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Everything Around Me Looking Surreal


jc1030

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Hi everyone,

I'm new here since I recently suffered a loss.

When my dad was in the hospital, and eventually died, there were points when I thought the world around me seemed really strange. Everything was real, and yet it wasn't. Whether it's my friends, my job, the food I eat, my belongings, there are times they don't feel like they're real. Not to sound like a sci-fi nerd, but it's almost like I'm going through a universe shift from the world when my dad was alive to a new dimension without him. And there are moments when it looks like the colors of everything around me have changed.

Am I crazy, or have others experienced the same thing?

Jeff

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Hi Jeff,

Well you're in the right place if you've suffered a major loss. I came here about one year ago when my Mom died and these boards and some people I met here helped me get through her death and understand things better. I've been away for a few months but something drew me back tonight and I saw your post. The title kinda jumped out.

First off all, you're not crazy. Although I haven't experienced exactly the same thing, it sounds as if you and your Dad were very close, and when he died the fundamental structure of your world was altered and nothing just seemed right anymore. The external world is as it was before, but now you see it all with different eyes.

Before, you had your Dad, and whatever comfort and support that brought. By support, I mean at least just having him around. And maybe other things, too. But probably you had some closeness and that was a major undergirding of, and importance in, your life. Now that's gone and you're on your own with the Universe.

In all the griefwork I've done this past year, one thing I've learned is that the death of a parent is a major change in one's life, and one is largely unprepared for it. I don't know if your Mom is alive, but if she's gone too (or alive but for a variety of reasons that are none of our business unless you want to make it, gone from your life) then your Dad's death has also brought you face-to-face with your own mortality. There is nothing now between you and whatever lies beyond Death. And perhaps that is what you're feeling or sensing.

On some level your mind is trying to reprocess reality and that is affecting your perceptions.

In a manner of speaking, I did experience what you felt, but other things got in the way for me to feel it to your degree. But when my Mom died I felt my world was ripped apart and absolutely nothing seemed real. Everything was different and now my world was lacking her. You never think that your parents are going to die and when they do, it is as if some cruel cosmic joke was played upon you and you wonder why you're the punchline.

You sort of grasped it in your comment when you said, "...the world when my dad was alive to a new dimension without him." Yeah, it's like a new dimension. You have to learn new rules, for lack of a better term, and learn to relate to a universe in which he's not in it.

This reprocessing could take a while. One of the reasons I was away from these boards, I just needed to step back for a bit, but not forever.

.

Anyway, stick around and continue posting. Lotsa nice people here and MartyT's the coolest.

Ah'll be back.

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Jeff,

Welcome to the board. As Paul said, you are not crazy. I agree with everything he said. I think when you lose a parent you feel as though you don't know who you are anymore. It's sometimes like they are a reflection of your identity and without them, you're lost and alone and not sure of anything anymore. It's also scary, and the tension and anxiety can make you, and the rest of the world, seem unreal. Hang in there, after awhile you will slowly learn to feel more "normal". I'm so sorry for your loss.

Hugs,

Shell

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Yep, what Shell said. Especially about the tension and anxiety.

She mentioned something about feeling "normal" after a while. I think she put it in quotes to refer to the fact that it is considered to be a "new" normal. Nothing will be like as it was before. Things have changed, and once you have done whatever griefwork is needed to incorporate your Dad's death into you life, you will look around and see that a normality has returned, a normality in a new configuration. That "universe shift" you mentioned in your first post will have settled out and the new dimension will be familiar.

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Hi Paul, Shell,

Thanks for the responses.

Fortunately, my mom is still alive. I think what I've learned so far from my dad's passing is to not take anything in life for granted, and I have been indeed feeling more tense and anxious as I worry about my mom's well-being more and pray to god that nothing bad happens to her. Nowadays, whatever differences I had with my mom are now put aside.

I would like to think I was close enough to my dad that we didn't have any major differences. I mentioned in my first post yesterday in the Loss of a Parent Section that I look back at some of the conversations I had with my dad earlier this year, and I regret starting some of them even though he accepted my apologies without hesitation. That was probably the sign that the relationship was strong enough. I wish I had more chances to talk to him. I try not to beat myself up about these things, and perhaps it's because everything that happened is still so fresh in my mind.

