I Wish I’d Had Time to Say…

Bereaved people sometimes tell us that they wish they had had the opportunity to say more things to their loved one, before they passed away.

But for various reasons they were unable to actually do this.

A typical comment is that they wanted to tell him or her how much they were loved during their lifetime. And now they can’t.

Although when faced with this comment I ask how often did you express your love to each other and say how much they were appreciated. The answer is normally something like ‘…oh we said it everyday as we went to sleep’  or ‘….I was always telling her how amazing she was….’.

So if you really think about it, you probably said all those special things before they actually died.

A nice way of getting those additional ‘things you wanted to say’ out of your mind, is to write it down, normally in a very personal letter which you keep in a special place e.g. your Memory Box.And when you think of other stuff that you wish you had said, or said it more often, then just include it in your letter.

People tell us that it doesn’t seem to matter that they won’t be posting the letter, the simple fact of writing their thoughts down, helps them to cope.

This might just help you as well .

Coping With a Difficult Day

Following a bereavement, some days are just more difficult to deal with than other days.

But somehow you just have to cope with these types of days, and one way of doing this is to break it up into smaller parts – someone said to us he just ‘…broke it up into bite size chunks……’. And that’s what helped him.

This is how it could work for you – I accept it sounds a bit strange, but just try it on one of those difficult days.

If your day seems a bit daunting stretching out in front of you, simply reduce the day into shorter bits – ‘bite size chunks’.

For example, if it’s early morning tell yourself you only need to get to mid morning when it’s coffee time. And maybe a special treat of your favourite biscuit, a piece of cake etc. Tell yourself ‘Come on I can do it – it’s only a few hours away’.

And then before you know it, you’ve just enjoyed your coffee and treat and lunchtime is only two hours away.

So then, just repeat the process but now you think of that special lunch that you will enjoy. Another similar method of giving yourself a treat.  Alternatively you may decide to go for a walk, read a few chapters of your current book or possibly listen to a radio programme.

It doesn’t really matter what you do as long as you breaking up each part of the day into more manageable smaller parts.

Hope this may help you on those difficult days.

How Long Will I Feel Like This?

One lady  asked how could she  tell when her grieving pain was possibly reducing.

She wanted to try and recognise that she was making some progress along her own, personal grief journey. But what did it feel like as the pain from one’s loss reduced during the months and years following a bereavement?

She couldn’t imagine a different type of feeling.

Well this is  how one of our volunteers described how she helped her clients to cope with this question.

Take a smooth stone/ beach  pebble  about the size of an egg in one hand, and then in the other hand, a rough edged stone about the same size.

Now close your hands and squeeze both of them tightly in the palm of each hand.

Try and feel what each hand is feeling like – the hand with the rough edged stone in it will be more uncomfortable than the one with the  smooth stone. It will hurt a bit more if you are squeezing your hands quite tightly. The grief  you experience in the early stages also tends to hurt more, it’s very raw following your loss.

Your other hand, with the  smooth stone, won’t be so uncomfortable because it doesn’t have rough edges – so this hand hurts less than the other

So as the months and then years pass by, the pain will gradually reduce and will become less raw. It just doesn’t hurt quite so much as ‘…..you get on with your life…..’ and keep busy, take a holiday, join a club etc.

Hopefully this description and your own imagination will help you to realise that as time passes, the hurt from your loss will gradually reduce as you just get more used to the fact that your loved one has in fact died. It’s a feeling of more acceptance and that your life has changed.

But never forget your memories………

Finding New Close Friends

When you have lost your significant other, the inclination is to avoid starting a new relationship. It’s easier to just stay with group socialising. You may be afraid of upsetting your family and friends who might think you are disrespecting your deceased partner. You may even feel you are too ‘long-in-the tooth’ for another close relationship. However, you may find you have a natural affinity with a member of your social group which opens up the opportunity to spending time alone with them. This can initially lead to feelings of guilt and wondering if it’s right to enjoy this new relationship.

It really is allowed – of course it is! You are just trying to cope, and socialising is a way of coping. One client asked me if it was okay to go out for dinner with someone about 5 to 6 months after his partner’s death. And of course it was, as long as he felt comfortable.

However, please understand the timing is totally a personal choice – it might not happen for months, or years. It doesn’t matter because you are in control of the ‘when’. You may choose that there can’t be a ‘when time’ and you are happier in a group.

And that’s fine as well. It’s your choice.

Don’t forget though, as women and men we are generally a ‘social lot’ and some personal ‘one on one’ company, at some stage can be, well, just really nice.

To illustrate this point further…

One widower had moved on to describing himself as ‘single’, which was quite a big step in itself. It demonstrated how well he was coping with his new role in life. After about 7 to 8 months, when people asked, he felt calling himself a widower just seemed to bring him attention he didn’t want. It didn’t affect his grief, just how he was perceived. When he got home after going out to dinner with someone he felt guilty. “OMG what am I doing?” However, he needed to survive as a human being and keep strong as a Dad to three teenagers. His kids were pleased their Dad was getting out and trying to get on with his life. It helped them to see their Dad was trying to cope, and in turn it helped them to cope too.

One amazing lady lost her daughter and after a few years, her daughter’s husband started to go out with someone else. Both the mum-in-law and new partner met regularly over the next few years – Christmases, birthdays, general family get-togethers etc. After a while the couple moved in together and a few years later they got married. This amazing lady had already fully and totally welcomed his new partner/wife/daughter into her family. She attended their wedding and is still an essential part of their new life together. It helped her to cope with her own loss by seeing her son-in-law find happiness again, while obviously never forgetting his first wife.

You’ve just walked on ahead of me

You’ve just walked on ahead of me
And I’ve got to understand
You must release the ones you love
And let go of their hand.
I try and cope the best I can
But I’m missing you so much
If I could only see you
And once more feel your touch.
Yes, you’ve just walked on ahead of me
Don’t worry I’ll be fine
But now and then I swear I feel
Your hand slip into mine.

An excerpt from a poem by Joyce Grenfell

We Remember Them

When we are weary and in need of strength,
When we are lost and sick at heart,
We remember them.

When we have a joy we crave to share
When we have decisions that are difficult to make
When we have achievements that are based on theirs
We remember them.

At the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter
At the opening of the buds and in the rebirth of spring,
We remember them.

At the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of summer
At the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of autumn,
We remember them.

At the rising of the sun and at its setting,
We remember them.
As long as we live, they too will live
For they are now a part of us,
As we remember them.

Adapted from the Yizkor Service

Remembering Me

To the living, I am gone
To the sorrowful, I will never return
To the angry, I was cheated
But to the happy, I am at peace
And to the faithful, I have never left

I cannot speak, but I can listen
I cannot be seen, but I can be heard
So as you stand upon the shore
Gazing at the beautiful sea, remember me

As you look in awe at a mighty forest
And in its grand majesty, remember me
Remember me in your hearts,
In your thoughts, and the memories of the
Times we loved, the times we cried,
the battle we fought and the times we laughed
For if you always think of me,
I will never have gone.

Anonymous

Afterglow

I’d like the memory of me
to be a happy one,
I’d like to leave an afterglow
of smiles when life is done.
I’d like to leave and echo
whispering down the ways,
Of happy times and laughing
times and bright and sunny days.
I’d like the tears of those who
grieve, to dry before the sun
Of happy memories that I leave
When life is done.

Author Unknown