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Your New Reality: How traumatic grief reshapes your world

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posted on Jul, 28 2010 @ 08:57 AM

Originally posted by ExCloud
I don't know maybe it was just me who wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. I thought I would openly ask you your opinion.

You are grieving, no doubt about that. There are all sorts of grief, with a variety of problems unique to each. I contrast the suddenness of Patti's death, the shock to me, the fact that I we didn't really get to say goodbye, with the realization that she didn't suffer. Based on what I could reconstruct of her morning, she was doing fine until moments before she called me, and was unconscious or dead almost immediately after that call. So, I willingly pay the price of a different kind of grief for that assurance (not that it matters.) The alternative, watching her die a long, slow process of suffering, is something that I can't imagine, because it's a type of grief that I didn't experience.

But you're grieving, and in your case, you lack the "finality" aspect of a death. As I wrote, I know that Patti is never coming back, you have the potential that things could be patched up. You can still talk with her. I talk TO Patti, but never WITH her, and never will. When "acceptance" comes, that's ultimately what I'm accepting, that she's gone, will never be back, and that I need to move beyond it. And unlike yours, mine is club to the head that I'd be mad to dispute forever.

Without that concrete reality to hang onto, I can see how it would be very difficult to reach the "acceptance" point, so maybe you need to find a different aspect of things to accept.

I know that it is difficult, because I've been there, too, but you need to find that stage of acceptance, whatever it works out to be, and then spend a fair amount of time in personal reflection, getting to know yourself outside of a relationship. I never would have found Patti if I hadn't done that, though that's a subject for another thread, perhaps.

Kübler-Ross says that, if one never gets to acceptance, one is never able to move beyond grieving. Just remember that "acceptance" isn't "getting over it", this will likely always have some degree of pain for you, but it is allowing yourself to get out of the state where your sadness, regret and loss controls so much of your life.

It's trite, overstated, and seemingly unhelpful, but time will fix this, if you allow it to. It won't remove the pain, only you can choose to do that, but it will diminish it so that it stops being so consuming. I still think of Patti every day, every hour. But it's not every minute, which was the case right after her death, and the catastrophic pain that I felt right afterwards has been filtered with time and is much less acute.

For your question in the second post, Patti was my daughter's stepmother, so there is no physical resemblance. I can see why it would be a bit of a reminder for you, but, ultimately in a good way.

Nice to see someone who lives near me.

Yes, we suffer together, but for geographical reasons, lol!

Good luck with things. If you do want to PM me, please feel free to.

posted on Jul, 28 2010 @ 09:14 AM
reply to post by Jakal26

Thank you for sharing your story. It's a heartbreaking story, as they all are, and represents very different aspects of grief. In my case, I have largely been able to avoid guilt, because, though I can find bit after bit that contributed to the loss, it won't change reality for anyone but me, and that in a negative fashion, so I discard it.

I'm glad that you have been able to move beyond your tragic loss and get on with things. I came across something that a fellow griever had posted in a forum, along the lines of "how much would it devastate your loved one for them to know that the love you shared had destroyed you?" We need to do our best, for that reason, if one can find no other reason to go on.

posted on Jul, 28 2010 @ 09:47 AM
Thank you everyone, again, for the responses and support. Rather than reply to everyone directly, I'll just do a general response.

Right after getting home, I looked into a grief support group and found something odd, though I guess it makes sense. There aren't (at least not around here) ongoing grief support groups, like Alcoholics Anonymous or Weight Watchers. Instead, they seem to run in "cycles", for a limited time, and then disband and start up again at a later date.

Logically, I suppose it encourages the whole "moving on" idea, because one might extend their grief because they like coming to the meetings. But it makes it hard to find such a group at a specific time -- when I looked, the only active group was in a town about an hour away, and they were about 2/3 through their schedule, so I didn't see a point in going.

It has been suggested to me by a few people that I look into grief counseling, and the local hospital has such a counselor (if you can't find one locally, check with a hospice organization, they will be able to point you to one) but that's not all that interesting to me, right now. If I wasn't making progress, or I was a year out and not able to function, I'd consider it, but from my perspective, it's just grief, intense and painful, but still just grief, and I've seen nothing to indicate that my timeline is significantly out of norm at this point. But I'll keep it in mind.

As for "finding someone else", that is something that I've pretty conclusively dismissed. Without getting too much into it, there are two aspects that I base that on. Patti and I were almost completely compatible, and the areas that we weren't in sync on, we were complimentary on. She and I truly were as one person, split into two, and really feeling whole, for the first time in our lives, when we met. In four and a half years, we had one, count it, one argument, which lasted all of about ten minutes, and it was about Conan Obrien, of all things, lol.

