weeks. It can really help to be able to voice what’s going on for you and to hear in what others say just how much your experiences are similar. It also helps to hear something of what to expect from this grieving process, in real time when you’re going through it.

So much love and light to you. Most of us do lose our parents, soon or late, easy or hard, and we do get through it somehow. You will too, even if you can’t see how, even when it’s far too early to imagine. So much love and light to you for the journey.

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Paula

Posted on January 17, 2014 at 7:08 pm

No One knows the true extent of ‘YOUR PAIN’ . Even if they say ” I know exactly how you feel”

And people will tell you “Good takes the best” it’s ok if that doesn’t make sense. It’s still hard for me to understand.

Reading this brought tears and a smile to my face. So many things listed are right on point. I lost my Mother 3 days after her 55th bday. She was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer and lost her battle 6 months after her diagnosis. She was my best friend, mother and soul mate. I feel as if the world that I knew is no longer the world I enjoy. But I know she is in a better place with no pain. And MAYBE with time I will learn how to get use to this life without her.

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Litsa

Posted on May 30, 2014 at 3:54 am

Terri, I am so sorry for your loss. I wish there was an easy answer to your question, but unfortunately there isn’t. We all grieve differently and for different periods of time. Though a handful of people only feel the intense emotions for the short period you have been grieving, many people don’t begin to feel ‘normal’ again for many months or years. The emotions typically get less intense and easier to manage over that time, but grief is work and it often requires giving it time and attention. There is tons of information, ideas, and activities that may be of help on this site. It also can be helpful to find a grief group or counselor to support you in this early phase of loss.

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Litsa

Posted on May 30, 2014 at 3:56 am

Oh, and sorry for spelling your name wrong in my reply, Teri!

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Paula

Posted on January 17, 2014 at 7:10 pm

*correction- “God takes the best”

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Eleanor

Posted on January 21, 2014 at 11:15 am

Paula, I can relate to your journey as my mother died at 57 from Pancreatic Cancer about a year after she was diagnosed. It is my experience that in time you’ll get used to life with out her, but life will never be the same.

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Meg

Posted on January 23, 2014 at 10:37 pm

I know how you feel…and you posted this comment on my angel in heavens 2nd birthday :)

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Kate

Posted on January 25, 2014 at 3:56 pm

Callista, I was 12 when my dad passed. I’m 45 and not a day goes by that I don’t think of him. Its ok. The grief gets easier, but always comes back. For me it’s events that he never got share. Birthdays, graduations, grandchildren, all of it. You are the only one who can say how you should feel.

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Elle

Posted on January 26, 2014 at 5:16 pm

People wind up saying things that you just cannot believe they would say when you are already dealing with such terrible pain. It takes extraordinary grace to navigate it all.

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sue

Posted on January 31, 2014 at 11:12 pm

i am so sorry for your losses and i can relate to both, i have been there and done that also, but i do find relief by writing letters to my husband and keeping them in a file in my computer. i share with him the events that have occured and the good and disturbing things that go on in my life while i am missing him so much. i thank him for all the wonderful times we had in our lives and all the wonderful memories he left for our children. these letters to him give me some bit of peace and i talk to him and share my life as it is today.

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Rebecka Allen

Posted on February 1, 2014 at 11:10 pm

I found that the birthdays, anniversarys, and holidays were tough. I expected them to be, and they were. What no one told me was that the celebrations would be even worse. I steeled myself for the known dates, knowing they were coming up. The celebrations blind sided me; I hadn’t prepared for them. When my son became an Eagle Scout, the pain of his dad not being beside me on such a proud day brought me to my knees. I wasn’t prepared for that.

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Kim

Posted on February 7, 2014 at 6:04 pm

Thank you so much for this post. It has been 5 1/2 years since my husband passed and I am just now seeking professional help so that I can move on with my life. # 58 “You don’t get over it, you just get used to it” hit me hard. I think this is what I have really been struggling with. The idea that i’ll never be over it…and that’s ok!

Thank you again

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Petal

Posted on February 7, 2014 at 7:04 pm

Melody, thank you for that description (about the hand grenade) – very true.

I am so lucky to have SUCH a great car insurance company and agent. She phones me EVERY month to take my autopayment – just so I won’t forget. Isn\t that great?

For people whom the concept of grief and death are STILL abstracts – it is a rare individual amongst them that knows how to show true compassion.
xo

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Petal

Posted on February 7, 2014 at 7:06 pm

Rivkah, your feelings are very valid, not ramblings at all. I understand.

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doreen

Posted on February 11, 2014 at 8:51 am

Big hugs. You don’t know me but even total strangers can offer comfort at times that you need it the most. My hope is that this helps. I would like you to know that people really do care. Let us be your rock right now.

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Brenda

Posted on February 12, 2014 at 9:48 pm

Its been a year and a half for me also, my dad and I were extremely close also. Many days I struggle also and I know people are thinking that I need to move on from this. It is okay to grieve my dad loss, he was my hero and my best buddy. He died August 21, 2012 so many good memories I have with him. Love yah dad, Ill see you again

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Debbie

Posted on February 15, 2014 at 11:15 pm

My mother was recently diagnosed with a very rare disease (Stiff Person Syndrome) died Feb 5, 2014. She fell in her home and died instantly although not discovered until the next day. I’m very raw and vulnerable right now, very much a zombie and riddled with guilt of “wish I did more” or of our last conversation which occurred 4 hours before she passed, “wished we talked longer.” This site is very comforting to me. Bless you as it’s helpful to read other’s stories. I cry every day and its seems so unfathinable that we won’t talk again. We talked almost every day and she was my best friend too.So glad that I listened to her complaints…….grateful that I got to a place of compassion. I even included her in our 2014 “Happy New Year” card. Strangely, I knew 2014 would be the year of her passing.

Dumb things people say need to watch this video. I sent to my Hall of Shamer, good friend for worst comments. http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=1Evwgu369Jw

It’s called sympathy vs empathy on youtube. Provides a cartoon visual w explanation. It’s brilliant. The sympathizers start with “at least she didn’t (insert unhelpful comment). I have to laugh and say “they only know what they know and venture elsewhere (like here) for guidance.

Bless each and every one of you. Truly, I had NO IDEA how painful until Feb 5.

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Eleanor

Posted on February 16, 2014 at 12:21 pm

Debbie,

I’m sorry about your mother’s death. I’m very sorry for your pain, the guilt is tough and it sucks to live with any amount of it. That video you linked to was fan-tastic! I loved it, so well put. Thanks for sharing and I hope you don’t mind if we re-share =).

Eleanor

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narya

Posted on February 18, 2014 at 3:45 pm

“45. The practice of sending thank you notes after a funeral is a cruel and unusual tradition.”

I’m so glad I’m not the only one who thinks this. I finished mine a few weeks ago and it was one of the most torturous, exhausting, agony-ridden experiences of my life, second only to the death & funeral of my dear dad.

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Litsa

Posted on February 19, 2014 at 7:34 am

Narya, I am so sorry about the loss of your dad. Glad you found our little corner of the internet. I suspect lots of people think #45 is a crazy tradition, but like so much about grief and tradition, no one wants to talk about, leaving people stuck writing thank you notes during the worst weeks of their life. Cards may work for some, but it should be a choice, not an obligation!

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Goher

Posted on February 25, 2014 at 3:29 pm

I m an adult man now Its very hard for me to believe some one is gone, My Grand mother died when i was 16, i didnt cry a single tear then few year back my friend a good and a close friend died coz of a road accident still my situation was same, then few months back my uncle died in front of me at the hospital, i went to hospital thinking he is discharging but he had his last breath right in front of me i stood helplessly watching him struggling awfully to breath, I really pray he should just die at that moment and he passed away in few moments after the thought i just had. and i was the only one who was crying standing, Then all of a sudden i stopped. I have many regrets for no reason. That event memories still very disturbing for me.

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neeraj

Posted on February 25, 2014 at 10:35 pm

Reading through the thread i sense that the loss of someone who is your rock or you have invested most emotions in causes most grief(whether it is child or spouse). Thus my grief is greater than yours is an unjustified discussion. This applies to work as a physician too.
As a medic who sees death amongst families every week with different stories of loved ones to hear and grief shared, i do believe answers come from within on the grieving process- its duration and impact. Bills needing to be paid are useful as they bring a purpose to the next day-an anodyne to the pain you are going through like taking one step and then the next just to cope with the impossible boulder that you have suddenly been asked to carry. Not sure if this helps but just thoughts added to the pot. Neeraj

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Peggy

Posted on February 26, 2014 at 3:16 am

I am crushed, I am broken, I lost my dad last year and my husband this past Nov…….the two most important men in my life. I was so devastated when I lost my dad I could not imagine anything more painful other than maybe losing a child but then the unexpected happened. I lost my husband of 41 years, my childhood crush, the boy next door. I always thought he would live to be at least 80 because he was such an easy going guy. A few days before his 62 birthday we were told he had only a few mths. It is over and I am still in shock over the diagnosis. The thing that smacked me in the face was when I had to go over some paper work and there it was…….the marriage ended due to death. I know that even in our vows we say till death do us part………but my marriage never ended…..he was just taken from me….and I feel so lost……think I always will….thank you for your list…..

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Eleanor

Posted on February 26, 2014 at 2:48 pm

Oh Peggy, I’m so sorry about both of these losses. I can’t imagine what it must have felt like to read that your marriage was ended due to death because he will always be your husband and you will always love him. Your comment reminds me of this recent post on the ‘Continuing Bonds Theory’. I’m not sure, but maybe it will be helpful. The theory says that when a loved one dies you slowly find ways to adjust and redefine your relationship with that person, allowing for a continued bond with that person that will endure, in different ways and to varying degrees, throughout your life.

