EyeofCassandra

Widowed/Bereaved

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You are defining significant other as a full, intimate one?

Also, by lost, I assume you mean dead, correct?

A...

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7 hours ago, Selene said:

You are defining significant other as a full, intimate one?

Also, by lost, I assume you mean dead, correct?

A...

Yes. I am defining the relationship as any intimate one. It does not have to be a marriage but I am wondering about how people have gotten through the death of an intimate partner and how long that process took.

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Nathaniel Branden remarried 20 months after his wife died in a drowning accident. He went through a year of hell. After a year of that he and his future wife checked into a motel/hotel for 24 hours. No TV--remove the TV. All meals brought to the room. No cell phones. Sex is okay. Sleep too. One person talks and the other listens without interruption. When you talk you cannot attack the other person. Then the other person talks--something to do with them that's important--or seems to be. After 12 hours or so one may think that's enough. Nope. You keep doing this for the whole 24 hours. Nathaniel thought every couple could benefit by doing this exercise once a year or if there seemed to be an acute need for it.

Some people never transcend the tragedy.

You have to decide to live your life going forward or looking back.

Mourn for a year and go from there. Maybe a year isn't enough.

You'll need to meet someone who can help pull you out of your situation. You need a social existence.

--Brant

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Folks:

I heard this author interviewed for over an hour and have recommended it to a few friends/clients who have suffered a lose.

They found it very helpful.

Quote

We tend to understand grief as a predictable five-stage process of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. But in The Other Side of Sadness, George Bonanno shows that our conventional model discounts our capacity for resilience. In fact, he reveals that we are already hardwired to deal with our losses efficiently—not by graduating through static phases. Weaving in explorations of mourning rituals and the universal experiences of the death of a parent or child, Bonanno examines how our inborn emotions—anger and denial, but also relief and joy—help us deal effectively with loss. And grieving goes beyond mere sadness: it can deepen interpersonal connections and often involves positive experiences. In the end, mourning is not predictable, but incredibly sophisticated. Combining personal anecdotes and original research, The Other Side of Sadness is a must-read for those going through the death of a loved one, mental health professionals, and readers interested in neuroscience and positive psychology.

It is worth considering.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Other-Side-Sadness-Bereavement/dp/0465021905

A...

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This is a favorable review of the book:

Quote

Everybody "knows" that grief is a five-stage process, right? Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance, yada, yada. But wait! Bonanno says that this model, widely popularized by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, "does not, in fact, represent what the majority of us go through when we lose a loved one." In particular, the model does not give much credit to the human capacity for "resilience". Into every life a little rain must fall. Most of us take a licking and keep on ticking, even without professional help. In the past few years the role of this capacity for resilience has been hotly debated. Bonanno's book is a readable and well-documented review of the controversies. He gives center stage to studies showing that most folks are not particularly emotionally fragile. In fact, they are tougher than we give them credit for.

http://growthhouse.typepad.com/les_morgan/2009/11/the-other-side-of-sadness-what-the-new-science-of-bereavement-tells-us-about-life-after-loss.html

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I own many of Nathaniel Branden's books and I am kind of amazed I did not think to look in them before asking the question! I actually discovered Objectivism through his books.

That said I am not sure how helpful his advice and example will be. I really don't see myself becoming involved in another relationship now!

I think moving will be the thing that helps most. It will not be quite so difficult to get out somewhere where I am not constantly passing places we used to go together or places I associate with him. Sometimes a change of scenery helps many problems in life!

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2 minutes ago, Brant Gaede said:

Some of my NB info is not from any of his books or recordings.

Which is why it is so valuable.

A...

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I lost my partner of 4+ years (and the love of my life) on March 25. He died suddenly (and much too young) of a heart attack. I can't say how long this grief process will last, as it's still fresh for me and extremely difficult and exhausting each day -- plus I'm dealing with the trauma of the sudden tragedy and two day hospital stay before we took him off life support. I feel nowhere near ready to have another relationship, but as the love and intimacy I experienced with Don were the source of so much joy in my life, I know that I would want to achieve that sort of love again if possible. Right now it feels impossible to me, but I know that time has the power to change perspectives and feelings, and I know I need much more time. I write a lot to work through the whirlwind of thoughts and feelings I suffer each day, and I am talking with a grief counselor each week. She tells me the process for a loss this profound will likely last years, and I believe it. But she also assures me that things will get easier and there is a way through. I am trying to trust in that, because for now, there is no happiness.

