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Still Going Nuts After 4 Months

Paul S

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(This is, like, the 3rd time I've tried writing this post, but each time the dang thing gets deleted when I hit a command such as "copy and paste" or "bold". By the Great Googly Moogly I will not leave this place until I have achieved VICTORY and have posted this missive!!!)

OK, I'm actually feeling better, now, but so what?

Yesterday was the 4th month anniversary of my Mom's death.

I still feel that after this time I have not fully grieved over her, or that if I do, I will not emerge from the pit of despair. I have been beset my material problems that have distracted me from grief, problems that are connected with her death.

I feel that my mind is fracturing, that I am being hemmed in and trapped by everything, and there will be no end to this suffering. It is a constant companion that seems to not ever want to leave.

Part of me seems to feel that I have no business grieving over her. After all, she was 89 and in poor health. Couldn't I have seen it coming and have better prepared myself for it?? (To quote a niece who used perfect 20-20 hindsight in her tough-love advice) Also, she was just my Mom, not a wife or child. Parents are supposed to die before their kids and the feelings of grief that I have after 4 months are best reserved for these others. (I know better after having been on this board for a while, in addition to having had f2f grief counseling. But still, I feel what I feel.)

I feel that the squirrel cage will never stop. I feel better after a while and then get whacked by some problem or emotion or memory. Then the squirrel cage gets running and my mind goes off at warp speed. After a while it slows down and the squirrel leaves, but I'm just tired.

I still go to bed at 7 or 8 PM. Blissfully welcoming sleep as a little death or escape. I awaken 9-11 hours later resentful at having to experience another butt-draggin' day of abject misery.

I miss my Mom a lot, and feel that Reality is just someone's nightmare and I'm their stand-in. There are gods or demons and they're all laughing at me. "Heh-heh-heh, what can we do to him, today?"

I remember things, and want to talk to her, but can't. I reach out, and there's no one there.

This all just seems so unreal. I am supposed to build a new life, but feel hamstrung.

I just need to vent and air all this out. This prob ain't anything new, but I'm feeling isolated.


Paul S.

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Oh, my dear Paul. I feel such a need to respond to some of your concerns. I know you’ve probably already heard from your “in person” grief counselor much of what I am about to say, but I feel a need to say it anyway. So I guess you’ll just have to bear with me.

You say you “just need to vent, to air all this out,” and that it “ain’t anything new.” Of course, that’s what you can use this forum for. You say you’re feeling isolated, too, but that is just a feeling, and feelings aren’t always rational or accurate. Accept that you're feeling isolated and express it as you did here, so you can expose it to the light of day, where it can be examined more objectively. When you acknowledge openly to others what you’re feeling, you can test the reality of it, and permit others to challenge its validity.

Since yesterday was the four-month anniversary of your mom’s death, it’s not surprising to me that you're feeling as you are at this particular point in your grief journey. By now, all that initial shock and numbness have worn off, and you’re being hit with the full force of your grief. This is nature's way of cushioning the blow until your head and your heart can catch up and begin to accept what you really don't want to know. Now there is no more “forgetting” or denying the reality that your beloved mother is physically gone; now you know for certain that she is not coming back. And the pain of that reality is excruciating.

You say, “I still feel that after this time I have not fully grieved over her, or that if I do, I will not emerge from the pit of despair.” I’m reminded of Carol Staudacher’s astute observation that grief is not quicksand:

Often, a survivor fears that if he shows his sadness,

there will be no end to it.

If you are among those who feel

that you do not know how intense, lengthy,

or deep your expression of grief may be,

you may find yourself thinking

that it would be impossible —

or at least very difficult —

for you to pull out of grief's deep pit

to do all the things you need to do

before or after the death.

Being afraid of getting sucked down

into a hollow of "no return"

is not realistic.

Grief is not quicksand.

Rather, it is a walk on rocky terrain

that eventually smoothes out

and provides less challenge —

both emotionally and physically . . .

For example, you may think:

I will fall apart

and won't be able to function

if I start to show how I feel.

Replace such thoughts

with the more realistic:

I will let go for a time,

release what I feel,

and will be able to function better

as a result of having vented the feelings

that are an ever-present burden.

— Carol Staudacher

in Men and Grief: A Guide for Men Surviving the Death of a Loved One

You say you “have no business grieving over” your mother: she was 89 years old, in poor health; she was “just my Mom, not a wife or child,” and “the feelings of grief that I have after 4 months are best reserved for these others.” I’m gratified that you added that you “know better after having been on this board for a while.” Still, as you say, Paul, you feel what you feel, and we can’t always control how we feel. It seems to me that you’re spending an awful lot of energy trying to do just that: working to control your feelings instead of simply giving in to them and accepting them. In another of her wise writings, Carol Staudacher observes that

Some survivors

try to think their way through grief.

That doesn't work.

Grief is a releasing process,

a discovery process,

a healing process.

We cannot release or discover or heal

by the use of our minds alone.

The brain must follow the heart

at a respectful distance.

It is our hearts that ache when a loved one dies.

It is our emotions that are most drastically affected.

Certainly the mind suffers,

the mind recalls,

the mind may plot and plan and wish,

but it is the heart

that will blaze the trail

through the thicket of grief.

— Carol Staudacher

in A Time to Grieve : Meditations for Healing After the Death of a Loved One

If you’ve ever worked out on a regular basis, Paul, you know that it requires a great deal of time, effort and commitment – but when done consistently over time, it produces physical, emotional, mental and spiritual benefits. So it is with grief work. Doing the work of mourning takes enormous energy. It is both emotionally and physically exhausting – which serves to explain why you feel so tired, even after retiring early and awakening nine to eleven hours later to “another butt-draggin’ day.” Grief work may well be the hardest work you will ever do, but it can also produce tremendous healing and growth. Much as you may want to forego this labor, whatever issues you don’t address will lie there, waiting to be resolved. When feelings are expressed outwardly, they can be released. When they’re held onto, they just fester and keep on hurting.

