How do you talk with others about your loss

Discussion in 'Loss of Spouse' started by Jeffsjohnson, Jul 11, 2020.

  1. Jeffsjohnson

    Jeffsjohnson Member

    My circle of friends all offer heartfelt condolences, but there is a limit (for most of them) as to how much they actually want you to talk about it. At some point their eyes glass over. You hear them thinking inside their head where they personalize the conversation: "What would I do?" "How would I feel?"

    My question is this: would it be best to have a short, canned response and then wait to see if they ask for more, or take a more healing approach -for me - and let them deal with their own issues?

    jeffsjohnson
     
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  2. Barry

    Barry Well-Known Member

    It's inevitable. People who have never experienced grieving like this,( life changing grief ) are going to quickly tire of listening. They don't understand. They can't understand because they've never been in this trauma. For me, when people went back to their lives and didn't want to talk about it anymore, I started seeing a grief therapist. Just to talk to someone about how I felt was really nice! That ended when Covid19 came to town. This place is the only place I find people who understand. I'm a little over 8 months in now and I'm still taking one day at a time but I am moving on. My sweet Peggy made a much better man of me. She taught me how to live, love life and be happy. I'll always have her in my heart. I wish you peace and happiness. Don't worry about what anybody who has never been here feels. This is about you! Take care of yourself. Eat right, sleep, and appreciate what you have. Peace.
     
  3. SJPouliot

    SJPouliot New Member

    I wish I could find a way to "move on.". We were a living team for 59 years. I am filled with such sadness and loneliness that I find it difficult to fill my time with anything but my loss.
     
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  4. Liley773

    Liley773 Well-Known Member

    I just wish I could find the secret of sleeping and the anxiety answers...I'm glad that you have found a little of that peace...
     
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  5. Liley773

    Liley773 Well-Known Member

    this is the only place where people understand that's for sure...sorry. Bad night for me
     
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  6. RLC

    RLC Well-Known Member

    It is hard to know when people really want a sincere answer or want you to say I’m ok. Sometimes they’re only asking because they know it’s the right thing to do. Many times I answer that I’m managing. Sometimes they follow up with a sincere thought and question which can lead to a discussion.
    After 8 months I was asked so rarely how I was doing that just the question made me cry, it felt like someone actually cared. Then the crying can be taken as, I can’t ask her how she’s doing or talk about Ron. I want to talk about Ron all the time. People also think that bringing up your loved one makes you feel worse or reminds you. I tell them, no one is reminding me of anything, I think of him every minute of every day. And want to hear your memories with him and us. That is a good thing. I think we’re all educating the people in our lives, some pay attention, others really don’t care. I’ve certainly learned who my true friends are and which family members sincerely care.
    Loneliness sure plays a huge role in grief. Being alone all the time just makes you ache more. And this covid thing is causing more pain and hurt that’s for sure.
    If you take the more healing approach as you put it, you’ll certainly learn for the next time how much that person is open to support you and listen.
    We’re all here for each other and I’m so thankful for that.
     
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  7. Jeffsjohnson

    Jeffsjohnson Member

    Thanks everyone for your heartfelt thoughts. RLC, you're right. I think people might be afraid of a sincere answer. They just want to know - or at least hear - that you are OK. So I have my canned answer: I'm doing OK, it is a hard thing to deal with, I'm working on it. So far I have only had one person, a judge I know in town, actually say "are you OK talking about her? Let's talk." Most others just want you to know they are there in a slightly disconnected way.

    The one thing I have learned is that people who are simply present, near me, include me in normal things, provide the best therapy. This is what I will pay forward to others. Sit on the porch together with a glass of wine. Invite them for a walk. Often it is your presence, not your words, that make the difference.
     
