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Surviving Grief: One Step at a Time 
Started by KathCull_admin
18 Feb 2015, 3:49 PM

Your life is altered by the illness and death of someone you have loved, cared for, supported – a wife, husband, partner, parent, child or close friend. 

The Grief that you feel has been compared to waves that come and go. Some days the water is more turbulent or stormy, but on other days there is a sense of calm and a quiet lapping on the shore. Like the waves, grief has no endpoint.” 

wrote, “I lost my Mom - in May.  It was expected, it was a relief to me as mom had suffered a long time with dementia brought on by mini strokes...  My Mom taught me how to be a caregiver, I learned from her, and followed in her footsteps.”

My dear friend Pat died in December 2011. Most every week, I (as she would say) ‘pass by’ her home on my way to the grocery store. Every time I think of her and wish I could tell her something – or more likely ask her advice.

For some the loss is new and grief may be so overwhelming that hope and healing seem out of reach.

I wish I could go back and smell her..feel her...hear her... Is this normal? I've never lost anyone this close to me. ...Nothing feels right. Nothing... Some advice please...from anybody. ..Jaidey

wrote, “Now I wander around, trying to keep above my wanting to be normal. Normal, what a word, I want to go back to before his illness, I want to be able to talk to him, I want...I want...like a child I want but I do not know what I really want. I know it is time to grieve and allowing myself to do so is hard ... ”

For others, time and experience may give wisdom to help, encourage and support.

 “Even now, nearly a year later, there are moments when you just want to pull the covers up over your face, and not get out of bed. I don't know how long it will take, for me, nearly a year later, the calm, the acceptance, is only now settling in, but that is me, stubborn to the end, I guess. Maybe not enough Chocolate in my diet, but it does get better, bit by bit.  ...”  AdoptedSon

“For us, the ones left behind, life continues to be a rollercoaster of emotions. ...We are on the ride of our lives as we continue to try to keep control of our emotions and our sanity. We are survivors and although our scars don't show on the outside, our shattered lives  will take a very, very long time to get through. It truly is a one day at a time thing.” Marstin

How are you surviving grief? 
What suggestions would you offer those whose grief is fresh?

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Reply by Dar64
20 Feb 2015, 11:34 AM

Hi KathCull,
I don't mind being contacted directly. That being said, I truly believe joining a berevement group is very helpful, i actually laughed for the first time since my heart was shattered and my soul went empty ( the day Ron passed away). At berevement we are all feeling a huge loss, we respect each others grief, feelings, needs and individuality. The berevement group is a caring, supportive safe place to speak your mind or stay silent if you wish to just listen. Your feelings are valid, your pain is valid, everyone grieves in their own way, pace and time. There is no right way or wrong way to grieve.
I can tell you that i have grieved in many different ways, i truly believe that a person knows when death is near, my Mom & Dad had a family reunion back in the day, my Dad was holding his chest and fell to the floor, i ran to get my Mom, she got him up and he said he was fine. (Dad never went to the Dr.'s) That week he told us it was time for him to be with his son. (David died at 6 month old in 1956 @ sick kids in Toronto, he was one of the 1st babies to have open heart surgery) Five days before my 16th birthday i seen my Dad leave for work, i waved from my bedroom window at him, my Dad didn't come home, he had a heart attack while unloading his truck. This devasted me to the point i went wild (as my Mom said) i went out drinking, smoking some weed and feeling like life had just ended, my Mom made me go to a shrink they put me on meds as i was getting a lot of headaches. I felt like such a burden on my Mom, to the point i took all of my pills and ended up in intensive care in Newmarket hospital, but we worked through everything, 3 yrs 1 month and 7 days later my Mom passed away, i watched as my Mom sat there every night crying over my Dad, she always thought no one knew, till i walked out the one night and we talked. I still believe my Mom died from a broken heart, even though the medical report says otherwise. The grief i felt from my Mom's death was not the same, the difference this time was i had my husband to hold me, to care about me, to love me and he allowed me to grieve, as he did as well ( Ron was very close to my Mom). The grief i feel over the passing of my husband is still different, but i am learning that you cannot hold grief in, you can't hide it. In order to heal we need to release it. I have been on this ebb & tide, feelings of anger, hate, love, helplessness, hopelessness, loneliness and questioning my spirituality. I know that no one can walk this road with me, it is the road i must travel alone, but it is good to have someone walk with you in support. Someone who will not judge you, or tell you to get over it, but walks beside you holds your hand when you need it, picks you up when you have fallen, or just gives you a much needed hug. I find this with my berevement group, we support each other. There is support out there, look to your local hospice, berevement groups, mental health units, your Doctor, the hospital, united way, funeral home just to name a few.

