Author Topic: Regarding Anticipatory Grief  (Read 8949 times)

helene

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Regarding Anticipatory Grief
« on: May 04, 2012, 01:03:19 PM »
Thank you Terry, for your extremely wise thoughts on Beth Erickson's article on Anticipatory Grief and then including Erickson's article for us. I read both with great interest.

I have suffered anticitatory grief at least five times in my past and am going through it yet again now. The first time was when my Dad was dying of cancer. NEVER was I able to resolve anything with him, and NEVER was I ever able to imagine what life would be like without him, except that I knew it would be hell. I did know that my Dad loved me but I was ony 18 and he was the one parent who truly loved me and I was losing him at only age 46!! Losing him when he'd already left me so many times throughout my life up till age 18 and then his final abandonment of me when he died.

Then there was my Aunt Jeanie and Uncle Basil (on my mother's side of the family)  and my dear 94 year old Southern cousin (who became my second Grandmother on my father's side because my Dad's mother died tragically in a fire when she was 40, nearly 4 years before I was even born).  Jeanie died first, then Uncle Basil (my mother's older brother) both of cancer. Bas and Jeanie lived 3000 miles away from me, but I saw photos of them wasting away to nothing from cancer and was horrified. I only had a chance to meet dear cousin - Grandma - Marcelle in Florida a few times, but we took to each other like ducks to water. She really LOVED me and I knew she didn't have long to live. She even told me that. Marcelle and I spent many hours alone when I visited when her daughter and husband were at work and she told me many things about my father and all his family in Florida. She told me one very DARK secret and tol dme never to tell anyone.(And that is a long story and it includes murder.  The possible murder of my Dad's mother who died in that fire at age 40.)

So, a lot was left AUNRESOLVED for me when first my Dad, then Uncle Basil and Aunt Jeanie and then dear Marcelle died. Then there was Lesley.  Oh, I knew Lesley was going to die. I knew that she was killing herself - either consciously or unconsciously but she was killing herslef. Seizures after seizures left her body more and more ragged and weak. Her mind was starting to go as well. I felt, instanctually, that a HUGE  part of Lesley WANTED  TO DIE, and there was NOTHING I could do to STOP that from happening. So, yes, I also anticipated Lesley's death. I hated it when there was nothing I could do because by that time Lesley was living in a rooming house and wouldn't lte me get close to her at all.  I couldwrite a lot more about Lesley but I can't right now.

Then there's my mother who will turn 90 on June 12. I actually phoned her last night. I haven't talked to her since I ran into her at this church last October. She could barely hear me and I had to shout into the phone. But she was polite. So was I. IShe was uptight. So was I. We kept the conversation on non-personal topics. At the end of it I said: Take care of yourself" She said "You too." "Bye" I said and she hung up in my ear (her favoirte thing to do. No: "Love Mum" or any of that stuff. Well, there's no 'love from Helene' either.  IT's sll so damn pathetic. What does this really solve in the end anyway? Nothing. And so I feel her death coming. Mother has no beliefs. Hates religions. Thinks anyone who believes in any kind of Divinity or Afterlife or Greater Power is a naiive idiot, yet I KNOW she's scared shitless of dying! Yet, will she let anyone comfort her? NO! Why? BEcause in her eyes: there's simply NO comfort to be had. It's just oblivian - annihilation. THE END. Dust to Dust.

So, yes, I anticipate my mother turning into dust just like th erest of them and there's not one damn thing I can do about it.


Thank you for reading this.

H.  PS SOrry for Typos.


Helene & Lesley

Terry

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Re: Regarding Anticipatory Grief
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2012, 08:41:59 PM »

Thanks, Helene for reading the post and also for sharing and in depth how you've experienced anticipatory grief. I appreciate it. I believe a lot of us do experience it and we don't understand why we're so sad at different times in our lives as we're not recognizing it as grief. It can be difficult to recognize. But, once we do recognize it then we're well on our way to dealing with it.

