Grief Isn't Just About Death...

by Matt

Just thought I'd point out that grief doesn't have to be about death; it can occur when you lose a relationship. If you made someone your centre, the star you orbited, the one who when they contacted you you leapt for joy, and then all of a sudden, for no apparent reason, they left... Well, that happened to me, and it hit me as hard if not more so than losing my firstborn son.

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Jun 01, 2009
Not dead...just gone
by: Anonymous

My husband of 25 years and father of 23 year old WONDERFUL son, has basically faded away. He began working as an adjuster for hurricane victims so was away a lot but always stayed in touch several times a day and came home after each assignment.

Many things happened to him thru his life that he didn't deal with, such as parental death when he was in his teens (dad in an accident and mom to cancer), recent financial disasters and unexpected death of closest sister and marital problems as a result of all of the above.

He attempted counseling but it never worked out. For 2 years or so he began not calling us just texting. This got less and less. Finally he didn't return home for an entire year. One day he walked in and was absolutely wonderful. I thought maybe we had crossed thru the worst.

After spending about 36 hours at home with our son and me, and promising that he wouldn't leave for so long again and would be more responsible toward us (no income from him which left my son and me financially devastated....son is in grad school and our retirement money is gone) he drove off.

He called us 3 times that week so I really thought things were looking better. Now it has all stopped. Haven't heard a thing for over 3 weeks nor has anyone else in the family or friends. He told us when home that his stress is so high that he "puts all his problems on a shelf and pulls them down when he can deal with them". That is his coping.

Family doctor says it sounds like post traumatic stress or a psychotic break of some sort. Meanwhile, my son and I are left trying to build an income and save our home. We are also paying my husband's car payment as he is living in his car 1200 miles away in Fla.

I cannot take his home away from him--the car I mean. He is not working but living from a little bit of income he had stashed when working. There is no ending to this grief. We don't know where he is, whether he has started a new life (he was very loving) or is sick. The car is in my name so I assume if something happens, I will be found and informed.

We have no way to communicate except e-mail but no responses anymore. We don't know what to do legally about home ownership, income tax stuff, etc. All of that adds to the loss of his smiling face. Any advice will be greatly appreciated. (Even our pets miss him.)

We cannot afford to find him with a PI and don't know what to do if we did. He truly seems to want to live the way he is but it is literally ripping our emotions to shreds. I am very thankful for my son. We are very close and working continually to deal with this situation.

Our family doctor is great also but there is only so much he can do for us. He doesn't even charge for our visits cos he has known all of us for years. He even tried to reach my husband and got no response....that was when we still had cell phones. I have gone on enough. Thanks. If there is any help out there, please send it.

May 14, 2009
It gets better, it really does!
by: @LOALoveCoach

I am so moved by these stories. I know it is possible to recover from the loss of a love but it can be a challenge to find the way. When my nearly 30 year marriage ended, I thought life ended.

I was on three antidepressants and still could barely get off of the couch. Hard to think back to then without wincing.

Someone once told me that you actually create an "energy being" that represents the two of you together when you commit in a relationship. When the relationship dies, that energy being dies and that is very real and very painful.

I know you can get through tough stuff as I DID recover from my divorce and actually met another sweet man and got married. Happily ever after took a strange turn when 18 months into the new marriage, cancer came to call. More grief, more growth.

I am recovered now. Strengthened once again by grieving what needed to be grieved.

Stand strong!

May 06, 2009
Thank you for saying this.
by: Jay

Like so many of you, I experienced the death of a relationship and it has truly sent me to depths of despair that I have never experienced, and pray I never do again.

It was sudden, completely unexpected, and final. He walked away, sneaked away, actually, and there has been zero contact since.

Anonymous on 12/21/08, I totally identify and agree w/what you're saying... physical death is a normal part of life, gut-wrenching and painful as it is. But being abandoned by someone you love and have built a life with is not. There is no normal way to grieve. All rules go out the window.

You are left to deal w/no closure or understanding of why you are where you are. I have experienced death in my life but this grief...well, there's just nothing like it. I know I (we all) will get better. I'll pray for you all. It's the only thing I know to do.

Apr 30, 2009
This is very true.
by: Michelle

I have been in a relationship for over 9 years, we have been married 6 of those years. I never thought he would just up and walk away. With death, you go through the stages and once you accept it, it does nothing but get easier. With a relationship, especially if you have children that wound is opened almost daily. We have had more than our fair share of problems, and worked through those. He had been deployed to Iraq, and it caused us to become closer, we even renewed our wedding vows. Now as he gets ready to deploy again, he just walks away. I am having a very difficult time with the grieving process, as I said that wound gets opened almost daily. I have begun counseling, however I was yelled at by the counselor, him saying that I am in denial. Please don't get me wrong I am not saying that one type of grief is worse than the other. In my experience it has been. And believe me, I have had my fair share of the other kind as well, but after nearly 2 months I had already completed the 7 steps of the grieving process. With this, I seem to have gotten stuck on step 1, 2, 3 and 4 and it just keeps cycling and I am 2 months in.

