How Do I Get Through This?

Lost my stepfather just over 3 weeks ago and the pain is just crushing me. Some days I feel like I just want to crumple in a heap. He was 88 and had gone into hospital due to a chest infection. We got a call after he had been in for a week to say that his heart had suddenly stopped and they where trying to resuscitate him. The nurses had just been straightening his bed and chatting and then noticed he had suddenly stopped breathing. It was so quick. I am trying to support my mum 81, who is very vulnerable now. I worry that she will be lonely as we have no other family and I work full time. She is not very mobile. I just cant see a way through right now and I have the most awful feeling in the pit of my stomach that will not go away. It seems to be that the quietest of people can leave the biggest silence when they are gone and so it is with my lovely ‘dad’. His death has thrown up so many feelings that I cant stop my mind form racing and there seems no peace at any time of the day or night. Friends and colleagues and so on mean well but they don’t want to hear about your pain too much and yet it is all I can feel. I hope to find some support on here. Thank you.

Hi Yvonne im extremely sorry for your loss .My advice is take it one day at a time .Your nightmare is very raw have you or your mum seen your gp ? they can give you medication to help you .Theres also Cruse (ask a t gp theres usualy a waiting list )also theres the samaritians (i do all 3 im 57 my darling wife passed last year she was 41 ).Youll find plenty of support on here .Theres Priscilla community manager she can put you touch with people on here.No one will tell you to shut up or go away on here .Death is a very special subject and youve found the special club to chat when and whenever you ,like .Dont be a stranger on here Big hugs Colin

Thankyou for your kind message of support. I am trying to push through the pain but I know I need to seek extra help at some point. Even just to shut my mind down at night to rest which I cant seem to do at the moment so am feeling pretty drained. Nothing prepares you for this time when it comes. Its strange really because its actually the only certainty in life is that is not forever for any of us. So why does it feel like a punch in the gut. Like all the breath has been taken out of you. Its a pain like no other. I keep trying to bring the nice memories to the fore but its so hard right now. I am sorry for you loss too and it seems like this forum is helping you through the dark days. I think you may find me on here quite a lot while I work through what as you rightly say is a nightmare. Thankyou so much once again for caring enough to want to help someone else. Yvonne

Yvonne i got sleeping tablets from gp to get a few night rest .Your brain definitely needs release .They helped me they knocked me out for 8 hours each time

Colin
I will probably have to do that because the early hours seem to be the worst time for laying awake with you mind racing. Its like an overload and everything is ten times worse in the silence of the early hours.

Yvonne yes i agree .Im a yorkshire man i dont beat about the bush .Your nightmare doesnt have a script it will twist and turn at different times ,But sleep and eating is essential just to muddle through each day .Time is a great healer with death i disagree .It forces you to think differently .And the phrase how long is a piece of string definitely fits what you i and the rest of the people on here are going through

Hi Yvonne - I am sorry that your life has changed so drastically, but glad that you have joined our Online Community. I see that you’ve already received support here from another member, which I hope is helping you to know that you are not alone.
It must have been such a shock for you when your dear stepfather died so suddenly, and not only are you trying to accept this, you are obviously really concerned about your mother’s future. I think you are definitely going to need to talk things over with your GP - it would be a small step to start making sense of what has happened, and the traumatic effect it has had on your life.
Please don’t feel that you have got to hide your emotions from others - and as Colin has said, try and take one day at a time.
I am thinking of you as you face the next few difficult weeks, with kind regards, Jackie

Hi Yvonne

So sorry to read your posts about your Dad. It is so hard losing a parent, they leave such a huge gap. I have a Mum sized and shaped hole in my life from her loss last summer. The pain you have mentioned is all encompassing and I had forgotten it from when my Dad passed away many years ago until I experienced it again.

Take lots of time for yourself. Something that drove me mad when Dad went was everyone asked how Mum was which was lovely but I wanted to say to them, ‘What about me’. I still am not sleeping properly and just take naps during the day if I need to which has worked for me. Are you back at work yet, may not be the answer for you if you are. Lying in bed going over things is awful though so sleeping pills may work better for you. I found holding something of Mums calms me, one of her hankies in my case and having a small photograph of her by my bed as the last thing I see before turning the light off. If you can manage to eat something however small it does help even if you feel you are not hungry. The last thing you need is to become ill.

You mention friend and colleagues not understanding if you want to talk. Share memories with your Mum. There is honestly nothing wrong with having a good old cry together as you remember happier times. It relieves tension and stops you bottling emotions up.

