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by quirkywords
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Supporting family and friends with a mental health condition (carers)

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by quirkywords
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Grief and loss

Support following the bereavement of a family member, partner, spouse or someone close to you.

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by Doolhof
21 hours ago

Topic: Unexpected loss of my dad, my best friend. Feel I should have done more.

  1. therising
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    therising avatar
    1611 posts
    9 January 2021 in reply to pl515p1

    Hi pl515p1

    To hear that you are struggling more than ever now leads me to wish I could make even the slightest difference to you, taking you a little here and there outside of the everyday cruel torture you're facing.

    I've been thinking of you as I watch a new and fascinating series on Netflix. It's about a combination of things such as near death experiences, connecting with people after they've passed and a host of other things. I know it's not everyone's cup of tea but I do find it fascinating. One of the episodes is about 'signs' from loved ones, that they are still around. I've heard it said before that if someone wishes for a sign, they have to ask for it, so that they know what to look for. While some may say 'Your attention is going to shift to always looking for this sign, so of course you're going to find it. It's just coincidence', I have heard some amazing stories that would leave you scratching your head as to how such an occurrence was possible (some truly bizarre events taking place). I know one guy who I would regard as one of the blokiest blokes I know and devout skeptic of anything paranormal. A couple of events that happened after his mother's passing some years ago left him somewhat of a believer in signs.

    The reason for me putting such an outside the square concept to you is based on the fact I want to give you something to look forward to, other than passing to meet with your dad.

    It is said that signs can come in dreams too, when the brain is relaxed and not busy thinking. Whether it's the dream where your dad is reaching out to you, before you wake up, or the latest dream which involves him sitting you down to eat something, which you really do need to do, I can't help but wonder whether there's something more meaningful to these dreams.

    It can't hurt to consider asking for a sign :)

  2. pl515p1
    pl515p1 avatar
    51 posts
    14 January 2021

    I wish I had good news to post but, sadly I was contacted today by someone on behalf of my brother, to inform me that my mother passed away earlier in 2020 and....and my brother is very sick, that explains why he did not respond to my letters.

    After losing dad September, and now finding out my mother too has left, I don't know what to think, what to do, or where to turn anymore.

    The respondent informed me that due to mum's passing, and my brother's illness they do not wish to initiate contact at this time....they told me they included some photos in the letter but there were none, I messed up so many times, I had 12 or more years to make contact, too busy with petty insignificant shit, wasting my life, taking dad for granted, always thinking there would be more time, oh we'll go fishing next week dad, next week I'll come see your work, I'll come with ya to the footy but I have to do something else, blah blah blah blhaa.

    I was a grown man, but only in appearance, inside I was a child, living in some fantasy world where dad was always there for me, I was such a heavy burden on him, I was an anchor around his neck, he should have left me when I had my issues, he stayed with me, let me move back home when I was broken, but he should have moved away and lived free, he was only 69, he should be retired now living it up with grandkids but I screwed it all up for him.

     

    When he told me that he saw my auntie, mum's sister, a couple of years ago I should have immediately tried to reconnect, but I was too caught up in my own selfish world, took it all for granted, now I have lost everything and I am alone.

    So now I know why dad won't take me when I pray at night, I am here to suffer, I am in purgatory...

    I'm glad I got to speak with dad's brother one last time, I only wish the border's allowed me to travel to him, but that was only a dream, now I understand, I am paying the price for my selfishness...take everything I love away from me, but you won't take me, how cruel, this is just...

    When can I wake up from this, this all cannot be real, a few short months ago I was about to restart my life and dad was excited about my future and grandchildren, now I have no life to go back to...no no no no, this can't be real, nah, I can't do this. It's just, it nah this no.

  3. Sophie_M
    Sophie_M avatar
    4147 posts
    14 January 2021 in reply to pl515p1
    Hey pl515p1,

    Thank you so much for reaching out to your friends on the forums during such a difficult time. We are incredibly sorry to hear of this news of your mother and brother, and can hear how much pain this must be causing you. Please know that you never have to go through this alone, and our caring community are here to help support you through this. We are also currently reaching out to you privately to check in with you and offer some extra support.

