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Sunday, April 3, 2016

"There Is So Much Sadness in the World": Grief, An Anniversary

This photo is all over the web, but I couldn't find out
who snapped it, or where the original is.
My sister Antoinette died a year ago. I'm taking care of myself on this anniversary.

Kids growing up today may never experience what I once felt … what millions of people have felt: "I am the only one who feels this way."

Google has eradicated the "I am the only one" virus. With Google, we all know that we are not the only one.

I Googled the phrase "mourning the difficult death." I found a brief essay entitled "Grieving the Difficult Relationship" at a website called "Hello Grief." The essay struck me as boilerplate platitudes. It was followed, though, by 130 posts from people grieving difficult relationships.

Below please find edited excerpts from these posts. The excerpts,below, are nuggets of human experience. These people are feeling very intense things, and social norms prevent them from sharing or processing these intense feelings with friends or family. There is no ritual for what these people describe. And so we make our own ritual: telling these stories on the internet.

***

My marriage of 25 years was coming to an end because of addictions when my husband passed away one week before the divorce. A large hole in my life that I filled with good memories but I keep forgetting about the pain and anger and that is keeping me from moving on.

***

The affair my husband had shortly before he died…we were trying to make a go of things when he learned about the cancer and over and over again I think of all the hurtful things he said to be about my appearance etc. ..when he was having the secret affair and I didn't know what was wrong. I think of these things more than his death…strange

***

My ex-husband died by suicide 9 month ago. Relief was one of the first emotions I felt. He had been the love of my life

***

I had separated from my husband and had moved to my own place the day he died from alcohol and pill abuse. The guilt that I felt (and still feel) was overwhelming.

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In December of 2009 my husband of 24 years and I divorced. In January he took his life. I would love to go to a support group I just don't know what for.

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In August of 09 my husband of 20 years and I divorced. He suffered alcohol addiction. In May 2010 I found him dead of alcohol poisoning. In July 2010 my mother passed away after a long illness. I am just swallowed up in grief. Grieving for two different people, two different ways.

***

I also had very real and scary nightmares for about 7 years after his suicide in which he was very much alive and demanding his money back that I ended up inheriting from his estate. I had to learn lucid dreaming in order to guide the dreams to less scary endings.

***

My husband of 29 years died of cancer on August 22, 2011. He wasn't all bad, but I can't think of anything good to say. I "talk" to him and let him know how angry I feel. Four days after his death I found pictures (that had been locked in a briefcase) of him in an embrace with a mutual friend and another woman and he was so happy and they were so nude. I'm not one to hold on to lots of things, but after that discovery the few sentimental items laid aside went to the curb. I miss him. The myriad of emotions are tiresome and the memory banks are working overtime

***

Will this ever end for me? Will there ever be a normal day for my son and I again? Does the pain stop hitting me like a 90 mile an hour baseball?

***

My emotionally abusive husband of 18 years committed suicide 2 months after I separated from him. He was a porn addict, he was gay, he was an alcoholic, and his suicide plans included ending our lives. I knew that he was gay for many years, I told him that if he wanted to live that lifestyle, that I would support him and release him from our marriage. He told me he was committed and would never break our marriage vows. Well that was just another lie. I ended up having to get tested for STD's and AIDS. Those that both knew me and the "charming" side of my husband want to remember him and tell me how good a man he was. I want to shout from the rooftops that this man was a lie! I have felt so alone during this grieving process.

***

He had been emotionally and physically abusive…not only to me but to my children…and had molested one of them when she was a teen…so I should have felt glad, right? I didn't. Think I have grieved most over the loss of what might have been but wasn't.

***

I tried to help her write her autobiography. We had two sessions where she spoke about her beginnings. I was excited about the prospect of getting to know who she really was. Not to be, as she discontinued after the second session and it had become clear we had come to a painful memory or cluster therein.

As she lay there, refusing all forms of treatment, I still wanted her to be able to say whatever she might wish to communicate….with ALS, this faculty falls away and unless one chooses technological assistance, communication is lost.

