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Death and coping

PriestPriest Registered User regular
Hey all.

I feel hammy posting here. I'm not explicitly seeking attention, I have enough of that in real life. But I'm trying to source coping strategies for death.

I'm 27, and my 57 year-old healthy father died of a heart attack two weeks ago. My life feels shattered, and I don't feel like I have anyone to turn to. Everyone tells me to be thankful that he went quickly and didn't suffer. I don't have the heart to tell the people that knew him that even if he went quickly, he suffered. I drove him to the hospital. I saw his pain. I pulled him out of the car at the hospital and saw the moment he died. It's eating me up inside.

I have yet to schedule grief counseling, but I think this will be important.

I'm surrounded by supportive people who say the right tings, and people who say all the wrong things.

I wonder how you pick up the pieces and go on with life without things seeming... futile. How you live day to day without a smell, a scene, a sound triggering you and bringing you to your knees in emotional pain.

Anyone with clarity and objectivity, thank you in advance.

Posts

  • Reverend_ChaosReverend_Chaos Suit Up! Registered User regular
    My condolences.

    No one can truly tell you they know how you feel, so I certainly won't say something so trite. I have lost a brother and my mother at a young age. It took me years; many, many years to cope, and even now, twenty years later, that wound has not completely healed. One of the reasons it took as long as it did for me, was that I did not know how to grieve, and my Father made the grieving process more difficult, if not nearly impossible.

    See a grief counselor, and try to make sure it's a good fit. Don't bottle up your emotions. Other than that, it will take time for things to return closer to "normal".

    Best Wishes

    “Think of me like Yoda, but instead of being little and green I wear suits and I'm awesome. I'm your bro—I'm Broda!”
    JuliusMom2Katzagdrob
  • Mom2KatMom2Kat Registered User regular
    Okay first off hugs. I went through something similar to this with my mother almost 12 years ago. I had gotten up from a nap since I was working late shifts and my husband graveyards. My Mom had been napping on the couch and I walked past her to go outside to have a cigarette. I came in and then sat down at the computer. I remember thinking "haha shes not snoring I should see if she's breathing!" She wasnt. she had died of a Abdominal aortic aneurysm we didn't know she had. I had to call my Dad and let him know that she would not be going home on the bus the next day but that she had died and we would be making the 12 hour drive to see him.

    Don't think you are not grieving right. Grief is different for everyone and there is no right. Some days you are going to think why am I not as bad as I think I should be and other days you'll wonder why you are not coping as well as the day before.

    If your work offers a Employee Assistance Program call them and see what they can offer to help, check with your local mental health unit and ask who does grief counselling. try not beat yourself up and realize your normal.

    I saw and still relive those hours even more than a decade later. One of the things a counselor on a board that I was a member of for those of us with 2/3rd trimester losses said most people think grief goes down like a curve when really it is like a bar graph with the bars not being as high over time but still spiking up from the bottom rather than a gentle curve down.

    Again Hugs and feel free to PM me if you want.

    Julius
  • LucidLucid Registered User regular
    edited June 2015
    My father died two years ago, I was at his bedside to see him wither away. It's really just something that is insurmountable at the time, the pain and the grief that follows. It doesn't stay that way forever though, even though really intense feelings come to the surface every so often. Sometimes I find a positive outlook by remembering aspects of him that I value, and think of how I share some similar traits. It's a way to keep them around without feeling negative.

    I have also, in some sense, come to look at the experience of death and loss as a sublime part of my experience as a human. It feels terrible, but it's also something that makes me see how alive I am, brings focus to my perspective. It's not always like that, sometimes there's resentment. Because I can feel connected to my world through this unique event, to me that is the gift of death.

    Lucid on
  • BobbleBobble Registered User regular
    Priest wrote: »
    Hey all.

    I feel hammy posting here. I'm not explicitly seeking attention, I have enough of that in real life. But I'm trying to source coping strategies for death.

    I'm 27, and my 57 year-old healthy father died of a heart attack two weeks ago. My life feels shattered, and I don't feel like I have anyone to turn to. Everyone tells me to be thankful that he went quickly and didn't suffer. I don't have the heart to tell the people that knew him that even if he went quickly, he suffered. I drove him to the hospital. I saw his pain. I pulled him out of the car at the hospital and saw the moment he died. It's eating me up inside.

    I have yet to schedule grief counseling, but I think this will be important.

    I'm sorry, man.