Family can be great but if they have not lost someone so close and deeply loved their understanding may not suit your needs. I am not ashamed to say i cry everynight, this hurt will probably never go away, but i will eventually learn to live with it. I refuse to not honor my husband, i honoured his birthday on feb 11th, i honoured valentines day, and i honoured our 32nd anniversary feb. 19th. Just because my husband is gone does not mean these days are not special to me. I look for ways to honor Ron he will never be forgotten till i take my last breath. We can't run from our grief, so we must face it head on, wholeheartedly embrace our grief, and release it in order to heal from it. I am sorry for such a long winded note, but who better to walk with you if not for someone who is also walking the road of grief?

Much love and hugs for those who need it..
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Reply by Mark99
23 Feb 2015, 10:20 PM

Grief and loss are unique to each on of us. As unique as fingerprints which was noted by Patrick O’Malley in a NYT column “Getting Grief Right”. It is a smart well written piece that I would recommend.

Jane Brody also writing in the NYT has an excellent piece on grief “When Grief Wont’t Relent” 

"The risk of complicated grief is greatest — 10 percent to 20 percent — among those who lose a romantic partner and even higher among those who lose a child. It is more common following a sudden or violent death and most common among women older than 60, she reported."

It was told to me shortly after Donna died that denial and avoidance of the emotion, fear, pain, sadness, and loss is counter productive. I was told to look at and consider what I was feeling and thinking to plum the depths of my loss. I did just that with my writing, groups such as this one, and podcasting. I thought I would share some podcasts and posts on this topic since it is near and dear to me. I also know what we all feel and want to part of a solution and support for us all. 

The Arc of Loss, Mourning, Grief, and Release

This Too Shall Pass: When I Say So!
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Reply by Mark99
26 Mar 2015, 4:33 PM

I’ve been writing and podcasting about EOL, HPM, grief, mourning and dying. It's my personal journal and journey based on reflections, memories, and experiences surrounding Donna’s diagnosis, treatment, and passing. That is the nature of a narrative it’s a reflection, based on personal or learned experiences.


It struck me that my musing were personal and emotional reflections and memories. What if I missed a point, a nuance, a message, that some may find valuable. Or more importantly I find valuable. I thought why don’t I interview those who knew Donna, knew me, and were part of this journey. I wanted to learn how they saw the arc of Donna from diagnosis to EOL my arc from diagnosis to EOL to grief and mourning. Did I miss anything? Was I short sighted in my self analysis and reflection? Was my narrative accurate and clear? What did I miss because we all know how clear hindsight is.

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Reply by KathCull_admin
30 Mar 2015, 5:04 PM

Mark, I appreciated being able to listen to your podcast. There were a couple of sentences I have taken particular note of:
"Only option for grief is..... to hit it head on."  "Memories to be savoured like wine."

In the midst of your grief and loss, you, "wanted to see if I could help others."

And "so Donna could be who she was... to be alive."

Thank you.
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Reply by Mark99
08 Apr 2015, 4:11 PM

I just completed Podcast 36 My idiosyncratic Fingerprint of Grief. Fenton Johnson who had the cover story in Harper’s Mag “Going it Alone”. The essay addresses the importance of solitude and what it means to ourselves our well being and sense of self. What we can learn from that? What can we can with do with it? How can I apply it to navigating my loss and grief?

I like many of us here are struggling to place my gried in the right context with my life and my memories. I hope this can help others. 


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