Need some help or advice

Linden16
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Need some help or advice

Postby Linden16 » Tue Dec 05, 2017 6:29 pm

A lot of you know I have had a devastating 14 months. There is a lot of back story that preceeds this by a few years, but it all culminated in that year and a bit.

My mom died suddenly and unexpectedly in April last year, and had the two family members she was out do dinner with at the time understood the severity of her illness, they would have taken her to the hospital as soon as she got out of the car, and crawled into the restaurant, unable to walk. Even the hostess and waitress were alarmed at her appearance and suggested she go to the ER immediately. My family members ignored this and continued on with dinner. They dropped her and my father off at home, dad went to bed straight away, and mom stayed up for a few hours until she collapsed from a massive heart attack. My father didn't find her for 11 hours, when he woke up and walked into the kitchen. Mom had been awake the whole time, unable to speak or move. I got a call from my aunt who had seen them at church the day previous and she was concerned about mom's health so suggested I call home and make sure things were ok. This was 11 AM on a Monday.

I called and dad picked up, crying, saying the ambulances were there and working on mom and couldn't ge ther stable enough to transport to the hospital 5 minutes away. a second ambulance was called in and they finally got her on the way to the ER. I immediately went to their house, packed up some things that mom would have wanted around while in hospital, and Dad wanted to have a smoke before heading to the hospital. I drove him there, met my aunt who had alerted me to her deteriorating condition the previous morning. (Why hadn't she called the minute she was concerned about mom? why wait 24 hours? why did my other aunt allow the dinner to happen at all when mom literally could not walk or lift her head from the restaurant table?? Me and my two sisters plus another set of aunts and uncles (my mom's brothers) lived all within 10 minutes and would have dropped everything to get her to a hospital if they had known she was in such rough shape. (apparently her kidneys were failing)

Driving to dad's house to pick him up, I passed the ambulance carrying my mother. To this day I still break down in my car when an ambulance passes me head on, lights and sirens. I can't control it.

Mom was taken straight to the back and every doctor on that day was attending to her. We had no updates for 3 hours, and I asked 4 times to visit her or have my dad visit her just to hold her hand for a moment and tell her she was loved. They would not allow it. "It's too busy back here and we don't need more people running around" was what the nurses said. I was furious. 3 more hours passed, no updates. I demanded access to the back, they let me in to see the charge nurse, and I basically demanded I see my mother,. she pointed to my mom's bed, and said they were waiting on labs, she was awake, coherent but could not talk. I said well then can I go see her for 1 minute? I could literally see her legs and feet from where I was standing. The nurse refused.

about an hour later, her ER doctor summoned us into "the room" and told us she had had a massive MI caused by acute kidney failure, and they were trying to stabilize her so they could transport her to the hospital 1.5 hrs away that had an actual cardiology unit. They had bumped another critical patient because my mother was so bad off. Still they refused to let us see her before she left.

I drove, alone (dad and sisters said they would visit tomorrow, and in fact sisters never even came to the hospital at ALL) to the hospital she was being transported to, and waited for 4 hours, alone, to be there when she arrived. I got a phone call from my sister, saying she never made it to the hospital, she died in the ambulance.

19 hours my mom was dying, but awake, and never saw a single family member. she died alone in the ambulance.

The next day I went back to the ER and spent a good 40 minutes talking to her ER doctor about how many mistakes were made, how he KNEW she was dying, and yet decided to transfer her anyways. About how her family, her husband of 42 years was 20 feet away and for 6 hours was not allowed one minute to say goodbye. He was in tears and said he will see my mothers face every time he gets a case like this, and promised me he would make it a priority to find even a minute for loved ones to say goodbye.


I didn't see my father again since my mother's funeral, I was so mad at him and the circumstances of mom's death that I just wasn't ready to forgive him (she was his caretaker and he was extremely difficult and distant from her. Mom was terribly lonely in their house and tried so hard to help dad). I am the youngest of us 3 sisters, and my whole life my father and I were so very close, we were the ideal father daughter relationship. he gave me my love of horses and I adored him.

8 months later, the day after what would have been my parent's 43rd anniversary, I got a call from the same sister, that Dad had been found dead in his garage, probably from a massive brain aneurysm. The guilt I felt and still feel over shunning him after mom died is immeasurable. I cannot even comprehend it to be honest.

Three days later, by mom's closest brother, and an uncle who I was so close to, he was like a father to me my whole life, and the father of my best friend (cousin) also died. He was diagnosed with cancer on a friday and died 3 days later. I adored this uncle, and his larger than life personality is something I thought would never be distinguished. I hadn't seen him in a year either, since I fled the town where my parents and sisters lived, it was just a reminder of everything I had lost.

So, now, I thought I would be able to heal if I could make something good come of this tragedy, and I bought these horses. Most of the time I do feel happy when I am around them, but lately they are a reminder of what I lost in order to get them. I am not sure how to get past this. Some days I can't even look at them, and cry all the way to the barn, or don't go at all.

I am seeing a therapist but it's not helping. I just need some perspective from people who have been involved in my horse life my whole life.

My sisters and I don't talk much any more, my friends have stopped calling and inviting me out because they feel awkward and don't know what to say around me. I don't blame them for that. At this age... not having gone through this themselves, it is understandable.

Any wisdom would really help.

piedmontfields
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Re: Need some help or advice

Postby piedmontfields » Tue Dec 05, 2017 6:40 pm

I think in part because horses are themselves emotional creatures (who freely let emotion flow through them), they can actually intensify the emotions we are experiencing in utterly unrelated parts of our lives. That can be wonderful, but also very intense. I also think horses tend to notice when we interact with them heavy in "pain body" mode---and they find it troubling.

It is not a trivial matter to heal from deep family wounds, but it is worth doing IME. If this therapist isn't getting you on the road to healing, find one that does.

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Re: Need some help or advice

Postby Koolkat » Tue Dec 05, 2017 7:11 pm

Linden - I know nothing about your relationship with your parents, but regardless of how complicated (or not!) it was, I am positive they want you to be happy and have a good life. Your horses are a part of that. . .