As you already know, Paul, the work of grieving can be done through private activities such as reading and writing, and with others through talking, participating in bereavement counseling, or finding support in a group (including online virtual support groups like this one). It is an active rather than a passive process, not only of coming to terms with your loss, but also of finding meaning in it as well, so both the painful experience of your loved one’s death and your life without her physical presence will count for something.

Have faith that there is both a purpose and an end to the hard work that you are doing, Paul, and trust that you will find your way through this grief of yours. Take responsibility for doing your own grief work, and give yourself credit for doing so. As another wise mourner once said, “Your family, friends and support group may help get you on the right path, but very early in the process you have to get behind the wheel. Only you can complete the road to recovery.”

The decisions you make, the feelings you feel, the tears you cry belong to you alone, and no one else can do your grief work for you. That does not mean that you cannot take time out and time off whenever you need to do so. I don’t have to tell you that your grief will be waiting when you return. Ask for help when you need it, from those of us who are working through losses of our own, and from others who understand the grief recovery process. And take all the time you need. Grief work will take more time and effort than you ever thought possible, but you will make it through this, and we are here to help. You may feel isolated, but you are not alone.

Wishing you peace and healing,

Marty T

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Hi Paul,

Good to hear from you again! I can't give any better advice than Marty, just wanted you to know that all of us are still here for you. It's been a year ago last month that my dad died and I am still reeling. Still crying, still feeling all the stuff you feel in grief. But it has gotten a LITTLE better. I'm afraid it's like Marty said, that it takes a long time to get through all this, but we will make it eventually.

Hang in there will all your might,


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Hi Marty, and hiya shell.

Thanks much. A lot of what Marty said I kinda/sorta knew, but I clearly needed to be reminded of or re-exposed to it. So much information to process, and then emotions get in the way. A lot of it I need to re-read and meditate on.

It's as if I've made a bunch of progress, but then feel overwhelmed and backslide. It's that danged rollercoaster again. And I need to keep reconnected to the fact that I am not the only one who feels this way. That shell said she feels the same as I do after a year past her Dad's death actually helps. So I am not actually going crazy, just taking a slight detour through Reality's desert terrain via the DisOrient Express. Shell and Maylissa are sharing coach seating with me. :blink:

When I read Marty's post, the image of whitewater rafting popped up in the strange movie theater that is my brain. :glare: The river is grief, (duh) I'm holding on on for dear life cuz the paddle's been turned into kindling way back there.

I think I shall get Staudacher's book on "Men and Grief...", I might've seen it at bookstores, perused it but for reasons I don't recall, declined to get it. (I have "A Time to Grieve..." and will look thru it again. I hilighted a bunch of passages and did a lot of scribbling in the margins.)

Next Tuesday I have a session with my f2f counselor, and later that evening a support group meeting at Hope for Bereaved in Syracuse. (I found Grief Healing's link on their website.) I always wonder if I'll have something to talk about. ***sigh*** Sometimes I'm kinda slow. :wacko::D

I'll hang in there.

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This part of Carol S.'s writing strikes me as key to this long, painful process...

"The brain must follow the heart at a respectful distance." That really sums it up, I think, and is a wise idea to keep reminding yourself as you go along. The mind and heart must work together, but when it comes to very emotional stuff, the heart should be where the work starts, otherwise everything becomes intellectual mumbo-jumbo, while the heart is still burning in pain, left unattended. Maybe it would help to think of your heart as a child, who must be nurtured and cradled by listening to and honouring its needs....the mind will simply follow along in the process, taking its lead from the heart.

As you probably know, I can highly relate to what you said here:

"I still feel that after this time I have not fully grieved over her, or that if I do, I will not emerge from the pit of despair. I have been beset my material problems that have distracted me from grief, problems that are connected with her death."

With all the other problems that arose because of my own Mother's death, I've looked at these things in a few different ways. Each interfering component needs to be grieved unto itself, but all of them as a whole can also end up distancing one from the biggest grief, that is, your mom's death. At times I've used this as a means to cushion myself somewhat from the deepest, darkest parts of my sorrows, akin to a 'break' from the hardest parts of mourning, ie. they're all painful components, but some are a little less painful than others. This is the positive spin one can put on it....as long as you stay aware, and committed to the fact that sooner or later, those darkest parts must be reckoned with. But if the interferences can be used to 'serve' the entire process, that can end up being a good thing, in the bigger picture. It's sort of like saying to yourself, "I think I'll spend the next 2 hours being mad at ( pick someone or something )...before I can tackle the more primal anguish of looking at my mother's absence." ( sorry if I'm not being clear....I'm in terrible pain myself today )

I also picked up on what Marty said about that bigger picture, for as you well know, I've had much trouble with this concept already:

"...but also of finding meaning in it as well, so both the painful experience of your loved one’s death and your life without her physical presence will count for something."....yes, will count for something. This is what I think is ripped away from us when our families deny us any 'coming together' over someone's death, and their life. It's that lonely, desolate feeling of not having anyone important, or closely-connected, to witness to your own life anymore. I'd love to have some advice at hand about this, but this is the part I'm still muddling through. And like so many aspects in our lives, we often don't even see the positive impacts we've had on parts of the world until LONG after we sown a seed, done a deed, or even thought a certain thought. Process and experience has to unfold more first, and unfortunately, this does take time and sometimes lots of it.

I know you'd rather hear, as I'm sure we all would, that we could start our stopwatches and in x amount of time, we'd be DONE feeling crappy. I've also often realized that coming here to moan and groan is likely quite depressing for others when they find out it's been over 2 years for 2 of my griefs and 6 years for another, and things still hurt for me! For that, all I can say is that despite my moaning and groaning, and certain upward spikes that can still surprise me in their intensity, it isn't, overall, as bad as it once was, even though it's still not easy. So yes, you must just keep hanging in there, even if it's only by one baby finger, and things will ease up some after more anguish is released, bits or chunks at a time. I don't even remember details now of how I felt at only 4 months, but I do know it wasn't good at all. My head was still spinning from the enormity of it all, and being interrupted in my grief with all the family garbage, every few weeks.