    We think it might really help to talk through what's on your mind tonight with one of the kind counsellors at our Beyond Blue Support Service (1300 22 4636), or also our friends at Lifeline (13 11 14). During overwhelming moments like these, please know that these services are available as often as you need, night or day- there's always somewhere to turn to and someone to talk to. We're all here for you, pl515p1. 
  4. therising
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    therising avatar
    1611 posts
    15 January 2021 in reply to pl515p1

    HI pl515p1

    I so wish I could be there in person for you at this time.

    I've been trying to think of what to say under such circumstances of overwhelming grief, deep regret and incredible disappointment. I wish I could say something to help put things into perspective but can relate to the fact that at certain times in life, when painful emotion seems to be all there is, pain feels like it is the only reality, the only perspective. This leads me to suggest discussing with your counselor the idea of seeking out a grief counselor, someone who manages the challenges of grief, specifically. I imagine such a person deals with helping make sense of what basically just doesn't make any sense (the suffering, the exhaustion and the process of coming to re-identify our self in so many ways).

    It's heartbreaking to hear you now identify yourself in such a brutal way. That self is who you were, based on a number of factors. That self is not who you are. You and your dad worked hard to bring you to meet with who you have become, the person who matured beyond your old ways. If you were ask me to describe my own nature between the ages of about 15 to 30, I would have to say misguided, self serving, thoughtless, cold in some ways, somewhat of an alcoholic and just basically lost and depressed. I have come far and know that, no matter what, I cannot reflect on who I was back then, for another depression would be the result. I cannot look back without expecting to suffer greatly, through brutal regret and self chastisement.

    Hindsight can be an incredibly cruel thing. It can fill us with a lot of 'If only...' and 'What if...' thoughts that can become mind altering and torturous in the worst of ways. It can have us living in the past, constantly imagining ways of reshaping it but, of course, this is not possible. It can also have us living in a future that is also impossible; a future where we imagine how things could have turned out. It is said that the only real moment is now, the past is a memory and the future has not yet happened. Again, this leads me to suggest exploring grief counseling, where there is guidance when it comes to how to mange the present when, in the present, all there seems to be is pain. It may sound a bit trite but we can only ever master our self in the present moment. Perhaps the question is 'What do you wish to master of your self?'

    Be kind to yourself as the temptation to reflect remains present in your life. I know, hard to fight this temptation.

    :)

    2 people found this helpful
  5. sunnyl20
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    sunnyl20 avatar
    191 posts
    15 January 2021 in reply to pl515p1

    Hello pl515p1,

    I am so sorry to hear what has happened. I cannot imagine the pain and distress that you continue to go through. It sounds like you are in a very dark place. I have to agree with therising though, it is difficult to hear you describe yourself in such a harsh way, you are very cruel on yourself, I feel that must only compound your grief and hurt. In the details you have mentioned in previous posts, you come across as a very caring and sensitive person. You are not selfish, you are worth so much more than you think. It is easy to criticise ourselves for what we should or could have done in the past, but it can become all consuming and can be damaging and unhelpful to fall deep into that hole. Do you have an appointment with your counsellor in the next week?

    If you feel up to it, I would really encourage you to also reach out to one of the phone helplines available (Lifeline on 13 11 14 or GriefLine on 1300 845 745 (12pm-3am)).

    You are not alone, I know the forum is not the same as having someone physically with you, but we are here for you - to listen and support you. We do care. Please be kinder to yourself, you do not need to beat yourself up. Take care.

  6. therising
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    therising avatar
    1611 posts
    10 February 2021 in reply to pl515p1

    Hi pl515p1

    Checking in to see how you are. Been thinking of you.

    :)

  7. pl515p1
    pl515p1 avatar
    51 posts
    15 February 2021

    Hello Sophie_M and sunnyl20, thank you very much for your support, it means a lot, so I am very sorry that I could not deal with anything a few weeks back, and just wanted everything end, I shut myself off and fell into the darkness, so I could not respond, here or to the email sent from mod.

    therising, I am honoured to be in your thoughts, you are an incredibly caring person, I hope you can see I am deeply moved by your concern,

    I will have to type this in two posts as it is over the character limit, so I apologise.

