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spirit.of.the.rain
03-28-2006, 05:51 AM
okay... here it goes. i am thirteen and i'm having a really hard time because my grandfather, who lives in conneticut (i live across the country) has suffered a lot of brain damage from strokes. every time i talk to him, whether it's on the phone or, when i visited him for my brother's wedding, he forgets who i am. i love him so much and i want him to remember me. i need him to remember who i am because i have so much i want to share with him. what if he just... dies? how can i go on with my life? i haven't had any person in my family die and i had a hard time when my dog died. how am i going to get through this? he's i n such pain, i know it would be better for him, but now that i'm older, i could have gotten so much closer to him if he hadn't gotten into that car crash and had those strokes. he needs to stay with us. i can't go on with my life if he dies.

thanks for listening. if anyone has any way to help me, please, do share. thank you.

measure in love,
spirit.of.the.rain.

trumancoyote
03-28-2006, 06:01 AM
Spend what time with him you can, honey, and realize that when he's not being himself, he isn't himself. He may have periods of lucidity, and when that happens embrace them -- he'll know who you are, and he'll remember that.

I don't know what your religious beliefs are, so I won't offer any platitudes in that regard.

But you'll be okay. I've experienced the same thing.

It's something you have to work through day by day.

MacAllister
03-28-2006, 06:06 AM
Spirit, I'm a believer in telling ourselves positive things. How would it be to tell yourself that you can and will go on, so that there is always someone who remembers this wonderful man specifically for what he meant to you?--Because no one but you can do that.

Perks
03-28-2006, 06:10 AM
If we live long enough, we all will have to work through the death of a loved one. My father died when I was nine and my mother-in-law, whom I loved very, very much died seven years ago. It hard, but you'll be okay in time. Keep your friends and family, especially those who share your affection for your grandfather, close. You'll make it. I'm so sorry you're sad.

maestrowork
03-28-2006, 06:21 AM
Be there for your grandfather. But most important, be good to yourself. Your grandfather would want you to take good care of yourself. I have known many who have suffered strokes, and they do recover (albeit slowly) so don't lose hope. Your grandfather needs you to be strong for him. Take good care of him, and take good care of yourself.

jdkiggins
03-28-2006, 06:39 AM
Spirit,
Keep thinking positive and continue to spend as much time as you can with your grandfather.

I'm not sure of the extent of your grandfather's strokes, but I can tell you from experience that the only pain stroke victims have is the heartache of realizing they have lost a part of themselves...their memory.

When you get a chance, click on my signature below and read my story "Perseverance." You might want to read it to your grandfather as well. It may give you both a bit of strength to persevere through this together. Many people have been able to rehabilitate themselves to meaningful levels with the power of positive thinking and will NOT to give up.

I know, I've been there.

My dad lived eight years after having major strokes, and I'm still here after 15 years. So don't give up.

Big hugs to you, your family and your grandfather.

SC Harrison
03-28-2006, 07:32 AM
Spirit, I know how hard it can be when a family member forgets who you are because their mind won't let them access the memory of you. You almost get the feeling that you never existed as far as they're concerned, but that's not the case. You're in there, he just has trouble locating the memory.

It may help if you write about him and his life. See what you can find out from other family members about some of the things he's accomplished.

Above all, think about how much he would want you to be happy and healthy.

Stew21
03-28-2006, 07:46 AM
Take the advice above - all of it. These are wonderful people who know some of what you are feeling and they are offering fantastic advice. Trust them.
I will only offer one more thing: if he does pass from these strokes, consider yourself your grandfather's legacy. He will live on through you. Your job is to do the very best you can, make your life great every way you can, take care of yourself and consider that you are living a full life - carrying on for your family; letting his legacy live strong. Talk to him, even if he doesn't remember you, and even after he is gone (which could still be many years) you can still talk to him.
He wouldn't want you to sacrifice your health and happy life for the sake of his memory, he would want you to go on with strength, grow from the experience.
Big hugs, keep your family and friends close and draw on their strength when you don't know where to find it. You are his legacy, do him proud!

writerterri
03-28-2006, 07:49 AM
I lost my dad and my grandpa when I was 16. It was very hard. They left suddenly so I didn't have a chance to say goodbye or spend any time with them. You on the other hand have that chance to love your grandpa as he is. He may not remember you at times but he does have moments when he does remember but perhaps cannot voice them. More importantly he will remember how it was when he goes to a better place. We don't pass on from this world unrestored, I believe.

