But I think I’ve achieved what I set out to when I adopted this. It may come back and I may have to remind myself of this, but … it is done for now, I think. 6 years ago
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This is for my friendship which appears to be ending…I feel guilty about not trying harder but somethings friendships end. I’ve tried hard for 3-4 years now and I get nothing in return. Sometimes you have to let go and move on. I just miss the closeness we had. 6 years ago
But this Thing helped me get through the holiday season, so I’m going to take it off my lists for now. 6 years ago
I’ve been trying to process this for a couple of weeks and finally had something of a breakthrough yesterday.
There are people on my Christmas mailing list who are there because of my mother—her family, her friends. And I haven’t heard from most of them since her funeral a year and a half ago. What’s up with that? I’m disappointed that I wasn’t offered more comfort from them. I realize that they lost her, too, and I might be a reminder of that, but, gee whiz, I lost my mother.
That resentment was followed by a certain amount of guilt. After all, relationships are two ways. If I really wanted contact with these people, I could initiate it myself.
And that’s when I got confused because I realized that I really didn’t want more contact with them. I’d be putting more into the effort than I would be getting out of it.
Here’s my breakthrough. At any given time, there are only about a half dozen people who I’m really capable of drawing comfort from. I am an introvert, after all. And I’m in good shape on that front now. I have those people. I know who they are. They are available in the times and spaces that I need them. I’m comfortable asking them for what I need.
I don’t need comfort, or anything else, from those people on my Christmas list. They serve another purpose; a kind of nostalgic connection. So I am now able to let go of the initial disappointment and resentment—it turned out those weren’t meaningful to me. 6 years ago
- the foil-covered cardboard star that I made when I was 5
- the tarnished brass bell with my name on it from Mrs. Haley, my Sunday School teacher
- several Disney-themed ornaments that I brought back from early-December Disney World trips that I made in the 90s when I was finding my Inner Child
I’m glad to have them, but sad that my parents aren’t here to have them on their own tree. 6 years ago
My first reaction when people complain to me about having to deal with the problems of multiple sets of parents to satisfy during the holiday season is to think “I wish I still had that problem.” Of course, I listen with sympathy or offer advice—whichever seems appropriate. But my first emotion is resentment because they have parents to worry about pleasing and I don’t. 6 years ago
NPR seems to have a mission to make sure I grieve this month. Today, it was All Things Considered, a story called The Ground We Lived On: A Father’s Last Days. This story was told by a daughter about her father’s long slow decline from cancer—many ways of saying good-bye.
Both of my parents died fast. The first symptom my dad had of heart trouble was the heart attack that killed him while asleep in his recliner. My mother’s last illness lasted for about 2 days—when we sent her into surgery it was with the hope that she would survive, but she never recovered consciousness again.
In between, my mother’s friend died after living a couple of years with the knowledge that her cancer was incurable. Watching her daughter deal with that, I learned that there is no good way to lose a parent. I did some reading and “they” say that the grieving process is roughly equivalent. There’s some pre-grieving that happens when a parent dies slowly, but it’s all tough.
It’s probably just as well that my parents went quickly. Our family was never good at expressing feelings or saying goodbye. Yet we know, from hearing stories like this one on the radio, that some families are good at that. So it would have been disappointing all the way around when we froze, or stepped back, and didn’t say the things that should be said under such circumstances. 6 years ago
This morning, on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday, I listened to Alice Furlaud talk about the death of her 18-year old cat. Toward the end, she talked about the comfort that the cat was after the death of her husband, that she and the cat always know where each other were in the house. And she talked about being glad that she outlived her cat, that her cat would never start their elaborate morning ritual only to find that her mistress was unable to participate.
I grew up with cats. Although, it turned out that everyone in my family is allergic to cats except my mother. My brother and I were both healthier when we moved away from home. During the last several years of my dad’s life, my parents didn’t have a cat and my mother started collecting cat things in earnest—jewelery, tote bags, figurines, pictures. If she couldn’t have a cat, she wanted to surround herself with cats.
