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Author Topic: wanting to live?  (Read 6338 times)
Peggi
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« on: October 23, 2011, 02:20:42 PM »

At 2 1/2 years, I confess I am still finding the chest pain/anxiety/despair to be a constant companion. I try so hard to do the "right things": I get out of bed, I'm "productive", I volunteer to help others, I take classes, I have a dog, I stay in touch with close family and friends, I see a counselor, I try to "be there" for my husband and surviving child, I connect with other bereaved parents, I exercise, etc., etc., etc. But I am completely and totally absolutely miserable...tears are always close to the surface...and I just wonder: will I ever again WANT to be alive? It just seems like pure endurance now...like I will never find a desire to be here again. I wake up in the mornings wishing I wouldn't. I have almost no social life because I just want to get in bed early to make the day end. So, to the more mature grievers, will I ever again want to get out of bed? I do gather that some people get there; but I don't think everyone does. And I can't predict where I will fall on the continuum.
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Loraine
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« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2011, 04:02:43 PM »

Peggi,
It is hard to believe at 2.5 years, it is still new grief and there is no magic number that says you have to be what some people would consider “functional” at any given time.  I so sorry that you find yourself in this situation and thought I would write to you on what worked for me

As I read your message, I remembered that those first years had lots of spells of deep grief and although they do not come very often, I am still very much aware of missing my son.  My son passed six years ago but I have limited memory of the first 2/3 years other than being in survival mode.

It takes a lot of energy to adapt the new “normalcy” and there is no certain solution.  Some points to consider might be – are you taking enough time for yourself; are all the things that you are doing of benefit to you or does they leave you feeling drained?

It helped me to be reading books on subjects of interest to me and eventually only attending activities that I was comfortable to be participating in and my old favorite gardening.  I also had some Reiki healing sessions and found them to be of benefit.  I tried not to hold back the tears as I always felt a lot worse when I did.

Thinking of you .
Loraine
Campbell’s Mum
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Peggi
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« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2011, 01:13:13 PM »

Thank you, Loraine, and yes, most of the things I'm doing are  things which should benefit me rather than drain me...I'm taking two "life long learning institute" classes - one a Religion class (an academic, humanities type class) and another on a work of Jane Austen. I still go to the opera. My volunteer work is with people who have Alzheimer's (as my mother did) and I find that to be a constructive distraction and I feel useful and helpful. I do have one thing I volunteered to do that is working out to be more stressful than I had anticipated but I still think overall it's OK for me to be doing it.

But it is comforting to know that you look back on the first 2/3 years as being in survival mode as that sure as heck is the best I can do.
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Linda1
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« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2011, 10:20:16 AM »

Hi Peggi;
I am new here and don't have any advice ...My daughter died 7 months ago and I also feel the way you described..Loraine's words bring me hope that this pain will mellow with time .....I just finished reading Seven Choices by Elizabeth Harper Neeld..She quotes William Shakespeare   "Well, everyone can master grief
                                                             'cept he that has it.
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Peggi
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« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2011, 02:09:06 PM »

Linda, I am so very sorry for the loss of your daughter; so very sorry. I, too, read that book and I did think it was excellent and I'm familiar with the Shakespeare quote. I don't know if it would be helpful to you or not but one of the books I found most helpful was Life After the Death of My Son by Dennis Apple. Another resource I can recommend is Grief Haven's DVD Portraits of Hope. Worth every penny. Some days when I am feeling so much like "I don't know how to keep doing this", it helps me to know I'm not alone, I'm not the only person who has ever had to do it, and maybe, just maybe, one day the edges will be softer. That's why I find it so supportive that someone like Lorraine is willing to be honest...to say 2/3 years pure survival mode. Dennis Apple's book is very honest too.
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Brad
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« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2011, 12:58:12 AM »

