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Guest Nicholas

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Guest Nicholas

Do you find your family members or your friends more sympathetic and understanding to your loss and bereavement? I have always found friends, ie people of my own choosing, far more understanding and reliable. My own family, what is left of them, have always been pretty dysfunctional and at heart utterly selfish and self-centred. I only have two sisters left - the elder one I ended all contact with for 11 years on the grounds of her appalling selfishness and, though she did have the decency to attend my son's funeral, she hasn't bothered to ask how I am coping since; the younger one has many psychological problems and wasn't able to go to the funeral (though I dare say if it had been me that had died, she probably would have found a way of getting there), for which I forgave her, but at heart she is still wrapped up in her own problems, obsessed with her 18 year old son and keeps pestering me with her own problems. I lost my temper with her yesterday and told her to "go away" (a euphemism for much stronger language) as I could no longer tolerate her selfishness and that my loss was far more profound than any of her own silly concerns.

On the other hand, my friends have all been wonderfully supportive.

Is this "normal" or does it vary from family to family?

As ever, any insight is greatly appreciated.

Nicholas

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Hi Nicholas,

First, I am sorry your family has been unable to reach out to you. I do think it varies from family to family and depends on the history previous to a loss. I also believe it is pretty common for grieving people to find their own families unable to deal with them or not knowing how to reach out. I find that with my family. For the first few weeks they were there and i know they love me but since then it has been spotty and I can't turn to them for comfort at all. It is sad as it rather shocked me when this happened. I count on my friends and it hurts deeply and I addressed it directly and it backfired so I won't do that again...it is too difficult. I have heard from many that families can disappear when there is a death, they might now know what to do or say and the tension grows. I am sad that you do not have the comfort of a family right now. I am glad you have your friends...and glad I have mine. When does your counseling start?

Mary

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Guest Nicholas

Dear Mary,

Thank you for your insightful reply, as ever. No date yet for the counselling.

When I say "my family", it sounds weird as, since 1983, there have only been my two older sisters and me. I have never got on with my older sister and the other one is hopelessly unreliable. I don't think my upbringing helped - sent away to a classic British boarding school at a young age, the time in England (still) when children, especially boys, should be "seen and not heard" and got out of the way as soon as possible for being a damn nuisance and disturbing the colonial environment. My sisters weren't sent away to school, only me, as "it would make a man of me".

I don't think I have ever recovered from my schooldays, still have regular nightmares some 35 years on.

Nicholas

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Everyone, in my experience, has been crummy about support, whether we're talking about family, friends, or acquaintances.

I was planning on making another post or two at a later time discussing problems I've had with other people, (including my family), so I won't go into detail now.

I think family member's insensitivity and rudeness hurts more, because your family is supposed to be highly supportive of you in your time of loss.

Acquaintances, on the other hand, are usually trying to say something to cheer you up but don't know what to say, so they end up saying hurtful things, or uttering platitudes, which can hurt too.

In other words, many acquaintances mean well, but due to ignorance (and not malice), they still hurt your feelings.

I can tolerate unintentional slights from friends a little better as opposed to family who either ignore me in my time of need (even after I pleaded with them for emotional support - they did not call me or e-mail to ask how I was doing).

I have a sibling that intentionally tried to hurt me after our mother died.

She would try to find the most damaging, hurtful things to yell at me in the first several months after Mom died.

Your family should be the last ones to hurt you after you've experienced a loss, but they can be some of the worst perpetrators. I don't know why that is, though.

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Guest Nicholas

Neither of my sisters, nor my nephew or one aunt, bothered to email me even though the end of my street was destroyed and set on fire by the current looters in London, and I mean literally 5 minutes away. I guess that sums up my family to a tee.

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Neither of my sisters, nor my nephew or one aunt, bothered to email me even though the end of my street was destroyed and set on fire by the current looters in London, and I mean literally 5 minutes away. I guess that sums up my family to a tee.

Nicholas, I've only just heard how bad it is from a colleague living there. (I'm in Ireland). I hope you keep safe, things have gone pretty crazy over there for sure. I'm so sorry your family didn't contact you.

With regards to your original post, I too have found some friends to be more understanding and patient than some family. I think aswell people who are not part of your everyday life do just tend to forget and assume everything is "ok now" and that's hard because for us the loss is still profound, we still wake everyday thinking of that person, I'm sure your son goes through your thoughts every day as does my Dad.

Keep safe Nicholas,

Niamh

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Guest Nicholas

Dear Niamh,

Yes, things are pretty bad here. I can't believe they trashed my local department store (Debenhams, formerly Arding & Hobbs), such a historic building and one my son and I knew so well.

He remains forever in my thoughts not just every day, but every hour and probably every minute. Mind you, he would have been quite relaxed about all the rioting as it is common place in his land of birth (Thailand).

Thanks for your posting.

Nicholas

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wow that is so awful Nicolas, I havent had chance to check the news yet so we are just hearing bits and pieces in work, sounds like a war zone. I hope it's over very soon and nobody is hurt. I know it's horrible too to see anything destroyed, torn down when it was something you and your son shared.

Yep I'm with you on thinking of your son every minute of everyday. I find sometimes people are surprised to know that there is not a minute that goes by that my Dad is not on my mind no matter what I'm doing, he's always there.

Niamh

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I have friends and family both that I can go to, but the main ones who are supportive of me are my teddy bears, especially Arcto, who has become my closest bear because he has been with me through all my grieving process. I don't like for people to see me down in the dumps, but I know that he'll be there for me to bury my face in his fur and cry, as I did while reading this thread.

post-14386-131317461839_thumb.jpg

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Guest Nicholas

My obsession - wouldn't say consolation - are books; trouble is, they take up so much space and remembering where you put each one is a problem, especially when it is your business.

Nicholas

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