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Why Do The Bad Things Haunt Me?


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I was wondering when I will be able to think of our good memories and laugh instead of cry. The things I spend a majority of my time thinking about are the painful memories. The 2 years we fought the cancer. I think of how he suffered just to die. I think of the drives down to Philly and I get physically sick thinking of it. Last night was the first night I couldnt sleep because of my thoughts (not the baby) in a while. I want to be able to think of the Jason that was happy and loved life. Not his lifeless body. In some ways I wish I didnt go in the room to see him dead. It is the last view I got of him, and it sticks in my mind. I cried alot yesterday and I feel as though when I do I am not being a good mother and I need to be strong. I hope I get peace soon.

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Chrissy

I am not sure when that stops, i tend to dwell on the bad stuff also. they say it just takes time. i get tired of hearing that but i have to keep hoping.

it also makes it hard having a little one and you probably aren't getting alot of sleep and you are physcially and emotionally exhausted. be gentle with yourself. you are a wonderful mother and when the baby is old enough you will be able to share all those happy moments about Jason.

Take one day at a time, we all have to do this. i will be praying for you. God Bless Lori

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Chrissy, The bad memories are very hard to take. My year is coming and right now I remember what was happening from this day until he died and everything was spiraling out of control. It does make you feel physically sick and it does take an awful lot of energy. I don't know when to tell you these memories will be replaced with the good ones, I wish I knew. Please try to take the best care of yourself right now, you deserve it. Try to hang in there. We are all listening and understand. Deborah

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Chrissy - My 2 years is just around the corner and like Larrysgirl said I keep remembering what was going on around this time. He was in the hospital for 25 days prior to passing away and I'm "in" that 25 day period right now. I try not to dwell on it, but sometimes you just can't help but remember. I know that you are in a lot shorter timeframe now than me, so it's much more fresh in your mind. I promise that someday you will remember the good times and actually laugh about them - it just takes a while.

I, too, wish I had never gone back to his hospital room to see him. The walls were closing in on me and I HAD to get out of that room, so I spent quite a while sitting out in the waiting room watching "our" show, "The Amazing Race". Just as it ended my daughter came out and told me that he was gone. I curled up on the floor in the corner and sobbed hysterically. My sisterinlaw came over to hug and talk with me and convinced me that I should go back to the window of his room and see that he was peaceful. I kept telling her I didn't want to go, but she told me that she thought it would make me feel better(to know that he was at peace)....yeah, well it didn't! I have NEVER forgotten that sight. She tried to convince me that it looked like he was sleeping and I told her that no it didn't because he never slept in that position. I WISH I HAD NEVER GONE BACK THERE!!! I totally understand what you are saying. I try so hard to remember him when he was healthy and enjoying life.

I know what I have written doesn't help any. I just wanted to write to let you know how much I understand. I wish all of us here could meet someday and just hug each other. The best I can do for you now is to <<<HUG>>> you on here! We care!!

Try to think good thoughts and give your little boy a big hug for me!!

Patti

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Chrissy, Your post got me thinking... and I looked through some of my old posts. It seems that I wasn't able to recall good memories and be happy about them until almost 5 months. Of course, as you know, everyone is different. In the beginning when I would think of Josh, the image in my mind of Josh was at the wake. I have this horrible image of his face covered with makeup trying to hide the bruises, etc. (He was killed in a car accident.) People would comment that he looked "great;" he looked absolutely HORRIBLE! The image still haunts me occassionally. Fortunately, the wake was a closed casket except for close family and friends. Eventhough it was awful, I think that if I didn't see Josh, I would never believe that he really died. But I wanted to say this all because now when I think of Josh, I really mainly recall the happy, alive Josh with only occassional unhappy memories. But the happy ones are more frequent these days. And by looking at lots of pictures of the happy times, my brain more readily recalls Josh alive (not at the horrible wake). But I think in order to get to a better place you have to suffer through the horrible times. Grief just sucks that way. No way around it, just through it... so I think you're heading in the right direction eventhough it seems so awful right now. Tons of hugs, Kelly