IM IN THE SAME BOAT U R IN AND I FEEL MY SHIP IS SINKING.I THINK I REMEMER U FROM WHEN I WAS MORE ACTIVE ON HAVEN.IM BRAD I LOST MY  DAUGHTER MARCH 29TH 2009.YES, JUST LIKE U 2 AND A HALF YEARS.IM GLAD U HAVE A STRONG SUPPORT FROM FAMILY AND FRIENDS.I HAD SUPPORT 4 A COUPLE MONTHS THEN NOTHING.NOW IAM TOTALLY ALONE.I HAD A GF BUT THAT ENDED 16 MONTHS AGO.I TRIED DOCTORS,MEDS,PRAYING ETC. NOTHING WORKS.I HAD A JOB 4 23 YEARS BUT LOST THAT 2 YEARS AGO.FIND IT HARD 2 PUSH MYSELF 4 WORK,HAD MANY INTERVIEWS ANE NOTHING.                                   TEARS FILL MY EYES EVERYDAY.IT WONT STOP.I SOMETIMES GO DAYS EVEN WEEKS WITHOUT TALKING 2 ANYONE.MANY HAVE LEFT ME SOME DUE 2 THE NEW BRAD, THE ONE THAT TAKES NO CRAP FROM NO ONE.                          THIS HAS CHANGED ME ANE 4 THE WORST.2 ME SEEING A DOCTOR IS SENSELESS.ITS LIKE GOING 2 AA AND YOUR SPONSER NEVER HAD A DRINK IN HIS LIFE.SURE HE HAS STUDIED HIS BOOKS AND KNOWS THE STATS BUT WITH LOSING A CHILD THE ONLY WAY THAT ANYONE CAN HELP US IS IF HE HAS LOST ALSO.PEOPLE JUST DONT GET IT.                                            I WANT 2 DIE EVERYDAY SAME AS U.I STILL FREAK OUT EVERY 3 DAYS OR SO.IT LASTS ABOUT 10 MIN HARD BREATHING,SHAKING,CRYING AND MAJOR VISUAL FLASHBACKS.ITS INSANE LIKE A MOVIE.MY DOC SAYS ITS NOT PANIC ATTACKS, ITS A PART OF HEALING,BUT THATS WHERE SHES WRONG.U DONT TRULY HEAL OR GET OVER IT.HELL ON EARTH,SAD BUT TRUE.I DONT EVEN WISH THIS PAIN UPON MY WORST ENEMY... THE MAN THAT KILLED HER.                      OK ILL SHUT UP NOW.ALSO I DONT DRINK,DO DRUGS.BUT THIS LOSS HAS DONE SOMETHING BAD 2 ME.I DONT KNOW WHAT IT IS BUT SOMETHING IS WRONG NOW.HAVING A HUBBY THROUGH THIS HORRIBLE MESS MUST BE GREAT.
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Peggi
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« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2011, 01:01:17 PM »

I know that some people question whether or not this is "healthy" but I find it oddly comforting when I read the accounts of other grieving parents who are willing to share their "timeline"...every one is different and every loss is different, but over and over and over again, I read people referring to something around the five year mark. So, when I feel this bad at 2 1/2 years, I try to focus on maybe it's still unbearable now but maybe I just haven't endured enough time. The other thing I read is that, at that time, people feel they "made a choice". A conscious, deliberate choice to get better or to survive or whatever you want to call it. Could you consider getting a cat, Brad, or a dog? Not that a pet will in any way replace your child, but a pet can be very comforting and can force you to get out, even if just to get pet food. Another thought is that I get some minutes of distraction when I'm involved in helping someone else; I have a volunteer stint one morning a week...it could be a soup kitchen, tutoring underprivileged children, working with Habitat...anything that gets me "outside of myself" and forces me to pay attention to the burdens others must bear. Just a couple of small possibilities, Brad.
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Loraine
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« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2011, 05:10:59 PM »

Peggi

Your posting was so helpful even although it has been six years for me, I got a lot out of it.  It brought back the memory of my conscious decision that I had to find my way back to living in honour of my son who would not want me give up on life and I also had another child who needed me.  I am single parent and was in the middle stages of divorce proceedings/ settlement when my son died.

There have been articles in the monthly Griefhaven newsletters from the surviving children who felt their lives were seriously impacted because of the death of their sibling and their parent/parents were not able to meet their needs.

It is not easy to find the way back but once my decision was made, things did get easier, sometimes one step forward and two back.

Brad, I hope you find some comfort and inspiration from Peggi's posting and am wishing you all the best in your journey in learning to navigate and live a life which has been drastically altered after the death of your child.

I know that you are not feeling well but please believe what I am saying is true and sent to you with care and compassion.

Loraine
Campbell's Mum

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Shelley
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« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2011, 11:16:19 AM »

Peggi,

I can offer you my own experience as the mother of a 32 year old son and only child who died just over 3 years ago. At 2 1/2 years I think I chose to make the effort to go on. I never really stopped functioning, although I dropped into low functioning at about 1 year after i lost my company. I sat on the couch for about 6 months and then went to a lower low when I emptied out my storage unit (this is at the 1 1/2 year mark) which housed all of the things my son and I put into storage from our life together when he was 22 and was moving back to LA and I was moving back to Europe. I spent about a month emptying it, selling things on ebay and craig's list that were marked "Save for Shaka" - like my kitchen stuff and furniture. All of his children's art, all of the photos toys and more, things he wanted to save for the children he never had. I didn't realize it at the time but this took me to a new low and although a month after I got home from that horribly traumatic trip, I did start a secret restaurant in my home so I could see people, I spent most of the time on the couch. I could handle the strangers who came to my dinners (25 a week) but not anyone else. I lost every "old" friend I had and the last of my living family died with my son. I wrote and wrote and wrote. At the 1 year mark I finished a book about the first year because I wanted to capture it while it was fresh. The 2nd year I started a writing group and wrote a screenplay. I hardly left the house except for grocery shopping for these big dinners. It helped a little that a woman in my writing group had cancer and I could cook for her a little during the week. I babysat one or two brothers, one from the time he was 3 weeks old for a whole day each week. And this is what I lived for - cooking for strangers, babysitting and writing. I didn't start a new business and I couldn't imagine it. At 2 1/2 years I finally got some money and started traveling. I've been traveling since then and shooting a documentary about this crazy journey of the loss of my only child and how I find the energy to make it through, one minute, hour or day at a time. I feel it did get worse for the first 3 years. But I have found that in the last few weeks I've had some good days, nearly whole days. I don't want to die every single minute. I don't have anyone else to live for. But my documentary project (you'll hear more about it later) led me to writing another screenplay... and creativity. And I love doing my big dinners for strangers and have met a load of 20 and 30 somethings that have become my new friends. I don't believe there is a straight line up out of this grief, nor do I believe it will ever go away. But I can offer you hope that there are some better days. I live for year 7 when I heard that 50% of mothers who lost their only child actually feel like life is worth living. I want to be exceptional. I want that to be sooner for me. I don't want to suffer, I don't believe i am suited to it... so I hope and do as much as I can every day to stay busy. Hope that helps a little. xxxx
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Peggi
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« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2011, 03:30:14 PM »

