complicated grief

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Navigating emotions as estranged family member is dying

I grew up with this person who for most of my childhood I would have equated to a big brother figure (I am an only, so that was important).

He was a bit of a bully in childhood. I remember being both happy and fearful to be around him and it worsened as we aged. Fearful of his words, he was not physically abusive.

I learned how to stand up for myself at some point and we would argue. I would a few times cut him out of my life completely when he crossed the line in trying to belittle me, ridcule me or say something so heinous I couldn’t rationalize a relationship with him any longer.

We are now 51 and 52 years old.

We had the fight of all fights about 1.5 years ago and I cut him off for the last time. My childhood affection that had tethered me to him was gone. And the “funny” stories of his treatment of me back then, well, I came to see them as not funny anymore. I saw them as a pattern in his adulthood treatment of not only me but many family members.

Six months ago he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He is now in his last days. I reached out following the dx, mainly due to family wishes and a fear of future regrets if I didn’t. I still feel nothing for me, though I don’t wish suffering on him or my family, so I am doing what I can to be supportive while maintaining distance. I would regret being fake with him as much as I would regret not acknowledging his / my family’s pain.

Sorry for the long story.

I guess I’m just here to see if anyone relates and to see how others have/might navigate grief for a childhood idea of someone while also non-grief for the toxic reality I came to see and loathe. All while he lays dying.

#ComplicatedGrief #Estrangement #toxicfamily

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Grief and anxiety support

This meme says it so well…this is what we need. However rather than being laconic i’m often loquacious…battling the grief and loneliness inside…pretending normalcy or sometimes even to shamelessly display one’s prostrate state… otherwise in these days of selfies, self aggrandising & dejure peformativity, one is as good as dead…no? even death has to have performative value…😕 #Grief #Loneliness #Loss #Shame #Depression #ComplicatedGrief #Selfcare #

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Is this so…?

Came across this meme and was appalled. While narcissists abound but narcissism is more a pathology while depression and grief are not. As a default those who are grieving or depressed,( in my view ) at some levels seek attention and care, but self aggrandisement such of the narcissists & so orchestrated , is not a grieving’ default. And coming across such memes reducing it to this crudity, is painful. But that’s how many of those i’m familiar reduce my grief to and my character. Such memes will reinforce insensitivity and legitimize their inability to empathize with a grieving persons condition. 😕 # grief #ComplicatedGrief #dealingwithloss #Loss #Shame

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Negating self, its pain, its anguish…

Notwithstanding my severe lows over last few months and battling extreme loneliness, I still have to maintain my normality. This, so that I can have folks fraternise with me and I continue to have some human contact in a life so cruelly isolating.

My depression and grief is what my shrink has diagnosed as persistent depressive disorder or prolonged grief i have been battling over many years now. Of course to expect all or even a single soul to have the energy, patience to indulge any one with such continuous angst ( angst is how people see grief) is plain unrealistic.

But i discover that most in my circle of kins and friends (which itself is rather small) have not commiserated even a little but right away position their vibes & demeanor that expects me to have moved on, getting on with the world and straight away position their conversational pitch to matters more transactional. The zeitgeist of positivity and its heavy overhang, to display one’s coolness quotient and plain indifference I repeatedly experience in the little i try to strike conversations. No point in reminding one of their loss and therefore better to engage with other matters - so it is always. My grief, my loss, my struggle, my jinxes never gets validated or legitimate. And just so, attempt to engage with folks to battle my loneliness and despair I find the onus is more on me to indulge others, massaging their egos and talk about their jobs, family or some political issues, cinema or music they fancy.

Not just my grief, I just don’t appear anything other than an apparition and therefore my work, engagements and pursuits too are barely seen worthy of queries and interest. I experienced this twice in less than 24 hours.

Grief indeed is so lonely and dealing with it in such a instrumental world makes your pain and loss all the more agonising. #ComplicatedGrief #Grief #prolongedgrief #Loss #dysthemia #Guilt #Loneliness

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Ambiguous Loss/Ambiguous Grief..

My oldest daughter died this month..She died in my mind, because she acts as though we were dead to her. I don’t wish her harm. I’ll still pray for her..but I don’t like living with the deep hurt.

