Author Topic: Still grieving after 54 years.  (Read 373 times)

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Offline Poppykins56

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Still grieving after 54 years.
« on: April 28, 2018, 02:28:08 PM »
hi everyone,
I have just discovered this forum. I lost my mum when I was seven and have never stopped grieving. I have come to the conclusion that I never will and it has just become part of my life and who I am. I have never actually talked in depth with anyone who has lost their mother as a child but am now, at last, looking to see what is out there to support people like me.  There is now an organisation called 'Grief Encounter' which is doing fantastic work with children who have lost a parent but there doesn't appear to be anything for adults who have lost a parent as a child. There are Facebook groups but as I am not on there any more so I cannot access these. I am hoping that through this forum I will find a group in my local area that consists of people in my position. I am sure that this would be helpful.

Back to my story - after losing my mum at that young age I then went through an awful time as my father remarried. My stepmother was the complete opposite of my mother and what followed was years of psychological abuse, sexual abuse and neglect. I have made a successful life for myself but still bear the scars. I see myself as the phoenix rising from the ashes. I am a survivor but I have realised that grief will always be part of my journey. I look forward to reading your comments.
 :azn:

Offline Emz2014

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Re: Still grieving after 54 years.
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2018, 09:04:39 PM »
Welcome to the forum  :hug:
I agree, I don't think we stop grieving, the person we lost will always be a part of us and anniversaries, other occasions and things which trigger memories will always bring it back into very sharp focus.  I remember all of the loved ones I have lost.  We build our lives up around the loss over time, we never leave our loved ones behind xx
Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise. 
Hold on in there xx

Offline Karena

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Re: Still grieving after 54 years.
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2018, 10:55:28 AM »
 :hug: Hi i also agree we dont stop grieving.Being so young and the way it was handled and consequences of that is going to have made something traumatic even worse. You have done very well to become a phoenix in the way you describe -but even a phoenix is going to have scars and brocken feathers.
 We dont have professional advisors here, we are a group of people also grieving,so even if no-one has the specific experience you mention, we do have, between us a wealth of life and grief experience and a warm welcome.
Sometimes it is enough just to write down whats on your mind as it occurs.In writing your thoughts you have to create sentances and this means it has to make sense. Often i think when our thoughts become very jumbled it helps to do that and even though we are grieving for different losses -of different people there are a lot of similarities which we recognise.
 For real world help in your local area perhaps your GP may have some information, some GP practices do have counselling services or know of specific groups. Another source could be CRUSE who are a national organisation offering localised services too.

After losing my husband i met an african lady and she spoke of the child within us all,how we ignore them, and push them aside as we try to cope wholly within an adult world by adult responses. Given that your childhood after losing your mum was so badly hammered you have probably had to do that more than most of us.
  I think she was saying that in doing that, we can become hollow on the inside, we survive we build a well bamced exterior but to heal, we need to pay attention too the inner child, nourish them, be kind too them, play with them,give them birthday presents, - and she had literally created a dolls house -which by decorating and furnishing she found was her way of playing  - so if you cant find any help, specific for your situation, perhaps what is out there for children is something that could also help you as an adult to help the inner child.A dolls house isnt for everyone its that kind of thing though  dont be afraid to play, and perhaps re connect with that child.

Offline Poppykins56

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Re: Still grieving after 54 years.
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2018, 02:21:39 PM »
Thank yous so much for your replies and the lovely welcome!

karena - I think the suggestion you made about connecting with my inner child is a good suggestion. I will think of things I can do to address that. One of the things I decided to do a couple of years agwo was to learn the piano. We always had a piano in our house when I was a child and I remember my mother playing it. It is something I'd always wanted to do.I haven't done it for the last few weeks as I struggle with a health condition but you have inspired me!

I am in counselling but I feel like I'll be in it for the rest of my life as so much as not been addressed. I am sure it will help that I am connecting with people like you all who understand.

I have just bought some books by Hope Edelman. Have either of you read them? I read 'Motherless Daughters' and it resonated with me so much. I'd recommend it.

Take care and thanks again.  :rainbow:

Offline Emz2014

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Re: Still grieving after 54 years.
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2018, 04:47:03 PM »
I agree karena, especially after loss we have to work to regain our element of play again. Just because we are adults doesn't mean we can't play - play has many different forms. We need to recapture exploring, being curious and doing things because they are fun

I have a very creative nature and I love to make things. With the art interest I also explored adult colouring books which they have found are a form of meditation.   The repetitive motions and concentrating on the movement and the colours helps to settle our minds.  I find it especially good if I'm feeling anxious or stressed. And there's so many topics available now.

I have a bad habit of collecting hobbies, another one I mean to try is 'zentangle', which has more of a drawing element. With so much out there, explore until one resonates with you  :hearts: xx
Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise. 
Hold on in there xx

Offline The Laird Of Glencairn, Scotland

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Re: Still grieving after 54 years.
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2018, 10:31:43 PM »
When I mentioned counselling to my GP he basically said "Now we don't want to go along that road do we?" "your a big lad so best thing to do is to man up and try and get on with your life"  I just thought waste of time going to see him and I have found chatting on the forum etc is helping me big time its helping me to cope daily being able to talk about something other than death helps and I find personally that keeping busy is the best way forward for me. I am quite isolated here so its a case of me and Rory and the little fella keeps me sane (ish)
My Dad died when i was 7 and I still miss him 50 yrs later.

