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Grief Healing Discussion Groups


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    Magnolia, DE

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  1. My goodness, I just spent a half hour reading the excerpt of this book in the description on Amazon. That book too, is on its way - what an excellent suggestion, thank you. While I am not an unreligious person by any means, I am firmly rooted in a concrete foundation of reality, logic and reason (this is the way god made me, one would say) and it certainly creates a difficult dynamic in which to find comfort or closure particularly, which appears to be both shared by and addressed extremely directly by Kushner. I’m very much looking forward to reading these books. If there are any others you might suggest, I’d love to hear about them.
  2. Kayc and MartyT, thank you both for your responses, you have both helped tremendously this year with your replies and articles (I read them all as you suggest them). I know reading all these posts and responding to them takes quite a bit of time and I think it’s important to both recognize that and thank you for it, it really is very appreciated and has truly been helpful. I have not read the book you suggested MartyT, but I just purchased it and will begin reading it upon its arrival. From what I can tell, it was a fantastic and very applicable suggestion and I’m looking forward to it. Our children are currently 2 and 3 so we have not seriously considered a puppy at this point (beyond my own reservations) simply because of the stress and potential harm the kids would cause to him/her (boys are ruthless at this age). In fact, Kayc, your suggestion of me making clear it is HER (my wife’s) dog is to the letter the position I have already taken. Also, I do appreciate you elaborating on your position regarding not replacing Arlie - perspective is something I think we all struggle with, heaven knows I do and I’m always on the hunt for other opinions, experiences and points of view to calibrate my own as a result. At any rate, I would never deny my wife the joy she can have from another companion, even if I myself am conflicted by it. Also, I am truly happy to hear that you have found happiness with another puppy, that is wonderful and uplifting. We will have another I have no doubt, I just don’t know if I personally have anything left in the tank to give, so to speak.. I really, truly loved Abby and the way it all ended just ... crushed me. (I can’t even stop the welling tears from blurring my screen as I type that nearly a year later). This frame of mind is most likely a result of multiple hard hits in rapid succession and positioning myself (yes, it is my own fault even if I didn’t plan on it) as the “familial rock”, so to speak. My biggest problem is that I can very easily intellectually sort this, I see all the cause and effect, I can trace the path and trajectory of nearly everything that has happened but emotionally, I’m just feeling helpless. I suppose if you combine the endless need for resolution and detailed description of an engineer, the typical denial of emotion of a man and the bubbling cauldron of feelings we all have (particularly during bad times) it may somewhat describe the ping pong ride I’ve been on this year. I just hope the tragedy can hold off long enough for me to get a grip on things.
  3. It’s been nearly a year since Abby passed.. the year following truly the worst of my life (by far). I miss her terribly, it’s just not the same and I just don’t have it in me to consider adopting a puppy despite the continued pressure from my wife. It just feels like betrayal of the highest order. 2019-2020 has seen the loss of Abby, the sudden death of my sister, the suicide of an uncle and the covid pandemic. I’ve gone from a situation of relative calm to what feels like living some sort of twisted nightmare and all the things I would do, places I would go and people I would be with are met with strict conditions (thanks to covid) and I don’t dare for one moment compromise on that for a second as unlike everything else this past year, I have the ability to control this one to a degree and frankly, I’ve lost enough this year so if i have even a chance of preventing another loss, theres not even a choice to consider. It’s a literal suffer in silence situation and whats worse is for the first time in my life, the people around me I’ve always leaned on and looked to for support are genuinely NOT doing well and I find myself in a position where I need to provide unfaltering support because they truly need it. I have nobody to talk to (without damaging them more than they already have been), nowhere to go and I have to make sure people know “I’m doing just fine and I’m here to talk to” because I love my family and I want them to be okay and you know.. I’m not sure I’m okay - I haven’t even been able to figure it out yet. With that, this isn’t a “I’m crumbling and it’s only a matter of time” note.. I’ll see it through, even if it takes the rest of my life. I find myself frustrated frequently, locked in thought about basic purpose and I’m curious if anyone else here has had this cyclical, unanswerable “mental situation” and may be able to share some insight or point me in a different direction from my typical black and white logic. I don’t understand why we exist. I do not understand the purpose of life .. nothing about it is actually productive, we don’t really achieve anything, we get nowhere and all we do along the way is take untold amounts of damage until we ultimately die. It’s not about money, it’s not about possessions, if we make it about ourselves it’s even more hollow than if it were about the previous, if it’s about family (it is for me if I were asked to pick), we’re immediately destined to be in pain and personally atop of all that, it makes me feel inexplicably guilty. I’m a parent, what on earth have I done by becoming one? Have I brought two people into the world and cursed them to walk the same devastating path I have? To come to the same dismal conclusions? To realize that all the struggle, the sacrifice, the pain, the loss, the knowledge ... all of it is for nothing? We all fight so hard, ache so badly and the reality is that we’re gone so quickly and we can’t even live in memory very long, any one of us is a mere two generations from being completely forgotten. I’d like to point out that I am in no way suicidal, I wouldn’t ever even consider it, I have my entire family to support and two sons who need me and I WILL be there for them all, but darn it if I’m not frustrated, hurt and pretty clearly a little depressed. It’s been a bad year.
