OT....how do I decorate?

PurplemoonJune 27, 2011

I don't know how to decorate now. Not since I lost my Dad. I'd always said... and believed... that I decorated "for myself" since my Mr Oblivious never noticed or cared one way or the other. Dad living with us and enjoying my decorating so much just seemed a bonus. I guess it was far more than I knew.

When Valentine's came, and I didn't decorate, I had a reason. His health was failing rapidly and he died the day after. When St Patrick's came I was still grieving and we'd planned his services to coincide with a special family date of the 26th. So each time I had an excuse not to decorate.

When Easter came, I did get my things out and decorated... tho my heart wasn't in it at all. But I felt I needed to do this for myself, to try to regain some "normal" again. That didn't work it seems. Each year I've been getting out my patriotic decor for Memorial Day and leaving it up till the 4th was over. But this time, when Memorial Day came, I didn't. Now its almost the 4th and all my wonderful decorations are still packed. I even told myself I needed to do this FOR my Dad....he was so very patriotic. Not to mention one of his all-time favorite foods was watermelon!! ;o). Decorating with the red-white-blue from May to July would honor him, and be good for me. But I couldn't. I tried, but I couldn't.

Father's Day had me terribly down, I cry so easily any more. And his birthday is in July, the 23rd, so that will be hard. At the moment I don't even know how I am going to get thru Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. I will, with the kids and grandkids, of course. But as far as decorating, and feeling any joy, how do you do it with a broken heart and such a huge sense of 'loss' ?

I've scolded myself for being this way. I'm 64 yrs old, not 6! My Dad lived a long (86 yrs), good life. His passing was gentle, surrounded by family. And now he's finally with my Mom again after 10 yrs without her. So why am I having so much trouble coping? I know he wouldn't want me be so sad and full of pain. Dad loved laughter, and embraced every day of life with it.

I feel like I'm letting him down by not enjoying things, not decorating, and all the blasted tears I cry. Which of course just makes me sadder. But I don't know how to stop missing him, and I don't know how to start to decorate again.

And I don't know who'd understand except maybe you....

hugs, Karen

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Karen, maybe you shouldn't push yourself this year. My mom died February 22nd of 2010. I am just now beginning to feel "normal" again. I'm no spring chicken....62...but I never realized just how much I would miss her. Take it easy on yourself and let yourself cry and grieve and miss him. It will get better but I doubt that we will ever stop missing them. My mom was 92 and I guess no matter how long you have them, it is never long enough. Try a little decorating now and then. You will know when the time is right. I'm praying for you and please accept my sympathy on the loss of your dad. I'll be pulling for you.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 7:04PM
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AAAHHH, (((Karen))). I know what you are going through.
We are never ready to lose a loved one no matter what the circumstances. It's only been a few months since you lost your dad. You and he were so close and having him live with you must make it doubly hard now. I think you are still in the first stages of grief. There are no easy answers every one heals in their own way in their own time.
My DH has been gone for a year and a half now and the pain and sense of loss is still very intense. I have a lot of PTS due to the circumstances of his death.
I will say again that this forum has meant the world to me. It is a bright spot in my day. Everyone here is so kind and caring. Nancy is right maybe you shouldn't try to push yourself right now. I think the first holiday, birthday or any first celebration after we lose a loved one is the hardest. The next ones are a little easier.
I wish I could take some of your pain away. Just know we are all care about you and wish you well as you are traveling this difficult road.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 7:54PM
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Nancy, I don't believe we've "met" but welcome to our gang.
It was incredibly sweet of you to tell me about your Mom and offer such words of support. Thank You so much.

And dear NanaK, you certainly know too well the pain of loss. I hope I haven't made you sad and pushed you back a step when you've come so far forward. I should have thought more before posting. I know your road has been long and hard.

Janet, sweet friend, bless you for the phone call. You were certainly a bright spot in my day.

There is no way my family can understand, and I was just ready to implode with all the locked-up feelings. I knew those here would have words of advice and support, and that unfortunately had gone thru this to know how difficult it can be finding "normal" again.
But I now regret dumping on you and making you remember sad times you went thru. I am so sorry.


