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Grief Healing Discussion Groups


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  1. One of our neighbors set up a Google Sheets calendar and we have folks signing up to bring meals to our neighbor over the next six weeks. Virtually the entire schedule was filled within a day or so. Nice to see this. One of our neighbors already has a breakfast date with the one who lost her spouse, just to get her out and talking to others again.
  2. Thanks so much for the replies. This is really helpful. My wife lost her older sister a year before we met in college. She said her friends abandoned her, except for one. Since posting my question earlier today, I can tell you that we're setting up a series of visits amongst various neighbors, and each of us will bring a meal when we come. This neighborhood is so caring. They really do seem to rally around one another. Thanks for all the advice and for sharing your experiences.
  3. I hope this is okay to post here, but it concerns the loss of a spouse so I figured it might generate some helpful responses. I had written recently that our small neighborhood lost a wonderful man in a tragic hiking incident. They buried him yesterday and as we watched the Mass via live streaming, one couldn't help but feel that our neighbor was really a remarkable person. He was giving, generous, loving and devoted to his faith and family. In fact, we learned that the day he died he'd been going up to the White Mountains of NH to practice and get in shape so that he could be ready to join his adult son on future hikes. His widow has handled things with grace in the aftermath, but now that the services are over and the family has mostly departed (she has an adult daughter staying with her for the next few weeks), I'm wondering how do you approach her? When should one reach out? No one wants to intrude of course, but then we want her to know we're here for her when the time is right. As others on this forum have lost a spouse, would you be able to share how folks approached you in the aftermath? I know that in a few short weeks with Spring upon us, we'll expect to see our neighbor tending to her flowers out front. Is a simple hello enough? Do you ask how the person is doing? I don't know what to say.
  4. Thanks very much. It's not so much that I'm grieving, but his death has impacting me in other ways, more specifically it's a reminder of my own mortality. He was a year older than me. He was married to the same woman for a long time, just as I have been. He had retired and was enjoying his life here in a new community. All of this brings it a little too close to home and I find I'm dwelling on it a lot. I find myself worrying about leaving my spouse one day. Strangely, I don't worry about her leaving before me, even though I know it would hit me very hard. It's just sad. I found myself on the verge of tears tonight.
  5. When we moved here I was comforted by the knowledge that my wife would be well looked after by such a kind and caring group of neighbors. We really do rally around one another, but it's the grief she would experience that I really worry about. I fear she would not be able to handle it. I have no doubt that the men here would help her in any way possible, and so would the women in terms of emotional support, but in those moments when she'd be alone, I worry how she'd fare. I recall years ago after we had to put our dog down how much that impacted her emotionally for a long time. She has joked about how I'd be fine were she to predecease me, (I'm not so sure) because I process things differently. I'm very self sufficient. She's not wired that way. Can one ever really prepare their significant other for the possibility of being alone?
  6. This doesn't seem to fit anywhere, so I thought I'd leave it here. I lost a neighbor the other day in a tragic accident in the White Mountains of NH. I worked closely with this man over the past two years as we shared responsibility for overseeing a certain aspect of our homeowners association. A friend? Not in the true sense, but someone I could turn to at any time? Absolutely! He was giving and selfless and a true leader. The announcement of his death this past Monday morning hit me like a ton of bricks, so sudden and wrenching was the news. He'd gone missing the night before, apparently trapped in a storm on the mountain and didn't survive. We in the community who knew him are devastated. So today my wife and I wrestled with what to say to his family. We brought over some pastries and talked with the man's adult son at the door, then offered our help in whatever way we could. Their dog came to the door to greet us, and we knew that our neighbor's wife always walked "Brady", so we offered instead. He gratefully took us up on the offer and off we went. It helped to know that we were doing something positive to help his family. My wife now puts herself in the widow's shoes, fearing how she'd cope were I to suddenly leave this earth. I worry about it.
  7. The other thing we've done a few times is a conference call via phone. Works well and so easy to establish.
  8. When my dad died, my siblings and I started a group text (there are four of us in all) and it was a good way to quickly share info. Last night I decided to do a check-in with them, in part because Sundays were the days when our father used to make his round of calls. I know one of my sisters in particular has mentioned that Sundays are hard for her as she misses those calls. I started a thread with a simple "How was everyone's weekend?" It went from there, and while there was little talk about grief, it was a way of connecting in a shared space. At the end I mentioned doing it again on a Sunday night and they all thought it would be helpful. They got the connection to my dad and Sunday calls. A positive step.
  9. An interesting topic for sure and I think you're spot on in your take on this important subject. I'm new to all this in terms of losing a parent. My dad has been gone two months. He was 88 when he passed in it was sudden. The night before he died, the hospital diagnosed him with Covid and sent him home. The next morning my sister called to say he had died. So there was no time to anticipate what was to eventually happen, though certainly one of our fears the night before was that he'd eventually end up in a hospital and on a ventilator given his state of health at the time. So the grief was an immediate punch in the gut, visceral and raw and overwhelming at first.
