Posted by CentralAB on May 22, 2020 9:36 am
Here is some of what I have learned so far.
A few things to understand about the grief process:
1) Grief is an unwelcome experience (to most)
2) Grief is a natural, human experience
3) Grief is a uniquely, personal experience
4) Grief is an emotional experience
5) Grief is a painful experience
6) Grief is a manageable experience
It has been my experience that grief can be a positive experience if we let it happen. Thoughts anyone?
Posted by CentralAB on May 22, 2020 8:53 pm
Grief is not something that just happens to us; it is more something that we do. This one thought alone has shone a completely different light on my own situation. I have come up with a list that reflects why grief is something we do - or at least, it can be. And this seems to be giving me some level of control over processing the death of my wife, of which I had no control. This list is not all-inclusive. It only reflects examples. Each person will have variations or additions to add to this list. Yes, I am finding too that there are ways grief just happens to me; but even that is closely connected to this list of examples for what the grieving person can do.
1) Recounting The Story
2) Recognizing The Loss
3) Recalling The Past
4) Recovering The Present
5) Reconstructing The Future
This is a short list, mostly because I like short lists. There are many shades and colours that could be added.
Yesterday I had a grief event. Some might say "it just happened to you;" but after I recount this event, I will ask a question that I hope will help others, like it has helped me.
About a year ago my wife and I were having a great discussion about our hopes and dreams and things we would like to do "someday." I can still picture the sparkle in her eye and her sweet smile as I recounted one of my ambitions. I had great fun describing in minute details a certain type of vehicle that I would really like to own "someday." Now fast-forward to last week. I was surfing the internet, looking for something else, when i noticed an ad for a vehicle that was for sale. Out of curiosity, I clicked, and as soon as I saw the pictures of the vehicle; I just burst out bawling like crazy. It was EXACTLY what I had described to my wife a year ago, right down to the colour, and the model. So, that was my first "grief event" regarding this subject. To make a long story shorter, I am now the owner of said vehicle; but it did not happen without another grief event or two. The other day when I was talking with the lady at the bank, I started telling her this story, and I lost it again. Just uncontrollable weeping. That grief event was really hard. At least for me.
Yesterday I drove the vehicle home, and I am looking at it as I type out this note.
Is there anything in my grief event/s that you could pick out from the above list?
This leads me to my main question. Its a question for me, just as much as anyone reading this:
If you were going to paint us a word picture of your grief experience or thoughts, what would we see in that picture? (remember, each person is unique and different, and so too will be their grief. You can use any "shades" or "colours" you want, because its something that you will do/have done, personally).
This is why I have been thinking that perhaps it's true. Grief is not just something that merely happens to us. Grief is something we do.
Posted by Brighty on May 22, 2020 10:46 pm
Posted by Brighty on May 23, 2020 1:40 am
Posted by Cynthia Mac on May 23, 2020 8:02 am
My Dad finally got his “someday” car, too. He’s always kept impeccable care of his vehicles, and had kept his Ford 500 going for the last 13 years since he bought it (at 2 years old), but he found a “sweet deal” on a Lincoln last winter, and he snapped it up, right before all this pandemic stuff. After he got it, he told me he “talked” to Mom to tell her about it, and I said, “Uh huh, and I can totally hear her reaction when you told her it’s got a white leather interior!”
For my grief experience, I’m going to go to my grief over my grandmother. I cried for two days after her funeral, and on the second day, I remember standing inside my basement, watching the robin who was nesting under the overhanging deck. As I watched her, I said, “You’re right, robin, it’s time to stop crying.” And I did. Ten years later, I went to a teacup reader, and she asked me who was the older lady who played the piano. “Oh, my aunt,” I said. “Mmm,” the lady said, “this lady has passed, and she didn’t play piano all the time, but if she was dusting in the room with the piano, she would sit down and start to play.” Immediately, I burst into tears and choked out, “I can hear the song. It was my grandmother.” She said, “She is with you, every day,” and I replied. “I know.” And she is with me every day, even now. She is with me in every stitch I knit, every cookie or muffin I bake, and every stitch I embroider, for she taught me all these things. I cannot help but think of her all the time, and I still tear up from time to time (often when I recount the tea reader story), but mostly now my memory of her only ever gets as sad as to border on melancholy. So, my grief over her has become much lighter since those days when I cried, which are now 33 years gone.
I’ve found that when the waves of grief rise up over us like a wave on the shore, we should stand our ground, let that wave soak the hem of our clothing, add a little salt from our tears to it, and then allow it to ebb back out into the ocean.
Posted by CentralAB on May 23, 2020 8:37 am
Cynthia Mac Really enjoyed your post as well. I loved the part about the Robin singing that song.
I hope as time goes on that others will be able to also contribute to this topic. Everyone will likely have different experiences, but perhaps with some similarities. I know that as I process things, it really helps to hear other people's experience and thoughts. There is no right/wrong when it comes to grief, its just about what is best for our particular situation. Till next time.
