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Grief Healing Discussion Groups


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  • Your relationship to the individual who died
  • Date of Death
    January 30, 2020
  • Name/Location of Hospice if they were involved:
    Hospice of the Valley, Phoenix, AZ

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  1. Thank you, everyone. I have just connected with a counselor. I have also begun work on a resting place on my property for my husband's ashes. A task I have put off. And I have signed up for Osher Life-Long Learning lectures through Zoom. I will keep working on steps.
  2. I thank you for your message. I do not know if I can forgive him. Or myself. My sense of shame is immense. I am going to look for a counselor to help me with this. It is a very old feeling, from childhood I think, because my parents lobbed shame bombs back and forth throughout their life. So all 3 of us children had it embedded. I have probably needed to develop a sense of self-worth for a very very long time. Forgiveness is something I need to develop. I believe that is what helped you to make the first steps out of the chaos. Thank you for your insight.
  3. I am sorry you feel so abandoned. And I am not certain how much comfort I can offer to you. Annette seems to have supplied a missing ingredient in you that allowed you to truly participate in love and life. Perhaps at some times when you are thinking about her, you might recall a conversation or an action that you found especially helpful or soothing. If that gives you comfort, try to hang on to it as long as you can, being blessed to have had that moment, that enlightening thought, that pride in yourself that she encouraged. As for agorophobia--I think many people are being forced to experience this in some aspect with the virus potential. I do know it is debilitating in other "normal" circumstances. I have a little dog that I adopted when my husband was ill (he was in a nursing home for 9 months, gradually losing function. He was telling people that I did not love him because I would not bring him home. There was absolutely no way I could personally care for him.) But this little dog relies on me for her care, and she gives her love--and her puppy mischief--to me without question. For me, she fills a space in my heart. We "feed" off each other: her with her joy in life (she just turned 1), and me with a living soul who trusts me and loves me. This is how I try to fill the emotional holes I experience. I wish you well in the coming year.
  4. Thank you. That is good salve for a wounded soul. I am sorry that you are alone. I often feel that way, because I have spent so very much of my life trying to "fix" life for others. And perhaps mothers in particular are susceptible to feeling guilty about how they treat their babies. Certainly the medical profession has, at least in the past, attributed many disorders to bad mothering. I know you are right about letting the guilt go. I have been told that often, but 12 years of old-timey parochial schooling planted a bumper crop for that! And I have good reason to believe the depression has genetic overtones. You have helped. Someone outside my inner scold voicing a different perspective. Thank you.
  5. My husband of 54 years died January 30 of this year. I have written here before, and believed I had all the answers to getting on with my life. Actually, I believe I numbed the really troublesome emotions. Our marriage was not one of sharing. In fact, we went on with me supporting him and our two children full time. He was an artist. Self absorbed. Manipulative. Probably narcisstic. Yesterday I listened to a novel where both partners supported each other through their difficulties. It was a great ending to the novel, but left me crying. A lot. I feel so empty. I wanted him to hold me and comfort me when I was sad or troubled. He NEVER did. When he caressed me, it was more like sexual groping. He was NOT a companion. And I believed that was how it should be. For 54 years. How deficient I was in so many ways. I was so so very stupid! I am quite smart intellectually, but I have always kept my emotions in check. Afraid they would overwhelm me. I raised two children, now in their middle age. My daughter has borderline personality disorder. I have recently read that it develops out of fear of abandonment. From 2 months on, I had babysitters while I worked full time to support everyone. My son has chronic depression. And so I am thinking I so enabled a deficient nurturing environment when they were so young. And I feel ashamed. I am angry with him and with myself. How long does this anger last? I'm in the twilight of my life and I often feel terribly sad. (I do have an appointment on Monday with my doctor, and have asked for a therapist referral.)