After my dad died, my mother insisted that she wasn’t going to get a cat, not right away anyway. But a month later, her best friend gave her a cat. Macie was, maybe, 6 months old, mostly white but with gray tips because she was part Siamese. Like a Siamese, Macie talked. She was a godsend. I had been so worried about my mother being alone, but with Macie she had a constant companion, one that even carried on a decent conversation.
Three and a half years later, my mother died. But she had wonderful friends. They got Macie into a temporary foster home before my brother and I had to spend a night in the house with her (allergies, remember?). And a week or so later, they arranged a permanent home for her.
I never bonded with, or even touched, Macie, because it seemed likely that I could spend more hours in my mother’s house without getting too close to a creature that made me sneeze. But I was grateful for her existence because she made my mother happy. 6 years ago
I believe in distraction as an under-appreciated coping mechanism for grief. But I want to make sure that I get around to feeling what I feel, too. It’s been nearly five years since my father died and about a year and a season since my mother died. Time to identify my feelings without judgement or second-guessing.
I feel sadness when things happen that my parents would have enjoyed, and I would have enjoyed their enjoyment. This particularly applies to holidays, but also special events. My mother would have loved the way the Cardinals won the World Series and the pennant on the way there. My dad would be getting a kick out of this more than usually interesting midterm election cycle.
I feel lonely when there are things I want to share with my parents and they aren’t here to share with—my professional successes, my new house and my plans for it, my troubles and triumphs. I miss no longer having my parents’ home as a second place that I naturally referred to as “home.”
I’m afraid that I will die in my mid-sixties or earlier, too. Alternatively, I’m afraid that I’ll live past my mid-sixties and not know how to do it because I don’t have them as examples. I’m afraid that I don’t even know enough about how to be fifty or sixty or retired because I didn’t ask enough questions when they were alive.
I feel guilty that I didn’t grieve more, sooner, louder. I feel guilty that there are some things in my life that are better now that I don’t have parents—ways that I’m able to be my self and be an adult that I couldn’t quite manage when they were alive. 6 years ago
I can mark this done. I’m not saying the process is complete – maybe it never quite will be – but I think I’ve succeeded in reminding myself that sometimes it’s ok to just be sad, without having to work out exactly why and without having to force myself to see it rationally. 7 years ago
the slide into what seems to be becoming my regular evening melancholy. I’m doing my best to stop it – eating fruit and drinking water to keep my blood sugar up and my stress hormones down, promising myself a hassle-free evening of take-out and movies, trying to think of fun things to do at the weekend… but I’m still slipping. I wish I was still meeting him tonight. 7 years ago
Yesterday I woke up feeling sorry for myself, and cheered up as the day went on. This morning I woke up in great form, and this evening I feel miserable. What is going on?
Yeah, ok, I know what it is… I’m grieving, readjusting, it’s a process, whatever. And part of the reason I feel so bad right now is cos I had to work late, got home tired and cold, and haven’t eaten yet. So why can’t my brain tell me Get up, make something to eat, and you’ll feel better? Why does it have to tell me Sit at the computer and cry over old photos and eat chocolate? 7 years ago
One of the most reliable things in my life is gone.
He’s been my lifeline for so long, and now I have nowhere to turn if anything bad happens and I need help.
What if I never find real love again?
What about if/when he finds someone else? It’s gonna hurt so much.
What if we’re not able to even be friends and I lose him from my life completely?
I miss the company, the talking, the cuddles.
My life seems empty without someone to share it with.
I need a lot of emotional and physical affection, and when I don’t get it I feel like I’m shrivelling up and dying.
He’s hurting too, and it’s my fault.
Maybe I didn’t try hard enough.
Maybe I tried too hard.
Maybe I’m getting so screwed up with all my issues that I’m unable to have a normal relationship.
It’s not fair that it can’t work out when we love each other so much.
It’s not fair that all the books and movies tell you “all you need is love” and it’s a big lie. 7 years ago