still feeling surreal about H's death

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Steely, Mar 23, 2008.

  1. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    I still feel completely disconnected from the actual reality that H is dead. It is really bothering me. I mean it is good that I am not crying all of the time, or doubled over in grief - but I feel so callous and disembodied about the whole thing. As if I never really had a sister. I have only cried once since I got home from Oregon, and it is all kinda scaring me.

    Today I was wondering if one of the reasons that I feel this way is that I do not have one keepsake of H's life. I have some pictures - but that is it. H's girlfriend (M) is keeping everything per H's request. H. told her friends that in the event she died she wanted M to have everything. As H's family we want to honor what she wanted - however - in my opinion this feels extreme. M. has everything that H ever possessed, toiled over, put her heart and soul into - and they had only been dating a year. M was a blip on H's radar screen in life.

    So now I sit, 2000 miles away completely hollowed out and void of emotion about this - and I just wonder if maybe I had some of H's things, it would make her feel more real. Like this whole thing existed. Like H existed, and that she was an integral part of my life.

    What do you guys think?

    I had so little closure with this. I did not get to see H's body. I did not get to be in her house except twice, I did not get to hug her good bye. The last time I saw her was a year ago when my dad was diagnosis with cancer and we spent 2 weeks side by side in his hospital room. That was the last time - and it ended, that last day with us getting into a fight.

    Well, at least I am feeling something after writing this post.

    I just know that I can shove every feeling tight inside, and never feel things for years, until later when it all comes back to bite me. I want me to be healthy - but maybe more than that I want to honor H's memory by being real with her loss. Not by ignoring her, and going on without her deep within my heart.

    I just need this to feel real. It is almost worse than losing her, to feel so emotionless about her death.
  2. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    My Grandpa died a year ago this past December. I was there for a week while he was in the hospital and hospice but had to leave the day before he died. I also wasn't able to go back for the memorial service. My entire life, my grandparents haven't lived closer than three hours from me and at the time of G'pa's death, they lived in Florida. (I'm in Indiana) Even after all this time, it's still weird that he's not here and I think that, for me, it's because of the distance. No matter where they lived, I always knew he was there. As for rememberances, I have pictures of course but I also have a shirt of his as well as a little note I swiped from their car. By the time he died, G'pa hadn't been able to speak for awhile and was writing notes. I think the one I have is asking G'ma when to put the fabric softener in the wash. (And let me tell you, I would have paid good money to see my very tradition G'pa doing laundry! LOL) Do you think M would be receptive if you asked her for something of H's? Maybe there's something that you gave H that you could ask for. I wouldn't think that anyone would deny family members momentos in this type of situation.

    As for not feeling real........have you considered holding your own memorial service? I don't know if anyone where you live knew her and I'm not saying you should do a full out service but I think you need to do something. You're really haven't had closure and you need it. Do a service of some sort, throw a wake, do whatever feels right but do something. JMHO, but it sounds like you haven't found a way of saying goodbye that works for you. Or at the very least, you haven't had the formality of saying goodbye, if that makes sense.

    Continually sending hugs your way.
  3. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    You could explain to M how you're feeling and ask if you could perhaps have something that had been special to both you and your sister to remember her by and to keep close to you.

    I dunno. I know I went thru the surreal part with my grandmother. And I'd nursed her the last few months of her life. But she was my universe. And for a long time I felt like a feather floating and at the mercy of the wind. So I'm not sure if tthe being surreal might be a part of the grieving process.

    It's been 30 yrs since I lost her and I kid you not there are moments when I expect her to show up and just be there. And then there are moments when I know she is with me.

    Steely, I don't want to fuel anything but it seems odd to me that she would want everything to go to M. Everything. Especially since there were others she was very close to as well.

  4. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Yes, I agree it is beyond weird that every single thing would go to M. There is still time to change that fact, I just have to be sure I am doing the right thing.

    Daisy, you said it perfect. Like a feather floating in the wind - that is exactly how I feel. Perhaps it is part of the grieving, and I just need to be OK with it.

    Mustang, I was very much part of the memorial, and I scattered the ashes, so it seems like I would have closure - but evidently I think I need more. Maybe I need to hold my own ceremony of sorts like you suggested.

    Thanks for all the hugs and strength.
  5. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat


    Let me remind you about the stages of grief.

    There is no proper order, except that acceptance is the final stage. You are in denial. It's not that you think she really didn't die. You just still can't believe it. It is surreal.

    There is nothing wrong with you. What you are going through is normal. It is painful, yea, but it is normal. I just wanted to assure you that your feelings are natural.

    I also think that it would help if you had a memento of H's. Is M a reasonable person? I certainly would hope that she could part with something for the sake of her only sister.