I find it interesting, after learning what you have lived through that you are still able to articulate your feelings from each unique situation, disect each one and again, with great detail and find a pattern. After finding the pattern, you dive into the deep end and pull everything up in pieces, dragging the heaviest up first, to the surface. Once at the surface, you're staring down the demon....and you don't turn away. Such a brave girl.

I 'do' feel that at times you have taken on too many demons at one time and it's not that the demons win, not at all it's that they wear you down. After all, that's what demons do.

Very difficult work....once we set out to try and make some sense of it all.

As I've shared before, I'm still waiting for the book to come out. I would search out everything you've written, both on here and at home and print it out, have it copyrighted and if you're not up to writing it yourself, there are those that can help you.

I would put these demons to work for you. You would benefit greatly, Helene. Can you imagine how freeing the feeling to tell all could be? I can!

Much love to you, my friend,
Terry

helene

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Re: Regarding Anticipatory Grief
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2012, 08:08:42 AM »
Hi Terry,

Thank you for your most inciteful and encouraging response to my lengthy description of my experience of anticipatory grief.

I am still facing the demons. I am going to visit my older half brother Daniel this coming weekend. His girlfriend is away so it will be just the two of us. I have not seen my brother Daniel in many years although we have been in contact via e-mail for around three years now. Before that he traveled a lot and lived in places like India and then Egypt for long periods of time. I have suspected my brother of possible sexual abuse to Lesley and myself, which I wrote about in a poem so people may think I'm nuts visiting him. However, I cannot actually REMEMBER most of my childhood so I don't really know if my suspicians are correct. The only other person who had the access to Lesley and I to do the damage that was done, was my mother. Now, that may seem even more outlandish or impossible. But, and I say this from much reading and research: some mothers do abuse their children, emotionally, physically and even sexually. Mothers are not exempt from this kind of savagery. One must remember that, before one was a 'mother' one was just a person - a person who might have also been abused in more ways than one.
SO...I am visiting my brother this weekend. He seems very happy that I am visiting and, oddly enough, a part of me feels that way too, although another part of me feels extremely WARY. I NEED to try and put the 'record straight' in my head. I WANT to see how he acts around me adn what he ways and how I feel.
I never though of myself as the kind of person who walks directly into the fire and faces the demons but I guess I am. I hate not knowing!! I hate not knowing why I am the way I am!! I think that part of me has already been through hell when I was very little, so why fear it again. IPart of me already died, was murdered a long time ago, so why be afraid of death now?

I'd just like to understand more about what happened to me regarding my family before I die. And thank you Terry, for your kind encouragement for writing a book. I think your suggestion to just pull toether parts that I've already writtn, including what I've written here, and ortganize it into book form, is a very good idea.

IT will give me something very concrete to do while my husband is away for most of the month of June. BElieve it or not, THIS - the anticipation of him leaving me for three weeks - triggers or acaused anticipatory grief to occur within me. I think this harkens back to when my Dad kept leaving me. He broke my heart every time he left when I was growing up and eventually I know I just shut down all my oemtions because I don't remember anything. When my husband Barry goes away I feel that same shutting down. When Barry is away I can hardly eat. I usually lose at least ten punds, sometimes more when he's away because food suddenly seems like sawdust to me. The hurt is so unbearable that I eventually feel frozen, or like I'm under water - like I'm not really there and the world is completely unreal. When I walk to work and back I feel as if I'm on a conveyer belt and I'm not moving at all. Nothing's real when my husband is away. I go to work. I come home. Do all my chores. Try to force down one of those frzen meals and then start drinking. I drink myself into oblivion and go through the same thing all over again the next day. Day after day until he gets back. The weekends are the most horrific. Often I try to invite someone over for dinner, but I have few friends. The last time Barry returned from a trip I completely collapsed. Couldin't get out of bed for days. Had to go on these really powerful antidepressents.

So he's going to leave again a nd I know what will happen to me. I know WHY but I can't stop it! Hows THAT  for a different kind of anticptory grief?! But I DO think this is still aniticipatory grief happening to me.


