Old 06-15-2017, 02:23 PM #1 (permalink)
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Default Sad when I should be smiling

With the 1 year anniversary past without to much sadness and My Son getting called back to his job and My Daughter getting into every college she applied to with many scholarship offers I feel like I was in a decent place. My new G/F is wonderful understanding and loving to the 3 of us.. My daughter and I went to Freshman orientation 2 days ago and she was given an award for having the most college credits as a incoming freshman in 10 years ( from so many A/P classes at her private high school ). When they broke us up in groups of parents and students I lasted about a 1/2 hour before I had to walk out and go sit in the car ( she doesn't know ). Here I am with My whole family headed in the right direction and I can't find it in myself to enjoy even a minute of it.. this surely will damage my new relationship but even worse all the work I've done to keep the kids headed forward.. Doesn't feel like it's fair that Liz isn't here to see the results of all her hard work as a Mom.. I feel so guilty that I'm the one getting the credit for the kids success and strength.. They got all that from Her.. Every time I close my eyes I can see feel and Hear her take her last breath as I held her in my Arms...

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Old 06-15-2017, 04:03 PM #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Sad when I should be smiling

Whatever medication and counseling you're doing, seems like you might want to get a second opinion on that -- you should be able to appreciate Liz as a mom and wife without reliving her death. This sounds like survivor's guilt that I could talk about rationally, but it's something you have to relinquish for yourself over time. Think how absurd it is for you to feel guilty about feeling guilty!

But don't ever think she didn't know how well she did, both in choosing you and raising your kids together -- it was a great source of strength for her to know that she was leaving your kids in good health and good hands.

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Old 06-15-2017, 04:20 PM #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Sad when I should be smiling

Wow it's only been one year, this is still so fresh and raw.

I would encourage you to continue counselling on a deep level if you are seeing someone or start if not.

I'm now in the early part of my 4th year without Chris and I'm finally feeling like I'm really stepping into the new life I've been building.

Do not let anyone tell you how long grief should take or how you should be or where you should be at. Your grief is personal, it is yours and you have to go through every bit of it. No one else can go through it, and it is HORRIBLE. You lost the person you loved most and nothing good that is happening one short year later fills that hole.

I can tell you however that you will find joy in life again, you will feel the intensity of this stuff less, and you will get past the PTSD aspect of the trauma we suffered as carers.

But we are all different, and grief takes a long time to work through. I feel your pain, your loss was huge.

Can I also tell you something I've learned - don't use the word 'should'. It puts a lot of guilt pressure on you. Let me say when I read what you wrote I would say - you were sad. That's it, not sad when you should not have been - who says you can't FEEL what you feel? You were sad - Liz was not there, Liz was a big part of your daughters achievement, you feel her absence. I acknowledge that and recognise all those things as facts. I'm so sorry for your loss, I feel your pain.

When anyone else tells you what you 'should', give a smile and step away - you don't have to take anyone else's judgements on.

Work through your sorrow, don't feel that you have to put it aside and simply be happy, that's crap and only buries things to fester and come up gushing and purulent later.
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Old 06-15-2017, 04:25 PM #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Sad when I should be smiling

Yesterday was a year and 8 months for me. I can relate to a lot you are saying and living. My world is moving forth as well, our daughter just finished her first year of teaching...1st grade, her Mom taught 2nd for many years...so successful that her superiors already have plans for her being a principal and pushed her enough that she's started grad school. Our son, whose wedding was planned when she passed away, is coming up on 1st anniversary in a couple of weeks...things going his way too.

I have decided that I will try my best to enjoy all this for both of us. It is hard, some days more-so than others. This last Monday would've been our 30th anniversary. It was real quiet at home that day...and really hard. I went to the cemetery for a bit...talked to her some...then spent the evening watching tv w/a gf...so to speak. Got my mind moving in a different direction. Next morning...all better, or as well as can be...new normal.

You have done a super job w the kids, getting them on down the road...and I figure you have too for yourself, albeit hard to see from where you sit.(hard to view yourself) Time for you to spend some time doing something YOU enjoy. Liz wouldn't want you to be feeling this way. Rest assured, she sees the successes...and is probably a lot closer than you think. Talk about her often, when speaking of kids successes...share that glory with her just like she was beside you. Keep digging man, you're on the right path I think(as if I were an expert, hahaha)...there are just some days/situations that are much harder than others.

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Old 06-15-2017, 04:37 PM #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Sad when I should be smiling

There is no doubt that what you went through with Liz was a huge traumatic event in your life, and as Laurie says, you could be suffering from survivor's guilt.

The past is gone... nothing you do will change or erase what has happened. But you can control how your thoughts about the past affect you now in this moment. You know that your children are in the right track with their future; you know that you are able to have another companion to love in your life and she sounds wonderful. I wouldn't be surprised if your family viewed you as a hero.

I have great hope that counseling will help you overcome this difficult period in your life because I already see from your posts that life has gone on and that there are good things happening to you.
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Old 06-15-2017, 10:38 PM #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Sad when I should be smiling

Strong, I am impressed. Sounds like you and Liz belong in the pantheon of hero parents. Congratulations on succeeding in a parent's most important challenge despite the rare and terrible challenge of ALS.

Your post very accurately describes what I experienced. And now I feel like it's all better. This phase of my life is different, but I can see that it is doable.

Parenting is like sex--it's a team sport. Whatever credit Liz deserves, so do you. My kids sometimes tell me that I'm waaay better than other kids' dads, and they say they're lucky to have me. I always say that it was all Krissy's credit. But after awhile, I decided that, indeed, I've contributed quite a lot to their upbringing. Now I'm proud of myself.

I agree with Laurie that it's good to continue therapy. I discarded three counselors before finding my current therapist. He's a psychiatrist with military experience just like me. He's the smartest person I've ever met. But each month, we don't really "do therapy." I only sometimes speak of my wife's death or my feelings. We just talk about "whatever." He's doing his analysis in his head during our conversation about irrigation systems or my car maintenance or the rebirth of Jimmy Carter. It's a very pleasant hour.

I have no doubt you'll find life inproving every day. You're also lucky to have a g/f. I started off my second therapy session by saying, "Holy Crap, doc. I just realized I'm not gonna get laid for 30 years, the rest of my life! Now, six years l ater, I realize I haven't missed having a g/f. Dating is a lot of work and drama.

Good luck. Post anytime.
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Old 06-16-2017, 04:07 PM #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Sad when I should be smiling

My situation is different since I lost my father and not a spouse to ALS. But, I was extremely close to my dad and was devastated when he passed. Even though I was going to a regular counselor several friends encouraged me to attend a grief counseling group. I joined a free one through a church and it is every Tuesday night. You can go as often or as little as you like. It has helped me tremendously. We have members that are in all different stages of grief. I would look into it. If you aren't comfortable in one particular group you can always try another. As everyone else wrote as well. Don't let anyone tell you how you should grief. Each person has to go through it their own way. Hugs to you. Kim
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