    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 9:39PM
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Karen, You owe us NO appology for "dumping" on us. That is the joy of friendship, the sharing of both good and bad times. Like I told you earlier, grief is hard work, and the time you were caregiver made it doubly hard, Your days were so full of caring for your DF and then when he was gone, you had to totally change your life routine. No one can tell you how long it will take you to feel normal again, and even the normal that was before will have to change. Give yourself time and permission to grieve your own way. No two people grieve the same, even brothers and sisters who lose a parent. Everybody has their own relationship to the person who has died and everyone has to find the right way to process their feelings. Keeping them locked inside until you "implode" can only slow the healing process. Like Nana said the first year is the hardest, but the time will come when the memories will be easier and although you will never get over missing him, thoughts of him will make you smile instead of bring the tears. Go ahead and cry, there is something very therupetic about tears, they cleanse the soul. Be kind to yourself and know that we love you. Hugs, Janet

    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 10:26PM
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Karen..sweet friend - I agree with what everyone said here - you need to give youself more time to heal.
Your Dad's been gone only a short time and the fact that he lived with you for so long, makes his absence all the more greater. You shouldn't be 'going thru the motions' of decorating and such..when you're heart is not in it.
You'll know when you're ready when your heart and feelings lead you to it - and for no other reason.

After my Mother passed away, I clipped out an article about The Loss of a Loved One..and found some comfort in these simple words.
DEATH IS A CERTAINTY - And So Is The Bitterness And Grief Associated With It -
With time, the Pain and Grief Will Lesson - And You Will Learn To Cope And Move On...
And Then You Can Heal Your Heart - So You Can Live For Them.

'So You Can Live For Them'..
Karen, I wish this for you.

Remember - you shouldn't be hurting
alone..We're always here.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 12:13AM
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You are 'coping' in your own way, Karen...you reach out to us here on the Forum just about every single day...you add photos to the Inspiration Albums...you share a new blog you've come across in the middle of the night...you are 'coping,' woman!

Please allow the grief to just continue to come...you've been the caregiver for a long, long time & now that journey is done & you've started on a new one. It's OK...everything you're saying, doing IS ok. New "normals" will come (as Janet spoke of).

Just know we care ...& we already know that you care enough to talk to us. Hugs to you, purplemoon! Jeanne S.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 12:52AM
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Karen, I'm so glad you came here to share your feelings with all of us. I agree with what everyone else has said. It's ok to have these feelings and sometimes getting it out is the best therapy of all.

Only you know what your feeling right now. I wish your DH would replace his golf with time for YOU right now! Here's a Big Hug from me and hope tomorrow finds you feeling much better.


    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 12:52AM
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Karen..I agree with all that has been said. I have been there. I took care of Mom for her last 8 years. She lived to the age of 91 but it was still very hard. After her death I thought "What do I do now?" I kept Mom's house so she was everywhere I looked. I missed her so much and still do (5 years later). I repainted every room and tried to make it my home..this helped me a little. Being by myself, I have a lot of time to think and remember.

Becoming interested in this forum has helped me immensely...everyone is so nice and friendly.

Karen, I think it was very good that you created your retreat. That was your first step. I started out step by step and day by day. It is a slow process but it does get a little easier to bear. You should take all the time you need.

My thoughts and prayers are with you.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 3:34AM
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Oh Karen,
Special (((Hugs)))) and prayers being sent your way..
If you all remember, I lost my Mama the 28th of December. Just yesterday, I cried all day..I wanted my Mama.. Yes, I am 54 years old, but I need my Mama..Especially with Daddy living with me and him having Alzheimer's. He is starting to get worse, and it is showing. They say, it will get worse..I'm just not ready. I can not mourn my Mama for taking care of my Daddy.

Anyway, I really don't have a lot to say to you b/c I don't know what to do for myself. I do however empathize with you. It does seem like talking helps. Just know you are in my thoughts and prayers!!

Take Care,


    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 10:25AM
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Karen, I'm so sorry your feeling blue. Like everyone said it just takes time and everyone grieves differently. I noticed that you said that you were 64 and not a baby anymore, it made me think about when I lost my mom, even though I took care of her for the last several years of here life, I was always her baby. I think when you loose your parents, no matter what age you are it gives you a sense of your own mortality and that we are not the baby anymore. So, anytime you are looking back and feeling blue, be sure to end with looking ahead with those wonderful children and grandchildren. Just know that we are here any time that you need to open up (pretty inexpensive therapy).