What if your grandpa could respond to your post in this thread? What do you think he would say to you? I don't think he would tell you to stop your life cause his time is up. I really want you to think about what he would write to you as a response and act as if he is in his right mind. Think ahead to when you're a grandparent and it is time for you to leave this world and write your grandchildren a letter of how you would want them to carry on with their lives after you are gone.

Birth and death are a part of life, honey. I hope you will still share with him. You don't know if he won't be able to understand because of his non response. The brain is fearfully and wonderfully made. You can prepare for his passing right now and enjoy every moment with him if and when you can. Write him and ask someone to read the letters to him. He will pass honey and it wont be easy, but he will know you loved him. Love is strong and you will go on though it seems impossible at this time. Later in life he will be a memory and each and every day that goes by after his passing the pain will shrink to be smaller and smaller. You will get through this and you will make grandpa proud of the strength he has passed on.

Terri

dlcharles
03-28-2006, 07:55 AM
Spirit: If I may offer this tidbit; it has helped some others, including my own grandchildren. If you go to my homepage and click on "My Opinions" you will find my response to one of my grandchildren when she became aware of my having cancer. I hope this can show in some small way that alternatives do exist insofar as handling the death of a loved one. It's labeled "Turn North at the Full Moon". Please know I empathize with your feelings, but also know we all must physically leave this world eventually.

Another thing I would strongly suggest, Spirit, is to say to your mom and dad exactly the words you posted here, if you haven't already.

dlcharles


oh, the addy is : http://www.dlcharles.com (http://www.dlcharles.com/)

DamaNegra
03-28-2006, 08:46 AM
My thoughts go out to you, spirit. I'm also young and in the process of having a beloved grandmother in the brink of death.

All I can say to you is that it would make your grandfather proud if you overcame his death and lived a great life. I think he'd feel guilty and even sad if your whole life stopped because of his death. I know I would feel like that, and I know my grandmother will, too.

Death is part of life. I'm not much of a Harry Potter fan, but one of its quotes really touched me:

"To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure."

The people we love never truly leave us. They live through us and the memory we have of them.

I once had an aunt, who was the greatest person in the world. Thoughtful, giving, kind, humble, you name it. She had all the virtues. She died nine years ago because of pneumonia complications (I think) due to smoking.
To this date, my cousins (not her children, she never had any) and I still talk to her or go to her whenever we're feeling sad. She's not completely dead, she lives through us, and that is a comforting thought.

I hope this has been of some help...

Maryn
03-28-2006, 06:15 PM
Some terrific advice here already, to no one's surprise. One thing I can add is that many people who suffer memory loss from a series of strokes may find that the memory is not gone but now requires a different key. The older the memory is, the more likely it is to be in there somewhere.

New keys may include a large photograph of you, a photo album, drawings or crafts (which don't have to be good), and a scrapbook which includes your writing about times you and your grandfather shared, whether you were doing something or just hanging around in the same place.

If your grandfather's still able to see, and to read, even if none of these keys unlocks his memories of you, he will be able to understand the special relationship you share and create new memories of you.

Maryn, who thinks you must be a special granddaughter

ChunkyC
03-28-2006, 06:39 PM
http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/EmoteHug2.gif to you, Spirit. Everyone has given you wonderful advice. I'll just add that your grandfather lives on in you. Spend each day making him proud.

Jcomp
03-28-2006, 06:42 PM
First time's a tough one lil homie. The advice here is already sound and I can't really add to it anymore than just to say keep your head up. I'll send a prayer your way.

NeuroFizz
03-28-2006, 06:44 PM
Sweetie, it's normal to have all of those "coulda" and "shoulda" moments in situations like this. My father went through this very thing before he passed, and it's not easy to watch. The main thing to remember is that you are an important part of his life and his legacy, and even though he can't respond to you right now, he carries the memories of you and the times you spent with him. Should he pass, think of how he would want to see you carrying his memory on for the world to see. Use that legacy as wings, not as a loaded backpack, and soar in celebration of who you are and how he will always be an important part of you.

Roger J Carlson
03-28-2006, 07:11 PM
i can't go on with my life if he dies.Yes you can -- because you MUST, if not for your own sake, then for his. He needs you to remember him.

