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Messages - ~Dee

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1
Child Loss / Re: I have a question about therapy
« on: June 03, 2008, 08:38:12 AM »
Hi Virgie, I'm not here much, but your question popped out at me.  It is so hard to even go to therapy to deal with the grief of losing a child.  I did, for a very short time.  At first, she was very understanding, compassionate, etc.  After the 3rd session, she suddenly decided that we would need to "explore" my childhood to determine "what could have possibly happened that would make you react so strongly to a death".  That was my last session, and I told her why before I left.

You are in a very vulnerable place at the moment, and, although their a many good therapists and counselors out there, there are just as many who haven't a clue, and can harm you more than help you.  Take a step back and decide if this is the right person to help you.  Trust your instincts.  Do what you need to do for you, not what someone else decides you should do. 

Dee






2
Child Loss / Re: Asking the experts - you
« on: February 09, 2008, 11:54:39 AM »
Only you will know what to do and when to do it.

 I was in much the same place as you, at about the same timeframe.  It is now 10 yrs. 6 months since our daughter died in a car accident, at the age of 20.  I left her room, filled with her things, much the same for over 7 years.  The only changes that were made were seasonal, especially for Christmas.  We decorated her room with all of her favorite decorations, and moved our family Christmas  tree to her room.  Somewhere in those 7 years, I packed up some of her more precious, special items, but placed them in her closet.  I did the same with her favorite clothes, and gave away the rest.

Shortly after the 7th anniversary of her death, I "felt" her telling me that it was time for a change.  Since she was always so into computers, the idea was born to create a computer room/office, while still maintaining a room that would always belong to Mel.  We chose a wallpaper that was a blend of her favorite colors.  It was 5 months in the making, as it was slow work, packing things up carefully, stripping the wallpaper, crying and sometimes just sitting.  I worked alone......needed to....couldn't share it with anyone.  When I put the last piece of wallpaper up, I closed the door and just sat in a rocking chair with one of her stuffed bears, rocking and crying. After the new carpeting was installed, I still couldn't put anything in it for several weeks.

My husband and I both spend a good deal of time in here.  Our Christmas tree now reflects the color scheme in this room, and, no matter what time of year, it reflects our daughter's presence in our lives, now and always.

The cassette tapes of music she listened to are still here, in a closet, as are all of the dolls she had when she was younger, and many other special items, clothes, books, high school awards, etc.  I moved most of them to a closet next to my bedroom so that they were closer to me at night.  I don't regret any of these changes, as I always "felt" her directing me as they were made.  

This is just my story.  You don't have to do anything.  Whatever you do, it will not change the fact of her existence, or your love for her.

Hugs to you,

Dee, Mel's Mom

3
Child Loss / Re: I know how you feel....
« on: February 09, 2008, 05:46:31 AM »
Lizzy, I'm so sorry that you had to hear that.  Even though we all have been through this, none of us can really know how the other feels.  Over the years, (almost 11 now), I've realized that people, myself included, do not know how to comfort another without relating it back to themselves and their own personal experience.  I myself now just give a simple hug and say "I'm sorry for your loss" because I don't want to add to someone's pain.  I sometimes don't know if this is enough, but, I also don't want to intrude.

 I have heard many of the comments here before, and most made me angry, wanting to scream back at them, "No, you DON'T know just how I feel".  I just didn't have the energy.  I draw the line at people who attempt to use my grief to launch into a story of how they just lost their dog, cat, or other family pet who was "just like my child".  No, an animal is not your child, and that one comparison, I refuse to tolerate.

Hugs to you,

Dee, Mel's Mom


4
Child Loss / Re: anyone up for sharing a good memory????
« on: February 09, 2008, 05:25:24 AM »
Not funny, but a really good memory........

When our daughter, Mel, was in high school, she became involved in many causes and charities.  One fall, her school was holding a coat drive, and she asked if she could donate some of our old coats.  She went out of the house the next day with a huge bag of usable coats.

The next spring, I went to the closet for my light jacket and found nothing but the belt.  When I went through the closet, I found that she had given away almost every coat but the ones we had all been wearing for the winter!!! 