And like you, I'm at home more often than not, so there's no job to distract me, either. But I'm of mixed mind about how useful that is in the long run anyway, as some people use it to distract themselves for far too long, and gives them extra pressure when they have to hold it all in, which may not serve them well in the long haul, yet others find it helpful, as a break each day. I kind of think that maybe it's harder when they come home and have to grieve in only the evenings, rather than grieving some all through a day, possibly having it apportioned out into easier sizes to deal with. Whatever works for you best, I guess. In any case, trying to "build a new life" is done in baby steps, even if there's no death to grieve, so don't feel you have to rush it, as you'll just add more stress, in unrealistic expectations, to your already-stressed life. And remember, babies take a long time to cross a big room when they're first learning to walk, and they fall down a lot, too! Then they either cry :( , laugh at themselves :lol:, or rest awhile, -_- but sooner or later they get up and attempt that long trek again. For those of us who've lost our moms, what else do we feel like but oversized infants who want their moms back? :(

Edited by Maylissa
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It didn't take me too long to find the quote in Staudacher's "Time to Grieve..." It was the first page. Nice, also that within a few pages of that there were meditations on lonliness and isolation.

Maylissa said: "Each interfering component needs to be grieved unto itself, but all of them as a whole can also end up distancing one from the biggest grief, that is, your mom's death. At times I've used this as a means to cushion myself somewhat from the deepest, darkest parts of my sorrows, akin to a 'break' from the hardest parts of mourning, ie. they're all painful components, but some are a little less painful than others. This is the positive spin one can put on it....as long as you stay aware, and committed to the fact that sooner or later, those darkest parts must be reckoned with. But if the interferences can be used to 'serve' the entire process, that can end up being a good thing, in the bigger picture."

I think I've latched onto that in some fashion off and on these past few months, an actual realization, or even gratitude (tho I hesitate to use that word for emotional reasons) for some of these other problems. I know me rather well (due to AA's 12 Steps and just a lot of introspection, altho I fall away from the focus an annoyingly too many times.) and I know that the fringe benefits of these other problems, severe tho they may be, is to keep me from falling into that 'pit of despair' I mentioned. I would wallow in resentment over her death, mourn and miss her and so on, and not want to emerge. I think I mentioned that to my f2f grief counselor, and he thought it sound. These other difficulties keep me reminded that there is a life out there that I have to lead and live and I have to work on it. Granted, I would like a softer classroom, but youse takes what youse gets.

Maylissa also said: "It's that lonely, desolate feeling of not having anyone important, or closely-connected, to witness to your own life anymore. I'd love to have some advice at hand about this, but this is the part I'm still muddling through. And like so many aspects in our lives, we often don't even see the positive impacts we've had on parts of the world until LONG after we sown a seed, done a deed, or even thought a certain thought." I think this was being answered in your topic "Why exactly?" The pointlessness of life after our parents' death may be just a mirage, it disappears after we arrive closer to it.

Also from Maylissa: "I also picked up on what Marty said about that bigger picture, for as you well know, I've had much trouble with this concept already: "...but also of finding meaning in it as well, so both the painful experience of your loved one’s death and your life without her physical presence will count for something."....yes, will count for something."

This is what I've been wrasslin' with these past few weeks. Thankfully I am a p/t custodian at my Catholic church, so I can have access to a meditative, prayerful environment anytime I wish. Why's that so important? Its because I am struggling to apply the lessons of Calvary to all this. (One of the reasons why Lent has been my favorite time of year these past few years.) I know y'all ain't a buncha Christians, Catholic or otherwise, but I am and the fact that Christianity in general, and Catholicism in particular is pretty much the only religion that finds value in suffering I do find useful and helpful. Anything that readily explains why there is pain and suffering and why it is so pervasive in human existance smacks of Truth. I won't go into a long, boring synthesis of the multiple hours of debate I held with God over this except I arrived at the conclusion that grief is love transfigured by the Cross of Christ. This works for me. Christ died for love of us, we can die (to ourselves,i.e. self-mastery over our self-will) for love of Him. Death opens the door to eternity in our lives, and gives us hope that one day we will never, ever be separated from those we love. Christ's Death and Resurrection shows that death is only a temporary barrier. It may not ease the pain of separation much, but it makes it bearable to a degree. Like the Scriptural admonition that "we do not grieve, like those who have no hope", grieving like those who have the hope of reuniting with the dead in eternity causes that love to be not completely unrequited.Gives our short time on Earth some perspective.

I just wish that I can maintain that perspective. I could die tomorrow in an accident, or live another 50 years. The 50 years sometimes seems unending. Maybe after some more months/years of griefwork I can build on that perspective.

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I arrived at the conclusion that grief is love transfigured by the Cross of Christ. This works for me.

I just happen to be reading a book right now that was recommended to me, Paul, that I think you may find quite helpful. It is written from a Christian / Catholic perspective (but not a "preachy" one) by a woman whose 18-year-old son died from injuries sustained in an auto accident. You can read a description and review of the book here: A Season of Grief: A Comforting Companion for Difficult Days, by Ann Dawson.

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Maybe this is a sign of healing, after the emotional crucible I went thru last week. Found out Saturday afternoon on a walk that there are people living in my old house. Intellectually I knew it was going to happen, but emotionally... (I always have this dichotomy: an intellectual grasp of something, and and emotional grasp. There is quite often a significant lag time for the emotional grasp to catch up. I am trying to follow Marty's and Maylissa's advice about letting the emotions lead, but its hard. My basic 'default' setting is intellect first, them emotions.)

