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ali

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Hello, my girlfriend's mother died in Feb. of this year from cancer. She went very quickly, within 2 months. My girlfriend cared for her and we both were with her until the end. (her mother lived alone and only had one child--my girlfriend.) It's been so difficult being the partner and I was wondering if anyone could direct me to a site where I could get help for myself. I've given numbers for grief support groups and begged her to get a therapist but she hasn't yet. Her mother and her had a difficult relationship their whole lives--I've heard this makes grieving worse. As if there was a hierarchy to grieving, that's not what I mean. Anyway, after many hard months we went to Italy to try and have a bit of a vacation. And we did, we had a wonderful time. But the minute we got back my girlfriend started going so crazy. Is it possible for someone to be on vacation from their grief. She said she just wants to go to sleep forever and has been really erratic with her behaviors. Honestly, I feel afraid to leave her alone. She has no family either, so I feel like I'm her only support. Can anyone give advice for what I can do to help her and also advice for how I can help myself. We live in San Diego, California. Thanks

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Ali,

I don't know how long you have known her, but if she won't take action for herself, maybe just set up an appointment and then tell her that the appointment is made and you would really like for her to go with you. If she declines, then I suggest you keep the appointment for your self. THe counselor should be able to give you some suggestions on getting her there. If not at least you will be getting some help for yourself. As far as taking a vacation from grief, I believe you can do that. By going out of the country, you were out of familiar surroundings and there weren't the remindars of that person, but as sone as you get home, then there are those remindars again. Hope this helps, and keep coming back, see if she might be interesated in coming here, I know it has helped me tremendously.

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Ali,

This is a difficult situation to be in, but I can tell you care deeply about your girlfriend and that is the most important thing. Going to counseling would be the best thing, but in the meantime, you can find lots of material to read on this site. I'm sure there is something about this or about how to help someone who is grieving.

The main thing is to just be there for her, which it sounds like you already are. If you are seriously concerned about her mental state (thinking she might harm herself) get her to a doctor or counselor as soon as you can. Maybe you can take another trip of some kind and it will be easier to talk to her when she is relaxed and not so upset, as she seemed to be on the trip to Italy. You can tell her your concerns and ask her to let you help her, by taking her to a counselor. And, definitely, see one yourself. You need to help yourself through this too, it is very hard on you, I know. And Dereks suggestion about getting her to post her feelings on this board is terrific too. It really does help.

Good luck,

Shell

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hi ali,

first of all welcome to the site.what a great friend you are to take the time and trouble to help her.

my mum died may 2005 and we didnt always have the best mum and daughter relationship.

my mum left me when i was 12 years old to marry who is now my stepdad,i did resent it for a while but as i grew up i was glad she did in a way,if she hadnt have done this i wouldnt be married to my husband or have my kids who i totally adore.

anyway i didnt tell my mum that i didnt blame her or that life had turned out great for me,sometimes she would be really horrible to me but i think part of that was guilt for the past.

at the end of the day most people are left with some sort of guilt when they lose someone but if the relationship has been rocky then you have more regrets to focus on.

Try to get her to see a counselor but if she doesnt want to just be there and let her talk as much or as little as she wants to,grief can last a long time as i have found out so dont get board with her saying the same things over and over.

I think she will do fine with you as a friend.

also tell her about us maybe one day she will have a look at this site ,it really does help

loads of love

amanda

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Hi Ali,

I too appreciate your reaching out to find ways to help your girlfriend through this sad and difficult time. As you probably know, although certain patterns and reactions are universal and fairly predictable, everyone's grief is as unique to that individual as his or her fingerprints. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, and there is no specific time frame. A person in the freshest throes of grief can look awfully "crazy" to the rest of us, especially when that first wave of shock and disbelief wears off -- as when your girlfriend returned from your vacation only to be hit full force with the reality of her loss. The sorrow that normally accompanies grief can look a lot like "depression" to people unfamiliar with grief. But more often than not, what you're seeing is a very normal reaction: a natural response to losing a cherished loved one.

In addition to the wise responses you've received from Amanda, Shell and Derek, I hope you'll take the time to read through the messages posted in another thread in this forum, as I think you have a lot in common with wacked612, the fellow who started this topic:

Is Detaching from Everyone a Common Behavior While Grieving?

I believe very strongly that just knowing what normal grief looks like, knowing what to expect and knowing how to manage one's reactions can be very, very helpful, especially if this is your girlfriend's first experience with losing a loved one to death. I don't know whether you've visited my Grief Healing Web site, but if not, I hope you will do so. If your girlfriend has access to a computer, at some point and if she is open to it, you may want to tell her about the site, too. Take some time to explore all of the pages there; you'll find many informational articles on various aspects of grief and loss, inspirational writings and poetry, as well as links to dozens of other helpful resources. You may be especially interested in these particular pages:

Death of a Parent

Helping Someone Who's Grieving

Unfortunately you have no control over any of the circumstances you find yourself in right now, Ali. What you can do is to be as patient, as kind and as loving toward your girlfriend as you can be -- and hold onto the belief that if the love between the two of you is true, it will be strong enough to withstand the impact of this event in both your lives. Sometimes all we have in life to get us through the most difficult times are hope, faith and love.

I hope this information proves helpful to you, Ali. Above all, please be patient with your girlfriend. Grief work is some of the most difficult work she will ever have to do, and it will help her to know that you will let her do it at her own pace, and that you don't expect her to have to do it all alone. You can give her no greater expression of your love than that.

Wishing you both the peace and healing you deserve,

Marty T

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