Did you lose a lover, EyeofCassandra or were you just asking out of curiosity? I have looked at a few online grief forums, but find it is hard to fit in there when so many people are religious or otherwise have different philosophical orientations from my own. I just Googled "Objectivist grief forum", which is how I found this thread.

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Welcome to OL Red.

Some folks here have experienced this also.

I would imagine you are a Randian.

I think you will find this a very supportive place.

A...

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Whatever resonated in you about your love exists in you.  What you loved in your lover is in you.  Preserve yourself, love yourself.  Your memories of your love exist inside of you.  Cherish them, talk about them.  To that extent he still exists and and effects the world.  Take very good care of yourself, diet, exercise, sleep well.  Love your friendships, your pets, your thoughts, your life.  Yourself.  You are your highest value, your loves are a reflection of what you value.

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Thank you for the welcome, Selene. And for the thoughts you shared, Mikee -- they reflect just what I've been trying to do (I love talking about Don to anyone who will listen, have made a scrapbook in his memory, keep a journal of letters to him, and have recently returned to my usual exercise routine with him as my inspiration), but each new day is so incredibly difficult. Losing Don is by far the hardest thing I have ever faced; the yearning just doesn't go away and I feel more deeply lonely than I ever have in my life. Losing him meant losing my best friend, my biggest support, the bulk of my fun adventures/vacations, my sexual intimacy, my future plans. It is so incredibly difficult to lose the one person you can stand completely naked in front of -- mind and body -- and feel visible and loved and cherished. Don was that person to me.

I have actually just seen a couple familiar names looking through these forums. I have been an Objectivist since I was about 18 (now 43). My ex (whom I was with for about 19 years, have 5 children with, and am still very close to) is also. He and I used to attend the IOS/TOC (now TAS) summer seminars in the mid to late 90s. The partner I just lost was also a lifelong Objectivist (he worked for IOS in the 90s). His memorial last weekend attracted many old Objectivist friends, and I found it comforting to commune with them again in my grief. My ex has also been amazingly supportive. But I think grief can be especially difficult when so many of the people who love me (family and friends) don't orient to life and loss in the same way I do (mention of God, prayers etc., of course, aren't particularly comforting). I thought it might be helpful to seek more emotional support from Objectivist sources as I work through this difficult journey of picking up the pieces and returning to life in this new, unchosen context. If anyone here has been through the loss of a soul mate, I would be interested in hearing about their journey of healing.

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Aside from grief, Red, eventually you'll have a choice of where Don will be with you the rest of your life: only next to you in memories or you standing on the shoulders of the relationship you used to have to get on with the actual kind of life you once had with him but with someone else.

But it's much too soon for that, of course. Patience is not a virtue here; it's a necessity.

Grief--the buffered word for pain--is something that seems to just happen, and it needs to. But the natural human condition is you happening to your, on your, life. The purpose of grieving is the amelioration of grief and it's more than something going on in your head for the whole body is into it. The number one thing is letting it happen and sometimes waiting for it to happen. At first it seems without relief then time stretches it out and it comes in waves further and further apart. Some are small waves and some are big. Some will take you by surprise, even years from now.

--Brant

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I heard this author interviewed a while back for almost two (2) hours.

Made a lot of sense and I have recommended it too a few folks who suffered similar losses over the last few years and they all found it quite helpful.

Quote

We tend to understand grief as a predictable five-stage process of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. But in The Other Side of Sadness, George Bonanno shows that our conventional model discounts our capacity for resilience. In fact, he reveals that we are already hardwired to deal with our losses efficiently—not by graduating through static phases. Weaving in explorations of mourning rituals and the universal experiences of the death of a parent or child, Bonanno examines how our inborn emotions—anger and denial, but also relief and joy—help us deal effectively with loss. And grieving goes beyond mere sadness: it can deepen interpersonal connections and often involves positive experiences. In the end, mourning is not predictable, but incredibly sophisticated. Combining personal anecdotes and original research, The Other Side of Sadness is a must-read for those going through the death of a loved one, mental health professionals, and readers interested in neuroscience and positive psychology.

Quote

George A. Bonanno is a professor of clinical psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University, U.S.A.[1] He is responsible for introducing the controversial idea of resilience to the study of loss and trauma. He is known as a pioneering researcher in the field of bereavement and trauma.[2][3][4][5][6] The New York Times on February 15, 2011, stated that the current science of bereavement has been "driven primarily" by Bonanno.[7]Scientific American summarized a main finding of his work, "The ability to rebound remains the norm throughout adult life."[8]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Bonanno

http://www.amazon.com/The-Other-Side-Sadness-Bereavement/dp/0465013600

A...