Life is not simple (my mother married my father for all the wrong reasons ($$$$), we went without when we were children so she could buy an obscene amount of very high end designer clothes, things, etc. Ultimately she tried to kill my ailing father (Parkinson's), by starving him to death, luckily a neighbor called my sister in another town and she found him and we moved him to a good nursing home). It was a long walk to the well of forgiveness for me relative to this, but I've taken it. Many times - forgiveness is not a "do it once and your done" thing, it goes on forever. It is the only way to free yourself from the objects of your bitterness, regret, etc. You have to learn to forgive yourself also, and live the lesson(s) that these experiences teach. Live them well, and thank and rejoice in your parents every time you have the opportunity to act out the wisdom they have taught you.

If you can reestablish your relationship with your sisters (things take time!), it might be very healing. . . .

A very different story than yours, but perhaps there is something in there for you. All things good, KK

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Re: Need some help or advice

Postby amygdala » Tue Dec 05, 2017 7:38 pm

linden, i don't know if this is true for you, but for me, the holidays are my worst time of year. they are filled with 'aniversaries' of awful family stuff i don't consciously remember --but subconsciously i sure do!

this week it took me 3 days to get out to the barn to groom

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Re: Need some help or advice

Postby PaulaO » Tue Dec 05, 2017 8:53 pm

Nothing hurts like family. Linden, you've been through hell. I'm glad you are seeing a therapist. Have you also thought about taking anti-depressants? Anti-depressants really helped me through the Triple Crown of Death.

Don't associate your horses with your trauma. Don't think "if it wasn't for what happened, I wouldn't have them."

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Re: Need some help or advice

Postby Hayburner » Tue Dec 05, 2017 9:10 pm

I don't know all the background but from what I have read above, imho you are still very much grieving the lose of your mother and unwarranted guilt for not having a few minutes with her before she passed. You cannot change this, so you must find it in your heart and mind to accept this tragedy. As for shutting out your father, at the time you had your reasons and now you are regretting that, again you have to let it go. You must move on.

Neither of your parents would want you to feel this heavy burden. Your horses cannot be a sore spot for you, they are here to heal you.

When I went thru my divorce, my horse time may have played a part in the demise of my marriage, but I looked at it as thank god I had my horse, he was all that brought me sanity when I was sooo sad. My DH was a cheater he would have cheated whether I had a horse or not. Your horses are not a part of your life to bring you guilt they are here to heal you. Let them guide you. As you said your dad gave you the gift of loving horses, cherish and embrace that gift.

I'd find a new therapist, one that understands grief and how to deal with trigger moments.

Hugs

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Re: Need some help or advice

Postby Tsavo » Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:21 pm

I have a close family member who has depression/anxiety/other issues. I think you have to do whatever you can to decrease your suffering as soon as possible. You have to understand that you don't have to suffer.

I AM A LAY PERSON. That said...

I think you are in an emergency situation. I think you have WAY too much on your plate. I think few people could handle all that and function close to normal. I think you should consider asking about more therapy, different therapy, meds, etc. My family member benefited from out-patient partial hospitalization which is really 4 hours a day of therapy.

Mental health is no different than physical health. It is a medical situation that should not be ignored.

That's my lay opinion.
Last edited by Tsavo on Wed Dec 06, 2017 3:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

Linden16
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Re: Need some help or advice

Postby Linden16 » Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:26 pm

I theoretically understand what you guys have said here, and I *know* what I should be doing, feeling etc. but damn it isn't that easy to actually do. I don't blame the horses for being there when my parents aren't, but I know that I would never have had the opportunity to change my life so drastically to what has always been my "dream" if it weren't for the losses. It's just a feeling like I got them out of blood money. Not that it was anyone's fault really that the parents passed away, but it's all intertwined in this web of guilt and dissonance and conflict. I havent even been to the barn in over a week because I literally could not emotionally handle the thought of seeing them.

And yes, the holidays are horrifying now. I am lucky I have no children, because then I would have to fake being cheerful and festive for their sakes.

I just want to be happy to ride. I want them to bring me joy like the horses have always done in the past...but I don't feel it right now. and my horses are so incredibly sweet and loving (and beautiful!) that I feel terrible for their sake, for feeling this way.

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Re: Need some help or advice

Postby Sue B » Tue Dec 05, 2017 11:16 pm

Can you find a way to reconnect to your loved ones spiritually? My father died when I was in my early 20's, I am in my late 50's now, but we still talk when I need him. Because I am the youngest of 4 kids and married to an older man, I am the one who has had the honor and privilege and burden to sit with those who are sick and dying. I am also a practicing veterinarian and "have to" share in the loss of each beloved pet and quite a few clients, their kids etc. It can be, at times, very trying, but I believe in the Holy Trinity, that we and all sentient beings have souls/spirits and that one day I will join them. Meanwhile, I cling tightly to the belief that our loved ones do not wish us to suffer and mourn their passing, and that will provide us comfort if we take time to listen.

As you cry on the way to the barn, forget about riding; just get a horse out and groom it. Sometimes that act will lead to saddling and riding, sometimes it will lead to weeping while sitting on a hay bale, or with your face buried in one of the horse's neck. It's okay, it's healing. Right now, today, you own these beautiful animals because your parents and uncle wanted them for you. Soak that in and over time, the holidays will get a little easier. Live and love for the future--it really is worth it.

(I write this having just helped my sister bury her youngest son, who at age 30, made a tragic mistake and paid for it with his life. He was in the process of getting his Master's in Psychology so he could help people like you who are suffering from pain and misplaced guilt and anger.)

(((((HUGS))))

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Re: Need some help or advice

Postby Rockabilly » Wed Dec 06, 2017 12:24 am

Reading each person's sorrow here reminds us we are not alone. That is a comfort. What I have discovered and I have lived a while here on earth is that time is a healer. You can think about your situation everyday, have it affect your relationships. go through hell, but time marches on and time takes into consideration healing and that happens too. Of course none of our situations are the same, but we understand abandonment. grief and pain. I won't go into my whole story, but all my life I felt unloved and not cherished by my mother. She never kissed me. She never told me she loved me and she did not defend me against a abusive step-father. She never told me who my biological father is. I found my birth certificate when I was 12 years old and I saw his name. Every time I asked her about him she would get mad or hysterical and never tell me anything. I spent many years of my life searching for my father, but without the internet that was impossible. With the help of Ancestry.com four years ago I did find him. I found his children. He had already passed away. One of the older children remembered my mother very well. She told me my parents were never married. She said when my mother discovered she was pregnant with me "one day she was here and the next day she was gone." I can only imagine the shame and scandal of returning to her parents house unmarried and pregnant in the late '40's. It explains to me why my grandmother never liked me. I also discovered my father and his parents were 100% Cherokee Indian which makes me 1/2 Cherokee Indian. My mother would turn over in her grave if she knew everything I now know, but the best thing is that 3 of my father's daughters have taken me into their hearts and we are making sister relationships. One of the sisters and I e-mail each other everyday. It's still hard for me to take it all in.

