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Grief Healing Discussion Groups


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About ipswitch

  • Birthday November 17

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    March 14, 2010
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  1. Ohhh, point #3 is an awesome one. I'm also on a forum for friends/family of alcoholics. People are often left without any sort of explanation other than "it isn't working" or sometimes, just no explanation at all. For what it's worth, I 've suspected that 'closure,' like sobriety, is an inside job. The idea that I 'gave someone else my power' and that all I have to do is start using it again is very helpful, indeed.
  2. Many, *many* years ago, I had a boyfriend, my first. We were together for three dysfunctional years. I met and socialized with many of his friends. We broke up (finally) and sometime after that, he moved across the country. I recently re-connected via Facebook with one of his frat brothers. "Bob" had mentioned that he'd be willing to forgive former boyfriend "Fred" but couldn't speak for anyone else. Didn't say for what, but obviously there was some major falling-out, and Fred moved across the country "to leave his past behind." This month Fred died, and his buddy Bob informed me of the news. In spite of how the relationships ended, Fred's friends have some fond memories of him. My memories are of a man who was unfaithful when we were together and cried to his buddies that I was a heartless person when I tried to move on. I had harbored something of a fantasy that someday Fred would contact me and offer something like an apology. One of his friends wrote, "____, Fred thought the world of you." It certainly wasn't demonstrated in the way he treated me. I've offered the best I could- a sort of bland, "I'm sorry. I know you guys were great friends for many years." But it feels fake, and in my pettiness, I want to say truthfully what he was really like. It's been 35 years, and I can't quite forgive him.
  3. There was a famous person who when interviewed was asked about the fact there was no 'partner' in his life. He said he had a lot to offer a lot of people, but really not much to offer to one person. From the sounds of it, your ex had a lot of issues going on. I'm not sure from the sounds of it he meant to betray you. The exception would be about the part about "we can still be friends." That always sounds self-serving - at worst a set-up for booty calls or FWB, at best patting one's self on the back so mutual friends can be assured that one really is supportive and a nice person. I know exactly one person who remained friends with her ex-husband, and she thanked him on Facebook for supporting her through her cancer treatment. It does happen - occasionally. Bringing the child up was a dick move, though. Your story is the reason living together before marriage isn't a test that always works. If (like your ex) you don't have it in you to live with another human day in and out, one needs a way to end things civilly then go your separate ways. How fortunate you two never lived together. Undoing that would have been messy, indeed.
  4. I remember someone telling me, when my Mom passed: "No matter how old you are when your mother dies, it feels like you've been cheated." That's not universal, either as I've met people whose parents were abusive, but for the majority of us, I suspect it's true.
  5. If you haven't, yet, I'd suggest attending a grief group for those who have lost partners. Often it is led by someone with experience in shepherding people through the beginning of the grieving process, and he or she can help steer you toward additional help should you feel it necessary. An additional benefit would be you being out of your home with other people. Your local hospital would be a place to start looking for something like that.
  6. Oh, I don't think so, at all! A doctor should know what he or she is good at: someone who isn't good with children shouldn't be a family practitioner, or maybe (and I've heard this discussed among health care providers) there are patients with alleged 'chronic pain' who doctor-shop to feed an addiction. Someone with genuine chronic pain would actually be better served by a practice that specializes in just that. I wouldn't be too quick to assume nefarious intent. I'm no doctor, but a seamstress. If someone warned me that someone "almost 79, mean and cantankerous" was coming in, I'd actually be amused and taking it as a personal challenge to see if I could make her day better. But that's me.
  7. Some people don't want to recouple. They shouldn't be forced or even encouraged to. If someone is still so consumed with grief that he or she can't participate in a new love relationship, I guess that's what I'd call active grieving. If "no one can ever measure up" to the deceased spouse (as if one can put humans on a scale like that) then stay single. As a corollary, a man or woman who can't bear that you've had a past, maybe he or she isn't mature or secure enough to be in a serious relationship. That's a problem, but it doesn't have to be YOUR problem. Be careful what you assume. I don't assume that divorced people *wanted* that, as I've known several who didn't, and *very much wanted* to continue a marriage. Sometimes, there is no abuse, but addiction that will impact the spouse and children. I was at a hearing test with my partner, and the tech asked about our marital status. No, not married, we said. One of us divorced, one widowed. She then said, "My husband left me for a younger woman. It would have been easier if he died." Just because it isn't the *same* loss, doesn't mean it's not heartbreaking. I could tell by her voice it had been. Just because I was ready to leave, didn't mean I didn't love him any more. I realized wishing for his mental health wasn't going to make that happen. If loving someone made them healthy, most mentally ill would be cured, wouldn't they?
  8. My partner and I must be ..different...somehow. I'm widowed, he's divorced, and neither of us have any problems mentioning our respective spouses. (FWIW Partner's ex-wife died last fall.) The two of them had many happy years together, raising two children. My husband, sadly, was an alcoholic. I loved him but previous to his announcement that he had a terminal illness, I had plans to leave. In a way, I was grieving the loss of the man I married long before he died. Anyway... A's life and love for me (however imperfect) and death, and my new love are, like Nora McInerny explains in a TED talk, are not separate stories, but strands of the same thread. My married life, and for that matter, -all - my loves, are part of what made me who I am today. Partner's 25 year marriage made him what HE is today. If I wasn't widowed, if he wasn't divorced, we wouldn't be together. I was puzzled when I read of a widow and widower looking for a way to acknowledge their deceased partners at their wedding: well gee, if their partners hadn't died, they wouldn't be getting married. I did see profiles on dating sites from men who expected to hear nothing about former loves. There are limits, for sure. Don't need to hear about your former sex life (or that of any of my current friends, for that matter) And if someone is still actively grieving, maybe some counseling is in order before one starts a new relationship. Maybe I'm too pragmatic, or something. As for someone who would want me to pretend I sprung fully armored from the head of Zeus - pfffft. I don't have time for rubbish like that. I had a life before Current Beau cam along. So did he. Not going to pretend otherwise.
