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#149531 - 05/28/08 10:43 PM Another Unexpected Grief Trigger
Eagle Heart Offline
Member

Registered: 03/22/05
Posts: 4860
Loc: Canada
Okay, I need to share this - precisely because of the nature of this trigger.

Hubby's sister and her husband are here. Two of my very favourite people. I love being with them. But lately, we've been spending more time than usual with hubby's side of the family. I love his family, and this isn't about them - it's just that being with them has triggered another "new" awareness of loss.

Whenever his family gather together, whether it be his daughter, son, siblings or cousins, they do what most families do - they share family stories. In hubby's case, much of this is done in French which I can't understand well or participate in at all. That's my fault, for not being more diligent about learning French. I accept that. Add to that, because I'm his second wife, there is a huge part of his life that I wasn't a part of anyway. So I don't know the language, the people involved, the histories they're talking about or the circumstances surrounding the stories.

So, I've accepted this, often I just bring a book and find a quiet corner and read while all of this story-telling is going on. And I've encouraged and supported him 100% in spending as much time as possible with his family.

But this week, it really hit me hard when I did try to participate in the story-swapping by sharing a relevant story from my own family. It was not received, it fell into a deep dark black hole...they just stepped right over it as if I hadn't said a word and the conversation immediately switched to French, not intentionally, but effectively shutting me out once again. It's just the way it is, always has been, always will be, and I've long accepted that.

But this time, what hit me so hard was the realization that I have NOBODY LEFT to share my stories with - there will never again be a gathering of my side of the family, and there will never again be a "safe" place to share, and nobody left to listen to, laugh at or care about MY family stories...there is nobody left who genuinely wants to hear those stories, who knows and would be interested in any of the people involved.

I tried to explain this to hubby, but he can't understand the immensity of that loss. His response was to remind me of all of the losses HE has suffered lately and that he's hurting too. I was taken aback, because I've been very supportive of him in his losses, even while in excruciating grief over my own. But the fact still remains that he still has four siblings, two children, two grandchildren and tons of cousins - all of whom we visit frequently enough to keep HIS family stories alive and well.

I've had a rough few days over this. It really makes me feel so terribly alone. But do you know what one thing has helped me more than anything? My miracle pants. Laugh if you want to, but everytime my mind wants to start thinking "who cares anymore", I remember my mended jeans and it makes me smile, because God knew that those would be a constant and unshakeable reminder that HE cares - about even the tiniest details of my life - including my family stories, and the sadness I feel over that loss. Being a story-teller Himself, He would understand.

I know I'm lucky to have hubby's family to lean against...they have long accepted and shown how deeply they love me. It's not their fault that I cannot participate in their family stories, though some of them (the sister who's here especially) do try hard to remember to include me in these family gatherings. But it will never be the same as having my own family to gather, story-tell and laugh with.

Maybe it would be easier/different if I had my own children.

But I do thank God for my beloved grandchildren - because I've been a part of their lives since they were born, someday their family stories will include ME TOO. We already tell stories, and some of them even include Gary! How wonderful is that!

Anyway, see why I had to share this here? Having "here" to come and share this story helps to lessen the "agony of absence". I'm so grateful that I have you and this safe place to share stories and triggers with.
_________________________
When you don't like a thing, change it.
If you can't change it, change the way you think about it.

(Maya Angelou)

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#149532 - 05/28/08 10:56 PM Re: Another Unexpected Grief Trigger [Re: Eagle Heart]
Sadie Offline
Member

Registered: 10/08/04
Posts: 1274
Loc: MD
Eagle,
I admire your courage for telling us your story about your husband family . I feel for you. Only one suggestion , maybe if you include your stories of your family by saying I have been their with the same thing and feel for you . Or maybe you have done that with no avail. I to am a second wife and hubby has a large family . I have a brother ,but well that is another story , but will PM on that subject and mother and daddy are gone and relatives are toxic so it can be a lonely life for me , but I have made a lot of friends and you can count me in as a friend . PM me anytime .

Hope this helps some . I don't understand hubbies family .