By the time I was your age, I had lost all of my grandparents. They are now just a dim memory. Oh how I wish I had taken the time then to write down what I remembered of them. I wish I had gathered pictures, made a scrap book, or kept a diary of my memories.

Today you've got more options. Do you have any video of him? Get it burned to CD or DVD. Create a website dedicated to him or start a blog. There are lots of free sites available. Others in the family can join in and write down what they remember.

The death of a loved one is always sad. But it can also be a time to remember and celebrate their lives. Start doing it now while he still lives.

You'll get through this -- for him.

aka eraser
03-28-2006, 07:44 PM
Lots of truth in the above posts spirit. I hope you'll believe these good folks.

You live in your grandfather's heart and he in yours. That will always be. Always.

cool_st_elizabeth
03-28-2006, 08:14 PM
Spirit, (((hugs))) to you. I know how much it hurts, and I am sorry you live so far away from your grandfather. I'm much older than you, and I lost my father in October. When he died, my husband reminded me that my father still loves me and I love him just as much as ever. The difference is, I can't call him or go see him any more. But the love is still there.

Celia Cyanide
03-28-2006, 08:16 PM
It is so painful to lose loved ones, but death is a natural part of life. Of course you had a hard time when your dog died. You loved your dog, and you still do. From the way you say it, you make it sound like you think losing your dog should not be a big deal.

The pain we feel when something like this happens to the ones we love is intertwined with our love for them. That's why we aren't overcome with grief when we read in the newspaper about strangers dying. We care, but we don't love those people the same way. There is no specific time limit on grief, but eventually, you will be able to be grateful for the happy memories of your grandfather. No matter what happens, you will not always feel this bad. I promise.

Godfather
03-28-2006, 10:40 PM
spirit,
im 16, the three grandparents i knew died in the last 3 years.
my grandmother was such a nice person, and i was 12 i think,
then my other grandmother, i was 14.
that was hard because we would all be hangin out at the hospice for a few weeks while she was dying.
and she had so many stories,
she dated a mafiosi and did so much with her life
and i never got around to asking her to tell these stories.

but, so is life.
full of chances, to be missed or siezed.
maybe it will make you into a stronger person.

you have my sympathy

Betty W01
03-29-2006, 12:20 AM
Dear Spirit,

Everyone had good advice on the board here. Can I add something from the point of view of a mom who's lost a child? My 21 yo daughter died in a freak car wreck in 93 and it was the worst thing I've ever gone through. Please don't allow yourself to seriously consider suicide if your grandpa dies. Think about your parents. It will be hard enough for them to lose your grandpa. To lose you too would be unbearable, especially to suicide, which would say to them, "I could have gone on living, but I chose not to." Get help from someone, so that you can deal with the pain and fear and grief you are already experiencing. If nothing else, call the suicide hotline [1-800-SUICIDE] for some perspective. Death is a part of life, but the pain from it will pass and you will find a new balance in your life after each loss. God bless you.

spirit.of.the.rain
04-11-2006, 03:59 AM
i haven't been posting for a while, but i just want to say how much you guys have helped me. here are my goals:
- write my grandfather a letter every week that my grandmother can read to him.
- make a biography of his life through photography, video, and symbols of his life.
- love him as much as i can now before he's gone.
again, thank you all so much. i appreciate all you've done for me. now i realize, death is a part of life and although his time is coming, there is a space between him and the end of the road and i can fill that emptiness.
thank you all for helping me get through my time of need.

stay blessed --
spirit.of.the.rain.

Maryn
04-11-2006, 05:01 AM
Thanks for touching base with us, spirit. It sounds to me like you've got a good plan and the right mindset as well.

Maryn, pleased for you

Yeshanu
04-11-2006, 07:41 AM
stay blessed --
spirit.of.the.rain.

I think we've been blessed just reading your post, spirit.

What wonderful projects you've listed! Life isn't always easy, but when you celebrate the good, as you're trying to do, you find joy in unexpected places.

WVWriterGirl
04-11-2006, 07:52 AM
I know you've taken a lot from the above posters and I've come in on this a bit late, but I think you'd benefit from my take, too.

I lost my grandmother (Mamaw *smile*) about 7 years ago after a series of minor and major strokes. She had other problems, too, that she joked about but caused her real problems. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about Mamaw and all the things she missed.