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 11:12AM
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Karen - I really can't add anything new to what has already been said. I lost both my husband (2003) and then my mother (2010) in this house and the memories are still all over the place. I am happily remarried but still will have flashbacks to what might have been. That first Christmas without him was horrible but I had Mom living with me by then and forced myself to decorate if not for me but for her. I went so completely out of the box in my decorating and have never looked back in that respect. In a way it was liberating to be able to 'do my thing'. The same thing is happening with my gardening - for so many years the gardens were planted with Mom in mind and what was visually appealing from her windows since she didn't venture outside that much. Now I can do what I want where I want but still spent a year in limbo trying to deal with that concept. Grieving is such a very personal thing and no one can tell you how to do that nor put you on a timetable but as internet friends we can ALL be here for you. I am confident you will work this out - take your time ((hugs))


    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 2:32PM
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Thank you all for keeping me sort of grounded. Maybe I have expected too much too soon in finding my new normal.
I'm doing ok most of the time, I think, other than the decorating block!! I knew Father's Day would be hard. But there have been several special things happen in just the 4 months since Dad left us, mostly related to Jason, things that he would have really loved seeing or hearing about! I let those set me back knowing he missed them by such a short span of time. This type of thing is what I have to learn to adjust to. My kids all firmly believe he "knows" and is looking down on all of us with his big smile and great sense of humor. But I can't stop wanting him to BE part of it, and for us to SEE his joy. That is selfish of me in a way. All of you who've suffered loss know that at some point you have to learn to let go...to live FOR them and not THRU them. I will get there. Next year hopefully.

Lynne, being in the home where you lost both a husband and a mom, with so many memories at every turn has to be very difficult at times. Tho having them so close in many memories is probably something you also cherish.
I'm glad my Dad lived with us for the past 10 yrs in that respect. Even tho I've redecorated his bedroom, its still
"his". I find peace in there now it no longer looks like a hospital room as it did that last year.

Frou, the "inexpensive therapy" here is priceless!!! And when I think of being "daddy's girl" and then turn around to think of my 8 grandkids...3 in their 20's...it sure makes me feel OLD fast. LOL. Talk about a Reality Check!

Marylee, this Forum has been a Godsend to me since I found it. Which was about the time I became mostly housebound with the Fibromyalgia. Even tho married, I am 'alone' most of the time so definitely do too much thinking and remembering. But I found new life, new interests, and wonderful new friends because of Holidays. And discovered many here feel the same way. This is a special family we have! I can't imagine not coming here every single day, many times, its a second home to me. I need to be here.

Creek...so often I've thought of you and wondered how you were! And hoped you'd come back to us. I knew you were going thru a difficult time and kept you in my prayers. I can't tell you how good it is to see you again.
I am so sorry, not just for the loss of your Mom, but your Daddy's disease. Two of our dear friends here are going thru similar with their husbands now. The road you three are on in caring for loved one thru this will be long and hard. Just know you can come here and cry or share if you need. And hopefully get a few smiles or distraction from the real world. Its important to find a little "me time" while going thru so much. Take any moment of joy you can find, your body and spirit need that.

I hope one day to see photos of your lovely place again, the animals, and when you are up to decorating again. A selfish hope, but I really enjoyed all your posts. You can still email me anytime you need as well. I am still a good 'dumping ground' for friends hopefully. LOL. Listening to others is also a good way for me stop with my Pity Parties. Tho in this posting, seems I broke a rule of mine and invited my friends! I usually won't do that. But I have to say I am glad all of you came to this one. I've smiled, I've cried, and I've felt so much better for it.

love you guys,
"Never fear the shadows. It just means there's a light somewhere near by"

