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Topics - Doug1222

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Sibling Loss / Baseball...
« on: September 30, 2016, 05:54:08 AM »
Hi, everybody! I haven't been around a whole bunch because I'm actually doing pretty good. I was just sitting here a little sad and thought of you.

The end of baseball season always makes me sad. My brother was the biggest St. Louis Cardinal fan in the entire world. He was such a huge fan that a group of his friends (and teammates) came by his visitation just to put a signed baseball in his casket. That was one of the points that made my mom break down and cry. One of his best friends came by and asked her,"Is it ok if we put this in with Meat? We don't want him going away without it."

They called him "Meat".

She told him,"Make sure you guys sign the book." He said,"That's ok...he knows we were here."

Anyway, with the season winding down and the Cardinals fighting for a playoff spot, I got sad. I'm sitting here with a tear in my eye as I write this.

Baseball always makes me sad. My brother's birthday is in a couple weeks. On top of baseball, that makes this the saddest time of the year for me. He was 22 when he was killed. He would've been 44 this year. That means he's been gone longer than he was here.


There's a song by Cole Swindell (a country singer) that might be helpful to some people. It's helping me today just by bringing out emotions I buried. Here's a snippet.

"You should be here, standing with your arm around me here.
Cutting up, cracking a cold beer, saying cheers, hey y'all it's sure been a good year.
It's one of those moments, that's got your name written all over it.
And you know that if I had just one wish it'd be that you didn't have to miss this
You should be here."
~~Cole Swindell

Everybody take care. Now I can smile.

Sibling Loss / My brother...
« on: October 15, 2014, 01:48:39 PM »
My brother would have been 42 today. In a couple years, he'll be gone longer than he was here.

Birthdays are the hardest for me.

I miss you, Stevie.

Recommended Grief Books / Divorce?
« on: April 24, 2014, 01:03:25 PM »
Does anyone know any good books specifically dealing with the grief over a divorce? My daughter is going through one and having a very hard time with it. She asked last night for resources for dealing with it.

If you know anything, I'd really appreciate it.

Grief not related to deaths / Almost done...
« on: March 22, 2014, 04:13:55 AM »
I edited out the original post because I was extremely frustrated at the time. It was some marriage problems that have been building for years. I was nearly at a breaking point. Just terribly, terribly frustrated because I thought we were better.

Still not totally sure if it'll work out, but I'm feeling better. I might be ok.

Things might be ok. I love my wife. No matter what, I really do love her.

Might be best to pull these complaints out.

Grief not related to deaths / It's me again...
« on: September 19, 2013, 07:35:39 AM »
Good morning, y'all! I hope everything's groovy in your part of the world. Life's great around here. We SHOULD have four Mighty Mite football games tonight ranging from 1-2 grade up to a 5-6 grade one. The littlest one has two games. Booked back to back...if I can find the field. I'm not exactly sure where they're playing this year. Those stair-step grandkids sure are fun, though. We have one in every level!

Life's not perfect, but I can't complain. Other people have much bigger problems than me. I'm still sorting through the bizarre end to my friendship, but it's not huge. I'm just determined to work through it rather than bury it. I really feel bad even talking about it when there are people with much more serious grief, but I'm trying to make sure this doesn't bring back my bigger problems. I'm sorting it out this time. Everybody says to talk about it, so I am. I know some of this won't make sense because I deleted part of the story from my last thread, but I know Terry read it. It's kind of just venting, anyway.

What happens is I keep running across things that feel strange. It's been two months, and I still do. My wife does, too. I suppose when somebody was that big a part of your life for a year that's normal. For example, last night I was looking at the wedding footage I took of our son's wedding. I'm getting ready to edit it down to a video they can keep and give out to friends/family if they want. I ran the camera pretty much the whole time. It needs to be edited. It struck me that I had great footage of my friend doing the song we made a slideshow to. (That was the last thing we did together. Then it all blew up an hour after we finished it when I found out she was lying about me.) I filmed the whole show in Nashville in June. Most of it she didn't want to use because of the sound system, but the video part was great. Anyway, I could have put performance footage into the video and made it AWESOME!! I didn't even think of that when we were making it, but it would really be cool. No point in it now. She isn't even using the video, apparently. I think she's probably embarrased or ashamed to after what happened when she posted it last time. She doesn't have any for that song or any of the other new ones on Youtube. There's another waste. I was the one who made all of them for her. She asked me to help her make these then lied about me when I did. It was absolutely bizarre.