  6. Eight months have passed since my husband died, of septic encephalopathy. We were married for 53 years. His body had been failing for 3 years, and together we spent many hours and nights in emergency wards and hospital rooms. He was 75, paraplegic from polio when he was 6. In his last 3 years he had developed loss of function in multiple systems: heart blockages, myasthenia gravis, diabetes, lymphedema, osteomyelitis. He survived these impacts because he had such strong care giving from myself and our two adult children. He was an artist--metalsmith, jeweler, craftsman, sculptor, painter. I suppose that many (not all) creative people can concentrate on their art by being self-absorbed. By being manipulative, selfish, "using" other people, flirting and charming admirers, never feeling the need to apologize or admit errors. I married him because I believed we were alike; I painted, wrote poetry and essays, loved all the arts. As our relationship developed, I became not only his caregiver and financial support, but a dedicated enabler of his narcissism. In the turmoil and sorrow of his final suffering (trauma from his confused speeding in a power wheelchair over a curb, being propelled out of his chair, multiple injuries) I persisted on a path of self-awareness, trying to forgive him and myself for what we did to each other. At 77 and physically deteriorating, I knew I could not possibly give him what he wanted: to come home and be nursed by us. My adult children had lives and families and work to attend to. He was massively overweight; I could not put him on bedpans or move him onto wheelchairs. He told people I did not love him; he did not want to die in a nursing home. I mentioned all this in some previous topics. Since then, I have allowed myself to release some emotions. All those years of denying how I felt. Immersing myself in my children, my job, our financial needs. In the needs of my aging parents. It is scary to feel. It's scary to realize how stupid I was. It's scary to be angry, and sad. I think I have finally reached a point where I can start to forgive him. He survived great physical difficulties by manipulating. I can understand that. And I am beginning to understand how my early development in an emotionally distraught family led me to think I had to take control of circumstances around me to stop the chaos. Now I am alone. And I have to find myself. Make my own decisions. Make a life. Finally to see aloneness and age as positive factors. Able to create my own art. Able to let go my guilt about my middle-aged children's problems because I did my best as a parent and they are their own people. Able to write poetry. To put paint on a canvas, which I haven't done since 1970. I thought I would travel, but the virus stopped that. I never thought how much energy this would require. Sometimes I feel everything at once--rage, extreme sadness, ashamed. And I need to walk away, take a long nap, or immerse myself in an audio book, just to shut out the noise in my heart. It makes me very very tired.
  7. Thank you. After joining this group and reading all the comments, for the first time in a long while I feel able to let the anger go and see beyond hurt. I do miss him, and I do know he loved me, even if he couldn't say it in a meaningful way. And that is allowing me to grieve his passing less encumbered.
  8. Thank you all for your comments. I spend a long time reading them over; copying them and saving them. For most of my life, revealing myself emotionally has often been fraught with problems, so that I keep my "self" to myself. In the last months of my husband's illness, I finally told him that I was sorry I was not the wife he wanted me to be, but I could not help who I was. He seemed unable to believe I loved him, and he was afraid I would leave him. I discovered afterward that he actually told some of his visitors that, as well as his sisters. After 53 years! So, reading these responses, I feel a lot more at peace with myself. I knew I could not stop his death--every part of his body was deteriorating over the preceding three years, and my kids and I worked hard to help him. But I feel I can shed "guilt," and maybe start believing that I am inherently worthy without having to prove it by taking care of everybody else. I am an intelligent person, but obviously very stupid about some things.
  9. Thank you for your comments. I worked very hard for him, and sacrificed a lot. My last therapist led me to realize that his actions arose from a deep sense of vulnerability in a social and familial culture of unrelenting patriarchy. For him to admit how very much I contributed would make him appear weak in his own eyes. His actions toward me were "not personal" in that sense. I think I always wanted some kind of validation from him, and that was probably beyond him. And his death left a big hole that he could never fill. Maybe that was not his responsibility, but mine. (I never had it in my own family as a child, despite high grades through high school and college. When my mother asked what finishing cum laude meant, my father said it didn't mean anything.) Well, time to make my own tracks in life and realize how much I have accomplished! Pat my own back. And give myself permission to grieve for a lot of stuff.
  10. Thank you. I needed someone to tell me that I really am OK. Not selfish.
  11. My husband of 53 years died January 30. He was disabled all his life, and was in a nursing home for his last year following an accident. We were both creative people, but as we moved into our life together, more and more he became the dominant personality, and I felt dismissed, lonely, not understood. I supported both of us while he completed his B.A., then 4 years of art school, and then was the primary financial support for us and our two children through their young adulthoods. I could not find time to paint or sculpt or write. During our past ten years we led parallel lives. He required a lot of personal care a year before his accident, and although he had a tracheotomy in the nursing home, he pressed me constantly to bring him home. I wear a back brace. He weighed 260 pounds. His sisters thought I was cruel. I am both very very sad about he death and his terrible illness beforehand, and very very angry that I could never get him to "really" see me. To love me as much as I loved him. I am actually afraid that if I let myself feel these emotions, they will overwhelm me. So I try to distract myself--I listen to audiobooks constantly, play with my puppy, and try to find the energy to reorganize my house. Now with the threat of the virus pandemic, I can't travel like I wanted. Have other survivors felt anger as well as sadness after loss?
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