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The 6Th Month Mark

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Dear Daughter,

Your question is not silly ~ In fact, it's a common one, and it usually stems from the notion that grief occurs in somewhat orderly and predictable "stages."

That notion is based on the stages-of-dying theory originally described by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in her still popular book, On Death and Dying. Since that book was first published (in 1969), many people have taken her findings much too literally, expecting the dying process to occur in neatly ordered stages, one following the other. As wonderful as Elizabeth Kubler-Ross's groundbreaking work in death and dying was, her "stages" model was never meant to apply to those who are in mourning. Her studies were focused on patients who were terminally ill and dying. That is a common mistake you will find repeatedly in the literature still today. But there has been a wealth of research done since Kubler-Ross' pioneering work that focuses specifically on bereavement, loss and grief.

We now understand that grief is the normal response to the death of a loved one, and it doesn't happen in neatly ordered "stages" as such. Most of us who specialize in grief counseling prefer to think of grief as the personal experience of the loss, and mourning as a process (not a single event) that can affect us in every dimension of our lives: physical, emotional, social, spiritual and financial. Everyone's grief journey is unique, and there is no specific time-frame for it.

You'll find a discussion of others' experience of the six-month anniversary here: Memories

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daughter,I'm thinking of you...I just came up on my fourth month.I dont feel much better,sometimes I miss him worse.I think it's sad that we all have to wait for the pain to lessen,instead of waiting for them to come home.It hurts.I don't like that everyone (friends,co-workers,family)think the problem goes away.Everyone will say "whats wrong"!?!If I look sad,or like I'v been crying.It's like,what do you think?It's not like he has come back or something.I dont know.Just wanted to say hi,and take care.

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Hi Daughter2010,

I never knew your (& your Dad's) story, So I went way back in the posts (to January) to find it, I'm so glad I did because now when I read your posts I

know exactly what happened. I'm so sorry about your Dad, He was so young ,it's a heartbreaking story. You were lucky to have been able to talk with him and tell him how proud of him you were. That's one of my biggest regrets I don't know if I ever really told my Dad that?

My Dad died 4 months ago, It is actually getting worse for me instead of better ? I've been crying harder than ever, and all the painful memories (of him on life support,etc.) are just flooding my head and playing over and over. Do you see any difference in things at the 6 month mark ? Do you still cry often? Do others around you assume that you should be o.k. by now ? Like Lou-Lou had said, I also hate it when people ask me what's wrong ? Have they never lost anyone that they really LOVED ?

I know that you had said you missed your Dad's smile so much, that's also what I miss the most. I can barely look at his beautiful smiling face in photos

because I just start crying ! I have his pictures on my frig and on my dresser, but lately it's been too painful to look at them (but yet I don't want to NOT look at them !) Do you know what I mean ?

Anyways, don't ever worry about the broken record thing ! I say the same thing all the time ! I think I need to in order to just get things out and not keep them bottled up ! Well, I look forward to talking to you, Peace and Love to you! :) , Jodi

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Thanks for your response, very informative. The reason I asked the question was because I heard from some people that the 6th month mark is a time where our pain becomes more intense, and for me it has been a very strange experience.

I noticed I don't cry as much, but that is also because I cant yet look at Daddy's pictures without crying and there are times I look back 6,7,8 months ago and I had my father with me and it makes me realize he was with me just an instant ago in my memory. I will always miss him. This is a cycle of life that is very hard to accept. At times I feel numb, and others so in touch with memories of my father that I cant stop crying.

Again, thanks for your input.


Thanks for your words. Yes, all of what you said is true, people who haven't experienced grief, don't have a clue. I don't blame them , they simply don't know. I realized this very early on my grief, and have chosen to share my experience with those that can relate, for now that is my family and all of you guys here at this forum. You have no idea how much comfort and how much it helps to know someone out there understands why after 6 months, we still cry and miss our loved ones.


Thank you for taking the time to read on my story. Yes, in my family we never thought my dad would be the first one to go, and so young. When I see older people on the street I think they are sooo lucky. They still have one more morning to look forward to, they still have more time to share with their children, grandchildren, etc. During the first couple of months I felt a bit upset over other people getting to live longer than dad, I guess it was a natural reaction. Then intense crying came, I never thought I would be able to cry as desperately as a 5yr old would and that is how I felt.