I also was searching for vacations for the spring yesterday. I do that year round. It's a hobby. I had been searching for four adults because she kept telling us she and her husband wanted to travel with us next year. We just talked about it a few hours before the friendship ended. We (me and her husband) were about to start bidding on next year's vacation time, and it needed to be coordinated to line up together. We all talked about it a lot. We were going to Mexico. I'd been searching for four for nearly a year just to track the prices. Yesterday I nearly dropped down the menu to run four. Nope. Back to two. I just hit things that still feel strange. It's ok.

I suppose what brings it up is a chat I had with a writer friend last night. She asked about my brother. This is my melancholy time of year when the triggers for my grief happen. She asked specific questions about my old he was, what happened, when it happened, good memories I had. It struck me that she now knows more about my brother than Becky. Becky never asked. She probably never cared because it wasn't about her. Just kind of made me process a bit more being Becky was holding that space in my heart and life for a while. She's what kept me from slipping back into the grief this time last year. This year she's gone. It's odd.

I guess you can't fix crazy. She has a whole lot of issues. Turns out most of the friendship was a lie, anyway. I couldn't keep laying track down in front of that train. It was getting too fast. It'll wreck. We're just kind of paying attention kind of out of curiosity and also because we're invested in the project. My wife still watches her fan page. It's cool. I'm sorting it all out. Some of it will never make sense because I'm not crazy, but at least I'm putting the pieces in place to close it out. In the end, I did have some really fun times being what I thought was friends with her and also learned a whole lot of stuff. I also made a ton of friends and contacts in the music world. She filled an important spot in my heart and helped me heal even if it wasn't intentional. She was also entertainment for my wife and me for a year. She left an empty spot in our lives but also healed a more serious wound in my heart. It's ok. It was mostly positive in the scheme of life...but that's because I knew when to let the guillotine fall. Otherwise, it's a train wreck!! Ain't nobody got time for that!!!

My problems are minor compared to most of the world, so I'm not whining. Just venting a minute. I don't even really have problems compared to most people. I could complain, but it wouldn't be right. Life's good. La la la la la la la...feelin' groovy.

I hope everybody's doing ok.

Grief not related to deaths / A different kind of grief...
« on: July 25, 2013, 06:24:48 AM »
I've spent a lot of time talking about my friend, Becky, in the last year. She's been a huge part of my life since we got back in touch last wife's life, too. We've spent a lot of time together and talked for hours and hours. I thought we were best friends. I'm no longer friends with her. The whole thing is complicated, but I was forced to say goodbye to her the other day.

She has a lot of issues. I could no longer handle some of them. No specific thing happened. We didn't have an affair or really a fight or anything. We were still friendly all the way to a few days ago then I found out some things I just couldn't handle. I couldn't take some of the drama. I don't think she meant to say hurtful things, but she did. It was too much, and I had to say goodbye while we still had some friendship left. I was worried she'd say something hurtful to my wife. We've never done anything but be kind and generous to her, either. It was time to say goodbye. It's complicated. It's quite possible that our friendship burned too hot and burned out. I wish her the best.

I'll always be thankful that she came along when she did. I was in a deep tailspin at that time. I needed a friend, and she gave me one. I'm thankful for that. My life is better because of her, but there's a point where we have to let go. We hit that point. It was a real goodbye, and I tried to tell her whatever I could to last the rest of our lives. I'm moving on. Some things can't be repaired. Last year, this would have been devastating to me, but I'm oddly at peace with the decision at this point in life. I'm much stronger than I was when she found me thanks in large part to her. I wish her the best. I hope she finds happiness and peace. My wife and I just can't help her anymore.

