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Everything posted by MartyT

  1. You are allowed to have these feelings, my dear ~ and I would wager that many of us here have had feelings similar to yours. Whether shallow or not, feelings are not facts. They are neither good or bad ~ they just are. What matters is what we do with what we are feeling. You're also allowed to have a bad day. Know that it will pass. The sun will come up tomorrow, and tomorrow is a brand new day. Be kind to yourself. You are worth it, and you deserve it. ❤️
  2. You'll find links to a number of relevant resources listed on this page, Sue: Memorials ~ Funerals ~ Rituals See also Passed and Present: Keeping Memories of Loved Ones Alive ~ book by Allison Gilbert Celebrating Life: How to Create a Meaningful Memorial Service ~ booklet in pdf format by Gail Rubin & Susan Fraser
  3. Yes, that feeling is natural and understandable ~ because in our minds and hearts we think that holding onto the pain is the same as holding onto the one who was lost, and everything inside of us is fighting against the thought of letting go. But the day will come when you realize that it is the LOVE you shared with Snooki that keeps her memory alive, not the pain. Hold onto the love and let go of the pain ~ that is the goal ❤️
  4. I'm so sorry that you've lost both your boys, and so closely together. That is a double blow for sure. You say you made mistakes at the end that have left you traumatized, anxious and depressed. You don't give any further details, but if you find that now, two months later, you're still struggling with those feelings, then I encourage you to find either a pet loss support group or a grief counselor who honors and understands the human-animal bond and the grief of losing a beloved animal companion. It's important to talk about whatever is causing you so much pain, so that you can come to a better understanding of your own reactions and what you might do to manage the pain. You might also find these articles helpful and informative: Pet Loss: Why Does It Hurt So Much? Pet Loss: Is It a Different Kind of Grief? Pet Loss: A Disenfranchised Grief Finding Support for Pet Loss How Long Before Adopting Another?
  5. Just a thought, Jen, but I wonder what would happen if, instead of trying to approach your husband verbally, you were to write him a letter instead? That way, you can take your time to construct carefully exactly what you want to say and what you need for him to understand. He may not read it right away, he may toss it without even reading it ~ or he may keep it to read later when he feels more receptive and more willing to listen. What matters more is that it gives you a way to gather your thoughts and get them out of your mind and onto a piece of paper. It enables you to feel as if you've said all you need to say without interruption, whether or not the other person is willing to accept it. Writing is a powerful tool, and it's something you might consider trying.
  6. My dear, I'm so very sorry to learn of this horrific accident that took the life of your family cat Snooki. I don't believe for a second that this was intentional on your part, and I hope your husband will come to recognize that. You know your husband better than I do, but I find that oftentimes in our culture it is easier for a man to be mad than sad. In other words, underneath his anger and aggressiveness and yelling is a whole lot of shock and pain and sorrow ~ but his way of expressing all of that pain is to lash out. It's also true that when an accident happens it is human nature to look for someone to blame. Unfortunately, the target for all this anger and blame is you ~ and for you to bear the brunt of all of that, in addition to the guilt, the pain, the anger and the self-blame I'm sure that you yourself are feeling already ~ Well, I can only imagine. I'm so sorry! Clearly both you and your husband must find a way to forgive you for this terrible accident, and if in time you find yourselves unable or unwilling to do that, then I hope you'll consider a session or two with a qualified grief counselor ~ one who understands the human-animal bond and is sensitive to the grief of losing a cherished animal companion. I think that the best way both you and your husband you can deal with your son's reactions in his grief at Snooki's death is to deal with your own reactions first. In some ways he is modeling his dad's behavior, and as you both work your way through this loss in healthier ways, he will follow your lead. To better understand what you both may be feeling right now, I invite you to read the following, and be sure to follow some of the links embedded in these articles. (Individual circumstances will differ from your own, but the suggestions offered are relevant): Finding Support for Pet Loss Coping with The Trauma of An Unexpected Death Guilt In The Wake of A Euthanasia Decision How We Mourn: Understanding Our Differences
  7. From our friend and colleague Peggy Haymes: It won't be news to some of you that the loss of a pet can be just as hard as the loss of some of the people in our lives. Sometimes harder. I'm in the midst of a series of Facebook Live broadcasts on the "We Heart Hounds" FB page talking about different aspects of the grief over the loss of a dog. While we focused on dogs, much of the conversation holds true one any kind of pet. If you'd like to watch the replay, you can join us here. If you'd like to join us live, we'll be on the FB page next Thursday at 2 pm Eastern. Peace, Peggy
  8. That makes two of us, Maylissa. Teresa's material is top-notch. ❤️
  9. Frankly, Gwen, I have no idea. It's a feature that comes with our site. I just know that if you hover over the heart icon at the base of a post, another icon appears next to it, giving you the option of clicking on "Upvote" ~ and if you just double-click on the heart, it registers as "Like." Clear as mud, I know . . .
