I am thrilled with the amount of replies that came in to answer Shannon’s question about memory loss. The amount of information was spectacular and I thank you so much.
I have just three things to share before you go on to read the replies.
1.Donna wrote a beautiful thank you to all who responded to her question about what to say to others who ask “How are you feeling.”
2.Those who answered this week may find their answers shortened. To conserve space, I just took the actual answer to this week’s question.
3.Every once in a while, I am not able to send out a Saturday message due to the fact that I am not near my computer and next week will be one of those weeks. Please feel free to answer this week’s question and I will post the answers on September 22nd.
The next question is the same one that came from two different survivors. Leslie and Jane asked: What do you say when someone you just meet asks you how many children do you have? I would also like to hear from those spouses about how you answer the question about your husband/wife and siblings, how do you answer when asked how many brothers and sisters you have?
Enjoy today’s thoughts.
To All Who Have Responded to My Question:
Thank you so much for all your insights. It really helps and comforts to know there are people out there who, in the midst of their own grief, reach out to help someone else.
I agree with the memory loss. A counselor told me that it might not get better either. It's 21 months now and I'm not sure it's better. I have been really tired the last several months as well...thought it was the hot weather but not sure. I am easily distracted. My grandson says often "the lights green granny". It drives him crazy. Another thing I do is worry sometimes unrealistically about my other children and grandchild. The good thing is it isn't as constant now and I recognize what it is. I'm a different person now which is sometimes unsettling. On the positive side I now have an understanding of military death other than KIA and the unique difficulties that can present.
My short term memory. I also have troubles remembering past events as accurately as I should. I feel my mind can become "cloudy". Is it pain of the loss? Or is it just the fact I am getting old? Either way, I feel my memory is not as sharp or focused at this time.
Hi all- I have noticed that my memory is also not as sharp as it was. I've also gained a lot of weight. I don't feel up to doing a whole lot and, unfortunately, I'm a stress eater so I've put on the pounds. I'm going on 3 years out and have gained 30 pounds. So, starting Monday, my daughter and I are starting a morning walk regimen. It'll be good for both of us.
Simple things are now hard. I also have some cognitive problems with memory, or the wrong word comes out of my mouth (I get so mad) I met a mom last year at Arlington who said to me "honey my mind is now like Swiss cheese, its full of holes"
I am back to work though and work helps me (even tho’ it is stressful) to think about those kids I work with, the days so by so fast when I am at work). My co-workers are a blessing they help me a lot on my bad days.
Shopping is hard for me especially grocery shopping. One of the first times months later when I tried to make a real recipe I had to make 3 diff trips to stores for stuff I forgot and that was with a list.
Oh my goodness. I am so thankful for this question. It's been 2 years since my son's death and I still feel incapable of re-entering the professional world. I too share the memory loss but I also feel panic when I start getting overloaded, and it doesn't take much to overload me. Before Max died I was an insurance broker and doing quite well with thriving referral sources. Life has changed pretty drastically for me in that I now offer presentations around hope and choice and faith and have just started writing a 2nd book. For income I am repping for Melaleuca, a wonderful company with great products but a far cry from what I've done professionally.
As selfish as it sounds, it helps to know I'm not the only one experiencing this.
I have noticed that I forget things too. My mind doesn't seem to be able to retain information the way it used to. I have also noticed that I seem to be a robot. I feel emotions more strongly now too, especially the sad ones. I've noticed that it seems I'm someone different. I can put on a good show for family, friends, and coworkers. Sometimes I sit back and wonder, who the heck is taking over my body?
Everything changed since my Son Griff has been in Heaven's Military for the past 4 years .My short term memory, what short term memory? Basically not good. I started making to do lists, I have to make up grocery lists using the Giant circular & attach coupons right then & there so won't forget. I get up to go do something & can't remember what I got up for. I have a calendar & put on there what I do or who I talk to or who stops by (if anyone...seem to be invisible now)
To Shannon: I have plenty of photo albums. My sons were tired of all the photos I took since they were babies. The multitude of albums gives me some relief as it rekindles many memories. The loss of my son as I am sure with your loved one is mind bending. I think you remember more than you believe.