Still sad, though. She did help me whether she meant to or not, and I'll always be thankful. I just posted last week about how much she helped me when I was having trouble over my brother. I did my best to be a good friend and help her, too. I'll always miss the friendship that could have been, but it was time to let go. We could have stayed such good friends...or maybe that was just my imagination filling a space I needed filled. I don't know. Anyway, I'm glad we got to be friends for a little while as adults. It helped me, and I pray that it helped her. At least I know what happened to that little, blonde haired girl who was my friend when we were kids. Just a little blue today. I'm not used to losing friendships.

I've been through worse, but it's still sad.

Sibling Loss / A good cry...
« on: July 10, 2013, 08:01:03 AM »
Morning, everybody. It's been a really long time since I started a new post. Some of you saw that the eighth was my brother's angel date. It hit me extremely hard this year. I'm not sure what was special about this year, but it might have been the worst since I lost him in 1995.

Maybe this was just part of the grief work I've been doing since I got here.

I ended up being awake for forty hours or so. I was so exhausted last night I could barely see. I chatted with my friend, Becky, last night for a really long time. We were working on a video I'm doing for her and just talking about life and death. She was having a hard time over her son at the same time.

She finally told me to go to bed...we could play with videos anytime. She said,"GO TO BED NOW! You don't need to get yourself run down. Besides that, a good cry is good for the soul. Go get some rest, honey."

I didn't go immediately, but I did take her advice on the cry. I sat and cried for a really long time last night. I finished the video we were working on then collapsed and passed out about midnight. She helped me a lot. Once in a while, I'm going to make it a point to just pause my life, remember my brother and my dad, and have a good cry. It is good for the soul. It cleanses it. I sure do love that girl.

Another friend of mine told me that some days we just have to dedicate to the people we've lost so we can take back the next one.

I gave yesterday to my brother. It'll belong to him forever.

I miss him so much.

Today belongs to me. I should sleep much better tonight.

Recommended Grief Books / Why Whisper? by Joanne V. Mazzotta
« on: March 06, 2013, 07:12:48 PM »
I just finished "Why Whisper?" by Joanne Mazzotta, and found it incredible. I waited to recommend it until I'd read it. I just finished it last night and recommend it to ANYONE going through grief. I kept it on my Kindle for months before I had the courage to read it.

The book is about Joanne's son's suicide, but it is really about a lot more than that. It discusses her son's whole life, the rest of her family, her struggles through grief, and her journey to today. It was composed from her journals.

It's amazing.

I actually know Joanne through some writer groups and Facebook. She's amazing. She has a delightful sense of humor and a genuine love of life. There's a glow about her. She's a wonderful woman. She also has a website and has been doing a lot of interviews.

Her story is well worth reading, I think.

Sibling Loss / Very close to home...
« on: February 01, 2013, 04:05:09 PM »
I heard this song on the way home. It hits SOOOO close to home for me. I had to pull over halfway through it. It reminds me of my brother. I still have his car in my garage, too. I'll see if I can figure out how to post it.  

Small | Large

I hope everybody takes a listen.

...and I miss you, Stevie.

Sibling Loss / Beautiful accidents...
« on: October 03, 2012, 07:06:15 AM »
Hi, everybody. It's been a while since I made a new post, but I'd like to share something wonderful that happened to me recently.

I went to school in a TINY town for grade school. The whole town had 47 people. We lived way out in the country on a farm. There weren't a lot of kids there. I had a friend named Becky who was very dear to me. She was tiny and quiet and so sweet. We were in the same class in kindergarten, first, second, and third grade and did everything together. Then we moved away suddenly in third grade and I never saw her again...