At first I naively thought that it was visitors for my old neighbors who were taking advantage of the extra parking space. But nooooo.... After my walk I went to my apt., did some things and later on drove past the place. There were childlings running out of the front door and riding bikes on the sidewalk. That evening after I walked past the place (from a block away, I don't want to give anyone in the old neighborhood the idea I'm stalking, not that anyone's noticed my little "leaning into the pain" drivebys) I saw soft lights in my old living room (what people long ago would have called the formal living room or front room). Maybe they're 'camping out' until their stuff arrives as I never saw any moving vans (yet) or just trying out the place overnite on a weekend. The sale is still pending, afterall.

I went home, had dinner, and went for a long walk. I felt inside me a tugging to say a prayer for them. I didn't want to. No way. After about 30 mins the tugging was stronger and I bowed to the inevitable and said a prayer. The words just flowed out as if someone else was writing them. I said something to the effect that I hope they love the place as much as I did, that it be the home for them that it was for my family, that they miss it when they are away and long for it on their return, that they find it a warm, welcoming haven and safe harbor, a loving hearth and home. That the fact that the previous family called it home for nearly 60 years may mean something. I then prayed that any resentment about the issue and self-pity I may have be removed.

To me that was my releasing of the place to them, in my mind: psychologically, emotionally and spiritually. It is no longer my home, but theirs. I no longer have a claim or mental hold on the place. It is over, the page has turned, I can move on. (Of course, my evil sister would say I had no claim to the place of any sort to begin with, and therefore nothing to release, but she's evil and knows not what she does.)

Anyway, after the crying I did Friday nite at Mass/Stations of the Cross, and now this, I do feel somewhat better. It's almost like a trigger. I think of the house, and what I had planned to do with it this year (if my Mom was still alive, i.e. the landscaping and whatnot,) and then this feeling that:

"No, Paul, its not your place anymore, not your task."

"But what about..."


"But what if they..."

"PAUL... STOP IT!!! It's their home now!!!"

"But I needed to.."


"But I wanted to..., um, oh, well... OK."


We'll see if this is indeed a page turning, or if I'll relapse into resentment. But I will work on keeping the page turned. But there's a breeze that wants to blow it back.

Gotta hang in there.

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Oh, Paul.....what a wonderful way to think and feel about your family home <sob!>. No KIDDING that's a break-through! I wish I could come to the same place myself! ( of course, it may be a long time yet until I even get to see my own, old home, so it's hard to say what I'd feel - so far, only a part of my imagination ) It's so inspiring to hear you listening to your Inner Voice...and may I also say that I think you would do very well as a writer, when you're pondering what to do, career-wise? You are truly an amazing fellow, with great courage and much to give to others, AND yourself. You've already come so far, in such a short time - GOOD FOR YOU! ( and never mind what your dispassionate sister would say about anything! )

I think that even if you DO relapse into resentment ( remember, it IS a roller-coaster ), this one moment will serve to make those dips a little shorter and less acute an angle, so for now, just ride this wave as long as it lasts and be grateful for its inclusion in your passage.

And now I'm going to sound like a know-it-all, but SEE?....using those feelings ends up being a help, not a hindrance! ;) I'm so glad you're opening up to that side of being human( although I really think you were already closer to the emotional than you think )...even though I KNOW it's a struggle of balancing the intellectual with the emotional, and most of us women probably have the opposite challenge in this balance ( I know I do ). This is one of the great ways men and women can help each other, with each providing the other perspective for each other...IF we're willing to try each one on for size.

And while your sister, and my brother, would probably say, "What's the big deal?" to this epiphany, I say, "Woo-HOO!", and we all know I'm wiser than both of them put together...... :lol::lol::lol: I think you're hanging in there better than you think, and certainly better than you often feel. ( oh, HA...)

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My dear Paul,

Your lovely post describing your feelings about your parents’ home now being occupied by another family (and your beautiful prayer for the new family) reminded me of a poem my mother read to me when I was a child.

We were about to move away from our first home, a big old stone house that I knew my mother really loved, and I think it was her way of helping me accept the idea of turning our beloved house over to another family because, as my mother explained to me, "there is nothing sadder than a house with nobody in it."

I’ve moved many times since then, but this poem has helped me to say “good-bye” to all the homes I’ve known and loved. Perhaps it will help you, too:

The House with Nobody in It, by Joyce Kilmer

Whenever I walk to Suffern

along the Erie track

I go by a poor old farmhouse

with its shingles broken and black.

I suppose I've passed it a hundred times,

but I always stop for a minute

And look at the house, the tragic house,

the house with nobody in it.

I never have seen a haunted house,

but I hear there are such things;

That they hold the talk of spirits,

their mirth and sorrowings.

I know this house isn't haunted,

and I wish it were, I do;

For it wouldn't be so lonely

if it had a ghost or two.

This house on the road to Suffern

needs a dozen panes of glass,

And somebody ought to weed the walk

and take a scythe to the grass.

It needs new paint and shingles,

and the vines should be trimmed and tied;

But what it needs the most of all

is some people living inside.

If I had a lot of money

and all my debts were paid

I'd put a gang of men to work

with brush and saw and spade.

I'd buy that place and fix it up

the way it used to be

And I'd find some people who wanted a home

and give it to them free.

Now, a new house standing empty,

with staring window and door,

Looks idle, perhaps, and foolish,

like a hat on its block in the store.

But there's nothing mournful about it;

it cannot be sad and lone

For the lack of something within it

that it has never known.

But a house that has done

what a house should do,

a house that has sheltered life,

That has put its loving wooden arms

around a man and his wife,

A house that has echoed a baby's laugh

and held up his stumbling feet,

Is the saddest sight, when it's left alone,

that ever your eyes could meet.

So whenever I go to Suffern

along the Erie track

I never go by the empty house

without stopping and looking back,

Yet it hurts me to look at the crumbling roof

and the shutters fallen apart,

For I can't help thinking the poor old house

is a house with a broken heart.

