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I need to write down the following: I'm tired of being strong, of wearing a "brave face". I wish I could cry my heart out, but after 9 months of grief it seems I'm blocked with my emotions. Grief is so demanding and confusing...

thanks for reading

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Oh, dear scba, you do not have to be strong for anyone when you come here. We know that our emotions change often and no one here judges. I am so sorry that you feel you need to be strong or put on a brave face for those you are in contact with on this painful journey.

Here you can be whatever you are ~ no pretense, only honesty. Those who come here understand and believe me, we have been where you are now.

Grief is demanding and it is also exhausting. We do the best we can and let that be enough. Our society, especially here in the US does not know how to deal with grief.

Wherever you are on this journey is just where you need to be. Sometimes when we feel like we are stuck we are really only pausing to catch our breaths. We need to do that for we cannot grieve 24/7.

Have you tried listening to music to help bring tears? Have you given yourself permission to cry in the shower? Many people do not cry and that is alright.

I send you hugs for I know where you are coming from.

Anne

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scba,

Are you seeing a grief counselor? If not, it might help you with accepting your grief as is, rather than fighting to appear strong. We shouldn't have to wear a strong mask, esp. when we feel anything but. There's no shame in letting down and crying or screaming or venting...it's just good to know where it's a safe place (like here) to do it. Not everyone is understanding of grief, right now I'd surround yourself with supportive people who "get it" and won't expect anything different from you than where you are on your grief journey.

And there's nothing wrong with NOT shedding tears if they don't come. We all handle grief differently and display it differently, I'm just saying, no need to hold it back if they want to come.

It can take a long time to progress through this journey, so much to adjust to, so much to learn. As Anne said, it IS exhausting!

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Dear sbca,

I am at 8 months and I completely understand about the brave face. It gets to a place sometimes where we are so good at keeping our emotions in check that we forget that they NEED to come out. Even my mother in law told a colleague of mine how proud she was, how much stronger I have been through all this. Well, it is hard for her to see me upset, so I don't get upset around her. I try not to get upset at work, either. Well, it came back to bite me last week. I had a breakdown early in the day and never recovered. By keeping the brave face on more than I should, I got all "blocked" too. I need to continue to learn how to "allow" myself to feel fragile. There is no way that I have put all those pieces back together in 8 months. I also have to STOP trying to be the person I was before. I see glimpses of her from time to time; they are pieces of me from before I met Mark and he changed my life forever. Every Saturday morning without fail, I put on a CD I made with songs that make me think about Mark and I, and also about the pain I feel on a daily basis. I let the tears come; I sit and write in my journal and say all the things I want to say. I let it go on as long as it needs to. I know that I use television (and shopping) to numb myself from the reality that creeps in more now than before. We are all on our own very private grief journeys. But it is good for us to check in and to share our struggles, our hurts, our questions here and to know we are doing the best we can, and that only WE know when it is time to pick up and move forward. I have to keep reading articles that remind me of the trauma I went through, that I am right to feel fragile and unsure how to make the pieces go together to shape this "new" life. We can be our own worst enemies sometimes. The one who is hardest on us; who expects so much of us. I wish someone would take that voice of mine aside and shake it until it stops being so HARD. Find ways to release the hurt and pain, scba. It will be the best thing for you, trust me.

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Dear Scba,

I'm on this journey we share, for just short of 18 months and already I've learned/discovered several things.

We are all "wired" differently and what one see as "strong", another might see it as "not strong" so, what I've learned or discovered, is purely within myself thus not to say you will experience it the same way - I don't think their is a "right" or a "wrong" - I just wish to share one or two of my "discoveries" - and I'm all too aware that I will still discover many more, in time to come.

The first thing I was aware of is that grieving as such, does not allow for it to be described to - it will do with us, what it wishes to and their are many peaks and valleys on this path, this very new (for us) path we actually knew nothing about before we were conscripted into this brotherhood of loss.

