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Old 12-09-2017, 04:06 AM
 
Location: Eugene, Oregon
185 posts, read 102,234 times
Reputation: 346

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First off, I read the sticky on this forum and realize people may have just lost someone dear to them. My condolences. This isnít about recent loss. I have a friend, a young adult who lost their father to cancer. The deceased family member passed away 5 months ago and they seem to be letting grief take over their life. They have told their spouse that they really donít want to celebrate Christmas because the grief makes it too painful.

When is it time and how do you have, ďThe TalkĒ about moving on with your life?
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Old 12-09-2017, 08:27 AM
 
Location: In the house we finally own!
369 posts, read 176,897 times
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I have not lost anyone recently (at least not a human), but my best friend lost her husband in an accident about 7 years ago. Her grief was overwhelming, and it took her a couple of years to "move on" as you stated. It was hard to be around her because it seemed like that was all her life was about. Not that she didn't try, because she did. She joined bereavement groups, got counseling, etc., but it took her a very long time to get to the point where she could refocus her life on other things.

To answer your question, IMHO and from reading the posts on this forum, I believe that a person who has lost someone dear to them is entitled to take as long as they need to grieve. There is no timeline, no set time when "The Talk" becomes appropriate. Frankly, 5 months is not that long to grieve the loss of a parent for some folks. Grief is something to be worked through, and is not something you can just shut off because of a holiday or anything else for that matter. Is is hard for those around them? Yes it is, but they will eventually get to a place that they can move on.

Everyone grieves differently, and 5 months is still fairly "recent". Let your friend grieve in his own way and for as long as he needs. He will get there eventually, and trying to force him to overcome it when he is not yet ready won't make it any easier for him.
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Old 12-09-2017, 09:03 AM
 
Location: Sneads Ferry NC/Randolph NJ/Cape Coral FL
12,927 posts, read 24,052,828 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WoundedSpirit View Post
I have not lost anyone recently (at least not a human), but my best friend lost her husband in an accident about 7 years ago. Her grief was overwhelming, and it took her a couple of years to "move on" as you stated. It was hard to be around her because it seemed like that was all her life was about. Not that she didn't try, because she did. She joined bereavement groups, got counseling, etc., but it took her a very long time to get to the point where she could refocus her life on other things.

To answer your question, IMHO and from reading the posts on this forum, I believe that a person who has lost someone dear to them is entitled to take as long as they need to grieve. There is no timeline, no set time when "The Talk" becomes appropriate. Frankly, 5 months is not that long to grieve the loss of a parent for some folks. Grief is something to be worked through, and is not something you can just shut off because of a holiday or anything else for that matter. Is is hard for those around them? Yes it is, but they will eventually get to a place that they can move on.

Everyone grieves differently, and 5 months is still fairly "recent". Let your friend grieve in his own way and for as long as he needs. He will get there eventually, and trying to force him to overcome it when he is not yet ready won't make it any easier for him.
^^^^^ This^^^^^^ I lost my husband in March of this year, my Mom in June of this year, holidays especially the first ones are very difficult. Hell only last week was I able to call AT&T to disconnect hubbies cell phone as I kept hearing him in my head saying why are you continuing to pay for this every month.

Give your friend time, 5 months is still too recent, too add watching someone you love waste away from cancer, watching them die takes awhile to come to terms with, I speak from experience.
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Old 12-09-2017, 11:57 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
16,845 posts, read 51,301,408 times
Reputation: 27662
Quote:
Originally Posted by Djkingman View Post
First off, I read the sticky on this forum and realize people may have just lost someone dear to them. My condolences. This isnít about recent loss. I have a friend, a young adult who lost their father to cancer. The deceased family member passed away 5 months ago and they seem to be letting grief take over their life. They have told their spouse that they really donít want to celebrate Christmas because the grief makes it too painful.

When is it time and how do you have, ďThe TalkĒ about moving on with your life?
WoundedSpirit is correct.

