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Old 12-01-2017, 01:56 PM
 
Location: PA
838 posts, read 963,967 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobspez View Post
There used to be a saying I haven't heard for a while. "Life's a b**ch and then you die." I think you have to realize nothing is ever the same as time passes. No matter the circumstances you have to look at what you have, not what you don't. A month ago we put down our 17 year old chihuahua and my wife can't get over it. I've never seen her this desolate over the death of parents, family members, etc. Sometimes it just hits you and it takes a while.
I'm so sorry for your wife's Chiahuahua and can relate how that feels - my Chihuahua is like my little shadow and follows me everywhere. Dogs are so loyal and when you have them so long, it is a huge loss! I have had two pets die this year, and the one I had prior to when my husband and I started dating...he went through my single years with me and moved several times with me. They become a small part of you after a while.
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Old 12-01-2017, 01:57 PM
 
Location: PA
838 posts, read 963,967 times
Reputation: 1753
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellwood View Post
Thanksgiving was difficult for me this year as the love of my life has only been gone five months. For two weeks before it seemed I cried at every little thing. I had my small family around me and it was nice. No one could ever replace him as no one will replace those you have lost. Harry Chickpea made a good point on the word, "replace."

I think it is important to keep the memories alive and talk about the experiences and life you had with them.
I wish I can give you a virtual hug! It is very hard especially in the midst of this season. I hope the memories give you comfort.
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Old 12-01-2017, 02:01 PM
 
Location: Wonderland
41,256 posts, read 32,917,163 times
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I totally get what you're saying, OP! Lots of good advice and insight here.

One thing I've learned (I guess the hard way - like maybe I "knew it" intellectually but didn't really accept it emotionally till lately), is that life changes and that I can't burden the present with the past, if that makes sense.

For instance, childhood Christmases and holidays were often very pleasant, especially with lots of extended family around, and cousins, and just the overall festivity. But that era came to an end...but it was quickly replaced by the hullaballoo of my young adult years, with small kids and then larger kids but always a big, bustling bunch around the house, even if there were a few faces missing over the years. Still, it was a big, mostly joyous time.

But now all our kids are grown, three of our four parents are dead and gone, all our grandparents are of course gone, cousins scattered, siblings scattered as well, and our adult kids come and go from their various corners of the world but aren't usually all in the same place at the same time - and when they are, I'm not sure that's a good thing because several of them tend to bicker with each other and add stress to a full house.

So that era - of traditional Christmas cookies made on Christmas eve, the story of Jesus' birth read aloud by the fire while Handel's Messiah played in the background, scattering "reindeer food" on the front lawn...all that is gone now too.

But guess what - none of that was meant to last forever. So now we have to make some new traditions, just like we made them when the kids were little.

And I've come to realize that that's alright. It's not something to mourn, any more than we mourn the passing of spring on a beautiful fall day.

I'm going to enjoy the beauty of the autumn of my life now. Quieter holidays, not cooking for everyone but instead of hosting - doing the traveling myself. I can't and won't just sit around and mourn "times past." To everything there is a season and I want to enjoy THIS season.

It does, however, take a certain amount of self discipline not to get pensive or to yearn for people who are gone. And I guess sometimes it's OK to do that but I will not let that yearning overcome the present joy.

CS Lewis said it best:

Quote:
C.S. Lewis names this longing with the German word sehnsucht. He calls it “the inconsolable longing in the heart for we know not what.” At the end of Pilgrim’s Regress he said it was, “That unnameable something, desire for which pierces us like a rapier at the smell of bonfire, the sound of wild ducks flying overhead, the title of The Well at the World’s End, the opening lines of Kubla Khan, the morning cobwebs in late summer, or the noise of falling waves.”
Looking for Another Country: C.S. Lewis and T.S. Eliot

“Joy is distinct not only from pleasure in general but even from aesthetic pleasure. It must have the stab, the pang, the inconsolable longing.” - CS Lewis, Surprised By Joy
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Old 12-01-2017, 03:19 PM
 
1,490 posts, read 603,851 times
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Thank you.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluemonday View Post
I'm so sorry for your wife's Chiahuahua and can relate how that feels - my Chihuahua is like my little shadow and follows me everywhere. Dogs are so loyal and when you have them so long, it is a huge loss! I have had two pets die this year, and the one I had prior to when my husband and I started dating...he went through my single years with me and moved several times with me. They become a small part of you after a while.
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Old 12-01-2017, 07:00 PM
 
Location: Canada
5,187 posts, read 3,680,744 times
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I wrote a very difficult Christmas card out today. It was to a couple who lost their 25 year old son last fall at this time to a drug overdose.

