On death, dying and depression

Okay, I don't know exactly how cohearant this whole thing will be but whatever.
Ok, generally speaking my past week, from last Tuesday up to today, has been a bit of a downer. The short version is this-
-Tuesday- Went to glass class and blew for the first time, skipped Art History to work on Drawingn Homework for Wednesday. Work sucked.
Wednesday- Didn't go to Psych. Was late for drawing, with no homework to turn in. Two one hour still lifes I wasn't prepared for. Parking ticket and work sucked. Again.
Thursday- upside- we had an Italian glass master come in to show us the wonders of glass working (Holy cow was that ever cool). Skipped Art History. Again. Work sucked. Again. Same reason as to past two days (I was stocking, not cooking >. (A side note, Monday through Thursday and less so up to today I have been almost painfully aware that my body is calling for some more. . . intimate attentions that it hasn't seen in over a year and a half >. Friday-Not too bad. Got paid. Paid bills. Put off my drawing home work. . .again (the prospect of doing one and two point perspective drawings of the same interior space just weren't that thrilling).
Now here's where the ringer comes in- Saturday morning I am informed that my Dad's girlfriend (Justine)'s mother (Martha) has to be taken into the hospital because her health took a turn for the worse. Just so you get an idea of the situation heres the long and short of it- Martha moved in with us two years ago due to failing health (diabetes, 60+ years of smoking, blahblahblah). She was bed ridden so Justine quite her job to take care of her full time. At the time (February 2007) the doctors didn't think she would make it 2 months let alone two years. Martha's moving in with us further strained an already stressful relationship between myself and Justine. Lets just say it wasn't very pretty. Anyhoo-- Martha had to be taken into the hospital on Saturday and I went to work. Which still sucked, I was on the line for the first shift but with people who I don't always work well with (I do try though), don't remember much else. After work I stopped up at the bowling alley up the street from my house and chatted with the bartender until 3. Came home, went to check my e-mail and this wonderful forum and the interweb was down.
Sunday- I wake up to see Justine's car is home (a side note I forgot, Justine has two sisters- Paula and Melinda who flew in to be with Martha and Justine), and call my Dad to ask him if One- the internet is working and Two- How Martha was doing. He said she wasn't doing. She passed away around 4:15am Sunday Morning. So- I go to church (an awesome little Spiritualist church) and told them about Justine and Martha. I prayed for them then hung out with a couple of friends for a few hours afterwards. (Wow, this is taking a long time to type but its nice to unload it all and I am feeling a bit better *sigh* bear with me and I'll get to my questions. . . I hope ^-^) Went home with every intention of do my drawing homework- didn't happen. On my way to work, I backed out of my driveway in a really weird way and caught my left front turn signal on a telephone pole right by out driveway. Work was alright- ish. Didn't sleep well last night and skipped both classes today. Yup.
Here's where things get weird. I'm not too sure how I should be feeling about Martha's passing. I mean, its sad that it happened but even though she lived with us for 2 years I never really spent much time with her or got to know her really well. Also a lot of the stress, strain and some personal issues arouse because she was living with us. I am relived that a great deal of stress will, hopefully, be gone now; however I feal kind of guilty thinking this because it seems like I am indirectly feeling thankful that Martha, Justine's mother has passed on which in turn brings on a bit of guilt for what I felt while she was still living with us (feeling resentful of my particular situation, feeling like my Dad was alowing my own growth and development to be postponed to keep alive a woman who wouldn't be around in another 30 years [this is more of a keeping the past alive at the expense of the future thing], etc, etc). So now, when I'm not distracted, have this whole circle of illogic running through my head. How the heck am I supposed to feel about this whole situation? GAH! >.. I'm sorry this is so long winded but this has been bugging me for a bit. I also probably forgot other stuff but this is long enough. Thank you to anybody with patience enough to read it though. Advise/whatever is greatly appreciated.