  4. We all have a larger impact on the people around us than what we realize. Being the recipient of someone who has acted on such urges, I can tell you that my life will never be right again and I’m far from the only one just over that one single decision. That’s hardly a legacy any of us, all so capable of love and care would want for ourselves and a burden I know we wouldn’t want for the people we love or even just know. The days ahead will be hard and they will continue to be, they remain so for myself and for Kayc but remember where you were before Coco and let him be a reminder of the beautiful things that you could possibly miss if you aren’t here. Remember him, cherish those memories and grieve. It’s a rollercoaster ride but one that truly needs to be seen to completion.
  5. I’m so sorry it took so long to respond to this. Unfortunately I can completely relate to your position and while I genuinely wish I could tell you it will get better soon, I must tell you it will probably not. In the last year I have lost my most beloved friend (Abby) and I feel for her every single day by my left side in bed and every day that she isnt there I cry as I remember the horrific passing she had. In the time since, my only sibling has passed and an uncle has committed suicide. I wish I were making any of this up (truly), but it’s the actual truth and it’s a complete nightmare. Sigh. I wish I could tell you it’ll be better, but it probably won’t be. Life is terrible and I can only hope that yours will be better than mine.
  6. Thanks Kayc, your support is appreciated more than I can express. My 30s have proven to be ... challenging to say the least. Here’s to hoping they finish out better than they started.
  7. Nearly 5 months since Abby passed and I couldn’t even finish grieving before tragedy struck again. My sister, just 34 years old died suddenly on March 8th, the whole family is just utterly destroyed. Add the coronavirus and the lockdowns in place and honestly, I’ve had more than I can bear. My parents are with me presently and I’m thankful for that, we’re all doing the best we can but my god, just when you think the going is rough, life makes darn sure you know it can always get worse. I am both informed of the previous, afraid and emotionally numb. I miss my puppy and my sister. I can’t imagine what’s next. 🙁
  8. @Connor'sMom I’m very sorry to hear about Connor, what a beautiful puppy he was. Routine is truly a gigantic source of pain as it relates to coming to terms with losing such a special part of the family. For me, I dearly miss that routine, every single thing I did throughout the course of the day had a plan for Abby and while that part is getting easier as I adjust to my new routine at least, the struggle very much continues. Shopping is for me as well quite a difficult process. There was always something on the list for her and part of my shopping routine included walking down the puppy aisle in search of anything I thought she may like. I just glance at that aisle from a distance now and try to fight off the sadness - darn routine. I think Kayc made a great point about not liking, understanding or agreeing with our losses in life but accepting them nonetheless. I struggled with this point greatly initially and found myself countless times deep in thought on a runaway philosophy train trying to make any sense of this that I could, but to little avail. It’s been nearly 11 weeks since Abby passed and at this point, I do accept it and that has helped tremendously as well as allowed me to consider things like my last post, which also help tremendously. I think the goal for me is to find a way (in time of course) to remember her for all the good and joy she was and brought and to feel happy when I think of her. I have no idea how long that might take and I know I’m quite a ways from being there, but I know that’s the way she would want to be remembered - Connor and Arlie as well, I have no doubt of this.
