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How to deal with grief?

  • 14-03-2020 9:55pm
    Registered Users Posts: 603 ✭✭✭

    My mother had a short Illness and died very recently. She was a great mum, always doing things for us.

    I’m finding it hard to cope. The funeral was today. It’s all been a massive shock. I miss her so much.

    Any coping techniques or advice?


  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 5,332 Mod ✭✭✭✭HildaOgdenx

    I'm so sorry for your loss. It's very very early days yet.

    For now, my advice is to focus on the basics, eating properly, and getting some gentle exercise. If you have siblings, support one another. Don't try to be all things to all people. It's okay to feel sad and to cry. Reach out to friends, if that helps.

    It's a different experience for everyone. It can be steps forward and back as you go along. Some find it helpful to talk a lot about the person who has gone, others find that hard. Some people find it helpful, in time, to talk to a bereavement counsellor.

    You are in shock, and that is very natural, as you mentioned it was a brief illness.
    There's some good advice in the attached link which I hope will help.

    Take care.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,356 ✭✭✭Lucuma

    Hi unichick,
    For me the first 2 years were just very hard and then in year 3 I turned a corner with the grief. For you that could be a different much faster or slower timeline. We are all different and we all have different circumstances.
    Remember big grief is a result of big love. You were lucky to have that kind of love in your life and it will always be stamped on you, forming part of your self esteem and self worth and the influence of your mother will have a bearing on who you are and how you live your life. So she will never be really gone.
    I'm in year 5 of grief now and I'm grand with it. I can talk about and think about my Dad now without feeling sad. it's like he's just up in the other room of the house, his opinion and the things he said to me are a moment's recall away for me at any time.
    And I try as much as I can to emulate the good side of him and keep his old phrases and jokes alive. I'm not a big one for visiting the grave now, but in the early days I used to go up there when no-one else was around and cry and talk to him and tell him the news. That helped me a lot. I wish you strength on your grief journey and remember there is no way around grief only through it. You have to let every feeling good and bad come in the door. x

  • Registered Users Posts: 338 ✭✭orionm_73

    My Dad died 4 years ago. Your grief will be unique to you. Right now I would imagine you’re totally overwhelmed. So if you are, just take it day by day, hour by hour. Be kind to yourself. A friend sent me what was a reply to someone who had just lost their best friend and I’ve copied it below. It helped me to be able describe my grief and feelings and giving me a sort of roadmap of what to expect but without a time frame. I hope it helps you. Mind yourself..
    Alright, here goes. I'm old. What that means is that I've survived (so far) and a lot of people I've known and loved did not. I've lost friends, best friends, acquaintances, co-workers, grandparents, mom, relatives, teachers, mentors, students, neighbors, and a host of other folks. I have no children, and I can't imagine the pain it must be to lose a child. But here's my two cents.
    I wish I could say you get used to people dying. I never did. I don't want to. It tears a hole through me whenever somebody I love dies, no matter the circumstances. But I don't want it to "not matter". I don't want it to be something that just passes. My scars are a testament to the love and the relationship that I had for and with that person. And if the scar is deep, so was the love. So be it. Scars are a testament to life. Scars are a testament that I can love deeply and live deeply and be cut, or even gouged, and that I can heal and continue to live and continue to love. And the scar tissue is stronger than the original flesh ever was. Scars are a testament to life. Scars are only ugly to people who can't see.

    As for grief, you'll find it comes in waves. When the ship is first wrecked, you're drowning, with wreckage all around you. Everything floating around you reminds you of the beauty and the magnificence of the ship that was, and is no more. And all you can do is float. You find some piece of the wreckage and you hang on for a while. Maybe it's some physical thing. Maybe it's a happy memory or a photograph. Maybe it's a person who is also floating. For a while, all you can do is float. Stay alive.

    In the beginning, the waves are 100 feet tall and crash over you without mercy. They come 10 seconds apart and don't even give you time to catch your breath. All you can do is hang on and float. After a while, maybe weeks, maybe months, you'll find the waves are still 100 feet tall, but they come further apart. When they come, they still crash all over you and wipe you out. But in between, you can breathe, you can function. You never know what's going to trigger the grief. It might be a song, a picture, a street intersection, the smell of a cup of coffee. It can be just about anything...and the wave comes crashing. But in between waves, there is life.