You sound a lovely warm person and really caring of your Mum. She is very lucky to have you.

Take care, I am sending you a big cyber hug.
Mel

SLEEPING TABLETS may sound like a good idea but just be very careful as it has its own side effects and may become addictive, furthermore it’s a quick fix to something which may take more than few tablets to drown your sorrow and actually allow you to grieve properly.

it is true we all need sleep, and sleep deprivation can cause havoc to an already vulnerable mind - i know, i’ve suffered from this.

i do suggest you talk to your GP first before considering taking any drugs like sleeping tablets or anti-depressants. and do your OWN research too. google is our friend !

i personally prefer the more “organic” approach to relaxation but each to its own.

i’ve been taking magnesium supplements (mg bisglycinate to help me sleep and mg mallate for energy/metabolism) and i’d eat foods high in magnesium (dark green leafy veg, spinach, pumpkin seeds, salmon etc) and my quality of sleep has improved tremendously and so have my level of stress AND i don’t suffer from depression as badly as i used to (i still get grumpy but i blame the british weather for that!!).

magnesium is good for calming the nerves and relaxing the muscles.

i also drink herbal tea (saffron tea or chamomile are my favourite) and i do mindfulness meditation. you can learn breathing and visual techniques that can help you calm down.

all of these are NOT quick fix and it takes awhile for your body to naturally relax and reap the benefits but with all the scary side effects of the prescription drugs, i personally prefer the more hollistic approach. you will not get suicidal from eating a bunch of spinach !

i do wish you well and have faith that it will get easier.

remember, we are stronger than we give ourselves credit for and we WILL get through this. hang in there and be gentle with yourself.

Thankyou so much for the helpful and kind support I am getting. I know that time will soften the pain and I need to take care of myself. I suppose when everything is so raw it seems such an ordeal to even get through the basic things. Even eating seems difficult. I did have a cup of valerian tea last night and I am very interested in alternative methods of coping. I have been reading about visualisation today and it was interesting to note the personal stories of those who use it. Anything that helps has to be good. I had 10 days away from work after we lost dad and then I went back on half days for a week, next I have to try full time again. I can only try and see how things go on a daily basis. Life must go on. Having a pet is a great help because my little dog needs his walks and food and my love still and he is a comfort. I feel such an incredible mix of emotions from anger to despair but fortunately no regrets. I know that dad knew I loved him and I was lucky to have him in my life. I suppose I need to get past wishing that this all had never happened but of course you cant turn back the clock. It makes me think of that poem that was used in a film and the end line was ‘for nothing now can come to any good’. I look at mum and I just ache for her in her loneliness. She has no siblings and my dads family(I use the term loosely) have just left her to it which my mind just cannot comprehend. It has made the whole trauma that much worse.

i’m glad you took time off work and being gentle with yourself. i’ve been very lucky with work too…i was off for 3 weeks in August, then 6 weeks in December and another week in January to be home with my Dad and they still haven’t fired me…phew !

from the sound of it you have the right attitude towards your grieving - you have the awareness that it is very difficult at the moment but you are aware of the need to take care of yourself.

i do believe that if your body is strong and healthy your mind will be too and vice versa - so we need to really be proactive to find the balance between the two in order to get through this and in time we WILL ! and not just through this testing times, but the rest of our lives too…

valerian based tea and supplements are great, what brand of tea is it and where did you get it from? i would take Valdrian (tablets made from valerian roots I bought from the Nutrition Centre shop) when I’m feeling anxious (not just the usual jittery feeling before an interview but more of the precursor of an anxiety attack) and it seems to help.

visualisation & mindfulness meditation are fantastic as a way to put a “spanner in your mind” - to refocus your mithering brain and the breathing technique that goes with it will help you calm down as it slows your heart rate and expands your lungs

all those feelings you are experiencing are completely NORMAL and expected so just go with it…it will come and go in waves, and sometimes they can be quite draining and overwhelming but hang in there.

the trick i’ve learnt (which works most times) is to label those feelings, give it a name - this way you “own” it and somehow it seem to have less power over you. and i’d say a mantra like “THIS is what grief feels like” or “THIS is what guilt feels like” etc. OR you can say something like “something in me/a part of me is feeling sad right now” instead of “i’m feeling sad”. these are all a way to manage our feelings/stress just so that it wont spiral out of control needlessly.

