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Having Difficulty Dealing With Death Of My Grandmother


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I am new to this site and this is my first post, so I hope I'm doing this correctly. I'm asking for help from anyone who can offer it, I'm open to all suggestions - I feel like I have nobody to turn to. I lost my grandmother about 6 weeks ago, and I'm still haunted by the memory of watching her take her last breaths. She was almost 95, her mind was still sharp up until the final minutes, but her body couldn't survive kidney failure any longer. She was less than a month away from celebrating her 75th wedding anniversary with my grandfather. Now, my grandfather, who is 99, has lost his will to live since she is gone. It's tearing my family apart and as the youngest grandchild (I'm just a few weeks away from turning 30), I feel helpless because there's nothing I can do but watch my family fall apart. Once my grandfather is gone, it seems that there will be nothing left - like my grandparents were the glue that kept the family together.

I'm struggling with the grief I'm feeling. I can't concentrate at work, I have a lot of trouble falling asleep, and when I do fall asleep, I wake up during the night to crying spells, and am exhausted in the morning. I do have a doctor's appointment in mid-August, but any advice on how to deal with my grief until then would be greatly appreciated. I don't know how long I can go on like this for, I've never grieved before so these feelings are completely new to me.

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melissa,

First of all, I am sorry for your loss. I know that it is truly a difficult and painful experience and it has just happened to you so your pain is fresh.

I have lost 3 grandparents but all have been when I was very young or a teenager and all lived about 1700 miles away, however, I lost my Mom unexpectedly in November. In the weeks just after her death I too had the same experiences you have written about. I couldn't sleeep, my stocmach was tied up in knots. I would replay in my mind walking into the hospital room...her laying ther...motionless and gone. It racked my brain in times of idleness and I cried. I have cried what I would believe to be an ocean of tears...heck, several oceans of tears. I cried today and it's been nearly 8 months.

I also was confused for several weeks. I did some really silly things, stuff I normally wouldn't do. I forgot a lot of things and it amazed and frustrated me. Since her death happened 6 days after Thanksgiving I had the holidays approaching and people tried to get me to do the festive holiday things for Christmas. I felt angry that they would expect me to go on as "usual" this Christmas and I had to put my foot down and not be so nice. I celebrated Christmas, quietly though, with my husband, my Dad and my 2 daughters. I lit a single candle at our dinner table, remember our lost loved one.

Melissa, what you need to do is take that time to grieve. Cry when you need to....I cried a lot in my car on the way to my office. Talk about your Grandma...share memories with anyone willing to listen. I love to mention my Mom, sometimes it's hard, but it keeps her spirit alive. I know you have your Grandpa and you worry, I worried about my Dad too (he is a lot younger that your Grandpa) he's done okay, but it's as if I have in some way been mourning his loss in a way as well. I am in no way saying I know how he feels but knowing that they were married 45 years and how much he loved her it makes me very sad for him. I worry for him, but he has done well.

I know right now, my saying to you that time will help doesn't mean a thing, but it will. I miss my Mom more than any of these words could ever convey to anyone. Like I said before, I still cry....maybe not as much....and maybe not everyday anymore...but I do. Sometimes, it's a big cry (like today) and sometimes it's just misty eyes and sometimes it's slow tears that take their time tracing my cheeks. But, it's different now. I am not confused like I was at first, I don't keep reliving that day over and over...or the last time I saw her....but, it does creep up on me now and then. I have experienced several "firsts" without my Mom in my life and that has felt odd, sad and the loss becomes more profound. Her birthday (which just occurred) being the absolute worst. Know that you have to be good to yourself in the coming weeks and most certainly months ahead. Have a good friend to talk to....I have one very wonderful friend who lost a brother 4 years ago and she has helped me so much. It's from her grief over her brother that she has shown such compassion and understanding towards me. Visit here...it's a good place.

I hope this helps. Once again, I am sorry. I know it hurts so bad.

Lori

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Melissa,

I can't add much more to the great advice that Lori gave you. Like she said, take your time to grieve and everything you are feeling and experiencing is normal, so don't worry. A popular saying on this board is "Take one day at a time" and it does help. I'm so sorry for your loss and your worry for your grandfather. I'm worried about my mom since my dad died and so I know how that feels. It also adds tremendously to the effects of grief, because it just adds one more huge stress to your life. Hang in there, day by day.