Thank you again for reading all this. I AM very, every tired.


With love and best wishes,


Helene.


Helene & Lesley

Terry

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Re: Regarding Anticipatory Grief
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2012, 11:33:29 AM »
I have suspected my brother of possible sexual abuse to Lesley and myself, which I wrote about in a poem so people may think I'm nuts visiting him. However, I cannot actually REMEMBER most of my childhood so I don't really know if my suspicions are correct.

This is an excerpt from an article written in the APA Publications monthly that I found interesting and wanted to share with you:

"Some clinicians believe that childhood trauma may lead to problems in memory storage and retrieval. These clinicians believe that dissociation is a likely explanation for a memory that was forgotten and later recalled. Dissociation means that a memory is not actually lost, but is for some time unavailable for retrieval. That is, it's in memory storage, but cannot for some period of time actually be recalled. Some clinicians believe that severe forms of child sexual abuse are especially conducive to negative disturbances of memory such as dissociation or delayed memory. Many clinicians who work with trauma victims believe that this dissociation is a person's way of sheltering himself or herself from the pain of the memory."

I'm sharing this with you, Helene as it may help in your present situation. After my car accident in '96 I was plagued with nightmares, hallucinations....the whole nine yards. Someone suggested a Reality Therapist, which is a no nonsense approach and which uses confrontational techniques and also suggestion/hypnosis, and better known as "Choice Therapy." I wasn't sleeping at the time and felt it was worth a try so it began, three times a week and it was grueling. Our sessions were taped and afterwards, we would watch them together and discuss them.

One afternoon, while sleeping/under hypnosis I suddenly sat straight up on the couch, called out a man's name, and as I was gasping for air, fell onto the floor. I could not breathe. I looked up at my therapist, and he was sitting in his chair writing. I asked him to please HELP ME. He asked me why I was upset and who this man was and I explained that I didn't know and could we please watch the tape of the session. He said, "No!" He explained that I was not ready to remember and to force the memory would cause me harm. He went on to say that he would keep the tape and if I had further memories that we could watch the tape but only up to the point that I remembered certain events.

I was in my early 40's when this took place and to this day, I have no further memory. I did play Sherlock Holmes and contacted law enforcement in the town where I lived at the time and asked them if they could search their records for the year that I think the incident took place (they were high school friends and very helpful) and the only information regarding this man's name around that particular time frame was a crime he committed in our local cemetery where he raped and killed one of the sisters from the convent. He was still in jail for that crime.

So, in conclusion that chapter of my life is over. I will never know unless one day I should remember. Do I need to remember? No, I really don't. I believe the car accident and the severe concussion along with the many other injuries I sustained brought about a chemical imbalance in my brain, causing the hallucinations and a memory to be partially brought to the surface.

I've discovered that grief and other trauma will also cause negative feelings or past incidents to be brought to the surface. As in PSTD. And, I am relating this to you as since Lesley died, a lot of those memories from childhood have become not only more important but some, painstakingly vivid. The way I see it, when those memories prevent us from moving forward then they either have to be challenged and dealt with or accepted as a wrong doing on the part of another and then realize we have taken it as far as we can, without harming ourselves. This is just a personal observation on my part.

I've never shared the incident above before, Helene but I saw a reason to at this time due to what you have been sharing. Why are we on this board if it's not to discover, rediscover and continue to work towards healing? If we can do this by sharing our own demons with another, then I personally feel that I'm doing more here than just taking up space and other's time.

Thank you for your honesty and the courage it takes to delve into these very painful memories, as you continue to find your way.

Always here for you.

Love,
Terry

helene

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Re: Regarding Anticipatory Grief
« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2012, 01:05:02 PM »
Terry, I really truly appreciate you sharing that with me. If it weren't for books I've read I would feel extremely isolated in my situation. This is NOT the kind of thing many people ever talk about, even within the privacy of a web forum like this. That must have been extremely difficult for you sharing all that with me. I briefly looked up 'Choice Therapy' on the internet and I found 'Choice Theory' with it's 'ten axioms', some of which I wonder about. Anyhow, I don't like the sound of that therapist you had at all. When you cried out for help he could of at least assured you that you were now in a safe place and it was ok to feel and remember hurtful things. If the memory was coming out, which it obviously was for you, who was he to assume that you were not ready to remember?