key is not to deny the feelings but embrace it…somehow

Hi Yvonne I know exactly how your feeling I lost my dad just over a month ago Friday 13th would you believe! Sometimes I’m hurting like hell other days I feel absolutely nothing at all I feel awful! This was also quick he had a short battle with bowel cancer! We’d arranged and still got the text on my phone to say we’d see him at home on the Fri afternoon but took a turn for the worst and was admitted to the hospice where we went to see him I couldn’t believe who that man was he wasn’t my dad he looked awful so so ill! I just can’t believe he’s gone it’s not sinking in he said he was well enough for visitors at home then just all of a sudden! I’m just glad we visited him at the hospice on Fri afternoon as I was going to go on the Saturday and would have been too late it feels to me like he waited until he’d seen everyone he wanted then went! It hurts me that no one was with him when he passed but maybe that’s what he wanted! In a away I’m glad he’s at piece cuz he could of suffered for months! I sometimes look at these old people going about their every day lives and hate them as my dad worked hard all his life and only took early retirement due to illness! He was only 61 So never got the chance to enjoy the rest of his life! But he did get to meet all five grandchildren! My mind item does slide shows! My thorts are with you! Xx!

I lost my dad just over a month ago Friday 13th of january would you believe!! To bowel cancer my feelings are all over the place one minute I hurt like hell the next I feel nothing at all! I just can not believe he’s gone! It’s not sinking in!!!

I’m so sorry to hear your loss…

ANY date would be tattooed on our minds when it comes to losing our loved ones but yes, that particular date will bring more meaning to you but I hope you can resist the temptation to make unnecessary associations with the “unlucky” nature of that date with your father’s passing - it would be very unhealthy to do so.

be rest assured that what you are going through and feeling is absolutely NORMAL. you will go through all sorts of emotions, it comes and goes in waves and strengths.

and as for feeling nothing, don’t be scared as I sometimes actually forget my Dad’s gone! i’d go through my day as normal…and then suddenly BAM! and i thought ‘oh my God…he’s actually gone…i forgot he’s died!’ but other days, that’s the only thing on my mind.

at first i felt bad and guilty, like a terrible daughter or perhaps there’s something wrong with me…but i discovered it’s our own body/mind trying to protect ourselves from the pain/trauma - to enable us to heal and move on. and it’s a normal human reaction for our mind to sometimes block things out. don’t feel guilty or bad…it’s just part of the grieving process.

just keep saying to yourself “there is no right or wrong way to go about this…there is no time limit…this is not a competition…and i shall deal with this in my own way and at my own pace. the important thing is i AM DEALING with it”

hang in there and keep posting your thoughts on here, it helps…

Hi Yvonne. I have just joined the community, following the death of my husband 7 weeks ago. Next Thursday I am starting a six week course on Mindfulness, which comes highly recommended. I expect to feel a lot of emotions, but describe my emotional life at present as having a life of its own. I went on anti depressants about a year ago when my husband was very ill, and I do think they have helped. I am usually better as the day goes on. My GP agrees that I should stop taking them when I am ready. So I think my present approach is a combination of conventional and ‘alternative’ approaches. By the way, when my husband became very ill I slept badly and lost tons of weight. I wa about 7 stone, but am only 5 foot tall. I now sleep well, and am eating properly and am putting on weight. Haven’t a clue what will happen next…

hi SGC,

really glad you are going on the Mindfulness Course ! I have been practising mindfulness meditation for the last 2 years and it has helped me got through a LOT of stress, anxiety and loss AND it has also taught me a lot on how to enjoy being in the moment/the present. so it’s not just about dealing with the crap life throws at you, but also teaches you on how to truly enjoy the wonderful things life has to offer too.

good luck and i genuinely hope you will benefit from it …just go in with an open mind and persevere.

Thanks Jude. I find what you say about Mindfulness really cheering. I had a massage a few weeks ago and told the masseuse I was going to do Mindfulness. She said to persevere as I might go through some tough emotions. I am going with a friend, so she will make sure I don’t chicken out. In any case I know that processing emotions is tough, but there really is no alternative. Must get cracking now, but I will be back! X

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Hi Yvonne. I think it is common for people to wait until their loved ones have left, and then allow themselves to die. My lovely father in law certainly did that, and he was unconscious when he died. If you read things about near death experiences, people say they have had the most wonderful feeling of peace and joy, so I choose to believe they are not alone at the point of death. It comforts me anyway. My husband died 7 weeks ago very suddenly. Nobody was in the room with him. I think he has popped back a couple of times to say he is ok. That gives me comfort. X