Forums: 
The Which's picture

Embodiment

I certainly dont think you should feel guilty for not feeling worse. This wasn't someone you were close to, and it sounds like her death was not unexpected. You may find that you start to feel sad about it later, when you have less on your plate, or you may not. At any rate, you took the steps you needed to (praying with friends) to deal with this how you needed to. Those daily hassles--the parking ticket, the sucky job, boring homework--those can be so much more draining than the big things.

Paisleigh's picture

Devotee

Its more feeling almost guilty, or bad, for thinking "Hay, maybe things can get back tto a slightly more average normal" or "Hey, we can finailly finish work on teh basement (which is where I live in the house so that feels a bit self centered)" or "Maybe Justine and I can work on getting along a bit better" and other various little things (I can now go up to make a pass through the bathroom at 2 in the morning without worrying about waking anybody up, no need to schedule showers around weird schedules, etc). Its all really weird because while I didn't know her too well her presence was here every day and had a major impact on my living conditions.
As long as I don't think too much about it I'm fine. But being in a bit of an emotional funk right now makes it a bit hard to not dwell a bit. All I can do is hope that thinks start looking up soon.

magalicious's picture

Postulant

My suggestions follow thusly:
a) Sleep.
and b) Studio work won't go away. I know. I've tried the whole 'maybe if I ignore it la la la ...' Rock out some crap to show your teacher so it'll stop weighing on your mind, and maybe explain to said teacher some of the situation, if you feel comfortable.
c) Your feelings are what they are; you shouldn't feel guilty about things you can't control, like how you feel. It's what you do with it that counts.
Also, it's no trouble - and writing things down always helps me get my head around things.
Love love.

Voyeur's picture

Do your homework. Sleep at least 7 hours in 24. Eat. Takes some vitamins. Stop worrying about how you feel about how you don't feel and start caring about the stuff that will get you to the next phase of your life. This is not to mean that you should not take others into consideration. Be there for them, but not to the exclusion of what you need to do. Your focus is all over the place and hasn't been where it should be for some time. This will show to your teachers. Also, TELL ALL YOUR TEACHERS THAT YOU'VE HAD A DEATH IN THE IMMEDIATE FAMILY. This is vital to your being able to get back in focus on your schoolwork. THEY CAN HELP YOU THROUGH YOUR SCHOOL REQUIREMENTS DURING THIS TIME. All caps, pay attention, I mean it, ***I KNOW****...you know from personal experience.

For some it helps to know that they aren't the only person to have been though something like this. Your not alone, but realize that your the only one who knows the nuances in emotions that make the experience yours. If you think it would help go share those emotions with some kind of councilor, your school should have one gratis or low fee.

Hope you do better soon. Oh, and get some sleep.

Paisleigh's picture

Devotee

I just sent my Drawing instructor a, if not 100% sense making then at least descriptive e-mail about the current situation here. Hopefully she gets it and will be understanding (I think she was kind of bugged with me last Wednesday >. I also thought about going to see a councilor about this (as well as other various things such as poor study skills, still working out some depression/possible bipolar/cyclothymia things >. Thank you

V's picture

Embodiment

Feel good about your emotions. They're yours, and deserve no apology. Death is a part of life, but don't forget that you're still smack-dab in the middle of life and need to go on living. There is no "right" way to grieve and it seems that you've given it due consideration and concern, but you're still aware of the practicalities. As long as you are respectful and understanding to those around you, you have nothing to feel sorry about.

All the suggestions of "sleep", "vitamins", "eat healthy/well" etc are on point. Do that, and keep on with your routine...the waves will eventually subside and your boat isn't gonna sink.

I mean--even with all this, don't forget--Tuesday you learned to blow for the first time Biggrin

Paisleigh's picture

Devotee

Yeah, describing my glass class always makes me giggle a little (learning how to blow, proper insertion and removal of the rod, the strange. . .vase for lack of a better term, with three very phallic looking protrusions that's hanging from the ceiling. . . )

MsGamgee's picture

Embodiment

I don't know if this will comfort you or just make you think that I'm a terrible person, but my 96-year-old grandmother has lived in my permanent residence since 2005. She's... I'll sum up my almost 20 years of experience with her by just saying that my mother once turned to me and said, "You know, when she goes, you DO have to go to her funeral." My response, I believe, was something along the lines of "Evil never dies," and the subject passed.

