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Topic: My losses  (Read 1926 times)

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My losses
« on: December 01, 2005, 10:27:10 AM »
I asked Leah to start this board for those of us who are coping with the loss of a loved one back 'home'. So big thanx!!
Since moving to the UK just over five years ago I lost my father, two uncles, an aunt and currently my soon to be 90 year old grandmother is recovering from a stroke in a nursing home. Its so hard for me to describe my mixed feelings about going back to the US for funerals. I just want to say that I am 38 and have never been to a funeral. I just cant cope. I know that sounds childish but I just dont want my last memories of a loved one to be of them lying in a box. Last time I saw my father was the first time he met Frank. My father was very very ill and I told Frank I was so happy he met my dad because I just knew that would be the last day I would see him. In fact he died just a few months later. I went back to the US for family support but didnt attend his funeral.
Right now Im having an especially hard time coping with my grandmothers stroke. My grandmother practically raised me. She has been the matriarch of this family since before I was born. She has always been so strong and healthy and till she was 87 she lived alone and even still drove! Now she lives in a nursing home near my mother. She isnt lucid much of the time and when she is she is either crying or babbling things nobody can understand. I cannot see her like this! It would crush me but my family thinks I should see her one last time before she 'goes'. Well most people who know me know how I feel about life and the 'afterlife' so I dont really see why I HAVE to go see her in such a state just because the end of her life is near. A few years ago I was sitting at my grandmothers kitchen table with her. We sat eating bagels and coffee and I joked with her that there would be no way I could ever attend her funeral when she goes. She laughed and said she knows how I am and comletely understands. If she understands anything at the moment I know she understands why I cant see her like she is.  :\\\'(

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Re: My losses
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2005, 02:24:31 PM »
Hugs Pebbles! Sorry you are having to cope with all of this from so far away! I understand about your grandma b/c I am in the same situation and it's so hard! Do whatever you feel is right for YOU. I'll keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

 [smiley=hug.gif] [smiley=hug.gif] [smiley=hug.gif]
The only meaning anything has is the meaning you give to it.       ~Author Unknown

2006 Work Permit -> 2011 ILR -> 2012 Dual Citizen

Re: My losses
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2005, 02:45:09 PM »
I was in a similar situation a few years ago.  My grandmother had a stroke in her sleep.  My parents offered to fly me back out to Los Angeles to see her if I wanted, but I chose not to.  As hard as it was and as much as I loved her, I knew that if I went and saw her in the hospital that would be how I would always remember her - as a sick and frail woman, not the 94-year-old dynamo she was.  I have never regretted that decision, and I know she would have understood my choice.

Don't feel bad about the decision you make.  Your grandmother knows you love her and that this is the best way for you to deal with your grief.

Huge hugs to you and your family.  [smiley=hug.gif]

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Re: My losses
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2005, 04:21:18 PM »
Awww Ricki, huge hugs to you. I feel terrible now. Here you are trying to make me feel better when you are going through so much right now! You know I have the same type of relationship with my Grandma and it's so hard to see them slipping away. Your grandma knows you better than most anyone I bet and is understanding to how you feel about funerals and seeing her this way. I am so sorry for the difficulties you are facing and my heart goes out to you. I hope it helps a tiny bit knowing how much you are cared about. You and your family are close in my thoughts  [smiley=hug.gif]
All dreams can come true—if we have the courage to pursue them.
Walt Disney

I can't change the direction of the wind, I can however adjust my sails to always make it to my destination.

Re: My losses
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2005, 07:45:41 PM »
I am so sorry for what you are going through right now.

Re: My losses
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2005, 07:53:00 PM »
*hugs* If your grandmother knows how you feel about funerals and understands  it, then you shouldn't feel pressured into going,. When she passes,you should say goodbye to her in your own special way. You shouldn't feel guilty about it. Your gran knows you love her

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Re: My losses
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2005, 04:25:45 AM »

Just want to add an extra hug and support you in your decision. What's right for you - is simply right for you and that's it. No explanation necessary, to anyone (and your Grandmother would most definitely understand) the only problem with decisions like this is the inevitable guilt, which can also play such havoc on the clarity of the situation.

