April 8, 2012 at 1:07 am #59405nancy246Member
Deb, It is so hard to know the “right thing” to do isn’t it? Sounds like you are very in tune with your kids feelings and I understand how an 8 year old would be different than a teen. Though, we all grief differently don’t we? Sounds like you are holding your family together well. My heart goes out to you and your children. Happy Easter. Hugs. NancyApril 7, 2012 at 10:40 pm #59404
Thanks Nancy. I really appreciate your kind words and I am dearly sorry for your tragic loss too.
What a very kind thing your neighbour did, helping you out by clearing that snow. I find too that those I would have expected nothing from have rallied around and those I would have assumed would be there day and night have disappeared. It’s an odd phenomenon but one I’m slowly learning exists for many, if not most, bereaved people.
It’s wonderful that your daughter cares so much and it’s great that she can express her fears to you, rather than keeping it locked in.
Yes, I try to talk about him all the time and the boys are very receptive to this. He was such a witty person that there are a multitude of funny stories to talk about. My little girl is not yet ready to talk about him openly. We have to be gentle about it but I do hope that she will open up and talk freely soon. She’s no doubt trying to block out the pain and only able to let it in little by little.
Thanks again Nancy xxxApril 7, 2012 at 5:20 pm #59403nancy246Member
Deb, So sorry to read about your dear husband. I do not have much to add to the beautiful posts you received. I too lost my dear husband 6 months ago and am stumbling forward. I have been surprised to find out who is helping me walk and who has abandoned me. I have certainly learned never say “call me if you need anything” because we won’t. With a broken arm this winter I wondered how I was going to manage the snow removal, then everyday it snowed before I left for work my neighbour (one I haven’t known that well) would be in my driveway snowblowing me out. Bless him.
I lost my dad suddenly from a heart attack as a teen, so I too can empathize with your children. I suggest family talks with your children recalling stories and times with their dad. Back in my day the subject became taboo for years, never speaking of dad in front of mom.
Your young daughter clinging to you is normal. My youngest (25) recently told me she is terrified of something happening to me and is anxious about an upcoming trip I am taking for 10 days, because she sees me nearly everyday. (I am anxious, too!).
The road will get smoother as time goes by put you will still hit bumps and potholes.
Hugs and best wishes for healing to you and your beautiful children. NancyApril 6, 2012 at 1:28 am #59402
Pamela, yes exactly. It’s hard to know what to ask people as the mental focus isn’t really there these days so it’s so much nicer when people just do things instead of making vague promises or saying ‘call me’!! We’re getting by, bit by bit. It feels like we’re stuck in limbo a little bit but some days are okay.
Darla, thanks. Yes, it means so much to be around people who really understand and truly ‘get’ this limbo that we’re in. Some people mean well by trying to gently push us to move onwards or to get out more etc. but really, we need to do things when we’re ready, not when they decide we should be ready!
Gerry, thank you very much. I agree that professional counselling is most likely necessary. Today my sons and I met with the counsellor in Marymount Hospice where Diarmuid passed away. She was terrific – she listened and was wonderfully supportive and validated our feelings of anger and frustration. I’m not sure how often we can attend the hospice for counselling but I’ll take whatever’s available as I do gel well with her and she was there with us when Diarmuid was nearing the end and when he passed away. Down the line, I’ll look into more structured counselling too.
Pam thank you. I loved hearing about the nurse and the cheesecake. Those are the little acts of kindness that make all the difference.
My kids had a good day today. They’re off school now for the Easter break and life is so much easier without the school schedule. We’re still taking things day to day in general but making the most of the good days.
xxxApril 2, 2012 at 5:04 pm #59401
That is the sweetest story. It made me cry. I wish everyone could be like that nurse. Good to hear from you again! Take care.
-PamApril 2, 2012 at 4:45 pm #59400cherbourgMember
I’m so sorry for your loss. I know the feeling of being annoyed with people that just don’t understand.