The advice about sleeping and homework is well-warranted. I've found that being caught up with school work, if not AHEAD, is the most relaxing thing for me personally. As of right now, my life is almost too boring because I got myself a week and a half beyond the syllabi in all my classes. It sounds like you could use a little bit of boring now, though.

I hope everything works out...!

Paisleigh's picture

Devotee

One- I'm not 100% sure how the funeral is going to work out (calling hours are on Thursday and the service is on Friday)- as in the topic of my attending has not been brought up yet, but I feel I should go. Shrug

As far as getting ahead with classes, I've always had a hard time with it. Plus I think I may have screwed myself over with how much I'm working (6 hours each Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and another 12 every other weekend PLUS a full course load which includes two studios and a lab class >..crosses fingers

Right now though? I'm off to bed before all you fine folk start taking away my History for staying up past my "bedtime" (which I should so totally have).
Thank you and good night.

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

to separate things in my head. My individual emotions almost always make sense to me, even if their sum is confusing. Are you happy that your life will return to something more normal? Yes. Are you hopeful that your relationship with Justine, who you live with, will improve? Yes. Are you happy that Justine, etc. are grieving? Of course not. It sounds like all of those things are true, and given your situation, like all of those things are perfectly logical and make sense, especially when you think about them as individual emotions.

On top of that, someone that you knew passed away, but to be fair, you've probably met people in your life that have passed away, and you never found out about it. It's not sad that they died, per se; it's sad that people who loved them will never have the opportunity to spend time with them again. You barely knew this woman, so maybe it doesn't make sense for you to be heartbroken at her passing. Maybe instead you could be sad that the people who loved her most (i.e. Justine) will never see her again. It is *a* loss, even if it isn't your loss, and you probably care about people who cared about her. I'm guessing that's where the guilt comes from. Justine is sad, and you feel like you should be too...but you shouldn't, at least not for you. But if you weren't sad *for* Justine, you probably wouldn't feel guilty at all.

The fact that you're feeling guilty at all suggests you're well adjusted and conscientious of others (yes, I know it sounds like something that would come back on a report card), and that makes it sound like you're a fundamentally good person that cares about other people. That being said, I don't think you need to feel guilty...because you're a fundamentally good person that cares about other people. Your emotions both make sense and show you care about how Justine, etc. are feeling. They're nothing to feel guilty about or ashamed of. It sounds like you're being sensitive to the grief of your family members, even if your own is conflicted.

Don't feel like you're being illogical. On the one hand, you have your love for your family (aka Dad), and at least hope and desire for an improved relationship with Justine. On the other, you have a healthy desire for some sense of normalcy. Your life seems to be returning to normal a little. I would be happy about that part too. Just take it one thing at a time, and if it gets confusing, I guess just think about why you feel the way you feel. It sounds to me like everything you're feeling not only makes sense, but is indicative of the fact that you're a good person, and that you care about other people and their feelings. And really, when it comes to this sort of thing, I think that's what matters.

I'm sorry if I've oversimplified a little here (or if I made things more confusing). Obviously I don't know everything that's going on with you, but this is what works for me sometimes, and maybe this example can help you, at least a little. It sounds like you deserve all the best. Good luck, and I hope you feel better and things improve soon.

Davik's picture

Embodiment

Just hang in there and you'll get through it, even if it's going to be a little rough for awhile. The main thing is to make sure you get back on top of class work. I know I have a serious issue when I get too stressed out that I'll start cutting class and slacking off, and it really wrecked my GPA senior year of undergrad (hasn't helped with some of my grad classes either Blum 3 ). Also, after you've put in a long stressful day, don't underestimate the medicinal value of a glass of wine Smile On another note though, I can feel your pain on the lack of... attentions; it's been about that long for me as well. It certainly isn't fun, but what can you do when you're too busy to do much dating.
I'll skip any comments on the death, since everyone else has already chimed in on that, and my reaction to death isn't exactly typical.
I hope everything clears up and gets back to normal quickly.

