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Old 07-27-2017, 11:47 PM
 
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I also understand the duality of feelings. I once told a counselor that part of me wanted the struggle of my husband's illness and care to be over, but that I felt very guilty over that because it meant that he would die. She said that these conflicting feelings are almost universal among caregivers. But truly, it is not a wish for your loved one to die; it is a wish for the pain and heartache to end. We all want bad things to not be there, to end. How great it would have been for it to end by his getting better. But that was not to happen. Toward the end, when I realized that he would die within a month, I actually had a dream where I stood up on the end of my bed and screamed "I don't want him to die !!!!" I think I was reassuring myself that my conflicted feelings were NOT an indication that I wanted him to die. In that last month, however, I prayed for him to go quickly because it was clear that his life was torturous to him, even thought at that point, I would willingly have taken care of him indefinitely because living without him seemed so much worse. I think that during those terribly difficult times of our lives, there are many conflicting feelings, some of which may not be what we thing are "right" but they exist never-the-less. We want out loved ones back, but we want them back healthy and happy, and not in the condition they were at the end.

Today, two and a half years after his death, I thought about the way that he brushed his hair to the side when the wind had blown it - and the terrible ache of missing him started again. It is as though I miss every little move he made because in truth, I really loved all of him. Even the little things that were "irritating" when we were first married became things that endeared him to me as time went on because it was the whole package that I loved. But I was traveling today, and I had to talk to people, get on the plane, etc, and I couldn't just dwell in that moment of longing. I had to move on, and that is the way life is for me - just regular living with moments or hours of grieving mixed in. I think that is the way it will be for ever - until we are reunited in the light of God.
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Old 07-28-2017, 06:59 AM
 
Location: SW MO
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G Grasshopper, it's only been three and a half months since I lost my wife to pneumonia and septic shock but I easily identify with everything you wrote about your husband and the sadness mingled with relief at his finally leaving behind what had become a "tortuous" life. My wife endured years of pain, the last two or three of which which were excruciating. I miss her horribly but at the same time take comfort in the fact that she's in no pain now and in a far better place.

Like you, I recall the little things, some of which were frustrating but in the end, proved to be endearing and cause for smiles and thanks for her having joined her life with mine. I, too, know that in the end my wife and I will be reunited in God's love and light and that gives me comfort.

I wish you well.
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Old 07-30-2017, 06:53 PM
 
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Beautifully written.
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Old 07-31-2017, 05:33 PM
 
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I struggle a lot with the idea that being devastated beyond belief and unable to function has anything to do with wanting the person to be out of pain and misery. I've had people suggest that he's in a better place because he's no longer in pain and that may very well by, but to the bereaved, that is really not the point.

It is not the process of dying that gets us, it is the death. The missing. The person that is no longer here. The half eaten candy bar that lives in my refrigerator. The times you see something in your day and cannot wait to share it with them later, but then you realize they are not here anymore. It's the birthdays and anniversaries that won't be celebrated anymore. The inside jokes that no longer make you both laugh. The taste of your favorite food that is no longer the same. You realize that the reason you loved to so many things was because the other person was here and find that now, nothing is the same anymore. That is heartwrenching.

I have never though to myself, "I wish he was here even if he was unable to care for himself and in discomfort," simply because I want him here alive. My grief and tears flow for what was before the wave of illness came that took him from me.
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Old 07-31-2017, 07:53 PM
 
Location: Midvale, Idaho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cleasach View Post
I struggle a lot with the idea that being devastated beyond belief and unable to function has anything to do with wanting the person to be out of pain and misery. I've had people suggest that he's in a better place because he's no longer in pain and that may very well by, but to the bereaved, that is really not the point.

It is not the process of dying that gets us, it is the death. The missing. The person that is no longer here. The half eaten candy bar that lives in my refrigerator. The times you see something in your day and cannot wait to share it with them later, but then you realize they are not here anymore. It's the birthdays and anniversaries that won't be celebrated anymore. The inside jokes that no longer make you both laugh. The taste of your favorite food that is no longer the same. You realize that the reason you loved to so many things was because the other person was here and find that now, nothing is the same anymore. That is heartwrenching.

I have never though to myself, "I wish he was here even if he was unable to care for himself and in discomfort," simply because I want him here alive. My grief and tears flow for what was before the wave of illness came that took him from me.
cleasach this is exactly how I am feeling. The life we had was over with four little words. You have pancreas cancer. BOOM you can never go back even when you have hope your loved one might be the lucky one and survive. From that day forward life as we knew it changed. No matter how hard we tried to keep it up beat and positive there were the tears in the shower or out in the yard, silent tears in bed. Cause if I cried in front of him he would say. "What you crying for I am not dead yet?" His humor not mine. I was not even crying for myself I was crying for the loss both of us were feeling. The only up side is in the four years he survived we talked and talked about anything and everything. Learned absolute total trust of each other we had to. Opened up more to each other because the next day was not guaranteed. I so miss that man and the life we had. I am so glad I have half a life time of wonderful memories. Only thing is it is hard to get a hug from a memory. From past experience I know a person never gets over through past grieving. It just becomes a different kind of grief after awhile and I do know my hubby would not want me to be unhappy and to live the time I have left the best I can. He made me promise him I would try. I am holding up my end as I always did in life with him.
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Old 07-31-2017, 09:33 PM
 
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I agree with Cleasach completely. Yes, I have faith in the place that my husband now resides, but that does not take away the missing, the longing, and the grieving. I think that, especially in the beginning, trying to comfort the bereaved by saying "he is in a better place" is cold and unthinking. It seems as though this is an attempt to delegitimize the pain that the person is feeling. I have heard people express the thought that if you are mourning at all, it means your faith is lacking. BS. (Sorry, but that's how I feel.) Even Jesus acknowledged and honored grief (Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.) As for me, I spent 43 years with a man that I loved without reservation. We learned how to be adults together. We were true partners in all of our lives. I could go on, but the point is that a major part of who I am was torn away. How can we fail to mourn that loss? Wherever his soul is, no matter how wonderful, it is not with me. I know I will always miss him and regret that we could not grow old together.
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Old 08-02-2017, 08:20 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
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We exist to learn, to grow, to become what is our potential. That is true whether we have mates or not.