Tomorrow will be three years since I lost my Mom to this horrible disease. I remember so well the feelings that came when I finally came out of the fog of helping plan a funeral, giving my Mom’s eulogy, writing all of the thank you notes, comforting my Dad and my husband, children and my sister and her family. It was almost as if I woke up two months later with everything done that needed to be completed. Grief nearly blindsided me. I felt as if everyone had moved on and here I was needing help….lots of it. My “best” friend even told me to “get over it and get on with the rest of my life.
It was only my fear of prison that kept me from doing what I really wanted to…..
I think most people are frightened of death and have no skills in how to comfort someone. One of my fondest memories is on the first anniversary of my Mom’s death one of the nurses in the hospital where I work, walked into my lab with a piece of cheesecake and two forks. She said she remembered my Mom’s advice to always have dessert first and we were going to honor her and eat the cheesecake in her memory.
Silly? yes. but comforting oh yes!!! She remembered.
Please read some of the letters from our Dr. Giles on this site. He has great advice.
Remember……Grief is the price we pay for loving…..
We’ll be here with you on your next journey. Grief is the hardest job I think we ever have. There is no timetable and no two people will every grieve in the same way. Here we understand. This site has helped me so much.
PamMarch 30, 2012 at 11:32 pm #59399hollandgMember
I’ve just picked up your post now and I wish to offer my belated condolences to you and your dear family. I feel for you as you grieve for your husband while at the same time care for your children and help them through a traumatic time in their lives. I believe that our capacity to deal with stress is limited and I am a strong believer is professional help. Have you looked into what services are available to you in Cork?
Take care and come back often and tell us how things are going for you and the kids.
GerryMarch 30, 2012 at 12:03 am #59398darlaParticipant
I totally agree. That posting was excellent. It is exactly how we feel. Unfortunately unless they have been where we are now others just will never really get it. I was fortunate to reconnect with a lady who was a customer of ours to find out her husband past away only a few months after Jim. This was about a year after Jim passed. We have so much in common and have kept in touch ever since and become very close friends. Our lives have been so similar and we have so much in common. We live about an hour apart, but try to get together as often as we can and email all the time. Having someone who truely knows and understands because they are feeling the same keeps me sane. We need to reach out and get support from those who have been there and who can be there for us and us for them.
Keep coming back to this site and all the lovely people here as they all understand and truely care. I’m hoping you can eventually find someone near you to share with, too.
My heart just goes out to you and your lovely children. I wish you all well and hope things work out for them. Hopefully they too will find a few special people who care enough to understand. Be strong for each other when you can and lean on each other for support.
Know that I am thinking of you and your family and truely do care and understand.
Love & Hugs,
DarlaMarch 29, 2012 at 10:04 pm #59397
I definitely understand when you hear the words, “Call me if you need anything, that it really annoys you. I really don’t like hearing that either.
It’s a polite easy way out. I just wish people would do things instead of saying that. I would never dream of calling someone to cook dinner or do anything for us. I have had two friends that have done stuff for Lauren. One Mom and daughter we are good friends with brought over a huge pot of broccoli cheese soup. We all ate together and had a great time. Just this week, our next door neighbor brought over a big pot of broccoli cheese soup too. If you haven’t guessed, that is Lauren’s favorite soup. I thought that was the nicest thing. They just did it out of the goodness of their hearts. They didn’t say “Call me if you need me.” I wish more people were like that. I will give your sister- in- law the benefit of the doubt and say maybe she just doesn’t know what to do or say to make you feel better. You will be in my prayers, Deb. Take care.
Love, -PamMarch 29, 2012 at 9:17 pm #59396
Lainy, thanks so much for the email. The kids are up and down. My 15 year old is just starting to grieve. He’s under awful pressure in school, partly because he missed 3 weeks or more when his dear Dad passed away and partly because he has state exams to sit in June and no matter how often I tell him that he’s doing great and he doesn’t have to study every minute and exams are not the be all and end all, he puts himself under awful pressure. I’ve had a chat to his Class Teacher and she’s going to tell all his teachers that they need to ease up on him. He just lost his Dad and some of the teachers have the nerve to tell him that they’re disappointed in his slipping grades. I’m horrified. Other teachers have been fantastic though, very loving and kind.
