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  The Chatter Box : Blathering On
Messages 1 2 3 

Re: Need to Gripe by pandab on 26 November 2007 2:56am
Hee, hee ... I've often wondered that myself, Mrs. Thing.

In my brother's case, I believe it is a combination of his concept of masculinity and how deep the emotions run. The deeper the emotion, the harder time he has dealing with them.

He doesn't think of himself as Studly Goodbody or anything, but he has certain ideas about what it is to be a man. Most of them are darn good ideas, and he adheres to them very well. A few of them, though, are a little ... well, off-kilter.

He is actually a very sensitive guy, and much like me, his emotions run close to the surface. It doesn't take much to trigger them, and as you can imagine, our father's death hit him hard.

He tells me he has to be strong because, if he shows he is upset, it will upset his wife and kids. I try to tell him he doesn't have to wear his feelings on his sleeve if he is uncomfortable with that, but emotions WILL find an outlet, whether he likes it or not. Better to channel them into a few heart-to-heart talks with his minister (who he really likes) than to let them build into something uglier.

He is becoming more receptive to the idea. His wife and I are trying to get him to do it before Christmas starts hot and heavy because this is going to be a really tough season for us.

I'm already working through things of my own with a counsellor. All he really does is listen to me and assure me that what I am feeling and thinking about Dad's death is normal. Even the ugly stuff. You have no idea what a relief it is to hear that! It helps me sidestep the false guilt and deal with the real emotions.

I just wish my brother could experience that. Maybe soon. :+)

Re: Need to Gripe by Lounge Trekker on 26 November 2007 3:40am
That's what makes me so MAD! Or do I cry? Some men, maybe most, aren't comfortable expressing any emotion in person because our society has developed to function without it.

Express sadness, any other way but getting angry could get a man ostracized by other men. Express anger you might go to jail. Talk about being kind and gentle to all but a few people could drive freinds away. A man can't talk honestly...he must feign success, ease, strength and indifference.

There are women's support groups for every imaginable difficulty, but I haven't seen a men's support group that is intended to deal with anything but drug and alcohol abuse.

That's the way I see our society. Men don't express their emotions, and they don't lend support to each other in person unless he is a teamate. Or it could be a biological thing, behaviour specific to the male gender of our species. And here I go, blaming society!

Good topic. Help me understand this.

Baffled Lounger
Re: Need to Gripe by geordiegirl on 26 November 2007 7:09pm
Glad to hear you're feeling better, Pandab. I sympathise about a good night's sleep, as a regular insomniac, everything IS worse after a sleepless night. And glad to hear you have reached a compromise
Re: Need to Gripe by canaveralgumby on 26 November 2007 7:52pm
panda, have you and Bro considered renting the house until the market gets better? Is that an option? You could bring in some income and bide your time. Ultimately you DO wish to get the most you can for the house. Your Dad would want it that way!

Technically you guys are not "losing" anything if you have sell it now, even if the price would be lower than you like, because you and Bro didn't purchase it or put anything into it. It's 100% profit (maybe after settling taxes?) for the 2 of you. Try to get him to remember that, maybe that will settle him down a bit.

Maybe the message to him is "Don't be Greedy." Just don't use the WORDS "Don't be Greedy" because that's instigating.
Re: Need to Gripe by perfectbitch on 26 November 2007 10:57pm
Families can be stressful at the best of times but in bereavement all sorts of behaviours materialise. Grief affects us all in different ways and however we're feeling, we have to come to terms with the behaviour of others. I thought my family behaved selfishly when my husband died but I had to accept that they were grieving too.

When I was nursing many years ago, I witnessed some apparent appaling behaviour by the deceased's relatives including a full scale row over half a bottle of orange squash. You have done so well to reach such a good compromise.

Re: Need to Gripe by pandab on 27 November 2007 3:47am
Canaveral, we talked about renting it for six months or so. The problem is the house is in fantastic shape. My dad REALLY maintained it well, and we have carried that on. If we rent it, who knows what shape it will be in when we get it back? My brother is even less comfortable with renting than I.

Lounger, I think I understand my brother's reluctance to talk about his feelings--at least partially. Playing Junior Psychologist, I think part of it is he is afraid of what might come to the surface if he lets the emotion free.

Perfectbitch is right. Grief can stir all kinds of muck under the surface. There is sorrow, of course, but speaking from experience, there is also fear, anger and guilt.

In our society, a bereaved person is expected to act a certain way. If you step out of that, you can really shock other people. For example, shortly after Dad's death, I expressed my relief to a friend. I wasn't relieved that Dad died. I was relieved that, in dying like he did, he escaped a much worse death that awaited him. He had a brain tumor that would have robbed him of everything that made him himself. It was one of his greatest terrors--to lose himself--and I was so glad he had escaped the physical pain and emotional humiliation. My friend said he understood, but I could tell I had floored him.

