1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Broken with grief

Discussion in 'LGBT Later in Life' started by baristajedi, Dec 30, 2021.

  1. baristajedi

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2015
    Messages:
    2,838
    Likes Received:
    828
    Location:
    Edinburgh
    Gender:
    Other
    Gender Pronoun:
    They
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    Hi there. I should warn you all that I may not have the energy to write back if you respond and I’m sorry ahead of time for that. I struggle a lot with finding energy beyond the things that are basically needed.

    I wrote about this a while back, I think when I first lost my partner but I’ve come back here to share some things that are hurting right now.

    So, I was with my partner for almost a year, we were so much in love and planning to get married. They (both of us use they and them pronouns) they got ill in January and I was by their side through it all, caring for them, and they passed away on 1st April with secondary liver cancer.

    I’m just totally broken. At this point I think the best way to describe my feelings is exhausted, depleted, broken. Everything hurts, there’s just a massive hole in my heart and soul.

    I should say I have become very hardened and protective of myself, and I really don’t like to hear positive spins on things so please, I’d rather just acknowledge the reality that this feels and is terrible, that there’s no silver lining or bright days ahead, and that grief doesn’t just simply end. I do not believe in these well meaning but unrealistic things. I’m very good at compartmentalising and putting my attention on the beautiful times with my daughter, and on the gratification I get from my new job which I very much appreciate having and love doing and on the love of loved ones who are so kind and caring. I am strong and I’m doing a good job coping as best I can, particularly in giving my daughter security and good days.

    I know people don’t know what to say and often want to find the good or the positive but it’s ok and more helpful to just simply acknowledge the bad, the hurt, the reality.

    It’s been almost 9 months since I lost my beautiful partner. And I have started feeling some things now that I thought maybe some of you would understand as part of it is about this journey coming out later in life.

    I’m at a point of realisation with how deeply hurt I am by my brother and sisters. It’s really coming to the surface now wi losing my partner but it’s been something that’s been kind of eating me up a bit in the background since I’ve come out almost 7 years ago now. I feel like they don’t see me, don’t know me, don’t want to know me. My bio family live across the ocean from me. I would have always said I’m very close to my brother and sisters. We’re unusually tight knit as a family and I have always felt a really tight bond with them all. I always had this little bit of tug of war in my own inner self that told me coming out, sharing who I really am with my family would make everything change, that it would change everything. It was one of the biggest reasons I took so long to be myself. In a very wobbly indirect way, I can see now that I was always right and that this in essence puts a huge barrier between us. But if you’d meet my family you wouldn’t think that is the case at all. It is only now that this wedge feels so clear to me. It is really apparent in losing my partner, that they don’t really support me or know me in the way I need them to. And the reality is their lack of awareness of how deeply I hurt inside is really down to them not understanding me, not understanding my relationship with my partner and our love. In truth, they don’t really want to know me, to understand me and to fully see me as me. I have learned through this whole thing though, that my Dad, my stepmom and my mom really do totally support me. They understand my hurt and they understand my love for my partner. I’ve also learned from my mom that my nieces and nephews really still feel close to me and look up to me and look forward to me being home, so this felt good to hear. But I’m so angry at my siblings right now and so deeply cut up inside by their casual unawareness of who I am and what matters to me. My parents fuck up my pronouns, they can’t remember to reference me as nonbinary sometimes and they forget to call me by my chosen name, but they try, and they mean it deeply when they show me love for me as who I really am. The opposite is true for my siblings. They remember my name and pronouns. But they seem wholly unaware of my life and my path and the things that are really central to my core self. A huge part of this disconnect is all tied up in me being here in Scotland while they are all back in the United States and my lack of being able to travel home for quite a while because of some paperwork issues related to my visa.

    My heart is in so much pain right now. This thing with my siblings, along with some other feelings of alienation and being let down by others, and a lot of other things at the moment are just laying down another heavy layer on top of my very wounded, sore and broken heart.

    Outside of those things i mention with my family and the other things letting me down, I’m just in so much pain right now. I need my partner here with me, I feel so much trauma at losing them, at watching them face death, watching death take them. It hurts so much. And I am not even really here on many levels. I am present completely with my daughter. And I’m so lucky to have that kid, what a beautiful wonderful kid she is.