There is no one else on Earth that I can expect to mesh with me that way, so if I was to go into another relationship, it would be solely to stave off my own loneliness. I would struggle in it, because every difference would spark a "Patti wouldn't have done that" in my mind, and that's patently unfair to the other person.

This may be an Aspie way of thinking, but it is what it is. Prior to meeting her, I'd spent time in therapy and had determined that if I didn't find the right person, I was okay with being alone for the rest of my life. If I hold true to that, I know now that I can no longer meet that right person, and I'm okay with being alone.

We never really talked about it -- when you're 46, being left alone is pretty far from your mind -- but I can conclusively agree that Patti would NOT want me to be unhappy. However, because of her "I won't settle" philosophy that mostly kept her out of relationships until we met, I'm fairly confident that she would agree that I can find happiness outside of a relationship, and support my choice to not pursue it.

The other aspect is that, aside from Patti's dog, I am, for the first time since I struck out on my own at 17, largely disencumbered from responsibility. There is an opportunity for me to do something entirely new with my life. Whether I go start another company, go back to school and pursue another career, go to Africa and dig wells, or whatever, I have an opportunity to do so. For me, at least, that's very appealing.

posted on Jul, 28 2010 @ 12:24 PM
Thank You for sharing and Im sorry for your loss....I lost my father unexpectantly when i was 18 under similar circumstances...Its definitely not a fun part of life...what I found helpful in these type of situations is actually writing like you have done...even writing stuff that only you personally can read...write her a letter of what ever comes to mind...that kind of thing...and also most importantly have faith that you will be with her again...Im not all religious but I do believe there is more than just living in this world...there is something bigger...make sure you are not hard on yourself for any reason...and just know that many people here have you in their thoughts and prayers.

posted on Jul, 28 2010 @ 12:36 PM
reply to post by adjensen

It's great that you have been so open and honest with your daughter... you sound like a great father and she is lucky to have you.

How bizarre things worked out the way they did. Your story has truly touched a deep chord in my heart and I truly thank you for starting this thread.

It has been sort of a good release for me to talk about my greiving stages because it's always been really hard talking about it with family and friends. It kind of makes me feel vulnerable and it's hard to feel that way when so many people rely on me for my strength.

posted on Jul, 28 2010 @ 04:28 PM
Grief can take over your life and ruin it, and it's a whirlpool of enormous potential.

posted on Jul, 28 2010 @ 07:05 PM
reply to post by adjensen

This was a great post and thanks for some of the advice. I just have this fear of always being alone now. Because to me no one will compare to the way I feel about her. It would be unfair if I led someone on so I choose not to.

Maybe I should get out and meet more people and attempt to have fun. I think maybe its this bottling up that keeps me thinking about her constantly. it is much worse when my daughters not here. So maybe I will go out see the world. It might be a great place even if alone in it for a while.

Thanks again for the reply.

posted on Jul, 28 2010 @ 10:51 PM
What a beautiful post. Truly, it was. You expressed yourself so perfectly, and the emotion that you feel is so vivid in your words that I can almost hear the cadence of your voice.

I am so sorry for your loss, because I know what it is to be sensitive and to suffer through loss. In fact, it's almost unimaginable to me that human beings can lose the person closest to them in life and yet, still soldier on. I have this sense that I'd just want to close the curtains and stay in bed until I died. And yet, when I experienced what I'll call my "year of unbearable loss," I did, in fact, soldier on. But I was wounded and not so great in the war.

So as not to make light of your own story, I'll briefly say that four years ago, I lost most of the touchstones in my life. My father, just 64, had a stroke one day and I was forced to travel to him and decide whether or not to pull the life support he was on. Sadly, he died just six weeks after my best friend died of breast cancer. And incredibly, my best friend died of breast cancer four months after a very, very important friend died of a heart attack at just 41 years old. But the year of grief didn't stop there. Just three months after my father died, my daughter's boyfriend was killed in a car accident and then my husband's best friend died suddenly as well at the age of 49. And incredibly, if this all weren't enough, the woman who is truly my sister and soulmate was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's and I lose a little more of her everyday.

All I remember from that year is this black Ann Taylor suit I wore to each and every funeral. I remember sitting up deep into the night writing eulogies and drinking Chardonnay.

I think grief is proportionate to the closeness you felt with the person who passed. Three of these people were very integral to my life, especially my father, who was really a very unique and special person.