When you get a reaction like that, you can start to think, "Maybe there is something wrong with me feeling that way." Then the guilt starts nagging. "Maybe I didn't love him enough. Maybe I'm a bad person." And unless something intervenes, the vicious guilt cycle can go on and on.

For my brother and I, the guilt is compounded by the fact that we had to make the decision to discontinue treatment and let Dad go. Let me tell you, no matter how much you understand and accept something like that must be done, it still rips you apart and preys on you for a LONG time.

In my case, I recognized the signs of a serious guilt-induced depression coming on and hooked up with a counselor. With his help, I've been able to let the mucky emotions come to the surface and deal with them. Just hearing him say it is all normal was a huge help! Still, a few of our sessions involved me going almost fetal with sobs and wailing like a banshee. It was devastating, necessary but devastating. It was also frightening to discover I had emotions THAT intense within me.

I think part of my brother's issue is he is afraid of that. It is kind of like getting a root canal. You know you're going to feel better when it is over, but heavens, you dread doing it. You even start to think that maybe you can live with the toothache after all.

Maybe, I think my brother reasons, he can live with it bottled up. Maybe letting it all out will be too frightening and painful. Sure, there is relief afterwards, but it sure is a nasty way to get there.

His wife and I are trying to get him to understand that, sure, he can live with it all bottled up, but sooner or later, it WILL find a way out. The longer he keeps a lid on it, the more it will fester. And when it finally does come out, all that emotional pressure will be behind it. Better to deal with it now with someone's help to manage it.

Fortunately, except for the house, he and I have had a remarkably easy time working out the details of Dad's estate. Shortly after his death, my brother and I had a long talk about what my being executrix meant, the decisions I had to make and how it would all work. I have kept him informed of everything so he doesn't feel left out or confused. Even when he would rather not know the technical details! :+)

I believe that honesty is helping us weather the storm now. He knows I won't go behind his back. He might disagree with me, but he knows I won't hide anything from him. I've told him that our newly re-established relationship is too precious to me to risk destroying it just to get my own way. We growl at each other, but in the end, we're finding ways to compromise.

Sorry about the long post!

Re: Need to Gripe by Lounge Trekker on 27 November 2007 4:11am
Thank you for sharing these most stressful events with us, pandab. The specifics will be different, but I will be faced with the loss of my parents and the subsequent details eventually. Hearing you describe your difficulties and challenges has broadened my understanding of what will come.

Re: Need to Gripe by pandab on 28 November 2007 2:08am
Lounge, you are welcome.

One of the hardest things for some people to understand is grief is quite a complex thing.

When a parent dies, especially if they were the last remaining, it hits hard. For one thing, the children are faced with knowing they really are on their own. There is no Mom or Dad to turn to anymore--at least not in the conventional sense. Depending on the situation, that can be very frightening.

My advice, when or if you are faced with it, is to be honest with yourself. It is okay to be scared, to be angry and to be sad. It is all normal, but don't think you have to face it alone. There are people out there who can help you work through it--counsellors, religious leaders, close friends and family.

I also advise you to talk with your family. Encourage them to complete a will and medical directive (or living will or whatever it is called in your locale). It is a terrible thing to contemplate, which is why so many people avoid it, but my father gave my brother and I a tremendous gift in making his wishes known BEFORE he lost the ability to decide for himself.

I won't kid you. Knowing their wishes does NOT make it easier. Stopping treatment and letting Dad go was a horrid decision to make. In some ways, it was worse than his actual death, but I draw comfort from knowing we did what he wanted and what had to be done.

It can also soothe other members of the family and help reconcile them, preventing an lot of ugliness. My dad laid the foundation for my brother and I to unite when we needed to most of all.

Re: Need to Gripe by canaveralgumby on 29 November 2007 9:42pm
My single word description of the feeling after the loss of parents is "homeless." Home is wherever your mother/father are.
Re: Need to Gripe by mrsthing on 30 November 2007 12:52am
My father died when I was 19 (30 years ago), and my mom died in 2003. It was weird to be the oldest generation in my family. Selling the house was hard for me. My brother hated it and just wanted to be rid of it. As we peeled away the layers of obsessively-saved junk, I found things that triggered very old but very happy memories. We had so many unhappy ones that I was loathe to let the house go when it was giving me something so precious. My brother didn't get it, and I stopped trying to explain and just let him do his thing and I did mine. The new owners were so excited--first time homeowners with two little kids. I hope they're enjoying the house; it needed a LOT of work!

The (for me) big check I got at the closing helped ease the pain, and the day before the closing I walked through and took pictures. I found them the other day as I was cleaning, and dirty and run-down as it was, I was happy to see it again. But I'm glad someone else is enjoying it, too.
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