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The 24th of May is the one month anniversary since Jim has passed away, and today is the one month anniv. since Jim was cremated and I saw him for the last time. Yet I am so suprised and taken a back by the reactions of so many people towards my feelings, grief and wanting to talk about my husband that I love and miss so deeply.

I feel I need to talk and remember the good times as well as get out some of the rough times we went through together, I don't understand why people don't understand and why they don't want me too have time to grieve. If we don't or can't talk and remember the people we have lost and loved, how are we ever suppose to grieve and heal from the loss that is so great? My sister-in-law told me I am to sad. Others tell me to just get rid of his pictures and stuff and get over it and move on. And yet others say you knew it was coming so just suck it up and get on with things in your life. WOW!!!!!!!!!! They just don't get it!!!!!!!!!!!!! Why????????????????

I have tried to not cry when people ask me how I'm doing, or say something about Jim, or his and my relationship and so on, but there are triggers and reactions to things that are hard to control right now. I just don't understand why people can be so cruel and say such hurtful things. I know everyone goes through this process differently, and in their own personal way, and some of the people saying this stuff to me has never lost a spouse to death. Why can't they try and see my side of it, instead of me always having to conform to their ways to be around them?

It makes me very angry and frustrated, and wonder if I am the only one feeling this way, and if there is something wrong with me.

amw

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amw,

There's absolutely nothing wrong with you, and no, you're not the only one who feels this. I've been thinking about why people react this way.

I think it's because first, there's no way they can possibly understand if they haven't been through it themselves. They can't even imagine it. It's so far beyond the experience of the rest of life, so much deeper and more painful than the worst thing that's ever happened to them, that it's impossible even to conceive of – what it feels like to have a part of you ripped away. Second, it's deeply disturbing to them. Somewhere inside themselves, they know it could be them and they don't want to look at that. They feel a taste of it, and they're afraid. That's my theory, at least. So they turn away. People seem to have an amazing unconscious ability to block out any awareness of what a grieving person is going through and feeling, or even that it's happening right next to them. It's just not real to them. Very strange. That's why they can say such stupid things, as if it's just a little speedbump. And lots of people will do anything to avoid something that's difficult and painful if they can. Maybe what they're really saying is, "This is disturbing to me, so I want you to stop it."

I grew up in a family that just didn't deal with emotions or anything difficult. After my mother died when I was 14, nobody ever spoke of her again. Everybody dealt with it (didn't, rather) by themselves. This was normal to me. When I lost Jan at 18, I didn't even expect any support or think about asking for it. It's only now, when I look back, that I've realized that I was back at college 2 weeks later, alone, and nobody ever called me to ask how I was doing. Not one person. I did get a nice letter of condolence from my grandmother, and one from the mother of a friend. I remember calling my older sister and brother-in-law, who had been sort of surrogate parents to me, desperate and crying and saying I didn't know what to do or how to go on. I was talking to my brother-in-law and all he could say was "Uh huh. Uh huh." My sister didn't even come on the phone.

Now that I'm feeling my grief for the first time, I've been feeling isolated with it. That's why I came to this forum, because I realized that only people who have been through this can really listen and understand. I've been able to talk about it a little with some friends, but I quickly saw the limit, the discomfort, and the stupid advice. "Don't look to the past, look to the future" – suddenly I'm talking to Dr. Phil. And everyone I've stopped talking to about it seems happy to have the subject dropped.

My grief isn't new and searing, so maybe I'm able to step back and be a little more philosphical about this. It hurt at first, and it still makes me sad, but I see that most people are simply unable to understand and be there with it. It's beyond their limits.

I don't know if you wanted something this analytical, but trying to understand what's going on has helped me – so at least I'm not continually getting hurt looking for support where there's little or none.

But you have to take care of you, and go through what you need to go through. Those people have nothing helpful to say about it. You know that you have people here who understand and support you, and you're not alone with it. Are you able to find a grief counselor or a support group that meets regularly?

Craig

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Dear amw,

I am so sorry people are treating you this way. Craig is right on in his analysis of how people handle grief. People, ironically, do mean well but are at a loss as to what to say and they are uncomfortable so they say stupid things and try to make it all go away. I would urge you to re-read what he wrote. This is the very reason we are all here...we gravitate to people who get it. In my daily life I now know which people respond appropriately and which ones do not and which fall in the gray zone. I ONLY speak about Bill and my grief to those who respond appropriately but it took a lot of testing of the waters to figure out who was who because I was, like you, so surprised about how people handled it including my own siblings. I now have it sorted out.

You are still so raw...a month is nothing. I do not even remember the first 3-4 months. I urge you to keep returning here and just vent or share what is going on. People here get it and respond appropriately.

I am wondering if you ever called Hospice to get some assistance with some of the financials, etc. It took me a while to realize I could not do this journey alone and in hind sight I wish I had asked for help sooner...help with care giving. I know things would have been easier for Bill and for me if I had realized my own limits.

We are all here for you,

Mary

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AMW,

I think Craig hit it on the head when he said people feel "This is disturbing to me, so I want you to stop it." I can't excuse that in close friends/family, they should make an effort to understand and be there even if they can't imagine how it is. I received some bad responses from people too in the beginning, and so many that I would have thought would be there for me, weren't. Along with those that disappoint you, you will find some who surprise you by being there for you when you didn't even know them much before. By and large, I haven't found people to be counted on much.

I do think it helps to come here and I also think hospice is a good suggestion, or a grief support group. They didn't have either in my area so I never had that benefit, but so many here have said how helpful it was to them.

