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Being Strong Has Many Faces & The Only Way Through It Is Through It

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kayc   
21 hours ago, TomPB said:

Then I saw the (now former) friend I mentioned above who said I was feeling more serene/accepting with no evidence and when I told her I was not feeling better after 4 ms she said I should read some material on self-pity! Aggressive! Long story short, we have agreed to end our relationship.

Wow!  Unbelievable!  Not much to say to that, I guess losing her is like gaining two good friends (an expression of a friend of mine meaning "not losing much there").

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It seems like all losses now are super intensified.  I am losing a resident I have been close to where I volunteer and this time it is harder than the others, 4 over 23 years.  I am so beaten down by loss that I don't even want to go there anymore, but if I did that my only social connections would be counselors and doctors.   Hardly warm and fuzzy.  

Tom, I have a woman in my life I barely consider a friend that I need because if something happened to me she is the perfect person to take over care for my dogs.  Otherwise she is toxic for me.  It is so very hard to see her sometimes as she always seems to have a dig about something in how I have to live my life now as she thinks she knows how she would handle losing her wife, her dogs, her whatever. It's all very practical and not based on the reality if those things happperd.  Or maybe it is.  Maybe she will be a 'better' survivor'.  I look at their relationship and see it is very different than the ones we have here.  They do so much less together and she never talks about love the way we do.  I really am in no position to judge, but it is a gut feeling.  

Losing you friend is profound.  People on the outside don't get that we respond to loss much differently now.  It isn't just a cleansing if they are bad for us because we lost our closest friend to fall back on.  It shrinks what world we have even more.  I don't know how old you are, but I have found in my 60's and back in my 50's that finding friends is hard.  People are settled into thier lives, usually quite comfortably if there is no tragedy or they have family or other established friendship support.  

If these people want to call it self pity, so be it.  I call it loss of more human contact we the living need just like everyone else.  We live with the largest loss there is and I tire of opinions and imagined reactions to the real thing.  Choice of words does show others true colors and they sadly do not even realize it....yet, if they ever do.  Words are so powerfrul and impossible to unhear.

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scba   
16 minutes ago, Gwenivere said:

I don't know how old you are, but I have found in my 60's and back in my 50's that finding friends is hard.  People are settled into thier lives, usually quite comfortably if there is no tragedy or they have family or other established friendship support.  

 

I'm closer to my 40s and I think it applies to my age as well.

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scba   
16 hours ago, Marg M said:

I simply think these people have not had real tragedy.  Or they are robots with  no heart.

Marg, you wrote once Something like "do not speak to those whose feet haven't touched the flames". I'm trying to do it, I talk about my grief to my counselor and here. I stopped my quest to be understood, sadly. 

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Gin   

And I am in my late 70s and finding  new friends is almost impossible for me.   I try to be friendly, but you are right..People are comfortable in their own lives.  I have a few good friends and I am grateful for them.  I doubt I will increase that number.

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Marg M   

Ana, when I came back home, I touched base with our old friends.  When Billy was around, we were all hugging and having a good time.  Billy (at that time) was unsure of me and it became necessary for me to not be around my lifelong friends and even saw my family less.  I liked my new friends and we were all young and just starting a new life.  Go forward 54-55 years and "our" friends do not know I exist.  I am not hurt, I know I am a reminder now of their own mortality.  One has already had a stroke.  I am not sure of the oldest one's mental state, and some of the others have gone before Billy.  The thing is, I have former coworkers, and the years disappeared for my teenaged years friends and former classmates.  We are all close, mainly because most of us are widows and like on this forum, we have all been "touched by the flames".  I can truly say I love my friends and as much as I miss Billy, "our" friends were really hi s friends.  They were very sweet to our son, but he is more Billy-like" than I am.   One strange thing is I am "hearing gossip" and I had forgot a bunch of women did that.  It actually makes me uncomfortable.  I wish everyone could find a drop of happiness. I was not old till Billy left.

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kevin   

When were the good old days?....its a different time for each of us......but for sure no matter the date, it  was shared with our  better half.......I look back  at  times when we lived from pay cheque to pay cheque,  rolled my own cigarettes, and hope I got more hours to feed the family, but through the worst of times, never was alone, never felt  bad at all...........Whenever I feel down, I look back at those times, at  pictures of 28 year old confident  young man , this guy didn't have a pot to piss in or window to throw it out, and didn't care in the least,  always thought we had so many more tomorrows.......

 

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kayc   
15 hours ago, Gwenivere said:

 It shrinks what world we have even more.

 

15 hours ago, Gwenivere said:

I have found in my 60's and back in my 50's that finding friends is hard.

Gwen, 

You are so right.  I'm sorry I made light of your losing your friend, Tom, I know that losing even someone toxic is hard, especially if we expected them to be supportive and they weren't.  I lost all our friends when George died, I never anticipated that, it was a double loss, not enough to lose the most important person in my life, but then to lose all of those you thought would be there through it all, it was a huge pill to swallow.