  9. After months of thought, I’ve come to realize something beautiful I thought I would share. Tonight is no different from any other night - once work is done, the kids are asleep and my wife says goodnight, I miss my little girl and usually cry for a while, but I have to take a moment to appreciate the true love she had for me and understand what she did on her last day and it’s really quite amazing. From between 4am-5am on that horrible day, I initially thought she was just overheated. After realizing this wasn't the case I held her until I could get her to our vet but the reality is that her lungs were full of fluid and she could barely breathe, but she hung on for hours. It wasn’t until 9:30 I was able to get her to the vet and despite all they did for her, she didn’t make it a half hour past that. Her final moments were spent protecting me, she wouldn’t let go until I wasn’t there - I realize this clearly, it’s not even close to a coincidence and I wish I could thank her for it, it’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve experienced in this life, even if my acknowledgement of it was delayed by my grief.
  10. I keep Abby’s tag on my keychain as well. I think there is some comforting symbolism there - maybe that they’re still with us. Abby’s tag is made from aluminum, anodized blue and over the years, she wore it down so it’s silver and rolled on the sides and to me, it means quite a lot to have that with me all day.
  11. I worry that we will defensively prohibit ourselves from becoming this attached again because we know “that day” is coming even if subconsciously. I have adamantly said “no” to another dog and my wife has talked about it a number of times - I just ... can’t and I don’t even think it would be fair to the dog given my current state. I know you and I share extremely similar pain on this so it is encouraging to me to hear that you’ve found love for another puppy and believe me, I understand so very well when you say that this one can not replace Arlie. I hope to get there one day, but right now the mere concept of another feels like in a word .. betrayal. What breed is your puppy? I think if the day ever came, it would have to be another mini dachshund for me. They have delightful personalities.
  12. Thank you, I truly appreciate that. It has been helpful for me to share this experience, this pain, loss and grief - I’m 35 and I had Abby from your age.. such .. turbulent and delicate years and she was there, always with love for me as I had for her. Love your pets every second you can because I regret to inform you that the clock is very much ticking. There is truly not enough time. Also, very much a pet dad here - lol, blame the emotional surges on my Italian heritage. When we love, we really love and my god does it hurt.
  13. A friend asked me for a picture I took 5 or 6 years ago tonight and I couldn’t find it.. not because I don’t have it - I do.. but because seeing these images just crushed me all over again. All I can think is how long it’s been since Arlie passed, Kay, and I have to tell you, it’s not any better for me either. I don’t think I’ll ever move on from this. Being upset and grieving in general is becoming the norm and I suppose that’s just life balancing itself out. (Happy for 10 minutes? Sad for 10 minutes as well.) and boy was I HAPPY when she was here. It was all I could do to wear a happy face for the family on Christmas. This little girl ran around in her little jingle bell sweater during the holidays for nearly my entire adult life and now there are no bells, no jingles... just a hung stocking with her old sweater in it. I even had a Christmas song for her that i sang to her every year, it was tradition, literally part of my holiday spirit. I’m SO sad. I miss her more than mere letters can depict.
  14. Today marks one month. What a terrible period of time - I think the worst part for me is that I spent 11 years protecting her from everything I could and that I truly believe she still exists (spiritually, maybe even physically in another form) and I can’t be there to continue doing so. Perhaps I’m simply consumed with my responsibility to care for her, but is that not truly what love is at its most basic fundamentals? Anyway, I came across this song recently and it really hits home so I thought I’d share it - I think when I can play it start to finish without holding back the tears, I’ll know things are okay again. sigh. 🙁
  15. My wife actually just ordered something similar to that, great suggestion. Until that arrives, I have a marble slate with one of my favorite pictures I rendered and engraved with a laser engraving machine in my shop on the tree directly in front of her. Her nickname on the bottom came from a little joke revolving around some name play on her and my cats name. Since she was always the dominant one of the two and his name is Pickle, I called her “the Brain” (Pickle and the Brain playing on Pinky and the Brain) and it stuck, perfect for her personality. She was a little nugget.
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