Dealing with Grief

Old 07-23-2019, 11:00 AM
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Dealing with Grief

Life is good, but sometimes I'm hit with waves of grief. I think about all the people I've lost along the way to addiction, and I think about the person I used to be, and how much of my life and my life's opportunity was lost to codependent insanity.

I've been divorced from my XAH for over five years. I've made a new life and embraced growth and change - I've moved on as much as anyone can. But sometimes I remember and I am sad.

I'm hoping some of you can share with me about your feelings of grief and how you deal with them. Does your grief change with time? How does it manifest? What do you do with it?
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Old 07-23-2019, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Florence View Post
But sometimes I remember and I am sad.
What are you thinking about specifically?
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Old 07-23-2019, 11:30 AM
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Mmm, nothing in particular. My ex and I were childhood sweethearts and were off and on for twenty years, starting when I was 14 years old. We have so much history together, and so many of my memories about myself include him, good and bad.

I have been reminiscing with friends about the old days (including my XAH during our marriage), and another friend alerted to me that she's worried about her husband's drinking. These conversations stirred up some feelings for me that have been dormant. There was a lot of addiction in my circles and I think I'm realizing just how widespread it was and why I never thought anything of it for so long.

I think I'm grieving my losses, the relationships lost to addiction, my willingness to live with less because I didn't love myself, how my kids were embroiled in my sickness. I have done all the right things - I left the marriage, my kids are healthy and well, I exercise good boundaries, and I still do counseling an Al-Anon. As far away as I am from living with the insanity, the feelings still burble up sometimes. I just want to commiserate with other folks who have experience with this.
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Old 07-23-2019, 12:34 PM
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Yeah I’ve known quite a few people who haven’t made it either. Some old boyfriends, my best friend, some family members and friends of the family. A while back I was wondering what happened to someone I knew from a study abroad program (back in the 90s), but couldn’t remember the last name. I asked a mutual friend who lives in another country now, thinking maybe he’s married with a family now, perhaps somewhere on social media so I could see a photo. Well the mutual friend told me he overdosed on heroin about 13 or 14 years ago when it became big in the country where I did the study abroad. That one was a blow too, very sad.

I thought I knew of a lot of people who didn’t make it, but last year when I was speaking to a millennial aged friend (I’m GenX/ in my 40s), she told me that between how many in her generation were raised on prescription drugs and the heroin/ opioid epidemic, she’s known over 30 people in her age group so far who have died OD related deaths. Pretty mind blowing. But basically she’s the type of person who if you can for something in, she’s like, let’s do something now. There might not be a tomorrow. Pretty good way to be, I think. Make the most of the time you have now.

I take care of myself now too, haven’t been a part of any of those “party” circles since the earlier part of my 20s And though no one knows for sure how they are going to go, it always saddens me when I hear about people I knew/ know drinking themselves to death, OD-ing/ accidentally mixing stuff that shouldn’t be mixed and not making it, suicide.. I have those sad moments too.

I’m reminded of this song from the movie Georgia:
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Old 07-23-2019, 12:52 PM
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I think I'm fortunate in that I don't know many who have died of addiction. My qualifier managed to come back from an IV meth habit. He told me only 1 in 100 who go this far into addiction come back.

That being said, I realized I'm grieving my parents today. My mom died of Alzheimers Marin Luther Kind day of January this year. My Dad has gone downhill since. I haven't cried at all for my mom. She and my Dad have both lived wonderful lives . . . . .but . . . . today I'm angry and crying over a parking situation for caregivers at my Dad's facility . . . ugh . . . I've been getting mad at people that really can't do anything about the situation. Ugh . . . .next I will start feeling intense shame for my behavior . . . .ugh . . . .I don't think it really is the parking situation.