  10. I'm sorry for your recent loss. My family just lost our dad at the end of December. I have three siblings; I am the oldest of the bunch in my mid 60s. We are all experiencing grief in different ways. For a time in recent weeks, my younger sister started experiencing nightmares of not being able to get to my father. Another sibling has had bouts of anger, with old issues surfacing regarding our father and his not having left us any personal items to remember him by. Another sister has times of sadness and the tears can come on suddenly. I think what's been helpful for us is the very thing that you're having a problem with, which is talking by phone (we're scattered across the country). I started out in the early days by scheduling group calls and it was a way to check in with one another, then I started reaching out one on one to see how they're doing. Lately it's been more group texts to exchange thoughts, but just last night I was on the phone with my younger sister and she said the nightmares have ended. We're making progress towards a service for our dad, even though we don't have his remains (long, sad story involving his re-marriage), and now that we're past the two month mark the sadness is fading. Then again, just a few days ago something triggered me and I found myself seeking advice on this forum. I've started writing to get my feelings out. It's helping. I think talking, or texting with your sister is important. Be as open and honest as you can be. If you're feeling sad or angry or anxious, I personally think it's good to admit that that's how you're feeling. If talking by phone is too difficult, maybe just do a quick text exchange. I think I've been more open and honest with my siblings than I've ever been in the wake of my father's death. I hope this is helpful. We all experience loss differently; it seems there is no set formula for dealing with it.
  11. I'm not sure if this is in the right spot or not, but thought I'd share something I did in the wake of my father's recent passing from Covid. I'm an amateur photographer and have taken a ton of photos over the years. My younger sister is the "historian" of the family and has collected old family photos going way back. When my 88 year old father passed away, I found it helpful to create a video slide show using 41 photos dating back to his childhood and ending with photos from when we last got together with him. I then set it to music and uploaded it to YouTube for my siblings and others who were close to my dad. I found that rather than feeling sad as I created this, it was a way to remember happier times. Of course, when it was done it brought tears. I think the addition of the music is what did it. My three siblings really appreciated having this way to remember our father. Recently I did a similar project on a much larger scale for a man in our community whose wife passed away suddenly. The neighbors rallied around him and a few weeks ago one of them mentioned that I'd created a slide show for her after her dog passed away. I'd taken about 100 photos of them with their dogs on the local beach on a fine summer morning, and used many in my slide show. She convinced the widower to give me about 200 photos on a disk and I painstakingly edited most of them (cropping, fixing scratches and color, etc) and ended up with a nearly 12 minute retrospective on her life, set to three of her favorite pieces of music. When the pandemic eases, he'll use some of this during a memorial for his late wife. He called me and said how grateful he was to have this for him and their only child. Last time I looked, it had had over 100 views on YouTube (the link is private and not discoverable in online searches). Anyway, it's been a healing tool for me, even if it can trigger tears. It's a way to see our loved ones in happier times.
  12. I'm sorry for your loss, which is obviously still very fresh. I lost my father at the end of December to Covid; he was 88. In his case the end was very sudden, and maybe a blessing, but it still hurts. I just joined this group because I had a bad day yesterday and thought being here would help. I've started writing in my journal to get my feelings out, and I'm trying to be open with my siblings and of course my wife about how I'm doing emotionally. It's tough. God bless. Try to remember all the good times, and eventually, as others have said before me, the smile will come before the tears. It takes time.
  13. My 88 year old father died suddenly from Covid-19 at the end of December, just hours after being diagnosed and sent home from the hospital with a "mild case." He died on the floor of his bathroom, left there for several hours by his spouse, who said she "thought he was sleeping." In the immediate aftermath of his passing, I shed some tears, but thought I'd gotten over it. Then the other night I was going through a box of cards and found all the ones that my father had sent me over the years. I read his words and it made me sad. He was never one to offer praise in person or over the phone. Last night it hit me really hard, which led me to this site because I was a bit surprised at my reaction. As the eldest child in my mid-60s, I thought I had held it together pretty well, there to support my younger siblings and coming to terms with our loss. Something set me off last night and I found myself just weeping. I was a mess. My wife found me crying in my study, and as we talked I said it was difficult for me to be vulnerable with her. I don't know why. Maybe it's a guy thing? We went for a walk and I opened up a bit, telling her that I was alternately sad and angry, not so much that he's gone, but sad for what could have been. A difficult situation with our "step-mother" has made things all the more tragic as she has cut us out of any kind of service to honor our Marine veteran father. He was cremated and she won't give us any of his ashes for our own service in a military cemetery near where he lived, so there will likely be no "closure." Right now I'm just a mix of emotions. I've turned to writing in a journal, just to get my thoughts down, thinking it might help get rid of some of the anger and sadness I feel. It's almost like all the things I wish I could have said to my father, but never did. This is all so new to me, and suddenly it feels just overwhelming at times.
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