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Posted: Wed Feb 07, 2018 6:43 am
I am experiencing the problem of delayed grief. My younger sister died this time last year. When she actually died, I was numb, a feeling that continued until a month or so later, than grief set in, but while it was painful and troubling, I got through with help and support.
Now, just after that first anniversary of her death, I am experiencing the same feelings, but much sharper and more present than the first time around.
I have had training in grief and mourning, and know that it will recur, but thought that like last year, I could just get on with things and live through it. But now, I am emotionally disturbed much more and it strikes and I can be on the verge of tears.
Perhaps this is the result of bottling up those feelings and shutting it out, that now it has caught me unawares and returned to remind me of my own vulnerability and mortality?
I have always felt strong enough to overcome these emotions, while actually feeling empathy for those who are in mourning and supporting them - now I can see that it's not short term care they need, but longer term.
Prayers for my sister V and her family, who are going through the same scenario, the first anniversary.
Posted: Wed Feb 07, 2018 3:18 pm
My experience of grief is that it has, at some point, demanded my full attention. There's a period of busy-ness around a death and a funeral, when there are lots of distractions to do with admin and organisation, and it's easy to think that when the funeral is over, the grieving has been done. But then there's a year of 'firsts' you have to get through - first Christmas without them, first birthday you haven't sent a card for, etc - and those dates carry on every year with the reminders that someone is missing. You can get used to it, but the person's absence is still painful.
I've been going to counselling for the last 6 months, and have spent quite a lot of time talking about a bereavement. There's no instant answer to feeling sad, but being able to talk about the sadness, and cry about it, with someone who doesn't expect me to be brave or to have got over it, is really helpful.
I hope you can find some help and relief from the pain of your grief.
Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 6:26 am
Thanks Pam. Its reassuring that I am not the only one.
I am seeing my SD next week, so will discuss it with him. I have also spoken to my Vicar, who is aware of the whole messy situation that arose when I was unable to go to the funeral, due to her daughters attitude towards me.
I have also engaged with an Ex-Service charity who provide online support for people like me. And they have some helpful insights.
I just think of the Widow, that we met while doing the training that I spoke off who said that "Grief never goes away, you just get used to it" and it can catch you unawares, something small happens, a memory perhaps and you are back to square one. I think that this is the scenario, and perhaps because I wasn't at the funeral, I didn't have that consolation and sort of closure that it would bring.
Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 12:13 pm
It's a good idea to call on support from others as you're doing.
Family splits and arguments around the time of a funeral are, unfortunately, not uncommon. I've taken funerals where there have been family arguments, with the result that relatives have been told not to attend, or even not informed of the death to keep them away. This is very sad for all concerned, because you can't go back and have another funeral. However, there may be other possibilities to explore with your Spiritual Director or vicar to help you get over missing the funeral.
Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:22 pm
Coping strategies are fine, and most of the time I am OK and communicating normally. But just at odd times, I find myself remembering and it just hits a bit and i have to shut down and be quiet for a while.
It is a little easier each day, and I am talking about it, so that's helpful.
Progress is fits and starts and I don't anticipate that it will be quick, but i pray that it will be easier soon
Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:22 pm
It struck me that we talk about 'going through' certain experiences, and grief is one of them. So what you're experiencing is probably necessary, so you can absorb the loss, but it may not be quick.
It can hit at odd times - I remember a few years after my father's death, I was driving somewhere, and the thought popped into my head "Oh, my dad's dead!" and it seemed as sharp as when it first happened.
Posted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 4:58 am
Sometimes we have memorial services, quite separate from the funeral (and sometimes there is no funeral), and oftentimes months later. I am doing another of these on Sunday for the family of a woman who died in July.
There seems to be an innate need to find closure.
If there are others of that mind who also may or may not have attended the funeral, perhaps a memorial could be arranged. There folks have time to gather their thoughts and speak with one another in a public sort of way, with eulogies and such, with prayers. That can be private with invited guests. We use a modified and simplified funeral order of service.
Peace and blessings,
Posted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 6:56 am
Thanks Pam and Joe.
A memorial service isn't an option given the family difficulties. Although I was able to light candles at our All Souls Service last year. It appears to be the anniversaries that have been the issue this year. First of her death and 4 days later, 31st of January, would have been her birthday.
I am coping, just, and only those close to me know how I am feeling at the moment, which includes our Vicar and my Spiritual Director and Spouse.
Jen my spouse is a tonic because she is able to see through the facade of my appearing to be bright and breezy and she can help in practical ways by talking about the situation with any platitudes and lots of love.
I just need to be patient and pray and reflect on the good times that we had together before the issues arose that cut off communication.
Posted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 10:47 am
Grieving myself at the moment and having to stay strong for the children (all adults but still our children) ...each of us needs to grieve in our own way and it can take a great deal longer than we perceived prior to having the experience of losing a close family member or even good friend.
I have had excellent support from two very good friends here at i-church and in turn have been able to support all four children as individuals ..each needing to talk and come to terms with things in totally different ways. I think the most important thing is to give ourselves as much time as it needs we are all different and respect and understanding that some are more sensitive at times like this helps a great deal.
My prayers are with you Ernest it is still early days. Bless Jen for her understanding and keep on sharing with those who are there for you.
Posted: Sat Feb 10, 2018 6:38 am
Thank you Emle your are kind, particularly as you're dealing with your own grief.
I'm off today for training in Chaplaincy, so will have plenty to take my mind of things. Meeting people that I have trained with for the past four years is really good news as we have share our own faith journeys into ministry over that time, and were all licensed together last year.
I'm sure that things will improve, Psalm 51 is my daily consolation and reading it is always a tonic.
This experience has been traumatic, but also a blessing as it has helped me to better understand how grief works, through that experience, I believe we increase our own empathy for others in similar situations.
And I have a major funeral in Church on Monday, where a local member of the Traveler Community will be committed to God's loving care. Dealing with funeral families is a privilege and we expect a full church, as normal on these occasions. We once had around 1700 traveler households living in our area in Caravans. The vans have disappeared, but the people remain in closely knit communities around the area, now living in permanent homes. They maintain their traditions and often go off travelling for a period, before returning to base.