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Never thought I would need permission to grieve

onlyhuman
Posts: 102
Joined: Sep 2009

I have had enough of people telling me I have to be strong for my children. Apparently I need to get on with the business of life. In the meantime it feels like my life went on pause 11 days ago when I watched my husband sigh his last breath. I can't seem to find the space to mourn my loss. Everyone keeps trying to keep me busy. The girls have been bunking in my room for the last 2 weeks so although every night I feel like crying I have to hold it in. I feel like a blocked pipe ready to burst. I just want to curl up in a corner and bawl my eyes out. My heart feels so heavy and I can't seem to take a deep breath. Life seems to have lost its colour. Why does everyone seem to think I need to be strong?

CherylMike
Posts: 118
Joined: Oct 2009

I lost my husband of almost 25 years on halloween of this year. I have a 13 yr old, 22 and 24 year old - the two youngest are still at home. My thirteen year old also slept with me for the first few weeks after Mike's death (he also slept with me in the weeks preceeding Mike's death as I often slept at the hospital or hospice unit with my husband. On the nights that a family member spotted me, I would find Bill in my bed. He said it was too quiet with us gone and that he was lonely (and scared). I also felt like crying and would tell Bill that I needed to take a shower and would send him out of the room till I was done - crying in the shower. If I got really upset, I would just cry in front of him. He knew I was sad and I think it was ok to let him know that. Bill now sleeps in his own room. Sometimes on the weekend he'll come in my room and we will watch a movie together, but then he heads down the hall to his room. I had to make him go sleep in his own bed at first - just told him he snored and kicked me in his sleep and that I needed rest :) humor helps. I also was taking Bill regularly to counseling and the he has permission in school to leave his class and talk to the school counselor whenever he needs to. This has really helped Bill and taken some of the pressure off me to "take care of the kids". I believe that in my case, the kids have kept me going. They are the reason I get up in the morning, cook dinner, do the laundry etc. Believe me, it is not easy, but I feel that I am responsible for my kids now. I need to let them know that they are still safe and that I am healthy (Bill has expressed concern that if something happens to me, what will happen to him). I do take time for myself. If I am having a bad day, I let the kids know, but also assure them that I am alright just very sad and missing dad. They really do understand. As time goes on, we are entering our new "normal" life. It is extremely hard and lonely, but it is getting a rythem of its own which brings some amount of stability (which is really important to the kids). I also had people tell me I needed to be strong and move along (mainly my mom). Fortunately, she lives out of state and if she really got on a roll I did not take her phone calls for awhile. I just could not deal with her - I know she loves me, she was trying to help, but I just could not listen to it. I think she has gotten the message as she has backed off and is more sympathetic to my situation. What I am learning is that there is absolutely NO right or wrong way for us to act. People can give us advice all day long - if we listen, great if not, great. The main focus for us is to give ourselves time to grieve and time to heal. We will do this as a family unit in whatever way works best for us (for me it is mostly trial and error, but we are stumbling along - but are moving forward). I found sleeping with my husband's robe and smelling his cologne helps give me some measure of peace at night. I still do not sleep much and nights are very hard, but am waking up each morning and facing the day. I will pray for you~Cheryl

grandmafay's picture
grandmafay
Posts: 1612
Joined: Aug 2009

If you need permission to grieve, I grant that. Mainly though, you need to give yourself permission to grieve. We all grieve in different ways. Tell those who offer advice that you appreciate their concern, but you need to grieve in your own way and in your own time. I got really tired of hearing the words strong and positive during my husband's battle with cancer. These are words people just throw around like they solve everything. Ok, I'll get off my soapbox now. It sounds like you are doing as well as you could possibly do. You have found help for your son, and I really admire that. Hang in there. Showers are good places to cry, but I don't think it hurts for people including your son to see you cry. Stiff upper lips are way overrated. Please take care. All you can do is the best you can at this time. Fay