My other heart breaker was my horse, Rockabilly. I am still living it and I don't think I will ever recover. At the time Billy passed away his vet said to me he thought that this was Billy's last gift to me that Billy passed quietly away at home. At the time I couldn't see it, but I am seeing it now. What a horse, what a warrior that he passed away at home, age 33, an old man, I guess, but neither founder or Cushing's or arthritis took him from me. He was a true champion.

When we share our pain, grief and losses in life it makes us just a little more human. We can look at each other's heartache and say yes, I understand. It's empathy when we can say, yes, I understand and if you want to talk about it I am listening.

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Re: Need some help or advice

Postby Linden16 » Wed Dec 06, 2017 4:05 am

I do feel like I am less alone when I talk to you guys here and hear about each other’s personal tragedies in what little detail we can each share. In my “real” social life, none of my friends or family (besides my sisters and the one set of cousins who were my uncle’s kids) have ever gone through anything as deeply painful as myself. Even with my cousins, they still have their mother, and a grandmother and grandfather on their mother’s side. (She is an “in law” but actually a 3rd cousin of my mom’s family, she married my moms brother) anyways, long story short, my sisters and I have no parents or grandparents, at all. It’s just us. The man who would have walked me down the aisle (my uncle) is gone, and none of my other 6 uncles/aunts left in my very large Herman catholic family would be right for the job. My mother’s family was very judgemental and traditional in its beliefs, is wealthy and at times elitist. My mother was the first of the children in her family to die.

Being raised Catholic, I never believed in it and just went through the motions to appease the family. My sisters are somewhat similar. I do not believe in God or a Plan or the afterlife. That doesn’t bring me comfort. It just makes things worse. These deaths were not the only traumatic things in my life. My parents were very complicated, medically exhausting for the past 10 years and I dealt with it all as my sisters had families and kids to look after.

I don’t really know what I am asking, or looking for. Maybe just little things I can do each day that can bring me back to a sense of normalcy. I haven’t felt normal in 2 years and I used to be such a happy, passionate person. I want to enjoy the gifts I have inherited and to not waste what I’ve chosen to use them for. I want to appreciate the horses for what they are. This was my dream, what I worked so hard as a working student towards. Now it’s here, I a little bit am afraid of wasting it. And then I feel like someone else should deserve my horses more than me.

Life is so difficult. Money doesn’t make people happy. This is an example for all you people who may be reading this and think “if only I had a million bucks to spend on horses and everything I need for them, I’d be happy for the rest of my life”. Think again. Happiness isn’t accidental.

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Re: Need some help or advice

Postby Moutaineer » Wed Dec 06, 2017 4:34 am

I think many, if not most of us, feel some guilt, rational or not, about our parents' last days or hours. We can never "do enough" to make the end seem good, I'm afraid.

My father died that April, too. The circumstances were difficult. It wasn't the end of life I would have wished for him. I wasn't there. It feels like unfinished business.

(My mother had died young, and badly, when I was in my 20's, and yes, I found then who my true friends were. But it taught me how to respect someone else's grief, which is a truly important lesson to learn.)

You need to try a different therapist, but also, you need to accept that your grief and (whether rational or not, its real) guilt isn't all going to just go away through the magic of therapy--it's "help" not "a solution." It's early days yet. One foot in front of the other, being kind to yourself, taking your time and allowing yourself to grieve, however you do that.

Eventually, you do start to remember and celebrate the good things.

I know it sounds a bit trite, but is there someone deserving, or some cause that you or they felt passionate about, that you could give something to (I'd suggest time and of yourself, rather than money) in their honor?

A gentle hug to you from the mountains, Linden. You have friends.

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Re: Need some help or advice

Postby Hayburner » Wed Dec 06, 2017 2:46 pm

Linden - When my marriage was unraveling, and DH put blame on my heart horse, I honestly thought of selling him. I even posted on the old UDBB my problems and many people said to sell the horse. I was so frightened and torn, I wanted to save my marriage, I wanted to live my dream with my DH, I was losing everything, my home, my friends, and my financial security. This tormented time lasted a good 5 years until we finally separated. In the end I did not sell my horse, I knew deep down my DH would never change, its who he was. There were days I did not want to go to the barn, I was so sad and some days I couldn't' even brush my horse, I'd sit in my car and just cry. I was taking the blame for something that I couldn't change and I really didn't cause. When I realized that, I felt relief.
It's been 7 years since we separated - I've never been happier! It took time to feel that happiness, but it came.

Remember the saying - when one door closes another one opens.

Maybe consider some inspirational method to be reminded daily that life is good, you are good, you can be happy, you deserve happiness, you can put your loss/grief away it's ok to let go. It will still take time, but positive thoughts are a path to finding your hearts freedom.

Consider where you would be if you didn't buy your horses, in your current state, would you be sitting in a bar? sitting at home in deeper depression and loss? Without my horse, I would have been sitting in a bar and making poor decisions. I feel blessed that I have somewhere to go everyday, I have a purpose, someone (horses) needs me, someone is waiting for me.

Hugs

Stay here and keep posting, even talking to us cyber friends is letting it out - we all will support you !

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Re: Need some help or advice

Postby Racetrackreject » Wed Dec 06, 2017 7:25 pm

My father died in an eerily similar set of circumstances to your mother's passing. I, too, was not able to visit him before he passed and had I seen him in the days before, I would have had him at the hospital based on photographs I saw of him from a few days before his heart attack.

