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Forums / Grief and loss / Grief in a complicated situation

Topic: Grief in a complicated situation

7 posts, 0 answered
  1. Flowerchild07
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    16 posts
    21 May 2020

    I'm grieving the death of a man I loved. He loved me too. The difficulty is that I met him while I was volunteering at an aged care facility. Of course there are rules about not allowing oneself to get too close or too involved with residents. Sometimes, despite the rules, these things happen. We formed a very special bond over a 5 month period. Unfortunately, he told his family about his relationship with me and they, understandably, were concerned. They brought the situation up with management, and of course I was reprimanded for my behavior. They didn't know the extent of our relationship.........nobody did except for the two of us. It wasn't something that we could share with others. No matter how hard we tried, we would never have been able to make people understand. The age difference for one, not to mention the fact that he had multiple medical issues etc.

    I was forced to leave and told not to contact him or his family. I didn't get to say goodbye. I don't know if anyone explained to him why I had to leave. I've been so depressed and worried about him. He passed away three days ago. The grief I feel is making me sick. I don't think it's just the grief. It's all the things that happened, the way they happened and the fact that I have no one to help me work through my grief, because no one really knows how much we meant to each other. My family know that I formed a friendship with him, but that's as far as it goes. They feel for me in that respect, but must be wondering why my grief is so debilitating. I have to cry in private, I have no one to talk to about the true relationship I had with him.

    The last time I saw him was Boxing Day 2019. Even though he was in his late eighties, very unwell and is no doubt in a much better place now, I still can't stop crying. I can't seem to accept that he's gone. My grief is making me sick. Everything seems 'unreal'. Because I'm not a family member, I don't have anywhere to express my grief and sorrow at his passing. I can't attend his funeral. I just feel lost and helpless.

    2 people found this helpful
  2. uncut_gems
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    21 May 2020 in reply to Flowerchild07

    Hi Flowerchild07,

    Your post is so moving to me because the goodness of your intentions and the intensity of your feelings come through so clearly. You are exactly right that despite the strictures imposed on us in the workplace and elsewhere (for good reason), sometimes people connect in ways that simply transcend these regulations and form bonds that you just can't explain or make understood to outside observers.

    Grief is so hard to deal with, even when we can discuss it freely with people who understand where we're coming from. When, for one reason or another, we're not able to do that, it can become downright unbearable.

    Without knowing anything about yourself or this man, it sounds like you made the last months of his life not only dignified and comfortable (by volunteering), but also full of connection and meaning. We should all be so lucky to have our final days come to a close like that. To leave behind what sounds like a budding romance must be as devastating for him as it is for you, but to have that connection with someone at the end of your life (and a vibrant, young person no less) is something he must have cherished.

    I wish that the family (both his and yours) could be more empathetic, but I understand that seeing something maybe untoward happen to a family member in a care facility has made his relatives uneasy. It is likely that only the two of you will know just what you had together. I see that you've posted here on the forums before, so hopefully you already know that you will always have a place here to talk about these things free of judgement.

    Warmly,

    Gems

    2 people found this helpful
  3. quirkywords
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    21 May 2020 in reply to Flowerchild07

    Flowerchild what a sad tale yet how wonderful that yo shared something so special.

    Grief is hard at any time but under your circumstances I can feel your pain and frustration and feeling of loss through you words.

    here is no right way to grief so do what works for you.

    am sure he understood what had happened. I suppose the family may have worried you may have been after money because of the age difference. It is sad that they could not see the special relationship you had. I suppose aged care places need to be protective of their residents.

    t will be hard. Can you writ him a letter saying what you would have said had you known it was last time you would see him.

    You say you last saw him on boxing day could you communicate by letter or phone? Or was all communication ended on Boxing Day 2019.

    Be kind to yourself.

    2 people found this helpful
  4. Flowerchild07
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    21 May 2020 in reply to uncut_gems

    Thank you Gems.

    our perspective on my situation makes a lot of sense, and really helps. All I could see through my tears were the negative things. But yes, I see now that I would have brought some light and comfort into his final months, as well as connection and meaning, as you say. It still hurts that we couldn't keep in touch for the past few months, and it is devastating that he has now passed and there will never be any chance of us connecting (in life) again.

    I'm so glad I decided to reach out. Your beautifully worded and meaningful reply means so much to me. You've made me look at the situation in a totally different way. Thanks again.

    1 person found this helpful
  5. Flowerchild07
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    21 May 2020 in reply to quirkywords
    Thank you quirkywords, for taking the time to read my post and reply. I love your idea of writing a letter saying the things I would have said had I known it was the last time I would see him. No, I was told not to communicate with him in any way. I wanted to send a letter many times, and call him....however, all the staff knew me and someone would have had to read a letter to him or his family may have seen it during a visit with him. I will try to be more kind to myself. Thank you for your advice and my best wishes to you.
  6. uncut_gems
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    22 May 2020 in reply to Flowerchild07

    Flowerchild,

    It makes me so glad to hear that you've been able to think about the situation in a slightly different way and see at least some of the really wonderful things about it. Yes, the knowledge that you won't communicate again is, I think, the most painful part of grief. quirkywords' suggestion is a really great one that might help bring you a sense of closure and to honor his memory.

    Warmly,

    Gems

    1 person found this helpful
  7. Flowerchild07
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    22 May 2020 in reply to uncut_gems

    Hi Gems

    I wrote a 5 page letter last night. It did make me feel less burdened and I can see that I'm not a bad person and that what I did came from a good and honest place. I'm still struggling with many conflicting thoughts and emotions. Sadness, anger, frustration, confusion. Crying a lot. I suppose these are all part of the grieving process that one needs to endure to get to the other side.

    Thank you again. I needed something to distract me for a little while, so I was pleased to see your message.

    Kindest regards

    Flowerchild.

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