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This has happened a few times lately....and I can feel anger surging when it does. I don't get angry very often but this will trip it off.

Today (and a couple of other times recently) a friend said she thinks I have turned a corner, that I sound better, that I am doing better. They don't ask me. They tell me. Most never ask...never. When she said that this morning, I felt anger just surge within me. I know her well enough that if I had responded from the anger, even though tactfully, she would go away...happened before....she gets scared by honesty or by "making a mistake."

Instead I sat (in front of my new fire) with that anger for quite a while. I believe it is born of the loneliness and deep pain I feel that NO one gets or sees or asks about. I can think of only 1 person who has asked me how I am doing recently and meant it. I can think of several who have uninvited told me how I am doing and most who act like my loss of Bill never happened.

When they say they think I am "getting better" or turning a corner...I want to scream at them and say that that they do not see me cry each day or exhausted after minor exertion nor do they ever ever ask how I am...really am... etc. They only see the person who can now rise to the occasion of a phone call or distraction or lunch and look normal...and granted I do that more easily...but they don't see the other 23 hours of my day...here alone, painting alone, shopping alone, reading alone, working alone, eating alone, crying alone, feeling sad, wanting to share something and trying to figure out who might get it....they do not see me struggle to get a meal for myself and eat alone...they see 30 minutes of me looking normal or talking normal or even laughing....and even enjoying a moment. I see why grieving people isolate.

Hence the anger...almost rage at their uninvited input and decisions about ME. Yes, I can function better. I am glad I can. It feels good to be able to get something done on a good day or a good hour or concentrate on painting. Hard to read yet. And yes, I hurt as much as I have for months and months. The pain is still wrenching, tears me apart sometimes. Why can't they reach out to that, why can't they even ask about that? They all want me to be the happy, change the subject, so they can feel better. Intellectually I get it...I understand but I hope I never treat anyone that way..I feel today like people are just plain stupid, shallow, selfish or so fearful of saying the wrong thing...whatever. It is interesting also that how few people call just to see how I am or reach out to me. One who does has just gone through radiation for cancer and lost her mom...thank God for her. I got tired of initiating, of voluntarily telling people how I am so I just quit...including sibs.

One friend (who lost her husband years ago) said at our paint group that she felt like crying. I listened to how the group responded....same way as they do to me...avoidance. These are caring women...!!! So later I asked her if she wanted to talk about her tears....and she blew it off as just feeling tired and overwhelmed by "to do" stuff...did not want to deal with it and I know it is more than that.... but at least I asked?

I miss Bill so so much....this kind of behavior is so foreign to me and just not the way we were together. End of my tirade....back to work. Thank you for listening. Now I am in tears....and that feels good. I am slowly, very slowly making new friends with people who are not afraid of their feelings-they seem to come out of nowhere and we just connect somehow....I can name two just this week who surfaced because both of us trusted and shared. I KNOW my relationship with them will be different. How grateful I am. When Bill was alive I did not notice much how superficial some people are....I did not care then. I am sure I must threaten people also....a discussion about transformation as a title of an assignment from our critiquing artist led to me explaining transformation and when I said it could be a painting of a person moving from one stage in emotional life to another. Response: "We knew you would say that, Mary." I preceded that part by sharing other ideas about transformation. To me it was just no big deal. I could not believe they were trying to figure out how to paint transformation.