Until a few months ago when she found me on Facebook! She sent a friend request and said,"I'm not sure if you remember me." I instantly did!! She was my best friend! Pretty soon after that, she sent one to my wife, also. I think that was probably to confirm that there wasn’t anything shady going on. She just missed her friend. Now she’s becoming best friends with my wife, also! She’s just such a sweet person and so funny!
Well, needless to say, a lot has happened in the last thirty-six years. She's on a second marriage (not a good one) and lost a teenage son to an accidental overdose a couple years ago. She's been through a whole lot of other stuff, too. I lost my brother and my dad, got married, nearly lost our son, and on and on. She’s been singing professionally since she was nineteen but never had a big break. I nearly got into the music industry, also. We’ve talked a lot about the past, and Becky had a much harder life than I knew growing up. She kept telling me,”I missed you so much.” There were things in her home life that made that make sense. I missed her, too. I didn’t even know how much until we re-connected. She hasn’t had an easy adult life, either. We talked about my sister who hasn’t spoken to my mom in two or three years and barely keeps in contact with me anymore. We talk about the past, the present, and the future. We go on and on trying to fill in the blanks from nearly forty years. Both of us can’t shut up when we’re talking. It seems like there’s just so much to say after so many years. It’s been maybe six months since she contacted me, and we still can’t quit talking. We have so much in common, and she has an incredible amount in common with my wife as well!

My wife and I have gone up twice to hang out with her. The first time was to watch her perform in a music show and then hang out and see her sing karaoke. She does that a lot just for practice and fun. It was amazing. She’s a phenomenal singer and songwriter. She waited for us during an intermission in her show, and the second I saw her, I remembered how much I cared for her. We just hugged and hugged. Last weekend, we went up to hang out with her again. I did a duet with her. We have so much fun hanging out with her. Each time we leave, my wife says,”That was so much fun! I really like her.” Then Becky will send me a message or something that says,”You have such a wonderful wife. I really like her!” Both of them have told me that they’re shocked how well they clicked. I’ll be chatting with Becky on the computer when my wife says something like,”We should all go to Nashville together.” Then Becky will say the exact same thing a minute or two later. It eery how much they think alike...nice, but odd. They’ve both said that it feels like they’ve known each other their whole lives. Apart from me, they share many common experiences.
Well, the point of all this rambling is this: I found a sister. I couldn’t explain to my wife for a long time what was so special about Becky. My wife was shocked when I agreed to sing in public with her. I normally just sing to my wife. Becky asked, and I said,”Sure.” My wife told me in shock,"People have been asking you to sing for the twenty years I've known you!" All I could say is,”Becky’s special.” There honestly isn’t anything really romantic about it, and I think my wife sensed that from the beginning. I truly have a great amount of affection and probably love for Becky, but it’s as a sister. She says,”Love you,” each time we hug. It’s not romantic, though. It's deeper than that.

It sort of feels like I should feel guilty. I keep watching for warning signs from my wife that it bothers her to have this woman she just met hugging me and telling me she loves me. There haven't been any. She just invited Becky down to visit and spend a few days at our house. Becky is so incredibly open and honest that it seems to be something to just enjoy. Other people have told me their wives would be incredibly jealous, but mine is happy. She knows me well enough to know that this isn’t a romance. It’s family. I missed having her to talk to when good things happened and when life threw the bad things at me. If we had grown up together, it’s quite possible that something romantic could have developed. She told me one time,"No offense to your wife, but why couldn't we run into each other twenty years ago?" I showed my wife, and she laughed. She "gets it". It would have been nice, but we didn't. We ran into each other now, and all three of us feel like there must be a reason. All three of us have had our lives enriched by running into each other now where we are in life. At this point, it’s purely a very close, deep friendship that stayed alive for thirty-six years until we could find each other again. Nobody I talk to about it seems to understand. I think there are only three people who do: Becky, me, and my wife. I suppose those are the only three opinions that matter. I actually lost an infant sister just a year or two before I met Becky in kindergarten. She filled that role for the time we knew each other. She told me not too long ago,”You’ll always be Dougie to me. I kept a special place in my heart for Dougie all these years, and that’s where you’re staying.”

Last weekend, we were sitting chatting. Becky was talking about her marriage which truly isn’t very good. I was mostly trying to be supportive and listen. She told me,”You just need to find me a good man, big brother.” She smiled, winked, and it finally hit me.
That’s what was so special about Becky. I found a sister. It feels good, too.

Main / New person finally ready to grieve...
« on: January 12, 2012, 10:24:40 AM »
Hello, everyone. I ran across this site in researching a way to deal with what seems to be a mid-life crisis. For nearly a year, I've been trying to figure out what was wrong with me. I'll be 44 in a couple months, and the only thing I could find was "mid-life crisis". The best way to describe it is empty and listless. I felt hollow. Things I used to enjoy no longer bring me happiness. Everything I found said the problem is inside me and pointed to mid-life crisis. I started looking inside.