    Sending an everlasting supply of hugs and prayers.
  6. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Have you asked M for anything? I mean, is there some small thing that you would like to have that would mean something special to you that it wouldn't cause a maelstrom to ask M for? I worry that a fight over "things" (even though it seems that M is out of line to me, as well) might be more than your parents are able to deal with right now.
  7. ML

    ML Guest

    I agree that asking M for one/some of H's things is a good idea and may aid in the healing process. Beyond that I think you're doing the best you can under the circumstances. You are coping with a tragic loss and it takes a lot of energy just to get through the days. Just know that you are exactly where you are supposed to be right now.
  8. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    Take Ilovemyson's kind words to heart.

    Don't ever feel like you can't post here, or that you are posting too much. Remember, we are family, and we are all here for you.
  9. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    NO additional words of wisdom other than when dad died, I felt the same way for a while. I went on, and he didn't, and it was weird. I live several hours from him, but I always knew he was out there. Then one day, he wasn't. I felt like I was going thru the motions of a play or a movie, but not my life. I think how you're feeling is normal.

    I also would consider asking M for something to hold onto, even if just for a while. It may help. For me, after the inital shock, memories brought back pleasant thoughts - it was objects that brought tears.
  10. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Thank you Kitty - you are right. Denial. I so forget about that step. I guess because it seems so nebulous, intangible, abstract. However, denial is exactly what I feel. As if this has never happened.

    And Shari, that is so true. Memories are one thing, but pictures and objects bring tears.

    I talked to my parents tonight and they are going to talk to M. Legally, everything is in my parent's name - and M. has not expressed any opposition about giving things to us - she just has not been responsive. So I think it will just be a matter of my parent's stepping up, and asking/requesting specific things. They are trying their best to honor and respect what I want, despite our horrible misgivings during H's disappearance, and I appreciate that.

    I told my parents that I want H's books. Those were her treasure, her escape, her passion - and those same books were the ones she shared with me, enlightened me to, and encouraged me to read. That and her dog are the 2 passions she held dearest to her heart. M. has the dog which is perfect. I know I cannot take care of her pup like she would have wanted, having 3 of my own. However, the books, I hope I can retain as part of her legacy.

    Yea, denial. You are so right. I always tend to think I am going crazy, or insane - when here I have been for 41 years plugging away at life. I should realize that after all this time, whatever way I deal with things is OK. I guess I need to trust myself to go through this tragedy, rather than doubt my ability to withstand the fire.
  11. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    Super hugs. What you are going through is all part of it. I wish I could take your pain away, but then, not really. You kinda have to feel it. I'm sorry you have to go through it at all.
  12. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    M is going to be feeling shattered right now as well. So why not, instead of asking for books or other items right now, why not ask M (or your parents) if they can scan some photos of H for you, so you can get your own photos of her priinted and put in a frame?

    Photos can be scanned and shared without anyone feeling they are parting with something irreplaceable.

    Maybe in a while it might be easier for you all to talk about this with less emotion ripping you all inside. But for now - photos might help the healing. Also, even though they had only been together a year, that can still be enough for a strong relationship to develop. Give M your support and you can grieve together, even if you are miles apart. You've both lost someone you love dearly, it is much easier to share the grief than to struggle alone.

  13. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    I agree about those stages of grief. You and M are two hurting people...both going through the stages. Perhaps there is a counselor of some kind who could advise you on how best to approach M on your wish to have a momento from H's estate. It seems like a reasonable and healthy request...but remember you will be working with someone who is also grieving just like yourself. I agree, that you are doing the best you can under very difficult circumstances. My thought is that trained counselors have heard these needs before and may know from experience the best ways to handle them. Prayers for your wisdom, comfort and healing.
  14. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Well-Known Member


    My stage of denial when my Dad died felt surreal too. I kept forgetting he had died. Literally. I picked up the phone several times to call him, even dialed the number a few times. Of course I felt horrible for forgetting, but I think it was my mind's way of giving me a buffer so I could eventually accept his death. FWIW, I was there when he died and made the decision to stop resuscitation efforts (he was too far gone).

    Here's a funny about keepsakes. My Dad has been cremated, his ashes placed in this truly tacky Indian cigar jar (his choice, not mine). My brother and I are supposed to scatter the ashes, but brother just isn't ready (it'll be three years in May). Dad's birthday was on Halloween and Duckie insisted we make him a birthday cake that first year without Dad, bring the ashes out, and sing him Happy Birthday. I was appalled, but did it to help Duckie (she really missed her Papa). And it helped. It was just absurd enough to make me laugh.

    Many more {{{hugs}}}.