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Wedding Woes

Your grief is no less than anyone else's.

Dear Prudence,

Four years ago, my grandpa shot and killed himself. I still get really emotional thinking about it, and I’m haunted by intrusive thoughts about how and why. I’ve contemplated a support group, but I don’t know if I’d fit in. My grandpa was 89 and had lived a full life—married 70 years; served in the Army; traveled; had a successful career; and saw his kids, grandkids, and even some great-grandkids come into the world. But he had been in failing health for some time. He was in pain and was losing his independence; he’d been in and out of hospitals, nursing homes, and emergency rooms before finally coming home. He was proud and stubborn (qualities we shared), and I believe he dreaded becoming dependent on anyone ever again. It’s not the fact that he died—I’d long expected it—but the way that he died that feels traumatic. My grandmother found his body, and there was no note and no goodbye. We were close, and I had plans to visit just three days after he died.

With the exception of my relationship with my grandmother, whom I don’t want to burden with my grief, my other family relationships are fairly superficial. My friends can’t quite relate. Therapy is a last resort (financial reasons as well as a previous bad experience that has just turned me off). I think a support group might make sense for me, but I would feel guilty lamenting over the loss of my 89-year-old grandpa alongside people who may have lost kids, siblings, spouses, etc. I view my grandpa’s death a little differently. His life wasn’t tragically cut short, and I can’t say that we didn’t have enough years together. Honestly, I wish he’d lived in a state with legal options for terminally ill adults to end their own lives (I mention this only for context—I’d never bring it up in a support group setting). Yes, I know my grief is legitimate. And I know that if he’d died of natural causes, I wouldn’t still be so emotional after four years. But I also know that my grief is just different from a mother who lost a child, for example. Would my presence and grieving offend or elicit eye-rolls from someone mourning someone who was younger and/or not terminally ill? I want to be respectful and sensitive. What do you think?

—Grieving for Grandpa

Re: Your grief is no less than anyone else's.

  • banana468banana468 member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    You are allowed to have your feelings.   Please know that grief manifests itself in many ways and there's no right or wrong way to feel.   I think a support group is probably a good way to start. 
    climbingwifecharlotte989875
  • OurWildKingdomOurWildKingdom in the 216 member
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    banana468 said:
    You are allowed to have your feelings.   Please know that grief manifests itself in many ways and there's no right or wrong way to feel.   I think a support group is probably a good way to start. 
    There are often support groups specifically for people who have lost loved ones to suicide. When my uncle died, my mom went to one briefly.
    short+sassycharlotte989875
  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I can understand where LW is coming from. I was really hurting after my grandmother died, but I felt guilty being so upset when my H had just lost his dad. You start to think that your grief isn't as important as someone else's. 

    mrsconn23STARMOON44charlotte989875ei34
  • mrsconn23mrsconn23 member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    My heart always breaks for grieving people when they are concerned that someone 'has it worse' than them over the loss of a loved one.  Using the 'it could always be worse' mentality is a double edged sword IMO because while it's true, people shouldn't discount what they or others are going through. 

    Just because LW's grandfather was 89 vs. 29 or 39 doesn't mean the impact of his loss is any less.  And while the method may be understandable on some level because he was suffering so much, it's still entirely devastating knowing he felt he had no other option to end his pain. 
    OurWildKingdomcharlotte989875ei34
  • banana468 said:
    You are allowed to have your feelings.   Please know that grief manifests itself in many ways and there's no right or wrong way to feel.   I think a support group is probably a good way to start. 
    There are often support groups specifically for people who have lost loved ones to suicide. When my uncle died, my mom went to one briefly.
    I agree that I think he should especially seek out a support group with people who have also experienced loss from suicide.

    As the LW said, it isn't as much that his grandfather died.  But the WAY he died that's been haunting him for all these years.  I'd think/hope that participating in a group where people have had similar questions and feelings would help the LW work through his/her own.

