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How Do I Cope
AdrienneG.
Posted: Saturday, October 12, 2013 7:11 PM
Joined: 10/12/2013
Posts: 1


I lost my grandmother to her battle with Alzheimer's and Dementia on January 25th, 2013.  To this day, I haven't been able to allow myself to deal with my feelings or get it out.  My grandmother was/is an irreplaceable light in my life that I watched fade away each time I saw her.  Anytime something happened in my family, I always felt that I had to be the strong one and shoulder for everyone and lost myself in all of it.  The last time I saw my grandmother was when my family and I visited Memphis for Christmas.  In my mind, I felt that was going to be the last time I saw her.  She held my hand most of the night, tried to sing some songs and gave me a kiss on my check when we took her back to the nursing home.  It hurts me so much inside because I feel that I could have done more, but I'm not sure what more I could have done.  Since loosing her, I have lost sight of everything in front of me, and neglected all that's important to me and distanced myself even more than I have before.  Every time I had things going on in my life, she seemed to always have the right things to say to make me think better, or the right thing to say to kick me in my butt.  I have tried to open up to my wife about these feelings, as well as other things, but I always clam up and know that I'm pushing her away which aren't my intentions.  She has always been there for me, but I have denied her that.  My grandmother, and her had their spats, but my grandmother loved my wife and proud of me.  My biggest fear is loosing others I care about and it makes me feel that if I create reasons to distance myself it will make things easier, but at the same time it hurts because I want them near, especially my wife.  I have felt anger at times because she left me and I wasn't ready for her to.  I have felt hope because because sometimes when I saw her, or talked to her on the phone she sounded better.  I feel so loss and I'm honestly at my wits end and it is just pulling me apart everyday.  The proudest moment for me, since she passed, was participating in the Alzheimer's walk where I live, but at the end of the walk and the crowd started to go their separate ways, I was left with the feeling of that same emptiness.  I couldn't find that next thing to help make me feel that her memory wouldn't just fade away.  Am I wrong for all of these feelings?  I felt the same way when I lost my great grandmother and after all of these years, I still feel regret of her loss as well.  I just feel I am carrying some much around, and don't know how to share it to have help coping.  Everyday is hard for me, but I try and manage. I'm lost and have made to many mistakes and decisions to push everything, and everyone away, that in honesty I know I need.
dj okay
Posted: Sunday, October 13, 2013 1:47 PM
Joined: 11/29/2011
Posts: 1840


I am so sorry, Adrienne, for the loss of your dear grandmother.  I can feel the significant role she played in your life in the words you write.  I also sense that your feelings of loss and lost-ness are still profound after almost 9 months.  It seems that you are reaching out for help and that is a good thing.

 

Feelings are not "wrong"...they are just feelings.  They are the emotions that come within us during various times of life.  The feelings of grief you express are normal when suffering a significant loss like you have.  But you said yourself, you have not allowed them to come out.  And THAT is not healthy for you or even those around you.

 

My husband lost his dad to cancer less than 2 years after we married.  My husband was only 23 at the time and his father just 53.  The loss affected my husband deeply...but he was not able to talk about it with me for almost 10 years.  I felt left out and troubled, knowing he was hurting, wanting to help him, and not knowing how to break through to him.  It wasn't healthy for our marriage.  I share this so you can start to understand how your wife feels.  We marry for better or worse.  This is one of the "worse" times.  But the fact that she wants to be there for you is a sign of her devotion to you.  You shouldn't shut her out.  You have begun to open up in this forum.  You need to share some of your pain with your wife.  That's what she's there for.

 

I understand not wanting to lose other dear loved ones in your life.  When we suffer a loss, we begin to be afraid of another...and another.  But this is the way of all flesh.  We are human and not immortal.  We are all dying at some time.  Just because someone is at the end of their life is no reason to stop loving them to prevent more pain of loss.  It's just a part of life.  I could not help becoming fond of many of the residents in my mother's nursing home even though I knew that many of them were dying.  It was painful to watch them die, one by one, but I couldn't help loving them for who they still were.   If you try to distance yourself from your loved ones to prevent the pain of loss, you will only be setting yourself up for guilt and regret if you out-live them.  And your intention might not even work...they could out-live you.  Then you will have left them with doubts of your love and regret for having missed opportunities for closeness.

 

The grief we feel when we lose someone we loved is evidence of that very love.  If you never loved, you would not know the pain.  But would you rather have missed the love?  I think not.  The way you describe your grandmother makes me think that you would still have chosen to love her...even knowing that you would lose her.  Try to take that attitude going forward with all those around you that you love.  Seize each moment of happiness and closeness that you can.  It may cost you some pain to begin with...but it is like a woman's labor in childbirth...it hurts for a while but when it is over it is so very worthwhile.

 

The range of emotions we go through during a grieving process are all mixed up.  The grieving process is emotional but also mental, physical, and spiritual.  It taxes every part of our being that makes us who we are.  And grief WILL have it's way with us.  We cannot control it.  It would be like covering up a festering wound and not letting it drain its infection and get air to heal.  If we try to stop the grieving process, it just comes out in other ways like mental illness, physical disease, or emotional distress beyond reason.  It sounds to me like you have not allowed your grief its natural expression and you are now suffering the consequences.