    Somewhere down the line, and it's different for everybody, you find that the waves are only 80 feet tall. Or 50 feet tall. And while they still come, they come further apart. You can see them coming. An anniversary, a birthday, or Christmas, or landing at O'Hare. You can see it coming, for the most part, and prepare yourself. And when it washes over you, you know that somehow you will, again, come out the other side. Soaking wet, sputtering, still hanging on to some tiny piece of the wreckage, but you'll come out.

    Take it from an old guy. The waves never stop coming, and somehow you don't really want them to. But you learn that you'll survive them. And other waves will come. And you'll survive them too. If you're lucky, you'll have lots of scars from lots of loves. And lots of shipwrecks.”

  • Registered Users Posts: 74 ✭✭Bambinoonboard

    Hi unichick,

    I'm so sorry to hear of the loss of your dear Mam. I lost mine too and recognise the emptiness, sadness and utter pain that I'm sure you still feel.

    Your grief is unique and individual to you. Know that that it will get easier in time and continue to take it day by day.

    Coping wise - my suggestions are:

    1. Talk. Talk and talk... Say what you're feeling. Don't feel guilty/ nor feel the need to suppress your emotions. Have you close friends / siblings you can share your grief with? Everyone's different but in my experience, I have found chats with my friends (mostly zoom/video calls) more effective for me than I did my counselling sessions re grief. I found talking to them easier when I didn't want to burden my father on a good day. It's difficult as I'm trying to be strong for him too.
    2. A friend of mine made a scrap book with her Mum's photograph, stories and 'one liners' / sayings. I admire her energy to do it. I would find it so overwhelming although I would love to do something for Mam. I find it hard to even print photographs and frame them. It overwhelms me. I have a small few but any time I go to organise more I get upset and simply cannot do it. I tried delegating to a friend but had no joy. My partner has been unreal regarding a shoulder to cry on and I'm very lucky as have family.
    3. Did your Mam like music? Sing songs personal to her (the car is a great place :) ) or songs you like that can become a little song to her in your own space and time. I have cried more times while driving and singing. It really helped me. Might sound a bit daft but it helped me.
    4. Buy flowers for your own home (if you cant make her grave/ prefer not to visit her grave) on the special days e.g. her birthday / mother's day etc.
    5. Again this may sound silly but - self gift. My mother bought me Milk Tray every year since I was a child (Santa starting bringing them actually ;) ) and last year I bought myself a present to myself from her. It was so upsetting but for me it was almost my way of doing something with her at Xmas or something. I brought lovely flowers and wreath etc. to her grave and in lieu of being able to buy her a Xmas present spent the same amount on charities I know that would have been close to her heart. I plan on doing the same this year for her.

    Also remember that hard times reveal true friends. One thing I have learned is that people certainly surprise you during your hard times. Some show up at your door. Some simply disappear. Some have an expectation/deadline of when your grieving should have end. Some talk to you about it. Some completely ignore it. My in-laws - although I was partly prepared/ expected this at the same time - behaved peculiarly and oddly, but aren't we all made differently I suppose. My partners father has NOT once, asked how I am/nor my family nor made any reference nor comment AT ALL to me since my mother passed. He sympathized on the night and that was that. He'll talk about his own bereaved parents no bother - so it's not a case of not being able to talk re death, it's just a mé féiner thing perhaps. My partners sister, although in her 30s hasnt a notion and has made minimal effort and contact with me since - the ghosting affect. My partner's mother showed warm compassion and support and cried herself many times with me as we talked and talked about Mam. She was amazing, along with my partner. Once 2021 came however that was it. Complete shutdown and the silent treatment. It feels like "well, that was last year ,and now we should all be moving on". My way or the high way. Again, as I said - partly prepared for this reaction. It's hard as I live away and have no family here. Maybe my expectations are too high / brought up a different way. My family although not perfect themselves - are extremely empathic and respectful in this regard towards anyone or as my partner labels it "a bit soft". Amazing how attitudes varies. Anyways, my point is - allow the people there for you be there for you and don't be surprised nor feel guilt towards those you may lose respect for through reactions.

    I hope you gain something from my post.

    Take care of yourself X