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No idea how to handle death- terrified of my reaction

(3 Posts)
MarmiteIloveYou Wed 28-Sep-11 07:25:36

Death has been massive taboo for my family since a sibling died when I was young. No one talks about it or shows emotion. I was told not to mention the death as it wasnt nice (I was very young). There have been other deaths since that one but somehow I was shielded (as a child) from it. I've never been to a funeral.

I received dreadful news recently that grandparent is gravely ill and is receiving palliative care... death is around the corner and I've realised I've no idea how to react, what to do, say, how its reasonable to behave.

My reaction is shock right now, but I am already conscious of wanting to shut myself away not only from family but also from my partner. I can feel myself defensive of him asking how I am already and I hate that.

Despite years of thinking i'd be different to my parents, right now I want to be unaffected by it, show no emotion and not talk about it. I know that isnt reality but i want to hide.

I am really scared of this event triggering 30odd years of unresolved grief and issues from the sibling death. I cant handle thought of seeing my dad upset after so many years of lack of emotions....

Can anyone help me please?

saffronwblue Wed 28-Sep-11 08:33:14

Poor Marmite, what a burden to be carrying. Sorry about your grandparent. I really suggest that you go and get some grief counselling - grief for you seems to be tied up with burying it to protect your parents. As you observe, if you bury it, it will come back to bite you. Make sure that your DP knows how scared you are of breaching the dam and that this is why your instinct is to push him away.
There is no script for how to act or feel when someone dies. Everyone is making it up as they go along. I just think it might help you to get some specialised support in what is a sad time to come, particularly to separate your feelings from your parents'. It is such a cliche but death and grief are part of life and you will have to survive other losses over the years to come.

MarmiteIloveYou Wed 28-Sep-11 08:50:44

Thanks Saffron, what a kind reply smile

I think its nice to articulate this with people that wont judge or mock me for caring about situation. - My other siblings response to early death was to mock me for any kind of emotion for years to come. its hard to shake that feeling that I wont get laughed at for finding it sad.

Your grief counselling suggestion is sensible and I might look at that. Talking to DP is hard, he is of the view that people should just get over historical issues - this doesnt help my feeling of wanting to hide...

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