That seems a worthy objective, when I "don't want to die every single minute". I am curious about the 7 year mark you're striving to beat. Where did that come from?
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Holly-Ashleys Mom
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« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2012, 07:16:02 PM »

Hi....I am new to the message board but not new to Grief Haven as I have been in touch through the news letters from Susan for 7 years now.  I just hit the 7 year mark on losing my daughter Ashley on Dec. 28 th.  I can say that it really doesn't seem like 7 years have passed as that horrible day is engraved in my mind.  I think I have been one of those people who have stuffed the feeling deep down to make others feel comfortable and lately I have been breaking down quite a bit.  When I think back to the first 2 years all I remember is everyone telling me what I should do to get better little did they know you never get better you just learn to live with the pain daily.  I do have good days but there isn't a day that goes by that I don't grieve for my daughter.  There are days when I can't stop crying but there are more days now at seven years that are tear free but my heart is always crying.  Reading helped me tremendously through these years and now I have a teaching job where I am with young adults and it helps to be around them most days.  I think the biggest fear I have is that my daughter will not be remembered and I feel that I fight every day to keep her memory alive. I will always be her Mom she was my whole life for 22 years and I miss her and can't wait to be with her again. 

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Peggi
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« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2012, 03:31:22 PM »

Yes, I had one of those intense experiences just today of "but I just miss him so much I can hardly stand it!" I have been following mental health issues for six years and one of the blogs I read is writing about a trial currently going on in Texas against a pharmaceutical company for (this is a gross oversimplification) illegal marketing of a psychotropic drug. The entire trial came about as a result of a whistleblower. There have been lots of postings about how difficult it is to be a whistleblower and how ostracizing it is and how you learn to be so very careful about what you say to anyone. I found many similarities with the grieving experience. It all just sucks.
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bfisher13
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« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2012, 09:56:20 AM »

Hello.  I am new here and desperately looking for hope and comfort.  Our daughter Jordyn died of an accidental drug overdose on July 17, 2011. She died of fentanyl intoxication from sucking on a fentanyl patch.  We didn't realize that she had an escalating drug problem.  She was in and out of hospitals.  They never let her stay more than a week.  She needed long term rehab and our insurance refused to cover more than 4 days. 
 My husband was on pain medicine for vascular problems in his feet.  Jordyn had never done drugs, so we didn't lock them away. I was caring full-time for my husband who could barely walk. This in spite of the fact that I have left side weakness from a stroke (12 days after Jordyn was born) and no use of my left hand.  I was severely stressed. Jordyn was 17 and our only child.  She had been at the top of her class but was destroying herself.

I feel 100% responsible for her death.
We are devastated.

Sincerely,

Beth
Jordyn's Mom
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Holly-Ashleys Mom
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« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2012, 05:27:38 PM »

Hi Beth.....First of all I am so very sorry for the loss of your daughter Jordyn it is not fair that anyone has to suffer the loss of a child it is the most devastating loss of all.
 It is normal to feel guilty we all have those feelings at one time or another after losing our children but in time I hope the guilt will ease to some extent.  My daughter died of asphyxiation 7 years ago and her death is a cold case.  I have felt guilty over her death also. I keep thinking if I just would have made her come home that horribile night she would still be with me.  I have also come to realize that I didn't have control over what happened and feeling guilty isn't going to bring my daughter back to me but it has also taken me 7 years to get to this point and I still have the "what if" days.
I think back to the 6 months after losing my daughter and it is just a total fog of confusion, anxiety. guilt, and pain.  Please be kind to yourself hold on to the precious memories you share with your daughter and remember we really aren't in control of anything here on earth.
May God bless you and give you comfort.
Holly - Ashley's Mom
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bfisher13
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« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2012, 06:02:55 AM »

Holly,

Thanks for your kind words.  My first post was really the first time I shared what really happened to Jordyn. She was in so much pain and I couldn't help her and the doctors and hospitals didn't help either. The other thing is that most likely a lot of people knew that Jordyn had a drug problem, but I didn't know what she was taking.  Nobody said anything to me.  I get it that her friends wouldn't betray her.  In hindsight there were so many red flags pointing to drug addiction.  I was taking care of my sick husband and missed the signs.

I'm hopeful that this message board will help.  It's a wonderful resource. I look forward to the day when I can offer comforting words to others just beginning on their journey through grief.

Beth
Jordyn's Mom
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