Back in the Saddle Again …with a Serious Question

Good grief! I never knew I would feel so “isolated” without a way to write (aside from pencil and paper). A grillion membership points, a brand new laptop, and three hours with a computer guru put me back in business yesterday. And I am doing a happy dance. Bad visual, good feeling. Have missed everyone in blog land. More than I could have imagined.

Have a question for you.  It concerns grief.

Someone I am thisclose to is grieving. It is delayed. The loss of both parents in a relatively short period of time and the ensuing fracture of the family infrastructure is just now hitting. Hard.  We all process differently – and at different times. The holidays can be hellish – when everything is going right; add infinite gallons of loss and one can feel downright dismal.  Add to the mix that men and women can and often do process differently. 

I felt a “disconnect” with this person brewing before Thanksgiving. Sensed the sadness, standing quietly by, reluctantly but instinctively. Repeating my mantra, “it’s not about me”. I addressed the disconnect between us last night. It was duly noted, my patience was requested. This is difficult for me as I haven’t experienced these losses nor would I want to be alone when doing so. I think. But this process does leave me alone more right now and it is confusing.

Which brings me to my question for you. Is delayed grief so pervasive it blankets everything in your life? Is it common for a loved one to be held at a distance?  What is the best way to handle this? Any insights would be most appreciated.

Because, in the end, love is the only thing that matters.


25 thoughts on “Back in the Saddle Again …with a Serious Question

  1. Izzie, I’m glad you’re up and running again.

    I’m sorry to hear about the disconnect. I’ve never lost anyone close to me, but I’m sending you and the other person some good thoughts.

  2. I can only answer for myself; I’m like a cat when I’m hurting, want to be alone to lick my wounds.
    Best of luck Izzie, time is what it takes, just be there.

  3. Welcome back, iz – missed you. From what I understand, we all grieve in different ways and it’s not a linear process; it can be a cycle of anger and denial and isolation, all mixed in with sadness. It’s hard for the one standing by, but I’ve no doubt your patience and love will be rewarded.
    Hugs to you from London xx

  4. In my experience, delayed grief always translates into grief intensified. Keeping grief at bay takes a lot of energy, so internal pressure builds and the ultimate eruption can be overwhelming and, as you say, blanketing. Hang in there and wait out the burrowing that keeps your friend disconnected. He or she is likely expereincing a sensory overload that overwhelms and isolates.
    Best wishes for you and your friend from here in Haiti!

  5. Delayed grief is kinda like post-traumatic stress. Just because it is delayed doesn’t mean that it isn’t as strong.
    All you can do is be there by their side so when they are finally ready to open up they are not alone.

  6. Hi Izzie:

    We missed you too! Glad you’re back in Blogland!

    Re: grieving. I dealt with the death of my mother three years ago very much alone…I lived far away from my other relatives, and I was single at the time. I think I depended on my children a lot, especially my oldest daughter, who was 21 then. I would have loved to have had someone close to me to “bounce off of.” Everybody grieves differently though, and I think you trying to remember that it’s not about you right now is the right way to look at it…hopefully, the person grieving will let you know when he or she needs your help (just try to “be there”). I’m sure they feel as if their world has collapsed, and are only concentrating on getting out from under the rubble.

    Hugs to you and your dear one…you can do this!


  7. It’s also a real sign of depression: you push people away because it’s hard to face them. You can’t look them in the eye – they know you’re in pain and it hurts to be with people who know this – you can pretend to be strong when people don’t know you well enough to see the pain in your eyes. I remember being with my sister a while after my partner died – and I just couldn’t look her in the eyes. I needed company more than anything else, so what did I do? I moved to Japan. 15 hours’ flight. Nine months later, I came back worse than ever, and then I really needed them. They were there. It wasn’t even a conscious ‘pushing people away’ thing, but I definitely wasn’t able to cope with company other than vague strangers.