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  8. RLC

    RLC Well-Known Member

    It’s sad but I’m learning it’s true. Just say I’m ok. So your judge friend, is awesome! Nice to know there are people out there who take the time to say something truly caring.
    I whole heartedly agree that the ones who invite and include in everyday things or get togethers offer the best support and help. My brother called me today, asked how I was doing, chatted about the covid numbers in our area I shared that I had just mowed my lawn. He was happy for me. Told me about a doctor he thought might be able to help me with my RA. Normal conversation. Felt like a call he might have made if Ron was still here. Felt good. And ended with an invite to go to his house on sunday and enjoy his pool. That’s the type of call I need.
    I tried educating that brother, well all my siblings, only he took what I said to heart. My other brother still thinks leaving me alone is the best policy. WOW! At least one cared enough to listen. Presence is huge!
     
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  9. Barry

    Barry Well-Known Member

    Just go and tell a doctor about your anxiety and sleep problem. They will help you.
     
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  10. edj9

    edj9 Well-Known Member

    I second Barry. While I was dealing with my husband’s care needs, the only way I think I got through that was with the help of Lexapro. And I didn’t decide to take it willy-nilly. It was only after years of dysfunction from prolonged and sustained anxiety that I finally, in desperation, asked my therapist if pharmaceuticals would help. Lexapro kept my anxiety in check, and my moods relatively even, so that I could function. It’s a selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor (SSRI), so not an upper. It just prevents your own serotonin levels from plummeting.

    After he died, though, and I was no longer under the pressure of being his caregiver, I found that Lexapro was actually dulling my emotions so that I couldn’t properly grieve. I just couldn’t cry. So with my psychiatrist’s approval I weened myself off it, and after about a month or two, I started to cry every day. Which is good. It’s what I need.

    I’d talk to your doctor and ask for a referral to a psychiatrist and ask about Lexapro, or another SSRI. If your anxiety is preventing you from sleeping or functioning, it might help.
     
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  11. Liley773

    Liley773 Well-Known Member

    Thanks
     
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  12. Kata

    Kata Active Member

    I lost my husband late last year. Unless my friends bring him up, I don’t talk about him. I used to be judgemental. I couldn’t help thinking “what you’re fretting about is so unimportant”. Then I learned what I needed to do. To fill the gap, I regularly talk to friends that knew him and miss him too. I feel I can talk freely because I know they can relate. Even when we don’t talk about him at all on a call I still feel good because the mere fact that I’m talking with someone who misses him gives me comfort. The closer they were to him the better. I talk to his best friend every week or so. It really helps me to drop unrealistic expectations and the accompanying blame and resentment towards my friends. They are very supportive of me in other ways.
     
  13. JMD

    JMD Well-Known Member

    I was feeling the same way - if my friends or family called and did nor bring him up in conversation, I would get afraid that they were not missing him or that they thought I should have been better by now. I had to learn who was really able to listen and talk the way that I needed to - and ask specifically for what I needed. Others do not know what you are going through unless they have experienced it. And many do not know how to support someone in deep grief. I do not tell anyone I am fine if I am not. I prefer to tell them that I am trying to take care of myself and am honest about my struggles with grief in a way that they may understand. Hard journey we’re on.
     
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  14. Kata

    Kata Active Member

    Well this one through me for a loop. Earlier this evening one of my good friends and I got into an argument that made me really upset. I have a constant under layer tof grief tension, and if I have a new stressor on top of that, I’m up all night and nothing can put me to sleep.

    She thinks that I haven’t cried enough so all those emotions are bottled. And she’s waiting for me to go to pieces.

    I’ve got to talk to her about this steamrolling behavior. It’s not every conversation, but happens repeatedly. She’s excited about a topic and thinks it so important that she has to tell you now, even after I say the information.”
     
  15. JMD

    JMD Well-Known Member

    When people ask me what I need most, I tell them physical company and just a willingness to talk and see where the conversation goes. I need to talk about him. It may make me cry. There are a few friends and family that can still do this. I find that talking on the phone is not as helpful and it sometimes starts a spiral of upset for me. The loneliness of this three day weekend has been unbearable for me. Feels like the world has moved on, forgotten while I can’t get away from it.
     
