To think people dont know how to deal with grief?

(43 Posts)
ProfessorSkullyMental Sun 09-Mar-14 22:13:52

my dads very ill... unless someone grants us a miracle, he's only got a couple of days left. he's been ill for some time, so a lot of people ask how he's doing.

tbh, other than one of my closest friends, since i told people he's at the end, i haven't seen them for dust.

one keeps texting dh to ask how i am, but won't text me, no-one else has so much as dropped me a text or an fb message.

other than my online friends (who've been fantastic) its like no-one wants to talk to me...

thesecowsaresmallthosearefaraw Mon 10-Mar-14 20:32:46

flowers for you, skully.

Are you talking to Cruse? They are trained to help people struggling with grief. X

so so sorry skully.

Trooperslane Mon 10-Mar-14 15:35:07

Oh Scully thanks

I've got another thread going about my Mum who has longer, but maybe not much.

My Dad died really suddenly a few years ago and I'd agree that if you haven't been through it, you have absolutely no idea.

I have to admit I've been a much better friend to people who have lost family and friends since my Dad died.

Ditto friends who have had miscarriages. I don't think I lack empathy at all, but I just couldn't appreciate in a million years what it felt like.

They're probably just clueless about what to say or do. I agree it can feel very isolating though.

Massive hugs from me x

expatinscotland Mon 10-Mar-14 15:32:57

Very common. Child loss makes a lot of us very isolated.

itsbetterthanabox Mon 10-Mar-14 15:29:19

When I was asking people to spend time with me because I didn't want to be on my own and they were saying 'oh I can't I'm tired' etc that is not ok.
I would be there and have been there for people as much as I can and they needed.

GreenShadow Mon 10-Mar-14 12:20:00

The problem is everyone reacts differently and wants different things in a situation like this. This can make it very hard to know what to say.

Reading threads on here sometimes you feel it is impossible to get it right.

VikingLady Mon 10-Mar-14 12:08:29

I think it is mainly awkwardness and not knowing what to say. Only the arses are avoiding you to make their lives easier! But nice people, even relatives and best friends avoid you if they don't know what to say, for fear of making it worse/being trite and patronising.

The best thing anyone said to me when DF died was " I know there's nothing I can say to make it any better, so I'm calling to say it anyway" from a friend who had lost her own dad and her stepdad a few years earlier. I am still deeply ashamed that when her stepdad died I was one of the avoiders. I have a gift for saying the wrong thing so I really thought she would prefer me to keep out. I also didn't think she would miss me calling when she had so many other friends or want to be fielding what I imagined to be constant phone calls. So wrong.

I am really sorry Op. I kept telling people because I did find some who would let me talk about it, mainly those who had experienced grief themselves. I have new, good friends out of that. Small comfort for losing the old ones though! I hope this happens for you too, and I would hug you if I knew you in RL.

TheSmallClanger Mon 10-Mar-14 11:46:46

All the things mentioned before, really. My own way of dealing with it is to try to carry on normal social behaviour, but there is always a risk of being seen as insensitive and even intrusive if you do this. Empathy is a hard one to get right - no-one's experience is the same and you can very easily come off as patronising, dismissive or self-obsessed.

When it's a friend, it's true that you worry that you are insinuating yourself into some sort of "inner circle", when family members might be needing and/or giving support.

Also, when there are things going on in your own life that may not be easily "compatible" with sharing grief, such as pregnancy or a new relationship, or conversely, problems of your own, it can make it doubly hard to talk honestly, without causing offence or stoking up your own resentment.

Wishing you strength and comfort, Professor.

My Dad died almost exactly a year ago (pancreatic cancer, thought he had quite a bit longer but the end went very fast) and it felt like every one of my friends just left me to get on with it, my inner response was 'well fuck you then' which wasn't particularly helpful, but it made me feel better at the time. As someone above has said, they have nothing to compare it to, they cannot know what it is like unless they have experienced it.

I did wonder if my friends felt I didn't need their help because I wasn't visibly, outwardly falling apart - perhaps they thought I wasn't really struggling with it as much as i did, if you know what I mean.

Pippilangstrompe Mon 10-Mar-14 07:05:48

I lost my dad about a year ago. I'm the first of my close friends to lose a parent. My friends were sympathetic and I spoke to them all within the first few days of his death, but I didn't hear from them after that and they didn't ask me how I was doing after that. I think they were sympathetic, but didn't know how I felt or what to say. The people who really helped me were people I chat to online and colleagues at work who had lost their own parents. I think they could relate in a way my friends could not.

One of my close friends lost her dad a couple of months ago and I have called several times, because I now know what it is like to lose your dad. I was back in the UK recently and I met several of my close friends and had several long chats about how I was doing after my dad died. They did care, they just didn't know how hard a time I was having as they have no frame of reference for it.

Your friends might be the same. The friend who texted your DP cares or else she wouldn't have contacted him. If you'd like to speak to her, why not text her and say you'd like a chat?

UptheChimney Mon 10-Mar-14 07:05:37

I know in this situation with friends, I've not wanted to intrude, at what is a difficult & crowded time. I've not wanted my needs to express how I feel to be another burden for friends. I also don't want to feel I'm being an "emotional vampire."