It has been 14 months since my son was killed. The closer it got to the anniversary of his death, the more I tuned out everything else and just thought about my son Josh. I have noticed I just don't have anything in me to give to my elderly parents, who are just fine, I just don't think it's as important to put myself into overdrive to get my mother some donuts or another treat while her grandson lies 6 ft underground just yards from her home.
I find myself questioning other people's wants and needs more (as well as my own) and deciding other things are more important than a fleeting whim. It goes along with the memory thing because I try to keep my mind clean of the "crap" in this life so that I have more space in my brain to remember each and everything about my son. His likes and dislikes, his words, his song, him growing up, learning to drive, his days at school, his travels,....and that is just my priority. I can see myself "housecleaning" more stuff from my brain in the future so I can have that space to remember more about Joshua. Maybe that is why survivors are forgetful, because all those things don't mean as much to us as our loved ones. "Take care of and be good to yourself"
I’m not the sharpest tack in the box and it’s been over 4 years, like the driving at the light change. I’ve stopped at the green light. Then went when it’s turned red, and almost ate it then, this has scared me and I have to make an effort not the think while driving.
As for the deficits? I find myself burdened with memory loss, fatigue, lack of caring. I think about Andy all the time, so even a simple task is now multitasking. I have to take a picture of where I parked my car in a big parking lot, and write lists when I go out into the world. Everything seems too fast and bright and loud.
From Mary R:
I thought the forgetfulness was getting better, NOT! It's been almost two years and I still need to use detailed lists and constant reminders.
I am so distracted and scatterbrained since my daughter's suicide last September that I finally decided to research whether severe emotional trauma can affect the brain. Guess what? It does. It actually changes the structure and function of the brain so that I will probably never be the person I was before. These days I depend upon Outlook reminders, phone messages to myself, lists and sticky notes to help keep me on track, but I still forget things and make mistakes at work. I accept that this is the new me and try not to get stressed about it.
From Mary-Ann:In answer to Shannon's question both David and I have the same memory issue you seem to be battling with as well as other issues. I used to be very creative with all sorts of crafty ideas, sewing ideas etc. I used to love doing those type of things frequently, making gifts for family and friends as well as home improvements. Now the ideas just don't flow out of me like they use to do. I have to put effort into coming up with ideas and creating things- just doesn't seem to bring me the pleasure it used to. I also had been getting all jumpy and jittery when I'd sit at my desk at home until I became aware that it was one of the "triggers" the grief counselor was talking about since I was working on bill paying when I got the call about Blake. Now that I'm aware of the "trigger" I remind myself that I won't be getting that call again.
David on the other hand shakes a lot more than he use to do. Not all the time but on those harder days. He finds it very inconvenient when he needs to do those little things he use to take for granted like screwing on a bolt or tying a shoe for instant. He also uses the wrong work for things far more than he ever did in the past. That too is not all the time, but can be very frustrating for both of us since he can't seem to come up with the right word and I can't figure out what he is trying to say.
I know these problems are not as bad as they were a year ago and pray they will continue to decrease as time goes on.
Such a thoughtful question - My deficit; I wake in the morning with thoughts of things to do, then I remember and my energy level goes down. I forget things because I don't want to remember them, memories, so painful at times and yet comforting at others. I think ahead of holidays that fill our every moment, then once again, I remember that one of us will be missing. My family and friends now seem to understand and know what to do. I know I am not alone in losing a child so I thank God for the time He gave us with Jim and move on.
I am now a shoulder for others to lean on when they need me. I have taken the thoughts of another mother, and I look at my chest a little to the left and know I carry Jim there all the time. Our lives will never be the same, we will always miss our loved one, but we will become better friends, neighbors and family members because of the love they left us.