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I was not there when my ex-husband died, but his best friend was, and she says that image stayed with her for a long time. Now, after 2 1/2 years, she says slowly the happy memories are replacing that last one, and the memory of how weak and sick he looked when she took him to the ER. I wanted to be there to be comfort for him, but he was shortly in a coma, and I know he didnt' tell me he was going into the hospital because he didn't want me to remember him that way. And I have to say I'm rather grateful not to have that image.

Ann

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Chrissy,

I wish I could name a day that it will all seem better but none of us can know that...I only know that little by little we do get more used to it and that eventually we should be able to reach the point where we can smile at some of the memories we had and feel warm thoughts instead of feeling sharp pains inside or crying. I still feel loss and pain and have to try hard not to think about it too deep or think about him completely or it's too hard to take...I kind of hold it at bay a little bit. But I do know that I am doing better than I used to. The pain is so immense it is just incredible. I am currently at 1 year, 4 1/2 months since his death. We're all going to be individual in our timetable...just know that you are doing well for all you have been through and that it will get better, not worse if you look at the whole picture. Expect to feel the pain but allow yourself to feel joy too. My thoughts are with you.

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KellyMarie said:

But I think in order to get to a better place you have to suffer through the horrible times.

Reading this got me thinking of a little poem or story a friend gave me recently. It's kind of sad, but I think that's the point it's trying to get across... that we have to go through this period of sadness, to struggle through--- to be able to really live again. Well here it is, it you want to read it.

One day a man saw a butterfly, shuddering on the sidewalk.

locked in a seemingly hopeless struggle

to free itself from its now useless cocoon.

Feeling pity, he took a pocket knife,

carefully cut away the cocoon and set the butterfly free.

To his dismay, it lay on the sidewalk

convulsed weakly for a while, and died.

A biologist later told him,

"That was the worst thing you could have done."

A butterfly needs that struggle

to develop the muscles to fly.

"By robbing him of the struggle,

you made him too weak to live."

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Hi Chrissy,

I'm doing the same thing...even though I try not to, my mind goes over and over the last time I saw him in the mortuary and kissed him on the forhead and he was so cold....and the moment of his death - I was holding him with my head on his chest when he took his last breath - and some of the crummy things he and I went through during the last year...I think I've thought of his smile and our hugs and cuddles twice since he died...it's like a nightmare.

I mentioned on another message or two, that the last two weeks have been really bad and really hard...that I haven't posted much and I'm really going through it. Sorry I'm not being more positive - I'm depressed and I'm probably depressing everyone else. Sorry, but I do thank you all for being here anyway.

Love, Benita

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Chrissy,

I also am haunted by Doug's last weeks. He suffered so. I go over the images in my head again and again. The images come at all different times of the day. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and think about it. I usually cry and cry, but I try to hold it together at work. This must be part of the grieving process.

Terry

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I feel the same way. i just go over all the bad things and dwell on all the things i should of done differently. i have been a mess these last days. i also am fighting a cold which makes it worse. today i had to get up during dinner to go to the bathroom to cry. i miss my mom so bad that it hurts everywhere. when does it get better. when do i forgive myself for any wrongs i did, when can i see the happy times, when do the tears end, when do i feel joy again. i feel so alone and lost. thanks for listening. lori

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I think it's very common to replay their last moments over and over in our head...I know I do, and it's been 16 1/2 months since he died. I think it will always haunt us, but we need to try to remember the good things too. The last moments were short in comparison to the rest we shared.

