Author Topic: Long term grief  (Read 2071 times)

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Offline Blue20

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Long term grief
« on: August 18, 2020, 07:34:55 PM »

Hello,

I last posted on this forum almost 3 years ago and it was a good place to just get some words down at the time. I actually forgot about it and recently received a private message on here out of nowhere which was nice and has reintroduced me to the forum.

I lost my Dad 15 years ago now at the age of 8, and so it feels like a little milestone of sorts that has been on my mind a lot this past month or so. Despite that being so long ago now, I just canít seem to find a way to accept it. I canít fully focus on whatís ahead without looking back and constantly thinking Ďwhat ifí every step of the way. What if he was still here, what if that hadnít have happened, what if he had gotten to see me achieve this etc etc. Itís totally exhausting and painful, and sometimes I feel silly to feel so upset when it happened so long ago.

Now Iím 23 and as a young man itís getting to point where Iím really realising what Iíve missed out on without having that father figure and it truly hurts but I canít change what happened and thereís no way to replace whatís missing.

On top of that Iím struggling to connect with it now, where sometimes I might fall back on old photographs of times we spent together to find some comfort, Iíve run out of any photos that Iíve never seen before or that I donít remember, thereís nothing I havenít seen or heard about etc

I suppose what i mean is that Iíve started to feel a disconnect from it all, Iíve lived longer without him than with him and itís a sad reality to me now but it also has left me with a feeling of having no direction. My loss might not be the whole cause of it (I donít know) but I often just have such a feeling of nothingness/numbness, and I feel like Iíve lacked guidance not having my dad or any male role model to learn from past the age of 8. My confidence is low, I feel like Iím ready to do things like be in a relationship with someone now but my low self esteem and confidence stops me from even trying to put myself out there.

Iím not sure what I hoped for from writing this post but I thought maybe someone feels the same or someone has been through it or maybe even if someone just reads this would mean something to me.

Thank you.

B
« Last Edit: August 18, 2020, 07:37:24 PM by Blue20 »

Offline Sandra61

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Re: Long term grief
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2020, 01:53:42 AM »
Hello B,

So sorry to hear of the loss of your dad at such a young age and the problems you are going through now, as a result. I don't think it is surprising that you feel as you do however. I would think that losing a parent so young would leave you with a lot of feelings you may not have dealt with properly at the time or managed to think through. IT must be so tragic and so hard to understand at such a young age and must feel like being robbed of part of your childhood. It is no wonder that you are often thinking of 'what ifs' - even more so than those of us who lose a parent in adulthood and yet still have a lot of 'what ifs'.

If you have not tried grief counselling, I think you might benefit from that. The tone of your message and things you say about feeling like you have a feeling of numbness suggest to me that you have not really dealt with your grief yet. Again, not surprising given that you lost you father whilst you were still so young. I am not sure where you are in the world, but would also recommend you take a look at a website called Let's Talk About Loss. It is specifically aimed at people who have experienced a loss at a young age and I think you might benefit from seeing how others have been affected by similar experiences.

Please feel free to keep talking to us here for as long as you like also. It is always good to talk to others and get their perspective on things and at least here, everyone has been through a loss and will understand what you are going through. There was another gentleman on the site recently who was also dealing with delayed grief and who was  having counselling for that and seemed to be finding it helpful, but who also seemed to find it helpful to write on this site and talk to others who had experienced a loss too, so I think you might find that useful.

Wishing you well and sending a hug  :hug:

Offline Pep

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Re: Long term grief
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2020, 09:15:43 AM »
Oh guys.... busted!   :azn:

Like Sandra, i also think you should consider counselling... it may help. But if you feel pressured into doing it then perhaps its not the right time.

To cut a long story short, i was "gently pursuaded" to see a counsellor because it was affecting my daily life routine. You can only judge yourself if "enough is enough" and you need to talk it out with someone.

For instance, you may have a couple of years ahead of you at college/uni or even a job you are starting... but try not to carry on struggling. Talking it out may give you a different perspective in life. Maybe thats all you need?. An hour of just letting it all out to someone. I've had 8 hours of it so far.

Its good (although painful) that you can look at pictures of your Dad. For me I struggle and i absolutely cant cope looking at pictures of my late sisters and dad. Its physically painful for me to look at them and talk about them. My brother gave me a DVD of both my sisters wedding days for christmas. To him it was a kind gesture. To me, i felt like just screaming as i couldn't cope in that moment. (That wouldnt of been a good thing to do with ny kids and family around). I just bottled it up, smiled, said thanks, and hid the DVDs and carried on opening the presents. Bad strategy to have in life.

People who haven't gone through trauma like us would say things to me like "why cant you manage to watch the DVDs" or "whats the problem with looking at pictures.. its good for closure". AAARRRGGGHHH.

My counsellor says "you dont have watch those DVDs". I would of hugged her if it wasn't for COVID. Plus the fact it was a Whatsapp video session!


You hang in there buddy. You are stronger than you think. And you know you can PM me any time for that "Pep" talk! ;)

Pep

Offline Blue20

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Re: Long term grief
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2020, 12:01:25 PM »
Thank you both for your replies to my post.

Sandra, I think I completely agree that I have much still to work out about dealing with the feelings associated with my loss but also knowing how to cope with those feelings when they appear. I've always struggled with accepting it, I think it was hard growing up because at that age the majority of people around you all still have both parents and I think that was tough for me, I used to feel so jealous of them and to an extent that feeling hasn't left me which is probably awful of me!

I've never received any form of counselling whatsoever and to be honest it really frightens me, I feel very nervous about the possibility of even more of these feelings surfacing and causing more upset but maybe I'm worrying to much? I think I also fear the unknown of it, like what a session would be like or am I even going to be able to get my words out properly and explain it correctly. But I do feel that the counselling is the right way to go, and it's reassuring that you both recommend it :)
I think I just don't know what to expect from it if that makes sense?

