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Poll: In The Beginning Of Grief, What Did Someone Do For You To Make Y


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I'm curious. In the first few days of grief, let's say, in the shock/disbelief/denial phase, what did someone do/say to help lessen the pain...even a tiny bit? Or if no one did anything or said anything, what could someone have done or said to help a little?

I know I was pissed off at a lot of the "it'll take time," "he's in a better place," blah blah crap. That was and still is the worse thing to tell me.

But was there anything someone did or say, however, small, that made you feel a bit better? For example, did someone just sit with you in silence? Did someone give you something? Did someone cuss a lot at the injustice (the latter is mine)?

Thanks.

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Interesting question. Others have said to me "his suffering is over" "you had time to prepare" "he is in a better place" "he is with God now" etc. Two of the best gifts I received were: a family friend reading what was on my mind and telling me " I miss him too Debbie". Another gift came from a Constable that works out of the office I work in. He had not known that Dean had died and when he found out he stopped by to visit and listened to the entire story about my time with Dean at hospice. The gift of allowing me to talk and not interupting or injecting. That was and is a remarkable gift that sticks out in my mind. As our journey through this continues may we all remember the gifts from others and disregard ( or at least try) the people in our lives that can be so hurtful. Blessings, Debbie

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Many people were helpful to me. A few were insensitive. I remember that both of the Pastors from our church came to the hospital as soon as they learned that Brian passed away. Brian had developed a strong relationship with Pastor Dale. When Dale got there I remember looking into his eyes and knowing that my grief was mirrored there. He hugged me and we both knew that words at that time would be inadequate. There was nothing to say. A bright light had gone out in our world and we grieved together. As the loss began to become real to me, what helped was when peole commented that our love for each other was obviouos and that they enjoyed watching us together. We never realized that our love was so transparent. Now, I am glad that it was.

Peace, love, and blessings,

Linda

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Hi Em ... I have missed you :-)

Cliff's sister said to me: "He's still here. You just can't see him."

One of his friends asked me: "Can you tell me what happened because I'd like to know."

One of my friends sat and held me and cried with me. For hours.

Another of his friends told me: "There is going to be a circle of us around you at the funeral and beyond. He's still with you. Just through us."

Boo xxx

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I was assigned a befriender from my church. As I sat, numbly saying how much I miss Bob, she asked, "What do you miss most?" She hasn't quit asking and over the last 2+ years, she probably knows him better than any of my family.

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Talking to my dad actually made me feel a lot worse when my grandpa died (his dad). He was trying to tell me it was for the better because grandpap had been really sick for so long. I feel like its so easy for him to say that as he's lived on the family property next door for almost his entire life, while I had to move away a long time ago to get a job. I wasn't able to be there for him.

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Many things helped me. The chaplain from the treatment centre was amazing. He was there for me and Scott for the 3 days Scott was in the ICU. I believe he helped Scott. He helped me come to some kind of acceptance (I had to give the word to discontinue medication - would not wish that on the devil himself). And I couldn't bear that Scott's death may have been in vain, so I insisted he go back to the centre and tell our story. And he did, immediately after Scott died. Scott had only been there 2 and a half weeks, but he had made such a positive impression on so many people (he was always making jokes, just had a way about him). The next day, I talked to a few of the "inmates", as Scott called them, and they were very moved. And the chaplain and Scott's counsellor also told me that some who were considering leaving treatment decided to stay after his story. This was very important to me.

As for my friends and family, often I just needed to be able to sit there and talk and cry. I just needed for someone to listen. It seemed the more I talked about it, the more I kind of worked off nervous energy. Or something like that. And one of our friends was able to sit there and laugh with me (if it seems possible), about the fun times we had, and funny situations we experienced together.

And very importantly, nobody lied to me about how hard it was going to be. My mom (who lost her mother prematurely), simply told me straight up that it would take a long time for the empty, kick in the guts feeling to subside, for example. And she also told me how friends who had lost spouses would talk to them as if they were present, as a way to deal with their grief. My mother in law, who lost her husband 19 years ago, said it would take a long long time, as well. I appreciated the candor.

The thing that got my back up the most was/is when people (when speaking about practical matters) say that I am young and there is a possibility that I will find someone else in time. The thought is just completely foreign and incomprehensible. And at the beginning, just seeing other couples, especially happy ones, really struck a nerve of anger/sadness/jealousy. Not always, but it happened more than once. Nothing they did wrong.

Korina

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Hi, em. This is an interesting question you have put out on the table.

Hmmm...it's easier to think of things people said that weren't really the right thing. I remember people telling me, "be strong," and wondering, what does that even mean? How can I be strong, when I am experiencing one of the toughest things to go through? How can I be strong so early in this?

As far as the good things people did for me...I remember being couch ridden and ill a couple days after my father passed away, and I was looking through old photo albums, to share at his memorial. My mother found me crying over this one old photo taken at my birthday or Christmas, of my dad sitting with a big smile on his face watching me at three years old opening a present. She didn't say anything, she just sat down next to me, put her arm around me and cried along with me.

Another thing that really helped me when my father passed away, at the memorial itself, was my best friend. I didn't even know she was going to be there. I had included her name in a list of people that I sent the news to, but she was two hours away from where the memorial was held, so I didn't expect her there, didn't ask. But she showed up at the start, and just ran to me and said simply, "Chai" and held out her arms in a hug. It still makes me teary to remember that. And when I stood up to speak (after my grandmother and uncle), she had her hand on my leg the whole time, keeping me steady and giving me strength. It was so hard even just to get sentences out through all my tears, and having her sitting there right by me the whole night through is something I remain ever so grateful for.

