Tuesday, March 06, 2007

A week

Today mark a week Abah pulang ke rahmatullah . Al Fatihah- Semoga Abah di sisi orang yang beriman. This is the first time I feel such heart wrenching loss. Abah was strict but kind, generous and honest. He was very healthy, played golf almost everyday, ate yoghurt , cereal, oats or grilled fish for breakfast.

All of us, his four kids felt so deeply, my sis Ida and bro Amy fell ill. I can't sleep for days and afterwards could barely open my eyes. Adik and my niece Tisya had fever as well. All the grand kids cried when DH made a slide of photographs taken at Bukit Cherakah. Mom is strong, but when in her room alone.. His nephews and nieces broke down several times. His friend who plays golf with him came everyday and one night came around 1 in the morning to read yassin beside him.

Thank you Abah's friends from Felda, Boustead and Fountainview for visiting. Uncle Jayos, thank you for organising Sembahyang Hajat at Dewan Perdana Felda and also the van to Linggi. Thank you D' Saji for sponsoring the food at Dewan Perdana. Thank you Epi, Mr Abu Salem of Tawakkal, Mr Sabri, Mr Mohsin, Mr Safari, Mr Ng of GH for doing the best that they can. Thank you Uncle Col Bakar for being there.

Here's a good article on grief from http://www.helpguide.org/mental/grief_loss.htm

It is good to know that denial is common.

What is grief and how does it differ from depression?
The concept of grief describes the emotions and sensations accompanying the loss of someone or something dear. The word itself was originally derived from the Old French grève, meaning a heavy burden. In English “grief” connotes an experience of deep sorrow, one that touches every aspect of existence. . Complex physiological and psychological responses may be extremely painful but can be overcome if faced and experienced

You may experience any of the following when you grieve:

numbness, the sense that none of this is real—you’re just imagining it
expecting your deceased loved one to come back and be able to resume life as usual
experiencing your loved one communicating with you after death
difficulty paying attention or remembering things as well as you did before your loss
a sense of anger, injustice, vexation or helplessness about your situation
feelings of incredible emptiness, loneliness, self-accusation or despair
guilt—if only you had done more, been nicer, not left home, etc.

The following are typical physical symptoms of grief:
difficulty going to sleep, or waking in the middle of the night
weight loss or gain; over- or under-eating
low energy or fatigue
headaches, chest pain or racing heart
upset stomach or digestive problems
hair loss

When you understand that grieving people have similar thoughts, feelings and physical sensations, you can be assured that what you are going through is completely normal. For example, mood swings (you feel fine one minute and then all of sudden you burst out crying) need not take you by surprise. What’s more, it is entirely possible to have a decrease in symptoms for quite a while and then suddenly experience a ‘relapse’ when something reminds you of your loved one—or for no explainable reason at all.

What makes depression different from grief is the absence of positive feelings – a moment of awe at glimpsing a baby or a particularly beautiful sunrise or sunset, or hearing an inspiring peace of music. About 2 in 10 people develop a depressive disorder in the year following the death of a loved one, with symptoms beginning roughly in the third month. This is different from the deep sorrow which naturally results from losing someone you love. Some refer to that sadness as ‘depression’ when technically it’s not.

The major warning sign for clinical depression

The major warning sign for clinical depression is when you don’t experience even rare moments of pleasure, for extended periods of time. Symptoms such as these may interfere with your life:
life seems meaningless and you can find nothing pleasing or positive

you are drowning in despair with no relief: no laughter, no smiles … no sense of a future
you have trouble sleeping, or you sleep most of the day
you have a drastic weight loss or gain
you are unable to function in everyday life
you have persistent thoughts of ending your life.

Phases of Grief
Phase 1
Upon hearing bad news, the most common reaction is a feeling of numbness or shock. We may experience disbelief: "That is not possible … there must be some mistake … you must have the wrong person, the wrong medical records … that can't be true or happen to me!" The mind-body has incredible defense mechanisms. If we pretend that something isn’t true, then somehow the blow is softened. At any moment, our loved one could reappear, or so we imagine. Time seems to briefly suspend itself, at least until the cruel reality of the truth sets in.
Phase 2
We may get angry at the messenger who delivers the news, the doctor, the person who caused us this pain , at anyone we can hold responsible for our grief. This reaction is perfectly understandable. There is a need to know why this happened and whether the loss could have been prevented. “Who is at fault?” we question. Somehow pointing the finger allows us to divert the pain from the core of our being where it rises up and threatens to overwhelm us. Others may turn their anger inwards and blame themselves for what happened.
Phase 3
We may try to negotiate the situation, either with another person involved, or with God: "Please give me one more chance and I promise things will be better … I will change … If you will reverse this, then I will ___ in return." This is kind of magical thinking where we believe our actions will meet with the desired outcome. Some people attempt to strike a deal with their Higher Power: to stop smoking, to find more time to spend with family, to offer an apology that’s long overdue. At some point, though, we face our limitations in holding up our end of the deal. No matter what we say or do, the bitter truth is that things will not go back to the way they were before. And that’s when the next phase hits.
Phase 4
When we realize the loss is real and unchanging, we may sink into a deep sorrow. Though Dr. Kübler-Ross dubbed this phase ‘depression,’ it is more accurate to describe it as more a combination of loss and loneliness and perhaps hopelessness. We may feel remorse or regret, rehearsing over and over what we could have done differently. Or perhaps we feel guilty that we are still able to enjoy life while our loved one no longer can. This intense experience of sadness leaves us with sparse energy for housework or outside activities. It is common to find ourselves sobbing over the smallest little thing or crying for days on end. Whether or not we have a terminal illness, we may feel our life is over. Some may consider or attempt ending their lives.
Phase 5
Time, in and of itself, will not heal our wounds. We may miss being able to share our life with that person, no matter how long it’s been since they passed away. We don’t have to forget how much our loved one means to us in order to move on. If we can come to terms with the reality of the situation, recognize it as a fact of our lives, and gradually let go of the struggle against the tide of emotions that we experience, we can move beyond our suffering. Even with our new circumstances, we can find peace within ourselves.