Her big heart makes me smile to this day.

5
Child Loss / Re: Confidentiality
« on: December 08, 2007, 06:46:40 AM »
This is an issue that has always been uppermost in my mind when posting.  It is the main reason why I have never posted a picture, shared my e-mail address, or used my full name.  It was the same 10 years ago when I first came to this forum.  Many times, I have held back from posting, and, even after posting, feel that I have shared too much in public.

Pouring your heart out in a very public forum also can make you very vulnerable, and with so many twisted, hurtful, people out there, in my opinion, you need to protect yourself. You are also sharing with your neighbors, anyone who might not care for you, etc.  I know other's feel differently, but, I would be happier if this forum was not open to anyone and everyone on the internet.

We shake our heads in wonder when children are hurt because of the personal info they have posted on public sites, and try to teach them a little discretion, but we do not pay heed to the same advice for ourselves.  We need to remember that not all who are reading this are sympathic to our plight, and tread carefully. 

Again, my own personal opinion.  Private would be better.

Dee

6
Child Loss / Re: New traditions/rituals?
« on: November 16, 2007, 10:31:49 AM »
Our traditions have evolved over the years.  Since we have grandchildren, we always did Christmas.  Our Mel was what I call a "Christmas person".  She loved all things Christmas, and, in many ways, was the "Spirit of Christmas" in our house. 

In the first few years, we decorated her room just as she would have, with the addition of our family tree.  We have a family tradition of buying special tree ornaments, and, each year, we add another ornament that reflects Mel in some way.  The tree reflects her favorite color, in the garland, Angel topper, and tree skirt. I also have very special, carefully preserved ornaments that she made as a small child.

We eventually transformed her room into a home office, using her favorite colors, and incorporating pictures and mementos.  She loved computers, and, I think she would be pleased at how it turned out.  It still remains "Mel's Room" to everyone in the family, and, we will continue to celebrate Christmas with her.

7
Child Loss / Re: Back to work????
« on: November 09, 2007, 07:15:01 AM »
Wendy, I'm so sorry for the loss of your son.  Going back to work is such a difficult,  individual decision.  You need to do what you feel you CAN do.

 It's 10 years for me now, and, when I look back, I see that both the job, and more importantly, the people you will be surrounded by will play a big role in how you are able to function as an employee.
Are your bosses and co-workers supportive?  Will they help you, or make you feel worse? Are you someone who is able to immerse yourself in work?

These sound like tough questions, but, believe me, they do come into play in your decision.  In addition, the job you return to may not be the job for you any longer, and, you may decide to look for something different.

My experience was more negative than most.  I worked for a screaming tyrant. who, the day after we buried our daughter, called and pressured me to return to my part-time job (SOMEONE has to do your job!), and kept pushing me until I collapsed in tears on my kitchen floor.  I ended up taking 6 weeks, then returning for about a year.  Co-workers were not only unsupportive, some were downright rude and hurtful.  After I also lost my Mom, it became unbearable.

I moved on to a different full-time job, but found I could not handle it. By some twist of fate, another grieving mother whom I had met at a Compassionate Friends meeting also worked there.  I was only a couple of weeks into it when my boss, and the other person's supervisor had a discussion (with me working in the same room) about how a year had been long enough for her to have gotten over it, and they were "sick" of her using it as an excuse to get out of work.  They insisted she would have to stop scheduling counseling sessions during the work day.  That, combined with other on the job issues told me to move on.

I floundered for 6 months, then found a job that I loved.  The people were supportive, I liked the work, and I immersed myself in it.  Then I became a workaholic.  After 9/11, I started to feel again, and questioned what I was doing, and why.  A few months later, I hit the wall and came home.  Although I've had a few short-term jobs since, I found that it is harder to go out there.  People want to know what you have been doing, and, they put a low premium at staying at home when you have no young children to care for.

I didn't mean to give you my whole story.  I just wanted you to know that it is not a decision that you make and have to stick to, just because others think you should.  Do what you feel you need to do, and eventually, you will find your way to what you want.