http://whatsyourgrief.com/continuing-bonds-shifting-the-grief-paradigm/

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Elizabeth

Posted on March 2, 2014 at 12:43 am

Dear Jennifer, Out of grief for my mother, brother and baby in heaven I found this blog. The most recent death being my mother in Aug 2013. I have my husband and seven children. I read your paragraph and cried my eyes out.I wish I could hug you and take you into my family. I’m terrified to allow myself get close to my loved ones now because the pain has been so acute, I still do though. My mama was my anchor. People tell me cling to my husband make him my new anchor. How – hes going to die too. I am so sorry and cry tears for your pain. I can’t even imagine your heartache and wish I could so I could help you feel loved. I encourage you to seek to contact your husband and children through a Christian Medium. Yes they are out there and to those of you who disagree keep your comments to yourself. Its not for everyone but it gave me great comfort and a smile though brief to know they were right there with me. You can contact Lizzy Star International Medium. Just google her name. She is a christian and loves the Lord with all her heart. Her son died and they never found out why. Just in his sleep. She has had the gift of relating to spirit since a child. It is a God given gift. Honestly she saved my life. When my brother killed himself and I couldnt save him I couldnt breathe. Didnt want to live. She is amazing. You pay her online and she will contact your for a time that is good for both of you. Tape record it – you will listen to it over and over. She is Truly full of the Holy Spirit. So ignore anyones comments about it being Satanic. Its not – we are not to rely on psychics and mediums to tell us how to live our life – but the legitimate God Given Blessed with Gifts of the Holy Spirit are real – I am a deeply devoted Christian, Saved, etc. My Grandma was a Saint – per everyone. I don’t think she ever hurt a soul and a deeply devoted to Christ Christian. She came through in the read. If it was evil – she wouldn’t have come through. Don’t let the name Lizzy Star fool you. It sounds quirky – she has to protect her identity. Once you hear her beautiful maternal English accent you will feel right at home. I promise. She has a facebook page also. She makes jewelry to sell to help children who have this gift of seeing and to teach them to use it for the light. Yes there is evil out there and evil mediums. You don’t tell her anything at all about anything – just your name. Thats it. Don’t tell her the name of your loved ones, nothing. She will stop you if you accidentally do. She wants them to PROVE to you beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are ALIVE and THERE with YOU! Your husband probably kisses you every night. Ever feel a little tickle in her hair – thats him or your mom or daughters. I have learned to pray for Jesus and the Angels to let me discern if they are there. You will learn if you seek it out. I hate it when people tell me I need to say GOODBYE! Why? My brother said to me through Lizzy – “I am alive – I am not dead – please don’t call me dead – I am free. I am there just call out to me and I will be there.” Ask for signs… I did and started seeing blue jay feathers everywhere in weird places. My mailbox, inside my porch? how, in my car. It has become a game. The next reading I had with Lizzy she said Daniel wants you to sing the song about the Bluebird on My Shoulder – I didn’t get it til weeks later then put the two together – Zippity do Dah – and the feathers. My brother was saying he is now the Bluebird on my Shoulder!” Please take the leap and try. If it gives you just a little hope – heaven help who would say its not good. Blessings and I pray they post this long post without deleting anything. I gave Lizzy’s name as I know she is legitimate, there are ALOT of quacks out there. She was recommended to me and gave me air!

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Bonnie Kerr

Posted on March 3, 2014 at 7:06 pm

Grief begins before the actual physical death/loss of the loved one.

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Amanda

Posted on March 8, 2014 at 12:17 am

I agree with you completely. No two people grieve in the same way. I lost my brother last April, and I was devastated. I can’t imagine how a person feels when they lose a spouse, or when a parent loses a child. Each loss is a unique and devastating tragedy, and it will always be the greatest pain ever felt by that person.

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Kay

Posted on March 8, 2014 at 8:42 pm

how badly your heart aches after you lose a loved one. I understood first hand the meaning of a “broken heart”

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Liz

Posted on March 8, 2014 at 10:45 pm

Some days I feel like I’m losing my mind. It’s only 15 weeks since my soulmate of 20 years died suddenly. I still keep begging him to come back to me even though I know that’s impossible. I feel like I don’t “belong” anymore as half of me is gone.

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nick buckeridge

Posted on March 9, 2014 at 12:06 pm

I just wish that me and my wife had left a letter to each other so who ever went first the other person could read and treasure those words for ever.my wife passed away on march 29th 2013. so so lost without her.love you kim. forever in my thoughts. NICK.

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Donna Deponeo

Posted on March 9, 2014 at 1:08 pm

I agree with all of your points. I would just add that losing a pet can cause as much grief as losing a human, particularly if you do not have a husband or children. I was a caregiver to my cat Bonnet for 3 months before I had to make the “decision.” Nine weeks later my other cat has been diagnosed with either IBD or small cell lymphoma. In between that time I adopted a wonderful kitten. I had him for four months before he developed “Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP).” He was started feeling poorly on the Sunday and was gone I the Thursday. Many people think my grief is not valid because they were pets. But so many of your 64 points resonated with me.

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Litsa

Posted on March 9, 2014 at 1:21 pm

Donna, this is such a great point. Pets can become like members of our family and the grief that comes with the loss of a pet is very real and extremely painful. I am so sorry for that you have had so much loss in such a short period, and you are so right that others often don’t recognize pet loss as a valid loss. We have another post that may interest you on disenfranchised grief, which is about just that – dealing with losses that society doesn’t acknowledge. You can find it here: http://whatsyourgrief.com/disenfranchised-grief/

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Litsa

Posted on March 9, 2014 at 1:56 pm

Liz, I am so sorry. Please know the way you are feeling is very common, even though it makes you feel like you are going crazy – we have a post about that very topic! http://whatsyourgrief.com/grief-makes-you-crazy/

I would recommend the book “The Year of Magical Thinking” by Joan Didion if you haven’t read it. It is her memoir about the year after her husband’s death. Her ‘magical thinking’ is the many ways that she believed and hoped her husband would come back to her. http://www.amazon.com/Year-Magical-Thinking-Joan-Didion/dp/1400078431

I hope you find some comfort and support in other posts on our site that may help you during this impossible time . . .

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Matilda Morgan

Posted on March 12, 2014 at 7:49 pm

I am Mrs Matilda Morgan from USA, i want to share a testimony of my life to every one. i was married to my husband George Morgan, i love him so much we have been married for 5 years now with two kids. when he went for a vacation to France he meant a lady called Clara, he told me that he is no longer interested in the marriage. i was so confuse and seeking for help, i don’t know what to do until I met my friend miss Florida and told her about my problem. she told me not to worry about it that she had a similar problem before and introduce me to a man called DR OKOGBO who cast a spell on her ex and bring him back to her after 3days. Miss Florida ask me to contact DR OKOGBO. I contacted him to help me bring back my husband and he ask me not to worry about it that the gods of his fore-fathers will fight for me. He told me by three days he will re-unite me and my husband together. After three day my husband called and told me he is coming back to sought out things with me, I was surprise when I saw him and he started crying for forgiveness. Right now I am the happiest woman on earth for what this great spell caster did for me and my husband, you can contact DR OKOGBO on any problem in this world, he is very nice, here is his contact (dr.okogbolovespell@gmail.com). He is the best spell caster.

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Carolyn Cochrun

Posted on March 12, 2014 at 8:04 pm

I’m sorry for you as I wouldn’t want to force anyone to come back to me with a spell of any kind. If he leaves of his own will he would need to return of his own will. Casting spells is a very dangerous thing to be involved in as it comes from the dark side. Jesus never cast a spell on anyone. Only the enemy of God would do this awful thing. Do I believe these things are real, yes I do but they are not of God, they are of God’s enemy Satan and I would run as far from it as I could run. I’d rather be alone than to be with someone that a spell was used on to get them to come back to me. How happy can you either really be knowing this has happened. Best of luck to you and I pray you see the light of the Lord very soon.

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Christina

Posted on March 14, 2014 at 12:37 pm

One of the hardest things that I am facing since my mom died two weeks ago are: Thinking that my husband would be there for me, and then finding out that he doesn’t want to be there for me. Making things 100% more worse. not having moral support at home is the hardest thing for me right now. Not being able to express my feelings to him without him being rude and judgmental. He thinks it should be a walk in the park, but its not. He has never lost a parent not alone planned a funeral. I wish I had a good person to go for comfort and to have the heal process go more smoothly. Its not like it takes one day to grieve and move on, it takes several months to years.
Has anyone else had this problem?

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Sharon

Posted on March 14, 2014 at 11:04 pm

I would add to have someone take a picture of your loved one in the casket. You can always throw it away but you can never get another.

I totallyagree with the difficulty of writing thank you notes. It took me 6 months to get it done.

If you can’t afford a headstone, it’s ok. You know where your loved one is.

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Mon

Posted on March 14, 2014 at 11:58 pm

On 12/3/2013, I lost my husband of 9 years very suddenly. He was only 32. We have an 8 year old daughter. All the emotions I went thru made me feel like I was going crazy. A co-worker of mine, who lost her husband to suicide in Aug. 2013, gave me a copy of this article. I’ve read it several times and it makes me feel not so crazy and alone.

I never would have dreamed how hard it would be to simply check the “widow” box on paperwork. I shouldn’t be a widow at the age of 29. It took every ounce of strength I had not to break down in the dr’s office that day. Serious reality check for me!

We are in the process of moving so I’ve pretty much been forced to go thru all my husband’s possessions. I’ve been trying my best to prepare for this, but in all reality, it’s just not possible.

I’ve had the opportunity to share this article with another co-worker (lost 2 sisters within 4 months) and a sister-in-law (lost her husband about 3 weeks ago). I greatly appreciate everything ya’ll put out on here! It helps out more than you know.

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Faith

Posted on March 16, 2014 at 10:12 am

It has been 16 years since my husband Matthew passed at the age of 38. When it occurred, I immediately immersed myself in work, various activities, moved and started a new relationship within six months. While I am happy with my current life, I wish I had taken the time to stop, grieve and think before I leaped into new home and new relationship so soon. Monday, March 17 would have been our 24th wedding anniversary. There isn’t a day I don’t think about him.

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Lisa

Posted on March 16, 2014 at 2:34 pm

I would add that you sometimes start thinking of things in terms of “that was before xxx passed away” or “that was after xxx passed away”. I will remember an event or see a photograph and think, my brother was still alive then, or this was after he died…

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Malina

Posted on March 18, 2014 at 6:47 pm

My name is Malina, from United Kingdom. I wish to
share my testimony with the general public about
what this temple called (the angels of solution) have done for
me, this temple have just brought back my lost ex
lover to me with their great spell work, I was dating this man called Steven we were together for a long
time and we loved our self’s but when I was unable
to give him a male child for 5 years he left me and told
me he can’t continue anymore then I was now
looking for ways to get him back and also get pregnant, until a friend of
mine told me about this temple and gave me their contact
email, then you won’t believe this when I contacted
them on my problems they prepared the items and cast the spell for me
and bring my lost husband back, and after a month I
missed my monthly flow and go for a test and the result
stated that i was pregnant, am happy today am a mother of
a set of twins a boy and a girl, i thank the temple once again for what they have done for me, if you are
out there passing through any of this problems
listed below:
(1) If you want your ex back
(2) if you always have bad dreams.
(3) You want to be promoted in your office.
(4) You want women/men to run after you.
(5) If you want a child.
(6) You want to be rich.
(7) You want to tie your husband/wife to be
yours forever.
(8) If you need financial assistance.
(9) Herbal care
(10) If you can’t be able to satisfy your wife
sex desire due or
low err action.
(11) if your menstruation refuse to come
out the day it
suppose or over flows.
(12) if your work refuse to pay you, people
owing you?.
(13) solve a land issue and get it back.
(14) Did your family Denny you of your
right?
(15) Let people obey my words and do my
wish
(16) Do you have a low sperm count?
(17) Case solve E.T.C
Contact them on their email on theangelsofsolution@gmail.com
And get all your problems solved
Thank you.

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Petal

Posted on March 18, 2014 at 7:03 pm

it helped me to send thank you notes

the only real long term problem is that GRIEF and BEREAVEMENT lasts alot longer than sympathy.

xo

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abby's dad

Posted on March 22, 2014 at 7:50 am

Your personal relationship with the person you lost was different than anyone else’s personal relationship with the person you lost, your grief will be also. You do not have to “share” in your grief with anyone. It is personal, and intimate. Just as your relationship was.

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Amanda

Posted on March 29, 2014 at 6:36 pm

You feel the passage of time most acutely when you lose someone you love.