Well, what do I know? I am not a therapist. I admire your Sherlock work and see that you did find something out - horrific as it was - there was validity and truth to your memory. I admire your bravery adn I admire your law inforcement friends who were willing to help you out. No two person's situations are ever alike. It may be that it is better for you not to remember any more than what you did those years ago. For me, I have one sibling who is already dead from what I KNOW was abuse perpetrated upon her during her early childhood (perhaps starting in infancy) onwards. Lesley DIED from that. I intend to do whatever I can to find out what happened.

That said, I may be doing the wrong thing. When I am visiting with my brother this coming weekend, I will not accuse him of anything. I am there to visit him after many years. To see what he  has to say. To see how he treats me. To talk more with him about our 'mother'. Yes, to delve more because I can't stop. I am also looking into possibilities of hypnotherapy where I live. I'll keep ypu posted.


Ideally, I would like to write a book about my 'family'. And mainly about Lesley and myself. About why a person - a lovely, brilliant person - had to die way before her time!!!!! And shy the rest of us are so damn ill - f-ucked up. It's through delving into the depths - sometimes of utter despair - that sometimes - if one is really lucky - we can find out the TRUTH. We can find out  - at least - more than we knew before. I don't want to go to my own death without having published SOMETHING about what happened to Lesley and who most likely was responsible.


With love from Helenel.


Helene & Lesley

sevenofwands

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Re: Regarding Anticipatory Grief
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2012, 04:21:29 PM »
Helene, I didn't want to log off here tonight (it's late in these parts) without sending you my best wishes and know that I have read and re-read your posts.
Yours is a hard road, with a lot of rocks on it, and with your bright intelligence you will navigate it all, I am sure.

I found this:

http://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/psychotherapy-childhood-trauma-mind-body/

"Those survivors of childhood trauma often show some (though not all) of the following physical symptoms: a lack of eye contact, altered pattern of speech (very fast or slow, halting, at times stuttering, or stammering, etc.), an inability or difficulty in being able to cry, chronically tired (or possibly even diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue or Adrenal Fatigue), difficulty with anxiety (including the possibility of shakiness, ‘nervousness’, anxiety or panic attacks), shallow breathing (movement shows up in the chest – not down deep in the stomach region), chronic back pain (for no apparent reason as determined by a physician), hyper vigilance regarding your surroundings and those around you (especially if they have ever been abusive towards you, another person, to an animal, or property of some sort), feeling frozen and unable to move or unable to sit still, having body numbness or feeling as if you are ‘somewhere else’, having poor physical health, fainting or dizziness, dry mouth, or a variety of other symptoms."

Do look after your health Helene.  Your physical well-being is important.  You're having a hard time of it.  Just go easy on yourself.

Take care
Seven

helene

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Re: Regarding Anticipatory Grief
« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2012, 07:20:06 AM »
Hi Sevenofwands,

Thank you for your support and kind encouragement. I read, with keen interest, the article titled: 'Childhood Trauma and the Mind-Body Connection for Adults' by Joyce A. Thompson, and found that it 'clicked' with some other books/articles I have read and the one I'm reading now. (I will mention the one I'm reading now in the 'Recommended Books' section of this forum.

I am trying to take care of myself and get enough rest. It's difficult because there's so much happening at work, I've got this weekend visit with my 'long-lost' brother coming up (whom I haven't seen in over 15 years), guests are coming to stay later this month, and then my husband is away on a trip for most of the month of June. I actually prayed to Lesley last night to please watch over me during this time if she's still 'in the vicinity' so-to-speak. I don't know if it's proper to pray to a deceased loved-one, but I have read that sometimes loved ones who have passed over become gaurdians of us at least for awhile. Lesley was my older sister and she always had a soft spot and a protectiveness towards me so that's why I'm particularly praying to her and thinking about here these days. (I never stop thinking about her!)