I never really had time to mourn each person individually. It just felt as if I were living in a collage of death, where each tragic picture was glued over a part of another picture. And so my mourning has had to take place over many years and in a very fractured way. One day, or one moment, I'll grieve over one or another of my touchsones, and the next day it is someone else. Or, sometimes it's as if I don't grieve over anyone in particular....I'm just sad or out of sorts.

One irrational response I've had to that year is my fear of death---not for myself so much, but for everyone else around me. I hate when my children drive to work. I often feel certain something bad is going to happen to someone everytime they walk out the door. What I believe I am responding to is that for the first time in my life, I realize that life is awfully happenstance. Bad things happen everyday, and unlike you, I think it is unfair. I think it's a very hard thing for human beings to do--to live with the impending threat of death for themselves or their loved ones. And while God may not be directing it, and while there may be a higher purpose, it's still an awful lot to ask of the human race.

It was an awful lot to ask of me, and an awful lot to ask of you. Not made any easier, of course, by the fact that we aren't privy to this higher reason and we won't know, I guess, until we die.

I still believe in God after all of this, but I'm not especially happy with him. I have a few recommendations for him regarding his earthly system. There's got to be a better way than killing off little children and wives and fathers and best friends at an early age and then saying to the loved ones still living: "There's good reason for this, but it's a secret."

I'm tired of life's big secrets. Three that come to mind: Why are we here? Why do we die? And what have you done with my father?


posted on Jul, 28 2010 @ 11:30 PM

I wonder how someone can be here one moment and not the next. The clothes in my father's closet. The bracelet my best friend gave me for my birthday. These things are real and present, and yet, death cannot be seen and is unknowable. There is a disconnect---an unreality to someone's having been here and then.....not here now...somehow.

A book I would really like for you to read is Joan Didion's "The Year of Magical Thinking." She is immensely talented and seems to frame that first year after loss with uncanny precision.

What I can say is that a death is a giant wound to those left behind. It's so big, in fact, that there's proof that people can die of a broken heart after a loved one dies. What I notice, though, after four years, is that the wound actually heals. It does. For most people, the wound begins to heal. But there has to be a willingness on the part of the healer, and this can take a long time.

And it's not like the wound closes as it would with stitches. It doesn't really close. What we do is learn to live with it. It's as if we walk around with a huge gash in our sides, and after a while, we sort of accept it. "Hi," we say to other people, knowing the wound is visible, and hoping it won't be too upsetting for them to see it there. We bathe with it, we shop with it, we sleep with it, and little by little, we forget it's there for brief moments...and then longer moments. It never goes away....not ever...but you just get used to it being there. And so does everybody else.

Let me tell you a story.

It's a true story.

A friend of mine was with her family at an icecream shop one summer day. At the time, she had two twin boys and a little girl who was just turning four. It began to rain and her little girl began to dance around in the parking lot with her ice cream cone, twirling in the rain. She stepped onto a bike rack during her dance, and unsecured, it tipped over and fell on top of her, crushing her heart.

This woman watched her little girl die in front of her. So did the rest of the family. Right under a rainbow, on a summer's day.

And the way she has dealt with it is by spreading the word of her daughter far and wide. She has written several books about "Lulu", has planted an amazing garden, has opened up scholarships in her name, has organized yearly races to raise money, has held and wiped the tears of other parents who've lost little ones...... Her life has become a tribute to her daughter.

Lulu has changed the lives of many people because of this, including my own. Her death was not in vain. There are flowers in a garden, scholarships in her name that help other little girls, books to console and humor, and tears wiped from cheeks.

This woman has dealt with her grief by using Lulu to make the world a better place. Lulu lives on in a community's heart.

Maybe it's up to us to make the "higher reason" valid. Maybe we need to take our pain and do some good with it. Create a scholarship in your wife's name and donate it to heart disease research. Or, organize a walk or plant a garden. In this way, the grief trickles from your heart and into the warm soil of a summer's day. Or, it drips from the sweat of your fingers as you toil to raise money to give life to someone else.

Take that special love you shared with your wife and build a Taj Mahal. A love that special can bring substance, life and purpose to someone else. Pay it forward. Realize how lucky you were to have felt what you felt and know that that love was pure energy------energy that still exists and that can now be molded into new and imaginative forms.

The wound will not close. I know this. We will miss. And hurt. And wonder.

But we can also plant. And build. And paint.

If you are still alive....there is a reason, I think. Define that reason for yourself.