Truthfully, even while she could speak, when I came over their house she mostly read, and eventually, watched the television. As was in life, it was in dying and of course death. So much unspoken; unsaid things.

I am sad, angry and mostly just stuck in an emotional crock-pot of pain I recall in my undergraduate studies while discussing grief, it was said that it gets complicated (complicated grief) when there is ambivalence. This makes me laugh now, as I'm trying to imagine a relationship which doesn't contain ambivalence.

***

She was a very sharp looking lady: always dressed impeccably, and very clean, even in old age. You could eat off the floors of her assisted living apartment. She had a terrific sense of humor, and was very funny. She greeted everyone with a smile.

But the other side of her, that the outside world never saw, was a very critical, negative, constantly talking, complaining individual. Anything I would tell her, she would turn into something bad. If a friend of mine was overweight, no matter what I might be saying about that friend, my mother brought up how fat she was.

I don't miss her. The gut wrenching hole that so many people speak about doesn't exist for me. I know she wanted me to spend more time with her, but it would've been detrimental to both of us, because neither of us made each other feel very good with our words.

I spent years in therapy trying to deal with her personality, trying to change my own in order to be around her. I guess what I'm trying to say is, I miss not missing her. I miss not feeling intense grief over her

***

Once my mother asked for me to come to her bedside. The gentle mother that I had always yearned to come back finally came. Two weeks later she was gone. Within that time I did ask her why didn't she like me and even then she answered that 'like' was never in her vocabulary but that she loved me.

I am buried in hurt for the answer. Why couldn't this part of my mom show up earlier before she became sick?

I loved and yearned for my mom's affection but how every time I came in close she would do something hurtful. The pain of having such a brief reconciliation is tremendous. There is no one in my life to offer that love and understanding to me was with my mom when she took her last breath. In fact, it was only her and I in the room together as I held her and told her how much I loved her The only words my heart can come up with is HELP ME!!

***

I battled his addiction for so many years but towards the end I was exhausted due to my own health issues and could no longer help him can't help but feel guilty as to why I felt exhausted and why my health issues had to happen around the time when he needed me the most

***

After she died I read all her diaries. What a mistake that was.

***

My Father passed away just before Christmas. He was a very difficult Man who drank and smoked. I had a difficult time dealing with him mainly due to my hard childhood. I feel that me and my sisters should of done a lot more to help. Very torn up with guilt, very sad how it all ended. Keep going over all the different ways I could have made things better

***

My only brother never left them and they enabled his life-long alcohol and drug abuse. He is now 50. After my father died, my brother attempted suicide on the 30th of December. He is still hospitalized as I type this. A part of me knows he will never get better and probably die by his own hand…another parts hopes and prays for a miracle. A part of me feels like I am being sucked in now by my brother. I won't allow it, but this is all so emotionally draining. I feel like I am drowning

***

My parents were abusive in every way imaginable to both my brother and I…but they still were the only parents we had. My brother was a horrible person throughout his life once the alcohol and drugs got a grip on him. I didn't speak to any of them for decades because I couldn't without getting screamed at or told I should give them money (whatever!) because "You're rich and you got it." Yeah right. They threw each other under the bus constantly – but then expected me to gladly join them in their sick and twisted codependent game.

***

My husband and I had been married for 5 years. We had a child during this time and he had anger problems towards him. I eventually removed myself and my son from the home. I had asked him numerous times to seek help for anger. The end result was he took his own life instead. He tried to phone me the night he did it but I never heard the phone ring. My life is consumed by guilt, anger, sadness

***

After internet searches on grieving, all I could find was stages of grief with the underlying assumption that one was grieving the love of one's life.

***

He was verbally abusive towards me my whole life, and yet I loved him unconditionally. When he got oral cancer, I took care of him, even though he pushed me away. My whole life I felt as if it was my responsibility to take care of him. He did leave me some money. I feel so guilty having it.

***

There are no words for this grief. Friends & family members can't understand why I'm taking this so hard, & how can I explain to anyone what I can't understand myself?

