8/29/13

reflections by woodrow irvin: some comments for the clueless to consider

Contributor Woodrow (Woody) sent the following eloquent comments about Condolences from the Clueless. We want to devote a  "reflections" post to his response.

Woody wrote:  

I would like to give you some of the "remarks" that were said to me before and after I lost  Joey, my partner of 11 years in January of this year due to complications from diabetes. Some days I still remember the comments and start to get bitter and angry

Comments made while Joey was in the hospital:

1) His aunt said to me: "If he doesn't make it, are you going to go back home?" [Georgia , where I was born]. I was so shocked and dumbfounded that ANYONE would say that at a time of intense stress that I was speechless.

2) His uncle said to me: "Couldn't you have gotten him down here sooner?" That upset me big time because when someone has an infection, sometimes you don't see the symptoms until much later. Don't add to my pain and stress by saying something insensitive like that!

Comments made after Joey passed away:

1) "He's in a better place and not suffering." This is the most common response I got and I know people probably mean well but the fact is it hurts to hear this because I of all people know that he is in a better place and not suffering, etc. I was with him 24/7, and I saw things no one else saw. I saw the suffering, etc. Hearing this doesn't help me because I DON'T HAVE HIM WITH ME ANY MORE.

2). "I understand how you feel!" - No you don't understand how I feel. You can sympathize but you have no idea what I'm going through, the loss and the hurt and the bitterness. Unless you have lost a partner/husband/wife, you can't understand the feelings that are so intense and painful and debilitating.

3) The evening of his passing this same aunt and uncle started to ask 20 questions like when is the service, are you going to take his ashes and sprinkle them at Disneyland, etc. that finally I said “I can't talk any more”, and hung up. I was crying and grieving. Don't ask so may questions so soon after a loss !!! Keep it brief, offer your sympathy and then say good-bye. Later, at a more appropriate time, the questions can hopefully be answered.

Joey was the type to tell me not to let people and their remarks get to me. He always said you are better than that and to let it go. Don't let it get you down and destroy you. I will always love him for saying that and THAT is what keeps me going.

Hopefully someone may read about my experiences and learn from them. I agree, most people mean well but some don't realize what they say can make the pain worse and that's the last thing we need.

Woody

8/22/13

when will this be over? part 3: i can't imagine being on my own



In Part 2 of these excerpts from our book Lost My Partner – What’ll I Do?, we discussed ways to know when your period of mourning is over.

“Will I ever get used to being on my own?”

Try to remember the time before you had a partner.

Think about what you were like and how it felt to do things on your own.

Now ask yourself:

1) What dreams and ambitions were set aside because of marriage and its responsibilities?

2) Did you used to adapt to changes more easily?

Now that you have the wisdom and experience you lacked at an earlier age, can you see how your abilities have grown and developed with time?


Please share your thoughts with us.

8/19/13

when will this be over? part 2: when will my mourning end?



In Part 1 of these excerpts from our book Lost My Partner – What’ll I Do?, we looked what influences the length of your mourning period.

“When will this be over?”

We can’t stress enough the importance of listening to yourself. If you don’t try to rush the process or let others pressure you into “snapping out of it”, you’ll know when the period of acute mourning is over. Most people tell us they know they’ve reached the end of the mourning period when they are:

· No longer preoccupied with their loss. This doesn’t mean they no longer think about or miss their spouse/partner, only that they’ve found a place inside themselves for that loved one.

· Ready to begin making new attachments in their lives. This doesn’t necessarily mean dating or finding a new partner, but rather feeling like they can risk closeness to other people again.

· On the way to creating a new sense of who they are. You used to be the other half of a couple, and now you aren’t. When you marry, you blend yourself into who your spouse/partner is, in order to become a couple. The length of your marriage and the age at which you married will affect the extent to which your sense of identity is based on being part of that couple.

In Part 3, we look at some important questions to ask yourself .

8/15/13

when will this be over? part 1: how long will i be in mourning?





(Excerpted from our book, Lost My Partner – What’ll I Do? Revised and Expanded Edition).

The mourning process is often described as feeling as though you’re stuck on a roller-coaster.

Nobody chooses this ride, but once it starts, you have to hold on tight and trust you’ll eventually be back on solid ground. The first few dips can be unsettling, and just when the track straightens out and you think you can finally relax, there may be a few more dips before you get to the finish.

The hopeful news is, if you don’t try to jump out before the ride ends, and if you have someone (or a group) beside you for support, the dips will come less frequently, and you’ll recover more quickly.

“How long will this ride take?”

In most cultures of the world, the period of mourning is traditionally one year, however, the answer is different for everyone.

How long yours lasts depends on:

1) Whether your spouse/partner’s death was sudden or expected and the circumstances of his/her death. An expected death generally gives you time to do some anticipatory grieving. A death caused by sudden and/or unusual circumstances will take longer to mourn, because there was no chance to prepare for the loss.

2) The emotional climate of your relationship with your spouse/partner. Troubled marriages tend to take longer to mourn.

3) How you’ve mourned previous losses in your life.

4) The ways you’ve observed family members mourn, which gave you (rightly or wrongly) a model of how to grieve. Was it important to appear “strong” and unemotional?

5) Whether you’ve lost anyone else recently. You may feel overwhelmed by “still another loss.

In part 2, we’ll offer ways to know when your mourning period is winding down.