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Platitudes and Avoidance


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I have discovered that people look the other way or avoid eye contact. When they do talk to you they tell you things like "Life Goes On."  I feel like they have cursed me when I am told that simple platitude. 

I'm not upset with them for being uncomfortable with me. I have had one lady tell me I'm living her worst nightmare. 

My Brian was only 49 and our 20 year anniversary is next week. I'm so scared I'm going to come unhinged. I know it's just another day but we had plans. We were so looking forward to our anniversary. It just so happens that our anniversary and his 1 month passing is the same day. 

Ive been a bit of a basket case today with tears and sobs (something I have never done) flowing freely. I feel like a leaky faucet. 

My daughter told me she had never seen me look old yesterday. She wasn't being mean she was truly shocked at my appearance. 

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Yes.  Most people do not grasp the severity of your loss and grief. Fortunately, people here do and share with each other to help deal with the grief and loss.  It is okay to cry even though you may not be accustomed to it.  Tears are a release valve and actually aid the body in some relief.  There are no set rules for grief. We each discover what works for us.  I have cried many times.... it's okay.  Some do some don't.  Praying you will be comforted with peace.  Come and share as we help each other on this grief journey. - Shalom, George    

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10 hours ago, Nightwinds said:

I have had one lady tell me I'm living her worst nightmare.

That statement is better than the stupid cliches I've heard people say, at least it shows some insight as to what this loss is.  Grief does age us.  I looked young when George was alive, now I don't even resemble that person.  It's weird to be aging while he remains forever young in my memory (he was barely 51).  

It's the hardest thing in the world to hear the stupid things people say.  They truly don't know how to respond.  I would come back at their remarks with something setting them straight.  I know they can't be faulted for not knowing what this is like but I wish they wouldn't say anything rather than say something ridiculous like "It's God's will" or "God must have needed him in heaven" (God has plenty of people, what, I didn't need him?!) or "You need to move on" (I hate that term!!  It should be banished from the English language!).  And then there were the people that must have decided since George died I'd lost my brains because they'd try to tell me what to do (my sister..."You should quit your job and move to Portland!")  I'd tell her I'm a country girl-which she should already realize-but still she'd harp.  After six months of this I finally told her, "Tell you what, when YOUR husband dies, how about I tell YOU what to do!"  She didn't speak to me for several months but at least I didn't have to deal with her constant harping and I knew she'd get over it.

It's hard enough losing our spouse without dealing with all the aftermath that comes with it.  We don't need that!  Where did all the friends go that would listen and care?  Thank God I found this place!

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12 hours ago, Nightwinds said:

I've been a bit of a basket case today with tears and sobs (something I have never done) flowing freely. I feel like a leaky faucet. 

That truly is all part of the process we have in life now - to heal from our wound of losing our soul mate.  That gaping hole ripped into the center of our soul that, even once healed, will leave a scar that has changed us forever.  You know I never used to cry either.  For some reason in my childhood and young adulthood, I was hardened.  I never cried.  My husband, Cody, would cry in life situations - like loss of loved ones, some of whom were pets.  Me a few rare tears dropped maybe - but not flows of tears, never sobs.   He used to tell me - lovingly, of course - that I was 'cold hearted'.  Actually, I hurt sometimes, but only for fleeting moments - I just buried it deeply and went on with whatever was 'important' in life at that time.  I didn't have time to be emotional - ever.

When he was sick and dying, I felt the worst pain of my life (up to that point- it's much worse now) - so lonely, so sad, so lost - but no tears.  I had to be strong 'for him', I thought.  I almost cried a couple of times near the end when I said 'I love you' and he said 'I love you too'. (Feeling so blessed today that we had that opportunity)  But I held back the tears to be strong for him - as I saw tears welling up in his eyes.  It wasn't until almost a day after he died that the tears started coming.  Beginning the washing and cleansing of this deep gaping wound.

Since then, I cry at the drop of a --- well, anything, but mostly from the pain of this new hole in my heart that I carry.  At first I fought the sobbing and physical wrenching of my entire body.  I don't anymore.  Sometimes I stumble through the day like a zombie, sometimes tears well up and fall, and sometimes there is deep sobbing that tears apart every part of my body and my soul.  But I am crying. Crying washes and heals - it is the salt that works to heal this wound. Because of it, occasionally - I smile at a memory, a positive outlook on him being free from pain, and me being 'able' to do this, or even just a new spring flower opening into bloom, or a bird singing - sometimes there is peace, and that means to me that the 'salt of tears' is truly healing, ever so slowly, this deep gash in my heart.

When I contemplate the many many gifts in my life that are here because I shared this all too short time (34 years) with him, the gift of having the freedom to cry is among the best of all.  I feel he gave me - as his gift, and with all his love - his ability to cry.  Oh---here they come again...

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1 hour ago, Maynard said:

That truly is all part of the process we have in life now - to heal from our wound of losing our soul mate.  That gaping hole ripped into the center of our soul that, even once healed, will leave a scar that has changed us forever.