 

I have been working on making new friends, I have had so many move away, and I am finding it is much easier to lose a friend that it is to make a new one, especially the older we get.  You're right, people already have their friends and are comfortable with how things are, it's hard to break in to that.  It's not enough just to be enjoyable and thoughtful, people are comfortable with how things are.

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Eagle-96   

I've said it before but it bears repeating. When we don't "get over" our loss in the time-frame our so-called friends deem appropriate then WE are the ones in the wrong. We are the living reminder of the ultimate pain in life and people want us to move on as quickly as possible so as to assuage their own fears. They don't want to imagine themselves in our position, but sadly 50% of them will be there whether they want to or not. If they see us "move on" quickly then there is hope for them in their future grief. They see us have one fleeting moment of happiness(the reality is that that moment is really just less crappy than the other ones in our lives) and they extrapolate that to, "they are happy again" or "they are getting over it". In their mind we are better and that makes them feel better. What they don't see is the other 99% of our day spent in pain and despair. Ahhhh, to see the world through rose colored glasses again.

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TomPB   

The expectation that we'll "get over it" on a neat schedule seems to be part of this new life. Besides the "self pity" person, my friends and siblings are mostly pretty good. It helps that some of my non-virtual friends have also experienced loss of a spouse, or are in the process. I've worked hard at socializing and not being alone. This means reversing a long trend of doing more and more just as Tom & Susan. I've sailed with several friends this summer. That's what I did once, but more recently went almost entirely with my first mate. However while this is better than being alone, and I do love the ocean and can enjoy it for intervals, it is infinitely less good than being with my baby. The feeling of just the two of us making our way through the ocean on a boat was magical and a metaphor for our life. Now I see a couple sailing and think "that should be us". When we would come back we'd often get a coffee and sit on a particular bench. Now after my friends have left I do the same, and cry, even if it's been a good day.

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kayc   

I've had fellow grievers who thought I should be "over it" because so many years have gone by.  I was told I was depressing, gave despair, by one griever.  They don't want to realize that there isn't an expiration date on grief.  They think there should be some steps they can take and be over it, move on.  I think I've done well to handle it as well as I have but I won't kid anyone, this isn't quick, this isn't easy, and it's never "over".  I will miss George until the day I die!  That doesn't mean I mope and cry all the time, I do my best to live as full a life as possible, but he is ALWAYS on my mind and in my heart!  He is my soulmate and best friend and even death cannot separate us!

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Eagle-96   
2 hours ago, kayc said:

I've had fellow grievers who thought I should be "over it" because so many years have gone by.  I was told I was depressing, gave despair, by one griever.  They don't want to realize that there isn't an expiration date on grief.  They think there should be some steps they can take and be over it, move on.  I think I've done well to handle it as well as I have but I won't kid anyone, this isn't quick, this isn't easy, and it's never "over".  I will miss George until the day I die!  That doesn't mean I mope and cry all the time, I do my best to live as full a life as possible, but he is ALWAYS on my mind and in my heart!  He is my soulmate and best friend and even death cannot separate us!

That just goes to show that we, as grievers, sometimes forget what our fellow grievers are experiencing. We get caught up in our own situation and forget that grief has many faces and is with us as long as IT wants to be. I know the conversation you are referring to and I was also taken aback. What I have found through this journey is that I have to stop down and reflect from time to time. A reset, if you will, to remember that I am not the only one grieving Lori. I have to take the time to check on her friends and family. To be there for them and provide them the support they need on their journey. It's not easy because I tend to focus on my intense pain and sadness. I am always glad when those reminders come because it allows me to heal while also helping others to heal as well. 

Kay, know this. I find your advice and assistance invaluable as it provides me with a road-map to your grief(even though mine is not the same) and helps me along my path.

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Cookie   
3 hours ago, kayc said:

I've had fellow grievers who thought I should be "over it" because so many years have gone by.  I was told I was depressing, gave despair, by one griever.  They don't want to realize that there isn't an expiration date on grief.  They think there should be some steps they can take and be over it, move on.  I think I've done well to handle it as well as I have but I won't kid anyone, this isn't quick, this isn't easy, and it's never "over".  I will miss George until the day I die!  That doesn't mean I mope and cry all the time, I do my best to live as full a life as possible, but he is ALWAYS on my mind and in my heart!  He is my soulmate and best friend and even death cannot separate us!

