Bereavement Care & Share

How can I grieve properly?

Hello all, I hope you are all doing well!

I would like some advice. In 2012 my grandmother passed away after suffering from Alzheimer’s for around a year. I remember my dad phoning my mother and I knew before she even told me that my grandmother had passed. Although I was sad about it, I never broke down or struggled with her passing, I was calm and as horrible as it may sound, I was relieved, not because I wished her gone, but because I knew she didn’t have to suffer anymore and we didn’t have to see her fading away. I think I also expected it to happen too. It’s almost like seeing her go through her illness hurt more than her passing. It’ll be 6 years since her passing this year, I always go and put flowers down on her birthday and the anniversary of her passing where we had her ashes scattered, but I just cannot seem to cry, whilst I cry on a regular basis for my grandfather who died when I was 9 which was a good 15 years ago and my cat who died in 2012 too. Am I wrong for not crying over her passing? Are there any tips on how to grieve properly?

Thank you!

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hi ive had some grief in my time and each one is different somehow.i don't think proper grieving really exists you show love by taking flowers and remember her on important dates.shes in your thoughts and she will know you care.my son was 6 when he died n 2000 my mum passed in 09 I grieve more for my son because I spent all my life with my mum.i don't think we have to physically show emotion to grieve really as we no doubt will always be hurting.

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Thank you for your reply kenster1. That’s very true, I always thought grief meant that you had to cry for loved ones, but you’re right about the flowers 🙂 I’m so sorry to hear about your son and your mother, no one should have to lose a child and especially at such a young age 😞

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Hi Cs131193

Please don't worry so much about crying for your nan when my mum died my daughter didn't cry for 10 years till recently she was just so angry for such a long time I don't think she knew what she was feeling but she has expressed it recently...nobody grieves the same my friend although you feel bad because you haven't cried it didn't mean you didn't love her or care for her any less and your certainly not wrong

Big hugs Nat x

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Thank you for your reply Natzsteveo, you’re right, I think of her every day and always remember her as she was and I still feel the love I always have for her. Big hugs back to you my lovely 🙂 x

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Hi Cs131193,

There are no set rules on grief and how it affects us. However, with dementia, I think we all grieve whilst our loved ones are still with us. You see them change in so many ways and fade away, that when they do pass away, it is a relief not because they are gone, but because they are saved from any more indignities and pain. They are not frightened anymore. Dementia of any kind is the cruellest illness I think.

I know how it feels as my mum passed away two years ago this month from Lewy Body Dementia. It was horrific to see my beautiful mum become the tortured and frightened soul who could not recognise anyone. She thought I was her mum. It broke my heart at the time but when I went to see her on the morning of her passing, she looked like mum again and she looked peaceful.

I have wept for her, more than cried for her since, but most of my grieving was done when she was struggling and I felt helpless. I am just glad that she did not have to suffer anymore.

I have lost my dad and sister since then, but I sometimes feel guilty I do not grieve for my dad as much as I should, because all my emotions and grief are centred around my little sister who passed suddenly six weeks after my dad.

So do not feel guilty, we all grieve differently for each individual we lose.

Take care :)

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Thank you for your reply JOLLYDOLLY, sorry to hear about your mother, father and sister. You have my deepest condolences. You are right about dementia, it’s definitely the cruellest illness, I can’t imagine how awful it must be for the person suffering from it. It is awful to see them slowly slip away and to see the fright on their faces as it happens.

Thank you! You take care too 🙂 x

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Thank you Cs131193 for you kind words. I guess we all have to take one day at a time. Always here for a chat.

Take care and remember you are not alone

:) xx

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Sorry for all your losses, but there is no one way to grieve; each loss is felt as an individual thing, and there will be people whose loss is felt more intensely than others.

Please try not to worry. there is no 'right' way, everybody experiences grief in their own way, and don't listen to those who say that you should get over it; Queen Victoria never got over the loss of Prince Albert. Treat yourself gently and, in time it will ease.

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Midori, thank you for your reply, it’s strange how different each grieving process is. I think it’s getting to grips with each loss and handling it in different ways. I always thought I’d grieve the same for all who have passed on. I guess in time I will know that I have grieved in one way or another 🙂

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Grief is, as said below, something that doesn't have a fixed pattern.

I've heard many people say that they find it impossible to grieve when someone they loved died after a period of dementia because they have already done their grieving.

You certainly shouldn't feel guilty about a sense of relief that the suffering had ended. I grieved for a long time when my father died (relatively suddenly). I'm not sure that I really cried at all when my grandmother died after a decline into dementia - not sure that there were really any tears within the family - just relief that she was not suffering any more.

To be honest it sounds as if you have done your grieving. Hope that you manage to remember your gran as she was when she was alive when you visit her grave - that is really what the grieving process is about - being able to remember the person as they were when they were alive rather than being caught in the memories of their death.

I don't visit my father's grave but I do try and have some really nice cake - generally black-forest gateau which was his favourite - on his birthday ... and I always text my brother to tell him to eat cake. This year he selected a slice of stollen.

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Gambit62, thank you for your reply. That is such a lovely sentiment with the cake 🙂 I always try my hardest to remember the good memories I had with her growing up rather than wallowing in the sadness of seeing her in her last months/years. I think it certainly helps to have a tradition on the anniversary of their passing just to show that they’ve not been forgotten 🙂

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When my mother passed away nearly two years ago, I thought I'd got off lightly with very little grieving. But mine started six months after she died. That's when it hit me. So take care. As you think and talk about your grandmother, your feelings may change. Mine did when I thought of all we'd been through especially when caring for her for the last few years. So take good care and be patient with yourself.

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