This grief stinks...


I guess most everyone here has gone through this, is going through it, or will go through it, so I am not special. Only been three weeks so I guess I should not expect it to be easy. My dad was 93, so he and us were really blessed, yet I feel ripped off. When my grandparents died many years ago, I thought of them as old. I don't think of my dad as old. He is the same dad I had when I was a kid, and later on when an adult going fishing with, etc. Went fishing with him through last summer. It was kind of funny, he would complain he was not catching fish. I told him he just caught one five minutes earlier but he did not remember it, but he enjoyed it at the moment he was catching it. I don't know if I can go fishing this year. Being in that boat without him I will just break down. Maybe that is something I have to do that is part of the process.

Part of the problem, maybe a good problem, is that other than memory, he was physically good until the beginning of this year. Could walk, eat, go out, etc. Then he had a seizure, then six weeks later aspiration, and man did he go down hill fast. I see some with ALZ where they linger for years. But my dad didn't. Maybe because he was old to begin with? He was probably blessed, long life, then relatively short time with ALZ. But I think I never was given time to get used to the idea. While in the last months I was worried that my last memories of him would be the shell he had become. Now I wish those were my memories, in a way, then I would realize his death is better than the way he had been. He just really went downhill fast in three months. Different than I read by others whose LOs went on years.

Everything I do tears me apart. I pick up an old newspaper and see the date and think, Dad was still living then. Of course he really wasn't living per se. I look at my deck and remember him helping me build it when he was 80. Then as I have mentioned I am burdened with guilt of what to do differently, though that is not rational I know, but it sort of compounds the grief I have and I guess grief is natural and healthy. I guess it hasn't been very much time so I just need to ride it out. It is still so fresh. I know I am rambling here. I guess there is nothing anyone can really say.

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Karsten, go fishing, let it out and let your tears roll. Your friends here at AC will be here close for company if you wish...ya know, like a shoulder to lean or cry on. There's always someone here to reach out to when you feel like you're losing it.  So sorry your heart is so heavy...
Sending you comfort

Dear Karsten,

I'm so sorry, I know its hard. Thinking of you. Sending you hugs.

I am so sorry Karsten.
It has been less than a year and a half since my Dad passed. I have only just begun to get out of the cloud of grief and despair. I think of Him everyday, and miss him so much. He was taken suddenly and unexpected, so much shock too. But, hang in their, it heals and becomes manageable. May God help you through this difficult time. It does stink. But, god is bringing me through, and he will you also. It is still so fresh for you, and Oh how my heart goes out to you.

GA, we know you would never intentionally post something that would or could hurt someone.

It’s a valid point that grief manifests itself in different ways for everyone. Jeanne tries to pay for food with her library card. I trip over things and walk into cupboard doors. I lose it and throw a tearful hissy. My poor hubby.

I’m hard on Karsten. I know I am. But I care a lot about him and think about how he’s doing often during the day. It concerns me that he’s alone with his grief, trying to handle his difficult mother and the loss of his father all at once. I’m trying to get through to him that he doesn’t need a roadmap to grieve for his dad or a schedule. My dad’s been gone for 23 years and I miss him like it was yesterday. Same for my grandma, gone 45 years. I worry that Karsten will let himself be engulfed in his sorrow. I just....worry.

I really hope he will post soon and tell us he’s gone fishing. Or that he’s learned to handle his difficult mother. I really do.

Jeanne, I hope I didn't infer that non grievers weren't sympathetic, or that there was something wrong with them. That certainly was not my point. I think rather that people are affected by grief and manifest it in different ways, such as your description of being forgetful, distracted and confused. I probably could have used more descriptive examples in my post. It was not my intention to offend anyone.

GA, I certainly agree with your point. But I also know that not everyone who does not grieve in obvious ways is a nongriever. I very, very seldom cry. Not at sad movies, not at sad books, and seldom at sad events. I did not cry much (or at all) at my father's death, or my husband's, or my mother's. I don't think I was suppressing anything. I was not consciously trying to be a "tough guy."

I expected an emotional reaction after Coy died. But it was more a cognitive reaction. I expected I'd see something in the grocery store that he liked and get a little teary-eyed. Instead I tried to pay for my groceries with my library card. I was forgetful, distracted, confused. In some ways I would rather have cried! A psychologist assured me that this kind of cognitive decline was just another way to mourn ... not common, but not abnormal ... and it would clear up in time. It did.

It is OK to experience grief however you experience it. If it goes on indefinitely or interferes with your daily functioning for a long time, if it is "complicated" grief then you may need some objective third-party to help you through it. Don't hesitate to find help! Talk to us. Find a grief counselor, join a grief group.

My best friend's husband died of cancer at age 70, a few years ago. She and her daughters were devastated, of course. She could not bring herself to sleep in their bed. She avoided restaurants they liked visiting together. She talked about having bonfires as they often did, but she didn't actually do it. But all of this lifted, gradually. The last time her out-of-state grandchildren visited she had a nice bonfire party. She has moved forward with the restoration of their 1895 house, regretting that her husband didn't get to see the project to completion, but being proud of her accomplishments. And she has a date next week!! I think her husband would be proud of her.

If you don't want to fish this summer, don't. I hope this feeling won't last forever, and eventually you'll just feel close to your dad in a fishing boat. But this can happen on your own timetable. It hasn't even been a month since this life-changing event happened in your life. Give yourself time. Eventually, I think, your thoughts about your dad will be mostly gratitude that he was an important part of your life. You'll sit on the deck and smile as you remember building it with your dad.

You just can't expect this shift from grief of loss to transform into joy of memories in three weeks! And it won't happen overnight all at once.

Be gentle with yourself.

Karsten - I highly highly recommend you see a good therapist. Someone who can teach you HOW to grieve. It doesn't seem like you know what to do. You're just so LOST. You HAVE TO grieve in order to let go off the pain and the guilt and leave them both behind. When you look back you will remember the memory nostalgically, not debilitatedly like you are now.

Each of us grieve differently. Some healthy ways to grieve:

--Talk about your dad with friends and relatives, and us of course

--Go visit his grave and talk to him

--Write him letters. Tell him how you feel

--Donate or volunteer in his honor

--Pray if you are a spiritual person

--See a good therapist

--MOST IMPORTANT. Make plans for future (tomorrow), one day at a time.

In fact, Karsten, you may want to start a new tread to share with us your favorite memories with your dad. We would read and join you in remembering him.

I think anyone who doesn't grieve either has limited emotions for the departed, or is emotionally challenged and suffers in a way that's not manifested, perhaps resulting in suppressed emotions. I'm not suggesting nongrievers aren't sympathetic, but perhaps just can't express emotions, just as men were constrained from crying decades ago b/c it wasn't "manly."

The "tough guy" approach, whether it's manifested in a male or female, is I think an unfortunate limitation on how we deal with loss of various kinds through grief and crying.

yes it does stink! its a lonely, sad feeling.

makes me want to go back in time and see those family members I have lost over the years!
I feel fortunate tho for them being In my life. Its almost like I didn't appreciate them at the time? Those times I cant get back almost seem magical to me now.

Sometimes if the feelings get to hurting inside, I let them happen. But I try to do something and get busy so it doesn't consume me.