Damn this being human is tough!
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Old 07-23-2019, 01:30 PM
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Even though I am still in a relationship with an active alcoholic, the grief over watching that person decline is very real and heartbreaking. Add to that the fact that I lost my brother a few months ago to cancer as a result of alcoholism and cigarette smoking. Most days I "maintain" and go to work, interact with coworkers and otherwise get-along. However, there are days when a hearing a song or seeing an old photograph brings me to my knees. Grieving seems to be an ongoing process that I have not gotten through... could be why I am still with my qualifier.
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Old 07-23-2019, 01:38 PM
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I believe grief can ebb and flow for a long time. For myself, I went through grief while I was still married to my qualifier. I have also been divorced 5 years. I felt grief when I truly realized that nothing was going to change.

However, now if I let it, anxiety will creep in as we still coparent together, if that is what you can call it. I have to give that my focus as I have a lot going on in life and it can easily take over.

Bekindalways.....I feel for you as well. My father has late stage alzheimers and we are going through that right now, it's gut wrenching.

Sending you a big hug!
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Old 07-25-2019, 02:03 PM
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I'm hoping some of you can share with me about your feelings of grief and how you deal with them. Does your grief change with time? How does it manifest? What do you do with it?
I think Grief is a much longer process than most people comprehend, especially because it manifests differently in people & typically morphs through many stages/emotions. I know I've had to take a step back & reassess my understanding of what it means & what the process entails for me personally.

I'm not going to pretend that I'm any kind of expert on this topic, but I've been working through a cycle of grief over this last year and a half & it has surprised me how long & ever-changing it is.

I think what you describe is fairly normal - that something like talking to a friend who is dealing with issues similar to your own history could easily trigger the next stage of dormant grieving. Some things I've grieved recently I thought I was long-past, but in reality I'd gone as far as I could at the time & needed to let it simmer for a while before taking it to the next level of healing. My awareness had to expand to allow me to properly move onto the next stages.

Sometimes we just aren't ready until we're ready, either because we need enough more time & distance to give us better clarity or we just need the Active Crisis to pass in a way that changes the way it all looks Now.

The process of actively removing yourself from the circumstances & moving forward in life itself can be distracting from the grieving process as well. Does that make sense?... that I'm more likely to "stuff" my feelings of grief down while I'm dealing with important life changes like jobs, homes, etc? But just because that time passes it doesn't mean I'm actively healing - more like treading water to keep from drowning - I still need to circle back to working through my grief.

I'm stupid-busy these days & I know I have more to share on this topic but I wanted to at least add a few thoughts for now. I highly recommend the book "Tear Soup" - it talks in great detail about how individualized grief is & how OK that is too. And it's an all-ages, illustrated book which makes it easy to digest.

(PS - nice to "see" you around!)
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Old 07-25-2019, 04:22 PM
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FireSpriteÖ.thanks for the book recommendation!
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Old 07-26-2019, 06:45 AM
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Thanks, Firesprite. I may not interact much but I lurk a lot.

I think I squashed so many of my feelings for so long because there wasn't any time or space to have them. I'm lucky to have that time and space and safety now, but now it means dealing with all the harder emotions. Anger is easy, sadness is hard.
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Old 07-26-2019, 08:49 AM
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You bring up a really great point & I've heard it many times, from different sources. We often hit this new level of grief/healing at a point in life when we are finally feeling safe. That's exactly WHY we break - because we now have the safe space to do so.

A friend's daughter recently started breaking down about abuse from her childhood that she had minimized/stuffed & asked her therapist why now when she was feeling so loved in her marriage & happy in her family & in love with her 2 kids. The therapist said, can you think of a better time to be able to do this? A better time to expose your vulnerabilities than when you feel safe from judgment or repercussions?

I thought more on this last night & lol'd at myself because I forgot my main AHA moment regarding grief in my journey so far - that it is somehow irrevocably tied to Forgiveness.... and THAT is something I have openly struggled with a lot. I think my inability to understand & actually exercise forgiveness halted my grieving process over & over in my life.

Whether it's forgiveness toward others or myself it's definitely present in some capacity alongside grief & I know for sure that properly managing Forgiveness also requires me to Grieve the thing that was lost.