There was quite a long time before I felt like going anywhere or doing anything. Horses, dogs, people, everything was just too much. I cried every day for months. My live-in boyfriend at the time broke up with me because I was such a wreck. No, he didn't know that I was crying every day, no one did, but he knew that I was off, and when I tried to explain it was because of my dad's death, he proceeded to tell me that I was doing just fine dealing with it. :roll:

You just have to find your joy again. Once you do that, the resentment will go away, imo. What would bring you joy or would have brought your family joy? It's the holiday season. Would helping others bring you joy? Would selling one of the horses and donating the money bring you joy? Would offering the ride on one of the horses to a struggling but talented rider bring you joy?

My father always said that found (unexpected) money should be spent frivolously and at will. I try to remember this anytime I buy something for myself that I feel silly spending "found" money on, and it brings me joy. I also give away found money, particularly around Christmas time, because that brings me joy as well. I volunteer at the animal shelter and with my friend's youth events because that gives me joy. Find your joy and it will bring you back.

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Re: Need some help or advice

Postby StraightForward » Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:55 pm

My mom died of a rare disease in her 40's, and if anything, it underlines the fact that we need to do the things we love while we have the time, because there are no guarantees. That sense of time is even more acute for me now that I've just turned 40. She didn't leave me anything beyond a mountain bike and a small box of trinkets, so I don't have that direct tie from her death financing anything for me. She was someone who sailed a homemade boat with my dad to Hawaii while pregnant with me, joined the fire department when it was even more male-dominated, and built a rowboat and rowed it from Washington to Alaska just for the challenge. I wasn't born with her sense of adventure, but I know she would be disappointed if I didn't do the things that challenge me and make me happy, and would have left me money to help with that if she'd had the choice. I do wonder if things were still just too raw and fresh when you purchased your horses? As magnificent as they are, I can see how it would underscore where they came from in a really difficult way. Perhaps that will go away in time; perhaps you'll decide that you want a more humble mount that doesn't hold the same reminder of your inheritance? I hope you can find some peace.
The UDBB member known as AQHA Hunter

PaulaO
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Re: Need some help or advice

Postby PaulaO » Thu Dec 07, 2017 3:40 pm

I hate to sound trite, but it is true that time is a great healer. I was in therapy before my world crumbled and I was able to pull out useful tools. A lot of it is truly changing the way you think. I like the poster who said to think of your horses as gifts from your parents and uncle. They would want you to be happy.

I know the pain of not seeing your mom. The last thing I said to my dad was "it's not cancer." But it was, and that haunted me for years. We need to learn to forgive ourselves.

Grief comes in waves. You said there were times when your horses made you happy, and times when they bring you sadness. That is the wave of grief. Ride it out (no pun intended). If you feel like it, go to the barn and hang around. That's it, hang with your barn people. You don't have to groom or ride. It took me 4 months to even look at a horse after Bob transitioned. Good Friday I drove to a barn that I know did pasture turnout, parked on the side of the road, and looked at the horses. Easter Sunday I went to the local riding center and petted horses and sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. Grief sucks.

And you know what? It's also o.k. not to believe in God or a larger plan. I wasn't raised Catholic but all my friends were and Catholic guilt is a huge burden. Shedding guilt truly is lifting weight from your shoulders.

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Re: Need some help or advice

Postby Linden16 » Fri Dec 08, 2017 3:11 am

Just want you guys to know that I’m reading your advice. I’m listening. I just can’t reply yet. This is so hard.

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Re: Need some help or advice

Postby silk » Fri Dec 08, 2017 8:34 am

My stuff this year is far, far more trivial, less significant, but each and every hurdle, even though it has not felt good at the time, has led to something better. Every time I've thought my world was crashing down, just around the corner was something better and bigger and brighter. Some of the best opportunities for growth have come out of some of the worst heartbreak.

I like the advice above to find your joy. Even if only for a few moments. If you can recognise it and find it, you can find it again. You don't have to do it for hours, just a few moments. Then breathe, then repeat.

Hugs

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Re: Need some help or advice

Postby kande50 » Fri Dec 08, 2017 4:31 pm

silk wrote:My stuff this year is far, far more trivial, less significant, but each and every hurdle, even though it has not felt good at the time, has led to something better.


Admittedly, nothing terrible has ever happened to me so I can't really empathize, but when life starts serving up lemons I do try very hard to embrace what is happening, because I know it's necessary to experience misery to reset the brain so that it can perceive joy again.

So now, instead of trying to figure out what I can do to avoid the bad days, I think of them as a necessity, and something I just have to get through so that I can feel good again.

I admit that it sucks, on any level, but once I stopped trying to avoid it everything became much easier, because by then I'd been through it enough times that I had confidence that the longer it went on the better I was going to feel when it finally lifted, and more importantly, that it was going to lift.

What I think is unfair is that the crap days pass so slowly while the joyous ones seem to just fly by, but I guess that's just the nature of crap vs joy.

So all I can offer for advice is to find ways to live through it, because things will improve.

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Re: Need some help or advice

Postby calvin » Fri Dec 08, 2017 10:12 pm

Dear Linden,

You have been through so many traumatic events. Your feelings are honest and well-founded. As you realize, they are not helping you feel better about the situation in which you now find yourself. You are asking deep questions as to what it means to be human, where you fit in the world, what your purpose in life is. As I read your lengthy note, you have feelings of hurt, frustration, anger, guilt, uncertainty, and just plain sadness arising from the events you have narrated. I also recall that you went through a lengthy and horrid period of pain, particularly back pain.

One thing to consider is whether seeking out a psychologist with experience in trauma therapy might be helpful.

Are you a reader? If so, a few books which I found helpful in providing thoughts on how to deal with traumatic events are Laurence Gonzales "Surviving Survival" and Mo Gawdat "Solve for Happy". The second book is written by a dad who lost his beloved young adult son - because of an event of medical negligence. How does a parent ever move forward from that? It is an interesting, insightful book which might speak to you.

Religion - well, you have a lot of company in asking questions. "A Little History of Religion" by Richard Holloway might give you an interesting perspective on why a healthy skepticism is warranted. But he also wrote another book of more direct relevance, the subject of which is "forgiveness".

Peace comes when you forgive those who have intentionally or otherwise hurt you. Peace also requires that you accept yourself and love yourself as you are, imperfections and all. We humans are inherently full of contradictions, imperfections, and "faults". We are also trying to be better people - so the Holloway book "On Forgiveness" might be of use.