    I don’t really feel alive, I feel dead inside in so many ways, certain parts of me still live and that’s the parts of me that have love and joy with my kid. But certain parts of me are just broken and destroyed inside. I don’t know what else to say…I’m exhausted and hurting.

    Thank you for reading if you’ve got this far.❤️❤️
     
  2. Mirko

    Admin Team Advisor Full Member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2008
    Messages:
    18,443
    Likes Received:
    2,646
    Location:
    Northern Hemisphere
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    I am sorry for you loss. it's good that you are writing out your thoughts and feelings. I am glad you are doing that. Please know we are here for you, and willing to listen, support you.

    I thought of asking, whether you have had a chance to participate in some grief counseling? If you haven't had a chance yet, and once you feel ready, I would encourage you to give it a try. Take your time though, it is okay to grieve and it is also okay to create the space for yourself that will help you. If it means surrounding yourself only with people who you know support you unconditionally, that's okay too. (*hug*)
     
  3. baristajedi

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2015
    Messages:
    2,838
    Likes Received:
    828
    Location:
    Edinburgh
    Gender:
    Other
    Gender Pronoun:
    They
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    Thank you so much for your support, it means a lot. ❤️

    I am in counselling now yes, it’s very helpful, and I did some counselling early on as well. I will likely keep coming back to doing counselling over time.

    I view grief differently than what I hear most people saying about it. It is not a stage or a process but a part of my heart and soul now, the shape or experience of it may change for me I suppose but it is something I do not anticipate to go away. I think actually that that helps me to know how to give myself the most comfort that I can and to listen to my needs because I am not pressuring myself to get over this now or in time, because that’s not real, it’s not something that fits my truth.

    I feel very in touch with understanding my grief and I realise that because my love for partner is something that I expected to last through all my life, so will my grief. I also know that I can and I want to live with my daughter and create memories for her and with her. And my Susan would want that for us too. But my heart has a hole in it and that hole will always remain.

    I find it really tiring when people in my life tell me that being sad is not being strong and that I need to try to be happy. I know what I need, I need to be exactly what we I really am, and honour and hold that, whatever it is. What is gained by not being real? I don’t believe happiness needs to be the goal of my life. I am ok with looking instead for comfort, rest, space to cry, and meaningful time with the people in my life who I love. I can laugh and have fun with my daughter. I can do this and still carry enormous pain. Susan and my love for Susan doesn’t get smaller in my heart because I’m loving my daughter and the same goes the other way around as well. I also get tired of people telling me it’s more enlightened to have less attachment to people and real enlightenment is about looking beyond that attachment. That’s the biggest bullshit I’ve ever heard. I am proud of my strength in being vulnerable and open. I love with my whole heart, and I know the risk of loving with my whole heart, but I’m willing to be vulnerable because if I hadn’t been willing to let my partner’s love in, I mean really let it in, then we wouldn’t have had what we had or what we still have, even for the short time that we got to live and hold and embrace it. I love my partner and I always will.

    I say I’m very in touch with my feelings but I should also say, this is a really traumatic experience for me, everything around losing my partner. And I’m feeling more shut down, more than I ever have in my life. I still know my own needs and I know them well, but I find it hard to really go past the top layer of all this pain and be in touch with each and every layer. There’s so many layers to this, so many feelings, so much hurt and trauma, it’s frightening for me.

    anyway, thank you for your support, I just sort of rambled on a bit. But I appreciate the space to share.

     
    #3 baristajedi, Dec 31, 2021
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 31, 2021
  4. chicodeoro

    Full Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2020
    Messages:
    476
    Likes Received:
    373
    Location:
    London
    Gender:
    Female (trans*)
    Gender Pronoun:
    She
    Sexual Orientation:
    Lesbian
    Out Status:
    Some people
    So good to hear from you, Baristajedi. I can relate to so much you say, as a widow myself. I don't think any of us ever really stop grieving for our loved ones. It's coming up to two years now for me. The grief just gets easier to manage as time goes by.

    I'd also say it's absolutely ok to be angry too. Sometimes I look at other people, friends of mine who have had happy relationships for decades, who still have both parents and easy relationships with their siblings and feel envious - 'you have it so easy'. I only had six and a half years with my partner when she was snatched away from me! I daresay you probably feel something similar and that's ok. It really is.