Yes, I have had some of the most despairing comments from fellow grievers....they are the ones sometimes that want you to move on because I guess your pain causes them to feel their pain more (?).  I know another widow who always says so cheerily, "I'm doing really well," and never says she's having a hard time.  Can't relate to her and she always depresses me.  I feel like no matter what I do, I'm behind.  But, there is no behind is there?  This is all so convoluted sometimes......I do know what you mean about your husband.  Mine is always present too in my heart and I miss him so much all the time.  I do go out and do lots of things and most people think I'm "better," but they don't want to dip below the surface too much.....hugs, Cookie

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Eagle-96   
6 minutes ago, Cookie said:

I know another widow who always says so cheerily, "I'm doing really well," and never says she's having a hard time.  Can't relate to her and she always depresses me.  I feel like no matter what I do, I'm behind.  But, there is no behind is there?  This is all so convoluted sometimes......I do know what you mean about your husband.  Mine is always present too in my heart and I miss him so much all the time.  I do go out and do lots of things and most people think I'm "better," but they don't want to dip below the surface too much.....hugs, Cookie

Cookie,

Either she is really great at wearing her grief mask or she simply didn't have the kind of relationship that most of us on the forum did. She may not realize that her mask gives off the false appearance. You are not behind. You are exactly where you should be on your journey.

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Marg M   

Cookie, my neighbor still has his wife.  He cannot get around much without his scooter, he is a very large man, not really fat, but anytime anyone asks him how he is doing, the only word he can ever say, and does not wait around for conversation.  He only knows one word, "TERRIBLE.

He does not want to talk about it so I only say "hello"  His little wife has serious heart trouble, but sometimes I think she calls the ambulance to get away.  Words are all loud and although no cursing, I cannot imagine our golden years so miserable.

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kayc   
22 hours ago, Eagle-96 said:

I know the conversation you are referring to and I was also taken aback.

It made me feel like just hanging it up and not coming on grief forums.  I spend all this time there to HELP people and give them assurance, not depress them.  I want them to know it doesn't stay as intense as in the beginning, I want them to know it evolves, I want them to realize it's not just doing time, we have to put in a lot of effort and work.  I want them to know their life is in their hands, it's what they create of it.  But to expect me to be "over it" or not feel the loss, even after 12 years, that's unrealistic, I will ALWAYS miss George, how could I not?!  

This was a new griever, whom I reckon was looking to be told they'd feel better in X amount of days and life would be great again.  I won't lie to anyone.

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kayc   

Cookie, my response is the same as Sean's, not everyone has the same relationship even though they lost a spouse, their attachment was not like ours.  Some lost a mediocre relationship, we lost our soulmate, big difference.  And we read about others who have lost a parent or even a dog and they feel the same as we do because their relationship was so entwined on a daily basis, they were close, they did everything together.  I know some of you can't relate to that, but I am thinking of actual losses I've seen people write about, and I assure you, that even though some of our relationships differ and we really can't compare, they can relate to some of the things we are feeling and saying.  I know when I lose my dog the loss is going to be huge.  I can't say it'd be the same as losing George, of course our relationship was deep on every level, including some you can't have with a dog, but I've come to enjoy and rely on my dog being in my life and filling a void that I'd otherwise have and to lose him on top of losing George, that would be hard to handle...yet I know it's around the corner, maybe in 2-3 more years, I hope not...but whenever it comes, I dread that day.

Do you guys think about these things now that you've suffered loss, like I do?  I used to just take life for granted and not consider when I might lose someone or lose an animal, but now it's like in the back of my mind, I can't take life for granted anymore, I know death is coming, I just don't know for sure when.

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Marg M   

Please ignore the mistakes.  This keyboard is small and like a smart phone, sometimes it tries to read my mind, which is impossible even for me.  I did look at PC's yesterday at Walmart and have one picked out.  Sept 1st I will get it before anyone else needs help.  My birthday present to me.  

Kay, do not think that you are not appreciated.  You have walked through the flames, and your memory of the heat helps us all.  

My daughter got on facebook fussing at friends that do not remember her often and the trials she is going through.  I am ashamed for her.  One of those friends posts often of the good times she is having with her church AA group, although it is not officially called that.  She does not write about the personal demon that haunts her when she is alone.  I want to write to please forgive her, besides her inherited mental illness, she actually is fighting pain from the chemo to shrink the teratomas in her brain.  I cannot do that.

We all walk a different path.  Sometimes it is straight forward.  Sometimes it is over great mountains that cut our souls and leave large gaping bleeding wounds.  I would mention swimming great oceans, but because I cannot swim and I am still walking, I don't go near the water.

Marty and Kay, and all you experienced travelers, we appreciate any help or insight we may obtain.  Sometimes we are like my neighbor, "terrible" and might growl often.

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Eagle-96   
3 hours ago, kayc said:

This was a new griever, whom I reckon was looking to be told they'd feel better in X amount of days and life would be great again.  I won't lie to anyone.

Sugar-coating is the worst thing we can do. It's like the doctor who knows there is no hope but still tells the family there is a chance. It's just setting people up for a fall. I remember coming onto one of the forums and the first post in response to my initial post said "normal is over now, you can forget those days". It was harsh but true and I appreciated the posters candor. It would have been easy for them to say "it's all going to be fine" but that would not have done me any good. 

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