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 7:15PM
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(((( Karen))))
It's been awhile since I've been here in awhile but have thought about all of you.
April & May were horrible personally with lots of travel to and from hospitals. I lost my dear FIL to cancer on May 21 and my best friend to heart failure on May 27 so shortly after overcoming the horrifying thought of losing my mother earlier in the year.
Needless to say , I hit the skids pretty hard with the emotional toll in a way that is very much not usually myself, just that I couldn't take so much in such a short amount of time.
I felt I had done & done & done for family and friends and left nothing for myself. For a time, I simply reclused to the house and did nothing but cry. What you are going through is NORMAL , and as tears go , in time they do lessen but there's no rush to ""make yourself accomplish anything"".
Your loss and pain are still very fresh and forcing yourself to do something creative will not help. If you're going to decorate, you have to do it for YOU.
I lost my own dad 13 yrs ago and though I've come to accept that and 'normal' has long since returned, I LOVED my FIL. He's been a very integral and special man to me for almost 11 years. I knew he was going to pass, but I just wasn't ready.
My best friend was also my neighbor and I wasn't ready to lose him either, though I knew the time would come once we learned his defibrilator wasn't keeping up with regulating his heart anymore and it was going to wear out. I put him in the hospital 2 weeks before FIL passed and he crashed to a coma the very day I was away burying FIL.
To tell you how far off the skids I've been , my table is still set for Easter , minus the centerpiece which I tossed into the basement on my way out the door for the 3hr drive to visit FIL. I wasn't in the mood to see "cute" when I returned. I haven't bought any new pieces of anything since April , the big pug flag I display for each month in the LR is still easter... I just don't care and haven't felt the creative urge to do anything about it.
For me to tell you to pull yourself together would not only be wrong and immoral , it would be the pot calling the kettle black.
Do what YOU want to do for YOU and in time , the pain will change and you will want to pull out your fun stuff again.
Major Huggs to you sweet lady, it's been a rough road to hoe for a long time. :(


    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 10:51PM
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Sarah, I don't know how you found the 'energy' (and you know well what I'm talking about) to respond and let me/us know what's happened in your life. I just can't believe so many losses in such a short time. I am very, very sorry for all your pain. I see why you needed to be a recluse and cry it all out. (I've often thought maybe turtles have the right idea at times to duck into their shells and wait things out!)
Your FIL must have been such a special man to inspire the kind of love you felt for him. It sounds like a wonderful relationship and I hope the memories of it will comfort you in time.
I do know from years ago, that going to hospitals daily for weeks or months exhausts one not only physically but mentally and emotionally. All you want to do is be HOME, then when finally you are its as if you don't know what to do there.

I'm beginning to think Life is a series of finding 'new normals' as we get thru things that can leave us feeling lost or alone.

You will stay in my prayers and I hope you stay in touch here whether you feel like doing any shopping or decorating or not. Meanwhile, I've heard its really good therapy to
hug a pug... :o)
Bless our little 4-legged ones for getting us thru things with their unconditional love! I'd be lost without mine.

Take care and hugs from my heart,

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 4:05AM
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(((Karen))), You did not make me feel sad or push me back at all. As others have said grief is so personal and we all handle it in our own way.
I think it is good that you are expressing your feelings.
Keeping them bottled up isn't good.
Sarah, I'm sorry about your FIL and your best friend.
Life is always throwing us curve balls isn't it?

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 7:47AM
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Good Morning Everyone, this forum is a great place to come for therapy. I will keep all of you in my prayers and hope each one of you finds the strength to carry one.

So good to hear from you Sarah even tho it was sad news. We have all missed you and your beautiful decorations.

When I lost my 3 parents 9 years ago in 5 weeks it changed my life completely. We started our businesses right after that and 2 weeks later I headed back to school. I'm sure this was my way of escaping reality and it's worked out great with no regrets. Thank goodness my family was ready for the ride.

I only wish my parents could of been here to watch us grow. I feel they are smiling from above seeing what has been accomplished tho. Seems as tho only time will help heal our broken hearts.

Hugs and Prayers to all of you.


    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 8:46AM
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Karen ::
and "hug a pug" I've done. Gracious knows those furry little things have kept me going. They make demands that I get up and get moving or else... lol
If it wasn't for them, I probably would have really fell off the deep end.
You're right, they are great therapy.
So much so .... that ....

I took in another one.. *lol*
(he's a foster for the local humane society shelter , actually but under medical hold/treatment though so he'll likely be here for the long haul.)

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 10:13PM
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Well, everyone has pretty much already said what needs to be said.
I do want to reiterate that no one here thinks you are "dumping" when you share your grief, thoughts, and feelings. I have found this group to be a fantastic support group in addition to their amazing enabling talents! LOL
Decorating takes energy, and right now your energy level is down due to your grief.
I, too, believe your Dad can still enjoy your efforts when you are ready. I think you can still talk to him, you just can't hear his response now.
You will know when you are ready. I think it is hard to go from being the daughter to becoming the elder generation. I know when my DMIL passed on last year, my DSIL not only mourned the loss of her mother, but also the fact that now she was the matron of the family. It was a huge reality check for her. As you already stated, it raises our awareness of our own mortality.