    Your siblings sound..difficult. But then often the people we're supposedly 'closest' to are the ones we feel most alienated from. We all have idealised notions of what a supportive sibling relationship 'should' be. I don't know many that are like that in real life.

    What's more important is the relationship with your daughter - which sounds amazing - and whether you have a support structure around you - do you have friends you can unburden on?

    Amen! I totally feel the same way. Sadly, pain is the price we pay for love. The deeper the love, the deeper the pain. But who know what? I wouldn't have it any other way - I'm proud too, of being emotional and being brave enough to be vulnerable. My partner will always be in my heart. I'll never stop missing her. But I hope one day I might be able to love again. It's this, more than anything, that drives me on.

    Anyway, I'm rambling too now! Oh I hope 2022 is a brighter, more hopeful year for you, Baristajedi. You've made it this far. Stay strong and keep putting one foot in front of the other. The pain never goes away (and would we ever want it to, truly?) but it does get easier to live with. It really does.

    Beth x
     
    #4 chicodeoro, Dec 31, 2021
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2021
    Peterpangirl likes this.
  5. PatrickUK

    Advisor Full Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2014
    Messages:
    6,861
    Likes Received:
    2,241
    Location:
    England
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    When we lose someone, people often try to placate us with platitudes that are well intended, but really feel hollow and rather insulting. They fail to understand the hurt and our need to feel and experience that hurt as one of the stages of grief. They believe it lasts only a matter of weeks and we will then move on, but it really can take much longer. Sometimes it needs to take much longer. In my experience you don't ever get over it. You may, in time, learn to exist or live around the hole that's left behind, but that's very different to the idea of getting over the loss of someone. So I would simply tell you to accept your feelings as they are and for what they are.

    The stages of grief that I mentioned above were first documented by the Psychiatrist, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. She spent the best part of her professional career working with people at the end of their lives and the people left behind in a state of grief and loss and she wrote about all of it extensively. The reason I mention all of this is because the stages of self acceptance, familial acceptance and coming out seem to follow the same pattern. We have shock and denial, pain and guilt, anger and bargaining, depression and later... an upward turn that includes resconstruction and working through it until finally finding and receiving acceptance. How long does all of this take? Well, that depends on the individual/s and circumstances and it can never be rushed.

    As we work through these processes we begin to see things anew. Sometimes the things we see can be enlightening, sometimes they can be painful and need to be fed into the emotional spinner too. Perhaps that's what has happened with your siblings? All of it needs to go in and be filtered out at some point in the future... in whatever way is necessary.

    I am sorry for your loss. I hope it doesn't sound trite when I say that, because I know you may have heard it so often. As someone who has experienced the loss of very close relatives I can empathise and I truly hope you will give yourself time and permission to feel what you need to feel. Go with the flow and don't allow others to try to stifle you. What you experienced is very real and very raw and sticking plasters or emotional first aid will not cut it.

    I don't expect or anticipate a reply, but I'm pleased you felt able to write this thread. Sometimes we just need an outlet.
     
    Landgirl likes this.
  6. Peterpangirl

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2017
    Messages:
    840
    Likes Received:
    659
    Location:
    UK
    Gender:
    Female
    Gender Pronoun:
    She
    Sexual Orientation:
    Lesbian
    Out Status:
    Some people
    I can only echo others. I think you can only grow around a loss so great - the hole will always be there - but growing you are. I agree that it only rings hollow and hurts more if people use phrases like "getting over it" and "moving on". The truth is that this is not how it works. I can only say that I hear your grief and your pain and my heart goes out to you.
     
  7. Love2sleep

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2020
    Messages:
    113
    Likes Received:
    113
    Location:
    Uk
    Gender:
    Female
    Gender Pronoun:
    She
    Sexual Orientation:
    Lesbian
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    Grief is all consuming and tears apart the fabric of your being. It gets under your skin and crawls into your veins. It exposes memories that play like a film reel, constantly streaming.. There are no words to ease the bombardment of pain or to soothe the rawness that eats away at you. I know grief only too well.. I became so tired of fighting it and became it’s friend. I allowed myself to feel and I acknowledged the presence of the overwhelming waves that would drown me over and over again. Until one day, the waves no longer drowned me. The corridors of my mind became a comforting place to walk. The heaviness in my body shifted and I could feel something other than sadness. Grief did not leave me, I found a way to live with it. By doing so life become lighter some how, the pain no longer crippled me, I could watch the memories and pause if I needed to instead of the constant streaming. Grief, created a garden in a room hidden between the corridors of my memories. A place I could visit when I closed my eyes, a place I could fill with a thousand wild flowers all planted in her name. That’s where she lives. In a garden full of wildflowers created by my grief. I find comfort when I close my eyes and visit her there, on a blanket reading a book, she pauses and smiles at me. I can stay for as long as I want and the best thing is, she is always there.
     