However, I'm trying to decipher and tease apart your post. To me, a young adult is someone who is not yet emancipated. Yet you say that this young adult has a spouse. You also use non-gender-specific language, which makes it difficult to consider some of the dynamics. The relationship of a father with a son and with a daughter can be quite different. How women and men process a loss can also be different.

This phrase troubles me - "they seem to be letting grief take over their life." If the holiday celebration being too painful is only one symptom of many, the situation may be entirely different that if it is simply a comment by the individual or a way in which they are publicly acknowledging their grief and feelings.

I also note that your phrase is an opinion. Sans a number of supporting examples, it has to be regarded as a minimally substantiated opinion. If you had mentioned self harm, anorexia, or a number of other concerning behaviors, my response might be different.

I know that there may be some push-back from other posters on my next comment, but some of us don't view Christmas in the same way as the average American is "supposed to" regard the holiday. The stress of forced interactions with relatives who have little in common and sometimes can be unpleasant can be rough, especially for introverts. The exchange of gifts, except perhaps gifting to children under age ten, can create a whole host of negative dynamics. Some of us have had past negative experiences that override any joy.

In my personal life I have an strongly negative experience of Christmas, and have had for many many years. It hasn't helped that my wife died on the day after Christmas a couple of years ago, and because of the holiday I was not able to get the medications she needed when the hospital discharged her to hospice late Christmas day. If someone complained that I was letting grief take over my life because I didn't celebrate the day, I would cheerfully rip their heart out with a dull carving knife and pliers and serve it as the main dish at the festive meal.

I suspect that you are over 30, have good intent, and don't understand how grief affects some people and how it can take time to get through the worst of it. I suspect that you view the rituals of Christmas as important and are frustrated that your own enjoyment of the holidays might suffer. If so, you may find that you need to hold those dear to you closer and rely less on the comfort of rituals.

"The talk" is in many ways offensive. You undoubtedly don't mean it that way, but grief is not an addiction to a drug, it is not thumb sucking into adulthood. Having "the talk" states that YOU have knowledge and power greater than that of the person you are talking down to. That is rarely an effective form of communication. Even in my decades of management, I rarely resorted to a "talk" to correct or change a behavior. If you aren't close enough to give regular little bits of guidance or advice, you certainly aren't in any position to mount "the talk" or demand it of someone else. If your concern is great, then suggesting the help of a professional is prudent.
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Old 12-09-2017, 11:58 AM
 
Location: SWFL
21,432 posts, read 18,144,759 times
Reputation: 18811
Quote:
Originally Posted by WoundedSpirit View Post
I have not lost anyone recently (at least not a human), but my best friend lost her husband in an accident about 7 years ago. Her grief was overwhelming, and it took her a couple of years to "move on" as you stated. It was hard to be around her because it seemed like that was all her life was about. Not that she didn't try, because she did. She joined bereavement groups, got counseling, etc., but it took her a very long time to get to the point where she could refocus her life on other things.

To answer your question, IMHO and from reading the posts on this forum, I believe that a person who has lost someone dear to them is entitled to take as long as they need to grieve. There is no timeline, no set time when "The Talk" becomes appropriate. Frankly, 5 months is not that long to grieve the loss of a parent for some folks. Grief is something to be worked through, and is not something you can just shut off because of a holiday or anything else for that matter. Is is hard for those around them? Yes it is, but they will eventually get to a place that they can move on.

Everyone grieves differently, and 5 months is still fairly "recent". Let your friend grieve in his own way and for as long as he needs. He will get there eventually, and trying to force him to overcome it when he is not yet ready won't make it any easier for him.
It took me over 3 years to not be in complete grief. I finally turned the radio in the car on again at about 3.4 years. I finally was able to talk about my husband without breaking down into tears a year ago. Next month it will be 6 years, so that tells ya how each individual copes in their own time. 5 months is peanuts.

With Mom and Dad, I was a basket case over each for a year. Holidays meant (mean) nothing to me anymore. I go through the motions now but it is not in my heart.

I still do once in a while cry over all of them. You NEVER stop loving or hurting. You just eventually manage to deal with it. There should be NO "TALK". That is rude.