Good luck, my friend.

posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 12:52 AM
reply to post by adjensen

Hug it up them there boss, you da boss for putting that out there. I haven't had to deal with loss, other than the loss of my first and hopefully not last real intimate partner (she didn't die, just moved on from me.) But you seem to have been through it and accepted it. What I might ask is what is the greater good? To post this on ATS, she was called and you were not? Or god didn't kill it, it just happened. Anyway enough of my dribble, good looking out man, ATS is here to learn and growz with ya.

posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 07:22 AM
reply to post by adjensen

My heart goes out to you. I also have experienced a few traumatic events, though not one as difficult as your experience. You are very right, though about how it reshapes your world. The events that I went through ended with depression and although I am on the path to recovery now, my entire outlook on the world has changed. I am not depressed now, but I can tell that I am "different" now. The only way to describe it is that now I am broken. I am healing and doing well, but my entire outlook has changed and there is no way to get back to who I was. It's difficult to put into words, but your post resonated with me in so many ways. Thank you for sharing.

posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 08:21 AM
reply to post by MRuss

Thank you so much for articulating loss so well. My hearth aches for you, I'm so sorry for your pain. I can't imagine going through even a fraction of that. A week or so after I came home from the funeral, a friend came over and at one point said (because he knew of other things in my life that were falling apart) "I don't know how you're dealing with this. What else could go wrong?"

Well, I replied, my daughter is still alive. I still have a home. I'm still reasonably healthy. There are still many blessings in my life, and I don't know what I would do if they were all pulled out from under me, so I so very respect and honour your strength in getting through this.

When I think through God's part in all of this, I kind of suspect that he'd be okay with anger directed at him. Not sustained anger, the kind that can poison the soul, but resolvable anger, I think he understands that. Don't get me wrong, I'm not happy with what has happened, I just admit that I don't understand it and let it go at that. If it's important for me to understand it, I think I'll get an insight.

But I wouldn't mind sitting down with him, at some point, and having him show me the good that came from this. But this is a defining event, this is a life changing thing. Everything that has happened to me since Patti died has been, to a large extent, a reflection of that event. Everything going forward is going to be affected by it. There is no way of saying what good has been done down this path that would have remained undone down the other.

I have never really feared death, though I can't say why. Aside from that very early period after Patti's death, I've never wanted to die, but I never feared it. For whatever reason, I've always viewed it as an "oddity", though I can't quite say what that means, and I have no idea why that's my perspective.

You're right, though, death is a fact in life that seems to surround us, yet most people just ignore it until they find themselves listed in the newspaper under the "survived by" section of an obituary. If you go and look at your paper this morning, you'll see dozens of deaths, and perhaps hundreds of people impacted by it. Yet we never give it much thought when we're not one of them.

A book I would really like for you to read is Joan Didion's "The Year of Magical Thinking." She is immensely talented and seems to frame that first year after loss with uncanny precision.

I did read this, actually -- one of Patti's sisters sent it to me (I have always read quite a lot, but have really "hit the books" of late) -- but I didn't enjoy it so much. I could really connect with a lot of the grieving she described, but too much of the book was a celebration of her and her husband's life, which was not only a lot longer than mine, but centred around two places that Patti and I loved, but only spent a short time in, New York City and Hawaii.

One bit of it did resonate quite strongly with me, though, because it captures a misnomer from those early days rather concisely:

In the version of grief we imagine, the model will be 'healing.' A certain forward movement will prevail. The worst days will be the earliest days. We imagine that the moment to most severely test us will be the funeral, after which this hypothetical healing will take place. When we anticipate the funeral we wonder about failing to 'get through it,' to rise to the occasion, exhibit the 'strength' that invariably gets mentioned as the correct response to death. We anticipate needing to steel ourselves for the moment: will I be able to greet people, will I be able to leave the scene, will I be able even to get dressed that day? We have no way of knowing that this will not be the issue. We have no way of knowing that the funeral itself will be anodyne, a kind of narcotic regression in which we are wrapped in the care of others and the gravity and meaning of the occasion. Nor can we know ahead of the fact (and here lies the heart of the difference between grief as we imagine it and grief as it is) the unending absence that follows, the void, the very opposite of meaning, the relentless succession of moments during which we will confront the experience of meaninglessness itself.

That hits the nail right on the head. Getting through those early, structured days was the easy part, by far. It's the absence of that structure and meaning, the going back to "now what do I do?" that it so painfully difficult.