    Grief is a weird thing. On the one hand, nobody knows what you're going thru. Nobody had the relationship with your father that you did, and now you're dealing with the loss of that relationship and figuring out how to live the rest of your life without it. On the other hand, you are not alone. Not even close.

    Grief counseling was a huge help for me, and it was actually helpful in part because I happened into a grief group on campus. Maybe half a dozen of us struggling with the loss of a family member, each in different ways but all in pain. Some losses were recent, some were less so. Some struggled because they'd had to watch their father wither away and suffer over time. I was hurting because my brother's accident was sudden and I never got the chance to say goodbye. Everyone's loss is different, but sharing it with that group and realizing just how normal my pain was was a huge help to me.

    Priest wrote: »
    I'm surrounded by supportive people who say the right tings, and people who say all the wrong things.

    Man, nobody knows what to say. I don't know about you, but for me the Right thing to say was different some days than others. I remember being so thankful for a few girls who simply had a conversation with me that didn't talk about my brother at all. I also remember really appreciating a guy who just directly told me he'd heard about it and was sorry for my loss (no dodging it, just straight talk). We had longtime family friends who were so clueless about how to handle it that they just disappeared altogether. I don't believe it was out of malice, nor do I believe they cared any less than those who were bringing food and calling regularly. Some people just can't handle it.

    And if you wanna talk about the wrong things to say, I'm not sure you can top this one: At the funeral of my 16 year-old brother, some woman tried to comfort my mom with this doozy: "I know exactly what you're going thru. I just got divorced." Seriously. I implore you to laugh, because there's no logical reaction to that (my mom did laugh about it a few days later).

    Priest wrote: »
    I wonder how you pick up the pieces and go on with life without things seeming... futile. How you live day to day without a smell, a scene, a sound triggering you and bringing you to your knees in emotional pain.

    Anyone with clarity and objectivity, thank you in advance.

    1) Gonna suck for a while. Many people feel like 'moving on' implies that they're forgetting the person they lost or giving up on them. You can move on without forgetting, I promise.
    2) The world will move on before you do. That will be weird. People will talk about it less and less and some will absentmindedly forget about it, while it may still be a huge thing on your mind. Hopefully you have some friends you'll be able to talk to about it when you have a bad day.
    3) Occupy yourself. Find something to do that you can actually focus on. Maybe it's simply going to the gym, maybe it's your job, maybe it's wood working or basket weaving or whatever. Maybe it's something you and your dad had in common (maybe save that one for a few weeks later, up to you).
    4) Be honest with yourself. If you're wallowing and it's unhealthy, talk to someone. If you're closing yourself off from friends and family because you'd rather avoid social situations, stop it. If your friend says they're worried about you for some reason or another, really ask yourself if that's a problem instead of just shutting off.
    5) You're still alive. This is kind of important. You still have a life and things to do. I promise that in time you'll find yourself feeling happy and hopeful and you'll wake up one morning and grief won't be the first thing on your mind. And that's OK. Don't feel guilty for living your life.

    November FifthJuliusMaguano
  • charlesartistcharlesartist Artist and Game Developer CaliforniaRegistered User regular
    My heartfelt condolences to you. My father died less than a year ago. What everyone else so far has shared has been really great. I would like to add this:

    Teddy Roosevelt lost the love of his life and the most influential person in his life in a very short span of time; His wife and his mother. He just got his affairs in order. He was a legislator at the time. He finished his term and refused to run for office again the following term. He just went out to what was then the wild west and found himself out there. In recollecting these times he said:

    "Dark care rarely sits behind a rider whose pace is fast enough."

    So basically if you can go on an adventure now is the time, and if you can't like me, you keep as busy as you can. The moving of your body and mind towards a good purpose can fill in the gaps where grief will set in before it can gain a foothold and in the end you may accomplish something. I've been exercising and I feel better physically than I have in a great while and the stress reducing or dampening quality of exercise can take a good bit of sting out of the grief.

    My father didn't go quickly. He had a long lingering death by cancer. It was horrible and painful and seemingly never ending. There is always a good excuse to get into a negative mindset. All you have to do is look for a reason. I've found its best to take control of that process by looking for the good reasons to enjoy life. One of the things I do is a gratitude exercise at the start of every day and it really helps. If I were you, and I am NOT telling you to get over it, just realize that your father was much more than the last moments of his life; what I would do is I would make sure while you are grieving to remember and feel deeply the gratitude for what this man has done for you as a father and a human being. List five things and really feel the gratitude for them as deeply as you can every single day.