Hugs to you,

Shell

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Melissa,

I am so sorry to hear of your loss of your grandmother. I lost my grandmother when I was 16. She lived with us for all of my life, so we were very close. Shortly before during the same year my parents got divorced, and I didn't have this site to come to. What Shell and Lori said is great advice. I didn't have any of the advice or know anything about grief and what it really meant. I shoved everything inside myself and went on with life. Because of this I developed bad habits of shoving in feelings it wasn't until my Mother-in-Law died 8 years ago and now with the loss of my wife that I have been able to release those feelings instead of shoving them in. I understand the part about not being able to concentrate at work that still happens to me. I took Ambien to help me sleep but the side affects were terriable. I heard recently during a group meeting that if you get more than 4 or 5 hours of sleep at night after a loss, consider yourself lucky. Just keep coming back here to post when something is going on, or you just want to vent there are a lot of people here that will be here for you.

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Thank you all for your kind words and for sharing your personal experiences with me. I had no idea how much it would help to hear about other people's grief and that we all go through the same types of difficulties (concentrating, sleeping, etc) while grieving. I cry a lot now, which I don't mind, because after the funeral, I kinda went numb. But now watching my poor grandfather literally giving up on life due to a broken heart, it's almost too much to bear. I'm thankful that I still have both of my parents in my life - I can't imagine how painful it would be to lose either of them. But, this experience watching them care for my grandparents over the past year or so forces me to realize that someday I'll be in their shoes, caring for them. I can't think about that too much, though, because it's more than I can handle emotionally, so I'm just thankful that they're showing me now what I'll need to do for them so when the time comes, hopefully many, many years from now, I'll have the strength to do for them what they've done for their parents.

I did go to my primary care physician today, just to see if there was something to help me sleep. She gave me Ambien, but now I'm concerned - since I read someone's post that said the side affects were terrible. I haven't filled the prescription yet. My doctor also gave me a number for a grief support group at a local hospital. Have any of you tried that? I don't know if it's something I'd be comfortable doing, but if any of you have gone to one and are comfortable sharing your experiences, it would be helpful to hear about.

I check in with my parents every day to see how my grandfather is doing, and visit him on the weekends. The news I received today wasn't good - he's eating very little, sleeping all the time, and hardly opens his eyes. Just a few weeks ago I could sit and have a full conversation with him, the decline has been so rapid it's almost mind blowing. My mom thinks he may not make it even to the end of the summer. I can't imagine going through what we went through with my grandmother all over again in such a short amount of time. I'm terrified that my father will completely fall apart. As it is, his life has been turned upside down with the loss of my grandmother. And my mother, who is also extremely close with my grandfather (and was with my grandmother), like they were her own parents, has been informed by her doctor that she is at risk for a stroke because her blood pressure is so high. I'm afraid that if my grandfather passes away that I'll end up losing my parents too. I feel completely helpless because there's nothing much I can do other than visit with my grandfather and talk to my parents. I wish I could take away their pain. I know the pain I'm feeling is only a small percentage of what they must feel. Is there more I can do for them? For my grandfather? Or is just being there enough?

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Personally I think that just being there for them is plenty. I have joined a support group in my area called the WARM Place, they help children who have lost a parent and put them in age approiate groups. While they are in group, the parents meet and talk through issues. It is hard to think at first that you will be sharing with a bunch of strangers, but after going a few times you start to learn the people around you and you start to develop relationships like family. You go to these meetings and you find out that you are not alone, there are others there that are going through the same things you are. The group has been a big help to me, I think it would to you also.

I was the one that had a problem with Ambien. I took it 2 years ago and it worked great for me, just make sure when you take it you are climbing into bed at the same time, because it works fast and you can do things that you won't remember. However when I took it after Karen died, I had problems with it, I was very tired in the mornings, to the point where it was very hard to function at work, I even don't remember driving to work one day until I bumped a car in front of me at a stop sign. I was take antidepressants at the time in combination with the Ambien which I wasn't taking 2 years ago, so I think that was the problem, however I just don't trust the medication. That is the experience I had with it. I am sure there are a lot others that have had good experiences with it. All I can say is be careful it can help, but be careful.

