Topic: Hello from a new user

Hello,

My name is Michael. I'm a 25 year old part-time student and writer and lost my grandmother to bile duct cancer on September 28 of this year. Along with my mother I was her other primary caregiver during her illness.

I know that regular users here have problably heard all this before so I beg pardon but I'm just trying to find a way to get this all out.

My grandmother Dolores was 72 when she died and she was both a second mother to me (as my own mother moved in with her after my birth) and my best friend.

I haven't posted here before because I've frankly been in a daze--she was diagnosed August 18 and died September 28. The first month after her death moved by fast but this second month has been very long and difficult. I feel lost, unachored. I get up every day, get dressed, do all my regular things but honestly I'd like to stay in bed for a couple of months, that's how I feel. I already diagnosed as having a mild case of Asperger's Syndrome, dysthemic depression, and panic attacks apart from all this but now they feel intensified beyond anything I've experienced. I'm going to hospice counseling and my doctor at least once a month now but I find I'm just so tired emotionally and so sad and anxious so much of the time. I'm afraid of being alone for long periods because my mind focused overwhelmingly on her. I don't even know where I'm going with this post but I just wanted to ask if anyone has any words or practical advice, apart from medical advice, about dealing with severe grief on a daily basis. Can anyone help with this?

Thanks,
Michael

"Its okay to hold onto grief, just as long as you make room for other things." ~ Bubbles from "The Wire"

Re: Hello from a new user

Hello Michael and welcome to our site.  You lost your grandma in less than a month that in itself is traumatic.  You are bound to feel overwhelming grief as your grandma was one of your closest people in your life.  I believe that we have to acknowledge the profound effect a loss of this magnitude has on our life. Only then are we able to move through the grieving process.  There is no set time, as to how we move through the stages of grief.   This is a process as individual as each person. 
You are doing everything right in that you are in counseling with both, hospice and a private physician.  Additionally, the members on this site will be offering much support, because we understand and we can share with you and relate to your feelings. 
Additionally, I would recommend for you to contact our very own Dr. Giles.  In addition to being a licensed psychologist, Dr. Giles also has lost his best friend to this disease.  This combination of experience makes Dr. Giles one of the most valuable assets this foundation can offer to its members. 
Please, reach out to him.  You may find him by following these steps: 
top bar, patient support, Dr. Giles. 
We are here to help. We are in this together.  Therefore, please stay with us on this board.  I am sure that many would like to share with you their thoughts.  This is a wise group of people, who are kind, caring, and considerate and who will be by your side, all the way. 
Many hugs,
Best wishes,
Marion

THIS INFORMATION IS NOT INTENDED NOR IMPLIED TO BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE. YOU SHOULD ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF YOUR PHYSICIAN OR OTHER QUALIFIED HEALTH CARE PROVIDER

Re: Hello from a new user

Hello Michael and welcome to our wonderful family. We are so very sorry to hear about your Grandmother. Being a Grandmother myself I know how much one can miss the love of a Grandparent. It is a very special bond. It's hard enough to be a Caretaker of a patient for Months and I can only imagine the shock of loosing a loved one so quickly. It sounds like you are doing the right things to help you in your grief and while the grief is paramount right now it will soften and you will have wonderful memories taking it's place. Your Grandmother is at Peace and in time you will feel her all around you, still watching over you as she did before. Prayers go out to you and your family.

Teddy ~In our hearts forever~ATTITUDE is EVERYTHING
Any suggestion I offer is intended as friendly advice based solely on my own experience. Please consult your doctor for professional guidance.

Re: Hello from a new user

Michael, I lost my husband Wayne to cc nine months ago.  There is not a day or hour that I don't think of him.  Then last week my mother also passed to God's presence. 

For the first few months I went to the doctor, but I thought I could handle this on my own.  Wrong, in June I started six weeks at hospice group couseling, and weekly individual couseling.  I don't know where I would be without that individual couseling, she has become like a best friend.  She knows things about me that know one else knows.  I can tell her anything.  She has talked me through times that I just wanted to end it all.  She has me promise I will not miss a session.  These couselors or not here to judge but to walk you through the months, or however long it takes for you to be able to somewhat whole again. 

This morning while getting dressed for work, I was listening to a minister, he was asked the question of how long we should grieve.  He told the listeners that everone has there own time line no one is the same.  So, of course that set off the tears.  When I shut my eyes I can see his last few minutes and it isn't pretty, I don't talk about that except to the couselor. 

When my couselor found out that my mother passed away she came to the funeral home to see how I was.  No one else knew who she was, but she was a knight in shining armor to me.

I believe in individual counseling!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Love to my Wayne for 36 years
I'm not a widow, I am a wife
We are only apart for heaven's sake
You are waiting for me at heaven's gate

Re: Hello from a new user

As a counselor, I can tell you that in counseling you can share your feelings and thoughts in ways that are more difficult in any other setting. You can talk about your pain, your sadness, your anger to someone who is supportive and knowledgable. You have getting by the best you can right now and think about that as being "good enough". You need to experience your grief in your own way. Keep reaching out to others, get the feelings out of your body, express your thoughts and feelings to release the build up of pressure. Know that people care about you and what you have experienced. Keep coming back here. Blessings, Susan

Re: Hello from a new user

Michael, My heart breaks for you.  It is so sad to have someone you love taken too soon.  Keep going to counseling and reading posts on this site.  Everyone posting is a caring and loving individual.  Everyone gives you support and love.  Your Mom is probably just as hurt and maybe you can talk with her also, because together you might be able to help each other with your thoughts and remembering all of the good times.  Take care.