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Thanks all for your thoughts. I agree KayC I know that I should be thinking of the good things but I just cant. All I see in my head is my poor lifeless husband on that hospital bed. I think of all the times he suffered and think why? I dont understand it. My mother in law gave me a book to read "the purpose driven life" It encourages you to only read a chapter a day and today is day 2 for me. It has really transformed my mother in laws outlook on life and I hope it does the same for me. I was taking an antidepressant but it is making me worse in other areas. I am getting panic attacks from it and it doesnt allow me to cry which I really need to do. I am gradually decreasing it and eventually stopping it. I get phyically sick thinking of the bone marrow biopsies and the chemo side effects and all those 130 mile drives we did to the hospital. I cant wait until I think of the good times and smile. Thanks again it feels good to vent. Take care all

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My dear Chrissy,

You said, In some ways I wish I didnt go in the room to see him dead. It is the last view I got of him, and it sticks in my mind. I cried alot yesterday and I feel as though when I do I am not being a good mother and I need to be strong.

In one of your earlier posts, you told us that even though Jason had been battling cancer for the last two years, his death was sudden and unexpected, and you were not at all prepared for it: “I also wouldnt let myself think my husband was going to die (we were not really expecting it . . ." In the four months since Jason died, your focus has been on caring for your baby, and you've had very little opportunity to enter into the heart of your grief, to face the enormity and reality of Jason’s death, to immerse yourself in the pain, and to really feel and express your deepest feelings of loss. Because you are a brand new mom (and a single parent too), it is completely understandable that your top priority is caring for baby Jason, which leaves precious little time and energy for the sort of turning inward and focusing on the self that the work of grief requires. The problem is that, no matter how busy or distracted from this work you may be, and no matter how justified the distraction, your grief doesn’t “go” anywhere – it just lies there, waiting to be addressed. And if you don’t give it the attention it demands, sooner or later out it comes – whether it’s at a “convenient” time or not, and whether you want it to or not.

When you find yourself being “haunted by the bad things,” thinking about the circumstances of Jason’s death, and reduced to tears as you replay those awful scenes in your mind, I suggest that you think of it as grief’s way of demanding your attention. Most certainly it is not evidence that you are being a bad mother, nor is it an indication that you are weak when you “need to be strong!”

In his insightful book, Understanding Your Grief, Alan Wolfelt refers to this process as “Re-thinking and Re-telling the Story.” He writes,

Often when someone dies, you find yourself thinking about the circumstances of the death and the time immediately surrounding the death over and over again. You may feel like you can’t “shake” your memories of certain moments. You may replay them repeatedly in your mind. You may also feel the need – almost a compulsion – to tell other people about these prominent memories over and over again. You may find yourself wanting to talk about them all the time.

I call this process “telling the story.” Telling the story isn’t a sign that you’re going crazy; in fact, it’s a sign that you’re doing your work of mourning. Whether you’re conscious of this fact or not, you tell yourself the story and you tell others the story in an effort to integrate it into your life. What has happened to you – the death of someone you love – is so hard to fathom that your mind compels you to revisit it again and again until you’ve truly acknowledged it and embraced its presence. Telling the story helps bring your head and your heart together.

Allow yourself this necessary rumination. Blocking it out won’t help you heal. Don’t be angry with yourself if you can’t seem to stop wanting to repeat your story, whether in your own mind or aloud to others.

Yes, it hurts to constantly think and talk about the person you loved so much. But remember – usually grief wounds get worse before they get better. Be compassionate with yourself. Try to surround yourself with people who allow and encourage you to repeat whatever you need to repeat. Support groups are helpful to many people because there is a mutual understanding of the need to “tell the story.” Grace happens!

– Alan D. Wolfelt, in Understanding Your Grief: Ten Essential Touchstones for Finding Hope and Healing Your Heart, pp. 72-73.

Certainly in this forum and on this site, you are surrounded by caring, compassionate people who understand your need to “tell the story,” Chrissy, and we are always ready and willing to listen to whatever you need to share. The next time you're "haunted by the bad things," try writing about those scenes and memories here. Think of this as a place to "put" them, as a way of getting them out of your head and onto your computer screen. Above all, give yourself permission to remember and to feel all the bad stuff. Once you get all that ugly stuff out and cleared away, you will have lots of room left for the good stuff, I promise.