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Dear Paul,

Wow! You have indeed turned a page...congratulations! Maylissa said it all so well I won't add much. I agree with everything she said, including the part about what a great writer you would make!

A big hug to ya and a huge pat on the back,


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It's been over 2 months since my mom passed, and somedays it's ok and somedays it's not. But overall I feel that it's slowly getting worst each day. I miss her so much. I'm sitting at my desk at work right now, and I just can't stop crying and shaking. I miss her so much ! :( :( :(

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It was the same way for me in the beginning. It just hasn't been long enough (and there is no timetable to go by) for things to get slightly better. Just when I would feel a tiny spark of hope that I was dealing with it better, the next day (or sometimes hour!) I would feel helpless, hopeless, and in total despair. It's been a year and I still feel that way sometimes, but not quite as often. Just give yourself time, and don't feel rushed. Take all the time you need to take care of yourself.


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Thanks Shell, for your advice and support. Some days I feel like I'm getting stronger, and some days I don't. Today was one of those days, I woke up crying and I didn't want to get out of bed. If it wasn't for my aunt encouraging me, I would just laid there forever.... I feel so tired and emotionally weak all the time. This bums me out because I want my inner strength back, and I can't find it !!! I found out long ago after my father died, that you can only depend on yourself, because friends,etc, always fall short. I lived like this, and was happy. Whenever conflict came about, I was able to stand strong and keep my head up. and now it's gone !!! I want that inner foundation back ! I find myself crying and feeling vulnerable at the drop of a pin. One of my co-workers is leaving for a new job soon. I've known this for weeks. Yesterday we were hanging out and talking. It felt good, until his wife came to pick him up. I just felt this sharp pain of abandonment again ! Like he had someone to go home too, but I don't. I then wished I was married or had at least a boyfriend to help me through emotionally. This bummed me out. Then this morning, my aunt's daughter told me that her mom (my aunt) will retire next year and wants her to move out of state with her. My aunt has told me she's moving, but for some reason it didn't really hit home, until her daughter said it. Maybe 2 people saying it became reality, and I felt like I was being abandoned again ! I hate feeling like this. When will I find my inner strength again? When will I feel secure and safe in this world again? Both my parents are gone. I just don't know.....

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Thanks Maylissa, shell and Marty.(and shubom, too, I wrote some stuff down in this post for you) The congrats mean a lot (I especially loved the Kilmer poem.)

I do have plans on being a writer. :blush:

Anyway, for all the nice stuff, and page-turning pats-on-the-back, I still feel lousy. I know I'm better, but jeepers, Mom's still gone, the pain is still there, but the emotional rollercoaster has leveled out. (But it has in the past.) OK, the page has turned, but what new screaming-in-the-night horrors are on the next page? Now I've got insomnia and I still feel bereft.

I still feel like shubom, in a way. Better days, and worse days. I wish I wasn't alone, too, that there was someone in my life to help me thru all this. Wife or girlfriend, matters not. Heck, a male friend who's got time to shoot the kaka with. But due to years wasted in alcoholism, and then in sobriety taking care of Mom, friendships never got developed. I'm looking around and finding no one oot and aboot. Friends are all distant or gone, eh? I've got my priest, but he's busy and out-of-town a few days a week, and my AA sponsor, but he's got a family and some serious issues on his plate. When you're 43, and single and never married, you have a light social calendar. Married people don't include you cuz you don't have a date (slim pickings) and divorced people, I dunno, I wanna get married and that's a touchy subject for them.

Toss in the fact that I never feel like I fit in anywhere...

I thought the situation I described on Monday about my old house would mean that I can start to feel that my new apartment is now my home, but nooooooooo. I'm grateful for it, but only I am there, and sometimes I hate going back. It reminds me of what I lost. (My Mom and her house and those roots) That's why I did so much walking about this past weekend, it felt like it was time to return, but no, I just couldn't bear to go back to that place. There's no one there. Just me, and I ain't no party. I still go to bed early, but then toss and turn for a few hours and then I get frustrated with myself for that which of course makes the insomnia worse. Then my mind wanders to all my other problems (and there are bunches). Then I wish I was dead (in the God-please-take-me way, not the do-it-myself-way.) Why am I still around??? I mean, entertaining Maylissa and shell is great, but they are far away. You can't hug a computer.

I have a job, but it's part-time and barely pays the rent. I have a place to live, but its a prison of sorts. I have friends, but they're all far away. It's like God is wrapping solutions to my problems in practical jokes. He's giving me what I need, but just not quite enough, just enough to keep me from... what?

I do volunteer work at a Franciscan place where terminally ill people go to die, cuz I thought it would help me deal with Mom's death. (Exposure to people who are dying, but not loved ones of mine, helps me in a detached way to cope with death. Death may no longer be an enemy, just some guy with a job to do.) It works. One of the 9 Billion things pounding about my brain last night was the idea that I really volunteer there because I envy the people who are admitted there. They get to leave this place, and I'm stuck here.

So it's back to shubom's feelings. You only can count on yourself. Only you can not leave you. Everyone else can leave you. Maybe that's why they say in this griefwork stuff that grieving helps you to be a new person, you redevelop or redefine a relationship with yourself.

I think this inner foundation that you had before is still there, and will come back. Its just that the way you access it needs to be 'reprogrammed' so to speak, You are in a new environment with your Mom gone, and you have to live without her. You have to learn how, and the old inner foundation may have to be reinforced somewhat, because she may have been a part of that old foundation. Or just your emotions are getting in the way of recognizing where that strength is.

It may only be that your emotional tank is low, and needs to be filled.

I dunno. I'm just an amateur psychobabble-ist. But my life seems to be marked quite often by periods when people disappear. I wish life and people can be more of a constant. It sux when all you got in the here and now is you.

