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 Post subject: Sad Anniversary
PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 12:48 am 
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My dad died a year ago today, and I've been feeling a little down. I haven't really been talking about it; it just seems to make people uncomfortable and I can understand why. It's hard to know what to say. All of my family lives on the other side of the country and no one in my life here really knew my dad at all- even my partner only met him a few times.

Anyway. I just thought I'd put it out here to you guys. Having feelings and having to sit with those feelings and not be able to escape from them really blows sometimes. I'm glad I can do it though...too many of us addicts never get the chance to learn how.

Families are difficult and dysfunctional and infuriating sometimes - but don't forget to let the people you love know how you feel while you have the chance. I'm so glad that I took the time to mend my relationship with my dad when I did so at least I don't have a heart full of regrets now.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 1:47 am 
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You have my deepest sympathies, Diary. I know how difficult it is. I lost my father in June 2006 and I specifically remember the first year anniversary being the toughest. Please know that it will get better. We will always miss them, but now when I think of my dad (usually) I smile rather than cry. But having said that, the last week or so I've really been thinking about him a lot and missing him. It's still hard, but it does get easier. Hang in there.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 8:20 am 
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I'm very sorry to hear you are going through this. I haven't lost a parent yet and every time I think about it I get tears in my eyes (even though they frustrate me to no end these days). I think losing a parent is different than losing anyone else so I don't think I can truly understand your pain. But I can certainly empathize. It has been exactly 11 months and 1 day since I lost my cousin. He was 23 years old. As the holidays approach, I miss him so much. We are about to make a trip to see my relatives and the last time I saw him was Thanksgiving last year and we had a great time together. It is always harder over there because it is like there is a ghost where he should be on every chair or in the kitchen or playing nintendo. I can really FEEL the loss or feel that HE is missing the whole time I am there. So then it is like fighting back tears every time I sense that loss. I don't know how else to explain it but I can imagine it is quite similar to what you are experiencing now in some ways.

I hope it does get easier and better for you over time. I think you are right to suggest people mend relationships when they can because you never know when you will no longer have the opportunity.

Take care!
Cherie

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 1:15 pm 
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Thanks for the kind words, they really mean a lot.

I'm sorry about your dad, Hat; and also about your cousin, Cherie. I guess all of us are pretty much carrying around sadness and loss; which kind of makes it even sadder that grief is such a lonely and isolating process.

It does get easier with time. I used to cry in my car a lot - I think because driving is one of the few times in a day when I'm actually alone - but sometimes lately I think about him and I can smile...or at least not start bawling.

You know, it's weird, I don't believe in an afterlife but ever since he died it's like I can feel his presence around. Same thing with my grandma. I don't know what it means or where it comes from or how to explain it, but it is a comforting thing.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 3:18 pm 
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DOQ, the anniversary of your dad's death is a significant time. It does get easier with time, but....of course you will never forget him and never really stop missing him. The one thing I regret in my life is not spending more time with my dad before he died and...not being better to him...recently though, I thought, well, maybe if I'd spent more time with my dad we just would have had more fights.....well, that is kind of negative I guess....my dad was a lovely man and i loved him dearly and to this day, almost 20 years later, I still grieve for him. But it is not the same kind of acute grief of the first year after he died. I think, this time of year, with the holidays coming up, we all think of the loved ones we've lost. I feel now, the best way I can honor my father, and the only thing I can really do for him, is to try to be good to the rest of my family, especially my mother. It's not that easy, and, I don't always do that well at it, but at least I'm trying. Like you said, family can be frustrating, but...we're lucky to have family, some people don't and i think that is even harder.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 3:50 pm 
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Thanks autononymous.

I think it's lovely that you are trying to honor your dad's memory by being kind to your family and treating your mother well. And you're right, the time of year does bring up a lot of memories and in some ways that makes it more difficult - but then again there are a lot of happy memories too.

Last year during the holidays we were all in such a state of shock and everything was still very raw and intense. I'm wondering what this year will bring, though I think it will be a little easier because I'm going to stay here rather than going to my mom's house (she lives on the opposite coast from me).