***

I feel sometimes like an animal, forgetting my mate so quickly. I don't even feel guilty, because I no longer have that ever-present gnawing on the inside that had settled there during our marriage. I should have left him long ago, but I wound up staying for 31 years.

He made sure we were forever in debt, living paycheck to paycheck. I guess there were periods when he wasn't angry, complaining, blaming or acting disinterested and bored like a child, still now, I am just relieved it is over. He had no excuse for being like he was except that his father was a rotten man too. I've reached, and am over the limit, of crap I'll ever be willing to put up with in a lifetime.

***

Mother's Day is coming up soon, and when I see all those happy commercials about all those lovely mother-daughter relationships, I want to throw something at the TV.

***

My son died from an overdose of drugs on 5/25/12. I had not spoken to him in 7 years. I have so much guilt over this I'd give anything to be able to tell him I loved him.

***

My only brother drowned when he was fourteen and a year later, when I was twelve, my father told me he wished it had been me who died. By the time I was fourteen I was a blackout drunk. My dad died when I was twenty-four and in the throes of alcoholism. I did not grieve his death. My mother, an alcoholic herself, died two years later after wringing me out with her neediness. I did not shed a tear after she died.

***

Throughout most of our relationship she was physically and emotionally abusive. I found out two weeks before she died that she was doing the same thing with our daughter. I was ashamed that I'd stayed so long and ashamed that I didn't remove my daughter from her "care".

Yet still, I stepped up and did as much caregiving as I could because anything I didn't do would have fallen on our daughter who is 19 and in school full time.

There was no one else as she alienated every friend she had and every member of her so dysfunctional family. I realize now that my own feelings of guilt were driven by my primary emotion – relief. Relief that I don't have to take care of her. Relief that I don't have to deal with her craziness any more. Relief that I don't have to financially support her. Relief that I don't have to pretend to be upset by her suffering.

***

He has taken up with a woman in town who my mother disliked. He brings her in the house to shop through my mother's clothes while the box that contains my mother's ashes sits in the middle of the dining room table. Nothing could be more hypocritical and disrespectful of her memory than what my father is doing. I will be very, very, relieved when he finally goes. It is impossible to love a person like my father, even though he's my father. I can't think of too many human beings more disgusting than he is.

***

My brother passed away from a drug overdose the day after threatening suicide. He was obviously high, waving around a gun, breaking glass and trying to set the house on fire. We all wanted to see him succeed at life and just be happy.

***

I believe he is trying to tell me something. I feel like I am losing my mind. Strange things are happening in my home. I know he is here and wants to tell me something. I can't work. Someone keeps taking the sliding glass door off my apartment, things disappear, there are cold spots in the house, and I can't think of anything else other than what is he trying to tell me. I cry constantly. All I want to do is sleep. My family thinks I am losing my mind. How do I find out what it is he wants me to know?

***

The anger I felt was beyond words and it often spilled into my life with other people. The hardest part is I did and do love her, I just do not like her for the things she did. I know in my heart if I had loved her unconditionally mourning her passing would have been easier. I have become aware that to progress in my healing I need to find a way to mourn her

***

The layers and layers of emotion make grieving very, very complicated and the sadness comes out in little 'blurts' sometimes. The rest of the time I'm sort of numb. My advice to children of a bipolar mom – LEAVE.

***

It's easy for them to be dead, but I still have to cope with the legacy of their unspeakable damage!

***

She died with nothing and no one around her who cared about her. We don't know if it was an overdose or if she aspirated her own vomit. Even more tragic than that was the way she lived and the torment she put my family and I through. I am not sure if I am more sad about how she died than about how she lived. Constantly I find myself wishing everyone would not remember her as an addict. Now all I have area few fond childhood memories from before things got bad. My only solace comes from my hope that I can tell her I loved her all along.

***

Suddenly I feel almost numb. Could this be grief? I have been in fight mode for 3 years to protect myself and my children financially. This happened as soon as it is finally coming to an end i.e. all of the papers signed.