Also, more recently after my grandmother passed away, the woman who was caretaker for my father and grandmother gave me a collection of old family photos that my grandmother's sister had sent over. Included were pictures of my grandmother and father as children, and I am so happy to have those photos.

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I wanted to add another memory of what someone did to make my grief a bit more bearable. My very good friend, Robin, came to the hospital as soon as I called her and told her that Brian passed away. For the past 5 1/2 weeks she has been my angel. She was with me or called me every day for the first four weeks. We spent a weekend together at the beach three weeks after Brian passed away. I know that I can call her any day, any time and she will be there for me. It is these self-less friends who will continue to get me through my great loss. I know that I will never again be the same person that I was before 09/23/2009 but someday I hope to be able to figure out who I am on this new journey that I walk. My one constant is that I have friends and family who will be there for me and I do not have to pretend that life is the same.

Peace, love, and blessings,

Linda

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This subject comes up every once in while but in the reverse. It is usually about the "stupid" things people say. I know it is hurtful to us but I think they just don't know what to say and at that moment it really wouldn't make any difference what they said. Let's be honest, we are so raw that almost anything can be hurtful. We love and miss them so much.

People stood in line for 3 hours at Tom's visitation and the one thing that made the biggest impression on me was an almost homeless looking, unkempt, straggly bearded little guy who stood in line all that time to tell me he had ridden the school bus with Tom when they were in grade school. I had never heard Tom mention him and the rest of his family barely remembered him but Tom did something that left an impression on him and he stood all that time to tell me.

Silent hugs are the best, or even, "I don't know what to say other than I'm sorry you have to go through this", but I'm sure even that comment would upset some.

The oldies on here know that I did not have much family support except for my one daughter. The other one is able to talk more now but we are going on two years. If it were not for this site and my grief support friends, I don't know where I would be.

My greatest moment came the week after Tom died when a friend of his called me and said he couldn't tell me the day of the funeral but when he was getting dressed (he was a pallbearer) his cell phone rang. He said he didn't know why he stopped to answer it but when he did it said he had a voice mail message that would be deleted if he did not save it. When he listened it was a call from Tom on Dec 9th (He died Jan 18th) just saying he was calling and looking for Gary. A couple of weeks later I called him because I was already forgetting his voice and he still had the message on the phone so he kept calling until we got a good take of it on my recorder. Now when I want to hear him I can. Just like our comments, sometimes it is comforting and sometimes it makes me sad.

Someone talked of the photos of other happy couples and I have a hard time with that every Sunday when the paper has anniversaries and weddings. I am happy for them and at the same time jealous and sad.

Kath - I think the program your church has sounds wonderful. I am trying to be supportive down the road and taking a meal and listening but am not having a very positive response. One man seemed offended when I asked how he was doing ( I know that may sound stupid because we have all lost someone, but you have to start somewhere and I'm talking 9 months or more out) and basically said he didn't want to talk to someone who might bring him down. I just respect what they say and let them know I am here if they need to talk.

Just breathe deep everyone. WE WILL make it through this. It may not be pleasant but we will do it just like the thousands before us.

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I just wanted to add that friends who were there when I needed them meant more than any words. Regardless of words, they were just there.

Korina

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  • 1 year later...

my mother's best friend came over with a huge bag of food for all of us that lasted for days. She sat around, talked, laughed, let my mom talk about whatever she wanted, and never changed the subject if she didn't want to..

my boyfriend flew from across the country to be w/me and do anything I couldn't.. like drive around, etc..

we both told them this wasn't necessary, but they, as friends/support, knew we weren't ourselves and did what they needed to to help us feel better, not just act like robots and leave all the responsibility and blame on us.

just being there, knowing whats best in your heart for your loved one and letting them grieve how they want to, was absolutely precious to our family and I won't forget it.

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My best friend dropped everything and came from Texas to Kansas. She was just there. She sat and cried with me. She got up in the middle of the night to sit and cry with me. She kept people from overwhelming me with "He's in a better place. (How does he know? I'm not there to tell him he's in a better place?) "Now he is happy." (What?? You weren't around. What makes you think he was unhappy?) "He's smiling down at you from heaven." (Really? Tell me where you see his face with that smile? I would like to see it one more time.) You know that blah crap.

Just being there meant the absolute most to me. Five years before my husband died, her husband died. I dropped everything and went to Texas to be with her. We always promised we would do that if anything happened when she moved from Kansas to Texas. It was so comforting to know the promise meant something to her.

Anne

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One friend called every single morning for weeks to see if I was up and what I needed including just to talk and invited me to dinner often including last week. Another friend reminded me to be gentle with myself in the months ahead. Another friend said that she did not know Bill well and would love to sit with me when I am ready and look at pictures and hear stories and we did that a few weeks ago. Another friend brought food over...and ate it with me. Some offered to go to the cemetery with me anytime. I publish and distribute a publication...friends jumped in and distributed for me and 13 months later they are still doing it. It is 13 months and two people brought over dinner this week...out of the blue. Oh, I have the other stories also...we all do but this is nice to focus on what was right. Perhaps the one that stands out right now is a neighbor I do not know well at all....she owns a local restaurant and when I would go in there she would ask how I am. When I replied (out of habit) ok or fine...she would look at me and say..."that is a lie, isn't it. I know you are not fine and I am here for you." She did that every time I saw her and still does. She gets it.

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