You deserve a medal if you read all this. Thanks, Mary

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I do not recall people assessing me but I do recall their devaluing how I felt. One in particular stands out, it was right after George died, I was at church, someone asked how I was and I burst into tears. A lady said "You can't care more about George than you do Jesus!" I looked at her as if she were from the looney bin and said, "George is dead, Jesus isn't." And the pastor, who had overheard, nodded his agreement. My thoughts...this lady didn't have a clue. I find it sad that someone's life can be so sheltered that they haven't a clue how to appropriately respond to someone who is grieving. To state emphatically that someone is somehow grieving wrong "you need to move on" "aren't you over him/her by now?" "you should start seeing other people" "you shouldn't cry in front of others" is to somehow lay blame to how we are doing it and taking away from our experience as to how we feel. We are not doing it wrong, we feel how we feel and our experience is OURS, not anyone else's to judge or correct. Of course we try not to cry in public, we don't like calling attention to ourselves, but sometimes it can't be helped...and it isn't wrong. But no one sees the wee hours of the morning when it's the hardest, when we're home alone, so for anyone to assume anything or make a statement about how we're doing, just isn't appropriate. I don't think they intentionally upset us, but neither do I think it's inappropriate for us to state or correct them in how we are feeling. I have learned to state my mind, emphatically, yet as tactfully as I can...I know, that seems like an oxymoron, it's an art, that's for sure!

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Kay, I totally agree with you. When this friend told me how well I am doing, I did explain calmly that she does not see the hard times etc. I knew if I meant further shake could not handle it. I agree we need to speak up or nothing changes. It is amazing the things people say. I know they do not intend to hurt but it does hurt. If only we educated people from day 1 I.e. birth. Peace, Mary

My art studio/meditation room is done except for blinds. I will take photos this weekend. It lifts my spirits.

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Mary,

I know how badly you're feeling - and you know you can always come here, or get in touch with me. We get it.

I think that grief scares people. Strong emotions scare people too. Most people aren't used to dealing with it. Also, I think if you haven't been there - really deep in the trenches of grief, you can't get it. Not really. When I think back before Thyge died, I've been in contact with other people who had lost their husbands. But I'm quite sure I didn't understand the depth of the despair they felt. My words must have sounded hollow to them too.

Though I don't think I ever thought "Snap out of it", I did feel pretty useless when it came to offering comfort.

That's the best part of a grief support group. We all get it. We've all been there - we all ARE there.

There are few words that can truly describe the utter aloneness of our new existence. But I suppose we can take some comfort in being in this together.

Melina

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Dear Mary,

It is said that the passing of our loved one re-writes our address book. Pauline and mine were re-written long before she passed, which was sad, but I always kept a positive energy in our home. I have met and talk, and cried to many people after her passing. I still shed tears even in school, talking about our life and what drives me to be what I want to become. For months after, there was not one church survives I could get though without shedding tears, but it always made me feel more at peace after. When I encounter someone telling me that I should be over this or get over this, I just kindly say, when you have traveled in my shoes then come back and tell me what time and when is it that we ever get over the passing of our soul mate, the love of my live, then will understands what it is like, until then do not say another word about it again, and may God Bless You. It shut them right up. I have made so many new friends that accept me for whom and what I am, if I have a moment and she, had tears, that is ok with them, because they had seen, or though me can feel the deep love that Pauline and I had for each other. Each Doctor and nurse that we have, or had in common, have all told me, when they came into the room was we are, they could feel the warmth, and see the glow of love. Something that some of them have never really experienced in their life. Now the tears are falling again. It is ok though.

When I was growing up as the middle of 5 brothers, I had big problems controlling my anger. In those days at school when I would get in a fight or had to be sent to the principles offices, they had a board for a couple whacks on the behind. I swear it had the name Dwayne on it. It did not matter how big they were I would fight until either they dropped or a teacher stepped in. By my Senior year I was doing better with my anger learning ways of control, until on night at our Homecoming Dance. This Freshman, was picking on my little brother. This guy was about 6'2", my little brother also a Freshman was 6'. I told this kid to stop, that no one picks on my brothers, he kept at it, so The anger rose up I beat him up, now I am only 5'6" 118#, well he did not have enough the first time so after I was done with him the second time. He had 2 black eyes broken nose, slit lips and bruised ribs. He was the son of one of my teachers, yes she took it out on me. She demoted me off the editor of the class year book. I was not allowed to touch it any way again. And no matter how well I did in typing, my grade was always a ac-

