Author Topic: 30, 25 and 16 years later...  (Read 1489 times)

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Offline Sandra61

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Re: 30, 25 and 16 years later...
« Reply #15 on: July 14, 2020, 10:24:32 AM »
I'm glad talking here and reading responses is helping you, Pep. Grief is a box that refuses to stay shut in my experience and indeed can pop open and surprise you at the most unexpected moments!

Keep working through it. It's a healthy thing to do, even if a painful one and you will find some peace and some happy memories in there. Good luck! Come back and let us know how you are getting on or if you want to discuss anything any time. It helps to get an alternative opinions sometimes.  :hearts:

Offline Pep

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Re: 30, 25 and 16 years later...
« Reply #16 on: July 14, 2020, 02:30:19 PM »
Thanks.

This box metaphor actually came from an ex army squaddy who i work with. He has PTSD (mild but has it). Anyway, i approached him only last friday regarding me seeing my family in open caskets... he had to sit me down to say the least and he went through his experiences of getting help.

My point to everyone is, i couldn't believe how being open to people does help. They give a different perspective. (It was a deliberate act to approach him though!)

I previously mentioned about my dads key i nabbed from my brother. Well as i was walking away from my chat with said colleague, i looked at those keys of my dads and thought "these are the keys to the box". 25 years since loosing dad and they were in my hand all along.

How cheesy but so apt.

Offline Karena

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Re: 30, 25 and 16 years later...
« Reply #17 on: July 14, 2020, 04:06:43 PM »
 :hug: no not cheesy but a good metaphor.

Offline Pep

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Re: 30, 25 and 16 years later...
« Reply #18 on: October 03, 2020, 10:36:50 PM »
Hello all!

It seems that my loss had affected my life and it is now still doing it. I never really thought about it but photos of my lost family make me well up. I just cant deal looking at them. I never put any up in my home. My Brother has one on his mantlepiece. BAM!. A photo of four of us siblings taken when I was 8/9.

My councellor asked me that it would be nice to see some photo's. She gave up after the third time she asked. Although she wasn't insisting (and I really mean it when I say that), it just felt like my head was going to explode. "In your own time then" she said. That was four weeks ago. No rush. Relax. Another day. Dont have to.


I'm still processing it all. I wont say that I wish someone had given me advice straight after losing my Dad or Sisters. And do you know why I wont? Because they probably did!. And I didn't listen or I just got on with life. I was young. One chap at work said to me last year "how did you get throught it all... How are you still standing?".

My counsellor is opening things up and she is helping. She talks about the following.


"Acceptance"
I can accept that I have lost them. But I still always ask "Why them?". "Why us?". "Why me?"


"Look after number one"
I need to work a few things out. I think I know what she means by that


"Find peace"

AARRRGGGGHHH.

The problem with me is that i'm an Engineer and Engineers have to analyse the question before answering it. I get chewed up on this far too long. But here is the thing. You don't have to be an Engineer to be screwed up with a question like that!. Find Peace. What exactly does that mean? Another day perhaps.


The biggest issue I am dealing with is this.

On my graduation, my family came to the university to celebrate the day. I can remember vividly my Mum being there and my Brother being there (This was 25 years ago). But I DO NOT RECALL my Sister being there. AT ALL! I started to doubt that she went at all.... Until I came across a photo that I had forgotten about. There was me and my Sister smiling to the camera. I dont think I ever cried like that before.


And that is why photo's are an issue. Because I just don't remember the moment.

Offline Karena

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Re: 30, 25 and 16 years later...
« Reply #19 on: October 05, 2020, 02:04:55 PM »
 :hug:As an engineer you will know that sometimes when the machine goes wrong you think you know what the problem is get a spare part etc and then find it isnt fixed that easilly and sometimes you have to take the whole thing apart piece by piece then re-assemble it and it might be one little thing you find or lots of things  - a nut thats loose a sheared bolt a spark plug that isnt sparking a loose wire - The photo confirms your sister was there so thats one thing  a tiny thing thats fixed now, you may not remember it just as with the machine you may not remember you got the spark plug from a different supplier to normal because it was years ago -and when you were young and had other things on your mind anyway - graduating can be nerve wracking maybe you are focused on just getting through that - on not losing the hat or tripping over your gown more than your family at the time and thats perfectly understandable .