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Aurora

Posted on April 1, 2014 at 6:23 am

Funerals are for the living and not worth a family feud over what the deceased “would have wanted”. A one or two hour service is not “how he/she will be remembered”

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Elaine

Posted on April 7, 2014 at 10:03 pm

I lost my mother 3yaers ago .Time doesn’t heal the pain. You never get use to the pain. You become a recluse. You will go through the rest of your life pretending. Nothing makes it better. No amount of talking to a therapist helps. You pretend to live life. You pretend to be a wife you pretend to be a mother you pretend to be a sister, friend………….

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Kathy

Posted on April 9, 2014 at 8:11 pm

You know…when someone has disassociated with you thru upset or unknown…divorce or otherwise…I think it can be a little worse because you are being rejected. That is hard to deal with alone. When you lose someone to death, they didn’t leave because they wanted to. My husband, during his illness said to me, “Kathy, I don’t want to leave you alone anymore than I want to die.” He just didn’t have control. And watching his process made me realize how very little control we have when our time comes.

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Kathy

Posted on April 9, 2014 at 8:48 pm

Jennifer,

I have lost my husband too. It’s been a year and a half. We were together for 29 years. Due to uncanny circumstances, I am in a relationship with another man. We’ve known each other for 16 years, he lost his wife 6 months before I lost my husband. Of course, we have been able to support each other in grief and we’ve also become happy together. My children are upset and I understand, but they cannot know my position. I wish their father was here to talk to them and tell them that it’s OK. But he’s not, so I am going through my loss of him and the tension my new relationship has caused between myself and my daughters. I loved my husband very much and would do anything to have him here with me again. But he’s not and I’m trying to teach my girls that one can still be happy and move on. I’ve lost both my parents and my husband. I am the youngest of 6 kids and the first to lose a spouse. I still have nightmares over the last moments of my husband’s life. But the greatest pain I have is of the kids distancing themselves from me…empty nest WITH their dad would have been a grand time for us to rekindle the marriage…but he’s not here anymore. I am trying to be patient with them, but seeing life end so suddenly makes me fret that things may not resolve before one of us dies…you just never know. But I am trying to lead by example…honoring my husband and our life together and moving forward in my life and grabbing onto new happiness. It’s a dance of one step forward and two steps back at times… Hang in there everyone! We’re definitely not alone. And we should just be easy on ourselves and allow the grief to express itself. We will NEVER forget those we loved and lost as long as we are alive…but I think we can honor them by enjoying the rest of our lives as much as we can.

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Carolyn Cochrun

Posted on April 9, 2014 at 9:08 pm

I really wish I could talk to your children. They are only causing pain for themselves in the future. My father died in 1969 when I was 18. My mother is still grieving for my father, the love of her life. But she date some in the past and when she got serious and was talking about marriage I threw a fit and said that my kids would never call him grandpa and he would not be my dad. She ended up not getting married b/c of what I said and now at age 82 she’s in a care facility with her sister and has been alone all of these years. I was just being selfish. Anyone she married wouldn’t be taking my dad’s place as I was married with children at the time she was talking about marriage again. I wasn’t looking from her point of view just my own and I didn’t want any one else to be my father. I made my mother have a long lonely life because of my selfishness. The children need to grieve their fathers loss but they need to understand that we are suppose to bury our dad and that mom has to go on the best way she can. You are very blessed to have found someone you have known for so long that understands your pain the loss you will always feel. I pray that your children will wake up before they make the same mistake I did and put you into a lonely life. I will keep you all in my prayers.

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Kathy

Posted on April 9, 2014 at 9:10 pm

Bravo, Jennifer!

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Kathy

Posted on April 9, 2014 at 9:27 pm

I can relate to the “why” and “what if”….I keep thinking if I can find the answers the result of death will reverse itself. Or somehow things get FIXED. I know it’s not rational. But I think that when death and fatal disease comes suddenly, the denial just puts you over the edge. I found that after my husband died, I was still trying to process the diagnosis of his cancer 6 months earlier.

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Kathy

Posted on April 9, 2014 at 9:46 pm

#30…”the last moments of their life will play over and over in your mind.” God help me, I cannot get that picture out of my head. It IS NOT like they show on tv…it was awful. All I could do was stare at him in disbelief. I wanted to grab him (my husband) and say “stop this.” I wasn’t even sure what was going on. But it didn’t seem peaceful to me. I have visions of it all the time. I wonder if this is PTSD? We were trying to be positive and hopeful in a hopeless situation…utter denial, probably… The last thing I said to him was, “You’re not going anywhere, it’s just your body.” I wish I had said, “I love you” instead. I didn’t want him to be afraid throughout his experience with disease and dying. I wish we had spent more time talking about “what if”. I don’t know… I just hate that there is no closure and never will be. I half expected him to “visit” me as a spirit and tell me “what to do” now. I had felt like my dad was so close to me after he died (22 years ago). I felt closure with my mom, like I had settled things with her and loved her. But I am getting NOTHING from my husband since his death and I fee abandoned by it.

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Lulu

Posted on April 10, 2014 at 5:15 pm

Happening to me

He places his palms on my face says you’re doing great!
Staring at me with those beautiful puppy eyes of his.

Scratches my tear with his fingernail, slow like a trail.
Releases the responsibility of what is Happening to me.

Tears honor a strong emotion. The fuel my body discharges
keeps me mobile. Beautiful devotion.

Real strength dose are the traces he follows,
in the tip of my tears which flow in his fingers.

Heals the unbearable pain while seeing those eyes fade away.
Pauses the cage bereavement stage until the next day.

Lulu
Dedicated to Jeff Muller 12/12

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Lulu

Posted on April 11, 2014 at 3:41 pm

Terrye i been crying my eyes out feeling the pain everyone feels here and feeling my own pain trying to make sense of things. But i have to say your comment put a smile on my face and laughter in my heart . Even stupid idiots could make us laugh in hard times. thank you

“S/he is dead for gods sake, you are an idiot, how can she look good..”

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Ashley

Posted on April 12, 2014 at 9:46 pm

Although this isn’t for the person grieving, but more towards those that try to help, I wish people would quit saying sorry. I don’t know who started it, but you hear it person after person when standing by a casket while people file past you. It’s always “I’m so sorry for your loss” and “I know exactly how you feel.” Majority of people have lost a loved one, but that doesn’t mean you know exactly how I feel. Every love, every relationship, and every person are different. We handle things differently, we see things differently. At almost every funeral I’ve had to plan and attend I hide out. Away from all of our so called friends with their apologies and concerns. I know they’re trying to help, but saying you’re sorry doesn’t fix anything and it definitely doesn’t make the person grieving feel better.

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Carolyn Cochrun

Posted on April 12, 2014 at 9:58 pm

I was wondering , what would you suggest that people say to the ones dealing with this type of loss? I was 19 when my dad passed away and I personally appreciated the Sorry’s cause I knew at least they tried to understand and were trying to do what they could which is obviously not much of anything to help. I don’t know what to say at times like that and I’m sorry for your loss sounds the nicest to let them know I care and I feel for you. I also include that “if you need to talk or blow off steam, please call me I’m here for you any time.” That’s what I do for my friends. I’m always available to talk to just be a sounding board for anything. They all know that but I tell them just to remind them. I really would like to know what you think would be a more correct thing to say. I would like to tell folks on my page a more appropriate thing to say at those tough times. Thank you.

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Lulu

Posted on April 15, 2014 at 12:39 am

April 12th marks the fourth month of the passing of the man I spend a brief time with. It was a wonderful relationship as new relationships usually are. Being with him even if it was a short time was wonderful. And his death turned my life upside down in ways I would have never imagined. All the beautiful emotions are left inside with no one to share them with. Felt as if I was left standing in a dark hole. I blink my eyes and he was gone. So many plans left undone. So much pain left inside.

Every twelve of the month I release a single balloon with a note attached. April brought a Silver Star balloon. It was a windy day in Los Angeles and the sunset rays hit the balloon as it flew up high. It felt soothing it was peaceful, help release some pain.

I would add HOPE to the list if it’s not added. H=Hold O=On P=Pain E=ends

Silver Star

A silver star balloon was April’s pick
I stamped my kiss, tied my warm note
set it free on a sunny windy day
to commemorate your memory.

The rays of the sunset shinned the
balloon as it went up high heading
east. I could see it glow like two
little eyes blinking goodbye.

It was soothing to heart to see it
fly! See it free! Dancing with the wind.
Heading east as I use to be, it knew
exactly where you lived.

Lulu
Dedicated to Jeff Muller 12/12

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danielle

Posted on April 18, 2014 at 10:40 pm

So as it isn’t self destructive there really is no right our wrong way to grieve.

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Melanie

Posted on April 19, 2014 at 12:44 pm

Drugs don’t dull the pain forever. Eventually you must wake up from the fog that has become your life and face the pain head on. It hurts but you will survive it!

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Litsa

Posted on April 22, 2014 at 12:11 am

This is a beautiful ritual Lulu. Thank you for sharing . . .

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Carolyn Cochrun

Posted on April 23, 2014 at 11:05 pm

I am very concerned about people that use these spell castors. That kind of stuff if from the devil and definitely against God. Why would you want someone that doesn’t want you. If my ex used a spell castor to get me back and I ever found out about it, I would leave and not let him know where I am. That is a very evil trick to play on anyone. I’d be very careful about playing with that kind of fire as you will eventually get burned. Just a warning from a Christian that Loves the Lord and hates His enemy, the devil.

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Litsa

Posted on April 23, 2014 at 11:21 pm

Thanks for your concern, Carolyn. Those comments are definitely spam, but the somehow keep getting through our spam filter, even when we flag them! It is really sad when people are ‘phishing’ on a grief website, where people can be vulnerable. We try to delete them quickly when we see them.

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Natalie

Posted on April 26, 2014 at 5:50 am

Litsa,

I am wondering if you could tell me your thoughts on something.

When my 35 yr old friend passed away last year (we’ll call her Eva) I felt the urge to get closer to a younger friend of hers (we’ll call her Joanne). Eva had loved her so much. Joanne was her grade 6 student a couple years back and now she was in her early years of high school. When Eva passed, I wanted to make sure Joanne would be ok. And, I also wanted for both of us to be there for one another as we could understand what a great friend each one of us had lost. I am 24.

Eventually, however, her dad told me he didnt want me trying to replace Eva (take Eva’s place in Joanne’s life). So he asked that I not speak to his daughter.

Its been months since I’ve cut contact with Joanne but I still wonder about this. Eva had loved this family and I had wanted to get to know them. I didnt think I was doing anything bad by wanting to get to know them and also being a good friend to their daughter. I dont believe I wanted to replace Eva exactly. No one could replace her. But why not try to make the most of it and make some new friends?

If you have any insight on this at all, I would appreciate it. Thanks!

I guess I’m just still confused as to why he believed so much that it was not a good idea that we (Joanne and I) help each other out during this difficult period after Eva died.

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Natalie

Posted on April 26, 2014 at 6:00 am

P.s. I guess I should also mention that the family was seeing a therapist. He told me that the therapist recommended that no one tries to replace Eva and he seemed to stronly agree with this, hence why he decided I shouldnt be in contact with his daughter.

This is all the info he gave me anyway. Perhaps there were reasons I was unaware of.