    I wouldn't think anyone would judge him for the age of his loved one.  He might even find a lot of members are grieving over the loss of older family members.  Elderly people are the ones most likely to be suffering from long, debilitating illnesses.  I don't know the stats, but I wouldn't be surprised if euthanasia/suicide is more common in that demographic than the LW might be thinking. 
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    OurWildKingdomMissKittyDangerMNNEBrideei34
  • Support groups. Also counseling. Some people can't do group counseling, but one-on-one is also good.
    LW may not realize it - but given the situation - they may have a form PTSD
  • Support groups have their own focuses. There may be groups where LW’s grief is viewed as less important, but certainly not all of them! Asking a local hospice organization would probably be a good way to access a group that fits. 

    I also think though that suffering from intrusive thoughts after 4 years is a sign of complicated grief, and that individual therapy would likely be more effective. 
    charlotte989875short+sassyei34
  • MesmrEweMesmrEwe member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    Sounds like her first therapy experience was the wrong fit.. js..  As for support groups, it all depends on how the group is structured.  A suicide specific one is probably the way to go, that said, if it's one where everyone wallows in grief instead of learning how to live and connect again, that needs to be taken into account because living in the past vs. learning to live in the future.  And, to be discounting her feelings isn't healthy on the long term anyway..
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    short+sassy
  • ei34ei34 member
    Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I can understand where LW is coming from. I was really hurting after my grandmother died, but I felt guilty being so upset when my H had just lost his dad. You start to think that your grief isn't as important as someone else's. 

    A friend from high school lost her two-year-old a couple of years ago, to a congenital heart defect.  I can't imagine what she goes through on a daily basis, but I do find myself wincing when she posts every 6-8 weeks something like "ugh kills me when people post about their miscarriages..i mean sorry for your loss but you really don't know the true pain of losing a child..".  Anger is a stage of grief, but I can see where LW comes from as far as hesitating.  Grieving a suicide is a different, and grief is immeasurable as is, so I'd probably try individual therapy as well as a support group for people who've lost grandparents to suicide, if there is one.
  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    eileenrob said:
    I can understand where LW is coming from. I was really hurting after my grandmother died, but I felt guilty being so upset when my H had just lost his dad. You start to think that your grief isn't as important as someone else's. 

    A friend from high school lost her two-year-old a couple of years ago, to a congenital heart defect.  I can't imagine what she goes through on a daily basis, but I do find myself wincing when she posts every 6-8 weeks something like "ugh kills me when people post about their miscarriages..i mean sorry for your loss but you really don't know the true pain of losing a child..".  Anger is a stage of grief, but I can see where LW comes from as far as hesitating.  Grieving a suicide is a different, and grief is immeasurable as is, so I'd probably try individual therapy as well as a support group for people who've lost grandparents to suicide, if there is one.
    Holy crap. 

     

    ei34
  • flantasticflantastic The Midwest member
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    eileenrob said:
    I can understand where LW is coming from. I was really hurting after my grandmother died, but I felt guilty being so upset when my H had just lost his dad. You start to think that your grief isn't as important as someone else's. 

    A friend from high school lost her two-year-old a couple of years ago, to a congenital heart defect.  I can't imagine what she goes through on a daily basis, but I do find myself wincing when she posts every 6-8 weeks something like "ugh kills me when people post about their miscarriages..i mean sorry for your loss but you really don't know the true pain of losing a child..".  Anger is a stage of grief, but I can see where LW comes from as far as hesitating.  Grieving a suicide is a different, and grief is immeasurable as is, so I'd probably try individual therapy as well as a support group for people who've lost grandparents to suicide, if there is one.
    Yikes. I mean, it's a bit of a different experience than your friend's (just as many, many losses are, as the LW seems to be aware) but a miscarriage is no less valid for grief.

