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Author Topic: Dealing with Grief  (Read 153 times)

SeaShelly3

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Dealing with Grief
« on: February 28, 2005, 11:59:26 PM »

I'm going through some tough stuff in my personal life right now, and since I love all of you to pieces and respect your opinions and insights, I was wondering if I could ask for some advice.

My Gramdmother has had cancer for a long time, but very recently it went from being in remission to covering her whole body, and she has approximately 2 weeks to live. I've visited her a few times, but I never know what to say. How do you talk to someone who is dying? A lot of you know me, and you know that my favorite way of dealing with things is to joke about them, but I'm not entirely heartless, and I know when it's inappropraite to make light of a situation. But it leaves me faltering for some way to grasp the situation and decide how to cope.

I love my Grandmother, but we were never exceptionally close, and I'm experiencing quite a large amount of regret and guilt for not bonding with her when I had more of an opportunity. Now, she's having difficulty talking for long periods of time, and every move she takes exhausts her. It's all I can do to keep from crying constantly. I've never experienced death like this, and quite frankly, I'm stumped.

Also, I know I shouldn't be grieving for her now, because she's still alive. I feel terrible, because it's a selfish motive for which I grieve so soon; I want to soften the blow for when she does pass away. Is that a seriously wrong thing to do?

Any advice or wisdom from anyone would be vastly appreciated.
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Re: Dealing with Grief
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2005, 04:22:04 PM »

It's not selfish or wrong to grieve now, rather than wait until she's actually gone. In some ways, it's a relief to be able to ease into the grief process, rather than getting wolloped upside the head with it. My grandpa died very suddenly, and I didn't have time to deal with it beforehand. Both my other grandpa and my grandma went more slowly, and I was able to go through the process slowly.

http://www.aarp.org/life/griefandloss/Articles/a2005-01-12-grandparents-helping-grandchild-grief.html talks about some of the reactions people have when a loved one dies or is going to die.

The guilt is normal, but don't let it consume you. Do what you can, but know that one of the best things you can do is to just be there, even if she can't respond much. I think most people are scared of being alone when they die, and just having you there is probably a major comfort for your grandmother.

*hugs*
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Cho Chung

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Re: Dealing with Grief
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2005, 06:43:06 PM »

I'm really sorry, Shelly.  Death stinks, and that's that.  That said, however, good can always come out of it.  You could try to do things to make your grandmother's remaining time here really precious.  For example, you could pull out a photo album and just flip through the pages with her.  Remind her of different people and events who have meant so much to her.  You could just sit and read to her.  Pick a favorite book.  Or, if she's a believer, read from the Scriptures.  You know, find ways to spend time with her and make that time meaningful without asking her to talk, since she can't, much.  Above all, you should take some chance to tell her that you love her, that you regret not getting to know her better, tell her all the reasons you're grateful for her.  The guilt is normal, but it doesn't mean you can't counterpoise it with some things that would make up for it. 

In the end, there can always be victory in death, and that victory is love.  Find ways to love your grandmother in her last days, and you'll have done a lot.  I agree, too, with Ping, that it's probably a real comfort for her just to have you there.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2005, 08:11:36 AM by Cho Chung »
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Moon_Beam

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Re: Dealing with Grief
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2005, 02:36:10 PM »

I'm so sorry! My Grans had cancer loads of times but i don't know wot I'd do if she died! I can help with this sort of thing tho! My best friends sister died of a brain tumer a little while ago and it was really hard coz her sis was only 4! SHe knew she wasn't going to live much longer and the few days b4 she died she was in tears constantly! don't worry about greiving now! I think its good do it now so you can come to terms with it better when the terrible time finaly comes! Give youre Grandma lots of love from me and I'm really sorry!

Best Wishes and lots and lots of love Livi
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Re: Dealing with Grief
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2005, 08:18:34 PM »

I don't know if you're still going through these tough times, but.. just in case you are, I'll try my best to give you good advice =(
In the past year, I've lost my grandpa (alzeimers) and my uncle. Both were very tough losses.
My grandfather thought me a stranger since I was 13 (he passed away when I was 15). I also felt guilt, as I didn't know him verymuch and even though he was still alive, I could no longer try to speak to him, as he feared my presence (he didn't know who I was). To ease your guilt, I think the best way would be to show her just how much you love her. Make her something (draw, paint... even a card will suffice) to prove to her that you're thinking of her when you're not there -- trust me, the elderly are really touched by a letter with real emotions (for example - just write about your day, what you felt at the time, etc...).
I think if you show her that you really, really do care about her, and that you're feeling these complex emotions towards her, the day she does leave will be less painful and remorseful.
I know that I regret that I never had the chance to hug my uncle before he died suddenly (at 56 years old). I never had the chance to tell him how much I loved him and enjoyed his company. His passing could have been a lot less painful if I had had the chance... So take it. You won't regret it.
Spending time with family and friends constantly, for me anyways, also really helped. Even though I didn't enjoy their presence most of the time and all I wanted to do was be alone and brood, their endless "entertainement" kept my mind off the subject most of the time.
Try to stay away from depressing music, such as Radiohead or Pink Floyd. Bob Marley should be introduced immediately, and put 'Three Little Birds' on repeat. All the time. It may get annoying after a while, but the lyrics will hopefully sink in and.. well.. they helped me through it. Every little thing is gonna be alright =) :hug:
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SeaShelly3

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Re: Dealing with Grief
« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2005, 10:46:34 PM »

Thank you for the advice. I guess I never did let everyone know what happened. My grandmother passed away on April 4th, in her sleep. It was very emotional, and sad, but also, in a strange way, a relief. She was no longer in pain, and that was important. Our family is still in the process of learning to live without her. I know my dad, when he gets home, will still sometimes automatically dial her phone number, because he used to call her every day.

Thank you all, once again for helping me out in this. I didn't respond to everybody because every time I tried, I got emotional and couldn't find the right words to thank you, and then I, well, forgot about this thread.

Hugs for everyone!
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The quantity of consonants in the English language is constant. If omitted in one place, they turn up in another. When a Bostonian "pahks" his "cah," the lost r's migrate southwest, causing a Texan to "warsh" his car and invest in "erl wells."
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