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Guest Shell Louise

Never have I heard a man be so caring, intuitive, thoughtful and heartfelt. For all you have been through to be able to express yourself the way you do. To think so clearly, you may not always realize it but you have come a very long long way from where you must have been when you were using alcohol to not feel these intense emotions you have. Being a romantic at heart, I can not help but believe that there is a special woman out there for you. You need to pick her very carefully because you really do deserve someone as special as you that can appreciate you for all you have to offer.

That being said back to the subject at hand.

"Toss in the fact that I never feel like I fit in anywhere... "

Most people really do not fit in anywhere; the people who seem like they do are usually just adjusting themselves to the people around them and not really being true to themselves. These are people pleasers, people do not want to agree to disagree. If you spend your life not standing up for your own believes that are true to your heart, what’s the point? These people pleasers are not the best friends we can have, they won’t stick with you when the going gets tough. When you are such a good person with strong beliefs in GOD it is hard to find people you can relate to on an intellectual and spiritual level. He will bring them into your life, pray for them. Always watch out for the ones that PREY on you.

"There's no one there. Just me"

O.K. Now if you ask me, you seem like darn good company to me, and now I’m really going to get preachy-YOU NEVER WALK ALONE. You have a life to live, yes it is does seem pointless without our moms, it stinks big time! I want to go to be with my mom too more often than not also. Then I have to think- what would mom say if she were here? Well I think she would say what she said when she was here, ya see my mom knew she was going home soon just like she always knew everything. (How do they do that?) Please remember this is only what my mom said to me and all people do not think alike and maybe moms think more alike than we know. (Also she had lost everyone in her family of her generation and before, and children so she knew more than her fair share about grief) She said “I don’t want you to be sad and cry forever, like I did when your dad died. I know you’ll be sad at first, but I want you to go on and live your life. Remember I can be there for you more there than I can here anyway. I will not be in anymore pain, and I will be with your dad and my brother, sister, my mom and I will get to hold my babies again. It’s been a long time since I have seen them and I miss them, like you will miss me. Besides you will really be crying for yourself because I will be in a better place. So dry your tears in the sun and I want you to be happy for me.” Easier said than done I know, she IS a very wise, caring, loving, beautiful, god fearing woman. Yes IS, to me always IS. Please do not take offence Paul, you or anyone reading. This is just the way my mom felt and what she said to me, I only thought that people with the same believes might find some comfort in what my mom said to me because maybe your mom of the same believe may have not had the chance to say the same thing to you.

"It sux when all you got in the here and now is you."

Ya know I really just wanted to say I think your one heck of a guy, and I think there are better things to come for you. I go back and forth, up and down, thought it was getting better, cry all the way to work, hate to be in the car alone. I know nothing any of us say to each other can really make us feel better. You are not alone in how you feel. Thank God for our moms and the love we feel for them. Hugs to you even if it is thru this damn computer.

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Paul, Shubom and all the rest,

The one thing that has helped me a lot is this board. I can't wait to get to it and see how everyone is doing! I feel so connected to all of you, and I am in the same position of being almost friendless. My best friend lives far away, and the only other one who I have left is married and so it's hard to get together...don't think his wife would like him coming over to comfort me in the middle of the night! The rest of my "friends" have proved they are not friends and so are gone as far as I'm concerned. Just wish we all lived in the same city, as we've said before! That would be cool.

I was reading something tonight on how the universe has a tide and we all will go up and down in life with that tide. And that it does no good to try to fight it or swim against it, that you should just relax and flow along with it. That it will take us where we are meant to go. Hmmm....some good advice, but right now we all feel we're drowning in that tide! Tide....rollercoaster...whatever! I have always believed in fate, but it's scary cause you don't know what it has in store for you. And, of course, right now I feel everything is against me some days (most!) I guess we just have to try flosting with the tide.

Hugs to everyone (actually put your arms around yourself and hug and say "This is from my friend Shell". It as good as we can get through the computer!


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Hi all. :wub:

Shell said the same sentiments that I feel. OK, I'll try the hugging thing. :blush:

And I've also taken to heart what shell louise said, esp re: not fitting in. Maybe its not so bad to feel that way. There are perhaps times when one can 'fit in' without compromising principles and so on, maybe I'm just looking for those. And when I find it, I'll know I'm 'home'. And your Mom was a wise person for that quote of hers. That's probably how all good Moms feel.

Last nite I read almost the entire book Grieving the Death of a Mother, by Harold Ivan Smith. I bought it a few months ago but only got around to reading it now. It is a godsend. I woke up early this AM to finish off the last 2 chapters. It will be helping me to move past where I am now, and to resolve certain issues concerning the aftermath of my Mom's death. I was thinking of shubom while I was reading some of it, but I do believe that any of us who are have difficulties with our own Mom's death will benefit. (Just so shell doesn't feel left out, Smith also wrote a similar book: "On Grieving the Death of a Father." I haven't read that, prob won't, but if its as good as the "Mother" book, you'll be helped by it muchly.)

I was very busy with my hiliter, and scribbled notes in the margins of sections where people described behavior and actions similar to what my sister did to me, or things others did that I couldn't, because of my darling sister. :angry: Its a book that I'll be referring to again and again. Its one of those things that happens right when you need it, saying the things that you need to hear (and want to hear.)

(And if you think I'm a sensitive dude, :o you'll like Smith :lol: )

He describes a situation when he walks through his Mom's house just prior to turning the keys over to the new owners. (I never got the chance to do this. I'm not sure if I wanted to, but at least I would have liked the option. Shows what my sister thinks of me.) Anyway, he writes a poem about how the place is not just a house, but a home because his Mom made it so, and how he hopes the same for the new people, and also how years from now, the children of this new mother will walk through the place and reflect how their own Mom made this house a home. Kinda like the prayer I uttered during my walkabout town last Saturday after I found out there are people in my Mom's house. (Apparently just last weekend. There've been no signs of life since. The driveway and front walk aren't plowed, and we've had puh-lenty of snow this week.)