Thank you for the website suggestion Sandra, I will take a look :)

Pep I think you're right, talking it over and letting it out sounds like a relief. I am at university and it does add this extra stress every single week, I feel like I can never have a chance for a breather sometimes! So that is a worry, I often prioritise that and then struggle for any time for me. Just wish I was better at coping and juggling everything but I struggle so much.

I'm sorry to hear that Pep about the DVDs but you're totally right, it's entirely up to you whether you watch them or not! You should watch them only if you feel ready to. I do find it difficult looking at the photographs but it's all I have now. I can't remember things like voice or what it was like to be around him anymore, I have the memories and that's all but Im lucky I have at least something.  I'm the same with bottling it all up, have done since it happened and grown up blocking it out, not crying, not dwelling, and then I started university and it seemed to trigger something. Maybe it was all the sudden stress and maybe it's a time it would be nice to have some support and advice from my Dad.

Just have to keep trying.

Thank you both for all your kind words :)

B




Offline Sandra61

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Re: Long term grief
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2020, 11:11:03 AM »
Hello again Blue,

Thanks for posting a reply. It's always nice to see if what you have said has been of any help.

Of course it isn't awful of you to be jealous of those who still have two parents! I think that is a natural response when you have been deprived of that in your own childhood. Don't feel bad about it. It just shows you wish you were in the same position.

I don't think you should be fearful of either the counselling or of feelings long suppressed surfacing. I think that would be a good thing for you and if you think about counselling being something to be feared, I think that is not accurate. It would be a place to talk and a place to contemplate. You don't need to meet any standards or be a perfect speaker. The whole point would be to help you discover what those are and how you feel about them and learn to deal with them. If you feel worried about it however. I would suggest that you try writing instead to start with. I found it helped me a lot to just sit and write down how I felt about what happened when I lost someone. I just wrote about what happened and how I felt about it and how I felt about how others acted at the time and it helped me both make sense of it all and get out many of the frustrations and much of the pain of it all and that did help me feel better. Perhaps start with that and move into counselling when you feel a bit more confident about it. Though counselling should help you do just that also.

Some people find even if they just compose a poem or a song, it's a better way to try to express how they feel. I don't know if you are creative, but it's a thought. The other thing you might look out for is a bereavement group. Sometimes there are groups locally for people who have been bereaved and that might be less daunting for you. I suppose that's what this site is really, in a virtual way. But it does help to talk to others who have also experienced a loss, so you might find that helpful if there is a local group you could go to in person.

I think, analyse it less and don't have any expectations and give counselling a try on that basis. There is no onus on you to be able to express everything perfectly. The point is to help you find out about your feelings through the process, so give it a try, but don't pile the pressure on yourself beforehand. That's a stress you don't need and that is unnecessary. Otherwise, keep talking to us here. We are not experts or professionals in helping people, but we do know something of how loss feels and affects you, and we are happy to help as best we can.

Wishing you well. Let us know how you get on if you wish. It's always nice to hear about that.  :hug: :hearts:

Offline Joey

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Re: Long term grief
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2020, 02:41:15 PM »
Hello Blue,

It is 3 years today that I lost my wife and I just wanted to recant something I said at my wife's service which may have some relevance to your post.

My wife lost her father when she was 11/12 yrs old and it had a devastating effect on her as she loved her father very much.  In fact even after +30 yrs, when she would talk about her father, she would still get emotional, that is how deeply it effected her.  This loss had a profound effect which deeply impacted the trajectory and course of her life.  She was highly intelligent, much smarter than I and I have 2 degrees.  So because she had a younger brother and to help her Mom, she went straight to work when she was 16yrs.  I have absolutely, no doubt, that if her father had been alive, she would have gone to University and her life experiences, undoubtedly, would have been very different.  I know, our paths would have never crossed.

We loved each other very much and we spent a wonderful 30yrs together and I miss her everyday.  At her service, I recanted my thoughts above and I'm always left to wonder (and marvel) that out of a great tragedy and sorrow, something very beautiful was found.  We met when we were older than you and we lived and experienced many places around the world together.  So, I wouldn't be so quick to discount what life may hold in store for you.  Just don't regress from the possibilities of life experiences; engage and take the chances and risks that are presented.  They may not always work out, but, some will and you'll find your life is all the better for it. 

I wish you all the best...

Offline Blue20

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Re: Long term grief
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2020, 03:16:08 PM »
Hi Joey,

First of all I'd really like to say a big thank you for your message, it's really brightened up my day and put a smile on my face.

Your story is really interesting to me so thank you so much for sharing, I really resonate with what your wife experienced in her life and it's nice not feeling so alone in my experiences. Even though I lost my father 15 years ago, it really does affect me still and gets me very emotional even just the slightest thing!

But I think you're totally right in regards to how things work out in life. If I hadn't had lost my Dad I'm not sure I would be as ambitious as I am, I put so much hard work into my studying and everything just because somehow not having him spurs me on to try and be as good as I can be at everything and make him proud. Sure, I'll fail along the way and I still have a lot of problems to work through in regards to my grief and other difficulties but I won't give up yet.

I completely agree that maybe things in life happen for a reason or at least another path is forged for us to follow. I just really hope one day I can feel a lot happier than I do right now, I've found things very hard for quite a few years now and I say I don't feel like myself anymore but I'm afraid I don't even know what that's supposed to feel like anymore. But I'm so pleased you left a comment here, you've definitely given me some welcome optimism so thank you :)

Your wife sounds like a wonderful person and it sounds like you had a very beautiful time together. I really wish you all the best.