I said in it that I hope they have a wonderful Christmas with their family, loving friends and sweet memories. I didn't know if that was enough since I didn't know their son and I don't know them that well but we are getting closer from camping with them in our travel trailers during the summer.

I am just wondering, are there EVER sweet happy memories after the loss of a child, or will the memories always be heartache?

I just can't imagine having happy, sweet memories of their son when he was taken so young and for such a senseless death.
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Old 12-01-2017, 09:00 PM
 
Location: Midland, MI
504 posts, read 482,338 times
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The death of a pet can bring up all the other losses you've gone through. My parents both died 3 years ago and I miss them a lot. At the holidays, especially. You never get over losing people exactly; you just kind of get used to it. And maybe the better memories start to overshadow the pain - that's what I hope.
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Old 12-01-2017, 10:41 PM
 
Location: Wonderland
41,256 posts, read 32,917,163 times
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A year ago our family dynamics changed drastically after my dad died. Long story short, my youngest daughter cut things off entirely with about half our family - taking her four children, my four grandchildren, with her and refusing to have anything to do with about half of us. It was a huge division and grief on top of the grief of losing my dad. Last Christmas was terrible. I didn't know what to expect from this Christmas.

But I went to some great counseling and got myself and my boundaries more together and I figured out that I can still be happy, even without some people in my life. It's not that grief is bad, it's just that I didn't want to live stuck in it.

So this year I was curious to see how I'd feel about Christmas - and I feel good about it. I have decorated the house, but I didn't put up the big Christmas tree with the heirloom Christmas decorations on it - I decided that my husband and I will make our own new memories and that's what we're doing. I also took down family photos that brought me pain, and replaced them with photos and art that makes me feel happy. I decided to focus on the good relationships in my life rather than mull over people who are no longer here, and it's working.

But it does take work to get there.
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Old 12-01-2017, 11:25 PM
 
3,985 posts, read 5,272,792 times
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That sounds really positive, Kathryn. Good for you! Sometimes we need to just take responsibility for our own happiness. It is a hard lesson to learn, however. Lots of people let others "make" them unhappy.

I didn't have a situation anything like yours. But next Wednesday is the 3rd anniversary of my husband's death. So far, I am enjoying the Christmas season pretty well. I can still look back and wish that he were with me, but it is wistful rather than painful now. My life is very, very different than it was 3 years ago, and I think that has helped me to heal. Although sometimes it felt like I was feeling my way through, I've shaped my life the way that makes me feel best.

And I'm really glad your counseling was "great." A good counselor can help us change our lives.
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Old 12-02-2017, 12:14 AM
 
Location: Mid-Atlantic
22,846 posts, read 21,907,827 times
Reputation: 27891
Quote:
Originally Posted by gouligann View Post
I wrote a very difficult Christmas card out today. It was to a couple who lost their 25 year old son last fall at this time to a drug overdose.

I said in it that I hope they have a wonderful Christmas with their family, loving friends and sweet memories. I didn't know if that was enough since I didn't know their son and I don't know them that well but we are getting closer from camping with them in our travel trailers during the summer.

I am just wondering, are there EVER sweet happy memories after the loss of a child, or will the memories always be heartache?

I just can't imagine having happy, sweet memories of their son when he was taken so young and for such a senseless death.
My sister doesn't want to talk about it after 25 years. About five years ago, I told her that I remembered him as a beautiful little boy. She became very upset and hung up on me.
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Old 12-02-2017, 01:58 AM
 
3,985 posts, read 5,272,792 times
Reputation: 4582
Quote:
Originally Posted by gouligann View Post

I am just wondering, are there EVER sweet happy memories after the loss of a child, or will the memories always be heartache?
I think this depends on the person and the situation. My grandmother, who lost a child when he was 2 years old, would once in a while tell a story about funny things he would say or do, or something the other children did with him. She would laugh, but it would always be followed with a little silence and she would stare off for a second before "returning" to us. Then she was back to smiling. I think she did remember him with pleasure, but it always reminded her of what she lost. She never "got over" the it. So I think she had both sweet memories and heartache.
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