 

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.

Hi Rebecca,

Deepest sympathy in your loss of Donald.

My first lover died when we had been together for 22 years. That end was 26 years ago. Although, I've found WE did not end, as nothing, not even death, could separate us. Like other lost loved ones, of course, he never aged beyond that year when we were both 41. Where that happened in the contour of my life was different than in your case, and I had two years advanced notice that he was going to disintegrate and die---time in which to fight every day for him---but I'll tell you how it went with me after that.

I was closer to him than to the world remaining for a long time afterward. My friends were a great help in overlap with him and in getting me to step in the first few years. I was expected to die also in a couple years more, and that was a consolation, but then my health hung on and on by a thread. I cried over him a couple of times a day for the first year. After three years, emotionally, I was ready to look for love again. After five years of survival, and although there was still no medical rescue in hand, I decided to try to find love again. In six months, I met the second love of my life, and we are "two hearts beating each to each" these 20 years later.

I hope you will step through many days and will come to days of warm, clear memories of him without this colossal pain. He will never leave you.

Stephen

 

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Thank you so much for sharing your experience, Stephen. It offers me some hope. The love I shared with Don was so rich and rare; he made me happy in ways nobody else ever has. I desperately want that kind of love and intimacy in my life again (it was my single greatest pride and my greatest value), but right now I can't even imagine it with anyone else. Your story offers me hope that it may be possible for me to achieve that sort of love again one day. That it will likely take several years to feel emotionally ready, however, is consistent with my experience so far. I too cry every day -- sometimes a lot. The longing can be unbearable. As I have five children aged 8-15 to care for, I must also connect to the remaining world each day, and I do. But it exhausts me and I don't experience happiness with my kids or friends as I used to. Despite the fact that I'm going through the necessary motions (for the most part), the world feels empty to me and my future looks bleak. I fear each new day -- I wake with a sinking feeling every single morning -- because each day since Don died has brought pain and yearning.

I can relate to what you say about being closer to your lost lover than to the world remaining. In a lot of ways, I feel that way too. I wear Don's shirts frequently, wear his ring on a chain around my neck and a locket filled with his ashes on my wrist, have photos and other mementos up all over my room (this place is practically a shrine), and almost seven weeks after his death I still can't bear to wash our sheets. In my free time, I much prefer to be alone with my memories of Don -- journaling, looking at photos, working on his memorial scrapbook, watching old recordings of plays he performed in, etc.. I can't yet socialize in groups, only with individual friends with whom I can talk about Don. Some of this feels self-centered and/or crazy, but I'm just doing what I need to do to stay as balanced as I can and get through to the next day.

It is hopeful to know you went through a similar experience and yet endured to find happiness again. Grief is new for me (I am fortunate to have never experienced a significant loss before this one), so I am learning and muddling through as I go. But it seems some people are woefully ignorant and unhelpful. Sometimes people's responses to my continuing grief (even though I believe most are intended to be supportive and helpful) have made me feel inadequate -- like I must be doing something wrong if I'm not better adjusted by now. But now I mostly find myself getting annoyed and angry at those kinds of remarks. It hasn't even been two months since my partner -- the love of my life and the focus of my future -- was suddenly ripped from my life. It seems reasonable for me to still be deeply traumatized! But three years is a long time -- achieving some adjustment in three years seems possible to me. I only wish I could fast forward to the end of those years. The road ahead looks so long and painful. It's going to require a lot of strength and endurance to get through. I will hope I come out the other side as well as you did, Stephen.

Thanks again for sharing.

Rebecca

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My intentions are good though this song is not about permanent loss. This is dedicated to the one I love was sung by the Shirelles, Bernadette Peters, Linda Ronstadt, Wilson Phillips and my favorite version is by The Mamas and the Papas.

While I'm far away from you my baby
I know it's hard for you my baby
Because it's hard for me my baby
And the darkest hour is just before dawn

Each night before you go to bed my baby
Whisper a little prayer for me my baby
And tell all the stars above,

This is dedicated to the one I love

Life can never be exactly like we want it to be
I can be satisfied just knowing that you love me
There's one thing I want you to do especially for me
And it's something that everybody needs

Each night before you go to bed my baby
Whisper a little prayer for me my baby
And tell all the stars above

This is dedicated to the one I love
This is dedicated to the one I love

Songwriters: LOWMAN PAULING, RALPH BASS © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC, CARLIN AMERICA INC.

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