Their are no rights and no wrongs - where I live (South Africa) and maybe it is an universal thing, we were brought up that "men don't CRY!" - and that is the way it was for me, to a large extent, until I lost My Margaret that is - I did not have ANY control over it - for the first 4 months I just cried and cried - I didn't know that a person's body can produce SO many tears - didn't matter whether I was alone or with people, I just cried - it (sort of) also "permitted" THEM to cry - and the first full day (after the 4 months) that I didn't cry, when I turned to bed, it struck me: "hey, I didn't CRY today - what is wrong with me?, I didn't cry for a whole day?" - then I knew, I was on this path I know nothing about - from thereon and until now, I decided that I will just "be" - I will not try and be "strong" and I will not try to "pretend" - I'll just BE! Since then I still cried, but not everyday like before - over the past weekend, when I posted a short slideshow on this group's Tributes and Remembrance section and written a few words, I've done so through tears - that was the trigger.

So - if it could mean anything for YOU - just BE - no wrongs, no rights - and try not to "force" anything or emotion - sometimes in "weakness", we will find strength!!!!

Regards and take care.

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I agree with Andre and Maryann. I'm 3 months in ... sometimes I want to cry when driving and of course I cannot drive and cry too well so I stuff it. Then when I get home, the urge to cry is lost.

A week or so ago I wanted to meditate. I sat down and started my deep breathing but something was wrong .... I just started to feel agitated and knew that I couldn't settle. So I got up and all of a sudden I just started to cry. I cried and cried until I was worn out.

Sometimes when I meditate, I cry. That seems to be a safe place for me to cry. I have a picture I kiss goodnight too as well. I will tell Ric with my thoughts "I know that you aren't in this picture, but I cannot see you. Your picture I can see so I kiss it".

There is no right or wrong to this journey; but I'd say this ... allow yourself to FEEL your grief. That is what I'm learning ... to give myself permission to FEEL.

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Dear all, thank you so much for all of your words. I'm so glad I found this website full of people who really understands. Even if I don't reply to all of the threads, I read them.

After my boyfriend passed away, my mother took a flight to pick me up. I couldnt sleep, I couldn't eat, and all I could do was to cry. I cried in the supermarket, in the bus, in the shower. My mother wouldn't have left me alone and I knew I needed help. I returned to my parents home. I spent 6 month on the couch, watching tv, surfing the internet, feeding my dog, and little else. I was numbed, and then I cried, then numb again. I couldn't write a journal, I couldn't have a look to pictures, I couldn't even sit down and let memories to come to me....I was hurting so much, I felt it in my flesh and bones.

I decided to start therapy. And it's the only place where I can express myself freely face-to-face. I cry for the whole session, I express all my feelings and thoughts without being ashamed of them.

Im aware I havent come to terms with his death. I know what happened, rationally I know. But somehow I cannot accept my new life, the fact that Im not the one I used to be before. I cannot accept he is present differently.

The last couple of months, I started to feel better, I went back to school and to volunteer. But with this new routine, I dont know how I blocked my emotions, my tears, my memories. I know my grief is there, but I cant embrace it, I fear I would be a mess again. I started to play the be strong and wear a brave mask card in front of family and friends who congratulated me with youre doing so well, youre so brave youre so young, you will make it.. and I know its not true! I was doing a huge effort to make it through the day. Im doing what Im supposed to do at my young age: get up, keep moving, keep doing things and grief privately. Keep moving, keep moving. Be strong, be strong.

My body is wiser than me and two days ago I collapsed. I must understand that grief is one step in front of the other, no matter my inner pressures, the external ones, what other people think. Just be. However, I had a reason to be strong when my boyfriend was phisically here. Now I don't know why I have to, I feel lost and abandoned.

Thank you again for your support.