On the same theme, Dr. Viktor Frankl, an Auschwitz survivor who became many things including a psychiatrist, wrote a book called "Man's Search for Meaning". It's probably too difficult a read at this time. The point is that we can take control of how we react to the circumstances we face. We may not be able to control the circumstances themselves, however.

As one poster responded, be open to thinking that your parents want you to be happy. They want you to pursue your passion, and your parents and particularly your dad may still be present in your life, if you have an open mind and consider that life in our earthly form may not be the only life we have. That sounds pretty mystical as I write it! All I suggest is that you keep your mind open. I for one do not think love dies with the death of the physical body.

Be kind to yourself. This is a particularly difficult time of year, as pointed out above.

You are not alone. Life is far too short to be filled with regrets. We all need "purpose", and we all need to keep moving forward with positive energy. I hope the support on this Board reinforces that you can overcome the present very, very challenging situation in which you find yourself.

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Re: Need some help or advice

Postby Ryeissa » Sat Dec 09, 2017 1:30 am

I'm sorry for your losses, Linden. I don't have any words, really. I always say that you feel what you feel, but don't let it become your story. There is wisdom in feelings. we can't just change them instantly.

You guys know I lost my horse 5 yrs ago this time of year, and it put into motion a lot of spritual growth and transformation, also my new horse came a month later who has been a joy for 5 yrs. I had a lot of trauma from the death, but no guilt. It's different for all of us, so what ever you need to do we support that.

There is nothing wrong with taking a month of riding to work on yourself. Dressage is hard to do when you are not fully present and engaged. It will wait for you.

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Re: Need some help or advice

Postby Anne » Sat Dec 09, 2017 6:10 am

Dear Linden,
I just want to add my words of support for you through your difficult times. I don't have any advice, but please know that I value you through your contributions to this bulletin board, and the old UDBB. You have such a super eye, and I always appreciate your concise, pithy, accurate comments.
Kia kaha ("stay strong").

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Re: Need some help or advice

Postby Angfreda » Sat Dec 09, 2017 3:01 pm

Linden, I was so blessed in the last 18 months of my fathers life to be able to do things for him, advocate for him and spend time with him.
But please note the word blessed. I was lucky. It could have as easily been that there was nothing I could do.
Sometimes we are blessed and allowed to feel like we make a difference and sometimes things are absolutely and completely out of our hands.

Since I moved into this house, it seems, there's been nothing but loss. Sometimes I really hate this house because of that. My dad got sick 7 months after I moved here, my cat died a month after we got here... then my Beagle... my grandmother and my dad died in the same week, then my horse... then my second horse, and in that debacle the loss of my farm family where I was a very happy hardworking WS [work that I love and that feeds my soul]..... now the Labbie's not well.
But those things would have happened whether I was in this house or not, and I try not to focus on the coincidence knowing, truly, that they [those losses and this house] are not related.

The situations with your mom and dad, I'm sure you would have done something had you known. But you didn't know. That is not your fault. It might not be anyones' fault. It might just be. As for her knowing you were there, that any family was there. I am not religious, but I am spiritual and maybe she did know without you knowing she knew. Maybe there's a level of awareness that doesn't require or rely on actual physical presence for our presence to be felt?

Some things we can't control and letting go of the idea that we can is very challenging, to me at least. In the last 2 years of losing Yo and then Melly... and struggling to manage the diabetic cat, and the 16 year old Lab, I am coming to grips [not very gracefully] with the idea, the understanding that we can mean well, and we can know as much as we can know... and it still won't change a damned thing sometimes.
It can be incredibly frustrating to learn we are sometimes powerless. But I am trying very hard to understand that realizing I am powerless can also be salve for a heart that is very easily wounded when I am not able to save one that I love.
I tell myself that I can mourn being powerless and rail against it... or I can resign myself to the inevitability that it is so, and that it is in many ways freeing to think of it as an opportunity to do my best, be my best [that which I can control and which really says something about me and who I am]and then let go of the outcome knowing that the outcome is well and truly out of my hands and unrelated to doing my best/knowing enough.

{Bah, I'm not able for some reason to say this well, sorry. Will try to unscramble it as the confusion clears up...}

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Re: Need some help or advice

Postby piedmontfields » Thu Dec 14, 2017 9:20 pm

Thinking of you, LInden, and hoping you had some peaceful time today.

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Re: Need some help or advice

Postby Saddlebum » Sat Dec 16, 2017 11:56 pm

Oh family, how they can hurt...

Starters, I saw a therapist 3x a week for 3 years. Quit, moved away, a year later, realized I still - very much - needed therapy bc of the abuse I received as a child into adulthood.

New therapist did in 3 months what the other one couldn't do. She asked me basic but profound questions I found hard to answer. Sometimes, I needed 2 or more weeks to absorb the new perspective she had me seeing before seeing her again.

Mother, Dad and I had a disagreement and I never saw or talked to any family for 10 years. I put the ball in their court to make the contact and do to pride, they did not. Except for my Dad, I found I was happy, that I did not miss any of them. Felt good not to worry, stress out about holidays, birthdays etc.

Mother got sick and could not be diagnosised and I thought how would I feel if she were to die without having made contact. I regretted making the call for about 2 years. Dad died, 10 years later, mom died. Siblings have hurt me enough for me to know I'll be happier not seeing or having any contact with them.

They are not people I would hang with or be associated with socially. I seek out people with character, deep thinkers, ppl who have a love of animals, nature, empaths and are spiritual seekers.

Linden, seek out a therapist who has a profound effect on you since your current one does not.

I like myself, the choices I have made and keeping myself disconnected in every way from my siblings, I have realized, is a very healthy thing I do for me.

Sending you jingles!

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Re: Need some help or advice

Postby KathyK » Sun Dec 17, 2017 4:06 pm

Linden, I am so very sorry that you have been through such a devastating series of heartaches.
linden16 wrote:I am seeing a therapist but it's not helping. I just need some perspective from people who have been involved in my horse life my whole life.

If therapy isn't helping, it may be you need a different therapist, one who specializes in grief. If the therapist you're currently seeing does specialize in grief, try to find another. Therapy absolutely should help you through all this pain.

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Re: Need some help or advice

Postby Tsavo » Sun Dec 17, 2017 4:22 pm

Linden you don't need to suffer so much. You can try meds or another therapist as others mentioned.

