Grief Has No Closure (Fortunately)

  • metta

    Posts: 39107

    Jun 01, 2012 5:56 AM GMT
    Grief Has No Closure (Fortunately)

    I think that this is an important topic to discuss that is not often discuses. Many people feel uncomfortable because they don't really know what to say...

    But I think it is good to discuss it.


    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ashley-davis-bush/grief_b_1553523.html

    This is soooooo true......
  • metta

    Posts: 39107

    Jun 01, 2012 6:04 AM GMT
  • metta

    Posts: 39107

    Jun 01, 2012 6:14 AM GMT
    I would love to see a long healthy discussion about dealing with grief but I'm not sure that is really possible in our culture.

    I think that the most common thing that people say...
    -he/she is in a better place
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 01, 2012 7:17 AM GMT
    The hospice sent me literature on how to deal with grief, which is extremely helpful to most. I didn't get much out of it because I agreed with most of it beforehand.

    I fully embraced the grieving process. Grieved the shit out of it. Dropped everything, felt all the emotions that came, all the conflicting ones at the same time. Cried my eyes out, let them refuel then cried more upon the next grief spike.

    Before long, the sad days became more spaced out. It was like the flow of pain was gushing at first, but gradually slowed, and though I had to "empty the bucket" daily at first, it started to take longer and longer for it to fill. Sad days would be weekly, biweekly, triweekly, monthly...

    There came a point when I stopped thinking about it because I didn't want to get upset at that moment. But a couple of months of that caused me to have an outburst (like it piled up and then collapsed on me).

    Since then, though all that I've needed is a sentimental moment a few times per year to feel at peace. The pain is at such a slow trickle now (it doesn't stop completely), that it's no trouble at all.

    When I see people who choke up about any non-recent event, I figure they haven't been processing all of that emotion (it is WORK, and there's reason to not want to do it, but it's necessary), so they're constantly burdened by it. You should be able to talk about someone who has died long ago without falling apart. That's a sign that it needs dealing with.

    It's sad that it's socially acceptable to tell someone to smile, or cheer up, or to pick up and continue when that isn't the healthiest thing for them. It's short-term thinking.
  • metta

    Posts: 39107

    Jun 01, 2012 1:59 PM GMT
    ^
    Thanks for sharing your experience. I can relate to a lot of it. I think that it is important to understand grief before having to deal with it. My best friend has been gone for 7 years now and I still miss him....there are times that I just wish he was here. I think it will be that way for the rest of my life.

    I went though that a period as you said...where I did not want to think of him because it was too painful. I felt like I needed to take a break...and then eventually, I could think of him and smile, remembering the many....many good times.

    I also had a friend that was over 100 years old. She outlived all of her family, including her children. And I saw here occasionally tear up over 15 years after her husband's death thinking of him.

    Dealing with grief is different for each person. It does become less painful over time. But it does not mean that many years later, you wont still think of him/her and miss them,
  • metta

    Posts: 39107

    Jun 01, 2012 2:05 PM GMT
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 01, 2012 2:31 PM GMT
    Time will help one move forward and the pain will subside a bit but one never forgets.

    Best advice I received was to always think of the happy times. Remember their laugh, smiles, fun-times you shared when you feel sorrow coming over you.

    So important to make the time & effort to create fun memories with those we love. Too few people bother to do so actively. Everyone is so busy wrapped up in their own lives and forgets that suddenly people are gone and all we have left are memories.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 01, 2012 4:22 PM GMT
    Yes the impact is lifelong. But no to there being no closure. The closure is acceptance of life. Yes, it changes you forever. I've long maintained that dealing with death is what steals innocence. Losing innocence has nothing to do with sexuality but everything to do with mortality. We start to lose it when we realize that we have finite lives. But the full impact is felt on the death of a loved one. Death sucks the life out of you. Dead people are so rude.

    The pain doesn't ease as much as you get used to it. But the pain doesn't take away from life. It doesn't take away your enjoyment of life as many suggest. Rather it adds to your life. But what It adds is some suffering to pleasure. Your enjoyment is still there, but it becomes more difficult to access. The happiness that once might have come more easily now takes effort because you have pain that wasn't there before. And of course the kicker is that the person who might have helped you through that pain is dead. So that sucks.

    Where there is no closure is not death but betrayal. And if someone had a pill that would take away the pain of betrayal along with the memory of ever having had the traitor in life, I would take that pill to remove that person from my existence entirely. I don't buy the bullshit that they ever added to my life in a way that makes me the person I am today.

    I like the article's mention that we are still in a relationship with love ones who have died. This is why we naturally catagorize those who have buried their partners as widows and not as single. And this is why it is such a slap in the face when both the str8 world and the gay world does not consider widowed a gay person who lost their partner.

    Seems to me the article's writer is trying to redefine closure in order to make her own point seem unique. But closure is never a magician's disappearing act. It doesn't mean that something goes away. It means that you find a way to resolve what remains. There is closure to a coffin. Not just by the shroud, not just by the lid, not just by six feet of dirt. There is closure in survival, there is closure in reminiscing our relationships, there is closure in understanding our feelings, there is closure in accepting what we can not change, there is closure in fullfilling the continuing tasks of living.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 01, 2012 5:23 PM GMT
    I believe that society developed the 'one year' to grieve concept out of it's ignorance of grief. Many people believe that grieving should be concluded after a year otherwise your condition warrants professional help. I don't believe that. Grieving is so personal and everyone grieves at their own pace contingent on their loss, connection, affection and, I believe, their environment. That grief is a life time, as the article stated.