Apr 08, 2009
You are so right
by: Anonymous

I have suffered two huge losses very close together. My relationship of 16 years broke up in September. In October, I was told my mother had cancer and we lost her on November 18, 2008. I cannot tell you which loss is worse for me; my feelings about both are heavy and difficult to bear. The loss of my mom is the obvious one to others, but in some ways, the loss of my relationship cut me to the core because I needed my mate during that horrible time and I was alone. Even though we still live together, I have been betrayed and hurt, the biggest being the lack of support when I needed it most. For me, I am having to deal with two grieving issues that feel unbearable at times. I know I will survive; I know I will move on, but I don't know who will be in my life at the end of this journey.

Mar 30, 2009
6 months later I still grieve.
by: Anonymous

My husband had an affair. We are rebuilding and trying to move past it, but the pain and the terrible grief it has caused continues. I find myself, still after so many months, cycling through the first 4 stages of grief. I look forward to the last stages, but I know I can't rush them. Death of a relationship can be unbearable... even one that is fighting to be reborn.

Feb 19, 2009
When a loss isn't considered a true loss
by: Tami

I "lost" my husband to a traumatic brain injury 3 1/2 years ago. No one seems to realize that although he didn't die, he was lost to me. "We" no longer exist. It's like I traded in my husband for a child who will need to be cared for the rest of his life.

So many of our friends faded away because they couldn't deal with what happened, yet none of them realized that I don't have that luxury--this is my life! Every day I wake up hoping it was all a bad dream but it isn't.

Dec 21, 2008
When it's your heart that has died
by: Anonymous

I couldn't agree more!!! Grief isn't just about death. I lost the most beloved relationship I have ever had seven months ago. I struggle to get thru every day now. Sometimes I believe death is kinder. I have lost parents and friends, but there is an acceptance that "fate" has done this terrible thing. There's also hope, if you believe in heaven, as I do.

When you lose someone you love simply because they don't want you anymore, it's as if your heart and soul was given to this person and now it's discarded. And to see this person I love....the one who has my heart.....he just walks away as if he never knew me.

He laughs with his friends and goes on with his life not affected as I am. Actually, he seems happier not burdened with me! It's odd....with death you feel like part of you has gone with them. When someone you love just leaves grieve and ache and you feel like part of you is forever lost.

Dec 14, 2008
It helps to know I'm not alone
by: Anonymous

Thank you so much for your honesty. I have very recently lost the love of my life to drugs and all the lies that come with it. I have no "body" to bury, yet I know that if he keeps on I soon will.

I had to walk away for my own safety and sanity. Yet somehow I feel as if I am going insane. I had to walk away for one last gift of love. Without me maybe he will find the strength within himself. I found this website out of a burning need to grieve, and felt I didn't belong here until I saw your entry. Thank you and God bless you for sharing.

Nov 13, 2008
Thanks for saying that
by: Anonymous

I know exactly what you mean. I had found someone who seemed to be almost like a twin brother to me. I loved and cared about him so much. Our relationship was never romantic - it was like a true friend or close sibling. We did so many things together and were always chatting on the computer for hours. I knew he was mentally ill - either bipolar or depression, and since I am, too, I just took that in stride - just one more thing in common and to talk about.

Until the day his craziness turned on me! In the blink of an eye - truly - he went from having a pleasant conversation with me to saying he hated me, cursing me, etc. He refuses to speak to me, see me, accept any calls or emails, which makes me feel so helpless to do anything about it.

There was no reason for the change and that's why it's so hard. And it hit me so hard - just like the way grieving is discussed here. I thought I was really losing it and no one around me could understand why it was having such a huge affect on me, so there was no one I could even talk to about it.

They either minimize it or try to tell me that he will cycle again and then he'll wonder why he acted that way and probably come back to being my friend. Maybe. But RIGHT NOW, he is gone and there is a hole inside me where he had been. And no way to know if he will ever change, because clearly, something tripped in his head that I don't know about.

For all I know, he thinks I am a monster and always will. And I still have to see him every day. We don't get close to each other because he doesn't want to be around me and to have to see him like that. At a distance, it's like having the scab peeled off fresh every day.

Jun 04, 2008
very true
by: Anonymous

That is a really true statement. I have often thought about that. I was sexually abused by my father for most of my life and although it has caused me unbearable grief, I still grieve for the "loss" of a father. I will never get to have that relationship or that bond and I feel cheated. It is not the same as a death, but it's still just as permanent.

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