And yumpin' yiminy, I did a crying jag this AM (hey, it was early, brain foggy, defenses weak) after he wrote about his Mom's biscuits. Apparently he was in a restaurant somewhere where they made homemade biscuits. These tasted just like his Mom's, and he got to thinking about how he'll never taste his Mom's biscuits, unless there are kitchens in Heaven so Moms can bake goodies for their recently arriving sons and daughters. (Oh, kaka, I'm tearing up now.) Now my Mom never made biscuits, but she did bake these killer chocolate and oatmeal cookies every Christmas. I'll never eat those again. I'm not even sure I have the recipe. (I prob do, got all of Mom's. HA!! Take THAT, Evil Sister!!! Actually, she never wanted Mom's recipes. GOOD. ALL MINE!)

Anyway, with that, fairest ladies (and Maylissa :P ) I'll be reviewing elswhere this board.

Darn it, shell, now you've got ME wishing we were all in the same city. :)

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Hey, Everyone,

Firstly, I DID give myself a hug from y'all, and then one from me back to y'all, and you know, it DID feel pretty good! ( try it - you'll see! )

I feel very badly for all of you who don't have anyone to 'come home to', or even a home that feels familiar and welcoming, as at least I have that, despite all the other people I don't have. I often get very scared thinking of the high possibility of being utterly alone when I die myself, when there is "just me", as Paul said...this, despite knowing that ultimately we ALL go alone....unless we're seeing all our loved ones in the room, waiting to take our hands and welcome us home. THAT would be enough to keep me going...and right now I'm starting to read "Final Gifts", hoping it will give me as much hope as I need in that area.

And although I didn't have an addiction that caused me to lose friends, or potential friends, and I've made many friends over the years, right now, I still don't have any good ones...really only 2, locally, and none distantly anymore. And the local ones can't be counted on to really be there, or even to be willing to talk about my troubles...so they're still more like aquaintances when you get right down to it. I'm outraged by this, as I've tried so hard to be a good friend myself, yet it's netted me almost zilch. I don't know what's wrong with people nowadays, that they can't seem to commit to friendship. We've become so insular and it ends up affecting too many of us. My point is, I'm in the same boat despite having tried so hard, and w/o any glaring reason for it, and yes, it sucks! Many is the time I wonder why that supposedly true Universal Law of "give and you will receive back what you gave" doesn't seem to work in my case. I can't even count the # of times I've gone out of my way to help someone else out, do something unexpected and nice for them, yet when I need help, I'm simply forgotten, or my troubles are treated with mere lip-service and not real concern.

It may also help you to know, Paul, that even with a partner, or in a crowd of aquaintances, I also most often feel that I don't really fit in, either( and my husband feels the same way, too )...especially now, with these losses under my belt. It's so prevalent a feeling that when it seems like someone actually likes me, or wants to get to know me a bit better, I'm really surprised! Then of course, I open myself up, they get to know how I really am, and they run away! So much for 'being myself'! That just ends up driving home the lesson that you CAN'T dance to your own music and expect to be accepted. It really pisses me off! ( and when you become a writer, if you write a book, can we all have copies of it? :P )

The tide....yes....I've often noticed that when I'm having troubling times, so are many others, at the same time, and when my troubles reverse a little, so does everyone else's. So maybe we're all connected that way, too. And to that end, I hope this is an indication of just such a reversal, as I finally got to speak with that cousin of mine who's ignored me for 2 years, and although I don't believe her anymore when she says, AGAIN, that "for sure" she's gonna get those pictures of my Mom copied and sent to me "this week!", at least I found out she still has them and she wasn't so much ignoring me on purpose as she's just terribly pathetic in getting TO things. Not much of a help, but better than just sitting here wondering. So I'm hoping that tide is turning, and not just for me, but for every one of us.

Edited by Maylissa
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Thanks for your advice and comments Paul. I agree with you, I could only wish I had a significant other or friend that I could spill my guts to. My soul hurts down to it’s deepest core, and there’s no one that I can release this pain to. I think the only people who understand the pain are the ones who’ve been through it. I’ve been to a few therapist. Some are good, but some just eerk me when all they do is spew out textbook information, especially when they haven't went through it. My father died when I was 23. I went through all those emotions already. Now that my mom’s gone, I need something stronger that will help me through this pain ! I’m looking for answers that I know I will never find, and this hurts me bad. Sometimes I just cry like a baby because I miss my mom so much and I don’t know what in the world is going on?! The life I built with my mom and my sister was my foundation! No matter how horrible life was on the outside, at least I had a welcoming home (strong foundation) to come home too. I felt safe. Well that’s no more. Now that my mom is gone, I feel so lost and so hurt. Where is my foundation? Where is home for me now?! What do I do? I can’t stop contemplating this over and over again.

I also want to thank you for recommending the book, “Grieving the Death of a Mother", by Harold Ivan Smith. There are few things that are helping through this pain of losing my mom that I didn’t do when I lost my dad. Talking to others who've been through it, reading this board, and also reading books. Thank You for recommending it.

Shell Louise, I really like what you wrote about what her mom would have said, “You never walk alone……you have a life to live, I don’t want you to be sad and cry forever……I know you’ll be sad at first, but I want you to go on and live your life……” That sounds a lot like how I thought after my dad passed away 6 years ago. After my dad died, I wanted to quit college, but my mom convinced me not too. I then became real gung ho about finishing and making him proud. It felt good and at least my mom was there. But now that she’s gone, I’m not sure if I think that anymore. I’m not even sure if I’ll ever be able to think like that. I’m more or less confused now. I don't understand "life" itself, so I’m confused about what it means to “Live Your life”?

Shell, I like what you said about the Universe being like a tide. And it's better to go with it instead of against it. I agree. Seems like that’s all we can do. Wherever the tide goes, we go, because obviously there are many crappy things we have no control over.

