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Old 01-18-2018, 03:35 PM
Location: Finally the house is done and we are in Port St. Lucie!
3,488 posts, read 1,793,700 times
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Originally Posted by charolastra00 View Post
I know intellectually that it's normal. Last night, I even tried to make myself cry. I watched Steel Magnolias and not a tear. And I'm someone who tears up even *thinking* about the crashdown scene in Apollo 13 and have been caught at my desk crying at work while taking a break to watch a video of baby elephant. The opening bars of the Navy Hymn make me sob. I feel so eerily calm and collected. It's almost an out of body experience, like it happened to someone else. Or like I took Xanax and know I have emotions but am not really feeling them.
You are probably in some state of shock. Our mind has an amazing capability of protecting ourselves from things that are traumatic.
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Old 01-18-2018, 03:42 PM
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I don't think you should worry about not crying. People have very different reactions to loss. I think none of us know how we will react until the worst happens. Be very patient with yourself. Take care of yourself. If your soul needs a cry, that's what will happen. If not, then there will be no tears. But that doesn't say anything about your caring or your depth of feeling. When my grandfather died, I was in college and very stressed. I didn't cry. I just couldn't take my mind off my goals. It was almost 2 years later, when I was out on my own that I actually started to grieve. It doesn't mean that I didn't care about my grandfather. It was just the way my emotions had to work at that time to make it through life. One thing I learned from that is that part of taking care of yourself is accepting your feelings the way they are and not trying to force them into what you think you should feel. Trust yourself.
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Old 01-18-2018, 04:28 PM
7,031 posts, read 3,752,770 times
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Originally Posted by charolastra00 View Post
A good friend died. We don't know when - her downstairs neighbors hadn't heard her walking around in at least 3 days and there were packages stacked up in front of her door. I was there when the police found her body. I haven't cried (and I cry at the drop of a hat) and I don't know how to process it.

Her sister found me on a social networking site this morning asking if I had heard from my friend. It turns out no one in the family had heard from her in almost a week which is incredibly unusual for her. She and I work together and I knew she was out sick with the flu, but neither of us are big fans of texting so after some messaging back and forth during a snowstorm we didn't talk which was not out of the norm for us.

I immediately went over to her apartment and knew something was wrong. Her car was still parked in her spot with clear signs that it hadn't been moved after the last snowfall. After getting into the building and banging on the door, I called the police who arrived in under 2 minutes at which point I was in near full blown panic attack shut-down. It took her landlord 20 minutes to get there to let the police into her apartment. She was just 38 years old.

You always hear about people being found dead in their beds, but you don't think about it with a healthy 30-something. Her worst fear was dying alone and that is exactly what happened. It breaks my heart.

Get your flu shots and please go to the doctor sooner rather than later.
My condolences. Losing a dear friend is never easy, but a sudden death like this, and also being there when she was found, my be especially heart-breaking. Hugs to you, and I will be keeping your friend's family in my thoughts.
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Old 01-18-2018, 09:17 PM
Location: Wisconsin
16,490 posts, read 15,932,856 times
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Originally Posted by charolastra00 View Post
It's been 4 days and I still haven't cried. I know it's normal, but I'm beginning to feel a little like a sociopath.

Because we worked at the same university and we were frequently seen together at lunch or events, or served on committees together, people keep sending me emails, calling my office, or stopping by my cube. I just want to scream, "I didn't just lose my friend, I was there!" but I know that's inappropriate. It also feels selfish to feel that way - it's centering myself in her tragedy. I know it's something incredibly traumatic that happened to me, too, but I'm wracked with such guilt for feeling it.
I am so sorry for your loss.

Please do not be concerned that you have not yet cried. You have needed to be strong for your co-workers and for other people. You may cry at home in a few days or not cry for weeks or months. It really varies from person to person.

Is it possible to take off a few days from work to help you cope better and to get away from the constant parade of people stopping by your cube?

Good luck to you. I am so sorry that this happened to your friend and to you.
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Old 01-18-2018, 10:11 PM
Location: San Bernardino County (previously L.A.)
4,483 posts, read 7,537,562 times
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So sorry. It's a different kind of feeling when it's the death of a young, healthy person as opposed to an elderly person. 38's way too young.

I don't really like to think about death or whether I'm afraid of it, but I guess I am. I want to live a LONG, LONG, LONG life.
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Old 01-19-2018, 09:56 AM
Location: Camberville
11,399 posts, read 16,003,306 times
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I'm taking today off. My boss, who has been amazing through all of this, made a sign to put up over my cube asking for my privacy. My department has been giving me space but both my friend and I have been affiliated with the institution for over a decade and each have worked in several departments so lots of people know us. My current role is one where almost everyone at the university knows who I am so I'm just very out there. People mean well but it is so exhausting.

I texted my boss on the way over to the apartment on Monday to see if she had my friend's supervisor's phone number. She lives in the same town as my friend and her husband is a cop, so she was right there with me in a lot of ways as I was waiting for the police, and then as we had to wait 20 minutes for the landlord to arrive with the key. When we learned that she had passed, my boss dropped everything, sent a police escort to get me to her house, spent a few hours talking with me and handling notifying the senior administration. Given the circumstances, I am to take as much time as I need over the next month or so without having it count against my PTO. Thank G-d.

The funeral is planned for next week, so that's some progress in the process. It is about 2 hours away, so I am going with friends the day before so we can all be together in remembering her. I've not yet met the family as they were on their way when the police found my friend, and the police strongly suggested I leave before the coroner got there because it was going to be even more traumatic. Seeing them will be hard.

