Author Topic: Thoughts about the process of healing  (Read 102 times)

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Offline Sandra61

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Thoughts about the process of healing
« on: November 10, 2018, 12:54:48 PM »
Hi Everyone,

I haven't looked on here for a few days after having a really bad weekend last weekend. I felt I should try to put some distance between my present and my grieving self, if that makes sense. Was very down last weekend, and am very run down as don't sleep well, so have now come down with some kind of bug - could do without that! Anyway, looks like I missed some interesting posts in the last few days on the Facebook group. Some interesting ideas there to reflect on in regard to how you deal with loss over time.

It seems to take a lot of determination not to succumb to the lows of loss and sometimes I feel that, in the interests of self preservation, I can't dwell on what has happened. After all, I can't change it. I have to focus on the now and just get on with it. As time goes on, it seems to be an on-going challenge to keep moving forward and I do find myself still looking back a lot. I've lost various people in my life so far and each seemed a different kind of loss. The first was a child hood friend who died of bone marrow cancer when we were both 16. At such a young age, I found this loss terribly heart-breaking and a senseless loss, but it gave me an appreciation of the preciousness of the gift of life that I have always felt, as a result, I should not undervalue or treat lightly.

In my late teens, I lost my grandmother at age 85, again from cancer and this loss taught me not to take for granted those close to me. It upset us all that she passed away on her own. We had visited her every day in the hospice, but the staff did not ring to tell us to come back when they saw that she was near the end, and that hurt us all very much. I do feel that with my nan, I should have paid her more attention and learned more about her life when I could. I have lots of happy memories of her, but regret not having valued her more when she was here. I feel I could have done, looking back, but youth perhaps was the problem here. I was too young to know any better, I think.

My dad died suddenly at home in 1985. He had suffered two heart attacks in the preceding months, so perhaps it should not have been unexpected, but it was, to myself and my mum. It was a shock. He was a huge happy figure in our lives and when he went, this was when it was proven to me that there is life after death. He hung around the house until he felt he could do no more to help us. He was a cabinet maker and I was walking down the stairs one day and smelled strongly the polishes and chemicals that he used to use in his work. There was no way I could have smelled them for reasons that made sense. Also, he had padlocked a ladder in the back garden and, despite looking everywhere for the key to undo it so we could bring it in, we could not find it and I mentioned this to my brother in the living room and at that moment heard a clink in the garden outside, where it was chained up. When we went out to look to see what the noise had been, the link in the chain nearest the padlock had snapped and we were able to move the ladder inside. It was my dad solving the problem, I am sure. A few weeks later. mum told me one morning, that she had been in bed and clearly heard dad say to her that he was going now and she believed he had moved on. I dreamed about him twice soon after that, once when I dreamed of him lying on the bed with his arms folded behind his head and his feet crossed, smartly dressed in his favorite boots and jumper, when he told me he was alright and I shouldn't worry about him and once to say he was going back to see the place where he grew up and he hoped that was Ok. These experiences were so real and so inexplicable, that they convinced me that his spirit was real and was living on and I have never since doubted that there is life after death.

After his loss, I felt a weight of responsibility fell onto me to look after my mum, whose health had never been good. Also we had all the problems of looking after the house and car etc on our own, which were things dad always used to sort out, so that was a change for us - and an expensive one at that! I went on looking after mum until last year, when she suffered a major bleed on the brain, which turned out to be the result of bad advice given by our GPs that it was safe for her to take paracetamol regularly for a knee injury, whilst also on warfarin, which it turned out it was not. She died about seven weeks later after having had a horrible time in hospital.

This loss was different for me in many ways to any other, not just because it was my mother I had lost, which I think is different to any other, but because it meant I have now become the older generation and had to deal with IHT and all kinds of worries about what the practical fall-out from that might be, which we had not had to do when dad passed away. These additional worries put so much added stress on my shoulders on top of the desperate grief and upset of losing mum and the pain of the manner of her passing and are not yet sorted out, so the stress continues.

