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Struggling with grief / remorse

(13 Posts)
EnterFunnyNameHere Sun 01-Jan-17 12:15:05

Hi all,

I am reaching out on MN as it's four years now since I lost DM and I feel bad to continue to bring my friends down IRL discussing it.

I am mostly ok, I don't expect to ever stop missing her, I don't think that's realistic of anyone when such a close relation is lost, but I'm really struggling with not having any photos of my DM to speak of.

I was really close to DM, we went on holiday just us every year and I really relied on and appreciated her backing in life. But she was never a big fan of having her photo taken and neither was I really, which means there are no photos of just the two of us.

There are a few (very few) photos of my whole family (DM, DF, DB and me), but none of just DM and I. Obviously I'm grateful to have any at all, but DF has since remarried, and DB isn't really fussed about having pics up. I guess I feel it's almost unfair (but blameless) that DF and DB have photos of just them and DM, but don't display them or seem to value them, whereas I really would love to have loads of DM and I and don't have any.

I feel hugely remorseful that I didn't take photos when I could, but I'll never be able to do that now. I just don't know how to deal with the fact that I so dearly want something I absolutely can't have.

I'm not even really sure what I expect to get from this thread! But does anyone have any suggestions for how I can move forward? I have reached out to other family for any pics they gave but so far no joy. I think I need to find a way of coping with the fact I'll never have them rather than thinking of ways to get them, as I don't think the photos I'd really love even exist.

Hillbilly71 Sun 01-Jan-17 12:31:58

Use one of the photos when you are both together at the same time. Then get it reduced to the correct size so that you can cut your faces and shoulders out and put them in a locket which has room for two photos. When the locket closes your photos will be facing each other. That may help to keep her near? X

SmellyChristmasCandles Sun 01-Jan-17 13:39:54

We were in a similar situation but wanted a picture of a loved one on their own, not surrounded by a multitude of family members, which was pretty much all we had. I managed to find a local art student who took a postage stamp sized head and shoulders photograph of the family member at a family gathering and turned it into an amazing portrait. It's about 12" X 16". I was concerned about getting the colours right, so she suggested grayscale watercolour and it looks wonderful. Everyone else in the family loves it and so do we.
Could you do something similar but maybe combining different photos of each of you?

EnterFunnyNameHere Sun 01-Jan-17 13:50:35

Thank you, those are both really good ideas. I particularly like the idea of a portrait actually, and maybe even one of DM on her own.

I think part of my struggle with the whole thing is feeling like there's photos of DM with everyone but me if that makes sense. I'm not 100% on "mocking up" a portrait of the two of us together, but having a portrait of DM on her own is a very good compromise!

Certainly food for thought with both ideas, and in the 4 years since she passed neither had crossed my mind at all. I'm very grateful to both of you, thank you very much flowers

Hillbilly71 Sun 01-Jan-17 15:35:30


ICESTAR Mon 02-Jan-17 11:59:51

Also could you ask your brother and dad of you could get their photos of your mum and copy them so you have extra as well? X

PassTheSatsumas Mon 02-Jan-17 12:11:01

OP - I'm sorry for your loss.

Thinking about photos etc is something a lot of us do when we lose loved ones - my mum gave us all a portrait of our dad the year he passed as Xmas gifts.

I think if it has been four years though that perhaps you still have a lot of grief to work through? It's a process and does take time: if friends aren't there to listen could you speak to someone (Cruse? counselling?) or even post on here.

When I lost my father friends were good about it for the first few months/Year, and then spoke of it less ... could you also talk about your mum with remaining family, I'm sure they must have missed her at Christmas

EnterFunnyNameHere Mon 02-Jan-17 12:35:14

Hi ice and satsuma, thank you for replying.

Ice - I have asked family (DB, DF and aunt's) for any pics and got some back from some of them. The trouble is that they are mostly pics of DM and them and don't include me at all. There's no even really any of my family unit together, except for at DBs wedding. I must admit I struggle to fully enjoy those because it really brings home how DM wasn't at my own wedding, which I know is selfish but that's how I feel if I'm honest.