About 3 week after Pauline and I had met and became fiends and it was turning into love. She was still working at Pop's Place in Chapman Kansas, serving the 3.2 beer. Well one Friday night I was always in their after we met every night. When it got full I took a table towards the back and side so I could see everything, The place was packed, like always for a Friday night by then it was early June. Real hot and steamy out. This one big guy about 35-40 maybe 6'3"+ grab Pauline on her ass. I immediately jumped, up she knew were I at and looked at me and shook her head no, that she would handle it. I gave her a nod and set back down. No one really new that we were evolved with each other, and every man in that town want to have Pauline, But I know not for the good. She had seen the good in me. Well this guy the next time he ordered a beer as Pauline put the beers on the table he graded her ass an pulled he down onto his lap. I was there in like 2 seconds, I gentle picked up Pauline and in a soft kind voice I told her that the back table was waiting for her. He let go, I tuned with Pauline to make sure she was out of arms way, the I lit into him, I jump onto him sending him crashing to the floor. I did not hit him though I mad a fist and put it right over the soft tissue between your neck and chest. I told him If he wanted to live to get up and leave and never come back again. And if he every see Pauline on the street or any where to turn and go the other way, because he would never know when or where I would be watching him. After Pauline Told me my eyes looked like the eyes of the devil. When she told me that I knew I could never let that anger out again. And to this day over 34 years latter I am proud to say that I have controlled. Maybe, that is just one positive thing that has helped me to move down my new path of life.

God Bless

Dwayne

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Mary,

"When Bill was alive I did not notice much how superficial some people are....I did not care then."

We all on this site know exactly how you feel and go through the anger as you do, but as you said,"I did not care then". None of us recognized the pain a loss can cause until it happened to us,and therefore we try to help but don't realize how much we're hurting the person we're actually trying to console.

Don't get me wrong, my anger is just under the surface and sometimes I just don't care what I say to the people trying to help. Most of the time I try to be polite and tell them I'm good. Maybe we SHOULD be telling people how their statements offend us, maybe we should try to educate them.

When my Dad died I really didn't understand how my mother could lose interest in everything and I never thought to ask her how she really felt. After losing Lars, I now understand her.

Hang in there, express yourself to your friends.. maybe they'll understand how you really feel.

Lainey

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Melina,

Thank you for your loving reply. I know you are right. As I look back, I KNOW I did not understand this kind of pain when others may have been going through it. I get it now, for sure. And you are right...there are no words to describe the utter aloneness after so many years of living day to day, night to night with someone you love deeply. It becomes just a part of who one is. Thank you.

Dwayne, It sounds like you have done a great job of keeping your anger under control. That is quite a story. Thank you for sharing. I agree that grief changes our address book....there are people now that are not in my life but lots of new ones also. I tend to forget those who have come into my life who are sensitive and deep as they are also so new. It is the "old" friends that I find being a challenge in SOME cases. I guess I have always known that many of them were lovely people but I never needed their understanding as I do now. When Bill was alive, he and I shared all our joys and pain and feelings and I KNOW I did not count on others nearly as much. I did not need to. I enjoyed girl-talk with friends and they were there for me when Bill was sick (as much as they could be) but something switched when he died....it is over for most (not all, by any means) of them. I was so angry yesterday (really hurt, is the word) that I tended to exaggerate. I do have a close circle who ask, who care, who respond. I must change my expectations....I have high expectations of myself plus a 40 year history of listening to folks and asking questions and processing and I tend to expect others to have the same, I guess. Not a good approach. :)

Lainey, thank you for replying. I do care about others, for sure. I also know that sharing Bill's depth and love compensated so much for the lack of depth in our society. I think people live so focused on what is out there (jobs, to do list, buying, etc) and rarely take time to go inside...the part that matters. Bill and I lived differently than so many in our circles....and I knew superficial was a way of life for so many but could let it go. Now that Bill's depth is gone from my life, I know I keep searching for depth in communication...and if I am honest with myself...I have lots of that with my inner circle. That circle has changed however. New faces in it that I treasure and some of the old are no longer in it....Learning to live with all this is tiring when one is already tired.