I hope things will get better for your grandfather, but I have heard a lot of stories where this happens and the grief is too strong for the spouse to continue and they pass away soon after. I hope and pray that this doesn't happen to your grandfather. Jusat be there for him and your parents and God will guide you through this.

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Derek - thank you so much for clarifying your experiences with Ambien. I took it for the first time this evening, about an hour and a half ago, and surprisingly I'm still wide awake. I thought for sure by now I'd be in bed and sound asleep, but apparently I must not be reacting to it the way I expected. I barely slept last night, and I was really hoping for a good, sound sleep tonight, but it looks like that's just not in the cards for me this evening.

I went to see my grandfather today, he never even opened his eyes or spoke. Even when we feed him or give him something to drink he keeps his eyes closed. It's just so incredibly sad to see him this way, I wonder if it would be better for him to pass so he can be with my grandmother again. I just don't know if my parents can handle going through it all again, so soon after losing my grandmother. I have a few friends that I'm able to talk to, but having everyone here to talk to seems so much more comforting. I'm afraid that my friends will just expect me to "get better" within a few weeks after my grandfather passes. I even asked my boss at work if I could get an extra day or two for bereavment time considering the circumstances, but all she had to say was, and I quote, "You still have plenty of vacation time left to use, don't you?" Well, of course I do, but I wasn't expecting to have to use it for bereavement. I thought she'd at least understand what I'm going through - she's been well aware of all that's happened since my grandmother got sick over a year ago - but yet even corporate America has little sympathy for those of us grieving. I was shocked, although I'm sure I shouldn't be, and if I need extra time, I guess it will just come out of my vacation time.

I'm so sorry to be so negative, I hope I don't become a dark cloud for everyone. Maybe over time as I get further down the road of grieving I'll be able to make some sense of it all. But right now I feel like all that surrounds me is death and illness. Even my poor dog got sick today - he has Vertigo. I had no idea a dog could get vertigo, it's so sad to see him like this, but hopefully the medicine will help him get back to normal within the next day or two, and I can continue to bring him with me when I visit my grandfather. Many of the people at the nursing home where my grandfather is now just adore my dog and enjoy seeing him in the hallways.

I wish a good and restful night to everyone, please get some extra sleep for me, I have a feeling that since the Ambien still hasn't kicked in, I'm facing another long night of tossing and turning.

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Melissa,

Don't ever worry about being a "dark cloud" on this site. This is what we are all here for, to listen, understand and hopefully give some encouragement. Sorry the Ambien isn't working. Years ago I once took a sleeping pill that looked like it would knock out an elephant and I didn't feel a thing! I'm sure your doctor can shed some light on that or maybe Derek.

I am so sorry for the loss of your grandmother and now the downhill slide of your grandfather. Maybe you are right, it might be the kindest thing for him to join your grandmother. As far as your parents, they are probably tougher than you think and will come out of this okay. They will of course be in deep grief, but try not to worry too much. I think they will have each other, and you, and will come through their grief in one piece. I'm sorry about your dog too, but at least he will probably be ok with the medicine. I've never heard of a dog having vertigo either! As far as your boss, well, what can you say? People have no empathy these days!

I hope you get a peaceful, healing sleep soon. I will be thinking of you and your grandfather and hoping for the best for both of you.

Hugs to you, and sweet dreams,

Shell

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Melissa,

Sorry to hear that the Ambien didn't work for you, I had the same experience a couple of times. I found that it is usually due to the fact that I was worrying about something. A couple of things that have helped me. Find some books to read, look up grief on Amazon.com they have a vast listing that I think you will find useful. I don't know your age and I normally don't promote drinking, however, I heard on the news the other night that a glass of red wine naturally has serotine in it which helps you sleep. I have tried it on a couple occasions when I could't sleep and it worked well, Just don't take it with the Ambien!! the other thing which I guess should've been at the first of my list, is see your doctor and tell them your experience, there are a lot of other sleep medications out there. What the doctor has done for me is increased my Trazodone at night whic is a mild antidepressant that helps you sleep. Basically it calms down your mind enough so you can fall asleep, it doesn't have any of the side affects that Ambien does, and I have had very good luck with it.

