Discover our App

Centerpointe Research

widowhood

How You Grieve Can Not Be Predicted Nor How Long

How you grieve can not be predicted nor how long.  Also it can not be avoided or it will cause irrevocable damage.  Grief over the loss of a child can cause relationships to fail especially when  communication shuts down.  Grief can’t be easily avoided or ignored.  A person can grieve for any loss or impending loss such as the loss of a job, having a child leave home, etc.

The longest I grieved was five years (and it’s really not over yet.) and the deaths were unexpected and tragic.  I never have forgotten my dear, dear, friend (who was like a sister to me) who was pregnant and her toddler daughter who died on the way home for my friend and her husband to tell both sets of grandparents she was expecting.  Shock is hardly the word for how I reacted.  They have always been in my heart and mind and I marked the occasion for several years on my friend’s birthday.rp_3704705698_7d71898ce1_m.jpg

There are several stages of grief and a person does not go through them in any particular order.  This statement was made by Dr. Elisabeth-Kubler Ross herself at a workshop I attended.  Different sources on the internet say different.  They say that people progress through these stages in a particular order.  Actually a person can bounce back and forth between them.  A person may think that they have completed a certain stage and then he or she goes back through one of them again.

The stages are:  denial,  bargaining, anger, depression, and acceptance.  Denial is not being able to accept the the loss has happened or that the impending loss will occur.  Such as “No, no, he or she can’t be dead” or not accepting a diagnosis of terminal illness.  Pretending that a spouse who leaves is not gone for good and is going to come back when he or she returns to their right mind are other ways that a person can deny that a loss has or will occur.  Bargaining  is making a deal with God or other sources of power that the person will not die or some loss will not occur if the person who is doing the bargaining does some particular thing.   A person can be angry at the person or situation that caused the loss or at the deceased for leaving them alone.  Depression occurs when the person   realizes that the loss is permanent and the person left behind doesn’t know how they can be able to stand it.   Realizing that life will go on after the loss or that no matter what a person does the loss has or will occur is part of acceptance.

What is dangerous is that people who are grieving will isolate themselves and not encourage anyone to console them.  People in different stages of grieve often clash and harm rather than help each other.  People who grieve can project their anger on to others and even go so far as to seek revenge.  Many people who grieve feel helpless and unable to cope.  They can even become irrational and impossible to reason with.   Many deaths are just senseless and can’t be rationalized in any way.  For example, a random killing by a person bent on killing someone and doesn’t care who it is or a death or deaths from an auto accident killing whoever happened to be there at that place and time such as in my girlfriend’s case..

For example, years after my father died I got to see his death certificate and found that he died from multiple bed sores which was probably the fault of the nursing home.  My father had dementia and was irrational and unreasonable at times.  He remained a strong man and my mother could not handle him.  We grown children all lived away from home and she relied on neighbors and other family members to help her with him when he became aggressive.  For over a year after my father’s death, she couldn’t be reasoned with because she continued to constantly blame herself for putting him in the nursing home.   We all thought that she should have given up taking care of him by herself years earlier.  Now I know why she wouldn’t listen to us when we tried to talk to her.

Date Rape Can Happen to Seniors or the Middle-Aged

rp_272680378_bd063659bc_m.jpgCaution:  you may not believe this warning but hear me out.  Just because you are newly single and female whether it is due to divorce or to the death of your spouse, you do not have to go out or spend time with any man in your life who asks you.  First of all that person is not being very sensitive about your situation and they may be assigning motives to you that you do not have.  They maybe projecting their needs and wants onto you and an acceptance by you of an invitation is seen as consent in their eyes to something more than a mere friendly outing.

Date rape is another name for a kind of rape; but the woman who gets raped has  consented to go somewhere with someone where she will be alone with him and he sees it as an invitation or opportunity  to satisfy his needs and does not accept her refusal of his advances towards her as “No”. because he sees her agreeing to go out with him as a tacit agreement to take the relationship a step further one that she finds out once  they are alone together that she is not willing to take; but feels forced to comply with to get out of the situation safely.  But of course, it is not true.  It never was safe to have to cooperate with a “date rapist.” .

This may lead to women in this situation to requiring a chaperon or only going out with other women or in groups and never getting off by themselves with a man.  Some perceive a newly divorced woman or newly widowed woman as “open season” to try to get them into bed and any response no matter how timid by the woman is seen as an acceptance of the inevitable outcome anticipated  by the man.   I am not considering that women in this situation should remain celebrate for the rest of their lives; but they have to be cautious and may not be as perceptive of  any ulterior motives in wanting to cheer them up and to get them out of the house.

rp_Carlrogers.jpgMen, not to leave you out of the equation.  I have heard of newly single men getting gifts of food delivered to their door by many different women and possibly the offer to satisfy some of their needs now they don’t have a woman in the house.  Don’t believe that these gifts and offers don’t come with the assumption that the acceptance of such gifts and offers don’t come with the implication that you want more than that from these women.

Leopards, male and female, can change their spots when they learn that somebody is free game.  With young people in some families courtships are very thoroughly investigated and chaparoned.  If you are older, this still might not be bad advice for you.  With a such an upheaval in the one’s life,  one can be very vulnerable and can often make poor decisions while he or she is already under stress.  I know of people who have done this and it seems to be best to wait a year or two before making any commitments.   When it comes to divorce, people often get into the same type of relationship they had with their previous marital partner and don’t find this out until after they have made the mistake of getting attached to someone prematurely.

No, it is not true that all men are only looking for sex in a relationship and that all women who are single want to latch on to the next free man as a meal ticket.

PS:  people often grieve after losing a relationship and grief comes in many “flavors.”  What is appropriate for one might not be appropriate for someone else.  If this happens to you or has happened to you, take your time, allow your grief to have an outlet (grief kept in can cause tremendous damage not only to the person who does this but also to the  other remaining family members that they have contact with).  Watch out for “shoulds” and quick fixes for your problems offered by somebody who really  doesn’t know what he or she is talking about.

rp_3560209936_056df083c8_n.jpgAlways  watch out for people who immediately say that they know what your problem is and that they can solve it for you.  Everybody’s problems are different.  Some people get a “charge” out of telling other people what to do and criticizing them if they don’t do it and/or decide to do something else.  A good resource is Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’s material on death and dying where you will find her five stages of grief explained.  Grief occurs after divorce too.  Another resource is a group of widows and/or widowers who are all going  through the same things.  For divorced persons and widows and widowers with children, there is another  possible resource, Parents Without Partners.