Thank you all for your responses. It has been chaotic here with construction here with workers running about until last night when that all ended). I just have to put up blinds, that is it and a small rug where the fire is. My computer has been freezing up when I need it to do my publication. Deadline is approaching and I now have it back...again!! All of this has resulted in my not doing my meditation time as I normally do and losing my center. In addition to the fact that I happen to be human and lose it once in a while. So I thank you for your loving and non-judgmental support. This place is so good. It is difficult for me to post my needs and feelings as I expect myself to be able to deal but know I can not always do so.

Peace,

Mary

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Mary, I can't wait to see the pictures of your studio!

On another subject, last night a friend and I were talking about jealousy/envy. I'm not one to feel that. I may have lost my job and may lose my home this next year, but I am very happy for others that things are going well for...I do not want them to go through what I am going through, nor do I envy their good fortune. If this is what God has for me and He has something for me to learn through it...although losing my home would be painful and hard, I am sure there will be things I will glean through the experience, just as I have through this grief experience. We never wish for bad things to happen to us, but we can try to learn from them and thus turn it around so that something positive can come from it...no matter how small.

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Oh, Kay, I feel so badly that you might lose your home and job. I have been following your story and I have a hard time imagining how I would feel if I had to lose my little haven that I shared with Bill. This studio is a gift to me. I could never have afforded to do it. I watch spending a lot. I wish a new job with solid pay and close to home would drop into your lap...today! I really hope it happens for you. If you found a full time job that paid well, would your home be secure then? So many are dealing with this and who knows someday I could be one of them. I hope not. What are you looking for and where exactly?

Life is a very tough classroom. It has its joys for sure, like our marriages, that make it worth the pain we encounter. I agree...we are here to learn as far as I can see. I guess Bill was done learning and I KNOW I am not. :)

I have a list of people I think about and pray for and your name has been on it for a long time. Gotta save that house, somehow.

Peace and thank you,

Mary

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Mary

I understand the frustration and hurt that you feel from insensitive comments, and I have constantly wondered why we take them to heart so much, when I know I am surrounded by other caring and compassionate people.

I even had someone, on the day of my husband's memorial service, tell me how well I was looking! I know I wasn't an hysterical wreck, more like a walking, talking zombie but I felt guilty for weeks after that thinking that I may have been perceived as not having been affected by his death. How crazy is it that I could seriously think that and worry about it for so long?

To pick up on Kay's point about learning from this nightmare, I have come to the conclusion that I will only take on board the comments or advice that I value from people that I respect. I try to shut out the hurtful, negative and insensitive ones and excuse them as well intentioned or just moronic. Either way works for me.

In the first year I would be insulted if people asked if I was OK? HOW COULD I BE OK? I wanted to yell. Now after two and a half years, my general answer is Yes I'm OK, because it's true - not great, not even good, but I'll own up to OK sometimes. It's the same question but I've changed.

I feel I am coping better with the fury I felt inside for so very long - the anger at the world, that just seemed to go on as normal when nothing about my life would ever be normal again. Now the anger has changed into a deep ache, just like somewhere along the line, my easy laughter has become just a wry smile.

All outcomes of how much we are changed... and regaining the person we once were is just another challenge on this rocky path, I guess.

