RSS Feed Print
Do you think the way they died influences the grieving process?
Still Waters
Posted: Monday, October 24, 2016 8:50 AM
Joined: 2/6/2012
Posts: 1092


Do you think if their death was not painful or traumatic, it would be easier to grieve?

Do you think a peaceful death makes it easier to grieve?

Do you think feeling guilt makes the grieving process worse?

I tend to think so.


jfkoc
Posted: Monday, October 24, 2016 9:33 AM
Joined: 12/4/2011
Posts: 19390


I imagine that how a person dies could have an effect. My husband simply faded. I have no feeling of guilt...none.

You have posted that you are suffering from the fact that you "stopped food and liquid" and that you watched your mother die painfully for days because of this. I do think this would make things more difficult for you. 


Still Waters
Posted: Monday, October 24, 2016 9:49 AM
Joined: 2/6/2012
Posts: 1092


I thought so. I think that is why I am having such a hard time with this. I was hoping to hear that even if they fade away peacefully, there would be some kind of "what if's". I worked so hard and for so long to NOT have guilt, and in the end, I ended up with it anyway. I feel so defeated.

jfkoc
Posted: Monday, October 24, 2016 10:45 AM
Joined: 12/4/2011
Posts: 19390


I did not mean to imply that there were no what if's. What I know is that I did do the best I could with the information on hand. As I learn more and look back there were things I could have done differently but when you do you best that is all you can do. Monday morning quarterbacking could be devastating. 

I have regrets that I did not know more but no quilt.


Still Waters
Posted: Monday, October 24, 2016 11:39 AM
Joined: 2/6/2012
Posts: 1092


Regret and Guilt are the same thing. Wouldn't you say?

jfkoc
Posted: Monday, October 24, 2016 12:55 PM
Joined: 12/4/2011
Posts: 19390


Oh, no. I think they are very different.

 regret:  feel sad, repentant, or disappointed over (something that has happened or been done, especially a loss or missed opportunity.

guilt: 
a bad feeling caused by knowing or thinking that you have done something bad or wrong.


Moish
Posted: Monday, October 24, 2016 1:04 PM
Joined: 7/29/2016
Posts: 319


Yes I would think the way someone dies has an impact. Of course a peaceful death is preferable. It's what we all wish for, for our LOs and for ourselves. And since hospice was involved clearly your mother was ready to die. And I am pretty sure hospice did all possible to keep her as comfortable as possible. But even some peaceful deaths are hard; my mother actively labored for a good fifteen hours before her final breath came. She was not in pain, but she was actively laboring. The few lucky ones who just go to sleep and don't wake up are few and far between. 

Your mother has only recently died. Count on a year of grieving. Try and go on with your daily life and just include the grief. It will lessen. 

It will lessen. Give it time. 


Still Waters
Posted: Monday, October 24, 2016 1:23 PM
Joined: 2/6/2012
Posts: 1092


Thank you.

Moish
Posted: Monday, October 24, 2016 2:34 PM
Joined: 7/29/2016
Posts: 319


SW: if you go to the caregivers board you can read the heartache and exhaustion and pain and anxiety we all went through -- those of us who are now on this board. It's heartbreaking stuff, and in all honesty not something I would ever want to go through again. I'm sure you wouldn't want to have to do it all over again either. You did it, and you did it well and for so long, this is time for you to slowly start a new life.
Still Waters
Posted: Monday, October 24, 2016 2:56 PM
Joined: 2/6/2012
Posts: 1092


Moish, thank you for trying to help.

With my mom, at the stage she was in, I had been past all the horrors and nightmares. She was at the stage where she was like a baby. Scared and frustrated sometimes but the worse had been over. The 5 years I spent with my mother at the nursing home, I saw a lot of people who lingered on like zombies for years. It was inhumane. Those people were treated worse than dogs. I made a promise to myself, that I would never let my mother get to that point. So I guess I had just seen too much. What helps me a lot is reading what His Daughter went thru as far as watching them die slowly for a long period of time, from not eating and drinking. What I did was just speed up the process. But looking back now, who was I to end her life? It should have just happened naturally. People say to me "It was her time" I tell them, no, it was not her time, I let her die. People say it is heroic and courageous. Well I understand now why people don’t do things like I did, because it's hard to live with one's self. But it would have been just as hard to watch her die from starvation on her own for a long period of time. Except without the guilt. Possibly....
w/e
Posted: Monday, October 24, 2016 5:49 PM
Joined: 3/7/2012
Posts: 1751


I usually don't come to this side of the Alzconnected agora.

I understand what you are feeling.

What you are feeling does not go away easily. It takes time. For some of us, a long time. It varies in different people because of culture, religion, up-bringing.