I sought resources on this & was surprised to myself circling around all kinds of info only to be led back to Brene Brown ~again~ for my AHA moment. I was listening to a podcast interview she did with Marc Maron (recommended to me by another SR member) & he called out the lack of this topic in her books.

Ultimately the book she recommended has been pivotal for me in understanding Forgiveness as well as achieving it. I'm not *there* yet but I am certainly on the path more steadily than before. This book showed me forgiveness is possible & I ended up learning more about grieving as well. I shared this in the recommended book thread:

"The Book of Forgiving: The Fourfold Path for Healing Ourselves and the World" by Desmond Tutu and Mpho Tutu

I found this via a Brene Brown podcast where she discussed how forgiveness was something she had to come back in her research because it was so much more intricate that her original theory put forward & she shared this book as a reference. I'll admit - it's been a tough read & I'm not finished - I wept for about the first 12 pages - but I still feel ok recommending it to others.

I had borrowed mine from the library but I'm going to need my own copy to highlight & mark up. This book is WORK, be warned.
I really hope this all helps!
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Old 07-26-2019, 09:28 AM
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How does it manifest? What do you do with it?
Here's an example from my journey - keep in mind, we all know I'm a little "woo-woo", so what strikes a chord for me might not for others.

I figured out at one point that I hadn't really grieved my marriage & that when there is not actual Death, we often don't have ceremonies to fall back on to help us exercise this process.

I had to grieve the pain & those broken promises. I had to let go of the expectations I'd had around us as a couple & grieve that those people were never coming back again, that same way, no matter what happened going forward because we were forever changed in the process of living our personal tragedy. We can never "go back" to "who we were" but we can create & become something wholly new moving forward.

So I buried our wedding rings. I had a little graveside service for myself & then even marked the "grave" with a stone. In the meta world, this is a also a great method of clearing an item's energy, so this made sense to me. I know I'll never wear those rings again because they represent broken promises, but I also don't want to just melt them down into a new piece for DD without clearing them energetically.

About 6-8 weeks after this, I had the urge to dig them up & put them away & I did, but over those weeks I actively grieved every time I looked at that marker in the yard beneath that tree. It gave me a place to focus my grieving & a ceremony I could relate to. It made me stop & really THINK about what I was doing, not just let it be a secondary thought lost in the background noise of my day. I dug them up to transmute them into something better for DD - to hopefully convert something broken into something beautiful.
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Old 07-26-2019, 02:28 PM
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Iíve got my exís ashes sitting in an urn in an office at work that I donít use much at the moment. Sometime in the next year Iím going to be moving back into that office and I do not want those ashes sitting there forever. But I literally canít give them away - his sisters wonít take them, his girlfriend has disappeared, none of his few remaining friends or his second ex-wife want anything to do with them, and Kid doesnít want them in our home. I am the last person that ex would have wanted to have custody of his remains because he hated me. So I am going to have to ... dump them in the river? Toss them into a forest? Pour them into a compost pile? Whatever I do, it will be a sad ending to a life that was at one point full of promise. I think some major grief is going to hit me at that point.
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Old 07-26-2019, 05:35 PM
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It is fascinating to me reading this thread, not about the act of grieving, but about what we grieve for and how it shifts as we deepen into ourselves. It is also clear how we are on unique journeys that have points of contact that can resonate.

For me sadness was less hard to feel than anger but when I finally let the anger hit I had a lot of it....and a lot of it was unresolved grief to go with it.

Now as the anger is clearing what is coming up is the loss of time.

I spent so much energy trying to be the "good" girl, trying to control things and trying to stuff my feelings that I struggle to turn to the joy and lightness of life.

I think it was in Brene's work that she helped me to see that my numbing was not just for the hard stuff, but that it also numbed the passion and fun for me.

I don't regret my life in any way. I am blessed by having the space and time to give myself time to heal. I am grieving the loss though in a little kid way for not always knowing that I deserved the abundance of the world.
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