I know when I've been in that situation myself, I've not had the energy to deal with other people's enquiries & so on. But in my situation, it was had a sudden death (my DH) and not a drawn out illness. But I didn't want to talk to anyone, although knowing that people were sending thoughts & sympathy via my mother was helpful, but I just couldn't deal directly.

I think that by contacting your DH, they're trying to let you know they're thinking of you, but not wanting to intrude.

TamerB Mon 10-Mar-14 06:40:41

I am really sorry. It isn't that they don't care, you are right that they don't know how to deal with death- it is a taboo subject. People don't know how to handle it, they don't know what to say and therefore they avoid - not wanting to intrude is the other reason. I think that it is only when you have personal tragedy that you wade in because you know how important it is.

cupcake78 Mon 10-Mar-14 06:20:19

Op I've been through similar last year and facing it again with the in laws this year. Its very isolating.

I don't believe it's done out of selfishness or malice. I think its because people react so differently to death and grief people are afraid of hurting you further.

Our culture and society is set up badly for this as well after years of whispering 'death, died, terminally ill' etc.

My family openly talk about these things but we have been accused of being weird, insensitive and not caring. My in laws can't talk about illness and death and think it shouldn't be discussed. This is very confusing for my children. They don't know if they should or shouldn't.

I'm sorry to hear you dad your ill and I hope you can contact your friends and talk it through. Can your dh reply to the texts and say you would love to hear from your friends? thanks

WholeNutt Mon 10-Mar-14 06:08:59

Op I was told to just be as you are, whatever the day brings be how you feel, no pretence no trying to absolve others of their feelings.

You're no doubt spending a lot of time with your dad, focus on that for now not on the next step or whatever comes after. All that matters right now is getting through today minute by minute if you need.

I wish you strength and peace for today and the coming days thanks

paxtecum Mon 10-Mar-14 05:49:56

Prof: I am so sorry about you father.

My friend's father is early 80's and on dialysis for the rest of his life and it is lousy. He is alive but not living.

My own elderly father didn't respond to dialysis and peacefully passed.
We (including my mother) were grateful for that.

I hope these words don't upset you.

You must contact your friend's whenever you want to chat to them.
They are there waiting for you.

WaitingForMe Sun 09-Mar-14 23:45:22

I don't bother telling people now. I remember one boss being a bit weird when I admitted I'd buried my stepdad a few months previously but it's so fucking tedious being avoided.

I lose a close relative at least every other year and it sucks. My cousin died recently and I didn't tell anyone as I still needed people to go for coffee with. I didn't need space or privacy or respect or whatever other excuses people make for avoiding you.

I'm so sorry for your father OP, you're never ready for a dad x

EBearhug Sun 09-Mar-14 23:35:54

I'm sorry you're going through this, Professor. It's a horrible, difficult time.

I agree with this:
If a friend was going through this I would back off and give them and their family some privacy and time alone with their loves one.

I kept some key people updated during my mother's last days in hospital, but to be honest, I didn't have the energy to deal with anyone else, and if a friend was going through it now, I'd say something like, "I'm here if you need me, let me know if you need anything, but only if you do - just do what you need, and don't think about the rest of us unless you need us."

LucyBabs Sun 09-Mar-14 23:31:40

Oh professor sad

My dad had sepsis too. He had long term vascular disease which resulted in sepsis. We knew this may be a possibility but the reality when it happened was so hard to deal with.

He was awake one day in a coma the next.

I feel so sad thinking about it and now you are going through the same thing.
If I could help in anyway I would but I will send a hug to you instead.

Please take care of yourself. Don't forget to eat and sleep when its possible.

I'll be thinking of you professor

almondcake Sun 09-Mar-14 23:29:54

One of my family members died of cancer recently. People didn't contact me, and I assume that they thought I was at the bedside, with family and then making funeral arrangements (which I was). But if I ever needed to talk to someone, I could start talking (and it was like a torrent) and people were comforting. So I think people can talk about grief if you initiate and they can then work out what kind of conversation you need.

Hope you are okay, op.

CailinDana Sun 09-Mar-14 23:25:39

What a terrible situation. So sad.

Have you got any support op? It's ok not to be ok.

justmyview Sun 09-Mar-14 23:23:03

That's extra tough to get your head round that, when it's unexpected. Huge sympathies x

HadABadDay2014 Sun 09-Mar-14 23:22:46

If a friend was going through this I would back off and give them and their family some privacy and time alone with their loves one.

Once the devastating news has happened I will support them until they decide that they don't need it.

ProfessorSkullyMental Sun 09-Mar-14 23:20:03

sorry, i meant it wasnt a 'terminal illness' as such..

itsbetterthanabox Sun 09-Mar-14 23:17:51

Lucybabs has hit it on the head. People don't want the burden of supporting a grieving person and they don't want to think about sad things. It is selfishness 100%.

ProfessorSkullyMental Sun 09-Mar-14 23:17:47

thanks.

i'm lost.. i'm struggling to get through, i dont know how to manage my own grief and support my family too.

There are lots of good memories, but no more to be made, he's slipped into a coma, and unless he can rally they will begin to withdraw care and let him slip away peacefully.

It isnt terminal, its sepsis related to kidney failure.. we were promised a future with him albeit around dialysis, and now its been taken away and i am not ready to lose him.... i feel robbed.

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