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DrasticDreamer's avatar

Grief. How long was your process?

Asked by DrasticDreamer (23983points) January 8th, 2010

I realize that the grieving process is different for everyone, and that the time it takes to grieve is also different for each person. And preferably, I’d like to hear from people that had a very close relationship with the person that died, and I would also like to hear from people that experienced sudden, unexpected loss. When someone has lived a full life and died in old age… It’s just a little different than when someone dies young, or kills themselves.

Anyway… When did persistent thoughts slow down? When were you able to focus on work or school again? How badly was your work or schoolwork effected? When could you sleep again? Did you blame yourself at all? What type of thoughts are even normal?

I’m starting to seriously wonder if I should talk to someone, but I really don’t want to. I hate the idea of opening up to a stranger like that, and honestly… I seriously doubt if it would even help me cope. I don’t know if I could ever be comfortable enough in that situation to allow it to help me. And I don’t know how to become comfortable with it.

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17 Answers

Grisaille's avatar

Drastic. Stop doing this to yourself.

Quit worrying about opening yourself up, or anything of the sort. You will mend. Please go see someone.

Jude's avatar

It was my Mom and it was sudden (3 months after she was diagnosed with terminal cancer). At first, the pain was a sharp, piercing pain in my heart. Emotional pain.

It has been 3 years, now. I still grieve and the hurt is still there. But, the pain isn’t that piercing pain anymore. It’s a perpetual ache. I’m doing my best to move on and feel better. My Mom wouldn’t want me to be hurting. The first few Christmas’, I didn’t enjoy them. This past one, though, I did. And, you know, I realized that that’s what she would want; for our family to be happy and enjoy the holidays. Would our loved ones want US to suffer? No.

I tried grief counselling and it helped. I suggest that you do the same, sweetie.

My thoughts are with you and my heart goes out to you.

Shield_of_Achilles's avatar

A friend of mine Shot himself in the face with a shotgun about 2 years back.

The pain never truly goes away, I still find myself about to text him to see whats going on, then it dawns on me that he’s not around anymore.

You’ll get better, it’ll hurt less, it just take a little readjusting. Keep on keeping on, life does get better. Trust me.

marinelife's avatar

When I lost my sister at the age of 49, I was a mess for months. Really, I called 2005 my lost year.

My thoughts were scattered and I had trouble focusing.

I slept a lot, because I was depressed.

It seemed like the loss was very near the surface for months. Just anything could make me cry.

ccrow's avatar

Personally, I think it’s easier to open up to someone who is a stranger; you don’t care so much what they think, especially a counselor, who hears all kinds of stuff from people. It certainly isn’t helping you to not talk to someone, right?
How long? Who knows… it does get easier, but very slowly. And sometimes it will come out of nowhere & grab you. :-(

tinyfaery's avatar

My mom died about a month and a half ago. I was able to focus and go back to my regular life immediately. But, I randomly break into tears a few times a week. My grief comes in waves.

marinelife's avatar

@tinyfaery makes a good point. I forgot about the waves. I had waves too where things would cycle back around at different levels.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

You have been advised to stop worrying about opening up and just get help. Please do it.
I’m still available if you want to talk to me.

tedibear's avatar

My mom died almost 16 years ago. While the waves have subsided, (good description, tinyfaery) they do show up sometimes. It has faded from complete and encompassing grief to, “Damn, I wish mom were here.” The grief does fade, but it takes time and support.

fireinthepriory's avatar

My dad died suddenly when I was 11 years old. He committed suicide, and I hadn’t even known he had depression, so it was quite a shock. I was being homeschooled at the time, and all learning ceased abruptly – mostly because, well, my teacher was dead (it’s almost funny, now) but I think I would have had to leave school for the rest of the year anyway. The worst was the point where I wasn’t thinking about it all the time anymore, and would forget for a few hours… remembering again was awful. This was maybe six months after his death, and lasted for maybe a year.

I couldn’t talk about it until years later, and like yourself, I couldn’t bring myself to talk to therapists about it. I don’t think I was mostly better until a good 7 years after his death. One friend in particular really helped me, even though I don’t think he even knows it. I don’t know why he was helpful in particular, but for some reason I felt like I could talk to him… and it did help.

At this point I can type all this out and I feel only a twinge of sadness. I still get sad on the anniversary of his death, and on important days like graduations or birthdays. It’s also hard when my little brother and sister (who were 7 and 4 at the time of his death) ask me about him, because I know my brother barely remembers him, and my sister doesn’t at all.

I loved him. He wasn’t around as long as he should have been. But I’m glad he was around for the time that he was, you know? You can get to a better place, and you will get to a better place. But I can’t tell you that it’s not incredibly difficult. I’m sorry for your loss, Dreamer. I hope you find what will help you, whether it be therapy or painting or swimming in the ocean… Just know that you won’t feel this bad forever.

majorrich's avatar

My best friend died in a small aircraft accident 13 August 1999 I still grieve a bit on his anniversary. I visit him and smoke a cigar and share a beer with him. It helps a lot.
My father passed away 14 January 2008 after a long illness so we had lots of time to grieve and say goodbye before he died so the pain is much less.
On 14 April 1993 Cpl.John Robbins, a man in my command was killed at a food distribution point in Somalia. He died in my arms and was young enough to be my son. I still have nightmares and grieve deeply for what I could have avoided. We weren’t required to be there. We were there to help keep militia members from hijacking the load.

I guess it all depends on how close you are to the person and the involvement you have in the death. I’m afraid I may still be grieving for John and for the men I sent into harms way after I was transferred to a Headquarters unit. When you pray for our troops in the Gulf, please remember their commanders who have to sign what might be their death orders.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

My wife was killed in a traffic accident 6NOV09. We were totally dependant on one another. Meghan was a superior person to me in every way. Every day since her funeral has been a separate decision to remain alive. I’m nothing but a hollow shell, mere existance. I’ve been told that time heals; I’ve yet to see it and I’m unsure if I want to.

ccrow's avatar

Aww, @stranger_in_a_strange_land that’s no time at all, yet…I’m so sorry.

wilma's avatar

I am so sorry @stranger_in_a_strange_land . I believe it will get better for you, please keep trying.
My dad died a month ago. @tinyfaery said it, it comes in waves.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@stranger_in_a_strange_land I don’t know if I want to, either. I understand, completely. And I’m sorry.

filmfann's avatar

@DrasticDreamer I am sorry for your loss. Everyone has different approaches to grieving. I usually seek out solitude for a few days. I deal with it better when there aren’t a lot of people around me reminding me of how bad I feel.

JLeslie's avatar

I went through a bad break up, which does not compare to the losses mentioned here, but for months I did not want to feel better, I completely understand that feeling. It took me almost 6 months to feel kind of normal. I remember making it to the afternoon one day when it occured to me I had not thought of him all day, that was when I knew I was getting better. Intially I would wake early from a sleep, dry heaves, shaking for what seemed to be no reason, no appetite. At the worst part of it, around a month in when I was still physically out of control I started taking Xanax, which was a gift. I could not feel emotionally better while my physical seemed so out of control. I took the meds for about 6 weeks. I would say it took about 2 years for me to be completely done with mourning the relationship.

I have several friends who have lost people very close to them to death and many follow a similar pattern, about 4 to 6 months of continuous thoughts and feelings of intense sadness and dread, and then a year or two more before total acceptance and the ability to think about and talk about that person without being thrown back into a very emotional state.

If you don’t want to talk to a therapist maybe read a self help type of book on grieving.

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