Hugs,

Dee


8
Child Loss / Re: Myths on the death of a child-This says it ALL!!!
« on: October 13, 2007, 09:38:29 AM »
Bonnie, First, sending hugs to you on this day. 

You have nothing to apologize for.  Having a surviving daughter and grandchildren is a comfort, but, the relationships are also very complicated.  My daughter is grieving a sister, my grandchildren are grieving their Aunt, and all of us were very close.

In the beginning, I could not stand to be around my granddaughters.  It was too painful to watch the similarities to their Aunt.  One looks very much like her, one has many of the same mannerisms........

I pushed my daughter away, alot, until she became angry and reminded me that she was still here.  I worried about her constantly, and, for years, insisted she call me when she left here to go home.  Part of the pushing away had to do with feeling like a big failure as a mother.  You are supposed to watch over and protect your children.  I went through a lot of "If I had only............." regrets, at first about the night of Mel's accident, and, then started extending it back through the years.  "If I had done this, she wouldn't have been at a certain place, at a certain time, accident wouldn't have happened", until I thought I would go crazy with guilt.  What Lois, laurasmom said about turning off all of the feeling is exactly what happened to me.  If allowed myself to feel anything towards those who were left, I would be open to more pain if something else happened.

My daughter and I are closer now, we share lots of memories, but, there are also things we don't talk about, even after 10 years.

Thinking of you today,

(((Hugs)))

Dee

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Child Loss / Re: Myths on the death of a child-This says it ALL!!!
« on: October 12, 2007, 10:26:19 AM »
All of these myths have surfaced and touched me in one way or another over the years. 

Having another child is pointless, you can not ever replace the child you have lost.  This has also come up in discussions about human cloning.  Absolutely not.  You may produce a duplicate, but the uniqueness, the very soul of your lost child can never be reproduced.

Yes, I have another daughter, who was married with children of her own when her sister died.  I did not try to replace my daughter with her sister.  In fact, I pushed her away for a very long time.

I have had people, including some who have lost younger children, say, "But you had her for 20 years, and I only had a short time............." It's hard to believe that another grieving parent could say that, but I am not the first to have heard it.

I am particularly enraged by the outpourings of grief for both Elvis and Princess Diana.  Why is it okay to grieve openly, years later, for someone whom which you have no personal relationship, but I am chided for still grieving my own child?

You should be moving on, forget your child, be over this by now is all spoken by the truly ignorant, yet, they resist your attempts to enlighten them.  I hope they never have to be on the other side of that conversation.

Support groups can be a help, but, my personal experience was that it became very "cliquey", not something I wanted to deal with.

Some days I feel that I am going crazy.  Those who want me to be "myself" again never take the time to know the person I have become.

Dee

10
Child Loss / Re: Losing it in public - Private Practice episode
« on: September 29, 2007, 11:11:56 AM »
Penny, I mostly feel the same way as you,  not caring what other people think, but there have been situations that have been difficult.  I've also found that some strangers are not as judgemental friends or co-workers. 

Thanks for sharing your counselor's advice. It seems to be true, as I have found that it builds and builds until I have to let it all out.

Your answer to how you would handle it has made me feel better about it. I realize it was fiction, but, before it all came out, they were preparing to have the police haul her away.

You're right, nobody should be judging us.

Hugs,

Dee

11
Child Loss / Re: Losing it in public - Private Practice episode
« on: September 29, 2007, 11:01:16 AM »
Rebecca, I also stayed away from public places early on, mainly because I just couldn't handle it.  It's been 10 years now since our daughter, Mel, died, and that seems to make it harder to realize that a situation could trigger a moment, or memory.  I think that we learn to either avoid or cope with some of the expected triggers.  I am often caught by the unexpected ones.

Even though Mel was 20 when we lost her, I have found that toddlers having tantrums in grocery stores are a major trigger.  I don't even have to see the child, I can hear the screams throughout the store.  It causes me to freeze, and try to keep from crying in the aisles.  If I see the child & Mom, I want to reach out to them and comfort them, let the Mom know that it's okay......and I can't.  I just stuff it all in and finish shopping as quickly as I can.