Remorse. Deep regret. Intense guilt. Self-reproach.

Remorse, regret, guilt, self-reproach; it is related to one's conscience. It pertains to the past. It means that your past actions are making you feel regretful, guilty, and unhappy. For care-givers, care-takers, care-partners, it is a deep feeling of feeling unworthy relative. Feeling that you did not do enough. That your best was not good enough... Survivor guilt.

The main problem related to the feelings of regret, guilt, remorse, self-reproach is how to overcome them. Since they relate to past actions or lack there of, it is impossible to remove the root cause.

So what is one to do?

Forgive oneself.

 Forgiveness of  the Self, is divine. It is the courage to accept acceptance of the Self in spite of the consciousness of guilt.

 Forgiveness is an act. An act of peace and reconciliation with the Self and the other. A courageous act of moving forward. Of being who we are. Of having the power to be as oneself. Forgiveness of the Self, is an act of self-affirmation. Forgiveness of the Self is an act of dignity and grace. 

Forgiving is not forgetting. It is a realization of the fact that there is no future in the past and , therefore, feeling remorse, intense guilt, deep regret, self-reproach, and unhappiness over the past is futile.

 My immortal beloved had a sudden heart attack at home.. He was 68. He had been living with symptoms of dementia/AD for 10+years... It has been almost three years since that fateful morning when I had to say to the ambulance people, "Stop. No more. Do not continue. No more extraordinary measures. It is time for my beloved to die." I still hear the echo of my words. I still feel the sorrow. The anguish. I still miss him terribly. I still have to repeat to myself every morning, "For everything there is a season. A time to live. A time to die." And every day I try to forgive myself for only I know how nobly I acted. And the full extent of all I did.

Come healing of the mind. Come healing of the heart.

Hugs to you, my dear.


KML
Posted: Monday, October 24, 2016 5:59 PM
Joined: 11/30/2011
Posts: 2105


Grieving is hard, no matter if there is a peaceful ending or a difficult ending.  Everyone does it so differently, it is unique to each person's life, their experiences during their life, their relationship with the loved one.

I think of a friend of mine, whose 28 year old son, a police officer, was shot and killed in the line of duty.  She did not get to say goodbye to him, his new bride did not get to say a final goodbye.  For my friend, her grief doesn't stop, doesn't let up.  She's having a very hard time reconciling his death.

We on the other hand have had a long good-bye with our loved ones, this is no less traumatic, even when we expect it.  Being human, in the back of our minds, we feel prepared, but when it happens, it is still wrenching.  This is deep caring and love for the person.  It is hard to let go, for them  to gone from our sight, for them to go away.

My mother was on hospice, she could not swallow, so she did not have food or drink.  She died peacefully it seemed, but I felt intense grief.  Of course, we do, it was our mother, our father, our husband, our wife, our friend, our family.  I didn't understand Alzeimer's very much when my mom was diagnosed.  That was 16 years ago.

Each person's emotions are unique to them.

I am the type of person who holds myself responsible for everyone and everything, so I tend to take things very hard, I am very hard on myself, I tend to expect perfection from myself, I never reach it though and never will, that's human.

My father had a very difficult and unpeaceful passing.    When my father was diagnosed with AD, I vowed to learn all that I could, I made it my mission not to have my father suffer, his comfort was my utmost priorty.   I did the best I could, but in the end, he did suffer.  For a year after he passed away, I could not sleep well, I kept seeing and hearing the last two weeks of his life.  I beat myself up saying I should have done this, I should have done that.  In looking back now, I feel I did some tremendous actions on behalf of my father, often running on fumes.  I really don't think I could do it again.  I did things I never thought I could.

I wish I could have prevented his suffering, I wish he could have left this earth in peace.  I couldn't make it happen.  All I know is I did the best I could and even though I tell myself that, I still wish.  But I cannot go back, and I cannot have controlled everything.  All I can do is say, I did the best I humanly could.

They are both at peace now.  True, for now, I continue to question myself, berate myself for not being perfect, but I'm inching towards acceptance that I am not perfect, but I tried, I tried my best and that will have to satisfy me and hopefully someday it will.  I can only imagine, my parents are satisfied with me and if they could they would say thanks, honey, you did your best.  We will see you later.

 
 Grieving is missing the person, trying to tell yourself, you could have saved them, you could have done "something",  But the truth is, no one can stop it from happening.  It's what you do from the day they are diagnosed to the day they take their last breath.  That's what we should be looking at, the care, the love, the comfort, the work on their behalf, the doctor appointments, the cleaning, the entertaining, the setting up of resources and care, the continuity and long, hard hours, that turned into days and years.  Staying with them through it, that is what counts.