“She died,”might be easier to accept? She has Stage 4 Metastatic Cancer and is now on year 4 and in a NED for a year. I tried to reconcile with her, but apparently there is no give with her and she can not meet me halfway. She never said why she alienated us. We were friends, we were her parents.

I know that she isn’t good for my mental health. It will take some time to move on from this figurative death. I’ve been grieving for sometime at the thought of losing her to actual death..To an anticipatory death, instead of an ambiguous loss or grief. I wonder if it’s that far from actually accepting that she’s gone? Most likely, we’ll never talk again, and that I might not see her again in this life.

Some people might not accept or understand this as grief. It’s very lonely, because those around me can make me feel isolated. They don’t give me permission to grieve because they don’t wish to acknowledge it. I give myself permission to grieve the loss..#ComplicatedGrief #Grief #PTSD #Depression #MentalHealth #movingon

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On Grief and Bulls in China Shops

I’m reading Joan Didion’s ‘The Year of Magical Thinking’. I have always found comfort, and a home in books. Where some parents elect to use the television as a nanny; mine was reading books. I’m grateful for the understanding and wisdom I learned through the accumulation of stories from my fellow outcasts. This knowledge however, in time became a bridge between myself and my family. For at some point I journeyed too far beyond their comfort zones, their norms, and their unhealthy coping mechanisms.

The bridge will always be there for them, but I don’t think they’ll ever be in a position to cross the distance between us, so fixed they are in their fear. I still have love for them, but it is also mixed with sorrow; that their faith in themselves and others is so limited; they are in effect hiding from life and the kind of enrichment that can only be achieved through being vulnerable with others, and find that—flaws and all—you can still find unconditional love and acceptance, for none of us here are perfect.

The strange thing I’ve come learn about interpersonal boundaries is that they are isolating no matter what. For the person who is forced over time and error, to learn how to create healthy boundaries and then put them firmly in place, and equally the person who lives in a world without boundaries. For they embody the relationship version of a bull in a China Shop; they only know how to break things—despite the very thing they long for most being wholeness.

My father passed away several years ago, and more recently since the cutting of ties between my mother and myself, I have felt what Didion refers to as “the loneliness of the abandoned child of whatever age.”

A friend writes to Didion about the death of a parent after the passing of her mother “despite our preparation, indeed, despite our age, (death) dislodges things deep in us, sets off reactions that surprise us and they may cut free memories and feelings that we had thought gone to ground long ago. We might, in that indeterminate period they call mourning, be in a submarine, silent on the ocean’s bed, aware of the depth charges, now near and now far, buffeting us with recollections.”

Reflecting further on loss, Didion writes that “Grief is different. Grief has no distance. Grief comes in waves, paroxysms, sudden apprehensions that weaken the knees and blind the eyes and obliterate the dailiness of life.”

For myself, I mourn the loss of my mother while she is still alive, and in the worsening of my poor health, it has dislodged so much within that I feel numerous waves of grief. For the good that was in my mother, for all the times she abandoned me, and for all that might have been. I grieve the understanding that my own mother’s mother abandoned her numerous times too, and my mother—whether she tried to or not—failed to break this cycle that leaves nothing but destruction in it’s wake, as it creates multigenerational bulls in China Shops. Capable of breaking much, and healing nothing.

#ComplicatedGrief #Grief #GriefQuotes #StagesOfGrief #ChildhoodEmotionalAbuse #Childhoodtrauma #NarcissisticPersonalityDisorder #Relationships #MightyBookClub

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A weird hope, maybe? #ComplicatedGrief

So, maybe a little TMI but it's relevant. I have irregular periods, always have. Also lost my boyfriend end of September. Its been 2 months since I had my last period. I guess a small hope was that there would be a child even though I have never been regular. Even though I know having a kid to hold on to some part of my boyfriend is not a reason to have a child. I know, it's a stupid thought. I have been having weird grief thoughts. Like losing it every time I find one of his long hairs or not being able to get rid of the expired food in the fridge he bought. Or not being able to reset his alarm, so it goes off at 5:50 am Monday through Friday.

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Grief defines me…

I came across this - ‘sometimes in grief rock bottom so feels like home than a place of discomfort & joy is the scarier emotion.’