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Litsa

Posted on April 26, 2014 at 6:07 am

Hi Natalie,

I am so sorry to hear about your friend. It is difficult to say what his concerns were, but I would guess that one possibility is, with her age, he may have had concerns about her grief adjustment. Rather than viewing you relationship as supporting each other, he may have been concerned that she was now taking on your grief, in addition to her own. I imagine another possibility is that he could have had concerns that his daughter would grow attached to you and, depending on the trajectory of your own grief, you may have ‘moved on’ and no longer needed the relationship with Joann, leaving her with another loss. Another thought is that he may simply not have felt comfortable with his teenage daughter having a friend in her 20s, for all the reasons that may concern a parent. It is impossible to say what his concerns were/are. You may never know. Perhaps down the road, when Joann is an adult, your paths will cross again.

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Maggie

Posted on April 27, 2014 at 10:31 am

I lost my dad when I was thirteen. That was five years ago. When he died, I was of course devastated because right before he died, we hadn’t been getting along. I was a very ungrateful child, I didn’t exactly appreciate my dad the way I should have. I was just starting to rebel against him, and I just remember “hating” my dad (when he was still alive) and not knowing why I did. And I felt so guilty because I never got the chance to say goodbye, or say sorry for being so self centered, because he really was a great guy, and he loved us kids. But I didn’t see how much he loved me until after his death. And over the years it has forced me to reflect on the kind of parent that he was to us. Because although he loved us so much it hurt him, he didn’t always express it in the best ways. I was constantly scared of him. He had a very violent temper and apparently it was getting worse as we grew older, so I think that I began resenting him for that as I grew up. But I couldn’t know that, because I grew up with this kind of treatment, so I couldn’t have known that he shouldn’t have done those things to us. And my dad was the one person who believed in me, he was ways pushing me to do things I thought I couldn’t do. He would always say, “There’s no such thing as I can’t.” But the point of me saying this is that I realized that it’s okay to resent your dad for doing things he shouldn’t have done, and at the same time, he can still be the man who loved you more than anybody else ever could. When looking for y soulmate, I know that I will look for my dad in him. And yet, at the same time, I will be wary of that. Because I now know that I will not tolerate it, the way I did when my dad was still alive. So I guess I’m saying that it’s okay when you realize that you don’t want to appreciate All of the things he’s done and sacraficed for you, even though everyone tells you you’re supposed to. Our fathers shape all the wonderful things we want in a man, but also the things we don’t want in someone, and that’s okay.

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Eleanor

Posted on April 27, 2014 at 10:09 pm

Maggie,

This is a very powerful statement. Being that you were only 13 when your father died, I can imagine how much you probably had to struggle to find this kind of clarity. You are so right and I know it can be hard to own this reality because people always feel as though they should only speak well of the dead, especially when the deceased is a parent; but the reality is that our parents are imperfect people like everyone else. It’s important to learn what we can from our loved ones – this means from both their positive and negative qualities. I admire your willingness to articulate this because it’s an important lesson. I’m sorry about your father’s death and I know you probably miss him all the time.

Eleanor

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Erica W

Posted on April 30, 2014 at 2:50 am

Cherish – I was wondering whether anyone was going to bring that up.

The other responses tell it better than I can – you’re definitely not alone in feeling that the very lack of closeness in an important relationship caused extra pain when the person passed away. In a less-than-perfect relationship, death can be the final abandonment. Whether you craved love, reconciliation, forgiveness, vengeance, a relationship as mature adults, or just a few honest answers, those hopes often die along with the person who disappointed them. And the grief process in these cases can be very surprising to people looking in from the outside, and even to the person experiencing it.

I can’t speak for the grieving parents, children, and spouses on this site. But I do feel that being close to my grandmother in her final years was a comfort. I don’t know if my cousins who were more distant at the time now miss her “more;” how could you measure such a thing? But I know some of my cousins were somewhat frantic on their last visits, wanting to make up for lost time. I am grateful to have had the chance to make fond memories, and few regrets. I can only imagine the mixed emotions if the person dying was hard to relate with, even at their best.

As Tolstoy put it,
“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

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Erica W

Posted on April 30, 2014 at 3:01 am

Kaylin, thanks for bringing up the different kinds of crying. There are so many!

For me, crying over stress or an argument feels futile, because it just upsets my husband and I feel like I can’t control myself. Crying over a serious grief feels more appropriate; kind of like, that’s what crying is for. When it’s clear there’s nothing to be done about a sadness, but crying, he can sort of understand that.
I would like to imagine that even though you still feel bad, being able to cry is helping at some level, and that eventually the relief will start to come.

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Erica W

Posted on April 30, 2014 at 3:10 am

Hi Colleen,
If you’re looking for caregiver support resources – one good one that I found helpful was a group course called “Powerful Tools for Caregivers,” hosted by some local nurses.
Most people attended while still active caregivers; but as it turned out, many of us care for more than one person over our lifetimes, and it’s possible to be both “before,” “during,” and “after” at the same time.

If there isn’t an organized group, I think it’s still helpful to talk to other people who are “in the club,” so to speak. You don’t have to have an identical experience with any one person, but talking to 3 or 4 people who have had roughly similar experiences can give you some perspective.

I appreciated the fine distinction between sympathy and pity, and the realization that two people could mutually look at each other’s situation and say “I don’t know how you do it!”, and the ability to laugh at our situations or even make black jokes about it without being looked at like an insensitive sociopath. Be careful with the jokes – but in the right company, they’re quite a relief!

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Erica W

Posted on April 30, 2014 at 3:29 am

Maggie,
This is so true – grief running in the background means driving distracted, forgetting things more easily, and making decisions that are less than well-considered.

It’s true of pain in general – we talk about how ongoing debilitating pain takes up mental “slots” for my husband, making it harder for him to retain his train of thought, or tolerate interruptions and chaotic surroundings. If most people can remember 7 things at a time, we estimate that on a good day he can remember 3 or 4, and on a bad day it might just be one thought at a time.

It’s even true of stress in general. Cutting yourself some slack, and/or having enough slack to begin with that things don’t fall apart when you miss a few calls, is a huge factor in surviving any difficult transition.

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Lulu

Posted on April 30, 2014 at 3:33 am

Independence is not all it’s meant to be.

I find it interesting how losing a partner in life could change the life of a person. I always thought of myself as an independent, someone capable of living life in solitaire not needing the assistance of a man. All though our relationship was short and before him I was single for eight years. I find my life turned upside down. I find myself angry with my emotions that can’t be controlled by my mind. I always took pride in the fact that I was a strong independent woman. Whether I had a man in my life or not I would be able to move on. He was taken away by death not by another woman not because he didn’t care. DEATH! Something I had no control over something I never experienced, something that changed my outlook in life completely. Men never made a great impact in my life or I never chosen correctly, always a sad disappointment that eventually came to an end. I found it easy to entertain myself I found it easy to tell myself that men would not control me, or hurt me. If closure came in the end so be it I would move on and continue to enjoy life. The one thing I never told myself was if I lost a man to death what then? Move on? Go on as if nothing ever happen as I always done in the past when I lost relationship when there was always a disappointment and I was used to it. I lounged for a few weeks letting my heart heal itself then move on.

Life took me by the horns and I lost all control losing him after living in completely happiness telling myself he was different seeing the uniqueness in his style. Seeing him in me I felt that he was me in a man’s body and this in my eyes made him perfect. Every single thing he enjoyed in life was on my bucket list. His personality was charming, witty like I never seen, not in front of me, not holding me, never with me. He was a well-educated man who loved God and had morals. If I had to guess one man of one hundred have those qualities. Many would say I didn’t know him long enough and I have to agree one month spend with a man is not time enough. I do defend the fact that I met many men and some known more time and some less. I’m clever enough to see the qualities. I have experienced enough to see the signs stamped on their foreheads. Jeff had a pure good heart. Not capable of hurting anyone for any reason and capable of killing if he had to defend anyone he loved. He had rounded baby blues eyes with eyelashes long as the sun could set. His skin was light and I loved his arms and hands attached were beautiful his light brown hair was soft and his voice was amazing. The fact that he was an extremely good looking man generated the feelings I had inside of utterly perfection but without a personality to match he would be nothing.

I once promised myself that I would never let a man hold me back I been alone to long to cluster into loneliness for years at a time. I think I was wrong I was not expecting this outcome. Being near a man makes me feel as if am being unfaithful that one word was a huge importance to him. Somehow I feel as he is watching me and I don’t want to disappoint him. Maybe because at this moment and time my heart still belongs to him. How do you belong to a dead man how does one comprehend this?. I try to make sense of things myself. Every morning I feel the emptiness he left behind every day I miss him as much as the day before. Not one day goes by that I don’t shed a tear sometimes so much so that I can’t breathe. Time has healed the ache in my body, that makes me hopeful that time will heal the pain in my heart. And I will only share the happiness he left behind. For now I wonder if I will live in solitaire until I see him again. Or life will grant me another opportunity of a great man, difficult to say who could hold a candle to him. Sometimes I feel he pulled me away from a world I didn’t belong too that was his task in his life to me., a rude awakening to show me there is more to life than what I was living. He came briefly show me that men are more than just skin deep. The right man could make a difference in a woman’s life. This could make life a warmer place worth waking up for. Give a woman a glow she didn’t know existed. If he’s the right man a good man a man of God. I was in solitaire because I was looking in the wrong direction. If I keep my head study my eyes will see the right path and my heart may feel again.

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rmoss

Posted on April 30, 2014 at 8:44 am

Nice. My insurance company of thirty years dropped me because of a paperwork snafu that was not even my fault. Wife died? Tough.

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Eleanor

Posted on April 30, 2014 at 9:03 pm

Erica,

Thank you for the caregiving support suggestions. I was just struggling to find a good resource for a reader caring for her husband, so I will definitely file this away for the future.

Eleanor

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noelle

Posted on May 1, 2014 at 7:30 am

Its a LOT more expensive than you thought. (or planned for). By way of practical matters. I am so glad people sent money. But it still wasn’t enough.

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Bob

Posted on May 1, 2014 at 12:17 pm

Litsa, perhaps you and others can provide me with some guidance and insight. I lost my wife very suddenly sixteen months ago, so I have been through the first year of dates and anniversaries and birthdays. But in the second year of my grief, I seem to be recycling through all those feelings of being alone and lonely. The rest of the world seems to have gone on and left be in its wake. At the age of 74, finding some companionship seems to be a daunting task, although I have had some success. As it can never be like having my wife back, I seem to find it to be less than satisfying. Our marriage was the second for both of us, I have two grown children, she has four; and we have fourteen grandchildren. But I would still like to spend some time with people of my age.

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Juan

Posted on May 1, 2014 at 2:13 pm

Thank you for this list. Number 64 is what I needed to read. I went to bed late last night and woke up confused, I stared at my dad’s portrait and I felt this profound emptiness, a mix of guilt with sadness, ashamed of looking at my dad, someone who I loved beyond words, as a stranger or someone who’s no longer part of my life, and that I don’t miss anymore. It saddens me and confuses me because I feel like I’m a terrible, selfish person, m dad loved me, and I loved him, but I just don’t miss him, I’ve gotten used to not having him around, of him not being in my life, it feels as if he was part of somebody else’s life a long time ago, it hasn’t even been 5 years! Number 64 has told me what I needed to hear (well, read). I know that I love him, he knew that I loved him, I should be okay with living a happy life, a life that’s full and rich even without him around.