Being now so many years on from my dad's death, I have a notion that the loss of my mum will become something I learn to live with, as I did for my dad, but for the moment the anniversaries of when she fell ill and died are dates I feel coming with foreboding and I relive the events of those days involuntarily. I think, in time, those memories will be something I will accept as events I cannot change, but which still feel bitter, and I still remember my dad's birthday every year and try to take flowers to the cemetary for him around that time and expect I will for my mum also. But time, though it does not actually heal, I feel simply results in a growing acceptance that these things happened and will always hurt on some level, but they become part of you and you just have to get on with life with those events as part of you and part of your history. It doesn't get easier in terms of them hurting less, but the pain dulls and is less sharp. You know they will always ache, but you do learn that there is nothing you can do about any of it, you can't change it, so you just have to get on with life anyway. There's no choice; well there is, but I choose to survive and absorb the  pain they caused as part of me now.

I think there is a period of time when the pain of any loss remains raw and the wound is easily torn open again, and there is no time scale that you can expect it to heal in. Eventually however, it does seem to become a scar that is sore, but that you are aware of only in the background of your daily life and that, in my case anyway, I have learned to accept, at least in regard to those losses that have an interval of years between then and now anyway. My mum's loss is still at the easily torn open stage, but I do have hope that it will scar over in time. The process is painful and like any injury, is worse in the early stages, but I think as it forms a scar, the pain dulls, though never goes away and you are just stuck with it for the rest of your life. It hurts, when you catch it on something, but it eases off again after a while and you will always be sad that it is there, but you have to accept it as part of you.

I think also, like any injury, you have to make a conscious effort to get better. It will never heal if you don't treat it and the way I find to do that is to make myself engage with life in some way, even if only for a few hours a week. I had to find something that would take me out of the house and amongst other people and try to make a few new friends and find some new things to do that I could enjoy. I think, if you are to survive and not get 'stuck' in your grief, you have to do this, however difficult it is and is, I think, the healthy thing to do. I still sink back into grief at times, as with last weekend, but you just have to accept that you are in a trough on the rollercoaster and you just have to strive to make it up the slope back to a peak again and that you will be able to go on doing that everytime you slide down again. And so it goes on. You have to try to stay positive and make a conscious effort to keep on moving forward.

Anyway, back to the plodding on stage this weekend!

Offline Emz2014

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Re: Thoughts about the process of healing
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2018, 05:00:58 PM »
You sum it up very well Sandra.  We do have to rebuild our lives, and our lives grow around the grief.  Its so important to keep engaging with people and interests, and to also be gentle with yourself.  It can be a slow rollercoaster journey but it does get easier xx
Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise. 
Hold on in there xx

Offline Grizz

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Re: Thoughts about the process of healing
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2018, 08:26:41 PM »
Thank you Sandra, I know you replied to my post about my dad but what you said here sums up so much of what is going on in my own life right now, i used to look after my dad and now am dealing with funeral planning, inheritance, forms and bills on top of all the grief, I myself believe that there is 'something else' after this although unsure what but I'm not religious, I've been craving 'signs' from my dad like I got when my grandma died but have had none so far, maybe I'm just not ready for it yet, and again I'm dreading milestones, it was his birthday not long ago and was a tough day, the next one is Christmas and my birthday (same week) so not looking forward to it this year, I guess things will get better over time but these are all the first times I'm hitting these milestones right now

Offline Sandra61

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Re: Thoughts about the process of healing
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2018, 01:35:37 AM »
No, the milestones are really hard Grizz. Just coming up to my second Christmas alone and not really looking forward to that, but determined to make the best of it all the same. I will get a tree and some nice food! Mum would have appreciated that!
You mention signs of contact from your lost loved one. I recently heard about this theory of white feathers being an indication that your lost loved one may be near or that your guardian angel may be wanting to show you that you are not alone. I did find one or two white feathers in the early days after my mum died, but didn't think much of it at the time, not knowing then about this theory, but last week, I got a nasty shock when an unwanted four legged rodent found it's way into my kitchen and scared me half to death myself! The next morning I found a white feather on my front room floor with no way of explaining how it could have got there. I also smelled my mum's perfume in the room later on and I think this was probably her trying to sympathise with me over this minor crisis and let me know I was not alone. I'll be looking out for any white feathers around from now on. I did find both things very comforting. Take care of yourself.