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Young adult orphan

  • 22-08-2011 11:51pm
    Closed Accounts Posts: 6

    Hi guys,

    I was wondering if anyone could help me or give some advice.
    I've been going out with my girlfriend now for just over 2 years. She's an amazing girl, beautiful, kind, generous and smart. When I first met her, she was 19 and in a very difficult time in her life. Her father had just died 7 months earlier and she was facing into life without parents, as her mother had also died from alcoholism when she was 13. Her younger brother went to live with her maternal grandparents, who can be very difficult (her paternal grandparents had also passed away when she was younger) while she decided to live alone in the family house.

    She surprised herself by opening up to me a lot in the beginning. She told me about the crushing feeling of losing her Dad, about her abusive mother, about debts and mortgages and legal proceedings. She spoke with affection about her step mother and then about how she felt cheated out of a new happy family when her Dad passed away. She told me about how guilty she felt, not spending more time with him. Not telling him she loved him, the night he died. About him dying alone in the ambulance. That he'd never see her wedding day or her children. It made her feel like she'd done something to deserve all of this.

    For me, I find all of this difficult to grapple with sometimes. I still have both of my loving parents and have never wanted for anything. I have only felt the loss of one grandparent in my life. The gravity of the situation often makes me feel sheltered and a bit naive. I do my best to listen and reassure whenever she feels the need to talk or cry. I try to remind her of the good in her life and the dream of owning her own cafe. Sometimes she has no motivation at all. Sometimes I just don't know what to say, so I listen instead. But when she asks me "Will the pain ever go away?" or "Do you think he's still there watching over me?" I just don't know what to say. I don't know if it ever stops hurting. I don't believe in the supernatural, so I'm not convinced there's an afterlife either, but I can't say it to her.

    Her friends listen sometimes, but seem reluctant to get too involved or touch the root of the grief. One or two have a taken an "OMG get over it" attitude. This selfishness infuriates me.

    I was wondering if anyone could offer me some advice on how to approach these situations. Something I'm missing. Things I ought to do to try and make things more bearable for her. Maybe even things I should and shouldn't say.
    At this stage I think she needs to get help or make friends with someone who has gone through a similar situation as her and understands the pain and grief better than I am able to.
    Does anyone know of a self help group in Kilkenny or somewhere in the South East? (She's gone to a counsellor a few times, but it's too irregular to be of much help) Even someone who has been through the pain of parent loss at a young age and come out the other side and can share some advice and encouragement would be a huge help.

    Thanks for taking the time to read this guys.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 17,485 ✭✭✭✭Ickle Magoo

    Hi there,

    I think you need to try to get her into some kind of counselling &/or support group. I think this is too big for you to tackle on your own - and no disrespect meant, she needs to come to terms with her parents loss herself and not come to rely on you.

    There is info on support available in Kilkenny/the SE at the following:

    Kilkenny Bereavement
    Irish Hospice Foundation

    Any local palliative care facility and GP should also have the details of any local bereavement services.

    I wish you - and your girlfried - all the very best.

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 44,501 ✭✭✭✭Deki

    I think perhaps when she asks, is he still watching over me the question is not really for you, it is really sorting things out in her own mind. Asking her what she thinks might unlock a flood gate, she may well feel the presence of her father near her, I often have dreams of my own father. I love having them, I had a very difficult relationship with my mother too, and when she passed I felt a little guilty because I wasn't so sure I cared as much, in a few ways it made my life easier. I had a hard time dealing with her death. I had to realize the truth of my own feelings before I could get on with my life. I think of my parents every day. I do believe my Father watches over me. If your girlfriend tells you she feels him near please don't chide her or say how silly - those are your feelings, please don't belittle hers if she confides hers are different.Grief does fade but those we have loved and lost are always a little part of us.
    People feel what they feel- others should never intimate that there is something wrong with another for feeling the way they do. Feelings may change but they should never be dismissed as wrong.