Posted by CentralAB on May 24, 2020 4:33 pm
Hello Cynthia Mac I loved your whole post. It is encouraging to read everyone's responses to their grief journey. I have grown to call it a journey, rather than an event. I believe you are right about the vehicle situation; and I would add one further step to that and say that for myself, I cant call it a "trigger," because that makes me feel like Im being categorized and put into some sort of "therapeutic box." Almost like a "Skinner's Box," but with a few differences. It seems that some people need to reward me with accolades for "not crying," and with judgments when I do. "You should be over it now," or "why on earth are you bawling just about that?" The people who know me best will always ask me what is the meaning of those tears, what is the story behind them? And thats what gives me a better understanding of both mine, and other people's grief journey. When people do that with me; its not them giving me the answer; its me giving them MY answer.
CentralAB , over the years, I’ve done a lot of reading on the powers of positive thinking, and the law of attraction. From this, I’ve come to think that there are no coincidences, and that things like your vehicle just come to us when the time is right. That being said, though, I also believe that sometimes, those things are meant to “set us off,” whether it’s the “wonder of the coincidence,” or a higher power telling us that it’s time for us to “have a moment.”
The way I function best is to look at it as a connection point, rather than a "trigger." "Trigger" sounds a bit negative to me, like something about it needs to be resisted, or fixed, or improved somehow. It wasn't the vehicle itself that "triggered" my manifested emotions; it was recalling the wonderful closeness and fun that my wife and I had when we were discussing it, and some related things.I didn't cry because I saw the vehicle; I cried because of the way my wife and I were so close, and thinking: "oh how I wish for and miss that." So in my mind; I was "grieving" for lost relationship and intimacy of having someone to confide everything in. In my mind, I cry about what I lost, not what I see. I am finding that behind every grief event is a story. A deep meaning. And if it's "natural" or "normal" to grieve; I want to understand it better.
There are other connections to my wife. Very few of them find me in tears. The vehicle did because of the nature surrounding that whole conversation, but today, for example, as I walked around the house doing a little tidying, there were several small items in different locations that belonged to her, and none of them made me cry. Its because of the nature of the connection TO HER surrounding each article and so today's connections had me smiling away like a little boy in a candy shop! One thing, for example was a green razor. Green was her favourite colour. And I just broke out in a grin as I recalled all the events and talk about all things "green." If someone saw me walking around the house by myself grinning like that; they would have really wondered if they didn't know the context. My wife kept journals for many years. As I went through them just after she died, I saw that from the beginning in the late eighties, they were packed full of gratitude statements. I learned a valuable lesson from her about gratitude, and what happens when we express it regularly. And to this day, Thats what has me feeling so happy. I AM actually happy right now; even though I am "grieving."
Posted by Cynthia Mac on May 24, 2020 8:27 pm
I’m glad I used the term “set us off” rather than “triggers us”! I don’t regard triggers as necessarily bad - after all, there was a pretty handsome horse called Trigger when I was a kid - but I think you’re right - it’s not the “things” themselves that set us off, it’s what we feel when we see or experience them that does it. So, perhaps, in that sense, what they really are are “touchstones,” things that cause us to feel touched in some fashion.
Every time you write about your wife, I have more appreciation for her. I’m so happy that you are able to feel the joy even in your grief.
Posted by Laika57 on May 24, 2020 11:15 pm
When I read the title "waves of grief", it very much reminded me of when I lost my dog. Losing a pet is probably a less complicated grief. Less baggage for sure.
Though I can't really compare, I barely knew my grandparents, and my husband is still with the living, so i work hard on not going there just yet.
back when we lost our dog, it really felt as though waves of grief would crash over me at the oddest moments. So that title grabbed me. There were many times I probably should not have been driving. I'd be thinking about plans for the weekend and wham! I'd remember I wouldn't be walking the dog before sunrise and bawl my eyes out.
it's been three years, and of all the things to still set me off, it's usually the grocery store. Liver and asiago cheese.
I now buy these for my new dog, but I think of Goofy every time. Tears well up when there is peanut butter on sale. - I used to buy five jars at a time to make his cookies...
I smile when I see someone crossing the street with a baguette sticking out of their bag, because it reminds me of the time he walked behind such a person and stole the bread. There are so many stories, so much personality. I find I have few bouts of sudden crying these days, instead I'm getting to wanting to share all those stories with the world. Even debating if I should visit some of the old haunts and see if I can find the various kongs he drowned in different creeks... now finding one of those would definitely set me off crying again.
as it turned out, Rudi, our new dog, was abandoned the week we lost Goof. We didn't adopt him til half a year later, but we still joke about Goofy picking him for us, the perfect dog for me "with a twist" - and yes, for a dog, Goofy had a wicked sense of humor.
anyhow, I find the past and the future intertwine. Some things are meant to be, and sometimes, those flashes of memory let us notice it.
Posted by Brighty on May 24, 2020 11:32 pm
Posted by Cynthia Mac on May 25, 2020 9:31 am
Posted by healthygrieving on May 26, 2020 7:13 pm
Be well everyone.
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