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“The worst kind of grief is the grief you are experiencing right now.”

 

Finding Your Way through Grief: A Guide for the First Year, Second Edition  by Marty Tousley

 

 

I remember when I first came to this wonderful forum back in September.  It had been nearly two months since Deedo died and I was a mess.  I would spend most days in tears.  I was seeing a grief counselor and belonged to a support group.  I had just requested an appointment with a Psychiatrist because I was not eating nor sleeping.  My Crohn’s Disease was out of control.  And what impressed me the most was the sense of caring, compassion and acceptance.  I knew going into the forum that there would be differing opinions; especially where religion and politics were concerned.  And yet these did not seem to be an issue.  Everyone in the forum had lost someone near and dear and they were hurting.  And yet there was such an amazing sense of acceptance.  Here was a group of strangers who got me; who really understood what I was going through.  People could express themselves without fear of someone taking offense to their words.  

 

There were amazing people like Steve who quite figuratively took me under his wing and provided such compassion and wisdom, not only on the forum but through private messages.  He helped so much. 

 

Then there was Debi from Amsterdam who was able to, in spite of her own pain, find and address the essence, the crux, the heart of the writers message.  Her wisdom, love and compassion made her a favorite on the forum.  

 

Or Kay.  Dear sweet Kay.  With over 14,000 posts, she has taken each and every one of us into her heart.  While we have vastly different ideas, she offered her love from day one and modeled the kind of reflective listener I want to be.

 

I love this forum because of what I have found.  Most understand that we are all hurting; our lives have been significantly disrupted.  I found a common bond.  I post my blathering, wandering, wondering, missives and find in return acceptance because, while we differ greatly in age, spirituality, life experiences, we also share that one common bond none of us ever wished for.  We have lost that most important person, our spouse, our sibling, our child, our parent.  And that bond makes us able to share, with each other, without fear of condescension or ridicule, those thoughts which are our most private inner thoughts; those fears that are our most private inner fears; those hopes that, for today and probably tomorrow, seem to have been dashed on that horrible, tragic day.

 

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And I think this is why we keep coming here ~ it is a safe place to express our deep pain. Grief is so difficult. 

 

we are learning.jpg

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Beautifully said, Brad.  Some days I never know what to expect when I log in, but this was so encouraging.  What would WE do without you?  :rolleyes:

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Brad, the only reason I have that many posts is because I talk too much, at least that's what my mom would say, but I get it from her. :D

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Oh sure, Kay.....just pass the buck.  Maybe you just have one of those Energizer Bunny brains.  ?

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We do help each other indeed Brad. This community is unique.  Everyone is smiling right now reading your words and that kind of is a nice things to see.  Never ever have I seen such a community of people who don't judge but instead give hugs.  Years ago I felt I was in a big grief support group here only it was one where I could come anytime day or night. I would spend hours of those sleepless nights listening to the pain of others and occasionally  opening mine to them. But the one constant remained that we all were grieving and we hold on to each other without letting religion, politics, or any other petty differences disrupt that.

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“Grief turns out to be a place none of us know until we reach it. We anticipate (we know) that someone close to us could die, but we do not look beyond the few days or weeks that immediately follow such an imagined death. We misconstrue the nature of even those few days or weeks. We might expect if the death is sudden to feel shock. We do not expect this shock to be obliterative, dislocating to both body and mind. We might expect that we will be prostrate, inconsolable, crazy with loss. We do not expect to be literally crazy, cool customers who believe that their husband is about to return and need his shoes. 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,” 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.”

Excerpt From: Didion, Joan. “The Year of Magical Thinking.”

 

 

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I was reflecting on a quote by Roger Babson, the economist: "It is wise to keep in mind that neither success nor failure is ever final."  It is so easy to paraphrase the quote in order to help put our plot into perspective.  It is wise to keep in mind that neither grief nor happiness is ever final.  We've all known the joy of requited love.  We've known the unbridled happiness of having that one person who helped us feel complete.  I, for one, am thrilled that Deedo died knowing how passionately she was loved, adored, venerated, cherished. And while my days are spent trying desperately to deal with my grief, to grow from my grief, to try to find the strength to constantly confront my grief, it is comforting to know that the grief will not last for ever.  Some day I'll find the ability to look back with fondness and to look forward with hope.  