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Juan

Posted on May 1, 2014 at 2:28 pm

I can’t not even imagine the amount of pain you must’ve gone through. I know this might sound weird, but I admire you, I admire you for being alive, for being here, for sharing your story. I wish you and your family the best.

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Peter

Posted on May 3, 2014 at 5:43 pm

Wherever they are they’re grieving too. Remember to talk to them…

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Natalie

Posted on May 5, 2014 at 9:44 pm

Bob,

I liked reading your message. Although I am 24, I could kind of relate to it.
After having lost my 35 yr old best friend last year, I have found that it has been more difficult in the recent months since it has been a year and people expect me to have moved on. I still miss my friend. I miss her and would like to talk to her often but cannot and this causes me great pain. However, its as if, in the eyes of others, I shouldnt dwell on her death and move on. Thats because they didnt know her like I did. And also I believe its because they dont grieve the same way I do.
I think we should take the time we need to grieve and it helps me to talk about my friend because she was a person we should all admire. But it is difficult to talk to others about her when frankly, they dont care to hear about it anymore.

I can also relate to wanting to have companionship and it not always being easy to find that companionship.
Since I love socializing, I tried in the months after my friend’s death to find other friends I connected with. Ive never had a hard time making friends but it just seemed I wasnt clicking with anyone. I was trying hard but it just wasnt happening. It was hard for me at first to accept that maybe I should just relax a bit and that I might connect with someone with time, when its meant to be. It has been months now that I have relaxed and that I am just content with spending time with my family. I enjoy reading too. A good book is good company. I look forward to having a close friend someday and I hope that I will meet her when its the right time for her or him to come into my life.

Its not easy adjusting to the death of a loved one, thats for sure.

Hugs and best of luck finding a friend :)

Natalie

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Jan Woods

Posted on May 7, 2014 at 9:27 pm

this list has been helpful…i have been going insane and wracked with guilt over the very recent death of my beautiful Mum (only a week ago). I was expected to go to work and be the strong one*..i did.
My mum had been very ill for a few years and we knew she would pass from the illness..i think i have been pre ~ grieving bit by bit,,if this makes sense.
When she died last week, i was devastated, but seem to be okay?..i was even relieved for her….i have felt guilty about this and people tell me how i should be, then the guilt starts all over again..thankyou for listening.
My focus is now to my Dad x

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Litsa

Posted on May 7, 2014 at 9:34 pm

Jan, I am so sorry to hear about your mom. Your response is very common and you may find this post about anticipatory grief useful: http://whatsyourgrief.com/anticipatory-grief/. Glad you found our site and hope you find support here.

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Litsa

Posted on May 7, 2014 at 10:05 pm

Bob, my apologies for the delay in my reply! People so often say ‘the first year is the worst’ but it is not at all uncommon that we hear from grievers that the second year is even worse. For me it certainly was. In year two a lot of the support of others is gone. Nothing is a ‘first’- instead it is just the reality of ‘from now on’. Hang tight and know that you are not alone if year two is harder than you thought.

Meeting people can be so daunting, but so meaningful if you connect with the right people. Have you considered a widow/widowers group. You may find great companionship, from others seeking the same who also relate to what you are going through.

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Shaz

Posted on May 8, 2014 at 10:38 am

The hyperactivity that you may experience afterwards as a coping mechanism to take your mind off things for a while or to avoid people. I started a craft business, take weekly dance lessons in styles I’ve never done before, undertook a finance course, and basically struggle to keep still. Then I flop every once in a while because I have no choice. I seem to be slowing down a bit now, nearly 3 years on, thank goodness.
I also had insomnia for quite a few months, which I had never had in my life. Horrible when you have to go back to work and you are SO tired, but cannot shut your eyes because they burn so much. Grief counselling is a MUST. It is a strength to admit you need help. They know what they’re doing. Certainly stopped my nightmares (when I did sleep) and helped me to deal with the people who said hurtful things.
I have actually enjoyed meeting new people through classes and my business because I felt like friends expected me to bounce back to who I was before.

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Josephine Milewski

Posted on May 9, 2014 at 4:31 am

“Something new, or different” is never new or different enough.

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Kaz Wall

Posted on May 12, 2014 at 12:11 am

I lost my darling mum 8 months ago, my dear brother 2 months ago and my precious dad 1 week ago… I have read all that everyone has said and although I know what you are saying is true, I’m just so emotionally broken..I have beautiful children and grandchild but I just don’t know how to get out of bed each day and I have to at the moment…
I thank you for all that you have written…so sadly i am not alone

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Cecilia

Posted on May 13, 2014 at 2:54 am

I read this article and it truly made me realize that I am not alone – or stupid or going crazy.

My husband got cancer 2 and half years ago – he was an healthy, happy, successful person – a true man of God. He lived life to it fullest every day and we never thought anything like this will become part of our happy family life. The cancer he got is rare and not a lot of research is available – Gastriontestinal Stomach cancer/tumor. He had a full gastrectomy – in short he lost his stomach – but the cancer was aggressive and already spread to the limphnodes by the time he was diagnosed. His illness lasted 7 months from day of diagnosed.

Our family were so shocked and we just took it day by day. He lost 60kg before he died and at the end seeing our father and husband dying every day was a very traumatic episode – he grieved for leaving us and we grieved for loosing him.

It is true that hospital death is not bad – to us it was a great blessing – as we had the medical staff available that guided us through the process which helped us being there for him in his last hours.

We are 2 years later – and it is worst than what it was shortly after he passed away. All 3 of us share the same feelings – we feel cheated, we lost our laugh, we miss the love we shared, we feel alone without him and the feeling that you will never be the same…..this feeling is like a toffee without wrapping – it just stuck on you.

Some days I get up and I just put any feelings in to my hearts “pocket” and face the day – other days I get up and I hardly talk -not because of any other reason than the feeling that my heart died the day he passed away.

Some days I’ll be somewhere and the tears will just start running. One of the worst feelings is the one that you experience when you realize so much was lost the day your soul mate passed away – I feel vornurable and so lost. I dont tend to tell the world about my feelings – I face them, I carry them and live them – to me each day is closer to the day that I will see my amazing husband in heaven – and that keeps me on the go.

To grieve is road that you need to take, face it and live it – no shortcuts. Some days the road will be smooth without any problems but be pre-paired for the days that a sudden speedbumps occurs.

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Lulu

Posted on May 13, 2014 at 3:56 am

Hi Cecilia !

I lost some one wonderful too and i know exactly what you are saying. The 12th of May marks the fifth month since his been gone and i know I’m facing a long journey . Every 12th of the month i set a balloon into the sky with a note attached it helps sooth the pain. Every morning when i open my eyes I wonder how i made it through another day if all I want is to be with him. We must trust in God just as they did. They are living the dream and someday we will be with them. I will share with you one of many poems i wrote in this time of grief.

His Departure

I’m not a Poet or a Writer nor a Artist for that matter.
I’m a simple woman that cared for a simple man.
When he departed I was left broken hearted.

A door was shut a window never opened.
I was left with excruciating pain I never knew existed,
for days, weeks, months. Until I go insane is my guess.

I lost my smile and all my style, my happy wit far
from being upbeat. I’m not myself I miss me.
What is happening! I can’t break free…

Nothing is yours in this world not a soul.
When you reach happiness something greater
takes it away and you’re left with only pain.

Should I go on with this story? of self pity,
feeling so needy. When did I become this
person no one wants near. People become
afraid! They never know what to say they

fear.

They never seen his smile his tender style
his quick wit. If they did they understand
why his departure changed me.

Lulu

Dedicated to Jeff Muller 12/12

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Cecilia

Posted on May 13, 2014 at 5:01 am

Lulu

What a beautiful poem – so true.

At least we all know that grieve is not a unknown road – it is road to a destination that only God can predict and we can complete our journey by holding onto His hand.

Cecilia

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Jeff

Posted on May 15, 2014 at 4:47 pm

I enjoyed reading this, it was rather helpful. I’ve been grieving over someone for 20 years, have been racked with feelings of guilt and what ifs. I’m glad I’m not alone. I’ve bottled up my grief and have never really talked to anyone about it. It’s like a weight that lingers over my head with a fraying string holding it up.

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mary

Posted on May 17, 2014 at 11:49 am

Hi ,
My name is Mary. I lost my beloved husband on May 1,2014. I lost my mom in July 2012, 2 weeks before her great grandchild was born. My only sibling passed away 25 years ago this year and dad passed away 10 years ago two weeks before my birthday.
I am a teacher of young children. I took a leave of absence after Easter with a letter to parents that I would be taking care of my terminally ill husband. It was for the rest of the year. When my husband died, there were some parents who expected me to come back after the funeral. My choice was not to come back . Now , I decided to come back on the last week of school for my kids. Is it normal while grieving to have second thoughts about your choices.
I feel as though I was not able to really grieve for my mom because our wonderful little granddaughter was born two weeks later and within six months my husband was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. I feel between my mom and husband I had been a caretaker for the last three years. Is grief suppose to make you think so much?

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Melissa

Posted on May 17, 2014 at 6:58 pm

Contact {prophetiyayilovespell@gmail.com},for any kind of problem you think that there will not be a solution i promise you that you will be a living testimony just give a try to him okay
he do it for me,and i have a strong believe that he will also do it for you…contact him now….(prophetiyayilovespell@gmail.com)

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Isaac Aguilar

Posted on May 18, 2014 at 4:18 pm

Grief is inevitable, you can never prepare for the worst, you can be sure that one day it is coming. When it is near, set up something’s around your environment to help you stay a little ground if possible and take each day at a time. Never think you can re-handle the same grief until you know you are ready!

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Erin

Posted on May 23, 2014 at 3:09 am

What do you do when you’re grieving over a person or people you don’t know at all. Never met them, spoken to them, or any form of contact….I cannot stop crying and thinking about this baby girl that died because of her own mother. She died a horrible death that could’ve been prevented. Easily. Yet it still happened. Why?? I wish so much that I could’ve been there. I would’ve saved her. She didn’t have to die. It was also 2 years ago but I just recently heard about it. I have two daughters myself and one is the same age as the girl that died. It hurts my heart so much. I have been crying myself to sleep for a while now. I don’t know what to do.

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yoyo

Posted on May 23, 2014 at 4:52 am

A year later im still grieving for my nan, I cared for her and we had a very special connection and I stayed by her bed at the hospice till the bitter end, there is no timescale for grief, I think it will take me a long time to sort myself out and I will always always miss her.

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Amanda Millette

Posted on May 23, 2014 at 9:55 am

Ms. Woods,

Ms. Woods,
I felt the relief for my mother, after I had been with her during her death. Seeing her finally at peace after 2 years in pain and discomfort, being relieved for her (them) is not bad thing.