Renee
_________________________
Courage is very important
Like a muscle, it is strengthened by use .

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#149533 - 05/29/08 12:05 AM Re: Another Unexpected Grief Trigger [Re: Eagle Heart]
orchid Offline


Registered: 01/21/07
Posts: 3650
Loc: British Columbia, Canada
Quote:

But this time, what hit me so hard was the realization that I have NOBODY LEFT to share my stories with - there will never again be a gathering of my side of the family, and there will never again be a "safe" place to share, and nobody left to listen to, laugh at or care about MY family stories...there is nobody left who genuinely wants to hear those stories, who knows and would be interested in any of the people involved.

I tried to explain this to hubby, but he can't understand the immensity of that loss. His response was to remind me of all of the losses HE has suffered lately and that he's hurting too. I was taken aback, because I've been very supportive of him in his losses, even while in excruciating grief over my own. But the fact still remains that he still has four siblings, two children, two grandchildren and tons of cousins - all of whom we visit frequently enough to keep HIS family stories alive and well.

I've had a rough few days over this. It really makes me feel so terribly alone. But do you know what one thing has helped me more than anything? My miracle pants. Laugh if you want to, but everytime my mind wants to start thinking "who cares anymore", I remember my mended jeans and it makes me smile, because God knew that those would be a constant and unshakeable reminder that HE cares - about even the tiniest details of my life - including my family stories, and the sadness I feel over that loss. Being a story-teller Himself, He would understand.

I know I'm lucky to have hubby's family to lean against...they have long accepted and shown how deeply they love me. It's not their fault that I cannot participate in their family stories, though some of them (the sister who's here especially) do try hard to remember to include me in these family gatherings. But it will never be the same as having my own family to gather, story-tell and laugh with.

Maybe it would be easier/different if I had my own children.

But I do thank God for my beloved grandchildren - because I've been a part of their lives since they were born, someday their family stories will include ME TOO. We already tell stories, and some of them even include Gary! How wonderful is that!

Anyway, see why I had to share this here? Having "here" to come and share this story helps to lessen the "agony of absence". I'm so grateful that I have you and this safe place to share stories and triggers with.




I will never have my own children, EAgle. But it is a choice I made in my 20's, when I realized I couldn't muster up enough maternal feelings. ..even after witnessing cute nieces and nephews popping up in life.

I remind myself that not all children demonstrate their appreciation to their parents, when they grow up as adults. Some cut off contact with good parents. Now that must be awfully painful..to me..much more than choosing not to have children.

As for the family stories in another language..I know what you mean since my partner increasingly must speak with his mother in German. But I know the lady when she didn't have dementia and spoke more in English. I have the memory of those wonderful chats with his mother. I also recognize the importance for him to retain his German fluency, by USING it. Just as he is in a fog, when he visits my family when he hasn't bothered to learn Chinese. In a way, he and I are mutually understanding in this way for each other.

Eagle, I will not see my family this year..I'm not sure about next year. flights are not cheap. I think some of us wonder as we try to learn through you, how we will each deal with tremendous family member loss.

For the stories that you can no longer discuss with another family member, you ..already share them with us, here on BWS. So thank you.

I'm not sure...have you written any stories, done videos, etc.

I have a friend whose brother made a 1/2 hr. documentary that was aired nationally...about the family's fortune cookie making machine and business when the father was alive. the film was made after his death. I think the film was enormously cathartic to the family and filmaker.

This story takes place in Calgary, in the Chinatown there.

I know for myself..the memory making and reliving those old family stories....came alive when i did volunteer work for several years in the area of race relations, human rights and immigrant support services. this was before I switched to cycling.

There is another right family for you, Eagle in this big world, where you can tell the same stories and help others.

I think I know where I can find my community family to relive those family stories and help the next generation...
_________________________
http://cyclewriteblog.wordpress.com/ (How cycling leads to other types of adventures, thoughts)
http://velourbansism.wordpress.com
http://thirdwavecyclingblog.wordpress.com/

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#149534 - 05/29/08 02:00 AM Re: Another Unexpected Grief Trigger [Re: orchid]
Edelweiss Offline
Member

Registered: 06/05/06
Posts: 4136
Loc: American living in Europe
There is not anything more isolating then being with a group of people that master a language fluently, in which you can’t comfortably participate in.