TheBoy's picture

Embodiment

So I can't really dig up one of my favorite quotes.

To paraphrase: You cannot control your feelings. You can only control how you respond to them.

That's Mr. Rogers. A seriously awesome dude.

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood? Really? That's pretty insightful for a kid's show.

TheBoy's picture

Embodiment

I'm not certain the quotation is from the TV show...but that gentleman.

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

did he do from which people would quote him? That's pretty crazy. I think I only saw that show once or twice when I was young, but I remember a train set. And a sweater.

TheBoy's picture

Embodiment

he was an ordained minister and I think he wrote and gave speeches.

MeiLin's picture

Most High

srsly. You cannot say anything bad about that man in my presence. Do some reading about him; He was an awesome human being, and I miss him.

The Which's picture

Embodiment

Sadly, I could not find the clip, but candid camera once proved Mr Rogers to be the nicest man in the world. I can't remember exactly the situation, but there was a problem with the hotel room... He handled it with a remarkable grace.

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

if he wrote any books? I would totally read one if he did. Well, as long as they weren't about God, anyway. He does sound pretty awesome (I wikied him briefly).

TheBoy's picture

Embodiment

"The World According to Mister Rogers"--it's a posthumous publication of selected quotations. Many are pretty profound, I think.

TheBoy's picture

Embodiment

pulled the book, here's the quotation:

"There's no 'should' or 'should not' when it comes to having feelings. They're part of who we are and their origins are beyond our control. When we can believe that, we may find it easier to make constructive choices about what to do with those feelings."
p.20

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

That is mad helpful. The next time I have confusing feelings, I am totally consulting the reverend. I had no idea he was so cool! How did you find out about the books and things?

TheBoy's picture

Embodiment

Well, I don't -entirely- recall. I think I started re-looking at him when I found out that Angel he was my fraternity brother and (b) ordained in the Church I once joined. When he died, I was pretty expressive about how awesome I thought he was, and some friends gave me one of the books for a birthday.

Tigger's picture

Supplicant

I'm in the process of dealing with my own versions of death and depression. Valuable lesson from my counselor? However you feel is ok.

A lot of days it doesn't feel like anyone is missing in my life and that bothers the hell out of me. My mother and I were very, very close, and she died in November (expectedly, after a long ass battle with cancer). I feel like there should be a bigger hole there, I should be unable to function due to the crushing mass of grief. I fully expected to have a total breakdown and be unable to leave the bed for days. Instead? I'm ok, for the most part. I still have my hours/days where I miss my mother terribly - and even typing that sentence makes me want to burst into tears lately. But Ben (my counselor) told me that I shouldn't feel bad because I don't feel worse. I'm expecting something, and I'm not living up to my expectations, and so it's just making things worse.

On the flip side, several years ago a neighbor of my parents died. He was someone that I've known since I was 10 years old, when we moved in next to them. He did some...not nice things...to me when I was a kid, but I was still pretty close to his granddaughter, who came to visit every year. I spent a lot of time over there, playing cards with his wife. I moved away when I was 18, and did what I could to avoid the man when he came to see my parents when I was visiting. When he died...I felt pure relief. It's not like he did anything else to me after I told my parents, there really wasn't anything bad after that...but I felt relief. And I was very bothered by that. As my husband put it, though, it's perfectly ok to feel relief that a source of stress is gone. It's not that I was glad he was deal, but that I was glad I didn't have to worry anymore.

Stop expecting to feel a certain way. It's ok to think about the things that will change - a source of stress is gone and perhaps that will allow the changes to happen. Grief strikes in different ways, not always what we were thinking and not always in ways that we notice. Definitely talk to your teachers, give them a heads up. A counselor might not be a bad idea, even if it's just to have someone to talk to. Mine was good in that he realized I didn't really need "help" - I just needed an uninvolved third party to listen to me and support me while I worked things out in my own head. Blogging also worked really well for me - just getting it OUT so it would stop circling!