sassy1
Posts: 54
Joined: Oct 2009

I lost my husband 21 days ago and as you did, I watched him take his last breath and held his hand as he went. He and I were alone at home as he was under hospice care. I did the stiff upper lip thing that night and did everything I was supposed to do. I held in my tears while making arrangements and at the viewing. But the morning of the funeral I could not take it any more. I fell apart. I cried at the service and then I cried hard at the cemetery. After leaving there, everyone thought that I had cried enough but you know, I will have moments when I hear a song on the radio or I see something on television that he loved and I just start to cry. I'm sitting here now crying as I'm thinking of the holiday coming up next week and knowing how much he loved this time of year. He was like a big kid. But I guess most men are at Christmas. They're all anxious to open their gifts and it's so hard because you have no one to spend your evenings with. We used to like to sit at night with the tree on, just the two of us and watch the tree and listen to the Christmas music. I cry and I cry a lot lately. But you know, I've been told that it is a good thing to cry because I spent 25 years of my life with this man and he meant everything to me. You have to express your feelings and let out the tears. If people don't want to see you cry, just tell them to go for a ride because you need the grieving time alone. It is all a part of the healing process, or so I have been told. Please, let yourself cry. It does help.

bluerose's picture
bluerose
Posts: 1089
Joined: Jul 2009

You need to get it out, as clearly you realize. Maybe someone can take your kids for a litle while, on an extended sleepover or something, and just give yourself a day or two to just let it all out.

People try to keep you busy as they think that if you are alone you will fall apart but that's what you need just to let it all out. They mean the best but they really can't understand completely what you are going through. Everyone acts like you have to be strong because they just want you to be okay and they don't see allowing yourself to be vulnerable as a good thing but it is a healing thing. You have to feel it all in order to start rebuilding.

Continue to post on here and get your feelings out this way too, lots of people here to help as you are discovering. Make sure you aren't running into any severe depression though and if you think that is happeneing then you have to talk to you doctor who can help you get through this rough time with medication that just takes that edge off. When you need meds you need them. You won't be on them forever, just now when things are so raw. Grief counselling can help too so please consider that. Respite often has input after a loved one has passed so speak with them as well. Don't let grief go untreated if it starts to effect your everyday life in a negative way because you have children to take care of so you need to catch depression before it gets serious.

I will hold you and yours in my prayers. Blessings, Bluerose

pattynonews's picture
pattynonews
Posts: 176
Joined: Aug 2009

You need to cry and grieve, it is part of the process it has been 6 weeks since Jack died and I can hear a song or smell him and just start crying, and I get so tired of people telling me its gonna be ok it will get better, and you have to be strong, Alot of people who are telling us this , did not watch there loves when they were happy one day and the next is so sick and in so much pain and hold there hand while they take there last breath, and we are suppose to be strong , and keep on going, There are some days I don't even want to get out of bed, and I can usually get through the days, but the nights are so hard, But it does help if you can come here and post, and I have actually met some nice people who I keep in contact off of here, I made memorial packages for all of Jack's friends, and I sent it to some of the girls I met on here, Making the memorial packages for Jack's friends was so hard, but it gave me peace, to know that I could share some of Jack's memories with his friends, I still find my self when I go to the store I see something that is so Jack and I know he would love it, so I buy it, and I found my self going out and just seeing something that reminds me of Jack and I just cry
Just do the best you can, and take one day at a time

onlyhuman
Posts: 102
Joined: Sep 2009

Hi all
Thank you for your support. I have been seeing my grief counsellor regularly (once a week) and that has really helped. The older one also support from her own counsellor. The kids are back in their room and I have even gone out for lunch twice with some of my girlfriends. I am planning to go back to work on 4 Jan. My bosses have been very understanding. I am taking it a day at a time. The girls and I are heading into the city tonight to see the Christmas displays and for the night market.Slowly we make progress.

bluerose's picture
bluerose
Posts: 1089
Joined: Jul 2009

Grief as you are finding out is a process and sounds like you are setting a good example for your girls as to how to handle it all and go one step at a time into the future, not becoming frozen with the grief as some do. No doubt much of that has come from your decision to find a good grief counsellor, very important decision to make and it seems to be working very nicely for you. No one is going to say that this holiday season will be easy for you and the girls but sounds like you are trying your best to take the necessary steps to be involved in the holiday season, so important for you all. Your husband will be with you in spirit I'm sure.

All the peace and love that the Holidays can bring to you and yours. Blessings, Bluerose

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