Hospice Care/obsessed


if a person thinks about their deceaesd loved one all the time, why does this happen? the love of my life died a year ago and I am obsessed with the matter. we were together for 16 years and never apart.I don,'t have family support and friends have their own poblems. I am very upset to have to deal with this on my own. I just finished a 6 week grief support group and am not "cured"
by any means. I see a therapist but all I do is sit there and cry. she doesn't offer any tips or advice even though she is a good listener. I thought seeing a therapist meant a person gets exact details on what to do. for example "do this and you will not be in pain anymore" i have short periods of feeling I have accepted the death but they are very short lived and I go back to feeling extremely emotional. thank you.

Hi, Lee--First, I am so very sorry for your loss.  A big chunk of you went with your sweetheart and I am not the least surprised to hear that you are still in such pain.  A love like yours does not go quietly.  Of course you hurt!

Yes, yes, yes, it is absolutely normal for you to be feeling this way. Generally, grief that lasts longer than three months or so is considered (for lack of a better word) worthy of getting help.  But, as you pointed out, your circumstances do not lend themselves to helping you to heal your wounds.  An hour with a therapist might be helpful, but what about the other 167 hours each week?

I applaud your going to a six week grief support group.  I love that you put the word cured in quotes.  You obviously have very good insights and a lot of knowledge--and none of it helps with the pain.

I do have some ideas.

First, I'd find a grief group that isn't time limited.  Who gets "done" in six weeks???  Ask at your church, or, if you don't have a church, call around.  They don't care if you are in the congregation!  You could also call a local hospice.  They have a support group for family and friends of their deceased clients--the good ones will invite you to come, even if you aren't a "member."

I notice that you do not mention your sweetheart's gender, and you yourself have a name (like my nickname, Chris) that works for a woman or a man.  So I am going out on a limb here....  If it doesn't fit, forgive me for any offense and just skip to the next paragraph....  If part of your isolation is that you and your sweetheart are/were members of a group who, sadly, do not find much community support because of bigotry, that makes your situation even more dire.  You will do better if you are near or in a city, but sometimes not then either.  If this is the case, I offer you even more sympathy, but my suggestions go beyond the idea of seeking out a counselor and/or a grief group that specifically includes LGBT or whatever group to which you may belong.  You must find an environment with people who see you for who you are.  This is not to criticize other helpers, but no one is a good fit for everyone--look for someone within your community.  Were I not prohibited from making a more personal connection with you, and if you were nearby, I have some resources who might help.  But....

OK, back to the generic suggestions that I offer anyone in pain from a loss.  You must first accept that it is OK to hurt.  You have experienced a huge loss! There is no time clock, no calendar, no schedule.  You feel what you feel.

It may be that you are concerned, perhaps on a unconscious level, that if you stopped grieving, you would somehow do your sweetheart a disservice.  This is not the case, but you can see where this might be part of what is happening.  Do you have pictures and mementos around your home to remind you of him (or her--I'm sorry, I'm kind of in the dark here!).  You should.  You absolutely should.  You should also cry when tears appear.  Let 'er rip!  Make the tears last as long as you can.  Once a pattern emerges, once you have the sense you will not be surprised by a deluge, make an appointment each day for yourself, for tears. Sometimes crying during your daily shower makes sense, or once you come home from work but before you begin fixing supper.  Pick a time that makes sense for you--and then do it.  When it gets more difficult to cry, I want you to be prepared....  Has a movie ever made you cry?  Get a copy.  When tears do not come easily (and right now you think that's not going to happen, but it will, trust me), you will use this to stimulate tears.

Why would you want to cry if you don't feel the need?  Because crying and tears stimulate production of biochemical reactions which are soothing and healing.

The next thing I want to encourage you to do is to talk to your sweetheart.  Whether or not you believe you are heard does not matter.  The functional part of this is the part you do.  I know there are times when you hear a good joke or have an experience and your first thought is, I gotta tell (I'm sorry, I do not know the name of your lost love).  For a while after my father died, I'd actually have my hand on the phone to call him, before I was jerked into the reality that he was no longer here.  What will help you is to go ahead and tell your story or your joke....  You can think of and imagine conversations at odd moments, when you are going to sleep, when you first wake up in the morning.  Any of these times will work.  But if you can engage in some talking with your sweetie, you will have a little bit less loss.  You will also be addressing your loss instead of  being overwhelmed by it.

As you allow yourself to experience this loss, as you let your body heal itself with tears, as you talk to your lost love, you will be surprised (maybe) the first time that laughter comes.  It will.  It's part of healing.  And it's a sign you are recovering.

This is a good start.  I'd also suggest that if you talk with your therapist about your needs and goals.  Explain what you have told me.  You are not getting what you need.  There's nothing wrong with this--not every therapist can help every client.  But it seems likely that your money (or your insurance company's money) is better spent on a remedy that meets your needs.

These suggestions may help you get to a place where your misery is lessened.  You are never going to get over the loss completely, I'm sorry to say.  But the pain of it, the sharp sense of loss, that feeling that the floor or the ground under your feet cannot be trusted, that will ease up.

I am so glad you wrote to me and equally sorry for your loss.  I wish there was more that I can do, and I hope that at least some of this is helpful to you.  If you have other questions, I hope you'll write again.  If we put our heads together, we can come up with some ways for you to have happier days again.

God bless--

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Christine Johnson


I can give suggestions, encouragement and direction on what hospice is and is not, when it is appropriate, and how to go about getting it. I am familiar with Medicaid and Medicare hospice benefits. I can answer general questions about disease process, what dying looks like, how hospice handles pain and other symptoms, what to expect from a hospice when end of life nears. I can provide support, direction and encouragement related to spiritual matters and psychological matters related to death and dying.


I am a certified hospice and palliative care nurse, and have been the director of nurses for three hospice centers, under two different companies. I have also worked as a contract hospice nurse for a large American hospice company. On a personal level, my father died without benefit of hospice (it was not popular then). I have taken care of dying patients in hospitals and recognize that for most of us, it is preferable to die at home (or in our residence, wherever that may be), comfortably and without anxiety. Also I had no support when my father died; hospice clients are the whole family (however that is defined by the "patient"), and support is provided at least a year after the patient passes. These are the sorts of things (and probably others) that I can help with.

HPNA (Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association)

none yet

Registered Nurse (TX), Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (TX) ADN Nursing, Excelsior College, Albany, New York (2004) 4.0 GPA BA, Psychology (minor Social Work), Oklahoma University, Norman, OK (1986) 3.67 GPA MHR (MA) Human Relations, Oklahoma University, Norman, OK (1988) 3.5 GPA

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Phi Beta Kappa (and others)

Past/Present Clients
Unable to name as this would violate their privacy (and HIPAA....)

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