I went through the same dilemma when I lost my Mum, everyone said "you MUST see her to say a final goodbye, pay your last respects etc" and against my better judgement, I did and I cannot even tell you how many years it has taken me to see beyond the last time I saw her and I wished I had not seen her that way, even though she looked so peaceful and her skin was flawless.

It breaks my heart even now and yet she would totally have understood.

Can't help any further with anything useful, but can say you know what's best in your heart and that is good enough.

Born to shop..............forced to work

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Re: My losses
« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2005, 09:41:08 AM »
Here are some more understanding (((hugs)))

In my opinion, funerals are for those who are still here, not for the person who has passed on. I am sure our loved ones have a much broader perspective once they leave here and realize fully how much there were and are loved...no matter if someone attends their funeral or not. If a formal gathering is not "right" for you to participate in, that is ok...and should be for those who feel like they do want a formal "goodbye."

I really am sorry for all of your losses. My dad and my grammie both haven't been very healthy lately and I keep hoping that all will be well until we move back next summer and I will get more time to spend with them. It is hard for me to think of not seeing them again if it doesn't work out that way.

Take good care of yourself!

Re: My losses
« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2005, 10:08:57 AM »
Thanks everyone for your encouraging words of support. Right now my grandmother is doing well. Basically she is healthy but she is a complete invalid and she doesnt understand anything or anyone. If she were in her right state of mind there would be no way she would want to live like this  :\\\'(
Recently I made up a scrapbook/photo album of myself, frank and the kids. I dont know for sure if she recognized any of us but she did keep looking at Jacks pics saying "beautiful baby".
« Last Edit: December 02, 2005, 10:10:30 AM by Pebbles »

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Re: My losses
« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2005, 05:30:07 PM »
Ricki, so sorry to hear of your sorrows. Losing a loved one is never easy, whether it is through death or dementia, the suffering is the same. I think each person should handle visiting nursing homes and attending funerals in whatever way they feel is best for them.

My daughter chose not to see my father once his Alzheimer's reached final stages...she said that, to her, he was already gone. She spent the last few years of his life remembering "her Gramps" of better years. I think that she was easier with his illness than any of us...to her he will always be the fun-loving, cheerful grandfather who played with her and took her to neat places...not the unhappy, confused, and frightened person he became.

Embrace your memories and believe that she knows how much you love her and is warmed by that love.

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Re: My losses
« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2005, 11:12:31 PM »
i want to wish you peace with this.

i'm terrified of going through this once i move over.

my gram has never lived more than a mile away from us--she's lived here with us for the past two years, through a massive stroke and breast cancer.

i've overheard my mother telling people that, after my wedding in may, i'll never see my gram alive again, and this has hit me like a ton of bricks.

it's not where you're born, it's where you belong

-U2, 'summer rain'

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Re: My losses
« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2005, 11:43:41 PM »
I'm so sorry Ricki - these things are never easy.

As geally said, funerals are for those who are left behind.  And if not going is what is right for you, then that's what you need to do.

I dread the day my grandmother finally gets old - she's 85 now, but hardly old.  But I know the day will come.  She has been closer to me than my own mom, and, well, I can imagine how hard it must be for you.

~Liza   [smiley=disappointed.gif]
"Be not the slave of your own past - plunge into the sublime seas, dive deep, and swim far, so you shall come back with self-respect, with a new power, with an advanced experience, that shall explain and overlook the old."  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Re: My losses
« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2005, 04:43:45 PM »
I'm so sorry, Ricki.

For what it's worth, I did not go to my mom's funeral when she died. My father understood perfectly, and he couldn't bring himself to go either. Relatives never could understand my decision, and consequently haven't kept in touch at all. I don't really care, as I was never close to them anyway. I just find it very bad taste that they couldn't support me in what was a huge decision for me.

It seems as though if you went it wouldn't be for her--it would be for you. As you feel you can only lose by seeing her, you shouldn't go. The only reason would be because your relatives think it's the proper thing to do, and I don't think that's ever good enough a reason to do something potentially harmful to yourself.

Courage and strength to you, losing a loved one is never easy.

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