As for my grief, I wake in the early morning really missing my mother. Some mornings I cry, some I just talk to her, sometimes out loud. There is section in town that I just can not stand to pass through, it is close to her home and the hospital she passed away at. This Mothers Day ( first w/o her) we passed by going to her favorite steakhouse of course the water works came on. I have people telling me the time for the grieving process is X amount of years. Blah Blah, I do not think there is an amount of time. Losing my mother is going to be apart if me until I meet her again. Peace to all.

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bonnie

Posted on May 27, 2014 at 5:38 pm

I felt so lonely when my mother died. So true…is not like in the movies…I laugh about it in front of people not to make them feel unconfortable and I say that I’m fine, but you know when I’m alone I still feel awful.
doesn’t matter how much time goes by. it’s always gonna hurt.
Thank you for telling the truth and thanks everybody for sharing : ) It is great to share things with others.

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bonnie

Posted on May 27, 2014 at 6:07 pm

p.s. number 46 ” People tend to jugde how you’re doing. Watch out for those people”. This one is very useful…thank you again.

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TheresaPhillips

Posted on May 28, 2014 at 3:46 pm

Strangely , I know how you feel . The world just kept going on & that was a very humbling experience . I just wanted to shout & cry like that would bring my Nanny back. I still pray every night that the lord would let me see her one more time. I find myself wanting people to know how wonderful & how much of a saint she was . Then I realize people all over the world experience the loss of a loved one. I am just one of many & I need to stop it & keep moving forward. Another odd thing is that I have kinda been a slacker my whole life , she was still proud of me. Kept telling myself I needed to do something with my life went back to school & now working. Sometimes grief can be motivation. Thank you for sharing

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Linda

Posted on May 29, 2014 at 1:00 am

My husband of 43 years was the only person who “got me”. My life will not ever have anyone who knew my true soul. This is the saddest part.

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Laura

Posted on May 29, 2014 at 12:49 pm

I have found this so helpful I have just recently lost my dad and after loosing my mam 7 years ago this feels completely different! All I hear is you have done it once you will do it again! I find this ridiculous as every grief is so different. I feel a part of me is now missing me and my dad were amazingly close as I looked after him after my mum passed. I feel like I’m grieving for myself and my children as they are still very young and are now not going to remember either of my parents. I can also relate to the quote about your address book changing I am loosing close friends as they seem to think I should be over it now!! If only they knew.

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Teri

Posted on May 29, 2014 at 1:59 pm

I lost my Dad on May 19th. My Mother was unable/unwilling to make any of the arrangements for his funeral. My younger sister and I had a small service for him. I was the “strong” person and took care of everything. Now that is over I can’t seem to get back to “normal”. I haven’t been back to work and leaving the house sends me into a panic attack. When will I feel normal again?

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simone

Posted on May 31, 2014 at 6:16 pm

Exactly. ……..how did the world not just stop on its axis. And how cruel it ferls sometimes that time ticks by relentlessly. ..dragging my away from the last time I held her little frame

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Lesley

Posted on May 31, 2014 at 11:32 pm

My mother died suddenly 10 months ago very suddenly when I was with her. She hadn’t been ill or sick. She was the only person in my life who put me first before everything. Although I have a lovely dad his devastation at my mums sudden death have not made us closer. Neither of us can talk about mums death as it’s too painful. I feel guilty as sometimes I wish it was dad who had gone first and that is so bad to think that. My partner was kind of supportive but as he admits himself he doesn’t really know how I feel. We argue and I feel he should understand I will never be the same carefree person I was before my mum died but then why should he she wasn’t his mum. Work and keeping busy have been my main coping mechanism. I hope everyone who has posted here finds there own way through the pain. Take comfort in the small joys of life

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Babyjaxmommy

Posted on June 1, 2014 at 5:24 pm

I just lost my new baby boy less then 2 weeks ago. And came home days later to disconnection letters as we had been in the hospital for weeks. Some of them just said tough luck… Most just were silent and silently said tough luck. And one man actually told me its too bad but that I better pay my bill today or they will call
me and harasse me several times and day and slammed the phone down on
me… A few nice people said I should have phoned them and made arrangments…. Like I was thinking that last month when they told me heart failure. ‘right, ok well I better call the bank and all out vendors and make sure they know we are living in a nightmar hell so bills may be paid late. I was in a great frame of mind to set up a payment plan…

It’s almost funny to think about. Your right. We are among millions of broken hearts and no matter what happens. Or who says to “take is slow” we don’t have luxuries like that. We still need to pay the gas bill when the baby dies.

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christian

Posted on June 3, 2014 at 5:01 am

People will say they are there for you until after the funeral then every one backs away to get on with their own lifes

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Sara

Posted on June 3, 2014 at 8:27 pm

#57 is very true. Grief can STRENGTHEN your faith. It has for me, I hope it can for you. Count your blessings each and every day.

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Keith

Posted on June 6, 2014 at 7:02 pm

My Dad died of cancer when I was 12 years old, my sister was killed by a drunk driver less than 2 years later. It’s been 36 years since Dad passed away. # 37 is so true. It does get easier, everyone deals with grief differently. I’m just thankful for the time I had with them while they were here.

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Abby Elaine

Posted on June 6, 2014 at 9:09 pm

Me and my partner buried our 2 year old daughter a month ago. We adopted her from birth and she was the light of her mommies eyes. I wish we would have known #12. I felt so bad dumping trays out in the garbage. An important thing I think is for people to realize that family is family no matter what form. We got a lot of people saying because we are a same sex couple it shouldn’t be so bad, because she was adopted it didn’t hurt so bad. If someone says they lost a brother, and you find out it’s their best friend, realize they called them their brother because they meant so much to them.

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Yolanda

Posted on June 7, 2014 at 6:47 pm

I just lost my mother in March, I was with her when she passed. I was holding her hand but had fallen asleep after 3 evenings of sitting next to her, just waiting. People said that I was so strong during her 12 days in the hospital-I wasn’t-I was just numb, not really present, except to be with her. I dozed off, when I awoke at 2:15 a.m., I realized she had stopped breathing. I kissed her face, told her that I loved her and always will, I told her she was finally free from her broken body and her constant pain. I told her that I would take care of my disabled brother -I told her to finally be at peace but to please watch over us and to please be our angel. I believe her love for us transcends her death-she is with my brother and me and will be until we are again with her. My heart is broken, I miss her so much, she was a beautiful and strong woman. ” I love you Momma”.

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Greg

Posted on June 8, 2014 at 12:16 am

My beautiful mother passed away yesterday, the grief is so painful, it feels like it will never end. She was the most beautiful women in the world, I miss her so badly and can’t control my spirally emotions. I hope this passes, she was incredible strong and I want her to be proud of me. I love you mom.
Thank-you, greg

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Eric

Posted on June 8, 2014 at 7:46 pm

Saw this on Facebook and it felt so poignant to me.

“Invariably, someone asks about closure. It’s a made-up word and it won’t go away. Do people really think that when we tamp the dirt down on the grave or send the ashes to the wind, we brush our hands off and are done? … The dead are always with us. They sneak up behind us at a party and whisper a joke in our ear. They rise like fish on a calm stream and present us with a memory from years before. They wander through our days and nights like dreams.

“And over time, if you’re one of the lucky ones, you learn to live happily with them again. Grateful for all they gave you and still give.”

From http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/tmb-first-time-found-husband-died/#sthash.F29CdeRl.dpuf

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Jen

Posted on June 8, 2014 at 11:01 pm

The world does not stop just because you’re grieving. You have to learn how to continue on. You still have to be able to work, care for your family, care for yourself. Some days it will seem a bigger feat than others. Nothing stops for your grief. Also, people will slowly forget, and although you’re still very much dealing with the grief, it seems everyone else’s lives are moving forward at a steady pace. It’s OK to still be hurting.

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Margaret Collins

Posted on June 13, 2014 at 8:37 pm

Amy-I can identify with you-after 20 years teaching school I was no longer able to carry on. It was terrible-It had been my whole life involvement-suddenly I wasn’t a part of that wonder experience
any more. It has taken years for me to find fulfillment in life. I have found it in volunteering at my
church. I do have a wonderful caring husband. I thank God for showing me love, moving us to a new wonderful place to live & new friends. I found what helps most is to reach out to other people and make their life better. There are always ways-phone calls, cards . . .

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tammy

Posted on June 17, 2014 at 9:43 am

My daughter died in a tragic car accident driving home from work one night. she was only 19, and she was everything in the universe to me. I was newly married as well (5) and just beginning a new chapter in my life. The loss of Katie as well as the way in which she died is eating away in my mind. Sometimes i wonder if I will continue on. I never would’ve imagined in a gazillion years that I would lose her. I wish i were stronger. I wish someone would have told me that …i would lose her..i would’ve held her tight and never let her go :

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Tony

Posted on June 17, 2014 at 12:13 pm

The opposite of 41. Sometimes it gets better then it gets worse…

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Teresa R

Posted on June 17, 2014 at 11:23 pm

That people seem to put a time limit on grief and make you feel like you’re weak and just trying to get attention when you haven’t gotten over it as soon as they have. Namely family. Newsflash…..I will grieve for as long as I need to, even if it lasts the rest of my life.

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cowgirl

Posted on June 18, 2014 at 7:53 pm

It’s been 33 years and I still am at a loss for words so thanks for including this message. Might be not right to say but I believe, that at least death would give me personally closure!

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Maria

Posted on June 20, 2014 at 12:21 am

Grief means you may accidentally impose all of your emotions on the first person who is “there”. They may be taken aback and leave your life for awhile until they feel you may be “better.”

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Debora Anderson

Posted on June 21, 2014 at 9:13 pm

well I stumble on the web site feeling really down.2011 I lost my mom to colon cancer.2012 I lost my nephew,my husband,my 1st grand child. I lost my grandma on jan 27,2013 then my sister jan 29,2013..then I lost my daughter great grandmother then her only child which is my daughter grandfather.And then my favorite cuzzin nov 2013.my sister was 46 went in the hospital with the flu I visit wasn’t home 15mins from visiting her they call and said she died.im numb,ive shut out a lot of family and friends.i cried everyday since my mother left May 19.2011.this year made a year for my sister…now I feel the way I felt when my mom died all alone.im into my bible now..i feel god is tring to tell me something.how do everybody I love and depend on left me.im a nurse and I basically was who everybody come to.i suppose to be the strong one.i scream at everyone and said im tired and im weak and who could I lean on nobody.so sitting in my grief,i realize I have god to lean on and that’s how ive been coping.but I still cry every day fir my baby sister.

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Karen

Posted on June 22, 2014 at 3:49 pm

I’ve been avoiding the death of my grandfather , my family and I haven’t even brang up the topic .. But I feel like I’m going insane . I see his face in peoples faces at times…. I’ve never experience death before and I’m only 19 don’t know what to do, advice ??? Please

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n

Posted on June 23, 2014 at 8:05 pm

What you may have missed is how you deal with a family who howhard it difficult it can be to say goodbye if you can’t really accept that d lost someone suddenly in such horrific circumstances that there is little visible, physical evidence of the loss. Several years ago a family friend was caught in a vicious bushfire which made headlines around the world. Personally, I found it very difficult to accept. I had just spoken to him a few days earlier in a chance encounter and we all said we’d see each other on Sunday. Sunday never came. It was very hard to know what to say to his family as, although I know they said they’d accepted that it was over, 2 days of not knowing and little evidence I’m sure there was just a little hope that it was all just a mistake. I certainly hoped it was! I spoke to a relative on the one year anniversary and sure enough it seemed as though they’d felt like they’d been waiting for him to come home from one of his many business trips. It would have been good to know how we could have helped this family in the immediate aftermath of the disaster.