I was reading, with great frustration, this book about this lady who has vivid dreams and has kept dream journals all her life. (Can't remember the title of the book right now) but she writes on the premise that we ALL have dreams about our deceased loved ones, but I have had only one dream about Lesley and it was a horrific one. I wish I could have more dreams about her but I don't and I resent this woman assuming that everyone automatically has tons of dreams about their loved ones after those loved ones die!

I'm trying to 'gear myself up' for my husband's absense even though it's still a month away. I HATE depending on someone so much!!!! Other people are FINE when they are left alone. In fact, many relish the time to themselves. But for me such time is like being caught in a tomb. Everything silent and completely alone. Sitting in the various rooms of my house looking at all the familiar 'stuff' - especially the books - and it all meaning NOTHING. Me: meaning nothing. My life: a farce.


I will stop blathering. Thank you again for your support and love Seven. And to Terry too! (I hope my last response to you did not offend you Terry. I am very sorry if it did!)


With love from Helene


Helene & Lesley

Terry

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Re: Regarding Anticipatory Grief
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2012, 12:20:59 PM »

I will stop blathering. Thank you again for your support and love Seven. And to Terry too! (I hope my last response to you did not offend you Terry. I am very sorry if it did!)


What on earth would ever give you that impression? You have never offended me. I don't offend easily, either Helene. I apologize for not responding to your response to me in a timely manner. Is that the reason you feel that way?

To be honest with you, I am slammed busy over here. I have workers down at the pool and in my kitchen as we speak. And, I can't even leave the room for a few minutes without my name being called out. So, I pop on the board maybe for 15 minutes a day, once in the morning then again at night and try to respond where I can but if it can wait, I'd rather respond when I can sit down and relax and not in such a hurried fashion. My goal is one year. So, a lot of cosmetic work is being done before my home goes up for sale. I haven't even been to my office in a week. I can work from my home so that's nothing major.

I shared the experience of my loss of memory with you as I could relate to not being able to remember. It was not difficult for me (but, thank you) not at all. I have no feelings regarding that situation as it's in my past. I just wanted you to know that it's not unusual to block certain events out and I believe it's a defense mechanism and it's to protect us. I don't need to know as my life has not been altered by the event. I know why you need to know and I understand your not giving up until you get some answers. I do believe there is a reason why we cannot remember certain things, Helene and I also believe that it's not always a good thing to bring up horrific events when we're already in a fragile state from grieving a great loss. I just hope you take this slowly and not try to force yourself to 'go-back-there' to a time when you lived in fear as your anxiety level is so high, trying to cope with Lesley's death and since then, these memories have resurfaced and is causing havoc in your life.

I am just concerned for you because I care.

I think the group that you're meeting with is a really good idea and it sounds as if you're already benefitting from it. Yes!!!
Do what you need to do, for you and at a pace that you can live comfortably with. You have time on your side and if it takes more time than you anticipate, then that's Ok too.

Love you and always here for you,
Terry

helene

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Re: Regarding Anticipatory Grief
« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2012, 12:50:39 PM »
Thank you Terry. Thank you for getting back to me when you're so busy!  I feel regret that you took time out from such busy pressure at your work to answer me as I too know what it's like to be run off my feet. I'm glad I never offended you. I have a tendency to worry about offending people and I suppose sometimes I worry too much. I was raised to worry all the time and I guess it's just ingrained in my blood at this point.

Thank you for your love and caring Terry!! I really appreciate it. I am trying not to take on too much these days. Being able to 'speak' freely here at Webhealing with you and everyone, means the world to me as most of the time  have to keep my yap shut and keep everything bottled up inside.

Lots of love,

And I hope YOU get some rest!!

Helene


Helene & Lesley

Terry

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Re: Regarding Anticipatory Grief
« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2012, 01:20:47 PM »

((((((((((Helene))))))))))