question for those that have lost a close family member - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 01-08-2007, 02:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have lost so many people in my life. I am numb. I just don't feel it... not a nod, not a blink, nothing. I sustained a very traumatic childhood and have a total detachment from healthy grief.

My husband is losing his aunt. He grew up with a close relationship with her... he relates to and identifies with her more so than most of his family. His aunt has hours .. maybe days. She is dying naturally at home (cancer) with family all around her.

They are in Missouri. We are in Oregon and he cannot make it out there now or for funeral.

So, here is my question...

What is the best way to be supported by a partner when you are fresh into grieving and loss? What did or do you wish a spouse (close friend, etc) would have done to support and comfort you? I think that I understand the basics... the mechanics of being a good partner and what a grief process is... but it comes from an intellectual/academic understanding - which falls short in matter of the heart and soul.

Those that have lost, share with me how you were or would have liked to have been supported.
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#2 of 11 Old 01-08-2007, 05:58 AM
 
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He didn't judge my initial reaction (anger). (Later, I judged myself rather harshly - how could I have been MAD at the deceased?!)

He brought food to me - nicely prepared, things I normally like. I may not have eaten much, but what was there was as tempting as he could make it.

At the hotel we stayed at during the funeral (and the horrific day afterward), he arranged for us to go to the whirlpool after their normal hours of operation. He explained the situation to the woman at the front desk, and she was very understanding. Then he told me he was taking me to the whirlpool, and I said, "No, it's closed now." "Not for us, and we'll be alone." After days of tension, I finally relaxed in his arms, in the hotel hot tub. And cried and cried in the warm bubbling darkness.

He ran interferance (as much as he could) between me and a very troublesome relative. And when things blew up, he very solidly took my side. Both immediately, and when things went to court later.

He allowed me to sleep when I could, and to just lay there and rest when I couldn't even sleep.

He didn't ask questions and willingly went to the store for a nail file (I had forgotten to pack one and had a badly torn nail the day of the funeral). And then went back out to pick bluebonnets (wildflowers) for me to put in the casket.

At another close family member's funeral, I was very VERY pregnant. Like, having contractions during the service - THAT pregnant. We were also in the middle of moving. I remember he called our midwife, and on her advice, drew me a deep tub of not-too-hot water, and served me a glass of wine (with a bendable straw) in the tub. She told him that at this point, one glass of wine wasn't going to affect the baby's development, and I could really use the relaxation it would hopefully bring.

And again, he provided good nutritious food and encouraged me to rest whenever I could.

Both times, he helped by talking about the deceased - funny stories, touching moments. And sometimes he helped by just holding my hand and not necessarily saying anything.

Ann-Marita. I deleted my usual signature due to, oh, wait, if I say why, that might give too much away. 

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#3 of 11 Old 01-09-2007, 11:30 PM
 
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Our son and daughter died last year.

The most helpful thing for me was just having someone around to listen and vent to. I'd get so frustrated or sad, dwelling on those nagging emotions and it was hard to tolerate, keeping it all bottled up.

It's so helpful knowing that someone understands, at least in some way.

Unless your husband is the type to talk about his problems though, it might be difficult for him to put how he feels into words. Being understanding of the fact that he might feel the need to get through this quietly (with associated difficulties with temper, forgetfulness, etc.) would be good.
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#4 of 11 Old 01-10-2007, 02:45 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by embers View Post
What is the best way to be supported by a partner when you are fresh into grieving and loss? What did or do you wish a spouse (close friend, etc) would have done to support and comfort you? I think that I understand the basics... the mechanics of being a good partner and what a grief process is... but it comes from an intellectual/academic understanding - which falls short in matter of the heart and soul.

Those that have lost, share with me how you were or would have liked to have been supported.
part of my answer to this is that the answer to this will differ for everyone - what they need i mean. that said. . .
we were on a three week trip to turkey when we got word that my favorite aunt had died. there is really no way to describe our relationship other than she was such a light in my life. we found out when i read an email from another family member. it was not a surprise; amie had been fighting cancer for two years and when we left for our trip she weighed about 90 pounds (down from about 140). at the same time it was a huge surprise. how could she die when i was not there?! my DW automatically assumed that we would go home right away. i could not do that - i needed time to process; time to be mad at amie for leaving, for not fighting harder, longer. i remember waking up the morning after finding out amie had died and barely being able to see, my eyes had swollen so much.
sorry, i have never written about this and i know i am really getting off the topic. basically i think the most important thing is for you to listen to what your partner/spouse/friend/loved one is saying - and remember that less than half of what we communicate is sent through our words. intonation and body language give sooooooo much info! ask your DP what is needed. try to be sensitive to the fact that they may need time alone. or they may need you there at all times. it is sooooo individual. this is a hard place to be; i feel for you. good luck.