***

His last words to me were, "I don't have a daughter named Lindsey." The last words that my dad ever said to me haunt me daily. I struggle so bad because I feel like maybe I have no right to mourn. One minute I'm crying hysterically because I miss my dad so bad that it physically hurts. The next minute I'm mad at him for leaving me in this world the way he did.

***

He had a stroke. I thought if he needed me, he might love me. I was wrong. The emotional abuse continued, even after he was wheelchair bound. I cared for him two years, during which he physically abused me if I got too close. A week before he died, he confessed to me that he had a fantasy life of being a major in charge of psychological torture experiments on recruits. And that he was sorry. My world has been like a tomb ever since. I am so angry at him for trying to destroy me. I had no idea the whole thing was orchestrated for perverse pleasure. I tried abuse therapy, but it didn't address the grief. I tried grief therapy, but it didn't help with the anger from the abuse.

***

Watching my mom dying in a hospital I worry I won't be able to properly mourn for her because of all past hurt feelings. My sister and her are exactly alike, controlling people who can never say sorry or accept any mistakes they made. I always regretted that I never sat with mom and told her how I felt. They tried to blame my husband for my distance that I started to create but if they only realized it was I had no more room to bear the deceptions, lies, secrets they held right to this exact day. My sister once said in a weak moment she is worried she will lose me once mom is dead…She lost me a long time ago. How do you mourn when you carry so much hurt and anger? One you actually feel like you already lost long ago.

***

He had many demons from a tough childhood and he felt like the world was against him. Because he had a complex about himself he would often lash out verbally or physically and it was always worse if my sister and I fought back. He often made the wrong decisions about things and growing up I shamefully would compare him to other dads who had more money and dealt with things in a better way.

***

I too have searched the web for material that might help, but haven't been able to find solace. I can't stretch friendships by talking about this with friends as I do feel the pressure to be over it by now, but in some ways I feel like I'm just starting to touch the surface. I can't even write about why our relationship was so strained for fear of dishonoring him and my family. I guess it is still hard to believe that we don't have the chance to 'fix' things, but I'm ashamed to think that I don't know if we could even if he was still here.

***

There is no one path through grief. We are all on our own paths but we have to walk that path.

***

When I became an adult, she couldn't beat me physically so she used manipulation, unending criticism, correcting nearly everything I said, being completely Unsupportive of pretty much anything I did and telling boyfriends, her friends, my friends, etc., what a total POS I was…in front of me.

Shortly before she died, her eyes kind of brightened up and she looked at me, called me by name and the last words she ever spoke were to tell me she was sorry she hurt me and that she loved me. I cry throughout the day. I don't mean just tears, I mean wracking sob bawling that drains me when I talk to the couple of long distance friends I have, they tend to think I should be getting over it all by now.

***

I am/was in possession of a lifetime of his journals, poetry, letters and after reading them, I can see that his entire life he struggled with depression, addictions, substance abuse, etc.…I just had NO idea had I known, I probably would have run in the opposite direction!

***

He would beat her very badly most weekends. My mother would scream for me to help her even as a toddler. When they weren't trying to kill each other they were trying to kill themselves. I often had to deal with cleaning up bloodbaths, or finding my mother beaten unconscious, was held between arguments involving knives and almost died in a house-fire after a horrific fight between them.

Despite all this I still loved my Dad. I thought I had come to terms with my childhood and I thought I had forgiven my Dad but since he has died I have felt so many weird emotions. It's only when I'm alone I realize these feelings are there. I keep saying sorry to him, like I've done something wrong.

***

I saw him bloody up my siblings and now they are pretending that he was a good father. I'll never understand why they lie about what he was and now they are upset because I refused to be beat and molested. Good riddance biofamily.

***

My mother died 3 months ago but I just found out by reading her obituary on line. When you come from such dysfunction you feel so terribly alone. I get no memorial, no ashes, no keepsakes, no final goodbye, no chance to say I love you or I am sorry. The child in my still wants her mother. I can't give my children grandparents even when they were alive. There is so much sadness in the world.

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