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hopelesslyaddicted

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Grief Management


hopelesslyaddicted

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I see these are still being used and figured this would be a safe outlet to put my feelings down about this.

TLDR; How do you manage grief? Especially over the loss of a parent?

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In June of last year, I lost my Dad to cancer. He had Bone Marrow which progressed to Leukemia. When he was diagnosed, the Doctors told him he wouldn't live past a certain time frame and he surpassed them by 3 years. He would've been 77 in August of last year.

It's been a very hard for me as I try to be strong, especially for my mom. I'm the youngest of 6. We're a blended family, like the Brady Bunch as our local newspaper called us. Two on my mom's side, 3 on my Dad's and just me with my parents. Being the youngest, I was Daddy's girl. Even as a grown adult. All of my siblings are 10+ years older than me, so there's a huge age gap. They were all pretty much out of High School when I was growing up and old enough to know what was going on. I grew up like I was an only child. So I got all of Daddy's attention and my 2nd youngest sister admitted to me that she was jealous of that because Dad was always gone. He was a trucker when they were growing up and hardly home.

Whenever someone I know or am close to passes away, I don't usually cry a whole lot. Yeah, I'm sad they're no longer here, but that's different. When my Dad passed away, I thought that would've changed. I was at work when he passed away, which was my fear. I had just started a new, very first, full-time job a couple months prior, so I was in that transition phase and couldn't really afford the time off. My manager and co-workers were AWESOME about everything and even though we were short staffed at the time, we've got pretty much a full house now (I work in health care in a group home setting with individuals who have disabilities), but they managed to cover my shifts and I didn't have to worry about any of that. In my previous job I would've, most likely, had to get them covered.

He was moved to my place; that's a whole other story I wasn't happy how it played out, but I did it because it was Dad, and I didn't feel comfortable leaving my mom there by herself with him as weak as he was. He did NOT want Hospice, so I called my uncle who lost his partner, my aunt - they never got married, to cancer just before Dad was diagnosed. Thankfully he was able to make it, because that night, Dad went. Like I said, I was at work. My manager was on her 2 week vacation and I felt SO bad calling her the next morning. She was so understanding. The funny thing was, that night I was flipping through channels at work and Field of Dreams was on (one of his favorites; we took him to the site twice, once on his birthday and got a signed ball from the "ghost" players - they even sang "Happy Birthday" mid picture after we told one of the players when we went to get their autographs and as we were getting a picture, they started singing and I SO wish I would've gotten a video) and I stopped to watch. Soon after, I got a call from the county sheriff's department that he was outside and came to tell me that my Dad was gone.

I wanted to start crying, but I knew I couldn't because I was working and if the clients saw, especially one of them, he would use it against me. Every which way that I was afraid of how he would go, happened. When I was at work. When my manager was on vacation. When I wasn't able to take time off to be with him. That's the biggest one. I only went to spend time with him on my days off, when I was able. Which wasn't enough. My manager lost her dad to cancer just a few months after and got to spend time with him. I even had to work on my birthday, my day off, because her dad was so close.

Besides his funeral when I finally let it out in a group hug with my closest friends at the cemetery and a few other times after, that's about the only time I've ever really cried. I didn't even have a chance to really cry all that week prior when planning the funeral because things were so crazy. When my manager asked me to cover her shift on my birthday, that's when I cried again because I was essentially jealous because she got to be with him when he went.

Over the summer I had a conversation with one of my friends who lost her dad a year ago to cancer as well and she told me that 6 months after her dad passed was when it really hit her. For me, that was Christmas and it never happened.

Sorry for the ramble and thank you for sticking around this long. If you've read it all the way through, my question to you is: How do you handle grief? Especially to someone close like a parent? I feel like I haven't been able to grieve properly and it's not fair to him. Like my friend said, I'm likely in that "numb" stage, but it's almost been a year (5 more months) since he passed away.


Alicia 💖

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Felpata_Lupin

Posted

Hey, Alicia! :hug:

First of all, I'm so, so sorry for your loss... :( 

I've been there, lost both my parents to cancer at a few months' distance one from the other, and it's been absolutely devastating, before and after. I'm an only child, too, which didn't make things any easier. I did have a lot of support though, both practical from my aunts, who were absolute angels, and morally from my group of friends and from my colleagues at work. I've been surrounded with warmth and affection, I really couldn't have done it otherwise.

I don't think there is a right way or a right time to grief, each one of us processes it in their own way and at their own pace. I'm not really a crier either, or better, I tend to cry for stupid things and then I just freeze at the big ones... so I get it... and it's been 8 years for me and I haven't still fully accepted it... time does make things better, though. But the pain never fully goes away.

Don't force anything, tears will come if and when you'll need them. Six months is not that long of a time, either. Just hang in there, and keep the people you love close. There's no reason to feel guilty about "non properly grieving", because there's no such thing as "properly grieving". It's a matter of how you feel and what helps you on the road to acceptance, and no one can tell you how to feel.

