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I never forget


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Tomorrow it will be 7 years sense the day I took Johnny for a doctors appointment and he asked to be put in the hospital for help with his anxiety attacks. He would never return home.

I have a lot of regrets and mostly it is because I misunderstood just how devistating those attacks were. I also let my own fear and lack of rest make me say things that gave him the idea that I needed a break. I know that is the main reason that he chose the hospital.

They were also telling me that I had to take time off and someone else stay with him part time. He just couldn't stand that thought. He felt that if I saw that he was serious about getting help I wouldn't want the time off. Unfortunately his case manager had been at our home and saw how the attacks came about and what I had to do to get him through. She told me that she could never have done that then she reported that I was suffering from burn out. I had no choice but to take that time off and Johnny found out about it just before his appointment. He wanted me to have rest but he didn't want them to seperate us for anytime the way they were planning. He had no idea that I would have just quit my job first. I took care of him because of my love for him. It was his idea that I be paid to be his legal caregiver. Not knowing what I would do he chose the hospital and because of that he died 13 days later.

Some times I still feel so guilty because of that. If I had it to do over again I would get down on my knees and beg him to not go. I would tell him that I wouldn't leave him even for one minute if he didn't want me to, but I can't go back and these dates always haunt me.

It is so hard because I know my trip is coming up just a few days after the aniversary of his death. I need to prepare for that but my mind doesn't go there. Then there was the almost relationship with Terry. I still care for him a lot but I know it will never come to anything but a closeness that we have. Sometimes I think how good it would be to have more then I remember the pain and wonder why I would ever want to chance that again.

So I play games and work on my sewing and remember. The tears are always close and today I had a long talk with the Service Co Ordinater who works here. Her and I have gotten to be good friends, it helped to talk to her but still when it comes to these days I always feel as if I am alone no matter who is with me or around me. Keeping busy only works for a while and then too I end up making myself so sore I can't do more than set and think.

I want to be here for anyone who I may be able to help. I want to know and say the right words but right now I feel so selfish. I am not sure how much good I can be to anyone until these next two weeks pass. Just know that I do understand your pain and my thoughts are always with those of you who are suffering the loss of a loved one. I share your pain.

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It's that terrible time of the year for me, too. I understand most of what you are going through, although our circumstances are somewhat different. I thought that losing Dennis would get easier as time rolled on. There are times that I've been able to adjust well to the "new normal" but, on certain dates and times of the year I just can't deal with losing him....although it's been 7 years now.

I'm so thankful that we have the love and support from friends here that know what we are going through and understand.

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Lilly, I thought maybe something that was said here from Dr. Phil might be of help for you regarding dealing with your grief. I have found much of what this man has said to be helpful to me in during my grieving times.

And it has helped me to move on to new chapters in my life.

May tomorrow pass softly for you.



Experiencing Grief after Loss

“Although the experience of grief in some form or another is universal, our reactions within the overall process vary widely. Newer research and my own experience tell me that, really, there are not stages of grief but an array of feelings that arise,” says Dr. Phil in his new book Real Life: Preparing for the 7 Most Challenging Days of Your Life. These emotions don't pop up in a specific order, and it’s rare that one set ends completely before another begins. More likely, you’ll experience a number of emotions — perhaps one at a time, perhaps three at a time.

Consider the following when you experience a loss in your life:

Give Your Emotions Free Rein

“Initially, you may feel as though you’re living in a fog, simply going through the motions of day-to-day life as if on autopilot,” Dr. Phil says. You may cry so much that your eyes feel parched. It's OK to spend days where you do nothing but cry. Or, you may be surprised to find that you’re not crying at all. Neither reaction is right or wrong; it just is. If the latter is the case, you may feel a surge of guilt wondering why you can’t even eke out a tear for someone you cared so much about. The spectrum of emotions that you may experience is huge. It can range from shock and numbness, to fear and panic, to anger and resentment.

Sometimes this can be magnified if you have unfinished emotional business with the person who died. You didn’t get to say what you wanted to say, or you didn’t hear the “I’m sorry” or “I love you” that you desperately needed to hear. Or maybe your goodbye did happen, but not the way you planned.

It’s hard to accept that a future without your loved one is your new reality; the mere thought of it can make you feel amazingly empty and alone. The yearning for their presence may feel as if it is going to consume you. As a result, you may refuse to get out of bed, want to go off alone somewhere, or push others away. "You may think being alone will ease the pain, but it rarely does."

