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How to grieve? May 24, 2008 6:33 AM

I learned to disassociate grief when my grandfather died when I was 13.  My mother suffers from mental illness and wouldn't allow me to cry for him because "he was her father" and I was supposed to be their for her.  There are other family disfunctions involved with this as well.  Ever since then I have not allowed myself to grieve any loss.  I am now 44.  My sister-in-law just lost her husband to murder and is in the process of learning how to grieve and I am moving back "home" to live with her.  Since I am encouraging her to fully grieve she feels that it is time for me to start grieving all the losses that I have avoided.  I could surely use advice as to how to do this without loosing my mind as there is so much to grieve for.  I have given up a child for adoption and lost a child at birth and miscarried.  I just lost my first grandchild to a miscarriage and many many more things.  Any advice as to how to cope? Thanks for being there.
Lots of love, hugs and prayers;
Dawn Andrea
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Hi Dawn Andrea May 24, 2008 7:57 AM

Thank you for sharing your story.  You have a lot of grief stored inside, and it can seem to be overwhelming to try and deal with it all at once.  If you have a faith, that can help.  (I am spiritual, but not religious)  The next thing I would suggest is that you just take time to "let yourself feel" what is inside, openly and honestly, and react to it.  Every grief journey is unique to the individual.  I know what worked for me and for others, but that may not be right for you.  I am of the belief that each person "knows" what they need - not in their mind, but in their heart and soul.  Let yourself just start feeling the pain and hurt as it happens.  No one can tell you what you should feel or do - they can offer suggestions and be there for you at all times (which is the case with the caring people of this group), but nobody else can tell you what is "right" for you.  And you need to be sure that you're giving yourself permission to have honest feelings - do not tell yourself "I shouldn't feel this was or act this way."  Another suggestion is to feel the hurt and grief, but do not get caught and wallow in it.  (The "poor me" approach that so many never get past)  Cry, throw disposable ot non-breakable items if you feel  like it, take long walks, or whatever your "gut" tells you is right for you.  And, feel free to rant here all you want - we all have been there and understand.  After nearly fourteen years after my daughter was killed, I still grieve - but have ways of coping that allow me to continue functioning.  (And there are still times when the tears just simply start...I do not try to stop them, but find a way not to "burden" others with them.  My friends know when it happens and will help by just putting a hand on my shoulder or, ina meeting, take over the discussion until the tears stop--)  Most people I meet don't have any idea what I have gone through, because I don't have a need to tell about it unless the situation truly calls for it.  Find some true friends who will listen to you again and again without judgment or commentary, but who will just support you and be there for you.  Above all, be honest with yourself.  There is no "right way" to grieve except what is right for you personally.  Start letting yourself feel and go from there.

Hope this helps.

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Thank you!!! May 24, 2008 2:23 PM

I appreciate everything you had to say so much!!  I know that it is going to be a long process and am scared but know that it is about time to deal with all of this if I am ever going to be whole.  Thanks so much for being there!  I am sure that I am going to need this group alot.

Lots of love, hugs and prayers;

Dawn Andrea
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You're welcome May 26, 2008 8:37 AM

That's what this group is here for...I look forward to hearing how things are going.  Take care.


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Dawn, I have had a similar experience...... May 30, 2008 7:09 PM

I lost my father at 55 when I was still quite young (16) and was unable to grieve properly at the time; like yours, my mother suffered from mental illness (bipolar disorder), and was unable to cope.  It may not have been conscious, but I set aside my feelings at the time in order to be as strong as possible for her.

Consequently, it's only in the past ten years that I've begun to resolve my feelings about all of it, now 36 years later.

Conversely, losing my husband about three months ago was, if possible, a greater loss, and yet I am coming through it better and stronger, probably because I have been able to let go and actually feel everything.

The feeling part of it is....well, "awful" doesn't begin to cover it, but it's about the best word I have for it.  By far the hardest thing I've ever done; I haven't been suicidal but there were times over the past twelve weeks when I didn't particularly want to live.

But I'm coming through it, slowly, one foot in front of the other.  I talk about him all the time (thank God for the forbearance of friends and coworkers),talk to him in my head, occasionally yell at the box of ashes on the mantlepiece, but, most of all, rejoice in the fact that he happened at all.  I keep a journal that has taken the form of a series of letters to him, go to a grief support group, pray without ceasing (well, hardly) and try to do some of the things we had planned together.

I can't tell you how to mourn.  It's a very individual thing.  The above are what seems to be working for me right now.  What I am sure of is that alot of my life fell apart when I lost my father, I'm guessing because of repressed emotion; this time, despite the pain, I'm moving forward with the business of living, fulfilling our dreams, and being a credit, I hope, to his memory. 

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good evening May 30, 2008 7:55 PM

Dearest Janet;

Sounds like you are going through much the same thing as my s-i-l.  We cry (and laugh) on the phone about the things that she is doing like talking to him (and answering for him)as she goes to bed and many of the things that you mentioned.  Since I am in the midst of moving I haven't dealt with anything yet.  I am stressed enough at the thought of leaving my kids here as they are old enough to stay and don't want to come with me atleast at this time.  I'll update you guys as I get further along.

Lots of love, hugs and prayers today and always!

Dawn Andrea

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and to you too..... May 30, 2008 9:02 PM

sounds as though we are in similar places in our lives.  please let me know how you're doing, here or by e-mail. (something else i have learned - through the transplant network and the cancer society - turning a "scar to a shining star" by helping someone else somehow eases pain.  i don't know why, but it does.)

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Janet June 01, 2008 6:20 AM

Thank you for sharing and caring.  That is what is so special aout this group.  If I can be of any assistance, other than keeping you in thoughts and prayers, please let me know.

May you both find comfort on your grief journeys...

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Oddly enough.... January 22, 2009 9:54 AM

feeling the loss more deeply since about thanksgiving.

until december, i would wake up on my mornings off with plans for what he and i would do that day....and in a nanosecond remember that that could never be.  sometime in december that stopped, and i assumed that the news of his loss had somehow finally made its way from my head to my heart, and that was why i was mourning harder.  but i woke up thinking of him as still here this morning and am a deeper blue than usual.

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