God Bless you, and thanks, again for sharing your story.

posted on Jul, 30 2010 @ 08:21 PM
reply to post by adjensen

I just wanted to pop in and say "hello".

I've thought of you often over the last couple days and just wanted you to know that you still have someone else rooting for your good health and peaceful state of mind.

Take care

posted on Jul, 30 2010 @ 08:50 PM
reply to post by MagesticEsoteric

Thank you. Today is four months, to the day, that she passed away. Not a day more difficult than any recently, but any anniversary is a pause for reflection (a week ago was her birthday, that was a tough one, this not so much.)

It's a journey, that's all I can say.

posted on Jul, 30 2010 @ 08:59 PM
reply to post by adjensen

Interesting how fate and timing potentially interlace with one another.

You will remain in my thoughts and prayers.

posted on Jul, 30 2010 @ 11:58 PM
I know what you are going through and my heart aches for you. For almost seven months we've been grieving our only daughter, who was also the baby of the family. She was only 18 years old.

It was Monday, the 4th of January, she was out running errands, she hit an ice patch and rolled her jeep twice. Her jeep was upside down but she crawled out. A man and his wife had stopped to help her. The man asked her if she was okay and she told him she was cold. His wife was already on the phone with 911. He told me the last thing he saw her doing was standing there picking glass out of her hair. As he walked back to his car to get her a blanket, another car hit the same patch of ice, struck the man, breaking both of his knees and then struck my daughters jeep. His wife now attending to him, they had no idea that the jeep had been hit so hard, it knocked my daughter down and pinned her underneath. She basically suffocated.

They got a pulse back at the scene but she coded again at the hospital but they got her back again. Her body temp was down to 83 degrees, from being under the vehicle so long, so they kept it down deliberately and flew her to a hospital better equipped to handle her injuries.

When we got news of all this, all we knew is that she was in a wreck, she had a pulse and we were to go to the second hospital, which was O.S.U. Medical Center, in Columbus Ohio. There must have been at least 20 members of extended family and friends there. I remember them telling me, they had her stablizied in the trauma unit and that we could see her for a few moments. This is a parents worse nightmare. I remember thinking to myself "I can handle this. She's going to be bloody and all cut up but she's my little girl and I will be brave for her."

Their definition of stable was not my definition of stable. There was probably ten of us who walked back and the first thing I saw was her whole body twitching. Her little eyes were half open and she was in a constant state of seizing. Her hands and feet were posturing and my world came crashing down around me. There was no blood, in fact, you couldn't see a scratch hardly on her - it was a brain injury. The hospital attended to her physical needs, while I made sure all her spiritual needs were met. We stopped treatment on the 7th. She was an organ donor and helped several very sick people have a better quality of life.

I looked into the five stages of grief, but quickly came to the conclusion, that I will never stop grieving. Some days are worse than others but I am forever changed, my life will never be the same again, but that's okay. My phases so far have been severe shock, then a shock that's dreamlike and unreal straight into a depression of missing everything about her. There is a void that only she filled.

Financially - To get into her checking, to get a title to her jeep just so we can junk it, and insurance payouts - everything has to go through probate court. There are filing fees and all lawyers act as if they are entitled to a third.

Spiritually - I have a very intense relationship with the Father, the Son & the Spirit and was shown in a dream weeks in advance what was going to happen and the outcome. My husband and my daughter both knew of the dream but I thought it was just a dream.. I didn't make the connection that I was being shown something in advance that I would have a hard time bearing (John 16: 12&13).

Social - I live in a small town and the community has been wonderful. I've mostly been a stay at home mom and my life was my kids, the kids they brought in by the six-pack and their hobbies, whether it was cheerleading, football, boxing.... you name it. My husband put me a tent/gazebo out back and I spend a lot of time out there feeding the squirrels and birds. I find it peaceful and I spend quality time with God.

Weirdness - I wouldn't know where to begin. So much has happened we could write a book. If you ever do a thread about the weirdness, I'll be there.

Associative - this is sort of like synchronicity for us. The numbers 11:11 or any combination of 0's and 1's just surround this whole tragedy for us. I have always associated the 11:11 weirdness to waking up people to the reality of Jesus, specifically to the power of the resurrection. In John 11:11, Jesus is going to WAKE Lazarus. And in Revelation 11:11 where the breath of life of God enters the last two witnesses and they come back to life for the world to see.