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  16. JMD

    JMD Well-Known Member

    Interesting. My best friend, who lives about six hours away, called me two nights ago and told me she was angry with me because I did not call her on her last day of work. She quit her job and is is moving further away. Seemed excited. She has been wonderful to now, and phones me a lot. But doesn’t visit. Even though we visited her as often as we could. That has always bugged me, but that’s her. I was blown away by what felt like an attack when I couldn’t handle an attack. I listened to the rant very quietly and did not fight. No energy to fight but also a 30+ year friendship. I am in such a funk daily over losing Michael, and running on so little sleep, the last day of work did not even enter my mind. I think my quietness helped her gain perspective on the difference between the losses, she apologized and the conversation changed. I need much more than I can give right now. That’s not me but I can’t help it. Sounds selfish but I can’t apologize for not being myself either. My profound grief is not a choice for me.
     
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  17. RLC

    RLC Well-Known Member

    I am so sorry you had to experience that. I don’t know what people think, but things like that are hurtful and we’re in no position to deal with things like that. My sister did something very similar to that to me. She was good support and called often. Then it turned into me listening to her problems, which I did but said I’m afraid I’m not in a frame of mind to support you but I’ll listen. She seemed to understand. And that continued for multiple phone calls. Then she started judging me and I called her on it. There were words back and forth and I’m not up to that. So I offered let’s not talk for a while and we’ll be ok. This part was happening through text messages. She sent me a huge message accusing me of being a horrible sister and that I’ve never been there for her. Seriously hurtful. I’m glad your friend apologized, that’s what a good friend should do. My sister never apologized and I’ve had to cut ties and all communication with her.
    You are not being selfish in any way. And don’t owe any apologies. Like you I’m usually the giver and have a hard time asking for help. But we need all the help we can get. There are no words for the pain we’re going through, and people don’t always seem to understand. Take care of you! You know Michael would want that, just like Ron wants for me.
     
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  18. Kata

    Kata Active Member

    My friendship is also 30 plus. Your story gives me courage to communicate clearly what I want. I’m afraid of jeopardizing our friendship but that’s ridiculous. She has and will be a caring friend, just a bit overzealous in trying to help. I’ll stand up to her the next the conversation starts to upset me. I’m going to have to be very blunt because she can ignore me if I’m trying to say it politely. The best we can do is express what we want at the time. We have to take care of ourselves and accept what ever version that is at the moment. Thanks for sharing
     
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  19. Jeffsjohnson

    Jeffsjohnson Member

    When I first wrote this I was just sad and stunned. How could my most closest friends and family not “get it” and at least have some kind of filter or at least a sympathetic ear? What I learned since then is a paradox: on one hand I just need to buck up and resist feelings about their insensitivity. But on the other hand, I’m sort of on my own in this horrible journey. I am learning to avoid the sinkholes, and sometimes those sinkholes are people who should know better
     
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  20. JMD

    JMD Well-Known Member

    Sometimes I feel like there is not enough support in the world to get me through this. I still go into ‘one minute at a time’ mode pretty often. My grief counselor tells me my job right now is to survive = keep myself alive. I see she is right. I have found support in some unexpected places, and have been hurt and disappointed in some friends and family that I needed to depend on. I am learning to accept them for what they are and try not to judge. I cannot get what I need from them, they cannot provide it for me. I just make sure I am clear and honest about what I need and go from there. I do know that if I am going to survive, I am going to have to make it happen. Find and take help where it is. There are some who are hanging in there with me, and I am so grateful. It is not easy for anyone to hear and feel someone’s prolonged grief. I feel burdensome at times. I am learning a lot - about everything - myself, my friends, my family. Grief is a tough teacher. My hope is that at some point I can be helpful to someone else in their grief because I understand. If I can ease the pain of another who feels like this, I will have accomplished a lot. Praying for peace.
     
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