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Shocked finding out someone I loved died many years ago

Discussion in 'Grief in Common Updates, Questions & Answers' started by Rob67, May 15, 2020.

  1. I'm sorry if I am putting this in the wrong place. I have a vision challenge - actually a pretty serious condition that has nothing to do with this post, so I'll move on.. I just can't see through all of the posts to see where to place this. I am adding on to the loss of someone I knew more than 20 years ago who passed without my knowing until recently posts.
    So, I had to unexpectedly drive from one side of the country to the other recently to see my mother who was not feeling well. I can't fly because of my own health issue. That being said, I decided to go and locate the resting place of the man that I had loss. It took some serious searching and I was initially sent to the wrong cemetery, but I found his mausoleum. It was - traumatic. All of the memories and emotions just rushed back and overwhelmed me. I remembered the details of the last time I saw him, things that I had suppressed for years. I remembered the last things he said to me, the last things I said to him. I had to look up high to see where he was placed and had to support myself when I saw the name of the person directly beneath him. My first name is Marilyn. Her first name was Marilyn. In the months leading up to his passing, he was trying to contact me but my family member did not pass his messages to me. They had various reasons, including their original from over twenty years earlier, they thought the one I married was the better match and just didn't like the other. The problem is, he was the love of my life. There he is, up there resting with Marilyn. It actually made me smile a little for a moment. He found Marilyn, not his Marilyn, but Marilyn... All of his pictures that I found on his family's social media were so sad looking. It just hurts. To top it off, the guy I married likely doesn't really love me. I think he was competing with the one I lost. I really believe he was. He talks about him, in an obsessively negative way. He hasn't so much as even touched me in over four years and rarely prior to that and it's not like I'm a bad looking person. He's just mean. I need to change my life, I'm too young at 51 to feel this sad and without direction. This man, my love - whom I did not even realize I loved, passing has forced me to wake up I think.
     
  2. He passed four years ago without my knowing. I married over twenty years ago. He begged me not to marry the guy I married. My family did not approve of the guy who passed. He was a little bit older than me. I retrospect, the age difference would have been nothing now. Certain family members have acknowledged that... In fact, one family member is dating someone with the same age difference now that her husband is deceased...
     
  3. Rob67

    Rob67 Well-Known Member

    You are absolutely in the right place. We have all found out that someone we loved died in the past without our knowledge. It is a shock to our whole reality, which was not the same as it was 1 second before we discovered this tragic loss. Old feelings and memories spring back into our minds, and we are desperately in grief over that person's untimely death. But as it is not someone who just died recently, we feel "out of place" trying to reach out to our usual support systems. It hurts if you look at their picture, or anything that your memories associate with your loved one.

    Any amount of time that has transpired between now and when they died, or when we last saw them, is completely irrelevant with this shock from the past kind of grief. In the case of my Linda, I last saw her just about exactly when you were born (I am 67). In human terms a very, very long time. A whole lifetime really. Does not matter. Your grief is real. And you have a place now where you can get support. Support from people who have been going through the very same thing. While it seems abnormal grief, it is in fact not. It is very normal for people like you who have a loving heart.

    We are here to support each other.
     
  4. alwaysme

    alwaysme Well-Known Member

    I’m so sorry you are hurting. This is def the right place. I relate to your experience of all the feelings and memories rushing back to the surface. Like I just saw him last week or something. I believe time has no relevance. It’s the strong memory of the love you shared. It hurts a lot. There is nothing wrong with you, everything you are experiencing is normal. It’s grief, and it’s difficult. Thanks for sharing your experience with us. It’s hard when there is nobody to talk to because we knew them a long time ago. I find a lot of comfort and peace talking on here. Welcome to the conversation.
     
    AnneWantsToGetBetter likes this.
  5. Sue M

    Sue M Well-Known Member


    I am so glad you found this group. It will help you I promise! We are all experiencing the same thing and its amazing how many people feel like us but just don't talk about it or know how to process it. This group gives me strength and I feel I can say anything here and someone will relate.
     