  8. chicodeoro

    Full Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2020
    Messages:
    476
    Likes Received:
    373
    Location:
    London
    Gender:
    Female (trans*)
    Gender Pronoun:
    She
    Sexual Orientation:
    Lesbian
    Out Status:
    Some people
    That is so beautiful, Love2sleep.

    Beth x
     
    Love2sleep likes this.
  9. quebec

    Advisor Full Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2014
    Messages:
    3,278
    Likes Received:
    1,733
    Location:
    U.S.
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Out Status:
    Some people
    baristajedi.....No one can feel the grief of another. We can only compare it to the grief that we have experienced and then do our best to support the other person. When I was 18 years old I was in college and completely out. I was amongst a group of 8 guys in the college drama/music department that did everything together. One of those other boys was named Tim. We did everything thing together and we became friends/FWB/lovers/soulmates. Had it been today we would have married. Tim became ill and had to drop out of school. Every Friday afternoon I drove 200 miles to his house to spend the weekend with him. After about two months of this, one Friday his parents met at the front door and wouldn't let me in the house. Tim had apparently told them that we were more than just good friends. They told me to "get my faggot ass off their property and never come back". Tim died a few weeks later. I never saw him again, I didn't get to go to his funeral and I don't know where he is buried. I was devastated and over the period of a year I turned my back on my sexuality and my memory of Tim. For over 40 years I forgot that Tim even existed and I also had no memory of ever being out as a gay young man. Then in 2014 after what I call my final crisis, I came to accept that I am and always have been gay. About a year and a half later, I began to get the memories of the time with that group of guys and of my time with Tim back. At first I was amazed and happy that I had been out when I was younger. However, as more memories came back to me I finally remember what had happened to Tim. I was devastated all over again. However, this time I had the help of the wonderful people here on Empty Closets and also the help of a great therapist to get me through the dark time. It was bad, but I got through it and now I can look back at my time with Tim and remember the wonderful times that we had together. There is still a bitter-sweet sadness that I feel, but I also remember the love that we shared. A few months ago I happened to stumble on a picture of Tim in the college yearbook and that was like a gift from heaven! My experience is not the same as yours...but I think the grief is a lot alike. The person who is gone leaves a whole, an emptiness that can never be filled, even if in the future you should
    end up with another person. I've been married now for 43 years. Now that I have the memory of Tim back I have realized that no one, not even my wife of 43 years, can fill the emptiness that Tim left. I was 20 years old when Tim died and I was so overcome with grief that it quite literally destroyed the person that I was at that time. The person I was at that time died with Tim. With a lot of counseling I have that part of myself that I lost back and I have Tim back. I count myself fortunate to be able to say that. It hasn't been easy...but it is possible for you too. Please don't do what I did, don't lose who you are. I don't think that your partner would like that...I think that your partner would like you to be strong and to carry on with your life. I know that Tim would have wanted me to do that, but I just wasn't strong enough when I was 20 years old.
    .....David :gay_pride_flag:
     
  10. Peterpangirl

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2017
    Messages:
    840
    Likes Received:
    659
    Location:
    UK
    Gender:
    Female
    Gender Pronoun:
    She
    Sexual Orientation:
    Lesbian
    Out Status:
    Some people
    This is beautiful. So brilliantly expressed. May I share your words, totally anonymously, with others who have encountered grief, that they might slowly come to a better place with their's?
     
    #10 Peterpangirl, Jan 20, 2022
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2022
    Love2sleep likes this.
  11. Love2sleep

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2020
    Messages:
    113
    Likes Received:
    113
    Location:
    Uk
    Gender:
    Female
    Gender Pronoun:
    She
    Sexual Orientation:
    Lesbian
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    Thank you. Yes, you may share my words. I hope it brings comfort to those who know Grief by its name. X