  10. I'm so sorry for your loss, dear one, and my heart reaches out to you in your sorrow. Death of a sibling is so painful, and even more so when it is your twin. Although I don't know what is available to you in your Auckland area (you might contact your local hospice or mortuary to find out), I can point you to a number of online resources that you may find helpful. See, for example, Sibling Loss: When Grief Goes Unacknowledged ~ including the additional articles and resources listed at the base. See also this page, which includes some links specifically focused on coping with the death of a twin: Death of A Sibling or Twin.
  11. I really cannot add anything to what you've said already, Kay. I do believe that when we lose someone we love so dearly, it is only human to look for explanations and reasons. We look for anything that could have been done differently, and sometimes we look for someone to blame (including ourselves). Such reactions aren't always based on logic or reason, and feelings of anger and guilt aren't always justified. Still, they are there, they are real, and we must find ways to work through all of them if we wish to reach some semblance of peace. In the end, some sort of forgiveness is required, which frees us to move forward ~ and sometimes the hardest one to forgive is the one we see in the mirror.
  12. Gwen, my dear, as one who's struggled with various physical problems all my life, I truly do believe that if you don't have your physical health, everything else is affected, and all bets are off. The physical challenges and pain you've had to endure alone on top of the death of your beloved Steve can make life pretty unbearable, and I totally understand that. Like everyone here, your grief journey is unique unto you, and the challenges you face every single day are different from those the rest of us must face. The lenses through which you see your present and your future are not the same as anyone else's, and I get that. I truly do. ❤️
  13. Please check the content of this post for me, Kay, and if your e-book on dementia is not listed, I'd appreciate your sending it to me as well: Caregiving and Grief in Alzheimer's and Dementia: Suggested Resources ❤️
  14. Good heavens, Kay ~ You must feel as if Mother Nature really has it in for you! I'm so sorry that your part of the country is getting hammered with so much awful weather! I'm sending your way my sincere hopes for sunshine and better days! ❤️
  15. Yes, Mitch, I agree. I don't think you are suffering from any sort of "disorder." I think instead that you are finding yourself in what some refer to as "the neutral zone" ~ and that, too, is normal. See Transition After Loss: Tips for Navigating The Neutral Zone ❤️
  16. Mitch, I would be remiss if I didn't point out that there are good people in our field who DO care and are working hard to find ways to better understand and support the bereaved, especially when there are those who are still suffering and looking for relief. There is a lot of room for research here, and I am grateful for those who choose to study the mysteries and complexities and variations in grief, discovering as they try various therapeutic approaches what helps and what does not. As a result, we've learned so much more about grief than we knew just ten or twenty years ago ~ and these studies have helped enormously to inform the practice of those who work in the fields of grief counseling and grief therapy. Katherine Shear, MD, with the Center for Complicated Grief at Columbia University School of Social Work, for example, has done important work in this regard, including having developed specific, short-term treatment modalities that have been proven truly effective in helping grieving people. We don't need to equate complicated grief with a form of "mental illness" in order to study, find and use effective ways to help people who are miserable and looking for help. Labels don't mean much to those of us who work in this field, and as you've undoubtedly known me to say so many times in my own writings, grief is as individual as a person's finger print. In that sense, everyone's grief is complicated, by dozens of different and individual factors, so no one label and no one set of rules applies. In the natural course of grief, over time (in many cases, over years) most of us find ways to carry our pain and adapt to life without the physical presence of our loved one who has died. How long that takes is like asking how high is up. It takes as long as it takes, and for some it can take a lifetime ~ but it does change, and we change right along with it. We never really "get over" it. We just find ways to live with it. But as Dr. Shear points out, "Complicated Grief is a form of grief that takes hold of a person's mind and won't let go." She goes on to say that: It is natural to experience intense grief after someone close dies, but complicated grief is different. Troubling thoughts, dysfunctional behaviors or problems regulating emotions get a foothold and stall adaptation. Complicated grief is the condition that occurs when this happens. People with complicated grief don't know what’s wrong. They assume that their lives have been irreparably damaged by their loss and cannot imagine how they can ever feel better. Grief dominates their thoughts and feelings with no respite in sight. Relationships with family and friends flounder. Life can seem purposeless, like nothing seems to matter without their loved one. Others begin to feel frustrated, helpless and discouraged. Even professionals may be uncertain about how to help. People often think this is depression but complicated grief and depression are not the same thing. Grief Grief is a person’s response to loss, entailing emotions, thoughts and behaviors as well as physiological changes. Grief is permanent after we lose someone close though it’s manifestations are variable both within and between people. Still, there are some commonalities that can help you recognize complicated grief. Acute grief