A poem by my wife, after Millay:

I do not like to think
we will be gone

and earth unable thus
to hear our song


Do not let a transition be the end for two people. Hold the energy of your lives and use the power of that to grow and help others.
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Old 08-02-2017, 10:09 PM
 
Location: Midvale, Idaho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
We exist to learn, to grow, to become what is our potential. That is true whether we have mates or not.

A poem by my wife, after Millay:

I do not like to think
we will be gone

and earth unable thus
to hear our song


Do not let a transition be the end for two people. Hold the energy of your lives and use the power of that to grow and help others.

This is Beautiful. Thank you for sharing.
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Old 08-03-2017, 03:25 PM
 
2,252 posts, read 4,314,700 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harry chickpea
We exist to learn, to grow, to become what is our potential. That is true whether we have mates or not.

A poem by my wife, after Millay:

I do not like to think
we will be gone

and earth unable thus
to hear our song


Do not let a transition be the end for two people. Hold the energy of your lives and use the power of that to grow and help others.
Things like this sound nice but they-- intentionally or not-- make the newly or semi-newly bereaved think that there is something wrong with being sad and devastated. As if they should say, "well, this happened, but I'm gonna help others now, or be glad for what we had," or some other thing that might make sense a few years from now but surely does not at this time. People need to be allowed to freely grieve and travel through the tunnel of sadness at their own pace and come out the other side ready to embrace things like what is quoted above.

In my experience, people are unable to handle it when someone they know is grieving on such a deep level. They do not understand it at all and try their best to convince the bereaved that they should "go on" "s/he would want you to be happy" etc., etc. Saying, "I'm sorry you're having a rough day/time. I wish there was something I could do" means so much more to the grieving than "Don't let this keep you down," or things like that.
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Old 08-03-2017, 05:03 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cleasach View Post
Things like this sound nice but they-- intentionally or not-- make the newly or semi-newly bereaved think that there is something wrong with being sad and devastated. As if they should say, "well, this happened, but I'm gonna help others now, or be glad for what we had," or some other thing that might make sense a few years from now but surely does not at this time. People need to be allowed to freely grieve and travel through the tunnel of sadness at their own pace and come out the other side ready to embrace things like what is quoted above.

In my experience, people are unable to handle it when someone they know is grieving on such a deep level. They do not understand it at all and try their best to convince the bereaved that they should "go on" "s/he would want you to be happy" etc., etc. Saying, "I'm sorry you're having a rough day/time. I wish there was something I could do" means so much more to the grieving than "Don't let this keep you down," or things like that.
Each experience of grief is individual. I agree that there is the possibility that positive statements of any kind might "make the newly or semi-newly bereaved think that there is something wrong with being sad and devastated. As if they should say, 'well, this happened, but I'm gonna help others now, or be glad for what we had,'... "

On the other hand, there are many who work through their grief by doing exactly that, often championing awareness of the cause of death, as a way of saving others. Beyond the involvements in charities, death and grief have motivated such things as "Mothers Against Drunk Drivers" and "Amber Alerts" and various other works of public importance.

I've come to recognize that "grief" does not cover all of the processes that happen in the survivor when a mate or child dies. There is the sadness and sorrow and feelings of loss that comprise grief, there is a separate and dangerous giant sucking hole where parts of the survivor are torn away and patterns of living completely destroyed, there is the integration of the treasured parts of the deceased into the survivor's psyche, and there is the re-imagining of self and hopefully growth that comes from the terrible experience. grief is just one process of many.

There are life-changing experiences people have to live through. The death of those closest is a major one, as is a near-death experience. Both of those take time to process, and yes, the initial shock stuns and anything other than empathy can be an intrusion. Again, I agree with that concept.

Grasshopper is at two and a half years past the event, I am well over a year and a half past the death of my wife. Our perspectives are bound to be different than Curm, and others who are still in the early stages of process.

I stand by my words. If we survivors don't (eventually) soldier on and relate to life and attempt to reach our potential, then we are as dead ourselves. If we live only in the past, we have no future. If we are so low in self-esteem by the time a year or two has passed that we value the past more than ourselves, that is not grief. That is that sucking hole of loss that has not properly healed and needs attending, perhaps professionally.

It is important to the health and well being of all to NOT romanticize continuing acts of grieving, while still fully respecting and honoring that grief when it does happen. Being sad and mournful still happens to me a lot. That is not romantic, romance is between two and we had that as a couple. It is, however, the power of the love that gets me through the grief. I don't confuse that love with romance.

"Devastated" is not a continuing state in a mentally healthy individual. We go through being devastated relatively quickly. Synonyms are shatter, shock, stun, daze, dumbfound. Those are all transient states, by definition.

It is important that those who have had a recent loss know that there is still life, and it is still worth living, even if it takes a while to feel that.
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