Offline Emz2014

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Re: Still grieving after 54 years.
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2018, 10:52:55 PM »
What an archaic point of view from the GP,  everyone has mental health just as we have physical health. It's no wonder men sometimes struggle to reach out for help when they need it most with that old viewpoint.  So much awareness raising being done, and things are starting to change but also so far still to go.  It is a sign of strength to reach out for help, not weakness

Thankfully technology has enabled sites like this - talking really does help so much and sometimes just knowing we're not alone in feeling something can help alot. When I was awake each night around 1-2am until 4am it didnt feel quite as isolating to know it wasnt just me, and knowing people further along the journey gave me hope xx
Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise. 
Hold on in there xx

Offline Karena

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Re: Still grieving after 54 years.
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2018, 01:00:17 PM »
I agree that is a shocking attitude. My GP pretty much had to talk me into going for counselling i really didnt see the point - i,m glad she did and i do now,but i agree being here is really helpful because it covers so many aspects, not just of our loss but helpimg us be less isolated.

Poppy well done with the piano,i hope you can get back too it soon little and often might be the key.I had an accident which stopped me playing saxaphone,my hands dont like me playing guitar or piano anymore either -but last year i heard some-one playing penny whistle in the village -and thought i could probably manage that so i bought myself one and am trying to learn that instead.

Colouring books i havnt really taken too, i think because in a lot of ways it resembles my job,but also i was never any good with embroidery kits when i did that either - I think fundamentally i,m a bit of a maverick who sees the rules and borders and then sets out to disobey them. But it doesnt really fit into the mindfulness slot when your mind is constantly going off at a deviant angle.

I think maybe my mindfulness or creativity and inner child activity lies in the garden -and my mum and my gran both did a lot of that so i spent a lot of time as a child in gardens,but as a young adult completely rejected gardening as a hobby.Yet here i am now growing my own food like they did,- But I,ve still stepped outside the rules, nothing is in sensible straight rows. At least one pond is compulsory in any garden  -i,m not averse to paddling in them (in the name of clearing up) sitting with my feet dangling in them (for no good reason at all but somehow my designs always encompass a space to do that)  and still get excited when the frogspawn arrives, rescue it in buckets in the shed if its going to freeze and find the tadpoles fascinating to watch.Still feed waifs and strays of wildlife and pick up flea ridden hedgehogs to rescue them.(no word o a lie i once rescued a mouse from a cat in the house and kept it hidden from cat and adults in a pile of torn up loo roll in my handbag until i could sneak out and release it in a field)
 
I,m always looking for creative and free ways of grey-water and rainwater harvesting, and composting to develop efficiencys in the africa school gardens project i,m involved in, but principally I,m still playing with water and muck, and the swingball - popular with the grandkids,might occasionally get used when there are no grandkids present (its excercise  :whistle:) My window boxes are not filled with glamourous blooms, but miniature gardens -just like i made as a child,- and now might be the time to mention the dinasaur park, and the currently under consruction, fairy garden - which will i suspect, feature shiny things hanging from trees and solar fairy lights.
Kite flying, Kayaking,camping in a tent in the garden.

I sometimes wonder what the neighbours might think - Should a "middle aged"  granny really be doing this stuff on her own -probably not,  but joining the WI isnt for me,and the in bloom comittee rules about window boxes are made to be blatantly disobeyed -  i,m not just being childish and doing childish things  i,m breaking a lot of the rules of what was a strict upbringing so i guess my inner child isnt totally the same as the real child was either.

Offline Poppykins56

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Re: Still grieving after 54 years.
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2018, 08:49:16 PM »
Thaty gp's attitude is unbelievable!! I agree with everything Emz2014 says. Laird of galloway (I love the name!) your are fine as you are and don't need to 'man up'!! You are human and I would suggest that that gp needs a bit of counselling as he is obviously stuck in the mindset of strict gender roles.

Karena - you sound like a really interesting wacky (in the nicest possible way) person. I also don't like to 'toe the line'. Most people in society like to put us 'in a box'. I refuse to be put in one!! I think its great that a 'granny' (as am I) 'plays' so much. I smiled when I read about you dangling your legs in the pond!  :azn:

Emz2014 - I too have a bad habit of collecting hobbies. Due to my health condition I rarely have the energy to do any of them!!


Offline Karena

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Re: Still grieving after 54 years.
« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2018, 12:08:48 PM »
 :hug: Have you thought about Art - a form of expression,but also something you can do for short periods and the come back too so doesnt requite a lot of energy.
 You dont have to be good at it, (i,m not, without a computer and graphic design is my job ) but I still carry a notebook and pencil just to capture a moment or a scene for myself.I guess what i express by using a garden as my canvas, others can use a real canvas - or just a pencil and notebook to do the same.

