The 'Distant' Feeling/Grief After Time

lulie___wayneJuly 15, 2004

CariJo's post on "The Nagging Questions" thread made me think of something that I am dealing with.

I had previously mentioned that my grief for Mom and Christin is different now. It has been 6 years since Christin left, and although I have been grieving for her all this time, the grief most of the time is not intense anymore. My grief for Mom, being that it has only been about 6 weeks is more fresh, understandably.

Although, I never wanted to have raw, fresh grief forever, at the same time, I never wanted for her to become a vague memory for me. When I think of her now, which is many times every single day, I don't feel extreme sadness. This bothers me in a way. I'm wondering if everyone who grieves normally, eventually comes to this place in their grief? In a way, it makes me feel really guilty. I feel like I should still be very sad, being that this was my very precious girl who I love so very much and miss every single day. Is this something that happens eventually, to all who grieve normally? (I know that all people grieve differently, but by "normally", I mean grief that is not to the extreme where people need psychiatric help for years.)

So, not only do I miss Chris very much, I am dealing with feeling kind of guilty for feeling better. Am I making any sense at all? Can anyone shed any light on this subject? In reality, I think I know the answer, but I just would like to hear what all of you think of this.

I know people who actually work on trying to continually feel really sad for their lost loved ones just because they fear moving away from that deep grief for fear that it may indicate that they don't love them anymore or that they are forgetting them.

What do you think? Have you experienced this?


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I know exactly what you are talking about and have experienced it, am still experiencing it, myself. We talked about this in another thread a week or so ago and I theorized that this is a natural part of the grief process. Of course we cannot/should not stay in the depths of our despair, where we were right after our loved one passed. To do so is self destructive.

I think we are created this way, because if we weren't, our grief would consume us to the point where we could no longer function. We could no longer enjoy life or experience God's grace.

The issue of memories fading and how that can perpetuate our grief is a tough thing to deal with. It is especially so for those of us who have regrets about taking our loved one for granted in life and the fact that we can't ever make up for that. Keeping our grief on the front burner is either our way of trying to compensate for that or just a mask for our own disappointment in ourselves. Maybe we are even trying to punish ourselves?

Forgive my stream of consciousness rambling. I'm making some of this stuff up as I go. I've had these same feelings, but until now haven't really examined the deeper issues behind them.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2004 at 3:40PM
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lu..i too can relate to what you are feeling...i know there have been several days that go by where i almost feel normal and dont cry veryday any longer and then when i start thinking about it i am consumed with guilt and confusion...i almost feel as if ...that if im feeling this way..does that mean that her life she lived didnt have the importance now that it did when she died?in my heart i know the answer to that...but then i question why then would i feel"better"on any given day.....i have everyday since jamie died talked about her or something funny she did....and kole(her little boy)and i say a prayer for her at nite and throw her a kiss...he keeps me grounded...he sys he knows she is here with us and just waiting for us someday to be with her.....i have to make sure that he has a healthy spiritual relationship with he does jesus and i have to know that she is in a much more beautiful place than this here...and there is no more pain in her life...dont beat yourself up too much over have had so much to deal with losing your precious daughter and now your mother....maybe you feel a little better because you know they are together taking care of each other....that has to be some comfort to you

    Bookmark   July 15, 2004 at 4:19PM
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I had a patient once who had lost her older son in the VietNam war. She was somewhat confused but her long term memory was essentially intact. I was doing some one-on-one with her to keep her from trying to stand up with a healing broken hip and I asked about her son.

Very lucidly she said, "That was so long ago, I barely remember him." I was stunned but changed the subject to something else to engage her attention.

I kept thinking about what she said. Later in my office I started crying, wondering if that would happen to me as I got older and the years spread between me and Brian's death. It hurts now typing this to think that one day my memories will be so faded that I may not remember him clearly. It feels somehow disloyal.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2004 at 5:26PM
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Dianne, that is a terribly painful thought. I suspect the woman's confusion went deeper than you realized. When I first moved here there was a nursing home next door. One day a woman wandered into my yard, and I invited her in for tea while I called the home to let them know I'd be bringing her back. Making conversation, I asked if she had any children. "I don't know," she said. "I can't remember." It turned out she had three. I, who had been so afraid of dying young like my mother, changed my prayer that day to ask that I not grow so old that I forget my children.

When Jill died I worried about putting the distance of time between her life and mine. I clung to the memories that were hours old, days old, terrified that when they became years old they'd become thin and dim. So far (three years now) that hasn't happened.

I spoke to a woman recently whose mother had just died. Ten years earlier, the mother had lost her other daughter. Ten years, and yet one of the last things the mother said before she died was, "I miss her so much!"


    Bookmark   July 15, 2004 at 6:08PM
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Lu, I also feel guilty about being happy. I still stay alone yet. I still cry alot. Your mom passed is very fresh yet. Sometimes 6 years is fresh. It seem everything as changed when someone you love passes. No one can tell you how you should feel or when things will be the same because same will change to something else. I haven't called my friends or family because my husband always been with me. I use to call my mom 2 or3 times aday to tell her whats going on. Actully now theres nothing going on. I do know what your feeling. I just wish my mourning will stop. Its so hard and it makes you feel very tired. Sometimes sleep helps but thats for me. I'm trying very hard to keep busy. All I remember is how my husband died and my mom who passed 4 months after my husband. Last year. Guilt will be with me because I feel I should of did more. You did alot for your love ones I can tell. But I was angry.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2004 at 9:24AM
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Lu, I understand too. I lost my Mom any years ago. And the memory of her personality has faded some. But I found one memory that I will cherish for ever. When she stayed with us, She would get up in AM and come to living room. My DH was usually up and I can still hear her and see her, "Morning, Mel". That is my most wonderful thing. I still hear her voice. I have not found my "best" memory of my DH yet. But it is such a shot time, I have many memories.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2004 at 9:42AM
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I guess as long as we have at least a few treasured memories that we can hold on to, it's okay if we don't keep feeling overwhelmingly sad for the rest of our lives. We just can't function in life that way.
Bill, you made a good point about the grief that is not so grueling anymore affecting those who feel guilt about taking the loved one for granted. I know of someone who deliberately tortures himself with looking at things and doing things that makes him so sad over the loss of a loved one. He feels guilty for so many things and consciously WANTS to make sure that he continues to feel really sad for the rest of his life over his lost love one. I know this is not healthy at all, but this is the way he "punishes" himself for the things that he feels guilty about. It's really pitiful.
Maybe those that will not let go of extreme grief for years and years and years fit in that category and don't even realize it. ???????????????

Here is a link that might be useful: Christin Cosby Memorial Web Site

    Bookmark   July 17, 2004 at 11:36AM
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