Satsuma - you might be right. I have thought about maybe counselling. I didn't get on with Cruse at the time but I don't think I was receptive when it was very fresh. My DF isn't interested in talking about it, having remarried since, neither is DB really (not in his nature). Both don't understand why I'm still upset to be honest! My aunt's would talk about her non stop, but it's done in a bit of a "it's even harder for us, she was our sister we knew her longer way" which grates on me (where were they when she was I'll then?).

My friend are getting to first baby age and I don't want to bring them down when they've got lots on their plate already.

I'm sure they would hate to think I feel like I can't talk to them, but it's almost like there's a timer on grief and you just are supposed to get on with it after a while. Is it only me who feels like that? I don't know...

PassTheSatsumas Mon 02-Jan-17 16:02:33

Hi OP - thanks for taking the time to write : I'm sorry to hear that it's tricky to talk to family. I think it's quite a usual coping mechanism for a lot of men to bury their feelings and not talk , but disappointing about your aunt sad

It's been 10 years since my dad passed and the first 2-3 years were hard for me (it was sudden and unexpected), but one of my sisters was very much 'get on with it and be strong for the family' - and she is the one that finds it hardest now: so grief has no timetable and I think people all manage in their different ways x

If you think you are more ready to talk, you might get a lot out of counselling now (I did)

Re friends- the ones I found it most useful to talk to were those that had lost someone as they understand, and were happy to listen even 5-6-7 years after the event (and some were kind enough to mention after the 10 years which was touching).

Good friends don't mind listening, and it doesn't 'bring someone down' as you're not personally involved: and it hasn't been weird to bring it up years later, grief is a journey for life and it's only natural for it to be on your mind some of the time.

Friendship is also a 2-way street and decent people understand that (so if you are listening to baby woes they can listen to you saying you feel sad cos you miss your mum!)

PassTheSatsumas Mon 02-Jan-17 16:07:59

On the photos - would a picture of one of the places you holidayed together be something you would like? I don't keep a lot of pics of my dad around (I also don't think I have ANY of just us two), but I do have a watercolour of a place that we went on the one holiday we had together - I picked it up when I went back years later and have it in my desk at work - as a reminder of all the support I had from my dad over the years: we can miss that but once you work through the grief you realise that all the precious things that you're loved one has given you stay inside you xx

EnterFunnyNameHere Mon 02-Jan-17 17:00:04

satsumas I think you're right about men not really wanting to talk about it. I suspect my aunt genuinely thinks she's helping and doesn't realise she's actually "one up-ing" me almost. It's just in her nature to have done/experienced everything just that little bit more than anyone else!

Maybe I should look harder into counselling now I'm a bit further forward in the process. I think I have some anger towards my DF, and a lesser extent my DB as well which maybe a counselor could help with.

My best friend, who I adore, has experienced a loss herself and absolutely "gets it". She was a great support at the time but since has had her two gorgeous children, moved house etc and all sorts of other stressful things as well which makes me feel guilty about using our precious catch ups for talking about DM. Although you're right that she wouldn't mind I'm sure!

I think you also have a point about things not just photos (you are clearly wise beyond your years). I think part of it - there are so many parts - is that since DM passed away I have done a few grown up milestones: bought a house, met and subsequently married DH. So I guess I feel a bit removed from my life when DM was here (I.e. I live in house she never got to see with DH she never got to meet). Maybe I need to make more space for momento's that bring the feeling of her closer?

Thank you so much for the thoughtful responses, it's very kind of you to be taking the time to help me think my way through some different things

EnterFunnyNameHere Mon 02-Jan-17 17:04:04

P.s. I'm very sorry for the loss of your DF by the way x flowers

PassTheSatsumas Mon 02-Jan-17 17:37:38

Not wise, just been there too unfortunately!
I understand about the milestones - it's hard, and I like your idea of a momento in your home.

Thanks for your kind reply and glad if what I said was of any help x

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