I know that feeling Eagle. I experienced it my first years here in Germany. The only way I over came that isolation was to learn the language fluently.

Sharing family stories was one of the reasons why I always said I want two children, so they can share later in life. But we are your sisters here, and you can share with us. Maybe opening a thread with special family stories would be a start?

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#149535 - 05/29/08 04:50 AM Re: Another Unexpected Grief Trigger [Re: Edelweiss]
ladyjane Offline


Registered: 08/22/07
Posts: 1761
Loc: Southern Maine, USA
Eagle, thanks so much for sharing your feelings. It reminds me of/and makes me much more aware of my husband's losses. He still has two living daughters and two living sisters who are all estranged. There is no one, not ONE relative whom he can share with. The other night while sitting by our backyard fire pit, we exchanged old stories. Having only known each other for five years now, we can still share so many with freshness. I've always encouraged him to tell those and your sharing has encouraged me more to often bring these out for him, even if they're not the happiest of memories....anything at all that will help him to be connected to his past. Yes, we could always begin to share some fun memories with each other, even though we weren't connected to each other. I did so last winter when we got going about high school pranks!
_________________________
If we couldn't laugh we would all go insane ~ Jimmy Buffett

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#149536 - 05/29/08 08:36 AM Re: Another Unexpected Grief Trigger [Re: ladyjane]
Eagle Heart Offline
Member

Registered: 03/22/05
Posts: 4860
Loc: Canada
You gals are so wonderful. Thank you for receiving my tale of woe and CARING. I feel more positive this morning, probably in part because of the wonderful gift of being able to share here.

Orchid, thank you for your insights. I hope you will be able to get home to see your family. Our DIL is from Beijing and was planning to go home for a visit this summer. They should have booked their flights a year ago when they first decided to go, because now the fares have more than doubled. They decided to wait. But when she called her parents to tell them, they surprised her by telling her that they were going to try to fly over here to visit her here. She's delighted, as are we (we love her parents so much, they're both shining spirits who radiate peace and positive energy.)

I like the idea of putting family stories together in some sort of format. It will have to wait until the crisis that has pulled our family apart is over and we can begin to heal and reconnect...perhaps this idea of story-gathering will help pull us back together...but at this time, and for some time to come, getting together is not possible.

Edelweiss, you do understand! I've tried so hard to master the French language...it's frustrating that I was able to do so much better in Spanish. I took it all through school, I've taken courses, I'm married to a French husband, and I speak enough to participate to a point, but then I seem to hit a block and just can't absorb anymore. But I have never given up - I keep trying, and keep learning.

Ladyjane, your husband is so blessed to have such an understanding, caring, supportive companion-along-the-way through these years. My hubby cares, but is just not able to sit still long enough to listen to my family stories - he's heard them all before, and he's not capable of "just listening" - he always has to counter them with how much luckier/richer/well-fed and better off we were then his family - which is true - and then I feel guilty (even though it wasn't my fault that his family was so poor). It effectively silences me from ever wanting to share my precious memories, because I cringe at the inevitable critical commentaries.

So he has no end of interested listeners to his stories (including me) and revels in the joy of having a captive audience almost everywhere we go - and I have nobody, and he doesn't "get" that difference at all.

But there's a way to rise above this, there always is and I'll find it. For now, being able to come here and warm my cold lonely toes against the warm hearth of my BWS sisters is more of a joy and blessing than ever.
_________________________
When you don't like a thing, change it.
If you can't change it, change the way you think about it.