I don't know if any of this was helpful... but sending lots of hugs your way! ❤️

Chiara

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inmyownlittlecorner

Posted

I'm so sorry for your loss. 

I agree with everything Chiara said. Six months is forever, but also not long at all, especially considering a loss like this. There is no such thing as properly grieving, there's just you, and how you are processing everything. Be as gentle with yourself as you can ❤️ 

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Oregonian

Posted

Hi, Alicia.

I am so sorry that you have to go through this sad and difficult time in your life right now, and It's really good that you wrote this blog and reached out to your friends here as you walk this ancient path that so many people have walked before.

You were asking how we handle grief, especially grief over the loss of someone very close.  I lost my husband six years ago, and while, as Noelle and Chiara say, it's different for every person, I learned some useful things.  Here's something good to know: When we are facing an emergency, some sort of catastrophe, our bodies release a lot of the "fight or flight" hormones to help us deal with the emergency.  For normal emergencies, the adrenaline wears off in a few hours or at most a few days, but with bereavement the situation is different; the level of these hormones ("catacholamines") rises to high levels and remains elevated for about six months.  So for about six months, more or less, the bereaved person can feel disoriented, disorganized, less able to cope, not having a 'handle' on things, each person in his or her own way.  But nobody bounces back quickly.  It is interesting that your friend said that she had a significant change in her reaction six months after she lost her father.  Of, course, that was her own individual reaction; there are many ways to feel this change, but perhaps you are at the point where the hormones are ready to recede and nature will start to lead you out of this place where you have been.

Noelle and Chiara are so right when they say there is no such thing as properly grieving, we each do it in our own way, but here's something I did that helped me a lot.  After my husband died, I went right away to the office of the local hospice organization and asked about support groups for people grieving the loss of a loved one. (These groups are for everyone, not just for people who used the services of hospice.)  They had such a group which met twice a month, and I started attending right away, whenever my schedule allowed (which wasn't every meeting).  There were 7-10 people there, plus the facilitator, and each of us had a unique situation, but it was extremely helpful to talk with people who had been through the same thing.  Some started coming soon after their loss, and others only after some months had elapsed.  Some came for a brief span of time, and others continued for a longer time.  We were all different.  

I sort of assumed, at the beginning, that I would attend for about a year, and in that year I saw I made great progress, but I still felt that there was benefit in talking about such a loss, the end of a long marriage, the loss of my husband and the father of my children, and by then I could give comfort, hope, and advice to the people who were just joining.  At the end of two years I felt that there was no longer any benefit, and I ended this period of my recovery.

I still miss him very much, but that will always be, and one just soldiers on into this new life.  I am sorry that you had to lose your father when you were so young.  Sending lots of hugs your way.❤️

Vicki

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hopelesslyaddicted

Posted (edited)

Thank you, everyone.  :wub: I have thought about therapy, but not for this. One of my best friends is going to therapy for PTSD over losing her brother to cancer. I just never thought of anything like Vicki said.

I just never thought it would come this fast, this quick. I thought I would have more time with him. I'm in my mid 30's (I feel like one of the oldest members here :ninjavanish:) and I won't get to have that moment walking down the isle or holding his grandchild (he has 10 + 3 great) for the first time.

I've definitely got the support (more with the community both here and RL, more with friends than certain members of my own family) and don't know what I'd do without it.

It all just seems like a dream I'd rather wake up from.

Edited by hopelesslyaddicted
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PinsandKneazles

Posted (edited)

Hi Alicia,

I'm so sorry to hear about your Dad. It's incredibly hard, at any age, to lose someone you are close to, and losing a parent or someone you've known for your whole life is indescribable, really. Grief is such in individual process and I don't think we ever fully recover from losing a loved one, because it changes us from the person we were before to the person we are after. I still get very upset over losing my Dad, who died in April 2020 when the pandemic was just getting into its stride. Some days, I'm fine; other days, it hits me like a tsunami out of nowhere. Even typing this is difficult. I found online FB support groups useful; I could switch off if it felt overwhelming, but could read /interact if I wanted to, without any face-to-face pressure.

I keep a collection of especially nice or funny comments/reviews/videos/stories for the days when I'm feeling down. Things that me and my Dad would have both laughed at (such as the amusing parts of Pride and Prejudice, or Laurel and Hardy, or The Good Life (a 70s British sitcom)), and stuff that is just 'mine', such as a video of someone unwrapping something I drew for them or a really nice review on here. Yeah, it might be vain and weird, but if it gets me through the day, then so be it. 

My animals (three horses, two cats) also help me deal with grief, because I HAVE to get out of bed even on dark days to look after them. However, this is a very expensive method of grief management, and occasionally a source of grief itself, so maybe don't follow my example on that one!

Sending ❤️ 

ETA I'm older than you, by the way, if it makes you feel better about your age!! :ninja:  🤣

Edited by PinsandKneazles
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