I kept digging for the problem and couldn't find one. Everything is great! I went down the entire checklist: job, marriage, family, house, money, etc. It's all great. I have a happy marriage, I'm successful, good kids...the whole package is fine. I kept digging and digging until I came to this: grief.

My little brother was killed in 1995 in a traffic accident. He was on active duty in the Army at the time and on his way home before going to Korea. He was 22. I was in my last semester of college at the time then took a new job and had a fairly new girlfriend. I was very busy and had to just keep going. I know I never dealt with it completely.

Over the next couple years, I kept on going. We got married in 1998, and I took on three, great step-kids. Several job changes. Grieving him was a slow process because of the shock. I think it was just beginning to heal when my dad was killed in 2000 in a very similar accident. He was healthy and 57.

I shut down a part of myself after that. My parents had a farm with horses that I had to keep going. My sister and mom needed me. I had just begun a new job that was the goal of all the job changes. I couldn't handle a knife being plunged into that old wound again, so I put a steel plate over the hole. I remember when it happened.

One night, I was laying in bed talking with my wife. I think I was feeling guilty for not being able to open my heart to her the way I did before my brother died. I was crying. She said something like,"Don't worry. It'll get better." I told her,"I'm not sure if it will. I think maybe I don't have anything else left to give."

I will never forget the look in her eyes. It broke her heart. I could see it in her eyes. She immediately started crying and laid on my chest for hours sobbing. I felt terrible, so I tried to never bring it back up again. We just kept soldiering on...accepting that this was our new reality. I just wasn't a complete person anymore, and what we had was what we were going to have. I had to hope it was enough.

That worked fine until around a year ago when I started feeling the hole. Then I started questioning everything. I made some choices that could be destructive looking to fill it. I came close to thowing away everything I've worked the last 43 years to build in typical mid-life fashion. I got to where I could barely eat or sleep a few months ago. It came to the point where I was discussing divorce with my wife who I love with everything I have. We never considered getting one or anything. I just talked with her to try to figure out why I kept thinking about it. It didn't make sense, but I just didn't feel comfortable keeping her in a marriage where I couldn't give my heart completely. It was irrational, though. We get along great in every way!! Life was still intact, but it was no longer fulfilling me. I seemed to be the only one who wasn't happy with it, so I know the problem is me. It's been a very stressful year in general with several funerals , a major shift in my duties at work, and a lot of other stuff. My wife and I have had hours and hours of discussion over the last few months. I knew something was wrong inside me, but I just couldn't figure out what.

It took a while to track this down, but I am almost certain that I've found the hole. It was left there by my brother and my dad a long time ago. I need to deal with that. Otherwise, I can never be a complete person again. I need to heal that wound so I can open my heart again. I'm tired of covering it up. I never finished grieving my brother, and I never really started grieving my dad. That has to be done before I can move into the second half of my life. The people who love me deserve it. I sincerely think finally dealing with all of this will allow me to love my wife the way I loved her before my brother was killed. I haven't really felt like I gave her 100% since that day, and I want to be able to again. She's stuck with me through it all. She's the only one who can probably help me through it because she was there before. I discussed this with my wife last night, and she agrees. She thinks this could be the root problem. She also told me she'd be happy to go to grief counseling with me later if it feels like I need it. At this point, I've ordered some books I saw looking on here yesterday and I'm going to begin working on it myself. I just can't open up the way I did before my brother until I heal that wound. It's come to a point where that has to happen for me to be happy and satisfied again. It took a long time, but that's why I'm here. I want my life back. It took me seventeen years to ask for help, but I need it now.

I apologize for the long introduction, but that's my story. Anything anybody has that might help me get through this process is extremely welcome. I guess this is a bit on the extreme end of delayed grieving, but I know in my heart that this is the root of my problem. I want to fix it.

PS: I'm usually a pretty chipper guy who jokes around all the time, by the way. This introduction was a bit somber, but generally...I'm always laughing and smiling until recently.

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