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Hi Susie,

I believe when we are in deep pain and feeling so raw that we are also hyper-sensitive to things people say...things we would not have even noticed let alone respond to. Grieving is wearing and tiring in and of itself, we are tired and fragile and so we become sensitive to noise, comments, and more. I agree, we need to let them go and also honor our responses to them when they hurt. Always a delicate balance. Mary

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Dear Mary (and others who may be reading this) ~ I just received this message from the leader of our Bereavement Team at Hospice of the Valley. It rings very true to me, and I think it speaks to caregivers as much as it does to counselors and others involved in hospice and healthcare. I simply couldn't resist sharing it with you. I hope it touches your heart and brings you some peace:

Our wonderful [fellow bereavement counselor] Willow has started giving her two team leaders a weekly mindfulness pause, which they send out to their staff. Willow has heard that some [Hospice of the Valley] staff read them to the patients and families to sooth them. For our end of week treat, I pass on the one she sent this week. Enjoy, dear team.

"Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go and do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." ~ Howard Thurman

By profession (and most likely by nature) we are caregivers. Our habit is to give our attention to meeting the needs of others. This is one of our strengths and is a great asset in our work. However, it can also be a hazard in that we tend to be "self-forgetting" and so may not take good care of ourselves. This tends to create all kinds of physical, emotional and spiritual challenges for us. When we shape our lives around the needs of others, we often end up feeling that we have lost ourselves and are not really living the lives we long to be living. Happiness flows from feeling content with your life and how you are living. Pause now and take a couple of slow and easy deep breaths. Give your attention deeply and fully to yourself. Let any thoughts of others and their needs just float by… Just let them go and return your loving attention to yourself … Let yourself be aware of what you might be needing right now…Be totally open to whatever need might come up … Breathe freely and continue to open as you become more and more aware of what you are wanting and needing …Feel how this affects your whole body … Breathe and allow yourself to become aware of how you can meet this need and how you want to take good care of yourself…Let this become your intention …To love and care for yourself as you care for others.

Sweet Darkness

When your eyes are tired

the world is tired also.

When your vision has gone

no part of the world can find you.

Time to go into the dark

where the night has eyes

to recognize its own.

There you can be sure

you are not beyond love.

The dark will be your womb tonight.

The night will give you a horizon

further than you can see.

You must learn one thing.

The world was made to be free in.

Give up all the other worlds

Except the one to which you belong.

Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet

confinement of your aloneness

to learn

anything or anyone

that does not bring you alive

is too small for you.

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Thanks Marty for this info........something that sings to me.............and need to work on, continue to find myself telling myself " Mike would like it that I am doing...whatever" but need to be thinking for me, and what I want, and what makes ME happy........at 7 months still have more work to do.....Dave

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Mary, there are two twin cities about 45-65 miles away that I am looking for work in, there is nothing here. This is a beautiful place to retire, but no local work. I was actually very fortunate that for 28 years I got to work in my own town but now commuting is all there is. Sometimes I feel if I just let go of this place right now I could start the adjustment and healing process that much quicker, but of course I don't want to let go of it and THEN get a good job and find out I could have kept it if I hadn't been so hasty. It's a day at a time right now...

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I agree...a day at a time. I remember commuting like that. On Fridays, in Chicago traffic, it took me 2-3 hours to get home....I hope you find a job soon and can stay put. It sounds like you are being patient and wise with this. Mary

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Dear Marty,

Thank you, for that message, because that is exactly what I have found in myself, and have put into motion. I still Love and Cry for Pauline, but I have found myself in all this grief. I have a calling that is loud and clear. My life has been changed forever, but yet I keep moving forward with a new perspective and purpose for my life. I have truly found inner peace and comfort. Not to be afraid to open that door and see what may be ahead for me. I opened it, and walk right on though it with knowing that I have found myself, my life, a new different life, a giving life, a caring life. But really it is who I was all the time. Just a new path different people. A new Career. A voice to reach up into the sky with. The songs that I sing with great joy. Life has meaning again.

Thank You,

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Marty,

This is a comforting statement - mainly because it frees us from having to worry about what the world thinks of us or the world thinks we should be doing.

But what if nothing really makes you feel alive? I'm still waiting to really feel alive. I'm still just going through the motions.

Melina

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  • 11 months later...