  6. BonnieNJ

    BonnieNJ Member

    Finally got a b+w hi school photo from 1966, a couple of years before i knew him. I also connected w a kind lady on FB who sent me a couple color fotos from her wedding; he was their best man in 1992. He had put on weight and was alot fuller in the face than the young man I knew in 1968. I found out more about him on the web than I knew about him when I knew him! So much info of his life is available on the internet! The FB lady told me he was a heavy drinker and was separated from his wife (married in '71) , not sure if they divorced. He hung out in local bars alot. Not my kind of life. He was self employed in a physically demanding trade. She lost touch w him in 2003, he went into long term placement in a nursing home for several years. He had MS, was losing his sight and didn't want visitors. His younger sis died young, also had MS. His wife's younger brother committed suicide.
    I feel so guilty that my leaving him (after cheating on him w new man who became my 1st husband) so abruptly caused his drinking. But we were already drinking together in 67-68 so that's probably not true. My heart is heavy that his life seemed so full of tragic events. My life after I left him was a crazy dysfunctional ride until I met my current husband; now it's like a dream come true. So I guess I'm grieving and maybe have survivor guilt. Funny that when my 1st husband died I had no emotion at all. Nothing stuffed or hidden. I just really didn't care.
    This grieving over the past has to become less intense doesnt it?
     
    Sue M likes this.
  7. alwaysme

    alwaysme Well-Known Member

    I’m glad you were able to see some photos. That can be painful but a nice connection. I have a drinking history myself, and I can tell you that in no way did you cause his drinking. You said it yourself, he was already drinking before that. When I was drinking, I was always looking for the chance to be alone so I could drink the way I wanted to. I often sabotaged situations so I could drink. Nobody had the power to help me until I finally sought help, and the help I received was from strangers, not the people closest to me. They couldn’t do anything because I wanted to keep drinking.

    I feel some guilt over the past as well, and even though I just said what I said to you, I sometimes wonder if I could have helped him. Realistically, being with him would have probably caused great frustration and angst over not being able to help or change him. I’m wondering if our survival guilt has something to do with the pain we feel. The pain is intense. It comes in various waves of intensity for me but never goes away.
     
  8. Sue M

    Sue M Well-Known Member

    You are very fortunate to have photos. I agree that if he was already drinking it had nothing to do with you. I think maybe you have more feelings about him then your ex passing because with your ex you had closure to end it. Not knowing what happened during all those years stays with you and makes you think and come up with all these what Ifs. They just are so special to us we cant let go of the impact they had on us. I think time helps a little, like for me Im not crying like I was but still wake up thinking about him every day
     
    alwaysme likes this.
  9. Rob67

    Rob67 Well-Known Member

    Having photos does help. I used to think it simply prolonged the agony, and that just not looking at them would help me to "get over it". It does not. Time does help just exactly as you describe. I started out being constantly traumatized by it, and with time, I simply think about her often.
     
    alwaysme and Sue M like this.
  10. BonnieNJ

    BonnieNJ Member

    i still cannot remember his actual face in person looking at me. the photos showed how he aged, heavier, balder, ruddier and puffier face, probably from drinking. I cant recall his voice or even where/when we met. Over the years I didnt think of him AT ALL, NOT ONCE, until I suddenly couldnt find the polaroid I inadvertently threw away. I went into full blown panic, as if I had lost my child in a crowd! Some memories have come back but they arent very detailed. Grief and guilt combines are horrible feelings. It's not healthy to be tormented by the past.
     