When I contemplate the many many gifts in my life that are here because I shared this all too short time (34 years) with him, the gift of having the freedom to cry is among the best of all.  I feel he gave me - as his gift, and with all his love - his ability to cry.  Oh---here they come again...

Truly magnificent words. yes, this grief is an ongoing process. - Shalom

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On 4/22/2017 at 5:31 AM, Nightwinds said:

I have discovered that people look the other way or avoid eye contact. When they do talk to you they tell you things like "Life Goes On."  I feel like they have cursed me when I am told that simple platitude. 

Oh I've had that very often. "Life goes on" sometimes seems like like the automatic saying for people. They don't mean any hurt, but it feels hurtful anyway, and feels blase too. The last time someone said that to me, I snapped back: "Not for all of us, such as my wife". I probably shouldn't have said that, but it just came out. The person had a shocked expression on his face and walked away.

And as for looking the other way/avoiding eye contact...I guess it's because they can't or don't want to deal with death. But it's so upsetting...like we feel detached enough from society anyway, and now other people seem to want us to feel even more like outcasts.

 

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And then there's the people that make themselves feel like they're helping you by saying - let me know if you need my help with anything.  Then you need something and find out they meant only if it's something they want to do and only if it's convenient - which nothing you need ever seems to fit those criteria with anybody.  So you feel even more lonely, because you thought people cared enough to understand and lend a hand - but it was only words.  I quit asking, or answering when they ask if there's anything.  I'll figure it out.  Gotta do it alone anyway, might as well accept that and dig in.  We never did depend on other people.  I thought I would need to now, but it was embarrassing to ask, when turned down over and over.  Feels like being in a sort of a time warp or something.  Nothing is real and people are just manikins.

PS: Sorry to unload, but I'm in a pretty bad mood tonight, and this subject happens to be part of the reason.  So just needed to vent, I guess.

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Maynard, go ahead. We can take it!

Seriously, most folks simply do not have a clue. There's no way for anyone to ever "get" it without going through it. And we wouldn't wish it on anyone. I am so sorry you are having to go through this.

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Maynard, I find it also a generality the way people offer to lend a hand or condolences, but they are all superficial and saying "the right words"....I find this life of "sports, gardening, Golf, and occasional Family visits" all I want right now...Independent living isn't too bad and has a few positives.....but really miss the good old days...

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A couple weeks after I lost my husband, I got a beautiful card from a woman in our community. I had never met her, but our kids attend the same school in different grades. Her daughter died (9th grade) last September of a brain aneurysm. We have since become supports for one another because we are members of this fellowship of deep grief and understand our mutual experience in a way that many cannot. The humbling thing for me is that it would not have happened if she had not reached out. When I learned of her family's tragedy last fall, I thought of them constantly, but I didn't reach out. It really didn't occur to me to because I didn't know them. She said prior to her loss, she would never have written a card to a virtual stranger either.

Prior to December 26, 2016, I think I was one of those people who didn't have a clue. I very possibly said some of the very same things that now rub me the wrong way; I don't even know what I did because my own discomfort got in the way. I'm trying to pay attention to what genuinely feels supportive and what doesn't, so I can use that in the future to help others. A couple people that I wouldn't even have said were close connections, have done some amazing things. Just randomly dropping off gluten free brownies (my 14 year old can't eat wheat), or a simple pasta dish, or soup. Stopping by on a Saturday morning when they knew we had visitors with a tray of things from Starbucks and then disappearing again, dropping off some magazines that might be interesting, shoveling the walk without me needing to ask. 

I think I would have been one of those people who said, "if there's anything I can do, let me know." But I'm finding that for me, what I really appreciate is people just doing something. Me having to think of something for someone to do feels like an added burden, and mostly I don't know what they could do anyway. Maybe some people wouldn't appreciate the same things I appreciate though. In many ways, I think I'm pretty hard to help right now! I hope I do better next time it's my turn to be on the other side of the equation though...

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I haven't had anyone tell me I should be over it yet, I would bristle like a porcupine at that! Lately, I have people tell me how great they think we are doing fairly often. I find that to be so confusing and sometimes irritating. Grief is such an inside job. I really think if you are walking around and mostly getting where you are supposed to be, people think you're fine. It feels like they think that if it's their perception that we're doing great, then we are. And whatever I have to say about it matters less than whatever they think about it. 

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I had a coworker offer to help do something if I needed it.  I took him up on it.  He used to be a used car salesman, so I asked him to sell George's car.  He even detailed it, took it to the city, took potential buyers out for rides in it and sold it for what we'd paid for it even though the air conditioning had just gone out and the tires needed replaced!  Sometimes people mean it and really want to help but don't know what we need help with.  If we can think of something tangible, it doesn't hurt to let them know.  Of course with some of them it was just words and they'll disappear, but with others they meant it and will come through.

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Thank you all for your kind words. It has helped. 

The people thattold me I'll be there for you have certainly not been around. My daughter and my husbands best friend have helped me and checked in on me. 

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