My daughter wrecked at 1:11 p.m. on the 4th. While sitting bedside with my daughter in the hospital, my husband decided to randomly open an inspirational book, to see if one of the bible passages could give him just a bit of strength. He opened it to page 111 and the passage was "As in Adam all die,. in Christ all we be made alive." We buried our daughter on 1/10/10. Two insurance payouts totaled 111,000. There are others, that I've written down in my journal but these are the ones that come to mind.

Temporal - for me life feels as if everything is accelerating.... faster and faster.

Psychological - That which does not kill us makes us stronger.

Reality - She's not here with me physically but she lives on. I now tell people I have a son who lives at home and a daughter who lives with Jesus. That is as real as it gets.

Health - I smoke way too much and since she passed it's increased.

Emotional - Some days I cry so hard I can't breath and there are days I smile. One minute everything is good and the next like someone takes a sledgehammer and hits me in the gut.

I know your pain. Patti seems like a wonderful creature and you were blessed to have her in your life and you in hers. May God give you comfort and peace.

[edit on 31-7-2010 by Myrtales Instinct]

posted on Jul, 31 2010 @ 10:19 AM
reply to post by Myrtales Instinct

Thank you so much for the reply and your detailed experience. I am so very sorry for your loss. I read something recently about the death of a parent being the death of the past, the death of a spouse being the death of the present, and the death of a child being the death of the future, and I can't imagine the pain that you're enduring. There are so many people that I've met who have endured suffering far beyond mine (such as those who lose multiple people in a short period) and all that I can feel is that they are amazing people of emotional strength.

I used to subscribe, emotionally, to relative stoicism. That was most likely a reaction to having Asperger's, but Patti took me out of that. Until she died, I still made efforts not to be too happy about anything, or too sad about anything, but she helped me open that door a ways. The door was smashed to bits with her loss, and all my brave stoicism went right out with the bits. But I have learned that it's not only okay, it's really healthier.

Raging emotions, meh, I don't think I'll ever get there, but I've evolved to a place where I can accept that suffering has a point, grief has a message, and that blocking it out, "soldiering on bravely" would miss that message. I'm not entirely sure what that is, and I'd jettison the whole lot of it if Patti came back, but I've come to see this state, for me, as being an opportunity. Patti had a degree in communication, and on more than one occasion, she did the old "this isn't a problem, or a shortcoming, this is an opportunity for improvement." Trite and overused, but I suspect it's ultimately a path of out negativity.

posted on Jul, 31 2010 @ 11:24 AM
reply to post by adjensen

My heart was broken. How does the expression go...? The first cut is the deepest?

Anyways...I always considered these stories about broken hearts and their grief something for sissies and weak persons but now I know this can be serious pain and something you do not wish for somebody else.

The reason for my grief is somewhat different than yours but many of the particulars you mentioned happened to me too. The communality is the word loss

Without going into the details it was a traumatic experiance for me and it took me a few years to realise what happened and to process my emotions. The whole experiance changed me, some good and some I am not all to happy with.

I regret that I wasted a few, which had to be good years of my life. Trying to understand why and how things happened and on the other hand I needed this time to comprehend if I ever wanted to forgive, find peace in my heart and able to go on with my life.

Love is a strange and powerfull thing and you hit the nail on the head with what personal loss can do with somebody. THX

posted on Sep, 16 2010 @ 10:06 AM
I was at a presentation on grief yesterday at my church, given by a guy who chaplains for the local hospice, and he said something that I thought was very insightful and wanted to share in this thread. It is intended for those who want to console those suffering traumatic grief.

There is an inner desire to say something to those in mourning that will give them hope or to diminish their pain. Often times, it is couched in words about the state of the one that we lost. "She's in a better place" or "He is not suffering any longer."

However, and this is the point he made, which I 100% agree with, as one who is going through the process:

This is not about where she is, this is about where she isn't.

Someone who consoles me by saying that Patti is in Heaven misses the point that my grief is as much about the damage done to me by her loss as it is about her loss in general. Her loss is mitigated by her being in Heaven, but my loss is not.

That is not to say that these things are not comforting on some level, just a notation that it has less impact than one might believe.

Stay strong.

posted on Sep, 22 2010 @ 02:25 PM
reply to post by adjensen

Big hugs. Thanks for sharing so deeply.

...You said that getting through one (kind of?) grief (loss) does not help one to better make it through the next.

I've been thinking about this lately, and am not sure I agree. It seems to me that youth generally -and our culture specifically- train us to expect progress and immortality, not regress or death. In comparison, some cultures do accommodate the notion of constant change without the expectation of 'progress,' and with the notion of acceptance... which could simultaneously deepen and accelerate the grieving process.

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