    To lose my dad, so shockingly, so abruptly, and so cruelly took 99% of whatever spirit I had.
    Then to find that my mother passed so close to where I live, and so soon before I finally found her address, took all my remaining connection to anything.

    Not seeing her photo which was promised in the letter felt like torture just to make me suffer further, the fact that my relatives did not even ask how I am doing hurt so much, now several weeks have gone by, I sent another heartfelt letter to no response.

    My brother is all I have left from our family, Dad, Mum, two sisters, all taken far too soon. Now my last chance to reconnect with my him is slipping away from me too.

    I am not weak, but I am merely human, I cannot continue to constantly fight to stay afloat only to be continuously dragged down by a never ending supply of burden. I guess this is payback for me being such a burden to dad, he was so strong, he could carry this weight, I am not so sure I can.

    Since this news I have pretty much given up on a lot of things, I don't really communicate with anyone anymore, my friends want to catch up but I always put it off, people call and I let it ring, I cannot bring myself to bring them down as well. I have not even told me uncle about finding my mum, brother and aunt, and mum passing away.

    Even though the border is open and I hoped to go visit him, I just don't have enough left in me to go, he sounds too much like dad, it...

    I guess the toll has begun to show on my body and face, I barely look in a mirror, my eyes remind me of dad's, the last time I saw his eyes was when he was... I guess my counsellor noted my appearance and weight loss, she was concerned enough to recommend me to self admission to a hospital mental health unit.

    I do not want to go there at all, I don't fear anything anymore, except losing my freedom, and whatever becomes of me will be from within me and of me, not decided by others.

  8. pl515p1
    pl515p1 avatar
    51 posts
    15 February 2021

    I have tried to engage with her again, so she will not admit me involuntarily, I put on a front, dress nicely blah blah, I am trying to make an effort, enrol in courses, get back into sports etc, but all of these things are merely distractions to hold the tidal wave at bay and pass the time.

    She wants me to use knowledge my father gave me, to teach others in some field, I think she thinks I can help myself by helping others, as dad did so very well, but lately each day all I want is to make the time go by as fast as possible so my life will too.

    I don't have any hopes or dreams I once held, or desire to achieve anymore, even things I once enjoyed feel so disconnected and numb, as if my body is present, but my mind, heart and soul isn't. So study is difficult to focus on, or even care about.

    It was my birthday recently, and dad's is this week, everything we ever did, or planned to do for his birthday is all just...he wanted to go to Italy, all last year he talked of his wish for 2021.


    At this point I am really lost, just adrift in a sea of nothing.

    I don' t know what to do, I guess I just keep on what I am doing, pass the time day to day, and wait for my time...

    Time feels different now, hours no longer have a feel, nor do days, it's difficult to tell whether it is Monday or Saturday anymore.

    I wish I could say I am good, I want to be, I know I am letting people down, especially dad. I want to make him proud, I also want to disappear and no longer feel his loss, any small thing, or moment I recall anything of him, I fall and cry, and it seems that after each fall it is becoming increasingly more difficult to pick myself up again.

    Sometimes I get angry at my brother and Aunt, for not wanting to initiate communication with me, then I feel sorry and regret that I am angry.

    I also feel so much anger towards people I see who are using their life to tear down, hurt, abuse or make others miserable, angry that they get to live, while dad does not, it isn't fair, sometimes I just have to punch the wall, end up hurting myself so it's dumb, I was thinking about going to gym and boxing to hit a bag, I don't know.

    I took my father's bike for a ride to a beautiful park with a lake, I sat there all afternoon and into the night, didn't want to come home. The next day I felt so cold and empty, so I just look at the bike now, remembering him riding it.

  9. therising
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    therising avatar
    1611 posts
    16 February 2021 in reply to pl515p1

    Hi pl515p1

    I wish the path to reforming yourself was so clear cut that once it came to mind you could simply write it out and confidently follow the directions, without a doubt. How cruel it is that life doesn't always work this way. Sounds like your therapist is suggesting the path of helping others, something you sound like you've enjoyed in the past. With your dad having been powerful enough to help you reform yourself in the past, his lessons for others would be invaluable. If you were to think about those lessons at a deeper level, how would they appear as dot points. Would there be dozens or hundreds? Could some of them even hold clues to the way forward for you? Maybe not dot points, perhaps a map of sorts. How would his lessons map out?

