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Carers UK Forum • Don't know where to start - Page 2
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Re: Don't know where to start

Posted: Wed Aug 01, 2018 11:06 am
by jenny lucas
I absolutely agree - and please please please do NOT hide your grief from your children. They are grieving desperately, but if everyone tries to 'be brave' for everyone else, we bleed all the more inside. They NEED to see you missing their mum - your tears reassure them.

Please talk about your wife too - as in, don't 'stop yourself' talking about her. Now, years later, I do think my son and I can 'mention Dad' in a pretty normal and unpainful-mostly way. I think it is in a 'natural' way - ie, if there is something that is relevant to him (or rather something about him that is relevant to right now), then he is mentioned, but I don't 'deliberately' talk about him, except on some occasions, like saying how proud he would be (hopefully 'is'!) of his wonderful son. I'm afraid I always put his name in brackets too, on all birthday cards to my son....after all, why not?

But that is all for the years ahead, which don't, and cannot yet, exist in your head. Just thinking that I've nearly done ten years of widowhood takes me back to the first year when I could NEVER believe in such a future.

That all points to 'day at a time, day at a time'.....gradually, with each day passing, the pain drops by a single droplet of the heart's blood....

Yet at the same time, we CLING to the pain - we fear that if we stop hurting, it means we've stopped loving them. But it isn't so, I promise you. We 'know' that they would NOT want us to 'live in pain and grief for ever'.....and to honour them, we let the pain ease, drop by drop by drop.....it's the last gift to them, other than honouring their memory in our lives, and knowing their DNA runs in every cell of our children's bodies, they are contained within their children.....and in our hearts.....

Re: Don't know where to start

Posted: Wed Aug 01, 2018 11:11 am
by jenny lucas
May I say something that may seem 'appalling' but it is this.

One of the things my son said to me in that first nightmare year was 'Can we plan something to look forward to, Mum?'

We were always 'looking back' to happier times that had now gone for ever. He wanted something to focus on in the future, something 'happy'.

So we planned a holiday. That can sound 'callous' - as if 'going away on holiday' was in any way 'compensation' for losing his dad.

But the thing is, it DID help. And we did have a fab holiday - we went with another single mum (divorced, but been through the mill), with her sons (chums of mine at school), and it worked really well. We went to the USA and it was exciting for the boys, and having another mum to go with meant there was another 'grown up' to share things like checking in to the flights etc etc.

So I would urge you to 'think ahead', impossible though it seems, and maybe try and organise some 'treats' for the children - even if you can't take them, maybe they could go with another family member?

Again, this may sound brutal, but 'immersing yourself' with other family can truly help. When I went off to stay with my brother, it 'switched me off' for a while from my own life 'without my husband'. I missed him less when I was away from home, because of course he would not have been there 'anyway' even if he were still alive.

Do remember, overall, there is no 'right or wrong' way to grieve, and grief has its own timetable.

I, too, recommend Way/Way up - don't be put off by their 'social life' forums, that is for 'longtimers' like me now. For you, you'll need and want the 'just bereaved' forums, where you can gather with the other 'wounded', and howl communally (and anonymously)

Re: Don't know where to start

Posted: Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:49 pm
by JimmyMcGill
Hi,

Many thanks for your lovely supportive replies. Yes even the ones that you might have considered "harsh" for me to hear/read.

Rest assured I have no want to hurt myself and not be here for my kids. I want to live and see my kids grow up and become fantastic adults who are a credit to us both. We talk about their mum often, unfortunately at the moment it's still along the vein of "awe your mum loved that" and " you mum would've liked that" sort of thing which I think makes them more sad than happy but i'll work on that. We have been on a couple of short breaks but both were to places that held a strong connection to their mum so again perhaps not the most exciting place for them to holiday but it was helpful to me. One of the places was also a place my own mum visited often so it worked on two levels for me. The second place was a bit more fun (it was a theme park) It's odd because the places i suppose I like visiting are places that have a connection to their mum as I do feel guilty about liking a new place without her and making new memories without her. It almost seems like cheating.

I could see a dr sooner but the one I wish to see is more familiar with my situation and she helped me with a situation last year when i took a panic attack and I gave her some background and she was very helpful and supportive. I feel potentially another Dr that doesn't have that background might just opt to try and fob me off with Fluxotine and send me on my way which would annoy me terribly.

Someone mentioned the website Way Up before, it was fairly soon after her passing so I felt I wasn't ready for that, but I will have a look at it again. Thank you for the suggestion.

I have made initial contact with Cruse to chat with a Bereavement Counselor which might be quicker than asking for talking therapy via the Drs. Last i checked there was approx 18 month wait to see an NHS counselor in my area.

Re: Don't know where to start

Posted: Fri Aug 10, 2018 9:15 am
by bowlingbun
I found a book called "Starting Again" by Sarah Litvinoff, really aimed at divorcees, was the most help after my husband died. Everything changed for me, as we ran a business together. The book helped me sort out my head. The thought of life without the man I'd loved since I was just 16 years old, my only serious boyfriend. who was incredibly capable and utterly reliable, was really scary.
At the moment, avoid going anywhere you used to go with your wife - because that's what she was as far as I'm concerned, whether or not you have a piece of paper! 12 years later I still have a few "no go zones".
Think of new places to go where the children can just be children and forget, for a while, about anything else at all.
It's fine to say "mum would have liked that", keep doing it, the hurt will eventually go, it's better than behaving as if she never existed.
I know someone that was a single parent, she joined a group called "Gingerbread" and spoke highly of their activities.

Re: Don't know where to start

Posted: Fri Aug 10, 2018 9:16 am
by bowlingbun
PS Have you claimed Bereavement Allowance? I've just checked the rules, you don't have to be married to claim any more.

Re: Don't know where to start

Posted: Fri Aug 10, 2018 10:17 am
by jenny lucas
Your local hospice may also offer bereavement counselling. Mine did, and I can remember when the counsellor arrived at my house I said 'I don't know what to say to you'.....over an hour later I was still talking, and it was all pouring out of me....

I'm so glad you've been able to take your children on some outings and getaways, and yes, going back to places they remember with your mum will be a dreadful 'sword in your hearts'. I can remember going back to the Canary Islands with my son alone, and it was dreadful NOT to have his dad with us - yet it was good to have done it too. A kind of 'rite of passage' perhaps.

(That said, the one place I could not, I think, go back to, was the greek island we spent our summer break on for about five consecutive years - that would be too painful I think - I want to remember it 'pristine' so to speak - I don't want any memories to form of being there without my husband, as that would 'sully' the ones I have of him and my son there on our 'happy holidays' together....)(shame, because it was a great place!) (Maybe my son will take HIS eventual family there - that would be nice to think...)(oh dear, tears welling just to think of it)

As for going to new places, and building new memories - I do understand your reluctance. But please, 'take your wife with you' if you see what I mean. After all, had she not been struck down by this dreadful disease, that is the life you WOULD have been living (and who knows, maybe in a different TimeLine that is the life you ARE living - I do like to think that of my family myself).

With time, you kind of 'wrap up' the person you have lost - 'carry them with you in your heart' perhaps, or whatever the best metaphor is. They go with you everywhere, all the time. We can't lose them you know. We can't lose those we love. They are ours, and we are theirs....for ever.

Re: Don't know where to start

Posted: Fri Aug 10, 2018 10:17 am
by jenny lucas
PS - I think you are right to wait to see your familiar GP, who has seen you through this.