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Re: Need some help or advice

Postby Angfreda » Sun Dec 17, 2017 4:58 pm

Saddlebum wrote:Oh family, how they can hurt...

Starters, I saw a therapist 3x a week for 3 years. Quit, moved away, a year later, realized I still - very much - needed therapy bc of the abuse I received as a child into adulthood.

New therapist did in 3 months what the other one couldn't do. She asked me basic but profound questions I found hard to answer. Sometimes, I needed 2 or more weeks to absorb the new perspective she had me seeing before seeing her again.

Mother, Dad and I had a disagreement and I never saw or talked to any family for 10 years. I put the ball in their court to make the contact and do to pride, they did not. Except for my Dad, I found I was happy, that I did not miss any of them. Felt good not to worry, stress out about holidays, birthdays etc.

Mother got sick and could not be diagnosised and I thought how would I feel if she were to die without having made contact. I regretted making the call for about 2 years. Dad died, 10 years later, mom died. Siblings have hurt me enough for me to know I'll be happier not seeing or having any contact with them.

They are not people I would hang with or be associated with socially. I seek out people with character, deep thinkers, ppl who have a love of animals, nature, empaths and are spiritual seekers.

Linden, seek out a therapist who has a profound effect on you since your current one does not.

I like myself, the choices I have made and keeping myself disconnected in every way from my siblings, I have realized, is a very healthy thing I do for me.

Sending you jingles!


I bolded two of your points that really are meaningful to me, thanks for sharing them.

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Re: Need some help or advice

Postby orono » Sun Dec 17, 2017 5:25 pm

I suspect they ring true for many. :(

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Re: Need some help or advice

Postby Xanthoria » Wed Dec 20, 2017 5:17 pm

KathyK wrote:Linden, I am so very sorry that you have been through such a devastating series of heartaches.
linden16 wrote:I am seeing a therapist but it's not helping. I just need some perspective from people who have been involved in my horse life my whole life.

If therapy isn't helping, it may be you need a different therapist, one who specializes in grief. If the therapist you're currently seeing does specialize in grief, try to find another. Therapy absolutely should help you through all this pain.


100% agree with this: get a new therapist. And be kind to yourself Linden! You've been dealt a crushing series of blows - it will take time to recover. But you will, bit by bit, I promise.

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Re: Need some help or advice

Postby Linden16 » Wed Dec 20, 2017 7:31 pm

Just wanted to know thatI’m listening and reading everyones advice. I’m processing it all and tiptoeing through.

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Re: Need some help or advice

Postby Ryeissa » Fri Dec 22, 2017 9:18 pm

how are you doing now Linden? the holidays can be really hard....

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Re: Need some help or advice

Postby Linden16 » Sat Dec 23, 2017 6:58 am

Ryeissa wrote:how are you doing now Linden? the holidays can be really hard....


To be honest not very well for about a month now. I’m hoping I will get myself back together after the holidays are over. Treading water gets exhausting after a while.

Thanks for asking, though. It’s helpful to even have some one care enough to ask and understand.

(P.S.
I’m always open to PM’s if there’s something anyone wants to ask or talk about privately. I know my situation is not unique and there are probably many people on here that are battling their own dragons and I’m happy to “buddy system” it if anyone needs.)

I sincerely hope everyone here is having a peaceful, wonderful holiday season with their family and friends. Every single moment is an opportunity to be with those you love. If I’ve learned anything so far, it’s that there aren’t enough, there will NEVER be enough, of those moments, so treat them kindly.

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Re: Need some help or advice

Postby Linden16 » Sat Dec 23, 2017 7:05 am

Xanthoria wrote:
KathyK wrote:Linden, I am so very sorry that you have been through such a devastating series of heartaches.
linden16 wrote:I am seeing a therapist but it's not helping. I just need some perspective from people who have been involved in my horse life my whole life.

If therapy isn't helping, it may be you need a different therapist, one who specializes in grief. If the therapist you're currently seeing does specialize in grief, try to find another. Therapy absolutely should help you through all this pain.


100% agree with this: get a new therapist. And be kind to yourself Linden! You've been dealt a crushing series of blows - it will take time to recover. But you will, bit by bit, I promise.


When does that start happening...is there a statute of limitations on this process? The light at the end of the tunnel has to appear at some point, right? What’s the saying? “All bleeding must stop” ?

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Re: Need some help or advice

Postby Linden16 » Sat Dec 23, 2017 7:12 am

Koolkat wrote:Linden - I know nothing about your relationship with your parents, but regardless of how complicated (or not!) it was, I am positive they want you to be happy and have a good life. Your horses are a part of that. . .

Life is not simple (my mother married my father for all the wrong reasons ($$$$), we went without when we were children so she could buy an obscene amount of very high end designer clothes, things, etc. Ultimately she tried to kill my ailing father (Parkinson's), by starving him to death, luckily a neighbor called my sister in another town and she found him and we moved him to a good nursing home). It was a long walk to the well of forgiveness for me relative to this, but I've taken it. Many times - forgiveness is not a "do it once and your done" thing, it goes on forever. It is the only way to free yourself from the objects of your bitterness, regret, etc. You have to learn to forgive yourself also, and live the lesson(s) that these experiences teach. Live them well, and thank and rejoice in your parents every time you have the opportunity to act out the wisdom they have taught you.

If you can reestablish your relationship with your sisters (things take time!), it might be very healing. . . .

A very different story than yours, but perhaps there is something in there for you. All things good, KK
That is so heartbreaking about your parents and siblings KK. You definitely made me feel encouraged that one day I will feel at peace with everything, no matter which path gets me there.

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Re: Need some help or advice

Postby Linden16 » Sat Dec 23, 2017 7:14 am

piedmontfields wrote:Thinking of you, LInden, and hoping you had some peaceful time today.


Thank you :) peace would be a beautiful feeling.

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Re: Need some help or advice

Postby Linden16 » Sat Dec 23, 2017 7:22 am

piedmontfields wrote:I think in part because horses are themselves emotional creatures (who freely let emotion flow through them), they can actually intensify the emotions we are experiencing in utterly unrelated parts of our lives. That can be wonderful, but also very intense. I also think horses tend to notice when we interact with them heavy in "pain body" mode---and they find it troubling.

It is not a trivial matter to heal from deep family wounds, but it is worth doing IME. If this therapist isn't getting you on the road to healing, find one that does.