Mommy to a wonderfully passionate little one
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#5 of 11 Old 01-10-2007, 05:24 PM
 
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Listen. Listen to what he says with words, and what he says with his body, and honour those feelings. Pamper him and nurture him and nourish him: in the face of death, we eat, and seek to fill the empty feelings inside. Or else we don't: either is OK, but by offering him food, you show him that you care.
My dh and I both lost a parent when we were 21, and last autumn his father nearly died from a long illness- when we were starting to let go, it opened up a lot of old wounds for both of us. Make sure you have someone to talk to as well.

Helen mum to five and mistress of mess and mayhem, making merry and mischief til the sun goes down.
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#6 of 11 Old 01-10-2007, 08:38 PM
 
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Consistent hugging... the feeling of warmth is the best in the world to pass through a period of dispair. We are with you~
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#7 of 11 Old 01-14-2007, 02:30 AM
 
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Just be there to listen if he wants to talk.

Be supportive of his moods and hug him. Let him cry if he wants.

I am sorry you are going through this.

"The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic."
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#8 of 11 Old 01-16-2007, 09:25 AM
 
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I read this on Saturday and one paragraph caught me

Quote:
And if there's one other thing I've learned from my father's death, it's that, no matter how clever, sophisticated, sensitive, grown-up and prepared you are, you cannot second-guess the mourning process. It is a process without reason. Every day is different and fails, utterly, to measure up to expectation. Indeed, the only thing that is certain about grief is that it will certainly get you. If you accept it, it will engulf you; if you step out of its way, it will follow you; if you negotiate with it, it will outflank you. Grief has its own terms and they are never the same as yours. That's the point of it.
http://lifeandhealth.guardian.co.uk/...988963,00.html

In the weeks after my dad's death I didn't want my dh to feel helpless as there was really nothing he could do to fix it and he felt that there should be so I went out in the car and sat in a field on more than one occassion and let ecerthing I had been trying to hold in, out. Sometimes being able to be alone was important to me and knowing that dh would just be there when I got backwas important too.

I think my husband found it diffucult to know what to do when months after my dad died we could just be doing something ordinary and tears would be streaming down my face. If he hugged me I cried more so he felt he wasn't helping but he was. If it wasn't I would have told him so.

Don't be afraid of his feelings just let him experience them
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#9 of 11 Old 01-16-2007, 01:45 PM
 
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I love that quote.

There's really no way to adequately express the power of grief. It's your worst enemy, and once you get through it, it becomes almost a friend because it's seen and forced you through the worst and you made it...sometimes even finding yourself along the way.

It certainly sets its own terms though, and that can be VERY difficult for some people to accept, particularly people who are used to having control, or control over their emotion. It can take a while for them to realize they're fighting a losing battle because grief is bigger than everything they've ever faced before.

It comes in waves...and the longer you've been coping with it, the more time you have between those waves, and the easier it is to cope with them...but that doesn't make it easy. Grief also highlights the ugliness within you...it attacks you, breaks you down, highlights your failings and just puts your heart through the wringer.

It's really tough.
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#10 of 11 Old 01-17-2007, 12:14 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by habibekindheart View Post
Our son and daughter died last year.
Oh Christ, that's so sad, all my hugs and prayers to you I almost lost my child once and it was hell, but he's alive thank God.

I've lost close family members, my older brother(2004) my niece(2003) my tita(1992) and tito(1996)"my grandparents from my mom's side" my yaya(1996)"from my dad's side" and if my pappous"grandpa" die, I will be so sad I love him so much! and recently in May my DH's sister and her husband passed away in a car accident and they where very close (they where the parents of my niece that die in 2003)

I'm really conufse by grief, is hard to explain at first when I'm in the funeral I don't completely understand I don't want to accept it and I feel that that person that passed is still here and days later is when I sart thinking and I cry a lot, I sleep a lot to, when my brother passed Sergi didn't said anything to me we just sat down and talk he hold me as i cried for my brother.

It's hard.
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#11 of 11 Old 01-17-2007, 07:22 PM
 
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on each individual person I guess. My sister was hit by a truck on Dec 8 and died because of it. It was so shocking and unexpected but for me the crying and constantly thinking of her everyday helps me out a bit. Talking about things about her helps me out also. Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this time.
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