Maylissa, I like what you wrote about how you’ve helped friends in the past, but haven’t had it reciprocated back. I felt the same way, especially after I lost my father. None of my friends were there for me, not even my extended family. I learned a valuable lesson about friends, which lead me to the realization that there were millions of more people in this world, that I can become friends with. I made new friends, and guess what, after my mom died, those new friends have been more supportive than my old friends ever were. It makes me so angry when I think about all the times those so-called friends ate at my parents dinner table. It annoys me that they couldn’t be there for me in my time of need.

So for me, Right now, I'm lost, hurt, and confused. I feel like I don't fit in. I have this big problem weighing me down, and every little step I take gets harder and harder. I feel like the whole world is staring at me because they don't know what to say. I don't blame them, because they are just as bewildered as I am. (See, most of the people around me have at least 1 parent left). I feel needy because I'm scared and want someone to tell me everything will be ok. (I know no one can do this, but my parents. But they are gone, so now no one can).I cry at the drop of a dime. I constantly wonder, Where's my mom? Where did she go? she would have never left me. I find myself constantly thinking about the days when we were all together. Seems like yesterday.....when we were all sitting around the dinner table laughing and joking....my parents, my sister and I.....shucks I'm not even 30 yet, so I guess it was just yesterday. These days I try to carry on as best I can, because that's what life's all about....job, bills, etc. I worry about my sister, but not really.....she has a wonderful boyfriend in her life who I know will take good care of her. A good guy. He got to know my mom a few months before she passed. The poor thing, I guess he never really thought he'd be taking on such a big burden. He doesn't seem to mind, which breaks my heart. (See there are some good souls out there). All I can hope for is that someday I will feel like there's a purpose to continue on. That someday I will find my inner strength again to keep moving. I'm trying my best to find my place in this world again. But right now, I'm still lost, hurt, and confused.

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I'm going to get the book you recommended Paul. I read "Final Gifts" and it really helped me a lot. I think it will help you too, Maylissa.

I'm right there with all of you in that I am also the one who has helped everyone else and then when I need help....poooof, I'm all alone! Maylissa, you are so right about people not being able to commit to friendship these days. I don't think most people have the faintest idea what being a true friend is all about. It's disgusting.

It is hard to fit in when your whole life has changed. It's like you don't even know who you are anymore, so you are not sure where you would fit in.

My thoughts are with each and every one of you.

Hugs (and now you have to actually do it physically!)


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Hi all. I have an hour or so before a f2f grief counselor. It was to have been Tuesday, but I postponed it cuz I was sick.

Yumpin' yiminy, where to start??

Shubom: I really hope this doesn't sound trite, but since I've been through it in various ways perhaps it won't, but as hard as it seems, it will get better. I do not always believe that myself, mind you, but I get glimpses now and then and I think you do to based on some things you've said (i.e. better days at times). It may sound even more trite, but maybe just taking it "one day at a time" helps. I get really, really, depressed when I think of the several decades left on this Earth that I might have without my Mom, my Dad and my late sister (who died 18 years ago this Sunday. "Loss of Sibling" forum: "A Simple Anniversary' topic of Maylissa's.). But if I think of just getting thru today, it's somewhat manageable. JUST DON'T GIVE UP and do something irreversible. You will get through this and then you will have much experience, strength and hope to give to others who will be starting on the same journey that you and I and the others here are on. You will one day be reading someone else writing about their hopelessness, deep pain and longing, and say "Yep, been there." And then you'll get down to the task of picking them up off the ground, just like we are all doing now for each other.

My deep religious faith helps a lot, but even so, due to my own weaknesses it sometimes doesn't seem to offer much help. Everytime I think of Heaven, and of spending Eternity with everyone I've ever loved and known, (which includes you all) I get hopeful and feel better. But then I think that's decades later, maybe. Then I get all disconsolate.

No wonder they call it an emotional rollercoaster.

(Incidentally, although I probably don't really need to tell you this, be careful about the neediness and wanting somebody to care for you through this time. This may be a major "master of the obvious" statement, but there are a lot of sharks out there who will sense your vulnerability and want to exploit it for their own selfish ends. Just take care when reaching out to men. I'm a guy, so I know. Never been a shark, tho. Can't swim.)

I might be wrong, but it is my impression that bereavement counselors have usually been through all this. Try a hospice where you live. I got really lucky in that regard. He's been through it, plus his eyes don't glaze over when I get all Catholic-y on him. Among my uses of Catholicism has been to explore its vast therapeutic assets.

You said: "So for me, Right now, I'm lost, hurt, and confused. I feel like I don't fit in. I have this big problem weighing me down, and every little step I take gets harder and harder." Again, back to sounding trite: we all feel that way within 2 months, sometimes longer. Just ask shell! Or me in a year!!! :blink: Please believe me and the others who'll prob agree that you are most definitly not alone in that regard. It think shell louise went on about that a few posts ago. Sometimes I have a hard time believing that. "There is no pain or grief greater than mine!!!!!" But coming here, or going to support group meetings, or reading grieving and bereavement books dispells that notion. Most of the time. :(

Another book you might find useful, although I haven't read it because its for women. I understand that it is a classic is : Motherless Daughters : The Legacy of Loss by Hope Edelman. The book by Smith I recommended refers to it a lot.

shell: you said: "It is hard to fit in when your whole life has changed. It's like you don't even know who you are anymore, so you are not sure where you would fit in." That is why they say all this greifwork is about recovering or redefining oneself. They say that death opens the door to eternity a bit more, that death enables (or forces) us to make more room for eternity in out lives. This may be the transforming power of what we are going through.

I do know that this blows recovering from alcoholism away. Although I struggled immensely with stopping drinking (seven, count 'em 7months of AA meetings before I stopped. I only went to AA meetings cuz it gave me an excuse to stop off at a liquor store en route to or from.) dealing with the death of my Mom is far more fundamental and gut wrenching than merely not drinking. I think shubom said something about affecting her right to the core. Yeah, you got that right!

Lemme browse the boards and see what else is going on before I head to hospice.

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