Hi Mary,

Everyone is at a different stage or place in their life and we grow only when we endure the anger, pain or loneliness ourselves and of course we grow with the good like the love of one of a kind. I may not feel what you are truly going through, but I do hope that we all are striving to be more in tune with our feelings and help others as we learn more about ourselves. I too am guilty of being callous, not my problem, etc... but I does not mean I mean to hurt. Maybe your friend does not either. God has given us such a gift of heart which we can hear and listen to tell us how we feel. I hope we are strong so that together we can make it better for everyone.

This forum just allows me to express myself what I feel today, it may not jibe with the topic but that's how I feel right now, haven't got any warning points yet,but please feel free if you think i am out of line.

Kavish

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Dear Kavish, Your post tonight came through in my email (I get notices for this forum) and when I read it I initially could not figure out what it was about. So I went to the original string only to discover you were responding to something I wrote a year ago. It was interesting for me to read the entire string of posts and see where I am now compared to where I was last December. Reassuring to see I have grown and changed a bit but that basic beliefs remain. Thank you for your response. I am a bit unclear about just what it is you are saying so perhaps you could clarify a bit. Thank you so much.

Rereading also gave me an opportunity to read the poem that Marty posted on this string. One I do not recall reading last year but which I find extremely meaningful and which I copied. Just scroll back a bit to see it. Thanks again for your post.

Peace,

Mary

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Hi Mary,

I know that I am unable to inarticulate what I want to say but the gist is there. I thought this topic was current but it isn't that new after all. 08 Dec !!! But forgot the year was 2011!!

I want to say is that everyone is at a different stage of living/reliving so much so, some can take just a little commotion others can encompass all but God has given each of us a gift to look at things from the stage at which each of us are. It takes some body more time, some one else less to understand what one self or some one else feels like. I know I still maybe sounding like talking in circles but that is how I speak. No one is very easily able to understand me except for God and my best friend! :)

Thanks,

Kavish

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Kavish, I do agree with you...we are all at different stages and each of us handles and can handles what comes along as best we can. I also know your heart is in certainly in the right place. I wish you a peace filled day.

Peace

Mary

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Hello Kavish,

I think you do just fine articulating. I have also read some posts that I thought were current only to find that they were written months ago. I think that is part of our ‘state of being’ at this moment. No matter how much we would like another person to help us in our grieving I am finding that it is only I who can be the active ‘star’ in this performance. People cannot enter our skin and know just how we are feeling but they can share how they are feeling. That is what I think we do on this site and why it makes it a ‘safe’ place to be.

I do not have a story to add but something I’m beginning to learn from something one of our fellow grievers continues to remind me of is this: ‘Be in the moment.’ We have a right to whatever feeling we are having at this moment. Our feelings are just that, our feelings. If we are angry, sad, lonely, tearful, or happy we need to learn to accept the feelings that are right now. If others do not understand that is fine. I think that if we look for others to understand us we will always be wanting for something because only we can grab our feelings and do something about them, I like a quote that we hear all the time that helps me understand what being in the moment means and that quote is: ‘dance like nobody’s watching.’ We have to not care what others think. I think we have to take more notice of what is around us and really see a flower (what does it smell like, is there a butterfly on it, count the petals on it) or a tree (what do the branches look like, how many leaves are on each branch, are there any seeds on the branches) or a sunrise or sunset (what are the colors, do we see any pictures in the cloud formations, do we stay for a moment and just be)? I often forget to just breathe. That is what I am trying to do during my time of grieving – breathe.

Anne

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Thank you both Enna/Anne and Mary,

For making a lot of sense of emotions. I do not vent my emotions easily. I am too conscious to be spontaneous I should let go and feel free to express and let the river runneth over. Sometimes I feel like Ned Flanders. Hopefully I will come to a place in my life where I can be me. This would make me so much lighter like Homer Simpson.

regards,

Kavish

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