(Maya Angelou)

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#149537 - 05/29/08 03:24 PM Re: Another Unexpected Grief Trigger [Re: Eagle Heart]
Mountain Ash Offline
Member

Registered: 12/30/05
Posts: 3025
Eagle
I so understand your expression.Its their loss and to open up then be overlooked is hard.
What we have hear is a chance to share...and be heard.I know part of the reason I am here is that I want to widen my knowing about other women..how they grew up and how they live now.By hearing others' stories we make sense of our own.
Mountain ash

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#149538 - 05/29/08 04:11 PM Re: Another Unexpected Grief Trigger [Re: Mountain Ash]
gims Offline
Member

Registered: 01/16/07
Posts: 3402
Loc: USA
Suggestions (suggestions only - you know circumstances best)

* Coach husband to stand up for you in the story telling sessions.

* Talk with the sister-n-law you know and trust best. Ask her for suggestions and/or advocacy.

* Take a friend who has some funny French stories to the next gathering and let her break you in.

* Tell family neutral stories that WOW them, getting them to want more - funny is good.

* Have a girls night out with you and the sister-n-laws, take a family photo album and pull some conversation tricks out of your hat. Maybe after starting your family media project, take it along to see if they'd like you to help them on one of their own.

I'd be bound and determine to show them how well I fit in.

I could tell you some family horror stories, but won't --- except this one name my mother-n-law called me in front of other people... she called me a "blind heifer." It was so embarassing.

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#149539 - 05/30/08 03:55 AM Re: Another Unexpected Grief Trigger [Re: gims]
Mountain Ash Offline
Member

Registered: 12/30/05
Posts: 3025
Our souls are fragile and it is fine to see later all the ways we can adjust the dynamics.When we are on the spot and try so hard to be sociable we are regressed back into a space (either hurt or childlike)of non coping.
As a child one particular branch of my clan.. tribe...family would comment on the abscence of my father.If I did well at school dance or art was looking pretty then one person would put me into line..with words.Then if I was naughty clumsy or any other childish trait she would magnify the "wrong"..I knew she did it from an early age.So I was quiet..good stayed in the background to avoid feeling hurt.This I have realised was WOUNDED HIBERNATION. As an adult I realise this suited her.Her own children (my cousins) would shine.What I needed was an advocate..but she was subtle.Each Christmas she would give me I kid not..navy school gym knickers) wheras my peers would get toys.Exchanging gift in the family group was so diminishing for me. She actually said in my hearing that her Mother my Gran needed help having taken on the burden of me.This stays with me..I have turned this into positive behaviour in my own actions with the many children I worked with.People leave scars and I know I operate on different levels due to this one woman.I am fully aware she in turn must have felt damaged.Her life must have taught her to be mean.
I can pick up people who have her traits easily.And there are many.I read it in their language in their actions and believe me I am never wrong.
Dont think I dwell on this..but I am aware it is part of me,
I have suggestions Eagle...will I PM and share?

Ignoring another is an additional way people like my Aunt can wound..in fact being ignored is one way of bullying as judged by a forum that supports people who experience bullying.
Mountain ash

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#149540 - 05/30/08 02:51 PM Re: Another Unexpected Grief Trigger [Re: Mountain Ash]
gims Offline
Member

Registered: 01/16/07
Posts: 3402
Loc: USA
Quote:

Our souls are fragile and it is fine to see later all the ways we can adjust the dynamics.
Mountain ash




I got stuck on this comment, MA. One can't patch the cracks placed in our souls by others (adult or otherwise). All attempts at doing so with psych guru suggestions don't mend anything. May teach coping, but don't mend. Least not in my experience. (This is not whining - but searching.) I'm thinking the only way to survive is by way of game playing - that's what everyone keeps telling me - "You have to learn how to play the game"... which I am so sick of hearing.

OK, there is no Utopia where everyone is kind and caring. I accept that (a hard thing to do). This is a dog eat dog (and everything that belongs to the dog) world. I've pretty much accepted that. Even though coming to BWS helps (and I'm talking helps alot - EH expresses it so well), there is still 'world' involved. Nothing (religion, etiquette, courtesy, training, etc.) can strip humankind of the natural tendency to hurt another. Even when we don't think we're doing it (not speaking of anyone in particular... generalization), we do it... but, there is something inside of us that birthed it.

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