So true. Horses are surely mirrors of their “person”. Maybe that is part of the reason why I physically cannot make my body get in the car and drive to see them at the moment. I know that if I go to the barn right now I would definitely (negatively) effect their moods, and it would be unfair to them to have all that negative energy engulfing them.

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Re: Need some help or advice

Postby Linden16 » Sat Dec 23, 2017 7:47 am

amygdala wrote:linden, i don't know if this is true for you, but for me, the holidays are my worst time of year. they are filled with 'aniversaries' of awful family stuff i don't consciously remember --but subconsciously i sure do!

this week it took me 3 days to get out to the barn to groom


Nail, meet hammer. So sorry you “get it”...since it’s a club nobody ever wants to join. You (plural) can’t really get it until you actually experience it. Sympathy is very comforting but empathy digs even deeper and helps the healing process in a different way.

3 days isn’t so bad, so don’t beat yourself up for it. I haven’t even driven to the barn for 4 weeks now. It’s so devastating to not find comfort in the things that (were supposed to) bring you joy.

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Re: Need some help or advice

Postby Linden16 » Sat Dec 23, 2017 7:57 am

Angfreda wrote:Linden, I was so blessed in the last 18 months of my fathers life to be able to do things for him, advocate for him and spend time with him.
But please note the word blessed. I was lucky. It could have as easily been that there was nothing I could do.
Sometimes we are blessed and allowed to feel like we make a difference and sometimes things are absolutely and completely out of our hands.

Since I moved into this house, it seems, there's been nothing but loss. Sometimes I really hate this house because of that. My dad got sick 7 months after I moved here, my cat died a month after we got here... then my Beagle... my grandmother and my dad died in the same week, then my horse... then my second horse, and in that debacle the loss of my farm family where I was a very happy hardworking WS [work that I love and that feeds my soul]..... now the Labbie's not well.
But those things would have happened whether I was in this house or not, and I try not to focus on the coincidence knowing, truly, that they [those losses and this house] are not related.

The situations with your mom and dad, I'm sure you would have done something had you known. But you didn't know. That is not your fault. It might not be anyones' fault. It might just be. As for her knowing you were there, that any family was there. I am not religious, but I am spiritual and maybe she did know without you knowing she knew. Maybe there's a level of awareness that doesn't require or rely on actual physical presence for our presence to be felt?

Some things we can't control and letting go of the idea that we can is very challenging, to me at least. In the last 2 years of losing Yo and then Melly... and struggling to manage the diabetic cat, and the 16 year old Lab, I am coming to grips [not very gracefully] with the idea, the understanding that we can mean well, and we can know as much as we can know... and it still won't change a damned thing sometimes.
It can be incredibly frustrating to learn we are sometimes powerless. But I am trying very hard to understand that realizing I am powerless can also be salve for a heart that is very easily wounded when I am not able to save one that I love.
I tell myself that I can mourn being powerless and rail against it... or I can resign myself to the inevitability that it is so, and that it is in many ways freeing to think of it as an opportunity to do my best, be my best [that which I can control and which really says something about me and who I am]and then let go of the outcome knowing that the outcome is well and truly out of my hands and unrelated to doing my best/knowing enough.

{Bah, I'm not able for some reason to say this well, sorry. Will try to unscramble it as the confusion clears up...}
I definitely understood what you were trying to say. Accepting that we actually are not and cannot control life’s variables is a hard pill to swallow.

And I am so sorry for all your losses. That’s completely heartbreaking, and I’ll admit I don’t think many people could survive all that tragedy in such a short time. Hugs and jingles that some good things will finally happen for you soon

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Re: Need some help or advice

Postby Linden16 » Sat Dec 23, 2017 8:04 am

PaulaO wrote:Nothing hurts like family. Linden, you've been through hell. I'm glad you are seeing a therapist. Have you also thought about taking anti-depressants? Anti-depressants really helped me through the Triple Crown of Death.

Don't associate your horses with your trauma. Don't think "if it wasn't for what happened, I wouldn't have them."


I haven’t tried any medications, but I might consider it if I still feel really bad after the holidays are over.

As for the negative association attatched to my horses, my brain and my heart are battling it out. It’s so much easier said than done to just change the negative mindset. Hopefully my brain wins out.

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Re: Need some help or advice

Postby Linden16 » Sat Dec 23, 2017 8:15 am

Hayburner wrote:I don't know all the background but from what I have read above, imho you are still very much grieving the lose of your mother and unwarranted guilt for not having a few minutes with her before she passed. You cannot change this, so you must find it in your heart and mind to accept this tragedy. As for shutting out your father, at the time you had your reasons and now you are regretting that, again you have to let it go. You must move on.

Neither of your parents would want you to feel this heavy burden. Your horses cannot be a sore spot for you, they are here to heal you.

When I went thru my divorce, my horse time may have played a part in the demise of my marriage, but I looked at it as thank god I had my horse, he was all that brought me sanity when I was sooo sad. My DH was a cheater he would have cheated whether I had a horse or not. Your horses are not a part of your life to bring you guilt they are here to heal you. Let them guide you. As you said your dad gave you the gift of loving horses, cherish and embrace that gift.

I'd find a new therapist, one that understands grief and how to deal with trigger moments.

Hugs


I’m sorry for what your DH did to you. That’s just cruel.

Guilt is so powerful - it such a hard thing to resolve. I mostly feel like guilt and regret are holding hands and overpowering all other feelings and intellect. It’s like I feel undeserving of being able to feel joy / since it came at the expense of all the family who were lost. Cognitive dissonance I think is a reasonable name for it.

Thanks for

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Re: Need some help or advice

Postby Linden16 » Sat Dec 23, 2017 8:22 am

Anne wrote:Dear Linden,
I just want to add my words of support for you through your difficult times. I don't have any advice, but please know that I value you through your contributions to this bulletin board, and the old UDBB. You have such a super eye, and I always appreciate your concise, pithy, accurate comments.
Kia kaha ("stay strong").


That’s so kind of you to say. Definitely put a smile on my face, which is not a thing that happens very often. This board and UDBB is such a beautiful community to be a part of.

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Re: Need some help or advice

Postby Linden16 » Sat Dec 23, 2017 8:28 am

Tsavo wrote:I have a close family member who has depression/anxiety/other issues. I think you have to do whatever you can to decrease your suffering as soon as possible. You have to understand that you don't have to suffer.