You May Struggle with Your Faith

You might feel a sense of spiritual emptiness, or feel that you were betrayed by your faith, or experience feelings of bitterness, anger and disappointment in your religion. After all, if the God you believe in is so good, how could he take away something you loved so intensely? How could he allow a senseless or violent death to occur? This is painful and confusing and something many, many people experience — especially when innocent children are the victims.

Expect Guilt to Arise

Guilt may also factor in during the weeks and months after a loss — guilt over being unable to save your loved one or about just living your life. At some point you will likely catch yourself laughing or relaxing. It’s natural to actually start to feel better at some point after grieving a loss. It’s also natural to feel guilty about it. You may think, “How can I stand enjoying myself when my son is dead?” If you realize that a day has gone by when you didn’t think about your loved one (which may or may not happen in time), you may feel guilty that you’re “forgetting” him or her. If it takes a short amount of time to recover from a loss it doesn’t mean you only loved a little. The depth, breadth, and longevity of your grief are not a reflection of how much you cared about the person.


Related Links

"What Do We Do Now?"

Dealing with Anger and Guilt After a Suicide

Take Responsibility for Your Life

Forgiving Yourself After the Loss of a Loved One

How to Give And Receive Support

Getting Through the Grieving Process

Moving Past a Moment of Crisis


Forgiving Yourself After the Loss of a Loved One

If you are suffering from feelings of guilt after the loss of a loved one, even though the death was not your fault, Dr. Phil has advice on how to forgive yourself so that you can move on.

•Know that it isn't uncommon to play the "What if?" game: "What if I could have stopped it?" "What if I had only known the accident would happen?" "What if I could trade places and it could have been me who died?" etc.

•You may also find yourself feeling guilty if you catch yourself smiling, having a good time or simply enjoying life after your loss.

•Although there is no set timetable for grieving, if a substantial period of time has passed and you are still not allowing yourself to move on past the grieving process, allowing yourself to be crippled with guilt for something that was not your fault, ask yourself why.

•Understand that in any situation, even one like this, people don't engage in a behavior that they don't get a payoff for. Is the fact that you can't move forward a payoff in itself? If you feel the only connection that you have with the deceased is your grieving, could that be a payoff? Is the guilt a payoff? Are you punishing yourself because you feel you deserve to be punished for being a bad mother/sibling/friend/spouse because you let your loved one die?

•If you won't move on past the grieving process because the grief is your current connection to the deceased, ask yourself how terrible it is that your precious loved one is being remembered as a legacy of pain that you choose to carry around. You're focusing on the moment he/she died instead of on the moments he/she lived and the joy that he/she brought to your life. Isn't that a terrible burden to place on your loved one?

•If you want to forgive yourself, understand that guilt is all about intention. Is there a bone in your body that wished or intended for something bad to happen to your loved one? If not, why are you feeling guilty?

•There comes a time when you have to say, 'Enough is enough. If I give up the pain, I'm not going to lose him/her.' How long you grieve or how deeply you hurt does not reflect how much you loved. The fact that it's been two, five or 10 years and you are allowing yourself to live life doesn't mean that you love him/her any less. It doesn't mean you've forgotten your loved one.

•When you are ready to let go of your guilt and grief, it may help to speak out loud to your loved one, expressing your continued love for him/her while affirming your decision to let go of the grieving process: "I love you, but I have to let you go. I will love you until the day I die, but I'm going to let you go."

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Thank you Connie. Those words are so true that Doctor Phil wrote. Most of the time I know that and I do pretty well. It is just this time of year. The dates always haunt me and those old guilt feelings return.

I think my biggest fear is of being hurt again. As long as my life contains nothing personal, no personal relationship I tell myself I am fine. I handle being alone very well. I keep busy, I volunteer and for the most part live a good life.

None of those things can hold me or love me. Bless all of you for being there all of the time but even you can't give me the warm fuzzy and secure feeling that a man's arms can. I want that again but I don't want to give up my freedom and I don't want to be hurt. Besides that almost every man I see seems so old except for one or two and they are either taken or other circumstances stand in the way. Truth is I am not sure how much I could ever give of myself again anyway.

Once these days are past I know that I will move on and be my same bubbly self again, at least on the surface most of the time. Inside I will get by but there will always be that hole in my life that nothing nor no one can fill.

An I know these are your bad days as well. My thoughts are with you too.

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