To the OP's friend I say "get back to me when your Mother or Father dies and let me know how it feels."
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Old 12-09-2017, 02:00 PM
 
Location: Eugene, Oregon
185 posts, read 102,234 times
Reputation: 346
The person in question is newly married to my daughter in October. So, not really a friend but new to the family. My daughter is a Christmas freak. I mean she listens to Christmas music in July, privately and after Thanksgiving publicly. She anticipates Christmas all year long. She loves to decorate her home. She loves to trim the tree. She loves watching Christmas specials on TV. I was fabergasted when she told me that they, her and her new husband, weren’t doing any of that and were deciding whether or not to even exchange gifts because, “it was so painful.” I lost my parents later in life and pretty much got over it after a few weeks or a month(English ancestry). I just wondered at what point grief becomes self indulgent and/or manipulative of others.
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Old 12-09-2017, 04:06 PM
 
6,720 posts, read 2,615,382 times
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This is really hard, Dj, but I don't think it's your place to say anything to him. Or to her, really besides, "I'm sorry this Christmas is so hard this year. I know how you so enjoy this season".

You know him best, and would be in a position to know whether this was a power grab or whether he really has encountered a blow so stunning he just can't move on.

Because I think we all know people in both categories. People who experience a loss in a very very profound way that others might take in an easier stride, and then there are people who use excuses to be the center of attention or to have all the power.

This is hard. Hope your daughter and her new husband can work through this.

Edited to add: In rereading your posts, it appears he wasn't too upset to go through with wedding festivities, he's just too upset to allow her to enjoy her favorite time of year. Concerning.
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Old 12-09-2017, 05:32 PM
 
Location: Eugene, Oregon
185 posts, read 102,234 times
Reputation: 346
Thanks ClaraC. In the back of my mind I kind of knew there was no real answer to this. I hope for my daughter and for her new husband that he can move on eventually. Being of Anglo Saxon descent AND a Capricorn, I need to give others more leaway for their emotions...I guess.
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Old 12-09-2017, 07:37 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
16,474 posts, read 15,913,707 times
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Everyone is different. Everyone's grief is different.

I was 40 years old when my mother died. I took two weeks off of work, rather than the three days that was usually allowed. My first day back I suddenly got teary eyed and my boss scoffed and said "It's been two whole weeks since your mother died. You should be completely 'over it' by now!" That is the way you are sounding. IMHO, a death of a parent five months ago was a "recent death".

Two months after my mother died I was still so grief stricken that I was forced to take a three month medical leave of absence, as I could not function. My depression was so severe that I could not get out of bed for days. One year after my mother died I still had significant problems, needed to be hospitalized for a while and then needed to take nine more months off of work.

Everyone is different. Everyone's grief is different. Don't judge your DIL's grief by your standards of when a person should be over the death of loved one.
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Old 12-09-2017, 07:46 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
16,474 posts, read 15,913,707 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ClaraC View Post
This is really hard, Dj, but I don't think it's your place to say anything to him. Or to her, really besides, "I'm sorry this Christmas is so hard this year. I know how you so enjoy this season".

You know him best, and would be in a position to know whether this was a power grab or whether he really has encountered a blow so stunning he just can't move on.

Because I think we all know people in both categories. People who experience a loss in a very very profound way that others might take in an easier stride, and then there are people who use excuses to be the center of attention or to have all the power.

This is hard. Hope your daughter and her new husband can work through this.

Edited to add: In rereading your posts, it appears he wasn't too upset to go through with wedding festivities, he's just too upset to allow her to enjoy her favorite time of year. Concerning.
I wondered about that, too. But, there probably is a lot "more to the story". Perhaps, his mother and other relatives or his future in-laws insisted on him following through on the wedding plans even though he really did not want to do that. Perhaps, he "steeled himself" to go through the one day wedding but weeks and months of constant Christmas is just too much for him to bear. Or, maybe his grief is intensifying and not lessening and it was better in October. Or, maybe he has health concerns that he is not sharing with his new in-laws. Or. Or. Or. There are just too many variables to know what is happening.
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