Jeff

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Jeff,

Believe me, we have all kicked ourselves for things we said or did in the past, but you're right, you and your dad were close or it would have torn your relationship apart. We're only human, after all! Just the fact that you are thinking about all these things is a good sign that you will do well in your recovery from grief. It's a long process, but get all of your thinking and feelings out. That, and crying, will help you through it.

Hugs,

Shell

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Hi all...

First..Paul, you've restored my faith in a man's ability to access his emotions and communicate them verbally. Long story...but thanks!!

Jeff...I can really relate to the surreal sensations you're having. It's like a dreamworld at times...sometimes actually I feel drugged. Creating or evolving (or processing your emotions) into a new normal does take a while. When something shakes up your reality, it takes a while to sort it all out again...and to incorporate the new perspectives and lessons, whether you wanted them or not!

Grief is not easy work, maybe the hardest and deepest work that we do here. It forces us to look inward, to face our own mortality, to ask ourselves all the questions that we had avoided until the loss brought them to the surface...which it does.

I read in a book that going thru grief is like driving in a thick fog...you can only see a few feet in front of you..but if you are patient and keep moving...you can get there.

It has been a year now that I lost my best friend to a 2 year battle with breast cancer. Before that I had never experienced grief...I had NO idea of what I was in for. I thought I had lost it...I read alot of books and came to realize that what I was feeling was normal..it still scares me at times. The fact that you came here seeking comfort and info is a very healthy sign...you want to learn and grow and thrive again.Keep feeling, writing, talking...burn off energy if you have any...you'll get there.

Peace to you..Marie

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Jeff:

It seems to me that you're already learned some important stuff in your griefwork, and it IS griefwork that you're doing. And one of its benefits is that it fundamentally affects how we view things and other people. We learn exactly just what is important and what isn't. And then we have little trouble sorting through and ejecting things from our lives that are troublesome or not worth it.

It looks like you're doing that with your Mom, and it's great that she is still with you and you're concerned about her. The fact that you're setting aside differences with her shows that you've taken this to heart. You're asking the question: "Is this really that important? Is it worth the cost to my relationship with my Mom to hold onto this negative?" And your answer is "no", and you've set it aside. Your Mom is worth more than whatever the issue(s) are. Your Mom isn't going to be around forever, (and the death of anyone close drives that home) and the differences will pass when she departs. You're clearing your relationship with her now and you'll get closer. Believe me, some people never do that and they hold onto grudges and issues YEARS after the parent dies. This retards their grieving process. Their griefwork slows to a halt and they dwell on the pain. They make excuses and rationalizations for doing that. And this is so because it's easier to be unhappy than to be happy. Happiness takes work. Grief takes work. You cannot get around grief or avoid it, you have to go through it. That is painful but possible. But happiness will eventually be found on the other side.

Getting to the other side of grief is that point where you've "moved on", but not left the deceased behind. "Moving on" isn't the same thing as forgetting. You'd have gotten past the intense pain and anguish and guilt and such, and just miss the person. But you're largely OK with the person being gone. That may seem hard for now, but it is not as cold as it may seem. We all have to "move on" eventually, and good griefwork helps us to discard the pain of the loss without leaving the person behind. The loss isn't the person. The loss is the person's absence, which is eventually filled by the new relationship with the person. To continually link the person with the loss is to do a disservice to the person. When you die, would you want some loved one associating you always with the pain? For a little while (however that's defined) OK, but not forever. That is what I meant when I said "griefwork is needed to incorporate your Dad's death into your life, you will look around and see that a normality has returned, a normality in a new configuration..." That is the "new normal" that Shell inferred. This may take a few months (HA!) to a couple years or so. But progress is seen during this time, sometimes fast and sometimes slow.

Grief serves as a winepress for love. Like crushed grapes becomes fine wine after a time in oak barrels, love is transformed by grief (the winepress) and successful griefwork (oak barrels) into something else. A mature and deep appreciation for the truly good and wonderful people and things that are here today, but maybe not tomorrow. And a connection to something greater than ourselves. The shallow and mundane seems so trivial.

Don't worry about the things you're beating yourself up over. Like shell said, we've all done that. There are always regrets and guilt and things like that. That's part of the griefwork. You'll get through it, it's part of the process.

Marie: Hi! You understand.

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