The Vixen's picture

Devotee

I know that feeling. I've been having a weird issue lately as well. When Heath Ledger(z"l) died, I was devastated. He was my favorite actor, and I had actively followed his career for years. I'm still 'getting over it'. But when the step-father of a cousin that I had spent most of my adolescence with committed suicide, I never really cried about it. One time I shed a tear, remembering how he taught me how to get rid of hiccups, and I think about him a lot, because he was a part of my life, but he wasn't a very 'full of life' guy, and frankly, he wasn't much a part of my life. I don't think I had seen him in over a year by the time he passed (after I left for college, I only saw my extended family on holidays and with everyone balancing between all the houses, sometimes I missed seeing someone). I cried for days when a boy from my high school died in Iraq, and it took me a week to get over the death of a Rebbetzin (wife of a Rabbi) from last year whom I had only met once or twice. The key difference being, I've noticed, that I am devastated when young people die. Ledger(z"l) was 28, LCPL Collins(z"l) was 19, Shira(z"l) was 26. It's harder for me to accept why young people had to die when they were just starting their lives, than it is for me to accept that a depressed middle aged man took his own life. It's also easier to get over the loss of someone who was not a part of my life, people I just knew.

Grief is complicated, but it does follow a pattern. It's normal to feel a mix of emotions, and it's not expected that someone who barely knew that person to feel as bad as their immediate family.

Marri's picture

Supplicant

Z"l? I figured it was a "may they rest in peace" kind of thing...

V's picture

Embodiment

I know this because I had to look it up too Smile

magalicious's picture

Postulant

Something to the effect of "In blessed memory."

Marri's picture

Supplicant

I also looked it up. Google tried to convince me it could only be used regarding "prominent deceased scholars" and A"h, the Hebrew version of the (generally Muslim) 'Peace be upon him', should be used instead. But I don't really trust Google when it comes to things like this (imagine Googling "can Muslims drink alcohol" and you might see why I'm wary) so I was curious for the thoughts of the person who had actually used it, and was far more likely to have an informed opinion than the search engine.

Paisleigh's picture

Devotee

The funeral for Martha (My Dad's Girlfriend-Justine's mother) was yesterday.
It was also open casket, which I found quite disturbing (my stomach still churns a bit to think about it). The way she was lying in her casket was almost the way she would lay in bed at home- I swear it almost looked like she was breathing a few times and I half expected her to open her eyes and go "Justine!!" It was weird and I was left a bit shaken. This was also the first open casket funeral I've been to (the other two for my Gee-Pop [maternal grandfather] and Aunt Lousie [adopted family member]) were cremations so there was no body. I'm not quite sure where I'm going with this but here it is.
I also find funeral homes and funeral directors a bit disturbing (especially the funeral director- they gave me the creeps a bit *shudder*)

V's picture

Embodiment

You were there. You filled the role that was expected...you paid your respects to someone you knew...and it's done. Give yourself a pat on the back, have a hug from me...life goes on. You can move the memory to long-term storage whenever you're ready, and move on with the rest of your life Smile

Paisleigh's picture

Devotee

Thats pretty much what I plan on doing. Its too fresh to deal with now. And speaking of moving on with life. . . I get to go into the studio and blow some more tomorrow (glass blowing makes me giggle ^_^). Plus I have a mini vase to polish off for Justine and drawing homework and. . . (see too much stuff going to to dwell too much. I shall take it out later to try and grok it then [As The Man From Mars says "Waiting is"])

V's picture

Embodiment

You're gonna make some guy very happy. You know that, right? Just mention your expertise with inserting and removing the rod... }:)

MeiLin's picture
Shade's picture

Supplicant

But why would you want to? *big, simpering eyes*

Paisleigh's picture

Devotee

That class really makes me giggle (and it doesn't hurt that the instructor is a bit attractive, either does it? *blushes* [God I hope he doesn't read this *blushes again* >. And on a related note, one of Justine's sisters (Paula)knows a glass worker just outside of Jackson Hole so she might be able to get me on the way to a bit of an apprenticeship or some such (hmm. . . anybody know of any resorts out that way that're hiring }:) )

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