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Today I woke up feeling sad. I decided to go out for a walk, I ended up in a store to buy a coat. I actually don't need it, but I thought it was pretty and so I bought it. I didn't feel guilty, but I didn't feel ok. Once at home, I opened up a box where I've my necklaces, earings and rings...I looked at them as memories of what my life has been, full of colours, nonsenses, those are just pieces of recent good times that are gone forever. My boyfriend loved seeing me wearing colourful earings. I don't wear them anymore. I feel so sad. I know it is vanity. I feel terribly lost without my boyfriend. I keep myself busy but nothing makes me happy nor brings a true smile on my face. I feel hopeless today. Thanks for reading

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You may wish to wear them in his memory someday...our feelings change as we go through our journey.  I can't count the times I put George's pictures up, took them down...finally I left them up.  Sometimes they brought me pain, sometimes comfort...now it is comfort only.

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My first birthday without him is over. I didn't want any celebration, I made a huge effort to get through the day without crying and trying to do the usual things. I received many messages telling me that "I will be rewarded for my loss". I don't understand how this is possible. The love of my life WAS the most special gift and he is gone. I cannot see how loosing someone to death can bring a reward, why would I want that? I don't understand. Thank you for reading

 

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Sometimes people just say things trying to make you feel better, not realizing it's stupid.  Until they've been there, they really can't have a clue.  We have to learn to let go of such dumb statements and just keep their well intentions.  You're right, losing him can't possibly seem like a reward.  :angry2:

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I try to understand their well meaning, it requires a big effort too! Sometimes I question my own judgment in front of such statements.

 

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I don't think we can understand their well meaning in the face of a dumb statement or cliche, any more than they can comprehend what it feels to endure our loss, but just to accept at face value that they mean well and don't give it any more thought. We've all had inappropriate remarks made to us, sometimes they hurt more than they help.  The irony is that they would probably have to walk in our shoes to learn how to come along side someone who is grieving and "be there".  And we don't wish that on anyone.

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I can't imagine what that means "rewarded or compensated for your loss". Unless there was a lawsuit or insurance policy.. it makes no sense to me either.

 

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I've a long list of cliche...when I came back to my hometown, where nobody have met my boyfriend, my "case" was "treated" like a breakup (you'll get over it, or rather "you'll have a scar but life goes on") or like bad luck. I had to stop meeting people for a while because I was hurting a lot, I had to ask my mum to stop talking to me about other's losses or what people told her about my grief. I've been told that if I think too much about it I would get sick (as If my brain and my soul had a "pause" button). After a long time I understood they all mean well and I try to let it go, thinking that surely I've been one of those who said stupid things, before knowing what death and grief really is. 

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I copy paste a piece from a blog that I would like to share, given that what I wrote yesterday on other threads seems not to be true today, I feel really sad and I miss him so much. This is how grief works in me, one day I think I understood the supposed purpose behind it, and the next day I rage about our fate. 

"He waits up for you on the nights when you come home late with the car, and he meets you inside the dark parking garage across the street, and then walks you back safely to the apartment. You could do it alone. You did do it alone for years. All of it. But that's the point. You no longer have to, because now you have this incredible, wonderful man, and you get to let him take care of you in all those ways that he loves doing. And now that man is dead, and you look around r, and all the stuff is gone or boxed up somewhere in a basement, or donated to some pleasant and worthy cause. There is no more man-smell in your life, and you are once again carrying all your own groceries and lifting those heavy suitcases and you resent it. "I already DID all of this by myself for YEARS!!!", you scream into the nothing. "I found my person and I thought I would never have to do this sh*** alone, ever again. I found my teammate. I FOUND him. And now he has been taken away".

Thanks for reading. 

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Yep, that expresses it.  :(  I'm sorry.

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That so sums up exactly what I feel, too. I waited my whole life to find the person who completed my life...and now he's GONE.  It's NOT FAIR!! I know I am capable of doing things alone, but I don't want to. All over again, it's only ME.