My 17 year old is also under pressure with study. He will have state exams next year so this year at least in theory he should be able to relax but he gets a lot of homework. His Class Teacher is wonderful and is going to sit down with him and I tomorrow and work out a realistic, gentle schedule. Their mental and emotional health is so much more important now than school work.
My little girl turned 8 two weeks ago. It was so sad not having her Daddy there but we had a nice day. She hasn’t mentioned her Dad is about 5 weeks or so now. She’s not facing it yet. She cried a lot for the first 2 weeks but is now trying to ‘forget’ it for the moment. I have no doubt that the pain will come again. She has been clung to me for the last couple of months and has been out of school more than in.
I’m blessed that they’re very good kids… kind and caring.
Thank you so much Pam. It is definitely reassuring to be able to come here and talk amongst people who understand.
CM, thank you. I am blown away by the extract you pasted. It’s exactly spot on! I was nodding my head the whole way through it. My sister in law keeps saying “call if you need anything”. I couldn’t figure out why it made me so angry when she said it. It’s because she knows me and the kids so well (and I babysat for her practically every weekend for 15 years!!) and yet, she hasn’t once come to help without being asked. She hasn’t once brought food or offered to have my daughter to stay or taken me grocery shopping. Nothing. All she’s done is used the words ‘call if you need anything’. It’s annoying!! but I’m blessed to have other people who do truly care.
xxxMarch 28, 2012 at 6:55 pm #59395cmMember
People are only as good as they are and you have to learn to direct them because i am sure many of them really want to help you but don’t know how.
This was posted on the merrywidow topic board recently. I’m sure they won’t mind me reproducing it (it didn’t mention copyright!)
HOW YOU CAN HELP ME
Please talk about my loved one, even though he is gone. It is more comforting to cry than to pretend that he never existed. I need to talk about him, and I need to do it over and over.
Be patient with my agitation. Nothing feels secure in my world. Get comfortable with my crying. Sadness hits me in waves, and I never know when my tears may flow. Just sit with me in silence and hold my hand.
Don’t abandon me with the excuse that you don’t want to upset me. You can’t catch my grief. My world is painful, and when you are too afraid to call me or visit or say anything, you isolate me at a time when I most need to be cared about. If you don’t know what to say, just come over, give me a hug or touch my arm, and gently say, “I’m sorry.” You can even say, “I just don’t know what to say, but I care, and want you to know that.”
Just because I look good does not mean that I feel good. Ask me how I feel only if you really have time to find out.
I am not strong. I’m just numb. When you tell me I am strong, I feel that you don’t see me.
I will not recover. This is not a cold or the flu. I’m not sick. I’m grieving and that’s different. My grieving may only begin 6 months after my loved one’s death. Don’t think that I will be over it in a year. For I am not only grieving his death, but also the person I was when I was with him, the life that we shared, the plans we had for watching our children grow, the places we will never get to go together, and the hopes and dreams that will never come true. My whole world has crumbled and I will never be the same.
I will not always be grieving as intensely, but I will never forget my loved one and rather than recover, I want to incorporate his life and love into the rest of my life. He is a part of me and always will be, and sometimes I will remember him with joy and other times with a tear. Both are okay.
I don’t have to accept the death. Yes, I have to understand that it has happened and it is real, but there are some things in life that are just not acceptable.
When you tell me what I should be doing, then I feel even more lost and alone. I feel badly enough that my loved one is dead, so please don’t make it worse by telling me I’m not doing this right.
Please don’t tell me I can find someone else or that I need to start dating again. I’m not ready. And maybe I don’t want to. And besides, what makes you think people are replaceable? They aren’t. Whoever comes after (if anyone) will always be someone different.
I don’t even understand what you mean when you say, “You’ve got to get on with your life.” My life is going on, I’ve been forced to take on many new responsibilities and roles. It may not look the way you think it should. This will take time and I will never be my old self again. So please, just love me as I am today, and know that with your love and support, the joy may slowly return to my life. But I will never forget and there will always be times that I cry.