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Marty,

Thank you so much. That does help. I have been focusing on the baby obviously and it keeps me occupied, but at night when I have to be alone I start thinking. During the day I do too but the nights are so hard. I do find myself telling people about the day he died and how I felt alot. It is almost like a compulsion to talk of it over an over an replay it. I guess if it is how I am suppose to heal it is ok. I will come on here to talk if I need to vent about those "bad things".. I am pretty sure the people around me dont like to hear it. Take care

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I have been through the memories of my Mom's suffering during the past few yrs before her death too. It isn't /wasn't fair and she shouldn't have had to suffer like that. I also get thoughts / memories of how powerless I felt during those times of her suffering -- I wasn't able to take her pain away or do anything to prevent her death! That is also an awful feeling!

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Marty, Thank you for sharing everything you did...it helped to explain it that way so we can understand why it is that it goes over and over in our heads...that helps me so that I can know when I go through it again, as I often do, that it is a normal process that helps me mourn, which has its place in all of this. Sometimes we know we are doing and being like everyone else that grieves but we don't know or understand WHY...it helps to know.

Chrissy,

Your pain is so fresh, while I have had another year in which to work through things...PLUS you've had the added care of your baby, which, while he is such a joy, it has also undoubtedly been distracting to your grief process. Always do remember that we, here on this site, love you and care about you and we will never ever tire of hearing how you feel and what you are going through. We are all feeling the same way and while sometimes we have a good day, many days are not, and we have all experienced the same things. Keep remembering that there is no timetable and if you grieve a year, ten years, the rest of your life, it is okay...I do think the intensity will lessen eventually...or at least we get more numb or used to it. I don't realize it until I compare it to when it was fresh, when I'd first learned he was dead, to the first week when I was going through the motions of trying to arrange his service, make calls, etc...to the third week when everyone had gone home and left me all alone, to the "return to life...without" when everyone seemed to think life went on and there's all did but mine didn't. To facing a different life where he wasn't there to hold me, wasn't there to turn to, wasn't there to help, wasn't there to talk to or listen to, wasn't there to enjoy and look forward to seeing...wasn't there. I'm a big help, I just depress you...sorry.

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Whiteswan,

My own mother was/is nuts and was a horrible mother. So when I married I got my mother in law and she was the mother I'd always wanted. We used to talk on the phone several times a day and her and Papa would come up and have dinner and play cards several times a week and we were a close family. I could share anything with her and she taught me about cooking and about getting stains out. When we had kids, she LIVED for her grandkids! One day she was diagnosed with cancer...when it ate through her bones and she became bedridden, I took care of her. For the next 2 years and 8 months I watched as cancer ravaged her body, slowly taking her organs, bit by bit, then getting into her brain. STILL she lived, as she WILLED to live, for her grandchildren. She wanted to watch them grow up. But the oldest was five when she passed away. It was hard to watch her suffer so much, to go through so much pain. Amazingly, she was uncomplaining. You are right, it is NOT FAIR! And now, 19+ years later, I still miss her. We learn to live with it, but never to like it. I am sorry for your pain.

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Yeah, my Mom was my mentor, my best friend, my rock when I needed someone to be tough in my life to protect me from the cruel realities of the world, my cushion when I needed to be held and consoled over life's sorrows, my safety net when I made stupid mistakes, my teacher -- in cooking, crafts, gardening, and many of life's ways of do and don't. She never told me what to do when I got older , she just guided me and encouraged me then let me make my own decisions, live with the consequences of them but she was there as a ear to hear the whining if it all went wrong and suggest ways to correct it. She taught me about parenting too, more by example than anything -ie- to always put our children first and so on like she most definitely did. God, I love that woman and I really miss her!

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