 

You may need to discuss your feelings with a professional counselor.  Some workplaces offer employee assistance in the form of free counseling.  There are also free clinics in many parts of the country or you could talk with a spiritual counselor.  Another option would be to call the 1-800-272-3900 helpline at the Alzheimer's Association.  They are there 24/7 and it is a free service.  Please ask to speak with a Care Consultant.  They are social workers trained in all aspects of caregiving and can help you learn how to handle your grief.

 

I'm glad you have reached out to us for help.  I'm sure there are many here that can relate to your feelings and will offer assistance.  Feel free to read some of the other topics here as you may find other advice that will help you as well.  But do not deny your grief or your other emotions as this will not lead you into a better place.

 

Do take good care of yourself.  Come back and let us know how you're doing. 


KML
Posted: Wednesday, October 16, 2013 11:28 AM
Joined: 11/30/2011
Posts: 2105


I understand how you feel.  I don't take loss well and I don't shake loose of things very well.  It's how I am and as difficult it is for me, it's also difficult for those around me, because I am not consoled very easily.  While we continue to hurt and ruminate about what we've lost, others around us will move on with their life and sometimes there's an expectancy that we do the same and we can feel alone in our pain.  We will, you will heal.  It's takes time and that's it.  I think it is very helpful to talk with an objective person about your feelings.  Our friends and family want to help but sometimes they are too close to the situation and in my case, I can wear my family down with my doubts, my regrets, my feelings.

 

Everything you feel is normal and talking to a grief counselor can set you on a path of healing and acceptance.

 

For me the things I have to constantly remind myself of is life is about living and dying, beginning and end and it's something we all will experience.  When our loved ones struggle with disease and illness and they pass, the lesson they teach us in that process is that life is precious and it goes by pretty quick.  Our loved ones would be sad to know how much we are suffering, they wouldn't want that for us.  So we go on and we honor them by living the best life that we can, we remember everything they taught us and by doing that, we carry them around in our heart, so while we don't see them, we feel them always.  One day, we'll all be together again.  But in the meantime, you are surrounded by people who care and love you and you can savor that.  Those are the lessons the dying teach us.  We sometimes forget that's what life is.

 

I would encourage you to keep sharing your feelings, join a grief support group, read books on grieving.  If you do, I promise, you're not going to feel alone in your feelings, you will see that what you feel is actually very normal and that you are in the grief process.  Sometimes we get stuck there, and it helps to speak with a trained person in grief counseling to get us moving again. 

 

It did help me, it didn't take away the grief, but it helped me to realize that it's a process and it will take time and that my feelings are universal and normal.  We make room in our hearts for happiness and sadness.  Those two components are part of life and we learn to live with both and sometimes it's in balance and sometimes we need help in finding the balance.  A grief counselor and/or support group can help very much with that. 

 

 


one daughter
Posted: Thursday, October 17, 2013 10:38 AM
Joined: 1/30/2013
Posts: 1980


I know how you feel.  I am still grieving over my father's passing. God Bless you.
Oceanbum
Posted: Friday, October 18, 2013 8:40 AM
Joined: 3/11/2012
Posts: 433


Adrienne,

 

I am so sorry for your loss. It sounds as though your grandmother meant so very much to you. I lost my mother June of 2012. She meant the world to me, same as your grandmother did to you. I had a very hard time coping with her loss. I tried searching on line for help, I read every book I could find. But finally it was my husband who helped me learn to cope. And it was a very simple thing that he said to me. One day I was crying, talking to him about losing Mom about how I was still not dealing with it very well. He took me by the shoulders, looked me sqare in the face and said "Would your Mom want you to be like this? Didn't she always want you to be happy? The one thing she always wanted in her life was for her kids to be taken care of and happy. Are you happy right now? And would she want this for you?"  I thought about what he said and I decided that he was right. Mom would want me to be happy. She wouldn't want me to cry all the time and be unhappy. She always wanted for us kids to be happy. So I decided from that day on to just be happy ~ for her, for me and for my family. I know it sounds so simple, but it has worked for me. Sure, there are days that I still get down, and cry and I still miss her terribly. But I think about her and what she would want for me. She would want me to be happy. And I know if I am happy, I'm making her happy and that makes me smile!


Sheryl726
Posted: Sunday, October 20, 2013 4:08 PM
Joined: 11/29/2011
Posts: 521


AdrienneG.,

 

So sorry for your loss.  It is never easy, no matter their age or ours when that loss occurs.

 

The people on this site blow me away with their wisdom sometimes.  djokay gave great advise and I just love Oceanbums.

 

Sometimes we do just have to decide to be happy.  It is a state of mind and she is so right.  What a wise husband she has.

 

Grief will have it's way.  My mother is still alive, I have lost a husband and grandparents.  The grief for each is different, but does have it's day.  I have decided to be happy as my husband would have wanted it and the same for all those that love me. 

 

Seek help but allow your very willing wife to love you and surround you. 

 

Hugs as you work this out for yourself.

 

We care and want you to take care.

 

Sheryl