Sometimes, though, something will trigger that makes me laugh and know that Mel would be enjoying it and laughing right along with us.  You never know,

Hugs,

Dee

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Child Loss / Losing it in public - Private Practice episode
« on: September 29, 2007, 09:22:16 AM »
I needed to comment on this because it was so powerful.  The new series "Private Practice" had a storyline in it's first episode about a woman who had "lost it" in a department store, and, was down on her hands and knees counting the tiles on the floor.  On the surface, to most people, it appeared that she was mentally ill.  As the storyline unfolded, it was revealed that she had lost her son, and, a display of tents and camping gear, that included a monitor set up with a video of a family having fun at a lake is what triggered this woman to lose it in the store.  When the doctors were able to get through to her, and she let it all out, it was gut-wrenching. My husband and I both sat there in tears.

One of my biggest fears is losing it in public.  Different situations have triggered reactions many, many times, and I am able to pull it together long enough to move away from people, but it is just so hard to hold it all in and try to appear "normal".  I have developed many coping mechanisms that allow me to do that, but, deep down, I don't feel that it is healthy to keep holding it all in, and worry about losing control in public.  The counting of tiles struck a chord with me, and I was reminded of something similar that I do that I borrowed from an old Star Trek episode, where Mr. Spock loses control of his emotions, and starts counting, "2, 4, 6, 8", and moves on to mathmetical equations to help him regain control.  It works for me.

Does this fear of losing it in public ever go away? How do you all deal with the totally unexpected triggers that bring you to tears and more?

13
Child Loss / Re: what has this made you
« on: August 30, 2007, 09:49:55 AM »
Karen, You are a great sister for even asking the question.  My siblings don't go there, and seem to have closed the book on that chapter long ago.  It is hard to know what your brother may be feeling.  I can only speak for myself.  I sometimes need the isolation so that I can feel what I am feeling without having to explain or justify it in any way.

Again, the "you should be over it" measurement of time comes into play.  I'm tired of being judged by that standard, and tired of explaining it to people who not only don't "get" it, but don't really want to get it.

Give him space if he wants it, but listen, really listen, if he needs to talk. 

Hugs to you,

Dee

14
Child Loss / Re: what has this made you
« on: August 30, 2007, 08:37:29 AM »
A different person:

Disillusioned with life,
Angry, worried, filled with anxiety, and always waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I now have a very low tolerance for shallow, self-centered people, especially those who are dismissive of our pain and lack of progress that fits their timetable.  I find it hard to make friends, or maintain friendships, as they seem to demand far too much than I am able to give.

Isolated

Today, specifically, I am finding myself wondering why no matter what I do to adapt to this new person, to move myself forward and find my way, any progress is short-lived, and turns out to be just another diversion from the pain and emptiness that is always there.  It is a cycle that has repeated itself for 10 years now, and leads to the question, "Is that all there is???"

15
Child Loss / Re: Contemplation and Rambling
« on: August 08, 2007, 11:30:33 AM »
Melissa, Our family situations may be slightly different, but I share the same thoughts.  The priorities of my life have changed.  I, like you, was the yes-girl, the go-to person.  Then I started to realize that, no matter how deeply I was hurting, no one ever said yes to me.  People I thought would always be there for me were not.  I had to learn the hard way to be "selfish" and put myself first.

It's not colder, or less sympathetic when you refuse to empathize with others over trival things.  (I have a huge intolerance of people who put pet loss on the same level as losing my child).  My ex-friends, it turns out, were never really friends at all.  One, it turns out, helped out with strings attached, and became angry when I could not devote 99% of my time to her and her needs.  Another only calls if there is some favor I can do for her.  None of the people I thought were friends would even think of picking up the phone to just say "Hi, how are YOU doing", and, if I contact them, I get an earful of their problems.  If I change the subject to me, they have to "run".  I have become very isolated, and, at this point, I really don't care.

Like you, I would rather have my daughter back, but this really says something about friendship and what is important in our lives. The lesson comes with too high a price.


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