  11. Sue M

    Sue M Well-Known Member

    Heard this song today.
    Bette Midler's The Rose
    Thought the lyrics were beautiful . Wanted to share



    Some say love, it is a river
    That drowns the tender reed
    Some say love, it is a razor
    That leaves your soul to bleed
    Some say love, it is a hunger
    An endless aching need
    I say love, it is a flower
    And you its only seed

    It's the heart afraid of breaking
    That never learns to dance
    It's the dream afraid of waking
    That never takes the chance
    It's the one who won't be taken
    Who cannot seem to give
    And the soul afraid of dyin'
    That never learns to live

    When the night has been too lonely
    And the road has been too long
    And you think that love is only
    For the lucky and the strong
    Just remember in the winter
    Far beneath the bitter snows
    Lies the seed that with the sun's love
    In the spring becomes the rose
     
  12. alwaysme

    alwaysme Well-Known Member

     
  13. alwaysme

    alwaysme Well-Known Member

    My heart is broken
     
  14. Sue M

    Sue M Well-Known Member

    Big Hugs It sucks I know :(
     
  15. Sue M

    Sue M Well-Known Member

    Today is 6 months I found out about Mike. Besides maybe a week or 2 of not letting it consume me, its still so hard. Only difference is not crying. I just wish I could talk to his mom. I did pass the house she wasnt outside I dont know if she would ever be outside doing anything cause shes 80. I know Ive talked about this before but I know its ok to be repetitive here :) If a stranger came to my moms door I wouldnt want her answering it so I dont think I can do that. If it was more recent maybe but 18 years and not knowing me I just cant. I want to for my own sake but its not about me, shes his mom and I cant risk hurting her
     
  16. Rob67

    Rob67 Well-Known Member

    It is difficult recalling details like their face, personal conversations/situations when they looked at you, and their voice. Guilt and regret are the worst emotions to deal with. Grief is a process, and it is much easier to put in perspective than regrets. They tear at your very soul.

    Logically I tell myself that there is nothing more pointless and stupid than fretting about dumb, immature things I did as a teenager 50 years ago. But logic does not really help here, particularly with regrets. All we can do is talk it out with one another.
     
    Sue M likes this.
  17. Rob67

    Rob67 Well-Known Member

    Honestly, I think invoking "what ifs" here I believe looking at it from a different perspective might be advisable. If you do ask her for pictures, information, etc. from his mother she may just surprise you and be very touched that someone else is grieving so about him. She might be forthcoming. Worst case scenario; she would say no and you would be right here where you started. You will have lost nothing. When people ask me now about my daughter, 21 years since she passed, I do not take it in a negative way at all. I feel honored that someone still cares about here, and cares about me as well.

    For months after I found out that Linda died so many years ago, I had the same trepidation that you describe about asking high school friends who knew more about it. People who were supporting her when she was sick. I felt like I would look like an idiot experiencing puppy love over someone that died 40 years ago, and that they might resent my digging up this horrible thing that happened. But one day I could not take not knowing any longer and I sent inquiries. I got very positive reaction, and a synopsis of what happened in her life in the 10 years after high school, when she died. I am glad I did it.

    Just a suggestion. The risk is worth it, and the potential reward to you is immeasurable.
     
    alwaysme and Sue M like this.
  18. Sue M

    Sue M Well-Known Member

    Thank you for that. I do see there is an email for her I dont know if its still good but how would I explain finding her email I got a free trial for backround checks thats how I found it. I wont be in her area for awhile to go there Im just not sure how to handle going about it. I really think I would want people remembering me and letting others know too Im just scared to bring it up to her. I dont know how to go about doing this but I really would like too.
     
  19. Rob67

    Rob67 Well-Known Member

    If she has an email use that and start a dialog. How to go about it is simple. Tell her the pain you are feeling, that being so far in the dark is painful for you, and that you would appreciate anything she can tell you about it. Be straightforward. No need to approach it with some "angle".
     
  20. Sue M

    Sue M Well-Known Member

    woukd i say i grew up around thete and met her a few times. I really dont think I have the guts. I would like to but i wish i could just go to her door but I think im just so afraid of upsetting the family. I know she may want to but im just so scared of it all