    One of the things I respect and am grateful for about my father is that he hustled and worked very hard for most of his life to provide for our family more than we needed. One great way to deal with grief is to honor the memory of the ones that passed with gratitude that they were in your life at all and how the good things they did impacted our lives.

  • RendRend Registered User regular
    My sincerest condolences.

    My mother died many years ago, I was about, what, 19, 20 at the time? That was nearly a decade ago now. It still hurts, but I'm going to try to be a little lighter about it.

    Grieving is a little bit like starting a new character in World of Warcraft.
    • It's not very fun
    • In the beginning things seem to be moving lightning fast all around you
    • Then it slows down and starts to feel like a slog
    • You look at your pace and how long you've got ahead of you and you can't imagine actually putting in the effort necessary to get through it
    • But you keep coming back because you kind of have to
    • It's easier with friends, but it's always still crappy
    • It's much easier if you've had to do it before, but it's always still crappy
    • You feel powerless at the beginning but slowly you start regaining a feeling of agency
    • You feel like you're annoying your friends by always asking them for help
    • But you're really not because they want you to get through it just as much as you do
    • It's not all bad though because it tends to bring people together in supportive ways they otherwise wouldn't normally
    • Netflix helps a lot
    • Eventually you do reach the end of the process, kind of. You're always still grinding for the next hurdle, but at least now things are mostly normal and you can do fun stuff with your friends without feeling like you're just bringing everyone down
    • DPS queues for leveling dungeons are like ridiculously long

    IrukaceresMaguanotapeslingerdavidsdurionsRobonunBobbleCreamstout
  • JuliusJulius Registered User regular
    My condolences.
    Bobble wrote: »
    5) You're still alive. This is kind of important. You still have a life and things to do. I promise that in time you'll find yourself feeling happy and hopeful and you'll wake up one morning and grief won't be the first thing on your mind. And that's OK. Don't feel guilty for living your life.

    This was (and sometimes is) honestly the hardest one for me. Moving on happens and it can make you feel really guilty for doing it, even though it is the healthy thing to do.

    My advice is to live your life and not worry about if you're grieving correctly or too much or too little.

  • StericaSterica Registered User, Moderator mod
    Don't ever think that you have to be 100% okay again to complete some kind of grieving process. My grandfather died ten years ago and I will still have dreams where he's alive and wake up in tears.

    it's not a wound that fully heals, but just gets more manageable over time.

    Best of luck to you.

    YL9WnCY.png
    charlesartistBobble
  • MaguanoMaguano Registered User regular
    @Priest my mom passed (i hate that term) a month and a half ago (she was 68, I'm 40ish). feel free to PM me if you want to vent, rage, cry, just talk.
    [generic cliche] everyone deals differently
    but honestly, coming from someone who dealt with this recently, it does get better, and at some times, you might even feel "why are these people being so nice, i'm "totally" OK"
    just continue with your daily routine.
    as i told my kids, she may be gone, but memories never fade.

    steam:maguano2
    gamertag:Maguano71
    3ds 2853-1334-6215
  • charlesartistcharlesartist Artist and Game Developer CaliforniaRegistered User regular
    edited June 2015
    Don't ever think that you have to be 100% okay again to complete some kind of grieving process. My grandfather died ten years ago and I will still have dreams where he's alive and wake up in tears.

    it's not a wound that fully heals, but just gets more manageable over time.

    Best of luck to you.

    That's a really good point. I wasn't trying to say he shouldn't feel bad and should force himself to feel good; just rein in the wild horses of the mind and make sure they ride in the right general direction. Of course with a tragedy like this, they will buck and holler, and when they do you better listen to them. The thing is that depression is a bitch and all it takes is a tragedy of this magnitude to ruin you and it's better to make sure you experience what's good in life and in this case honor the memory of the lost loved one and you will feel the harsh grief less and it doesn't overwhelm you to the point of serious depression.

    Another thing you can do is figure out a way to make it a learning and empowering experience. I know I will NEVER take up smoking after seeing my father die slowly and horribly in suffocation from his respiratory ailments. I'm sure not saying deny the pain and mask it with a feel-good exercise! The gratitude exercise I was talking about, I do in tandem with goal visualization. It's one of the things that keeps my mind occupied on the things I would like it to focus on while the harsh memories of my father's death motivate me to go to the gym and make me revolted at the prospect of lighting one up.

    So ask yourself what you can learn from this and how this can help you to live a better life.

    charlesartist on
    Geth
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