    Try not to beat yourself up for feeling angry with folk. Anger can be a very telling important emotion. Being sensitive, I try to get a sense of what my emotions are telling me. For me, anger typically relates to intolerance. So, if I'm angry, I'll ask myself 'What can I not tolerate about that person or situation?' In your case, I imagine you can't tolerate your brother or aunt's lack of consideration and compassion. I imagine, with you being such a thoughtful person, you would never consider leaving a person to feel so full of despair, on their own.

    Regarding friends wanting to catch up, are there any in this circle who'd be sensitive to what you might need. For example, one friend may be the sort of person who encourages you to vent, without judgement. Another may be a person who does not simply say 'Boxing sounds good, you should do it' but says 'We'll sign up together'. A hand holding kind of friend. Do you need a 'tough love' friend who says 'We're signing up NOW!'?

    I imagine it feels impossible to not solely identify yourself as 'Someone who's in such a deep and overwhelming state of grief'. Is it possible for you to re-identify yourself as 'Someone who's in such a deep and overwhelming state of grief who does boxing'? or 'Someone who's in such a deep and overwhelming state of grief who does compassionate or volunteer work'? Life can be strange in the way it takes a sudden turn. What if there was someone at that boxing place or someone at that volunteer place who you met who is going make the difference you need and you connected with them.

    All the people we meet for the 1st time begin as strangers. The question is 'Which stranger is the one to make the difference, the mind and life altering one?'

    :)

    1 person found this helpful
  10. sunnyl20
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    sunnyl20 avatar
    191 posts
    18 February 2021 in reply to pl515p1

    Hi pl515p1,

    I really don't think you are letting people down. The grief, pain and loss you have experienced cannot be underestimated, it has clearly affected you. I cannot imagine how disheartening it was to not get any response from contacting your relatives, especially when you are already in such a dark place. From what you have described, it sounds like you have tapped out and have given up on a lot of things. I am really sorry that everything has just felt too much. I wish there was more we could do to help. Of all of the friends who have reached out to you, is there one who you feel more able to relax with, who you feel closer to and who you feel may be most understanding? Might it be worth just trying to catch up with that friend to see how it goes? They want to catch up with you, they want to see you - I know you see yourself in a very harsh and critical way, but maybe it might be helpful to see a friend to try to bring yourself out of the depths of your pain, they may just be that little sliver of light that you need in what seems like complete darkness and despair.

    Take care.

    1 person found this helpful
  11. pl515p1
    pl515p1 avatar
    51 posts
    19 February 2021

    Hello therising, and Sunnyl20, Thank you both, means more than I can write, sorry I cannot respond in the deserved manner, this week has been hard.

    Birthday was very draining, I found a box of dad's belongings, letters, art, and he had kept everything I ever made for him.

    Drawings stories, pottery, woodwork, to see what I created next to what he made, was an indescribable feeling.

    I was going okay until today, I received another letter from person on behalf of my brother and Aunt, they apologised and included photos of mum they had promised earlier.

    This is completely overwhelming, on one hand it hurts, as my brother and aunt are still not communicating with me, but on the other I get to see mum again, for the first time in over 18 years.

    It is difficult to explain how I am feeling right now, I went to my GP for more sessions, to learn that they still do not know the cause of dad's death, he just passed in his sleep, not knowing still lingers in my heart.

    And to see my mum, it hurts so much, her face, her arms holding me, deep surge as if I had lost her again when I saw her.

    She even kept a photo of her sitting on dad's motorbike, this made me more sad, see, mum kept dad's last name, and kept precious photos of things they shared. I have a deep feeling, that she still loved dad, and he her we lost so much, they should be together now, we all should be.

    Sometimes I wish I did not search for them, not knowing would shield me, perhaps I was not ready.

    All I know is, I miss dad more everyday, and looking at my beautiful mum...makes me miss what I had with her, and what I could have had.

    I cannot express it, to see a photo of her holding me just after I was delivered, or her hands holding mine up as I try to walk, or seeing dad hold me standing on his hand.

    Sorry, I have to constantly distract myself every moment to function through the day.