I need to know that you care about me. I need to feel your touch, your hugs. I need you just to be with me, and I need to be with you. I need to know you believe in me and in my ability to get through my grief in my own way, and in my own time.
Please don’t say, “Call me if you need anything.” I’ll never call you because I have no idea what I need. Trying to figure out what you could do for me takes more energy than I have. So, in advance, let me give you some ideas:
(a) Bring food or a movie over to watch together.
(b) Send me a card on special holidays, his birthday, and the anniversary of his death, and be sure to mention his name. You can’t make me cry. The tears are here and I will love you for giving me the opportunity to shed them because someone cared enough about me to reach out on this difficult day.
(c) Ask me more than once to join you at a movie or lunch or dinner. I may so no at first or even for a while, but please don’t give up on me because somewhere down the line, I may be ready, and if you’ve given up then I really will be alone.
(d) Understand how difficult it is for me to be surrounded by couples, to walk into events alone, to go home alone, to feel out of place in the same situations where I used to feel so comfortable.
Please don’t judge me now – or think that I’m behaving strangely. Remember I’m grieving. I may even be in shock. I am afraid. I may feel deep rage. I may even feel guilty. But above all, I hurt. I’m experiencing a pain unlike any I’ve ever felt before and one that can’t be imagined by anyone who has not walked in my shoes.
Don’t worry if you think I’m getting better and then suddenly I seem to slip backward. Grief makes me behave this way at times. And please don’t tell me you know how I feel, or that it’s time for me to get on with my life. What I need now is time to grieve.
Most of all thank you for being my friend. Thank you for your patience. Thank you for caring. Thank you for helping, for understanding. Thank you for praying for me.
And remember in the days or years ahead, after your loss – when you need me as I have needed you – I will understand. And then I will come and be with you.March 28, 2012 at 3:06 am #59394
I know sometimes it feels like everyone has forgotten about you and is more interested in their own lives, but that is not the case here. Come and visit any time and we will be here to listen and support you. Take care, Deb and remember we all care.
Love, -PamMarch 27, 2012 at 11:37 pm #59393lainyMember
Deb, you and your children do not have to pretend for anyone, you must live out your grief until it is right for you to start moving on with your “new normal”. It is true that when a loved one passes your life dynamics change. I have not heard from people that were so close to my Teddy! So, in this last year I have surrounded myself with others in my situation and have developed a new group of friends who understand how I feel.
I am going to see if you have an email on here as I want to share something that happened to Teddy, similiar to your husband and how I am working on getting over it. Life is too short as you have witnessed and to hold the anger serves no purpose at all. I swear to you that in time the pain does ease up. How are the kids doing?March 27, 2012 at 11:04 pm #59392
Thanks Pam, Darla, Lisa, Peggy, Randi and to Gavin and Lainy once again. Lainy and Gavin you’re right. Dwelling on the past does no good but his time in hospital, lying in bed waiting on a stent that wasn’t going to happen, him being in pain, uncomfortable, it just eats me up inside and yet I know I need to move past it. We thought he had a couple of years but instead he spent 14 precious days lying in a hospital bed pointlessly, none of us knowing that he had just days left to live. We’re blessed that he had, at least, the last 6 days in the hospice but had we known that he was dying we would have taken him home or moved to hospice much sooner. I’m just so angry at his oncologist.
Mostly I’m angry with grief. Friends and family have mostly shifted back to their regular lives and the kids and I are trying to muddle through and put on brave faces. So many people are uncomfortable around us if we’re upset. It’s like we have to pretend to be okay for their benefit.March 26, 2012 at 10:56 pm #59390RandiParticipant
I was so sad to read about your loving husband’s passing and so quickly too. Your children will have great memories of their dad because you will pass along all of the stories you and he made together and with them. He will always be there in the eyes of your children, when they laugh, in their smiles. It’s hard to see our children in pain, but hopefully the spot that is holding the pain and grief will be filled with happy memories of their dad and your husband soon.
Hang in there Deb, we are all here for you.
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