Thankfully, based on the initial medical report and how she was found she seems to have passed peacefully in her sleep in bed. It has been really awful considering what those last moments may have been like for her if she was too sick to get help and was aware, but they found her right next to her plugged in phone and she did not appear to be in distress. They won't release the cause of death for a while, and its currently listed as unknown, but that may be a blessing in disguise. The flu is huge news right now and given the circumstances in which she passed and her age, it could easily make the news. Given my role at the university, I would be front line in dealing with press coverage (though I know my team would back me and let me out of the situation) and I just can't.
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Old 01-19-2018, 10:57 AM
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
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Flu deaths will take a back burner now that it has been covered and news is more concerned with government shutdown and Korea. A single prepared written statement should suffice to keep most of the media quiet. To be crass, they are more interested in finding shots of a crying mother than details of employment.

That she had a phone near her and did not appear to have been in signs of distress indicate a peaceful passing. For those not so fortunate, it can be important to remember that the short time prior to death is only a miniscule part of conscious life, and while a death can be difficult, there are other times in life that can be as bad or worse, painwise. We tend to fixate on pain just prior to death, because the pain of our loss gets mixed in to our impression of the overall pain.

You have an amazing boss and co-workers. What you describe is about the best possible reaction by them.
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Old 01-19-2018, 11:47 AM
Location: Camberville
11,399 posts, read 16,003,306 times
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The reason I that I am worried about the press (and I recognize this is my grief speaking) is that the social safety net failed. I'm not sure if work alerting someone earlier would have helped - probably not - but maybe she wouldn't have been laying there for days.

We believe she passed on Thursday night or Friday morning and was not found until Monday. The last time anyone had spoken to her was Tuesday. Her boss got such a disturbing text from her on Tuesday morning (disjointed, incoherent) that they went to HR to advice. HR told them they could arrange a wellness check with either campus police or the city police, but they needed to check in one last time first to let her know they were doing it. Her response was much more normal so they dropped it. I don't know why they didn't check in (we're supposed to contact our supervisors every morning even if we're out for an extended absence unless hospitalization is involved) or what happened from there. Hindsight is 20/20 but I can't help but think what if. She was INCREDIBLY reluctant to ask for help in any aspect of her life and stubborn as hell, so even if someone had shown up unless she was totally incapacitated it probably wouldn't have made a difference. It's just hard.

It's been eye opening for me. I take for granted being constantly plugged in and having coworkers who are very caring and willing to jump in. I once had a coworker who overslept and was 3 hours late, and woke up to our campus public safety knocking on his door because his supervisor was so concerned knowing he lived alone. It's hard for me to fathom being so concerned one day and then the alarm bells not ringing when you don't hear from her the next.

Of course there's a lot of guilt on my part, too. I'm a pretty introverted person - as was she - and I have very few people in my life that I text or call daily or even every few days. This friend and I did a lot of things outside of work, but we also might only text once a week and only if we needed something or had something specific to talk about. I had been out on vacation for 2 weeks and last week was my first back, so I didn't pop by her office like I normally would.

Now I'm checking in on all of my friends, especially those who live alone, a lot more frequently.
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Old 01-19-2018, 12:39 PM
Location: colorado springs, CO
4,001 posts, read 1,780,161 times
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Originally Posted by charolastra00 View Post
The reason I that I am worried about the press (and I recognize this is my grief speaking) is that the social safety net failed. I'm not sure if work alerting someone earlier would have helped - probably not - but maybe she wouldn't have been laying there for days.
I'm convinced that there was nothing you could have done, with the measures that were available to you, to have averted this tragedy.

I understand the "shoulda, woulda, coulda" tricks your mind is playing with you right now & it is horrible. To a certain extent; it is normal but in my experience, there is a fine line that gets crossed when it becomes unhealthy.

For me (in retrospect); I crossed this line when I started to get angry with people who would gently try to tell me that "There was nothing else you could have done".

I couldn't accept that. I'm an RN. I'm the one who is supposed to be able to do what others can't. There are images & scenes on TV & in the movies of successful CPR attempts when at the last minute the victim gasps & starts breathing again. It didn't matter that I knew what a real Code Blue looks like & had participated in countless successful & unsuccessful attempts ... All that mattered to me was that when it was my own little girl; I couldn't make it happen. It took 4 grown men to pry her out of my arms because I just couldn't accept that this time ... it wasn't going to work.

I don't know where the anger came from but it was bizarre. I wanted to scream "Don't f'n tell ME it's not my fault!"

So don't get mad at me! But believe me; you were the very best friend she could have had that day when she was found. And I believe that somewhere, somehow; she knows that you were there.

I can tell you, as someone who had the flu & is still recuperating & also as an RN; that I can see how & why it progresses so dangerously & rapidly. The first thing I thought when I was getting sick was "this is going to be a dangerous one for people to get" & I was right.

Totally beyond what most health care providers are accustomed to dealing with; how were either you or her to know? You did a great job; everyone here knows it, too. You don't have to if you don't want to but you have my permission to just go cry. You'll be able to stop, I promise.
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Old 01-19-2018, 01:15 PM
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There was a news article a couple of days ago about a women aged 27 who died from the flu. Her boyfriend found her in the home they shared together. So it seems like these things spiral downward quickly -- she had someone actually living with her and she still passed away.

OP, I know it's easy to take on the burden of "I should have..." but don't do that to yourself. Even if you had contacted her, and tried to get there, you may not have gotten there in time. She my have even gone to sleep that night not thinking she was in dire straits. So if you had called, she likely would have told you she was OK and not to worry.

I am so sorry for your loss. Be gentle with yourself.
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