To me acceptance isnt just accepting they are gone its not that simple to me acceptance is accepting that you will always grieve for them and that will always be part of you but it is never the whole of you because you will also start to look at the ways they enriched your life when they were here 0 that spark plug lasted years it kept the machine going so it gave you value even though it is now broken and grief isnt just loss when its brocken but appreciating its worth when it wasnt.

You would expect that Peace only happens when you fix the machine and it runs like new - better even - except you are not a machine but even if you were peace is accepting it sometimes doesnt fix quite the same way.

We had a camper van we went all over in it his hat was always on the dash board and when he died i really wanted to keep it so the hat stayed there and i hung on too the van.  The drivers window developed a mind of its own - sometimes you had to drive over a bump to get it to work sometimes it could go down for no apparent reason at all without me touching the switch - and i did the things i am supposed to do - checked the wires and connectors changed the fuse - had others double check my checks but it still did it.

Peace to me is living with that  seeing it as a characteristic - even seeing humour in it sometimes - the rest of the machine performed well i got a lot of fun from having the van i was not going to scrap the van because i couldnt fix the window just as i wasnt going to try and forget the good memorys because sometimes they made me sob.
 
In the same way grief is like the window once you have taken everything apart and fixed what you can fix there may still be a flaw a window which occasionally goes up or down without you instructing it with the button or expecting it to do it in a certain place or situation  - an emotional window - something that will make you cry especially on a bad day (try 40 minutes on the M6 with lowered drivers window in a blizzard) but also something that  can make you smile too - and i would be driving along telling him to mend the blinkin window as though he was still there.
So now you have the answer too a question, you know your sister was there you know she was proud enough of you to turn up and share that moment and yes the photo made you cry and opened that emotional window and  thats ok crying is ok but it also clarified something you have wondered about perhaps fixed one of those many other little brocken parts.

Eventually the bottom fell out of the van i was devastated even though it was on the cards it felt like i was losing the final part of him or of him and me and our lives together and i thought about changing it for a sensible car something completely different more fitting to my age blah blah blah  so i took it to someone who re-uses the parts off them for other vans the same make  = and now the engine is in another van the gear box in another the raisng roof on another all the functioning parts are still functioning just not in the same place and in the same system they once were.
But the passenger and driver seats are in the one they happened to be selling and were happy to swap over when i ( much less sensibly) dumped the sensible car idea and bought that, and his hat is on the dashboard and his photo on the sun blind so he still travels with me and i imagine the parts of the new van his comments would have been less than complimentary on - the palm leaf curtains and dolphin decals and in my head i hear the comments on the conversion i built that he would have liked but guess what its the passenger window this time sometimes it has has a mind of its own.

I am not comparing your grief to a mechanical thing or something as trivial as a faulty window, just trying to look at it from an engineers point of view - I could have seen nothing but the faulty window in that old van and that could have made the whole van something much more negative but i accepted it and found peace in accepting that the flawed window would always be part of it but it didn't spoil the van it didn't remove those good memorys out of the van  and as time went  on and the van no longer functioned  i could still take part of it with me as i moved forward and made it more mine with my own decor ideas he still travels with me - but the window is still there maybe a bit further away but still doing its thing and thats fine, thats a mechanical flaw thats part of the van and part of me.

Offline Pep

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Re: 30, 25 and 16 years later...
« Reply #20 on: February 11, 2021, 06:04:09 PM »
I became a member on this forum six(ish) months ago to help me deal with my grieving... my emotions... my anger... my pain.

