How ?

“It doesn’t get better, but it becomes different”

That comment, and variations on it, is frequently made on the forum.

Can somebody explain it properly ? What, exactly, changes? At the three month point I’d like an idea of what is down the road.

I know that I’ll be told that “three months is early days” and that things are still raw, and/or (from some quarters) that the bad news is that things don’t get better and the only release is one’s own death. Notwithstanding this, if anybody can offer a more analytical answer to my question, I’d be mightily obliged.

I’m not sure there’s an answer to this which would apply to each of us. I suspect that we each have the wherewithal to make it different but having the commitment is something else. At a simplistic level things change daily… Neither good nor bad as we put our own label on that.
My mantra is that I can do this, I will do this. I just need to keep convincing myself.
I already know my grief will remain more or less intact. I intend to exist, survive and then live around it. I can’t really tell you how just yet as, like you, it’s very early days.

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HI Edwin

I haven’t got an analytical answer either. I think it’s more about emotions. We cannot change what has happened. The only thing we can change is ourselves. It depends on our circumstances. If we are lucky to still have family who love us,or a faith, it is probably easier to find a reason to carry on but if we have no one then it’s more difficult. How long it takes to heal ourselves in body, mind and spirit is different for us all. It can take years. Younger people may be able to change their lives and even find another partner, older people may not want to change and prefer to live with their memories. There is no way to hurry this process. I am ‘better’ a year down the line physically, mentally and emotionally but I know I still have a long way to go on this grieving journey. The old ‘life’ has gone and I’m trying to find a ‘life’.

Yvonne

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Hi Edwin Scorpio and Yorkshire Lad have both explained perfectly,
I have endured
I have been broken
I have known hardship
I have lost myself
But here i stand
Still moving forward
Growing stronger each day.
For me Edwin i am 10 months in grief,and have gained a strength to keep moving,at first i wanted to go to after my husband passed,i ate very little,slept hardly at all,and felt total despair,where i am now,i eat to try and stay healthy,sleep is still poor but slightly better,i cry but not all day every day,i interact with others more,the pain is still heartbreaking,always will be,so there are small changes as the months go on,and as Scorpio said i am better in myself so to speak than months ago,but i am not happy,i am not content,and may never be again,but as i said i am finding a strength from somewhere in the depth of despair.I like your new photo Edwin is that your lovely wife x

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Hi Edwin,

I couldn’t fathom what “not better, but different” meant either, in my earlier times. But I have had a couple of bursts of thinking “Hey! I think I know what that means now.” I think you will come to know what it means when you experience it yourself. For me, it’s something like this: My third widowed Christmas is coming, and my Ken still isn’t here. Does that hurt? Yes, and I suspect it will continue to do so for some time. So in that sense it isn’t “better”. But the pain isn’t generally the overwhelming horror-show the first one was. The pain is there, but it’s different. Also, my relationship with Ken is certainly different because it’s non-physical - not better, but different and still growing and evolving.

Hope that makes even a little sense, mate

Louise

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…And I don’t want to muddy the waters further, good people… I was just thinking, “But if something doesn’t cause the overwhelming pain that it used to, doesn’t that mean ‘better’? Mightn’t we just as well use that word?” And my answer is no, the word “better” doesn’t fit. To me, “better” implies the wound no longer hurting. That’s not true for me, and I’m not sure it ever will be. If it’s less overwhelming at least sometimes, it’s just got…different. Semantics matter to me, and I think many of us find that language, certain words, take on a different meaning in grief. For the first year, I couldn’t use the word “enjoy” even if I was quite liking something.

Big hugs for all who need them xo

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Thanks all. You have given me quite a bit to think about.

Yes, Robina, my new profile photo is Eileen aged about 8, showing off a new dress that her widowed Mum had made her.
The Forum program crops photos, hence the cut off top, but (ahem !) you get the picture !

Well Edwin, I think you have been well and truly answered. I can’t think of anything to add to what has already been said very eloquently. Xx

Hello Everyone, In reading through this thread I am reminded of a saying that sums it up for me, especially when “well meaning” people who do not have a clue tell me I am “getting better.” To that I respond, “I am not getting better, I am just getting better at it.”
The “IT” is the face I put on for others. “IT” is the role I play. I appear to be strong and carrying on, when really I am bleeding inside and wishing I could just hide away. Sometimes the daily distractions help, but that ache is always there. I often want to turn myself inside out, to show others where the grief is hiding. I am not sure where I heard that quote,but it certainly resonates for me as I mourn the death of my beloved sister, 7 months on now. Thank you for listening. Sister2

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I feel very fortunate to have been born in 1950 and that neither I nor none of my children have been expected to join up to fight in a war. My Grandfather and my Father both were there, doing their duty, and like many young men, and some women, were involved in the theatre of war. They were never the same people again and what they experienced is beyond our comprehension. It was extremely common for families to suffer loss.
Fortunately most of us have never had to deal with loss on such a scale but it means we are badly prepared for how to deal with it or talk about it. I’m grateful that I only heard about the effects within my own family and didn’t have to experience it myself. It makes me feel quite inadequate when I reflect on what I was told by members of my family, and they didn’t say much. So much was too difficult to talk about.

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When you think of the torrent of grief evidenced by this forum, just imagine the pall of misery that must have hung over the whole country when the casualty lists were published 100 years ago.

I can track the effects of the Second World War on my family to this day, and on into the future. The way my father changed (his sisters were able to tell me) made me, in part, the person I am, and, diminishingly, that is passed on through those succeeding generations that I am able to observe.

Warming to my miserable theme, the daily death rate in UK is about 1600, the majority of whom are elderly. Just think of the collective effect on the nation of days like 1 July 1916 when 20,000 British soldiers were killed, most before 9 a.m.
Sons, brothers, fathers.

The physical effects of war stayed with my grandfather for life… Mustard gas. I only began to understand my father as I got older and I could make the necessary allowances. I’ve been reading a lot about Post Traumatic Growth and how it might become possible.

Yvonne. How did you get better? I lost my husband 5 months ago, and the “adult” kids all dropped me, I dread everyday, I get little to no sleep. He died of cancer so the year preceding his death was hard. Just wondering what did you do to help?

Hi Twinkles

It is still early days for you. I remember the first six months being awful. We were married for the same length of time as you and we also lived and worked together. The shock does takes a while to wear off. The first thing you must address are your eating and sleeping patterns, all of which are disrupted. I found an over the counter medication called Nytol very good. It helps you to sleep for a good 8 hours and then your natural rhythm comes back. I also used meditation for healing, sleep and motivation. I used Jason Stephenson ones on ‘You Tube’.
One of the things I found hard to cope with were people keeping their distance ( even family). I think this was because they didn’t know how to handle it and thought they should give me some space. Now it has been just over a year for me and everyone is coming back. People are visiting, phoning and suggesting meeting up. Maybe everyone just needs time to process what has happened.
All I would say is it’s a process that can’t be rushed. Just take it one day at a time and eventually you will find yourself in a different place.

Yvonne

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Thank you

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