Now at the 6 month mark, I don't cry as often as before, and it doesn't feel like my heart its about to shatter in a million pieces as it did in the first 3 months. But on the other hand, I think it could be because I avoid activities that will bring me all those memories and make me cry more. The other day I thought about start writing a journal of memories of my dad, so I would have it to look at later on in the future. I want to keep every memory of him, every moment written down on paper so I make sure I don't ever forget all the good moments he gave me and my family. However, when I started writing my first memory, I broke down in tears. The pain was too intense, everything surfaced and I guess my grief was being bottled up. I don't know, all I know is I wish I could spend one more moment with my father, even if it is in my dreams just to see his smile.

I too have pictures of my father on my dresser, sometimes I can look at them and sometimes I can't. I can completely relate. Thanks for your understanding about the broken record thing, it is true expressing our feelings over and over again may be just therapy to help get all those things out.

I will later try to write that journal, even if I cry, 'cause at times I feel I need to cry and release my emotions.

Thank you all to take the time to answer my question, I really appreciate it. :)


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I sometimes worry about hitting the 6 month and 1 year mark, I try my best not to think ahead like this but sometimes I can't help it.Time is flying by so fast while at the same time it feels like it all happened only yesterday. I think I worry because of what others will expect of me, that others will expect me to be "better" to be "ok" again and I just don't think I ever will be. Most of the time I don't care what others think because this is how I feel end of story but I guess it's a little easier to be like that so early on.

I don't cry as much as I used to but I don't feel it's because I'm getting any "better", I feel like I just block it all at times because I am so afraid of the raw pain it brings me but I know I should go there and let it out. I literally ran out of a restuarant on Sunday in floods,pushing past people who were blocking the door .... I'm sure people were looking at me stupidly but I had to get out of there, it just came over me.

I still can't look at photos and still can't even talk about my Dad. I listen when my Mom talks about him but I feel a lump in my throat everytime and tears build up, I want to brust out. Even sometimes she will say something like "haven't done xxx since Dad died" ....OMG just hearing the word died makes me feel sick, it's like a knife thru me all over again, I HATE hearing it. I seem to just think of Dad as gone or lost, I can't think of him as "dead" ....gone is easier to understand. I just don't understand what dead actually is, what it really means if that makes any sense. I still find split seconds where I wonder when will he be back.

hugs and love to all dear friends



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Hi again Daughter ! That is a great idea about a "memory" journal, I would like to try that also, but I know it would be very sad and painful ! I tried a

normal journal butI only have ONE entry in 4 months !! I know it would probably help me, so i don't know why I don't do it ? (Just another one of those things that doesn't make sense anymore !) Well good luck with yours, and let us know how it's going. Take Care, Hugs!xoxo, Jodi

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Dear Ones,

I want to say a few words about these unexpected attacks of grief, as described in Niamh's experience in the restaurant on Sunday. As you've all discovered by now, our grief will accompany us wherever we go, whether we want it to or not. In the grief literature, such experiences are variously labeled as SUGs (Sudden Upsurges of Grief), STUGs (Sudden Temporary Upsurges of Grief), Grief Attacks, and Grief Triggers, just to name a few.

Grief is extremely powerful and not something we can easily avoid; if we don't acknowledge what we've lost and how we feel about it, we may find ourselves expending enormous energy just trying to keep a lid on it, and often unsuccessfully. We cannot always predict or control the location or the timing of sudden upsurges of grief, especially when our losses are so recent. Much as we may try to avoid them or ignore them, our various reactions to loss can pop up when we least expect them. They can be triggered by something as simple as a song on the radio, an advertisement in a magazine, or a face in a crowd that reminds us of the person we have lost. If we've had little or no prior experience with bereavement, we may be caught off-guard and feel totally unprepared to deal with this when it happens to us. Not knowing what to expect, we may find ourselves wondering if our reactions are normal and dreading what may be coming next.