What I did learn was the closure that a body provides and how hard it is to say goodbye when you can’t really accept the loss of such a vibrant person. Previously I had been of the mindset that thebody only served a purpose when housing a soul

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NATALIE

Posted on July 2, 2014 at 2:32 am

my husband and i have been separated for a long period of time, I came across different spell caster and they were all unable to bring my husband back. I was so sad and almost gave up on him when i met a man called DR Lawrence who helped me get my husband back. Ever since then i have been so happy and couldn’t believe it would happen. He also helped me with success spell, Thank you very much i will for ever testify your good work drlawrencespelltemple@hotmail.com

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lanaya

Posted on July 29, 2014 at 9:12 pm

I am very happy, I wish to share my testimonies with the general public about what this man called Dr Adodo has just done for me , this man has just brought back my lost Ex husband to me with his great spell, i was married to this man called Steven we were together for a long time and we loved our self’s but when i was unable to give he a child for 2 years he left me and told me he can’t continue anymore then i was now looking for ways to get him back until a friend of mine told me about this man and gave his contact email (dradodojattotemple@yahoo.com) then you won’t believe this when i contacted this man on my problems he prepared this spell cast and bring my lost husband back, and after a month i miss my month and go for a test and the result stated am pregnant am happy today am a mother of a baby girl, thank you once again the great Dr Adodo for what you have done for me, if you are out there passing through this same kind of problems you can contact he today on his mail ( dradodojattotemple@yahoo.com) and he will also help you as well

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Jeannie Roth

Posted on August 6, 2014 at 7:46 pm

I lost my 19 yr old son 15 months ago to suicide. People don’t realize what they see as ‘so long Iago’s is still yesterday to the one’s who grieve!

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cathy collier

Posted on August 7, 2014 at 8:58 am

I consider grief to be the flip side of love. The only way to avoid it is to never love or care — so — bring it on.

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Amigos

Posted on August 13, 2014 at 1:16 pm

Journeys Mom, All loss are painful and no one should have to deal with this kind of pain but then it is a cold reality of life. However if you want to begin to compare the loss of a child with the loss of a spouse, then it means you still have your spouse. I lost my dad in 2010 and my wife in 2014 and know the difference. My dad hurt. My wife, a part of me, a huge chunk of me died! I ran into this classification of the level of trauma from different things in life on line. Death of a spouse was rated the highest…100% trauma…Little wonder i feel the way I feel. All loss is painful! Don’t even try to rate or classify

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Pamela

Posted on August 31, 2014 at 7:08 am

Good list. Having lost my parents and then my son – for me- the loss my son has been the hardest. We have expectations about life and almost all are unrealistic. One thing missing from the list or maybe I just read over it is “the mask”. At some point we all adopt a mask. It is something we cultivate with time so that we can walk in the world and hope no one notices that we are walking wounded. The thing we don’t realize is that it is for us not for others – because no one pays attention to us for that long. They do assume we are better and moving on because our life altering event did not alter their life. http://ofmenandmountains.com

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Louie

Posted on September 25, 2014 at 2:48 pm

It says it’s ok Not to cry.. but I think more importantly it would be great to have known. I remember after losing my sister I was at a theme park and almost enjoyed it so much then I thought of my sister and I felt bad for having fun.

It’s ok to laugh and have fun.

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Cat

Posted on October 10, 2014 at 10:04 pm

-the first year isn’t necessarily the hardest.
-it’s normal to be confused.
-it’s normal to not believe it happened and to go into denial.
-your “friends” do sometimes turn against you.
-People will probably blame you
-there is a possibility that people “bully” you as their way of dealing with it

-personal experience.

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Teri

Posted on October 10, 2014 at 10:27 pm

Thank you for this beautiful list. My family and I lost my 37-year-old brother this year. One of the things I didn’t know was that I wouldn’t just grieve for my loss. I grieve for people I love who lost him too- when I see my parents, sister-in-law, nieces, friends in pain. I don’t just grieve because he has died. It hurts more than I could have ever imagined to watch people I love grieve.

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Eleanor

Posted on October 11, 2014 at 5:13 pm

Teri,

I’m so sorry about your brother’s death and for your families pain. I understand what you mean – you care about these people and so of course you will feel your own pain and theirs as well. I guess the best you can do is be there for one another. I’m so sorry.

Eleanor

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Owen R Cormier

Posted on October 13, 2014 at 9:11 am

I lost my wife 2/2/14 and I just cannot get over it. I think of her all the time
I don’t know what to do.

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Litsa

Posted on October 13, 2014 at 9:20 am

Owen, I am so sorry about the loss of your wife. Eight months is not that long after a loss, so it is not surprising that you are still thinking of her so often. The reality is, after we lose someone the grief often persists much longer than we are led to believe. People often say things like that grief lasts for only one year, but the reality is that we grieve far longer than a year, and in many ways we grieve forever. Overtime the emotions become far more manageable, and it does get easier, but there will always be tough days.

In terms of what you can do, that is a very broad question and there are many answers. One thing we would always suggest is considering a support group or talking to a grief counselor. Many people are put off by the idea of counseling or support groups, but there can be a tremendous comfort found in connecting with others who are going through the same thing that you’re going through. A counselor can also help with sorting through some of the extremely difficult and painful emotions of grief.

If counseling or support group doesn’t seem like your thing, there are many things that you can do on your own to work through some of the emotions of your grief. If you check out some of the categories on this website, we have ideas for using writing and journaling as a way to express grief, using photography and other kinds of art, and also many articles to help you understand grief a little bit better. Many people who know about grief are only familiar with the “five stages” by Elizabeth Kubler Ross. But there are actually many different grief models and reading through them may help you find things that you connect with that can help you in your own loss.

It is hard to know what will work for you specifically, since I don’t know you personally. But these may be some places to start. We hope you’ll stick around on our site and please let us know how things are going.

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Carla

Posted on October 18, 2014 at 12:56 pm

I lost a brother (Second eldest) 24 years ago and have been grieving since then. Over time you learn to live with it. The 10th of November 2013 I lost another brother (Eldest brother) along with his wife, my nephew (11 years old) and my 6 year old niece. I felt like I lost my everything but not just for myself. My mother is a single parent mom and I cannot imagine how she wakes up every morning. I watched my 65 year old mother cry for her babies and it breaks my heart almost a year later. Nothing really makes sense anymore. Taking one day at a time <3

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Maureen

Posted on October 20, 2014 at 4:45 pm

Thanks so much for this very comprehensive list. I’m printing it for my fridge.

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Jane

Posted on October 24, 2014 at 1:20 am

Thank you for this list and it’s follow-up. It really helped me. I was having a really hard day, dealing with a lot of anger and stress and tough memories from my past, and I kind of just thought I was losing my mind. This helped me understand that in part what I’m dealing with is still grief.
It is weird that this death caused a chain reaction where now I’m dealing with a lot of really difficult memories that have nothing to do with the person I’ve lost? Has anyone else experienced that?

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Litsa

Posted on October 24, 2014 at 7:50 am

Hi Jane! I am so glad that this post found you at the moment that you needed it. My guess is that many others can relate to what you described. This post may be slightly different than what you’re referring to, but if you haven’t seen it I thought it may be of interest because it is about the domino effect that can come from one loss.

http://www.whatsyourgrief.com/secondary-loss-one-loss-isnt-enough/

Thanks for taking the time to comment! I hope you find other helpful resources on our site.

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Laura

Posted on October 25, 2014 at 9:57 am

the process of grieving can create more grief- catch 22

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alice

Posted on October 28, 2014 at 12:20 pm

I just came across this page. It’s been 8 1/2 months since my husband died suddenly. I can so identify with these posts. Especially the one about losing identity, direction and purpose. I feel like a walking ghost so much of the time. I felt amputated as well. Like someone walked up behind me and cut off my arm without me knowing they were there. Today I just decided to embrace the ‘ depression’ and stop fighting it. To stop trying to push past. This past year has been a blur and I am feeling an inner pressure to be better, as the one year mark is coming next February. In some ways it is like a part of me has been sitting in a chair and immovable, the months have gone by without me noticing or being inside my body, even though I have done so much this year. I can see the progress, which is encouraging. I can go out, laugh, have fun again. But, the weight of the loss, the grief is like a stone and I do feel I will never be the same again. Free. I feel like a solider marching towards my own death. Not in a fatalistic way, just now friends with death, and always talking to it, him. Yes, to what another person wrote. He was my best friend, husband, lover, clown. How does one get over this loss without him there to help? I’ve become very metaphysical as well. Thank you for listening.

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DL

Posted on October 31, 2014 at 11:27 am

Two things:
1) There is no “right” or “wrong” way to grieve, or to do anything regarding your loss or your grief.
2) It doesn’t ever “get better”. “Better” would be, that one you loved so much had not died. But it can, and does, get different. And you become more skillful in your ability to cope with the loss and the grief.

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DL

Posted on October 31, 2014 at 11:51 am

One other thing: People try to push their religious beliefs on me, telling me to let god handle things, or telling me that I will see the one I loved and lost again. This is Not my belief, and to have someone keep trying to shove these concepts down my throat when I have indicated, respectfully, to them that these concepts are not helpful to me, is incredibly disrespectful and ugly. If you don’t know a person’s spiritual inclinations, don’t try to tell them yours, and if they indicate that they don’t see things the same way you do, it is best just not to talk spiritual matters at all. Most especially, I deeply wish people would Not tell me that if only I had their religion it would make it “better”. To say this to someone is the height of cruelty.

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Nina

Posted on November 3, 2014 at 4:55 am

Thanks for this. I can relate to so many. A few months ago I lost my husband. I’m only 24 (we’d been married for just under 2 years) and knowing absolutely no-one my age that has gone through this it’s really nice to see that others have gone through and felt the same things I am.

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rosemary

Posted on November 3, 2014 at 6:44 pm

Hi Misty
your comments resonated with me. I also lost my eldest son.There is no end to grief. But there is joy in the morning. Thankfully. God bless you and all on this blog. Loss and grief are not measurable by when they occurred or the relationship. Its just loss and awful tragic grief. But there is an end sometime. And joy, one day.

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Kerry

Posted on November 6, 2014 at 1:43 am

I lost my first husband and my sister 2 years apart over 20 years ago and some days the raw pain is just as bad as it ever was. Thank you for showing me that it is normal and ok to have those days

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Bonnie

Posted on November 7, 2014 at 7:19 pm

I lost my oldest son on October 12th of this year. I only had two boys. Thank God my youngest is still alive. My oldest son, named Rich had colon cancer for four years. At the beginning we were told he was only going to live six months. In the four years I saw him battle the cancer and be in too much pain. I lost my mom four years ago and my dad last year but nothing can compare to the grieve I had for my son. Right after his birth I divorced my first husband and he was my only one I could cuddle and hold. I used to sing the song Me and You against the world to him. He was my pride and joy. He was very smart in school and got a master’s degree. He became a teacher. This year he was going to get his second master degree. He got his junior high certification. He taught school for ten years. It really upsets me to know that his seven year old son will grow up without him. He also has a 21 year old daughter who is getting married in April. He was only 44 years old. He lived in the park next to me in Florida. There are days where I feel I can not go on with out him. We used to text on the phone sometimes 10 times a day. I am thinking of going to the bereavement class that hospice offers because that is where he passed away. I was with him when he passed. I had to tell him to let go and his time on earth was done which is the hardest thing I will ever have to do. I try to keep busy I know the holidays will be terrible and his birthday is December 4th. I do not know how I will get through them.