    I can't go to some support groups because the experience of losing a 40 week baby is different than losing an 8 week baby. I don't get a ton out of that because there's less commonality, and I don't want to scare anyone unnecessarily ("You mean if we do get pregnant again, THAT could happen?") There are even differences that are relatively "good" for me - e.g., we got to hold her, and many people don't. But just because it's different or less common or whatever doesn't mean they didn't lose their child.

    LW should definitely find a support group that's as closely related to his experience as he can. Just because that'll be the most helpful to him, not because other people's grief is somehow worse. It's not.
    short+sassyei34charlotte989875OurWildKingdom
  • banana468 said:
    eileenrob said:
    I can understand where LW is coming from. I was really hurting after my grandmother died, but I felt guilty being so upset when my H had just lost his dad. You start to think that your grief isn't as important as someone else's. 

    A friend from high school lost her two-year-old a couple of years ago, to a congenital heart defect.  I can't imagine what she goes through on a daily basis, but I do find myself wincing when she posts every 6-8 weeks something like "ugh kills me when people post about their miscarriages..i mean sorry for your loss but you really don't know the true pain of losing a child..".  Anger is a stage of grief, but I can see where LW comes from as far as hesitating.  Grieving a suicide is a different, and grief is immeasurable as is, so I'd probably try individual therapy as well as a support group for people who've lost grandparents to suicide, if there is one.
    Holy crap. 
    Someone needs to pull her aside.   Nope. Nope. Nope. 
    Yes, because grief is not a contest.

    And even if she can't help it and has those feelings, don't potentially cause people more pain by continually posting a statement like that.  Plus I'd think that could cause some hard feelings between herself and any friends/family members who have suffered from a miscarriage.  If it were me, I wouldn't even want to confide in her about a miscarriage because she would clearly be "annoyed" by it.

    Sorry to bash on your friend, @eileenrob!  She has been through an unimaginable tragedy and I hope time brings her more healing.
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    ei34charlotte989875MissKittyDanger
  • ei34ei34 member
    Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    *hugs* Flan and agree with everyone, holy crap indeed.  Other than attending a fundraiser she held while her daughter was living and the baby's funeral mass in 2017 I actually hadn't seen the friend since we graduated from HS in '02.  So just one of those random fb friends, not a close friend.  She's one of those posts-23-times-a-day people, and I tune most of it out, but every once in a while there's quite a zinger.  A fb friend of hers who I don't know (who maybe has had a miscarriage, maybe hasn't) challenged her once, saying something like "you knew your daughter's chances, it's not like a healthy toddler who suddenly drowns in a pool" and they got into it.  Everyone else stayed waayy out of it and the post was eventually deleted.  But the whole thing was sad.  It is actively sad.  LW's story is incredibly sad, as are suicides by 10-year-olds who are bullied every minute of their lives.  You just can't measure grief and comparing doesn't help, since every person has their own experience.
    charlotte989875OurWildKingdommrsconn23short+sassy
  • banana468banana468 member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    eileenrob said:
    *hugs* Flan and agree with everyone, holy crap indeed.  Other than attending a fundraiser she held while her daughter was living and the baby's funeral mass in 2017 I actually hadn't seen the friend since we graduated from HS in '02.  So just one of those random fb friends, not a close friend.  She's one of those posts-23-times-a-day people, and I tune most of it out, but every once in a while there's quite a zinger.  A fb friend of hers who I don't know (who maybe has had a miscarriage, maybe hasn't) challenged her once, saying something like "you knew your daughter's chances, it's not like a healthy toddler who suddenly drowns in a pool" and they got into it.  Everyone else stayed waayy out of it and the post was eventually deleted.  But the whole thing was sad.  It is actively sad.  LW's story is incredibly sad, as are suicides by 10-year-olds who are bullied every minute of their lives.  You just can't measure grief and comparing doesn't help, since every person has their own experience.
    Exactly!   Loss isn't a contest!   You can't put a worth on someone's grief.
    ei34OurWildKingdomMesmrEwe
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