    Even when grieving starts before a person has died, such as with a person who had developed Alzheimer's, grieving after death can be varied. Sudden tragedies seem to have longer grieving periods but I believe the reality is that because grieving doesn't start until the tragedy, the appearance is a longer period.

    I've experienced many deaths in my life time, parents, child, friends, co-workers and each experience was different. My mother struggled with Alzheimer's for year and yet I grieved her loss for an extended amount of time in comparison to the loss of my child at birth. My love and closeness with my mother was so deep that the separation was quite difficult where as my life with my child had yet begun.

    Only when a deep extended depression sets in should professional help be considered and then I believe that professional help is not in an attempt to end the grieving but instead to identify why a person is grieving and what pain the loss is causing (IE: guilt, hurt, loneliness, etc).

    Grieving is not simple but very necessary in order for acceptance. Grieving also is not just limited to death. We grieve every day at the loss of material things and relationship but we cope with those more easily it seems.

    Good article, good points to discuss.
  • JArking

    Posts: 139

    Nov 27, 2013 1:12 AM GMT
    Good article, it reminds me of a conversation I had in hospice with a counselor. She recanted this story of watching Betty White in The Lost Valentine and the whole thing brought her to tears thinking of her brother who died nearly 60 years prior.

    She told me this story because I had a fear that the pain wouldn't stop. There were moments where I couldn't breath and just wished, like the article suggests, that there was a magic wand. She calmly explained that the pain will always be there, it'll lessen over time, but it can come back and floor you.

    It's been three years and I still have dreams about it that wake me at night and leave me feeling like I'm suffocating. Thinking of a potential 60 or so more years of enduring that isn't exactly comforting. But like the reading suggests I wouldn't trade the good times to get rid of the bad, even if the bad will last much longer.


    I went looking through the Mental Health forums looking for a good thread on Grief and how people on here are dealing with it, not just amongst themselves but also when a friend is going through it. I've found that most of my friends are aware of my past, but not how it affects me in the present. After everything happened I moved far far away to get away from it, and unfortunately away from everyone who knew what I was going through and how fragile I could be some days.

    It sucks the life out of you feeling as though you're creating your own problems, and that the constant need you feel would only burden others. But there are days when I can't stop thinking about it and revert to how I was the day after it all happened.

    So I wanted to know what do others do when a friend is grieving? Is there a routine you adopt to engage them and help them through it?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 27, 2013 1:56 AM GMT
    ..Her article basically sums up everyone to be shallow and naive when it comes to loss.

    ..She then states that most of us sweep all the associated emotions under a rug without truly realizing the impact.

    I believe her article summarizes a typical shallow, selfish ,unrealistic individual.

    Don't swallow that pill so fast boys...
    First and foremost..we are modern gay men and we have the ability to wallow in devastation and wear it like a $1500 pair of of Prada loafers.. icon_cool.gif

    .."Loss will leave a hole as much as it can fill a void"

    Yes I expect pain, suffering and drastic change..
    ^ ^ ^
    Are't these the things that make us stronger, better and more appreciative of all things wonderful in this life??

    For a Psycho Therapist..she does know how to bait..
    I'll give her that.

  • metta

    Posts: 39107

    Nov 27, 2013 2:23 AM GMT
    JArking said
    So I wanted to know what do others do when a friend is grieving? Is there a routine you adopt to engage them and help them through it?


    Listen to them. They will normally tell you. Let them grieve. Let them not grieve. If they want privacy, give them that. If they want someone to be there, be there for them.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 27, 2013 3:02 AM GMT
    I am so happy to see this topic on here. I worked with Hospice for two years, am working on a masters in counseling, and currently work with grief-oriented crisis situations.I lost both of my parents when I was younger, which has given me a passion for this field. I agree that we need to talk more openly about death, dying, and grief.

    The best thing you can do is listen to someone who is grieving. Don't push your own agenda, and don't try to fill silence with words that will "make the person feel better." Many times all a grievin person needs is the presence of someone who cares - not a bunch of words that will only take away from their experience. The unfortunate truth is that when we lose someone we love, there is nothing that can take away the pain we experience. Those losses become easier to accept with time, and we find a "new normal," but the lack of that individual's presence in our lives is still there.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 27, 2013 3:23 AM GMT
    For those who believe in Christ death is not the end but the beginning of eternal life.When we lose loved ones under tragic circumstances..IE early death to disease,murder,accident then closure is much more difficult because we will always live with the "What ifs and why thoughts"But for the believing Christian we know from a young age that no human is immortal.Death is the great equalizer.Death is something Catholics are reminded of at mass and on All Souls' Day each year.We are reminded of death each day when we pray for the souls of our friends and family.I think of death when I hear the bells toll at nearby churches in the morning during funerals.If we close ourselves off from death during our lifetime then the loss of a loved one will be that much more difficult to face.I hope any of you on RJ who are experiencing grief find peace and closure.Ryan.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 27, 2013 3:31 AM GMT
    Some like to wallow in their grief and that's not healthy.