I AM A LAY PERSON. That said...

I think you are in an emergency situation. I think you have WAY too much on your plate. I think few people could handle all that and function close to normal. I think you should consider asking about more therapy, different therapy, meds, etc. My family member benefited from out-patient partial hospitalization which is really 4 hours a day of therapy.

Mental health is no different than physical health. It is a medical situation that should not be ignored.

That's my lay opinion.


You are not alone in your concerns, a few very close friends advised the same things you did. I will ramp treatments up if things don’t feel better after the holiday slump. I’ve been “admitted” to inpatient treatment/therapy a couple times already, but maybe just not for long enough to resolve the dark and twisties.

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Re: Need some help or advice

Postby Linden16 » Sat Dec 23, 2017 8:37 am

Rockabilly wrote:Reading each person's sorrow here reminds us we are not alone. That is a comfort. What I have discovered and I have lived a while here on earth is that time is a healer. You can think about your situation everyday, have it affect your relationships. go through hell, but time marches on and time takes into consideration healing and that happens too. Of course none of our situations are the same, but we understand abandonment. grief and pain. I won't go into my whole story, but all my life I felt unloved and not cherished by my mother. She never kissed me. She never told me she loved me and she did not defend me against a abusive step-father. She never told me who my biological father is. I found my birth certificate when I was 12 years old and I saw his name. Every time I asked her about him she would get mad or hysterical and never tell me anything. I spent many years of my life searching for my father, but without the internet that was impossible. With the help of Ancestry.com four years ago I did find him. I found his children. He had already passed away. One of the older children remembered my mother very well. She told me my parents were never married. She said when my mother discovered she was pregnant with me "one day she was here and the next day she was gone." I can only imagine the shame and scandal of returning to her parents house unmarried and pregnant in the late '40's. It explains to me why my grandmother never liked me. I also discovered my father and his parents were 100% Cherokee Indian which makes me 1/2 Cherokee Indian. My mother would turn over in her grave if she knew everything I now know, but the best thing is that 3 of my father's daughters have taken me into their hearts and we are making sister relationships. One of the sisters and I e-mail each other everyday. It's still hard for me to take it all in.

My other heart breaker was my horse, Rockabilly. I am still living it and I don't think I will ever recover. At the time Billy passed away his vet said to me he thought that this was Billy's last gift to me that Billy passed quietly away at home. At the time I couldn't see it, but I am seeing it now. What a horse, what a warrior that he passed away at home, age 33, an old man, I guess, but neither founder or Cushing's or arthritis took him from me. He was a true champion.

When we share our pain, grief and losses in life it makes us just a little more human. We can look at each other's heartache and say yes, I understand. It's empathy when we can say, yes, I understand and if you want to talk about it I am listening.


That’s quite a journey to have gone through, I’m so sorry. It’s cliche but I realize not then ever that every single one of us has their own stories, demons etc. It is comforting to have the support of our group, It’s a blessing, really. Good reminder that we can all lean on each other, to share the burdens of our lives.

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Re: Need some help or advice

Postby Rockabilly » Sat Dec 23, 2017 4:08 pm

Yes, we all have stories so keep talking to us and listening and somehow with all our empathy we will help get you through it. Billy passed away before this board was established. It was the old UDDB. It was a terrible time in Billy's and my life, but I never felt alone. I had so much support. so much love and compassion that I never felt alone. I hope you feel that too.

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Re: Need some help or advice

Postby Tsavo » Thu Dec 28, 2017 4:10 pm

Linden16 wrote:
Tsavo wrote:I have a close family member who has depression/anxiety/other issues. I think you have to do whatever you can to decrease your suffering as soon as possible. You have to understand that you don't have to suffer.

I AM A LAY PERSON. That said...

I think you are in an emergency situation. I think you have WAY too much on your plate. I think few people could handle all that and function close to normal. I think you should consider asking about more therapy, different therapy, meds, etc. My family member benefited from out-patient partial hospitalization which is really 4 hours a day of therapy.

Mental health is no different than physical health. It is a medical situation that should not be ignored.

That's my lay opinion.


You are not alone in your concerns, a few very close friends advised the same things you did. I will ramp treatments up if things don’t feel better after the holiday slump. I’ve been “admitted” to inpatient treatment/therapy a couple times already, but maybe just not for long enough to resolve the dark and twisties.


I hope the holidays were good for you, Linden.

Don't ever get discouraged about needing to repeat treatment. My family member went thru the year long DBT course doing once a week and then did it again during partial hospitalization. Then she was quasi stable then she was not and is doing the DBT course again. Even though she knows the material she benefits from the real-time, in-the-moment reminders.

She is focused on getting better and that pull seems to help her and it definitely helps me. Never abandon the ship of hope. Sometimes these things abate somewhat after the twenties.

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Re: Need some help or advice

Postby MaryC » Thu Jan 11, 2018 4:46 pm

This thread is an amazing reminder of the wonderful and caring people on this forum. Linden, I just want to add my healing thoughts and encouragement.

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Re: Need some help or advice

Postby lorilu » Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:20 am

Linden16 please check in with us. How are you doing? WHen my parents passes within 11 months of eachother, I found that the busy work of settling the estates provided a solidity that I needed.
But the first holidays were so hard. I felt - abandoned? - even though I have a brother I am close to, and his wife has a wonderful big family that has always welcomed me in....

Let us know how you are.
L

piedmontfields
Bringing Life to the DDBB
Posts: 1102
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2015 4:41 pm
Location: E Tennessee USA

Re: Need some help or advice

Postby piedmontfields » Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:32 pm

Thinking of Linden and hoping you are finding some sustaining connections.

I will mention something that a friend of mine realized after recently losing her father in a very hard process. She has found that being with other people who are grieving is actually really helpful--even if you don't talk much about the loss. She mentioned that one support group buddy has committed to meeting her at the gym a couple of days a week. There is something about knowing that they are both dealing with loss that helps them both take small steps back to life.

demi
500 post plus club
Posts: 975
Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2015 7:02 pm
Location: Texas

Re: Need some help or advice

Postby demi » Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:40 pm

You are still in my prayers and thoughts, Linden. I am looking forward to your journey with the new horses.


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