I could dwell on the fact that Mamaw never got to see my son, her great-grandson, whom she would have lavished with love and affection that could not be rivaled the world over, or I could remember the times when my mother and I would take her shopping and to dinner, how we laughed and how every time we went out, she had to eat at Shoney's and had to have liver and onions. I choose to remember, rather than regret.

I could dwell on the fact that in the end, she didn't know my husband from my ex-boyfriend, and that she couldn't see me in my wedding dress or remember my husband's name, or I could remember the Christmas Eves we spent at her house, and the Christmas Days she would spend at ours. I choose to remember rather than regret.

I could think about how she looked near the end when I rushed from my (then) home in North Carolina to be at her bedside in West Virginia as she breathed some of her last breath, or I can remember doing chores at her house because I loved her and finding a new piece of Avon jewelry and a $10 bill slipped into my bag when I got home. I choose to remember, not dwell on the last days of her life.

I have a picture of Mamaw in a frame in an honored place in my home, and I have a Christmas ornament with her picture in it that I lovingly place on the tree every year in a spot where everyone can see it. When someone asks me who she is, I don't tell them about how hard she had it right before she passed, I tell them about how funny she was, how impeccably clean she kept her home and yard even after she couldn't do it herself, how much she loved me and how much I miss her.

I choose to remember the beauty rather than dwell on the hardship. I think that is how she would have wanted it, even though when it was time for her to go I felt the same way you did (and I was 24 when I lost my Mamaw). I thought about it a lot, and decided the best way to celebrate her life was not with my death, but with my memories.

I hope you feel better, and from your follow-up post, I can tell you do, at least a little. Remember the beauty, Spirit. Sometimes its all we have to hold on to.

aka eraser
04-11-2006, 06:34 PM
... now i realize, death is a part of life....

stay blessed --
spirit.of.the.rain.

Spirit, many folks tread this earth for seven+ decades and don't "get" that. That you have at such a young age makes me hope I'm still around in a decade or two to read your work.

Lantern Jack
04-11-2006, 10:06 PM
I believe that, when we talk to people, we comfort them on so many levels, the conscious level being the most fine, the sheerest of them all. Just because your grandfather may not understand, or remember, everything you say to him, doesn't mean talking to him is no balm for his many ailments. Often, the mere sound of a gentle voice can put people at ease, and this resonates from the top of one's consciousness, down to the sub- and unconscious self. I know, when I slip into the extremes of insanity (I'm bi-polar), I find myself spending lots more time inside of myself, where the nightmares, the old demons, where the wild things are. But other people's kindness and compassion toward me spooked them away. Your grandfather may not remember everything you tell him (truth be told, we forget 80% of any experience, anyway), but I can assure you, you are the greatest of comforts to him. Take it from someone who's been down a similar road---grief and trauma force us to live in the immediate present, blinding us to all else. I know it seems you won't be able to get past this, but these things truly do pass, and lessen with time. Just think of all the people who enjoy you. Don't make the mistake of thinking your grandfather is the only one. You are needed. All life is necessary. Just be with him while you can, and when you can't, comfort yourself knowing you were a comfort to him:)

Help will always be offered at Hogwarts to those who ask for it;)

Lady Cat
04-12-2006, 12:54 AM
Spirit,

Ive read your post and the compassionate replies and I would just like to add that perhaps your grandfather does not recognize you, but deep down his spirit knows youre there. When I was your age I lost both my mother and my only grandparent. Just last year I lost the aunt who finished raising me. Hers was a long, slow slide into senility. It was very hard visiting her in the nursing home, every time we went a little more of her was missing. Towards the end she believed she was a child again but every once in awhile wed catch a glimpse of her old self and that glimpse was enough to reassure us that she was still our beloved aunt and she still loved us.

Yes, its hard to lose someone you love, but focusing on all the good things youve shared helps lessen the pain. When I remember my mother I think of her putting up preserves for the winter, reading me another chapter of Black Beauty, or sewing me a new dress. My grandfather taught me to draw - I still have his paint box. And my aunt, she was always up for a picnic or a new craft.

Treasure the time you have with your grandfather, it will only add to your wonderful memories when his time does come. Your goals are fabulous, I wish my sisters and I had thought of doing the same.