So is one’s sense of reassuredness obtained more in our seeming gloom, grief & misery? Is pain and anguish the overarching and more truer condition of our living? Not sure which philosopher it was - Schopenhauer or Spinoza or Kierkegaard who had a similar premise but speaking for myself, all the loss, defeats and shame I have endured, suffering has been more determining of life’s trajectory. Even as i cannot but acknowledge few moments of exaltation, joy and contentment, the larger narrative of misery and despair renders me deeply suspicious, indeed dread whatever seeming moments of happiness that objectively speaking is on hand. For example I should be elated today for my book has finally been published. But the occasion has only made my deep sense of loss more pronounced, absences of folks I hold very dear more acute and my grief so apparent.

The existential crisis - of loss of meaning, of no emotional peg to hold on to, the hollowness of positive affirmations, emptiness, the very collapse of hope, the uselessness of faith, sacraments & prayer - is so permanent, structural, so default that the so called affirmative, hope inducing path not to speak of so called moments of celebration & joy, appears so misguided & pathetic.😕

My ex is descending into vegetative state and i’m unable to provide any succour or reassurance to her…😢I love her so deeply…being with her was much more than being with a person…there was our house, our beautiful garden, our soul enriching dogs…it was elevated living in every sense of the word all coming together in her. In her presence, company I grew, my soul nourished and my spirits soared…But her ailments consumed her reducing her to an existence of excruciating pain (people can’t even begin to comprehend how debilitating her illness is) and agony. Yet she braves it all. She doesn’t want to give up. i still can’t & couldn’t deal with her suffering. And she couldn’t deal with my suffering me & she insisted on separation . I failed as a care giver. I felt so then and I feel so more now. Is it my love morphing into something evil that is causing her to suffer? To love is to suffer as someone said. The painful poignancy of it all. The appalling conditions of existence with its ordeals, misery & aches being showered on few in unrelenting flow🤦🏽 if my condition is such, imagine what she is undergoing saddled with both excruciating mental & physical condition.

The free who may have been following my posts here would probably figure my drift. Most may barely comprehend what i’m babbling about. I often don’t comprehend it myself. Figuring all these in isolation & loneliness is all I have for attempts at reassuring me by few (maybe well meaning) with bare cognisance of such travails, shame & suffering has been more damaging… most don’t even bother or attempt anymore. They have had enough of my moping & lament and my seeming inability to get over for many years now. But this grief is my own and overwhelming and i won’t allow anyone to trivialise it.

For as things stand i’m my own best friend, counsellor, confidant even as I’m my own critic & enemy. I dedicate the book to her - the endearing, bravest soul I know notwithstanding being rejected. The research, the writing, the readings, the visits, my work…all that the writing of the book involved her presence was constant. But it was no therapy. Today the despair and anguish has only flared up. What satisfaction or contentment leave alone celebration or joy when the most dear to me not around…?!!😢 I do want to be cherished, hugged and in the least desire quality time of deep conversation, over food, drink and drives -things which did transpire between us for sometime but alas ! Very voodoo of life undid it all and in certain viciousness! 😔 #Grief #ComplicatedGrief #Pain #Rejection #Shame #despair #Depression #Loss

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Even Things Lost Were Once Gifts

My mind skips around like an old recorder
Scratches at each jump between
Times when I think I’ve settled on an answer
For what might seem a simple question
If it weren’t loaded

If I sleep with this keepsake tonight
Will holding it close to my chest
End up breaking it apart more later
Just like our first to last of five months in this home
Except boxes are, already, packed to leave
And one of two of us already left completely

I’m not sure what happpened to the you I got to see one last time
It was just four or five hours
But you were “back”,
You were “alive”
And you were kind
And I had missed you so
But that’s not why the tears streamed down my face
It was bc I knew the you that you’d replace
Would be the you that killed who you really were
And all we could have been
We wanted so much more
Than “could have beens”

I’m sorry I had to make the call
When just days before, you had kissed my face
But the Black Eyes returned within only days
And just like that,
The man I loved was replaced
With a punishing parent
From a patterned past
Don’t you know there’s a reason
Only Jesus should attempt to raise the dead

Black Eyes moved toward
And swiftly fell upon me
3 digits and a screen had to intervene
But they could only save me
And that night I felt the loss of death
There was nothing left in your eyes

May Jesus raise you up like Lazarus
May the One who is outside the bounds of
Space and Time and Death
Reunite us again
When we are ready

#BPD #Splitting #codependence #Loss #ComplicatedGrief