We do miss your decorations, but really appreciate all the inspirations you have been posting.

The most important consideration is that you take care of yourself right now.

I do notice when you are not on here for a few days, and am so glad you are here right now.

Sending hugs, thoughts, and hopefully, some positive energy your way!!


    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 10:56PM
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Sarah, one of the best about thing about having pets is that they do give you reason to get up and get moving! If not for mine, with the Fibro I'd probably be in bed ALL day. Mornings are so hard for me to drag myself up, but I have no choice as the dogs and kitties need to be fed. And when Jas was in the burn unit all those months, doing stuff at home for them was the ONLY normal thing in my life at the time! They kept me grounded and I dubbed them my "sanity keepers".

Candy, thank you. I sure notice when you miss some days here too. ;o) I'm not too fond of summer's lack of holidays and so many of our gang go missing due to vacations and yard stuff. Tho I can't blame anyone for wanting to stay outside when its nice. I hate not being able to do that. We've had heat warnings all week, and Sat will be 116. Welcome to Summer in H---!

I often use the term "dumping", but I mean it in a kind/good way. Years ago when my friends had to put up with me getting thru those burn center months with Jas, I actually made each of them tiny wood plaques with a dump truck on it and the wording "Karen's Dump Club". They got a kick out of my silliness. But that is what I fondly called them.

Speaking of Jason, I need to remember the words he lives by and uses in his motivational talks.

"The one true blessing we have, the one thing we have control of, is our attitude. It�s the only thing you have control of, every single day, every situation. You get to decide what your attitude is going to be" �
Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you deal with it"
Jason Schechterle

My son is a wise man, and I need to follow in his steps.
hugs, Karen

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 11:31PM
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Marlene Kindred

Hello all~

I've been missing in action myself for a couple of weeks...maybe more, I'm not sure. I think that most everything that should be said has been said, but I am so moved by everyone's caring thoughts. Even though I don't know any of you "for real", you folks are as real as people can get in my opinion.

Karen...my sweet friend...you, like me, are so unbelievably hard on yourself. We beat ourselves up royally for not being stronger. I get that. But, let me tell you, from my perspective, and from our conversations, you have been unbelievably strong. Being a Daddy's girl myself, I totally understand your lack of motivation even when you think it would honor your Dad to decorate. Honey, you just lost your Dad...do not beat yourself up for missing him so much....he was the first man to love you and the first man you loved...completely. You cannot expect yourself to "get over that"....ever. With time, it WILL not hurt so much. There will come a time when you remember your Dad and you smile instead of cry. There will come a time when you can relate stories about him and it will make you laugh....it will happen....but only in time and only when you are "heart" ready. It's been nine years since my Daddy passed and there is seldom a day when I don't think of him. Most days I'm fine, but there are days when I still just find a hiding place and cry because I miss him so. So, don't apologize...for any of the feelings you're having....they are exactly the feelings you should be having. Your Daddy will understand....and don't think for one minute that he doesn't know about the good things that are happening for Jason.....he knows.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2011 at 4:07PM
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So many words of wisdom. I, too, was a Daddy's girl and he was the most important person in my life when he passed away 23 years ago. I STILL remember him with tears sometimes, but they turn out to be tears of happiness. The fact that your dad was so very wonderful is the reason you are so sad without him, and it will take some time before everything stops reminding you of him. I hope those thoughts will be a comfort. I am sure he is proud--he did his job on earth well.

Hugs and prayers,


    Bookmark   July 2, 2011 at 8:19PM
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I just stopped by to lurk (no room left in my house for dishes or decorations, so I just lurk)to find you grieving and had to add my (((( Karen ))))s.

It's been well over 10 years since this "Daddy's Girl" lost my Daddy and I still grieve. Some days more than others.

So, I'll just say, "Hang in there, Girl. We all love you. You are a very special woman."

Jason is an AWESOME son. We all would do well to follow his example.


I'm so sorry that life threw "so much-so fast" at you.

I pray healing for all the grieving hearts here, among my friends.

Big Hugs,

    Bookmark   July 14, 2011 at 8:03PM
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