    Next week will be very tough, it's dad's birthday, first time we won't be together, I made him some small cards with items he gifted me through his life, such as strength, resilience, ethics, morals, and dignity.

    I described when I thought he gave those gifts to me.
    I placed them all in envelopes on his...

    Next week I have to get mums death certificate, I have photos of her funeral but not where she is now, the photo of her on dad's bike was on her casket it was...

    I hope they are up there, each holding a daughter, waiting for me and my brother to join them.

    I have lost almost my entire family I am... why?

  12. pl515p1
    pl515p1 avatar
    51 posts
    20 February 2021

    Well, I spent all night looking at photos, I think I am dehydrated from tears, I wrote another letter to my brother an aunt, well I wrote over 50 last night, but tore each up as the words did not come out as I wanted.

    I am going now to place a final letter in his letterbox, saying how thankful I am for the photos, how much I miss mum, and how much I miss them, at this point I don't know if they'll read it, but nothing is everything I have.

    I was thinking of placing some photos of myself in the letter, but I probably won't, I don't know where mum is at rest, and it may take too long for her certificate to arrive with the details, so I wrote her a poem, and asked them to place it with her, I want to place photos and some special belongings with her as well, but placing them in the letter, I don't know, hopefully words reach her, and she knows I tried, and wanted to give more.

    To my mum, you gave me life, you held me with so much love, that I can still feel it now, please mum, please forgive me for all these years lost.

    I love you very, very much.

    I feel your loving hands hold me,
    I feel your caring embrace.

    In the beauty of the sea,
    In the gentle breeze on my face.

    You are part of me,
    I am part of you.

    I hope from above you can see,
    I hope you know I love you.

    I wish I could see you,
    I am so sorry I was not there.

    I wish I could hold you,
    Show you that I care.

    I hope you can forgive me,
    I hope you see I love you so.

    I hope you can feel this,
    I hope you can know.

    You are up there now, with others, who shine such a sweet light,
    One day we will all be together, as a family we'll reunite.

    Goodnight mum, until then, a hug and a kiss,
    I love you, I thank you, you forever I'll miss.

  13. therising
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    therising avatar
    1611 posts
    23 February 2021 in reply to pl515p1

    Hi pl515p1

    To say that each challenge in this process you face is hard would have to be the understatement of the century. Each challenge sounds like it is reforming you to be more loving, more determined as a seeker/investigator, more committed and more sensitive. In this process, you are finding your self. When so many overwhelming thoughts and deep emotions come into play, this would undoubtedly have to be the most challenging part. 'I've never known my self to be so sad, to feel so hopeless, so lost. I've never know my self this way'.

    During my years in depression, I'd never known my chemistry/biology to be so brutal, so cruel and so intense. I'd never felt it before. I'd never known my thoughts/mind to be so misguided, so destructive and so lacking in self esteem. I'd never known my sense of spirit to be so out of reach, so detached; I'd never felt so abandoned by life. I have come to feel and know both the darkest and the brightest parts of my self throughout my life so far. Navigating through the brightest of moments is easy. Navigating through 'the darkness' can be such an incredibly lonely feeling, no matter how many people appear to be helping, trying to make a difference, trying to shed some light. It can be so hard to recognise inspiration when it comes to us in such a dark place. As I may have mentioned, inspiration is often challenging and who wants a challenge when life feels challenging enough.

    I am wondering what positive inspiration sounds like to you. Does it sound like 'Why don't you take up boxing' or 'Why don't you go out with your friends even though you don't want to' or perhaps 'You know you're doing an amazing job under the circumstances, even though it doesn't feel like it' or maybe 'Why don't you write a poem for your mum'. By the way, what a truly beautiful deeply heartfelt poem. The world is so blessed to have such a sensitive loving person such as yourself in it.

    While I imagine it may feel impossible to sense any form of inspiration right now, this doesn't mean inspiration is not trying to make its way into your life in a number of ways. If inspiration speaks to you in regard to sending that photo of yourself, what have you got to lose? Simply, a photo of yourself. Perhaps you are being encouraged to share who you are now. How others process this is ultimately up to them. Of course, the choice remains yours.

    Positive inspiration is always constructive, never destructive :)

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