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Suzie

Posted on November 8, 2014 at 7:08 pm

16 years ago my husband passed away. There was grief and much sadness but my memories are happy ones. However, my 43 year old son was recently killed and I can tell you this is like no other grief that I have ever experienced. My life feels completely void and empty, he was my only child and my best buddy. I can’t seem to make it through one day without utter pain and sorrow totally engulfing me. Maybe some day I will feel better, I don’t really know. I pray about it and hope for a little ray of sunlight to pop through but it just doesn’t happen. I know my life will never be the same, I just wish I could get a few minutes of happy.

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pamela savage

Posted on November 13, 2014 at 9:18 am

I lost my husband on the 1st October , he was only 53, he died on a beach in front of me in mexico , its been the nightmare of my life trying to cope with this, I loved him so much and still do, I couldn’t get home from mexico took 5 days, people have been kind, but I living in a nightmare I haven’t woke up from,

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Erin

Posted on November 14, 2014 at 1:56 pm

Thank you for this post. I lost my brother very suddenly and I am having an especially difficult time leading up to the one year anniversary. I am finding that I now understand why some people say the second year is harder than the first. In the second year, you won’t be able to say, “last year we did this with—.” In the second year, people expect you to be over it or think it no longer hurts because you are living life and trying to put on a happy face. But the reality is that it is like living with a missing limb- it is always hard but you just learn to live with the missing limb. And some days the pain comes rushing back just like the first day they were gone. I agree with what some have said in that it is important to talk about the person that is gone. It helps keep them alive when you can laugh about the good times. Thanks for the post and God bless.

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Alyssa

Posted on November 20, 2014 at 6:03 am

People do try to grief-shame you. Like grieving over the loss of a grandparent isn’t a valid as grieving over someone younger, no matter how big an influence they are in your life.
The scene from Ugly Betty comes to mind, where that Natalie girl at grief counselling with the character Daniel mocks another girl who was with them for being there for the loss of a grandmother while her and Daniel are there for losing their same aged lovers so she doesn’t know real pain like theirs.
I didn’t notice it at first but as someone who is currently losing their grandmother to cancer now I can safely tell you 2 things, the pain is very flippin’ real and that is just a downright shitty opinion!

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Litsa

Posted on November 23, 2014 at 9:16 pm

Oh wow, I have never seen that but you are exactly right, people do have this horrible habit of comparing losses. We have a post about this very topic that you may want to check out. http://www.whatsyourgrief.com/comparing-grief/ I am so sorry about your grandmother. Please take care and I hope you find support on our site.

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Marie

Posted on November 21, 2014 at 7:16 pm

Thank you so much for posting this. I lost my mom almost six months ago due to brian cancer. I’m having such a difficult time right now with the holidays fast approaching and not having my mom with me is devestating. But by reading this list, I can completely identify with so many of the statements. Even by just reading everyone’s comments, I feel some sense of relief in knowing I’m not alone when it comes to grieving.

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Nicole Aleshire

Posted on December 2, 2014 at 3:40 pm

I remember as I planned my sisters (my best friend) funeral that everyone else was so sad all the time and crying. It wasn’t that I wasn’t sad (I was devastated) but I just couldn’t have an emotion. I remember feeling guilty because I wasn’t loosing it like everyone else. I remember looking around at everyone else and feeling like I was watching it as an outsider. As I look back I realized I ended up stepping into the role of needing to be strong and get things planned because my parents and other sister were incapable of doing so at the time. I just remember feeling a lot of guilt and not wanting others to think that I loved her less because I wasn’t a puddle.

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Jade

Posted on December 3, 2014 at 6:54 am

I’m 28 and lost my dad a couple of months ago. I seemed to cope very well, I returned to work a week later. I never realised the downwards spiral I was on. I used weekends to drink heavily and go out and party. I got drunk to the point of not remembering and turned to another man for comfort. Nothing happened between us but I sent inappropriate texts. I have no idea why I did this, I am deeply in love with my partner. He has now asked me to move out and said the relationship is over. I wish someone had told me grief will creep up on you and snatch you back when you think you’re nearly out the door and make you steer your life towards self destruction.

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cimibi

Posted on December 4, 2014 at 6:44 am

Thank you for this information. I just lost my fiance 4 months ago.. I dont know what my purpose and meaning in life anymore.. I feel like i want kill my self and be with him, i want to say im sorry to him since our last conversation ended up badly.. I said something bad to him and it made him sad. I will never forgive my self..no mater how often i say sorry, it didnt make me feel better.And apparently my grief make other people uncomfortable. Sometimes they said something really bad, judging me that i dont have a faith to God.. How can i trust god loves me? He took my happiness, my future, my life..

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Eleanor

Posted on December 5, 2014 at 4:12 pm

I’m so sorry about the death of your fiancé. First and foremost, if you are having any thoughts of suicide you should talk to someone right away – you can go into your local emergency room, call a suicide hotline (we have the contact to one over on our sidebar to the right) or contact a therapist. Feeling hopeless after a death us common, but with time and support I promise you will find ways to cope. Guilt is a common emotion that so many of us feel after a loss. A few of our posts below may help you consider guilt, regret, and faith and begin to think about how to cope with these complex and overwhelming emotions.

Coping with guilt
Regret
Faith

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Cecilia

Posted on May 16, 2014 at 3:41 am

Hi Jeff

Although I am not even close to the amount of years you have been grieving – I did in the past 2 years learned a little about grieve.

The one thing that I did not do was to go down the road of “what if” – but however, I did feel very guilty thinking that I could have done more – given more time when he was alive…..what a road!! Then I game to terms with the thought that if he did not get ill I would have still done all I did in the past as at the end of the day, that is what allowed us to be happy and to just be ourselves.

If I think back – some days I would have still got cross with him, I would still want to kick his backside – but at the end I did love him and he knew it and that was the most important. No regrets as regrets will kill me slowly.

I also think another big emotion that we need to cope with – is this “dark” feeling in our hearts that something precious are missing. The world just carries on as normal and we are stuck with this lost feeling that just seems to go nowhere – at night, when seasons change, a smell, a song, a taste…at any unforseen time this feeling enters our live and that is when guilt start playing a big roll because we are trapped in an unknown field of emotions that we do not know what to do with and then we feel that we should have stopped and changed it – but nothing we could do or could say could ever change where we are today….

It is not easy and we need to forgive ourselves for whatever in our mind we thought we did wrong, self forgiveness is a struggle but at the end of day it is a must…..I think back at the laughs and good times, the hugs, the kisses and the “I love you” moments – that is bigger than any guilt can ever be.

This is just my opinion – maybe not worth much.

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Eleanor

Posted on May 17, 2014 at 6:44 pm

Ugh Mary you are asking the wrong people because Litsa and I are classic over-thinkers; but I think I would say yes, it is very normal to think a lot as a result of grief. It is also normal to second guess decisions made in the immediate aftermath of a death. It is often recommended not to make any major life decisions for months after someone has died. I think I understand where you were coming from with your original decision, but with grief we never know how we are going to think or feel weeks or months down the line because we are often constructing a whole new reality. Just as we are often forever changed as a result of our decisions.

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Carolyn Cochrun

Posted on May 17, 2014 at 7:14 pm

I’d be careful with those spell castors. They work for the devil, not God. I’d suggest that you trust God to take care of things according to His plan. When you invite the devil into it, things will not end well. Just sayin!

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Eleanor

Posted on May 17, 2014 at 7:55 pm

Carolyn,

Thanks…these comments are spam. We get a ton of them and can’t seem to keep on top of erasing them. That being said….we’re in total agreement, spell casters are NEVER a solution.

Eleanor

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Carolyn Cochrun

Posted on May 24, 2014 at 6:53 pm

Never let anyone put a time on grief. My dad passed in 1969 and my mother and the 3 remaining children still grieve for him every day. Our brother passed in 2010 and it was very difficult to deal with it since we were all still grieving our father/husband. My mom has never remarried because she says she was married to the only man she would ever love and if she couldn’t have him she didn’t want anyone. Take all the time you need, it may take a lifetime. God Bless you.

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Eleanor

Posted on May 25, 2014 at 12:17 pm

Erin,

I think I understand what you mean in my own way. I have two young girls and I have gone through periods in my life when I have felt a lot overwhelmed by the depth of my love for them and conversely overwhelmed with anxiety about their wellbeing. The thought of anything happening to them takes my breath away, so any circumstance that reminds me of how vulnerable they are to tragedy it can almost trigger panic.

Having children the same age I can see how you might strongly empathize with this other circumstance. Is there anything else, other than the child’s age, about this situation that parallels your life? It may be as simple as – what happened to her is my worst fear. Or have you yourself experienced any significant loss in the past? If so, hearing about this death may have triggered feelings of anxiety and grief that seem unrelated to an initial loss but may be somewhat related? Something is making you feel very sad, anxious, unhappy about this – more so than other situations – do you have any idea why you feel so connected to this specifically?

Eleanor

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Litsa

Posted on June 3, 2014 at 8:51 am

This is so true, Christian, and timely that you posted this comment, as we just put up a new post about this topic today! http://whatsyourgrief.com/making-grief-friends/

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Abby Elaine

Posted on June 9, 2014 at 3:08 am

This is something I am still working on, learning how to still live, and realizing the world didn’t stop with my daughter’s heart, even though it felt like it to me.

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Teresa R

Posted on June 17, 2014 at 11:32 pm

I lost my mom 2 years ago to cancer. I was her caregiver while she was also under hospice care at home. It has NOT gotten easier, I have NOT gotten over it, and I’m still not used to it. She was my best friend and a wonderful mother. The hardest part for me was going day to day without breaking down. I hope you have someone you can grieve to or with because that makes all the difference in the world. When you can laugh at good memories, it feels great! I pray for your peace!!!

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Carolyn Cochrun

Posted on June 22, 2014 at 3:57 pm

I lost my dad at 19 and it was very difficult. I had l lost a good friend when I was in 8th grade so I had experienced death before. It’s never easy but I tried to remember the good times with my dad and allow myself to to grieve and let him go. It was very very hard and I had to work at it but now 45 years later, I still wonder what he would think of me now and what he would think of my 2 grown children and my grandchildren, his great grandchildren. I still have a hard time on the date that he passed and his birthday and the holidays but I keep remembering the good times on those days and it really helps. The main thing is to talk about your loved one and talk about the passing and how much you miss them. Allow yourself to go through the grieving process that’s the only way you will ever be able to deal with the loss. I will keep you and your family in my prayers.

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