Don't let people rush you through your grief or tell you it has to be done a certain way, it doesn't. Listen to your own instincts and stand up for yourself. I would spend less time with those who are not supportive and seek out those who are. I prefer a couple of true friends I can be real with than a bunch of people that I can't.

It does help to talk about your loved one. Is there someone else that knew and loved him too that you can reminisce with? Perhaps a family member or friend? My family still talks with me about George, we love "remembering..." It helps to know that others loved him too and have not forgotten him. There's not a day goes by when he's not in my mind and heart. He's part of me, and you just don't sever that...ever.

One month is very raw, like Mary said, it's hard to function and it's inconceivable that people should expect you to "move on" or be over it. That's crazy! Let them go through it and then tell you what they think...bet it'd change drastically then.

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Craig,

So sorry for your loss. I agree with what you are saying about others who haven't been through this themselves. But, I have even had some that have lost a spouse say stuff that just didn't make sense if they truely loved their spouse, maybe I'm just to sentamental and sensitive about this and Jim.

I am just 2 1/2 yrs away from becoming a masters in social work and working with grieving families in my job, I think I will be able to relate so much better than a grief counselor that only has book knowledge, not that we are to use our own experiences to much when working with families, but just having first hand experiences that I have from going through this process of end of life, terminal illness and eventually his death.

But, even before I went through all this with Jim I still had empathy for others and stuff they were going through. I guess I just never expected his sister to act the way she is, especially being non-supportive.

Thanks for your thoughts Craig, and I know this will always be a place I can come to vent and have people understand me and what I'm going through. It would just be nice to have someone I could call or meet for coffee here at home that gets it, too!

amw

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Mary,

I have been able to talk to the grief counselor at the hospice once. She told me to call a place here in my county, but nothing yet for help financially, but not giving up. As for grief support she told me they usually check in with you a month after, but don't usually start doing anything until at least 2 months after your loss. She did sign me up for an educational grief class she is running for 6 weeks, and she told me "you have the book knowledge about what you are going through due to your career path, but it is much different in real life when you are going through the loss. Your head tells you one thing due to education, while your heart tells you something different because you have suffered this loss." Thanks for remembering and asking!

amw

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Kay,

I feel the same way about the close friends and family, but obviously they just don't! I think they would possibly if they were the one going through it. Another thing that hurts is the one's who told me "they will ALWAYS be here for me, no matter what!" are now MIA, they don't return text messages or call. I get that they have their own lives to live, but these are the people that were the closest to Jim and I, that's the part that hurts most. Especially because if the roles were reversed I would not abandon them.

I told Mary I signed up for an educational grief class that starts in July, and the grief counselor told me they don't start any counseling until at least 2 months after the loss.

Thanks for your continued support!

amw

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I am so glad you got in touch with Hospice and I do remember the spousal loss group I attended started 2 months after Bill died...a little less foggy then and a bit less raw...just a bit. I hope you will also pursue that other Hospice in your county...keep at it :)

People who have not loved deeply (and there are many of them) and who fear feelings (and there are even more of those) just can not comprehend your pain and they fear it. The class will be good for you as people there will "get it" as well as in a spousal loss group or individual work which I hope you do. It will all help

Today I visited Bill's grave and it was one of the more difficult visits. I do not go there often but today was a tough one. I took Bentley with me and just sat on my little bench and sobbed. I am leaving now to go to a movie with friends...a great distraction...which I often choose. Peace to your heart, Keep coming to this site. Mary

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maybe I'm just too sentimental and sensitive about this and Jim.

No you aren't too sentimental or sensitive. I went through the same thing, close friends of our and his family said they'd be there for me and disappeared right after his funeral. Our own pastor went on vacation the morning following his death!

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Most people are terrified of death and loss. We are reminders that this kind of loss is real and possible...even for them. It is sadly very normal for people to hide from that which they fear. In a way people disappearing is almost logical. It is horrible, but logical. It is like being covered in spiders in a room full of arachnophobics.

I have two people who have almost completely disappeared from my life. My step sister and one of my best friends. Both of them are young and deeply devoted to their beloveds. My loss shouts out to the world that being young (36) is no guarantee that you are safe and that you can't suddenly lose the love of your life or die. Arthur was young and seemed very healthy.

The people who have really been there for me are those who have dealt with big losses also. My mom, My grandfather, my step-grandma and Arthur's family.

The other person who has really been here for me is my best friend Fran. She is in another state, but she has been amazing. She was the second person I called. Fran and I have a friendship that in many ways is very deep because we have been together for so many losses. She was there for me when I lost my uncle to AIDS and when her mom died (I literally moved in with her for the first week.)

I truly feel your best bet of finding support is going to someone who has walked this path. That is why I am so grateful to this board. I know you all understand. *hugs*

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Mary, Kay and Lina,

Thanks for your support. Yesterday I had a hard time as it was Jim's birthday. It made me realize all the birthdays, anniversaries, holidays and trips and other things we enjoyed and had planned to do together will never happen. That I will have to either do them alone or not at all.I miss him so much!

As for the ones that don't understand (from my original post of this post) I feel like they just want me to be fake, put on my happy face, and never mention Jim again. I guess when I have to be around them that is what I will do, but how is that being true to myself or to Jim and what he means to me and always will? I am finding it hard to even be around people in general these days, and at times would just prefer to close myself inside my home and not come out. I guess the way people are reacting to me and my loss have a lot to do with it, and the other is Jim and I use to do everything together, most of the few friends I have are to busy with their own families to get together often. I guess I have to figure out how to venture out on my own, but it's just not the same without Jim! Mary, I'm so sorry it was so difficult at Bill's grave. Thinking of you all, hope today brings you some peace and eases your pain.

amw

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