Re: Hello from a new user

This is bit of a long post so here we go:

First off, I need to thank you all for your kind and encouraging words. I've been thinking alot about each post and the other topics on the board as well. Your words mean more than I can possibly say.

Before I go any further I have to tell you that I have had some pre-existing mental and emotional issues long before my grandmother got sick. I am officially diagnosed as having Obsessive Complusive Disorder, Dysthemic Depression, and Tourette's-like symptoms. Because of some unsual other features of my mental and emotional makeup my psychiatrist thought I might have something resembling Asperger's (which would explain alot of disparate phenomena) and am prone to panic attacks and general anxiety as well.

I have to say all this out loud because I'm trying (and failing) to understand the increasing bizarre character of my grief. This last month has been both the best and worst since her death which is very disorienting.

In the last month (well, really two months) I have had more panic attacks than I can remember having in the last 2 years. I find myself becoming depressed/distraught/anxious at the drop of a hat -- especially when something reminds me of her--which is often. Almost two years ago my family was kind and generous enough to support me as I have been fighting for social security disability to get help for my mental disorders and as a result of that I spent almost every day with my grandmother during that time and now find myself with a large amount of alone time and its grinding me down. I seize any opportunity to visit someone or go out for fresh air or work on some activity but I am still left with some much time alone (and when I'm alone the sad memories of her feel always close by). And every now and then I just explode with tears, raw emotion, and panic and its a horrible experience. I'm not generally someone who fights back tears in general and I don't believe in emotional repression--I don't object to the tears and emotions as they come and yet sometimes they still explode like a sleeping volcano I didn't know was there.

And yet, in spite of all that, some very good things have happened to. Beyond the start of a new relationship with someone I really like, I can't explain it but it like I can see the dawn coming over the horizon--I am beginning to be able to see that my life is just beginning and one day I will reach a new kind of happiness--but its just the contours, I can't see what that happiness and new life will be like. Above all what I began feeling several times this month was a sense of real hope. And I know, know without doubt, that that is what my grandmother wanted for me and that somehow she's watching and is happy for me. But still it makes the tremendous grief I've felt (which seems to grow with each month) all the worse.

Her sudden death came after years of her dealing with what seemed like a fair number of minor health issues and then suddenly one of them was the one that killed her. Her death has not only taught me again how precious life is but its all over much too fast. It's created a renewed fear of illness and death in me that I have no precedent for. I don't want it to become an obsession that cripples the slow prgress I'm making. I wake up with the fear of a panic attack or deep despair before its even happened this last week and its scarying the hell out of me. This sadness is like waking up with a buzzard on my shoulder which I'm trying my damnedest to not always pay attention to but its very hard.

Having said so much and unburdened myself I do want to say I am still going to grief counseling (who has agreed I am on a genuine and healthy path of grief and am making real progress) and my personal physician and this week and trying to restart my treatment at the psyhiatric and counseling center I used to attend. So I am determined to get help but I'm just so mentally tired and confused.

Anyway, thank you all for listening and again for your good advice.

"Its okay to hold onto grief, just as long as you make room for other things." ~ Bubbles from "The Wire"

8 (edited by slittle1127 Sun, 19 Dec 2010 12:29:48)

Re: Hello from a new user

Dear Michael - You are doing the best you can and that's "good enough." Good enough is just that - good enough. Grief seems to have a life of its own sometimes. One of my professors helped me through a period of grief by saying that when the grief comes crashing over, imagine that my loved one is coming for a visit. If she showed up at my front door (unannounced), how would I react. Of course, I would invite her in and we would visit for a spell. Once I started viewing my grief episodes as a visit from my loved one, they became so much more manageable. I didn't get so concerned about when they came or where or how, but that it was a time for a visit. I don't know if this helps you, but it helped me a lot.

It is  also ok to take control of our emotions (the best we can) and not let them take control of us. Have you been journaling? Getting the emotions out of our bodies is a good thing. If you are able to journal or work out or walk, these are all good ways of moving the emotions from inside to outside.

Hold your loved ones memories close, stay in counseling, look for ways to relax (deep breathing with your eyes closed is good) and don't fear what the future holds (you can't change it anyway.)

Blessings to you and best wishes in your new relationship. Susan

P.S. Oh yes, I forgot - count your blessings - it really makes a difference and can reduce anxiety. Remember anxiety is a lot about worrying about the future and what "might" happen. Counting blessings moves our focus even for a little while.

Re: Hello from a new user

Wow Michael, you totally summed up how I feel when you said, "This sadness is like waking up with a buzzard on my shoulder which I'm trying my damnedest to not always pay attention to but its very hard."  That's exactly how I feel every morning!

Sorry to hear about your rough patches, but glad to hear about the positives that have been going on for you.  Hang in there - that's all we can do!

~Kim
my mother lost her 16 month battle with CC 9/26/10
"Mothers have as powerful an influence over the welfare of future generations as all other earthly causes combined."

Re: Hello from a new user

Michael,

Welcome to our little family here. A grandparent relationship is very special and you and your grandmother were lucky to be so close.

After my mom died I also experienced more panic attacks and my general anxiety level is definitely increased. My mother's illness and death made me realize how little control I have over my life and that is enough to make one uneasy and feel that the future really is a very uncertain concept.

There are some things that help me--walking, playing with my nieces and nephews, even shoveling snow has helped me recently as it is a mindless activity with a satisfying result.

I did a cursory search and this website seems pretty helpful and comprehensive  and even talks about writing about your grief:

http://www.squidoo.com/coping

I have also recommended this book before and since you are a writer it might speak to you:

http://www.worldcat.org/title/mourning- … ef_results

Patty

p.s. You are a very good writer!