I know I will grieve the loss of my parents for the rest of my life, I will always miss them.  I can say the intensity has eased, but I know it will always be there and I am learning to make room for it in my heart along with the good memories.  The memories are what's left and it is important to hold those, they matter and we are fortunate to have loved someone and they loved us, too. 

 

 


Moish
Posted: Monday, October 24, 2016 6:13 PM
Joined: 7/29/2016
Posts: 319


w/e -- what a lovely person you are.
Still Waters
Posted: Tuesday, October 25, 2016 8:54 AM
Joined: 2/6/2012
Posts: 1092


You both are a breath of fresh air in a smog of confusion. Thank god for this message board, I know no one with the kind of guilt I have who understands how I am feeling, what I am going thru.

w/e - Your response was well-worded and got right to the heart of the issue. You made the solution sound so easy and logical. I have nowhere to turn except my body and my mind and their receptivity to healing energy. Thank you , at least I know someone else believes I can heal. In your situation, a heart attack, really was not something you could change or control or should feel any guilt about. I had hoped my mother would have developed a life threatening illness to take her away from the disease, so I would not have to, but that was not going to happen. She was very strong and healthy. I am learning now thru therapy how to learn to forgive myself. The problem I have it I don't feel like I deserve to forgive myself. Like you said, it is not going to go away easily. I feel it is so unfair for us to feel this way after all the sacrifices. I am sure you must feel the same way. 10+ years is a long time. I guess I will have to get on that path to forgiveness if I want to continue to live. Personally for me, with no real family I almost do not see the point in going on anymore. Learning to love myself after what I have done will be a lot of work. But it is good to see others who carry the burden of guilt and learned to survive.

KML- Thank you for being a light in the darkness, you described exactly how I feel, and your wisdom was very helpful, its helped me see more clearly that this is not how it should be. I sit here with tears in my eyes because you've given me answers to questions I haven't even asked. Thank you for affirming my positivity. I continue to go thru the archives when this board is stagnant and read all of your posts. Just the other day I read the one you wrote about selling your parents' house. Wow what a great post. Everything you wrote is so similar to how I feel today. Knowing that  you got thru it and are getting thru it, is what helps me because I feel we are so similar in the way we think. I can't seem to recall exactly how your father died. What exactly did he die from that you feel guilty about? KML what I did was intentional. It was not an accident, a miscalculation, a mistake. Intention. I don't know how in god's name I did it. But I did. As you suggested I should not discount all the good work I did. If not for the fact that she was my mother, and loved me and probably would forgive me I don't know how I can live with myself. But with your advice I will try.


MPSunshine
Posted: Tuesday, October 25, 2016 4:01 PM
Joined: 5/21/2016
Posts: 2000


Dear Still Waters,

Of course it does. It also matters how much we were there, what decisions we made, whether we tried. When my dad refused food it was very difficult.  He spat food, swiped at food. Then he would accept food.  So it was up and down for him but he definitely didn't take in enough food to sustain life. He ate about a day before he died. We don't have good primers on death.  Even the bloody births are glamorized and sanitized.  Let's face it. We don't handle transitions well. Many cultures have rituals around these transitions. Here we have what we have learned from others or maybe hospice. I would venture that the more we poured into our loved one of love, the harder the grieving is.  The more it feels like a part of ourselves has died. But this is an existential or psychological pain. The ones who protected themselves through creating their distance and their busy lives have it easy. 

In a related topic, The Washington Post just published an article stating that in most cases "'Death with dignity' isn't just about easing end-of-life pain." According to the article people who take advantage of this law state that it is more about controlling the person’s exit and in most cases has nothing to do with current pain. Also most people who take advantage of the "death with dignity" laws on the books are “white, well-insured and have a college education.”

http://www.recordonline.com/zz/lifestyle/20161025/death-with-dignity-isnt-just-about-easing-end-of-life-pain

 

 


MPSunshine
Posted: Wednesday, October 26, 2016 1:08 PM
Joined: 5/21/2016
Posts: 2000


(reposted per Still Waters's request)

Dear Still Waters and Others Who are Grieving,

I truly think the answer to your question is that the way we Loved influences the grieving process.  They were going to die anyway, as are we, in our own due time. It is the deepest love to love another and when Death wrenches the beloved away from us even if we saw them suffering, even if we knew better that this was no life, there are the broken arteries where a part of our heart was wrenched free, the veins dangle, every breath of air hurts, the Grief is like a Freight Train rolling over our unprotected souls that just lay ourselves across the track wanting this so-called Life to be over. It is a Measure of our Love that for the world to have lost this Person, this Dear One, truly causes us misery, no matter if that person would want for us only Dear Happiness, no matter that Life keeps Moving slowly and fast, unfolding Her Mysteries for us every day, the leaves continue to fly off the branches, they turn Golden and Majestic Maroon in spite of our Oceans of tears.  Someday there will be Laughter, true Laughter, abandoned and Silly Laughter of Sheer Joy.  But for now it is grieving because of having Loved with Everything Leaving Nothing.