Today I want to wish you all just a modicum of peace.  That is about all we can hope for right now.

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Just discovered another note Deedo left for me.  The house, apparently, has many of these treasures tucked here and there.  Of course the initial response was uncontrollable tears, tears that continue to flow, as I realize how much energy she put into preparing to die.  So many things were organized; so many messages of love and gratitude hidden throughout the house.  

When Deedo was first diagnosed she made it known that she would fight her cancer with everything she had.  I looked up survival rates for her cancer and stage to discover that the five year survival rate was less than 5%.  This I kept to myself and became her biggest cheerleader.  As treatment proceeded I remained very positive and upbeat.  I came home several months later and Deedo told me that because I was so positive it must be because of knowing something she didn't so that day she had looked up the survival rates.  It must have been around then that she started planning.  She was only able to stay in our house for a couple of months afterwards before the cancer forced us to move to the Valley. Her last five and a half months were spent there.

I am so incredibly fortunate to have had such an amazing lady in my life.  

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Oh Brad, this brought tears to my eyes cause I remember my story too. I won't ever forget the day I knew about my BF illness, when he asked me if I wanted to stay with him or quit and how much I cried telling him that I would stay no matter what cause he was the man of my life and the soul I was looking for, and I stayed and he spent the rest of his life with me. Oh God.....tears are here!

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scba- As painful as it was for us to go through our loved ones' illnesses we are truly fortunate to have had them in our lives.  Your boyfriend was lucky to have that kind of requited love.

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A long time friend of mine has been diagnosed with stage 4 uterine cancer and will undergo chemo, but not knowing if it will work or if she can tolerate it.  There's no cure, it'll merely bide her time, her cancer is spread throughout her body, damaged her liver, etc.  It is hard to know what to say and we no longer live in the same town, she's clear across the state from me.  Knowing I may never see her again is hard to believe.

 

Brad, your Deedo sounds like one very special lady, I'm glad you found that note.

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"Grief never ends… But it changes. It’s a passage, not a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith… It is the price of love.”
— Unknown

 

Driving back to Austin to see the kids and grandson. Nothing like a nine hour cruise through New Mexico and West Texas to get one deep inside one's head, reflecting on life since 1978. Lots of tears blurring the cacti and sagebrush. Lots of smiles remembering happier times. Still frustrated that this hurts this much. But, as been thoroughly discussed here, it is the price of love. 

We were so lucky to have had the kind of love that hurts this badly now. Still wishing Deedo and I had had that Notebook ending that James Gardner and Geena Rowland got at the end of the movie. I told Deedo all the time that is how I wanted to see us go. 

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Brad I hope you are spending the night somewhere along the way. I wonder if you're by yourself.  I took a road trip myself months after Kathy died to go up to Calgary from Phoenix  to get the important stuff and close up our home there and it was hell.  Though we did it every year, this one hurt a lot. Long trips are made just that much longer when you can't reach over and hold a hand every so many miles, or talk for hours. We never listened to music. We just talked the whole way and the miles flew by.  Be safe my friend. A little joy awaits you with your sons and grandson when you arrive.

You are right about the price of love.  I always think of it as a double edged sword but when it hurts later on your journey you will find something sweet about the pain when you realize you love her still.  Joe Biden hit it on the head when he said "There will come a day-I promise you- when the thought of your son or your daughter, or your husband or wife, will bring a smile to your lips before it brings a tear to your eye".

 

 

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Brad, hope the weather/roads is okay as you're driving.  TX, OK, LA are so hard hit with excess rain!  Still waiting to hear back from my sister about the hurricane conditions they were in last night (OR Coast).

 

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Steve - I am alone. Know too well about talking for miles. Music hasn't been an issue for me because the radio/stereo was never on. If we were sharing space, we were talking. 

Kay- Bright sunny day highs in the 70s. East Texas is getting the thundershowers. Hope you sister is okay. Hurricanes along OR coast?  What's next?

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I try to put myself in other people's shoes.  We have terrorist attacks, airplane crashes, our men and women  at war, and they all had family,  And that is why I come here.  We all share grief.  Then someone mentions Joe Biden.  This man says memories will bring a smile before it brings a tear.  And that man has known grief.  We all have.  And, I am so fortunate to have not known this depth of grief before, and I don't want to know any more.  It scares me.

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Do you get it?

 

Do you get it.jpg

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