One positive thing that has come of this is that my sisters and brothers and I are all calling each other and generally staying in touch a lot more than ever before. Not that we were estranged or anything, but you know how life gets busy and time slips away and we would just get updates on each other from our mom. Now we all call and email and actually talk to each other and that has been a great source of support and love.

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 Post subject: and there is is
PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 4:26 pm 
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DOQ, not to make light of your grief in any way, but I guess it is good that we can be comforted when a tragedy also brings some positive changes--like you say about being closer to your siblings since you lost your father. I am right now dealing with a difficult family situation--actually, I have moved into my brother's enclosed front porch in order to be at his house to help with our severely-disabled mother as well as other housekeeping and my two young nieces. Needless to say there are many challenges for me in this situation. But--I know that I am doing the right thing by trying to help my family, adn also, I am actually really happy about renewing my bond with my brother. and getting to know my nieces better too. On the negative side, it turns out that all the stereotypes about in-laws seem to be true--I dont' get along that well with my brother's wife, not that I don't appreciate her (it's just that I didn't choose to marry her or live with her). Anyway, I didn't mean to change the subject here, to share some of my experience. I think when a family loses a member, the dynamic changes...When my father died my brother seemed to really take on some of my father's role. and i just wanted to say, I'm glad to here that you have the comfort of feeling closer to your siblings now. It is true, that a loss can cause us to realize what we truly appreciate. I know too though, that there is nothing that can really make it ok. One thing that does help me somewhat, is to remember that, although I wish my father had lived longer, and I wish I had appreciated him more while he was alive, well, it IS the preferred chain of events that children outlive their parents. One of the most sorrowful moments of my life was meeting the father of a deceased friend at the funeral. He was so devastatingly sad and said oh a father should never outlive his son....In any case, I hope you enjoy the rest of your family for many many years and I know you will always cherish the memories of your father...and too...I know how lucky I am to have had such a loving father all the entire time that he was alive...it seems like you have that too...I hope so.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 11, 2010 8:00 am 
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Aw, crap, I don't check down here too often and I am really sorry I missed this yesterday, Diary. I am so very sorry for your loss. These things are always a gut shot when they happen, aren't they? And being clean -and for you also being off suboxone- I know this can be a very challenging emotional obstacle course that you have to navigate. I imagine there is a lot of sadness, regret and loss, but probably some anger (at yourself?) as well.

We all go through the stages of grief, which are:
1. Denial and Isolation
2. Anger
3. Bargaining
4. Depression
5. Acceptance

I suspect you are at the "Acceptance" stage at this point, but an event like this (one year anniversary of the death, maybe the person's birthday, or mothers day or fathers day, etc) can push us back to stage 4 briefly.

Obviously, there are no words I can put in this post that will ease your sadness. I think of sadness as dark paint on our spirit. Paint takes time to wear off, but eventually, it does wear off. It may never completely wear off, and there may always be little chips of this paint left, but over time, it will become more and more dull and will eventually fade.

Hang in there, Diary.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 12, 2010 3:08 pm 
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junkie - Thank you for your kind words. I'm pretty sure I've gone through every stage on that list, some of them all in one day. Grief is a messy process and there is really no controlling it, but I have to say that all of the work I've done in my recovery process has been invaluable in dealing with the pain and loss.

auto - What you are doing for your family is a beautiful thing. I can only imagine how difficult it must be to be in your position and I truly hope that you are making time to take care of yourself as well. Caregiver burnout is a real danger to adult children taking care of sick or disabled parents, so I hope you have some support for yourself as you go through this stage of your life. My mom cared for her dad at the end of his life and while she is a very strong woman with tons of energy, the process was just so draining and sad for her at times. She wanted to do it and she did it gladly, but she also returned to therapy during that time to deal with some of the feelings and issues that came up for her. If you have someone to talk to or a support group that you can access, that might be a good source of comfort and strength. And of course, we are always here for you.

I have to say that I was feeling a little bad that so few people replied to me when I posted this topic, but now I'm wondering if maybe people just didn't see it. Nevertheless, I have appreciated every word of support that I received here - it is so good to know that people care.

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-Jack Kornfield


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