It has occurred to me that I haven't come across anyone else here that has spoken about losing a brother or sister. I mean, I think I have to acknowledge this because losing my two sisters is all I talk about in my counselling sessions. Am I looking for someone out there to talk about sibling loss? Or my delayed grieving (so she calls it)? I don't know.

I'm not really sure about this but is losing a brother or sister different to losing a mum, or a dad? Again, I don't know (i've lost my dad, too, so its all just a jumble in my head). Is the loss of a sister or brother far too complicated or too deep to talk about?

My counsellor asked me.. "What do you need to move on with your life, Pep"? In my head I was thinking "my need is not available to me anymore. I need my sister's to get me through this but they are not here". I just couldn't bear saying it out loud. So is that what would of happened? Saying it out loud would of made me "Accept" they are not here. Is this my fight in life now? That I have to say it accept it?

And then I thought a couple of days later... How do I know what my 'needs' are? Isn't it always a big sister who always tells their little brother exactly what they need? And that's my wish, to just be told what I need from a sister.

Even though I will probably ignore it (as little brothers do).

Pep

Offline Sandra61

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Re: 30, 25 and 16 years later...
« Reply #21 on: February 12, 2021, 12:49:04 AM »
The closest I have come to losing a sister, Pep, was when a close school friend died when we were both sixteen years old. She died of bone marrow cancer. We used to walk home from school together. She was funny, very clever, brave during her illness, which at times was very painful and I could not take in then how someone so young and full of life could be struck down and die that way. I felt angry, scared and did not know how to accept it. I was also full of admiration for her for somehow getting through that time. Her parents were naturally protective of her, so I didn't see her more than once or twice when she was actually in hospital and I missed her, but I remember how broken her family was after she passed. I remember too even now, more than forty years on, how she looked and how much I liked her and how well we got on, how clever and typically sixteen she was too. The tragedy of it still pains me.

I know it's not the same as losing a true sibling and perhaps you haven't heard from anyone here who has also lost a sibling because thankfully, it is so rare to lose someone at such a young age and losing a sibling early is probably quite a rare event, but, for me, I still think of her often and still miss her and it strikes me often too, how I have had all these extra years that she did not, even though we were the same age when she died. So, how lucky are we who survive and get to keep the gift of life and a future that they did not have.

I'm not sure about your counselor's question. How are you supposed to know what you might need to move on with your life? isn't that why you go; to try to help you find out because you don't have the answers to that? I wouldn't have found that helpful. I don't think really that there is anything you need to be able to move on with your own life other than the ability to live with the loss and for me, at least, the pain of that is never far away and always present to a degree, but it's the learning to live with it and, yes, 'accept' that there are some things you will never know about how the loss occurred or why, that makes that difficult, but accepting that there will always be unanswered questions and a hole in your life where those you love should still have been is the hardest thing to find a way to do. So for me, trying to let go of the anger and  bear the not knowing parts have helped make it possible for me to move forward (I would not say move on, because to me that implies leaving those events and the memories of that time behind and I don't think we can ever fully do that), but moving forward in the knowledge that those unknown factors will inevitably always remain and the pain of loss will never really pass, but instead become part of me, is what has helped me to move forward. For me, it's about understanding that I am lucky because I still have my life and it's about learning to live with the person those events have made of me and accept that the new traits they have resulted in, in terms of the changes to my personality and outlook on life, are simply now part of who I am. So if it is a matter of acceptance, for me, I have had to learn to accept myself as I am now and accept the mysteries and questions I have, will never be resolved, in this life at least. That's a hard thing to do.

I don't know if any of this helps, but hope you find your way forward in time. Of course you want your sisters back and that is what you can't have. None of us can keep hold of the past or have the present that we would want, if disaster had not struck, so we have to learn to live with the present we have. I believe the Americans call it 'rolling with the punches'. Maybe we have to learn to do that before we can move  forward.

 

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