Hope you sleep well tonight.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi Melissa,

I'm new to this sight and just trying to figure out how it works. I share you grief of the loss of your grandmother. I too, lost my grandmother just 3 weeks ago today. I rushed to Viriginia from Texas to be with her. She passed away while I was waiting to catch my flight back to Texas. I cherish the time I was able to spend with her. She was at home, so I stayed with her the entire time. In fact I slept by her and held her hand all night. I just wish I knew what she was trying to say to me when I arrived. I've always been close to my grandmother, I was the oldest grandchild of 16. She died just 10 days before her 88th birthday. I too, do not know what will happen with my family, grandma was the glue. I hate it that I'm so far away.

I too, was given Ambien from my doctor. It has worked great for me, the only time I've had side effects is if I didn't do what the doctor told me.

Basically I was told to take about 9:30pm, go to bed and read a book. It only comes in 10mg, she even advised to just take half or whole which ever I preferred. If it is taken to late, you will feel sleepy upon or tired upon waking the next day. The only side effect I experienced was one night I took, didn't go to bed or got up and I felt unsteady, hard to walk.

How this helps.

Again I am sorry for your loss and identify in some ways.

songbird

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Hi all,

Unfortunately I have bad news to share. You may remember from my earlier posting that I lost my grandmother about 2 months ago, in early June, and was worried about losing my grandfather. Sadly, he passed away last Tuesday. He did not have the will to live without my grandmother, and although I'm sure there are medical explanations, I truly believe he died of a broken heart. His funeral was last Thursday, so we were back at the gravesite where he was buried next to my grandmother. My family had barely begun the grieving process for my grandmother, and now it's like we've been hit twice. I truly hope my grandparents are now reunited, although I'm not sure if I believe in heaven or the afterlife.

As far as the Ambien - thank you all for sharing your personal experiences. For the first time in quite a while I didn't take it last night. Probably not the best idea since I hardly slept, woke up to crying spells, and was exhausted in the morning. I know it's not supposed to be "addictive" but I worry that I can't sleep without it.

Songbird - thank you so much for your message, and I'm so sorry for the loss of your grandmother, but I'm glad you got to spend time with her before she passed, I know she treasured those moments and so will you.

There's something so special about grandparents and their grandchildren - it's like no other relationship. My grandparents accepted their grandchildren for who we are, including all our flaws and quirks, never judged us, forgave our mistakes and supported us as we grew into adults.

Thursday, August 10 is my 30th birthday, and the first birthday of my entire life without my grandparents celebrating right beside me. Although I don't want to do anything to celebrate, I'm going out to dinner with my parents, my brother and two of my friends so that some sense of "normalcy" will be there for my parents. Our family always gathers for dinner to celebrate a birthday, and as much as I'd like to skip it this year because I know that there will be two very important people missing at the dinner table, I'm doing this for my parents so that they can continue the family tradition begun so many years ago. Ok, and never mind the fact that I'm stressing out that I'm 30! That's probably a subject for a completely different type of support group :D

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Melissa

I am truely sorry to hear about your grandparents. We are all here for you keep your head jeld as high as you can and make them proud of you they may be the glue for the familys out there but we can keep it going.

Songbird

I again am sorry to hear about your grandmother. We are all here together to lean on good luck and stay strong.

Thanks

Haley

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi All,

I just wanted to post after reading all your posts, I lost my grandmother twenty two years ago.. And even though it was such a long time ago I still feel really horrible about the death... I was eighteen and it happened on Christmas day in the year 1984. The whole family went to see her on the 24th of December but I made some excuse and did not go... I just thought that I would see her again so I did not go to see her... The next morning we received a call and my mom was told that my grandmother had died in her sleep. I still can not forgive myself for being so selfish and not going to see her.... Who would have guessed that she would have died..... Shelley

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  • 2 weeks later...

As corny as it sounds...I do know exactly what you are going through. I am soooo sorry for the loss of your grandmother. I was told by my daughters counselor that not ever one grieves the same or at the same time. It may hit you imidiately or it may be weeks or even months until you feel the full effects of your loss. You just have to do what is the best for you. If the best thing to do is cry, then cry, if the best thing is couseling then you do that. Life does not make sense sometimes but you are a strong individual and you will get through this with the love and support of those around you. We will all keep you in our thoughts and prayers. Bless you and your family sweetie.

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