mps
KML
Posted: Wednesday, October 26, 2016 1:46 PM
Joined: 11/30/2011
Posts: 2105


How my dad died.  I don't know for certain what took him.  Alzheimer's is listed on the death certificate.  April of 2012 he was doing well it seemed, by mid May, he was declining very quickly.  We had a lot of doctor appointments for issues that cropped up for him, nothing was conclusive.  I'm left thinking it was Alzheimer's progression and it moved swiftly.

I could see that my father had lost weight, how much he lost, I wasn't told.  He had regular visits from his Nurse Practitioner, she said she wasn't told how much weight he was losing.  It turns out it was significant weight loss.

I've gone over in my head, that I should have taken him to this doctor or that doctor.  I did though, and no one could pinpoint, findings didn't seem fatal. 

One week he was eating and talking and laughing, the following week, he seemed delirious, asking me to just kill him.  I called in his Nurse Practitioner and she said call hospice, I did.  They came, they brought in the hospital bed, the oxygen the day after I met with them, the next day his comfort meds were started and he died that day. 

I had tried to stay on top of everything for him, for 12 years.  In the end, I didn't see it coming and I wasn't able to move fast enough for him.

The fact that he did not die peacefully haunted me for a very long time, I'm trying to make that ease away.  My salvation is, he has peace now and is with my mom and everyone he loved who passed on before him, he gets to see his mother again and his brothers and sisters.  I hope there is an afterlife, because he wanted to live until he was 100, I am sure he is much happier there now than he was in the last few years of his life on earth.  He doesn't have to suffer any longer.

I like to think our loved ones who pass, get to go back to the happiest and healthiest times in their lives and they get to stay that way.  I picture my dad with everyone and making them laugh and smile. He missed my mom and he would say he wondered if she was thinking what was taking him so long. 

He did not deserve to suffer, so he now has peace and as much as I miss him, I'm glad it is over for him, he couldn't go on any longer they way he was, there was no relief for him, he has that now.  Bless him and my mom and all of loved ones and us who are picking up the pieces and going forward with them in our hearts.


Still Waters
Posted: Wednesday, October 26, 2016 1:47 PM
Joined: 2/6/2012
Posts: 1092


I just love reading that MP. It makes me cry. So true.

Also: Great article. Something I had suspected all along but could not put my finger on.



A losing hand.
Posted: Wednesday, October 26, 2016 2:33 PM
Joined: 1/16/2013
Posts: 348


Still Waters,

I don't know if you ever heard this saying, but I think it really hits home.

You can close your eyes..to the things you do not want to see..but you cannot close

your Heart..to the things you don't want to feel.

Good luck.


Lorena K
Posted: Wednesday, November 16, 2016 3:19 PM
Joined: 9/1/2014
Posts: 87


I think that we all feel some guilt when we have lost a loved one.But nothing can change the circumstances . My husband died 3 weeks ago.He was in a nursing home . I keep going over and over in my mind , could I have kept him at home .I feel so selfish for having placed him..because my own health was suffering . I had lost 60+pounds.I know that I could not continue the challenge of keeping him alone without my own health. I just find comfort in knowing that I did the best that I  could.Alzheimer's didn't ultimately take him..he had a combination of health problems , which contributed to his death.I am told that time will slowly heal the guilt and the grief.
MPSunshine
Posted: Thursday, November 17, 2016 12:06 AM
Joined: 5/21/2016
Posts: 2000


Lorena K, Sorry about your husband. Condolences to you, sorry you are feeling this way.
Because she's my mom!
Posted: Friday, November 25, 2016 10:19 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 737


I think my grieving process for mom  was different than for my dad, or grandma, or grandpa. And I think the reason is that I spent 12 years grieving during our journey from diagnosis to death. So when mom passed away, my grief was strong, but bearable, and then became much less intense over the past year.

Although I still miss all of them so very much, my grief for my grandparents and dad was much more intense and at times seemed unbearable, and lasted much longer at a higher intensity than for my mom. My grandma died two years after her cancer diagnosis, my grandpa six months after he became ill, my dad 9 months after his cancer diagnosis, and my mom 12 years after her diagnosis. During that 12 years, I went through denial, anger,  loss  and sorrow again and again, so by the time she passed away, my grieving was almost over, though my feelings of loss for all of them will never be over.