Much as we may want to do so, there is no way to avoid this grief of ours. We cannot wait it out, we cannot postpone it, we won't simply "get over it," and nobody else can do our grief work for us. It's called grief work because it is hard work, and if we put it off, like a messy chore or a sink full of dirty dishes, it will sit there waiting to be done – and the longer it waits, the harder it becomes. What we may not realize, however, is that we do have some control over when and where we choose to do our grief work. We can do it in pieces! And we don't have to do it all at once!

What do I mean by grief work? I mean doing the things you already know how to do: writing, journaling, meditating, dreaming, reading, remembering – but with the intention of paying attention to your grief. You can set aside some time each day (and yes, I mean literally putting it on your calendar as an appointment with yourself) to pay attention to and give in completely to your sorrow at losing your loved one. You can experiment with it as you go along, and take it in manageable doses, say for a half-hour (or longer) each evening, at the end of your day. You can use whatever props or triggers you can find, such as music, photographs, scrapbooks, an article of clothing or some other treasured object that links you to the person. And just for that specific time-frame, immerse yourself in memories: intentionally bring your loved one to mind, talk to him or her in your heart, remember the person and recall or write down your favorite stories about this special individual. When your time is up, tell yourself that you are finished with your grief work for the day. Do this on a regular, daily basis. And the next time you find yourself faced with another grief attack, tell yourself that you will save your reaction until your scheduled appointment that evening, when it's time to do your grief work. Make sure to keep your commitment to yourself that evening. Go to your special quiet spot, turn off your cell phone, do whatever you can to recall how and what you were feeling earlier in the day, and give in completely to whatever you need to express.

You may find this article by Chris Mulligan helpful: Grief Happens: Taking the Risk to Bloom After a Loss

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thank you so much Marty, I agree, this is something that's kind of been on my mind the last few days and I keep saying I will go take some time out to fully deal with the pain and tears. I find when I come home from work, I have dinner and then become glued to tv because it's the one distraction that works. When I go to bed I find myself doing everything to avoid just thinking fully and properly about this because I do feel so afraid of the pain, it's so crushing. Although it does eventually come as you say I need to let it in a little more I think. Sometimes I just get a little scared because the pain and heartache is so crushing but I will try :)

thank you for your support here !


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  • 1 month later...

I hate to say this but Kubler-Ross was full of brown smelly organic matter in terms of stages of grief. I just hit the six month marker and I still have to say the pain is still as fresh as it was the day my dad died. Sure, I get up in the morning, do my chores, get my kids to school...go out and earn the bacon...or try to (I'm a photographer; photographing happy families...who still have their dad or granddad...etc etc...) and function on what most people would say would be a normal level. Inside, I'm still torn up emotionally.

Some people start using comparisons of how much the death of their spouse means more than the death of one's parents (Guest_Guest_Vivian's thread - which was the first thread that I saw when I came here after a search on Google - AND it made me SEE RED!)

When I was 8 years old, my mother went off the rails emotionally (due to emotional scarring during her internment during the Second World War). My dad and I had to pick up the pieces. He was my emotional rock, because as a child, I couldn't understand what was going on. He became my one stable point in a sea of emotional chaos; he protected me. He tried to do that; all while carrying a job and making sure that our financial needs were met as well.

No, I wasn't entirely protected...I still got the fall-out from it when my father was at work though. I had to protect myself then. My mother was suicidal most of the time. She either tried to throw herself down a well or tried to OD on medication. Yet through all of that I somehow managed to try to maintain good grades in school and get through. Yet every day in the back of my mind even after she seemed to get better. "Is this the day she's going to flip her lid?"

If there was one constant, it was my dad. He tried to make a life for me. He, above all, tried to hold himself as an example for me. Though the world may crumble around you, you stand strong and do what you have to do to hold back the tide. That's what a man has to do.

So as you can see, my dad meant the world to me. And I'm still deeply mired in grief. I prefer to say that the roller coaster metaphor seems to work the most for grief resolution (it is never resolved...it just keeps going around and around...some days are better than others, other days seem like the bottom fell out of your rollercoaster of life...)

I'm married to a wonderful spouse...but still, my father was the center of my universe for a long time and his death just ended up sending a 8.0 tremor on the Richter scale through my life.

To make a long answer short. NO...six months doesn't mean a whole hell of a lot in a lifetime of grief and remembrance of a loss.

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