    • Oh, Lady J – thank you for sharing what had to be such a horrible passage. Yes, we do crazy-making things sometimes to skirt the hurt, but it always comes back to bite you in the butt if you don’t deal with it. *hugs*

  8. Oh, and lovely to see you back xx

  9. I tend to distance people when I am hurting. I need to process my feelings alone without crying until my eyes bleed in front of people. The loss of parents brings up our own mortality and there might be unresolved issues that only therapy can help.

    Glad to see you’re back!

  10. Whew, I was afraid I had been neglectful and you weren’t even here! Welcome back.
    As for your friend that’s a tough one. I think you did the right thing to let him know how this affects you. I wonder if you might ask him how he would like for you to be? a version of ‘what can I do for you?” I know people find the holidays so much harder after a loss as it brings back old memories, but as for how long and how intense the grief? It’s so individual. And, my guess is that men are less likely to let others ‘in’, they can’t cope with letting their emotions show-and that’s a generic opinion.

    You are right. This is not about you!
    Good luck, it’s got to be hard on you to not have someone you care about with you at this time of year either.

  11. I am happy to see you are back! I have missed you!

    As far as your question. That is a good one. I experienced delayed grief for myself. When my grandfather died I was numb, numb for 7 years until my grandmother died. My grandfather and I had a connection and I love him dearly. I miss him every day now. I think that is what I was afraid of, missing him this is, to the point is brings tears to my eyes when I think of him or when I see my youngest smile his smile. When I decided to grieve it came hard and fast and it took some time to get through that process. The one thing that the hubs did that was so amazing was let me talk about him a lot. I would call my dad and we would relive things we experienced with him and mimic his southern accent and sayings till we both were laughing so hard I was crying tears of joy. I just relived him a bit through my grief and my family supported me in that, even though he died seven years ago.

  12. Glad to see you back Izzie. It sounds like your friend is suffering a little depression, facing your own mortality does that to people. Death is something we like to pack away in the closet and ignore, like the thin clothes you think you will be able to fit into again. But when you realize those clothes ain’t ever gonna get over your hips again you go into a grieving process (which may or may not involve copious amounts of Krispy Kremes). Anywho, the trick is to make your friend remember life is worth living. I have had several friends who have fallen into this type of depression and the best solution is adrenaline …. they need a pump of excitement in their veins. Camping, hiking, adventure park, beach, zumba classes etc anything that involves activities where it doesn’t give them time to think but feel (and laugh)! If you can round up a few little kids to throw into the mix all the better. Even if you have to drag them kicking and screaming it will be worth it in the end. Trust me I’m a friggin loon!!!!

    • There is no one I trust more, Loon. The adrenaline aspect is so important and one I overlooked! But then, I can count on you to bring out the unexpected! Tonight we will be at my mom’s birthday festival – nutty family, close friends – it will be good. I’ll be over in a bit for a laugh … x iz

  13. Delayed grief, especially if it involves parents is horrendous. I repressed my grief when my parents died and it took another intense loss to bring things to the fore. I responded by going away – far away – for a number of months, I just wanted to be alone.

    Respect your friends feelings. Depression is a part of it, so an offer of ‘being there when needed’ is good, but otherwise patience and kind words are all I can suggest. Anything else would have driven me even further away. Hugs though, I know how hard it can be to just watch and wait.

  14. Glad you are back too….so am I…I’ve been overwhelmed lately. Feels good to start reading and writing again.

    Grief is so personal…I would only make sure they weren’t sinking into depression and check up on them often but in short non-invasive intervals. I know from experience when I’m hit with grief after a period of time people look at me like…”you haven’t let that go yet?” and they don’t realize that in between I felt fine and I just need to get past it AGAIN. Sometimes they assume I’m totally fine when I want people to just call and say they are there if I need them. But sometimes they try too hard and its more of a chore to explain everything to them then just deal on my own.

  15. Sometimes just knowing your friends & loved ones are around makes all the difference… even if it doesn’t seem like they are needed.

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