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Ditto.  I miss my wife, my friend, my lover; the other half of me.  I lived alone for years before I met my bride.  I know how to take care of my self but I miss the loving, pampering and attention she showered on me.  I remember how her spirit would "light up" when she saw me.  My wife is a naturally charismatic person to all who meet her. Yet she had a special love and affection for me.  Even after 25 years of marriage, her simple touch electrified and energized me.  I miss her daily. so yes,  I can slog through the day, I can take care of myself but never as well as she loved and cared for me.  I am thankful that I cherished each day with her and showed her every day how much I liked and loved her.  I know she knows that I truly, genuinely fully loved her.  I held nothing back.  2 Corinthians Chapter 13.  Shalom George

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Today was one of the most horrible days since "that day". I had a job interview on Monday. After a year without working I thought I was ready. Since the employer knows my family I chose to be honest and tell why I left my former job...and so a couple of questions were done and I lost it, I started to sob. I just wanted to stand up and leave, but I stayed and tried to save the interview. I was admitted to the second stage, this time with a psychologist. I told the same when asked what happened, again the question "are you sure you can handle it"? I had to say "I don't know, I would like to try" and so on. I was so tired, I prayed last night for not being asked again, it's so awful to talk about such a private thing with a total stranger. The worse was when she asked me "what does rain means to you"? And I started to sob because I met my boyfriend on a rainy day. I couldn't handle it, it seemed that God was punishing me, why that psi question? I perhaps finished saying them please don't hire me.....I left and hide in the bathroom to cry and cry. I called my therapist and he was very worried, he told me that perhaps I should find a more professional counselor. I was astonished, now I risk to loose an important thing in my grief journey. I just cannot believe that this is happening, I thought I was doing well..... I wish I close my eyes and wake up in 90 years. I'm in pain. I miss Fred, I can't do this all alone. I wonder what's going to be of me if I'm so vulnerable. My heart is completely broken again. How am I going to find the strength I need to go back to the real world? Will it take me another year?

thanks for reading, I needed to vent.

 

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I don't think it's outlandish at all that you cried or found this whole thing unnerving.  The therapist obviously hasn't been through loss of spouse.  Is it possible you could see a grief counselor about your loss and the issues connected with it?  They're specifically trained in grief and know more what is normal and how to proceed, whereas a psychologist or therapist may not have adequate training for grief.

I think you need to applaud yourself for going to the interviews and for trying to salvage it.  While it's true that most people would not hire someone if in doubt they could handle their emotions on the job, there's still the rare person that would be impressed by your extreme honesty and perhaps even understand where you're coming from.  It's that person I hope you find a job with.

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Thank you KayC! Unfortunately there are not grief-counselors in my city. My mother asked me if I wanted to try with another therapist. To be honest, right now, the mere idea of starting all over again, telling everything again, it's too much to handle with. I've asked my therapist for a meeting to discuss what's going on and I'll see what I'm going to do. But today I feel really tired. I'm trying to relax by focusing on my embroidery project. I read that you've a hobby related with making cards. I find the hand-crafting very helpful to release stress and keep fully attention to what you're doing. 

 

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Yes, I've been making cards for about 39 years now.  I'm sorry there's no grief counselors in your city, there aren't in my small town either.  There used to be one but honestly, knowing what I know now, I wouldn't call him one.

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Scba I think you are incredibly incredibly brave. You stuck it out and tried to salvage it and I am so proud of you for that. It takes such courage just to get to a job interview let alone under the circumstances of profound grief. Please don't think you are going backwards in any way. 

The rain question would have finished me off too. My beloved was a nature lover in every sense and in tune with the natural world around him. When my husband was a child of about 8 (I only learned this at his wake) his teenage cousin was tasked with watching over him to ensure he finished his school work. After about 30 mins my husband got up from his seat and when questioned said 'I am going to look at the rain' that was far more important to him than homework and who are we to argue?

I understand what you mean when you say that you wish you could close your eyes and wake up in 90 years, I imagine we have all felt that I know I have. However we are tasked with living every painful (and joyful) day each minute at a time. Scba. You have courage. you have proved that. Your boyfriend will be so proud of you for making it there. It is only 5 weeks for me but I already accept one thing. This life is a journey and not a destination and we have to live it. I am in turns numb, weeping, disbelieving, shaking, zombie like, exhausted and always fragile.  You have made such progress - I am only at the beginning - and your words of encouragement and compassion have already helped me so much. Please know that. Tomorrow may be a better day. Hang in there

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