occurs in the initial period after a loss. It almost always includes strong feelings of yearning, longing and sadness along with anxiety, bitterness, anger, remorse, guilt and/or shame. Thoughts are mostly focused on the person who died and it can be difficult to concentrate on anything else. Acute grief dominates a person’s life. Integrated grief is the result of adaptation to the loss. When a person adapts to a loss grief is not over. Instead, thoughts, feelings and behaviors related to their loss are integrated in ways that allow them to remember and honor the person who died. Grief finds a place in their life. Complicated grief occurs when something interferes with adaptation. When this happens acute grief can persist for very long periods of time. A person with complicated grief feels intense emotional pain. They can’t stop feeling like their loved one might somehow reappear and they don’t see a pathway forward. A future without their loved one seems forever dismal and unappealing. Complications get in the way of adapting to the loss There are three key processes entailed in adapting to a loss: 1) accepting the reality, including the finality and consequences of the loss, 2) reconfiguring the internalized relationship with the deceased person to incorporate this reality, and 3) envisioning ways to move forward with a sense of purpose and meaning and possibilities for happiness. Most people move forward naturally in this way and grief finds a place in their lives as they do. Sometimes there are thoughts, feelings or behaviors that interfere with adaptation. Complicated Grief Therapy (CGT) helps people identify and resolve these interfering issues. Troubling thoughts: After a loved one dies, almost everyone has some unsettling thoughts about how things could have been different. People with complicated grief get caught up in these kinds of thoughts. Avoidance of reminders: People with complicated grief often think the only way they can manage pain is to stop the emotions from being triggered. To do this they try to avoid reminders of the loss. Difficulty managing painful emotions: Emotions are almost always strong and uncontrollable during acute grief and managing them is different than at other times in our lives. Most people find a way to balance the pain with respite by doing other things, being with other people or distracting themselves. People with complicated grief are often unable to do this. [Source: CG Overview] If this description of complications fits what you (or anyone reading this) is thinking, feeling and doing, you might consider finding a therapist whose practice is informed by the work of Katherine Shear. Her website lists therapists with training and experience in treating complicated grief. See Find a Therapist
  17. Oh Steve. I am sick at heart to read this awful news. I'm so sorry this has happened to you and Patty. I'm sure you know already that this is a significant loss for both of you, and as such, it is worthy of grief. Being victims of burglary can leave you feeling violated and vulnerable, and robbed not only of the sentimental items you describe (which in themselves are hard enough to lose), but also of the feeling of being safe and secure in your own home. On some level (even if it's unconscious and/or irrational and totally unjustified) you may feel as if you've failed somehow in your responsibility as a man to protect your wife and your home. No matter what steps you may take in the future to protect your home and your belongings, a part of you may still worry that if this happened to you once, then it could happen again. Patty may find it difficult to be left alone in your home. There is just no telling how profoundly this event can affect each one of you. My point is this: Please don't underestimate the very real (and lasting) effects this event may have on either or both of you. Know that it is NORMAL to be upset about this, and each of you is entitled to feel whatever you may be feeling. It may help to do some reading on this topic, as it will help to normalize whatever you are feeling and add to your understanding of your own reactions. See, for example, Coping with The Emotional Impact of Burglary ~ and it goes without saying that, if you feel a need for more than that, consider a session or two with a qualified grief counselor. (I know from your experience with HOV that you already know a very good one ) Again, dear Steve, I am so sorry about this. Know that I am thinking of you both and holding you close in my heart . . . ❤️
  18. I love that beautiful tail! ♥️ Lots of resources listed on these pages, too: General Pet Loss Resources Helplines, Message Boards, Chats Pet Loss Articles
  19. The April 2019 issue of the HOPELINE is now available on the website hopeforbereaved.com. Here is the link to it: https://hopeforbereaved.com/wpcontent/uploads/2019/03/HOPElineApril2019.pdf
  20. No one will really understand what you're going through until and unless they share a loss that is similar to your own. This is why it helps so much to find a support group (whether in person or online, such as what we have here in this forum). It also helps to read what other bereaved children have to say about parent loss. That's another way to find that you are not alone. See, for example, Parent Loss: Continuing Their Song ~ including the readings listed at the base. ♥️
  21. My dear, as one who still misses her father who died (too soon and too many years ago), I understand your anger. We are allowed to be outraged when outrageous things happen to us. But staying in that angry place can really wear us down. I wonder what you've considered and what you've done to bring your step dad's legacy and his memory along with you into your own future? I just read an insightful article over on the Soaring Spirits International Blog which made me think of you and your post. I invite you to read it and see if it speaks to you in a helpful way: How I Do Birthdays, by Sarah Treanor
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