  9. One year out is still early on - really. Talking with another widow at the store (a stranger, she was just very outgoing) when I said I'd lost my husband 18 months before, she said, "It gets easier." In Western society, we have abandoned some customs surrounding death - all the better to pretend it doesn't happen at all, I guess. You probably haven't worn a black armband. I didn't spend a year in black clothes, or gray, with a veil over my face. Last time I saw a black armband on anybody, McGovern had lost the presidential election to Nixon. We've lost those rituals, and in addition, society has become a lot less civil. If you haven't participated in any kind of group setting for those who have lost partners, that might be a start. Many are lead and moderated by someone with experience in grief counseling. That person could direct you toward more in depth assistance. I suspect most people feel alternately guilty and irritable for months after losing a partner. Guilty for all the things we should have/could have done better, and irritable for the world at not recognizing how miserable we are and not at least asking if we need help.
  10. Jim, we are all frail, flawed mortals. My husband was an alcoholic. He spent about a quarter of our marriage unemployed owing to his drinking. At one point, he was withdrawing money from his IRA because his unemployment didn't cover all the beer and cigarettes he wanted, which raised our tax bill. (the tax preparer told me, Hubby didn't.) So, imagine getting a few hundred dollars a week, no mortgage (we had paid off the house) no commuting expenses, no deli lunches, no work clothes - and the unemployment check didn't cover his 'entertainment' budget. I was furious, and said some hurtful things no one should say to anyone. Our marriage was effectively over. I didn't have the guts to leave, so we co-existed in the same house, and he died a few years later. I wish a lot of things: maybe we never should have married, I should have left instead of getting progressively angrier, I shouldn't have said hurtful things. But no one's perfect. I also post on a forum for friends and family of alcoholics, and through that, started to acquire a sense of something like forgiveness. I came to realize that whatever our difficulties, my husband loved me the best he could. Just as important, I did the best I could. Maybe in my gut I knew that, and that's why I stayed. I'll bet your wife knew, in her heart, you were doing your personal best, for you, at that time. Obviously, my personal best varies from day to day, just like most folks I know. I have to accept that. It's tragic that some of us come to this kind of realization after the loss of someone we loved; Maybe it takes that kind of loss to temper us, to give us a nudge toward greater compassion, empathy, growth.
  11. I was married to an alcoholic. I loved the man I married, but he started disappearing long before he died. I posted on a forum for alcoholics about my frustration that my husband never seriously tried to quit drinking. One of the other members responded, "he couldn't." He or she was right - at some point, there isn't free agency any more. It's a compulsion that is beyond control. I think it was that point where something like forgiveness started to develop in me. The same guy who lost three jobs in six years was also the man who cried when he had to bury my cat and rewired two houses - alone. I made plenty of mistakes, too. He's gone. I can believe whatever I want. I choose to believe that however imperfect our relationship, my husband loved me the best he could.
  12. I have a new sleep aid. It's called an Echo Dot. Alexa has a nifty function: Radio Fun Time. Old radio shows like Suspense and The Whistler and Lux Radio Theater. I find it interesting enough to keep my mind off the news, but not always so engrossing that It keeps me from falling asleep. I had to listen to the last episode this morning to find out what happened to Marlene Dietrich and Clark Gable's romance.
  13. I've been reading your post and the words coming to my head rather consistently were, "Wait, what?" Stepmom adopts children, abuses them, and - he has to go back and be near family? I'd be interested in what Stepmom says about the abuse. I know it certainly happens, and I've also known a couple people who've been convinced by victim advocates that what they experienced was abuse, even when others wouldn't describe it as such. (My colleague remembered getting some ice cream for himself, and sitting down next to Mum while she graded papers. Mum asked him to get her a bowl of ice cream, too. He described that as "My mother demanding I fulfill her needs." In most houses, that would be, "You don't fix yourself a treat without asking others if they'd like some, too"). I didn't have a key to my parents' house after I moved out. Should you ever become widowed, I can tell you that relatives can be pretty quick to help themselves to things of sentimental value. A friend of mine has absolutely nothing from her own father. The children from his first marriage came to the house after the funeral and helped themselves to his belongings. It's hard to say what's going on, though my gut says you dodged a bullet. This family sounds like a piece of work.
  14. I think that often, people may not have anything to give during a time of grief, and the romantic relationship they had is the victim. Our friends have lower expectations. Our jobs may be a distraction from the grief. Maturity helps (sometimes). But even with maturity, a lot of long-term relationships and marriages fall apart with the death of a child. I doubt there was anything you could have said or done to make the outcome different. Nora McInerny has a funny and poignant TED talk about losing her husband. I wouldn't equate the loss of a relationship or any other loss to death. But she makes an interesting point: the losses we suffer mark us as much as the happy experiences, and the relationships we engage in throughout our life don't compete with one another. They are, as she put it, "strands of the same thread." Sorry for your loss.
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