The supermarket was selling tiny Acers cheap on saturday,I now have a miniature Budhist garden (in an old sink) using them, a buddah ornament, a mirror (water) and some pebbles.You dont need to have a garden to create a garden a container will do.

Offline Poppykins56

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Re: Still grieving after 54 years.
« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2018, 01:16:35 PM »
Hi Karena,

Yes, I tried a bit of art a few years ago and intend to get back into it. Your Buddhist garden sounds beautiful. What a great idea. I do have a lovely garden (my partner takes care of it).  I wish I'd done something like that when I lived in a flat that didn't have a garden. It's a great idea! I am into Buddhism and am currently reading some books I ordered. I practice meditation and mindfulness which I feel really helps me.
 :azn: :rainbow:

Offline Karena

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Re: Still grieving after 54 years.
« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2018, 12:42:28 PM »
I think there is a lot of wisdom that we can draw from in Budhism.
Maybe with your partners help you could create a little corner of the garden as a sanctuary for you.
 My mum died from cancer but before she did she stayed with us,and as she loved to watch the birds we put feeders where she could watch from the window. After she died i made a little sancturary in the garden, used the bird feeders,added a water feature, a bench seat and her favourite plants - i would go out there (weather permitting) take my early morning coffee and just breathe, for a while before the manic work day began. Thats a long time ago and I have moved since then but i think that original tiny sanctuary and the idea in Budism and permaculture, of circular design has probably shaped how i have designed the garden where i am now.

Offline Poppykins56

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Re: Still grieving after 54 years.
« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2018, 03:36:16 PM »
That sounds like a lovely way to keep the memory of your mother.

I remember my mother loved tullips and I always think of her when I see them and put them on her grave when they are out.

I have been upset lately because when I left 'home' (I put that in inverted commas because it wasn't a home to me) in my teens I left behind things that my mother had given me. I never bothered with those toys after my mother died. There were no teddys or cuddly toys on my bed. Looking back I think I left them behind because I had had my childhood ripped from me. This wasn't only to do with losing my mother but because of what I went through afterwards. I was sexually and psychologically abused and neglected. I suppose I was saying to people who had taken my childhood - 'You have taken away my childhood you may as well have it all'.

I've realised that I've been grieving for my lost childhood and teenage years as well as grieving for my mother's loss.


Offline Karena

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Re: Still grieving after 54 years.
« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2018, 12:07:21 PM »
 :hug:Because your mum died, if she hadnt things would have been very different, and even though it makes no sense i wonder if your were also angry at her for dying - i know that sounds awful and of course she never meant it to happen, but grief isnt logical and anger is part of grief, often including anger at the person who died, and you were never helped in any way to resolve the grief back then so it remains so maybe not only grieveing a lost childhood and deadful teenage years, maybe without intending it,and without knowing it, you were including her in that anger you felt back then,and now as an adult, again without really recognising it feeling as part of your grief, guilt at doing so.

My childhood was also quite complex - i wasnt abused or hated, but i did have to grow up fast, and i resented my mum for a lot of things -even though it wasnt her fault in any way but i wasnt able to understand that as a sixteen year old  who like you did was slamming the door and moving out.
As an adult  i was much more able to understand and see that she only ever acted of necessity or out of trying to protect me and yes some of it was misguided, (who doesnt make mistakes i know i did with my own kids , but my mum was still alive then,we had never actually lost contact so i was still able to talk too her and be at peace with that, and its so much more difficult for you.

Your mum wasnt able to protect you and it wasnt her fault at all,and you cant  tell her that face to face, but i wonder if there is some-way you can make peace with her even now,just by making her part of your life again even in her absence. Make her the start of the journey to overcoming the grief for your lost childhood.You could write too her even though she will never read it, the act of writing might help you and as you write perhaps you will start to remember more about the times before she died, write about them too so there is always a record of happier times to read back through in your bleakest moments.
We have diifferent ways of doing things, but whatever the the equivalent of the garden space is, a way that you can connect,you have a grave but thats perhaps too public so is there somewhere else a space you can access whenever you want, space to grieve and also a space to remember her not only as some-one who died but as someone who lived,and if its a space in the garden plant the tulips, make it a beautiful space,and a space to play in,a sandpit as a child is one thing, a sand mandala is still playing with sand.I,m going to paint plant pots to make fairy houses -how childish is that  but not if you call i craft - Stick a shelter of some kind up  a gazebo a little hut and it becomes a den ( and makes it accessible even when its raining) - if not maybe even something as small as a writing desk - not a shrine but a place devoted too doing this - you get the gist, of what i,m saying but it needs to be somewhere important and accessable to you.
 

Offline Poppykins56

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Re: Still grieving after 54 years.
« Reply #14 on: May 17, 2018, 05:06:46 PM »
Thank you so much for your lovely message and the great ideas you have given me.

You are right about the anger. I have only felt anger towards my mum once and that was when I was struggling bringing up my two children. I had a good husband but I needed a bit more support from someone. Everyone else seemed to be getting that support and I felt anger towards her for leaving me which I know is a natural part of grieving.

I will definitely think about your suggestions and I will get back to writing. The letter writing sounds good.

 :rainbow: