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12 Apr 2009, 4:12 am

So my grandmother died...... about 10 days ago. Relatives arrived to stay at our house; there were flurries of funereal/legal/logistic activity; then the funeral. After the funeral, everyone came back to our house because they wanted to talk with each other for some reason. I didn't want to talk, so I went to bed for a while in-stead.

It seems that I experience loss differently to other people. I have not yet cried or become upset about my grandmother's death, even though she lived in the same house as me for several years and I visited her often when she was in the nursing home. More than anything else, I'm interested in learning about her. Now that she's dead, I suddenly have access to all this information about her life - letters; photographs; general miscellany and ephemera. It's like my idea of her - which was previously a nonliving thing, basically - has suddenly come to life. She's a real person now, and I'm interested in researching her. I also want to make some kind of artwork related to my findings.

The point is this : I don't 'grieve' like other people. I think this is because I process things differently to other people, so the 'process' of coming to terms with someone's death is different for me. I hypothesize that this is because I have an ASD. I am differently focussed, differently interpreting, differently creating to other people. So death is different for me.

I was wondering if any of you have dealt with the death of a loved one, or someone well known to you, and whether your way of dealing with it was different to the norm. Was your method similar to mine? Or was it entirely different? I am interested to know about this.



Aspinator
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12 Apr 2009, 4:32 am

I have lost my father and one of my brothers. While I felt sad I could not interact with them anymore, I processed my grief more logically. I personally view death as being nothing more than a transition. The person is going from inhabiting a physical body to being a spiritual form. Where this "spirit" goes to I have no clue. A principal from Physics is that energy can never be destroyed. I think of a catepillar that is in a cocoon.
It goes through a metamorphsis and changes into a butterfly. If you see the empty shell of a cocoon you don't feel bad about it, you just view it as part of nature.



Jamin
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12 Apr 2009, 7:13 am

Interesting observation and analysis, Animale.

I don't know. I don't know how other people grieve, though have seen them. Also have not yet lost anyone truly close. Grandparents and uncle and such.

I suspect the loss of only one person on earth would much impact me. And she is a fellow Aspie-!



AlMightyAl
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12 Apr 2009, 2:14 pm

I believe that when you die, you get buried under the ground.
I want to believe in 'heaven' and stuff, but its just bull sh*t.
I'm an atheist and I try very hard to believe in god but I can't.

Anyways, I deal with death the same way as everyone else.
I cry, and all that stuff.



Optician_Of_Urza
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12 Apr 2009, 5:17 pm

I've been lucky enough to not lose anyone close to me yet, just elderly relatives that I rarely saw. When one of my elderly relatives died (I think she was my grandmother's aunt) a few years ago at the age of something like 95, I was happy for her as she'd been suffering for years.


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13 Apr 2009, 12:04 am

It was preciselythe same for me when my grandmother died in 2002. Having learned much more about her after her death I often think of her.



TobyZ
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13 Apr 2009, 12:23 am

My mom died 4 years ago, I'd say I wasn't close but we had no conflict either. I didn't feel much loss.

Now the loss of my marriage, 9 years (known her since 12 years). OH MY GOD, That's loss. It was never a good marriage, always more hope than reality.... and ended in the most AS horrible way (drawn out with deception and drawn OUT, me always trying to understand and be open minded to her needs. Went on for 2 years)....

LOSS, ouch, ouch, ouch.



capriwim
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13 Apr 2009, 7:14 am

I find it depends. I don't grieve for animals at all. Whenever pets have died, it has seemed to me something perfectly natural and simply what happens to a pet - even though I loved the pets when they were alive.

When people I knew through work and school, and relatives I didn't know so well, died, I processed it very logically. However, when my grandmother died, I was devastated. Largely, I think, because it was such a shock. She was always very 'larger than life', very strong, never complained about anything, and was kind of like a strong matriarchal figure for my family - although, oddly, I was never particularly close to her. She was very different from me. I knew she loved me though. And, quite simply, I think I'd always somehow believed she was immortal! Or at least, that she'd show signs of deterioriation, like other relatives had done, before dying. So for the first few weeks after she died, I was going round in a kind of daze, and getting easily 'overloaded' by the things that I normally use strategies not to be overloaded by, and zoning out and not being able to cope. And I also felt very sad for my grandad, who couldn't cope at all after she died.

My grandad was very like me and we understood each other - I am sure he was an Aspie, although he'd never heard of such a thing and I wouldn't have suggested it to him. My grandad kind of gave up on life after my granny died, and then he died a few years later. His death was somehow easier to accept, although I was much closer to him. He wanted to die, to be with my granny, so it felt cruel for him to be alive. But I was still sad when he died - more, perhaps, because of what seemed like the waste of life, the completely different person he'd turned into after my granny died, and how his old self (the self I identified with) never returned. I guess I'd always hoped it would return, and when he died, I realised it wouldn't.

I have no idea how similar or different my grieving was to that of most people. People kept telling me that everyone grieves differently. I wrote my feelings down every day in order to process them. That is generally what I do, because I often can't process feelings without writing them down, and something like a death can cause a blockage in processing because it's such a huge thing for the mind to take in - the idea that someone who was alive yesterday is now not alive.



Lisah
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13 Apr 2009, 7:54 am

Thank you for posting the topic of loss. My 6 year old is diagnosed with Apserger's and he does not seem to process death in the same way as everyone else. He and my grandmother were very close indeed. When she passed away I took him to the funeral and we sat in the kids room. He didn't have much reaction at all and certainly did not want to talk about her, so I didn't push it. The next week we went to her house (because my aunt still lived there) and he went straight into the livingroom, where she sat in her chair. He stood in the doorway for a few seconds, then walked over, sat in her chair, and life just seemed to go on. He never mentions her and looks uncomfortable if anyone does. I'm just so worried that I should be doing or saying something I am not. Our family cat died over the winter and he will not talk about that either. When his little sister brings up the cat he tries to avoid that as well.



KingdomOfRats
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13 Apr 2009, 8:06 am

animal,
it sounds common for ASDers to be atypical about death.
it's an individual thing anyway ASD or not,but a lot of silly people say anyone who isnt wearing black,falling over the grave screaming is a pyscho,coping has choice,choice is choosing how to cope.


Am do not understand death,and if something dies,its like they've ran off [in terms of animal that is,people death has no effect as do not connect with humans],am need to feel their body to begin to process it-even when its become home to maggots [as what happened with Fluffybum] to understand that they are stiff,not moving,wont be walking in the house again.

With some animals,it's been useless holding and feeling them,because its been completely impossible to process,still feels like they're going to walk in,some have set off major meltdowns,one happened after watching blackie being PTS in the vets office,never saw any pets being PTS after that.
Also will bury any wild animals that find lying around/stiff/not moving/with bits hanging out,am think humans wouldnt be left lying on the ground for anyone to walk on,kick and squish,so why should it be done to animals.


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velodog
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13 Apr 2009, 8:12 am

I guess people handle it in different ways. My Grandmother dying last June knocked my dick in the dirt. I felt lousy for months afterward. She taught me to read before Kindergarten so I was at or near the top in reading comprehension throughout my school years.



Sublyme
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13 Apr 2009, 8:51 am

When I was nine my maternal grandmother passed away after a long battle with ALS. I remember being about six years old when she stopped being able to walk. Then I remember when I was seven and a half when she stopped being able to speak. When I was eight she was confined to a bed and couldn't feed herself, bathe herself or or use a toilet. I remember hearing my father tell my mother that ALS is a degenerative neuromuscular disease, and that even though she couldn't speak or feed herself....she was still there, with her thoughts and feelings. When she passed away on Easter Sunday morning in 1990, I remember hearing my father talking to my mother talking about how to tell the kids (my sister and I). A feeling of euphoria swept over me.....not sadness. I was happy she was dead. I was happy for her to be free of the prison of the body she was kept in for the past three years. I did not cry, and I told my parents I was wanted to go to the viewing and the funeral, to say goodbye. I couldn't understand why everyone was crying, and seemed so sad. It did not seem to affect me the way it affected them.

At the age of nine, I understood the concept of death better than most adults do. To me death was a result of being born. If you are born, you will sooner or later die.....

A year and a half ago I lost my mother. She died in a similar way to her own mother did, although by a different neuromuscular degenerative disease...in this case it was MS, and unlike ALS, she lost a significant amount of her cognitive ability, first her short term memory, then her personality....then she slowly faded into catatonia. Her mind was gone three years before her body gave out. So while she was still alive, she was by all intents and purposes dead. I went to visit her, but she was a just the shell of the woman she had been. They kept telling us she's be dead in six months, in three months, in two weeks, in 24 hours....and she'd always stabilize. Then she a random muscle spasm in her leg caused her femur to break, resulting in a compound fracture, which would kill her due to sepsis if not treated surgically.....but at 74lbs and in very poor health....she had less than a 10% chance of surviving the surgery. We decided to go ahead with it anyway. I sort of felt that day like I was putting my dog to sleep.

Well she did pull through.....and something strange happened. She woke up. She was her smart ass, cynical, and slightly bitter self. She didn't realize that she had been gone for three years...she asked me how my new job was, which I started right before she sank into dementia and catatonia. She thought it was still 2004 and she was amazed to find out that we were still at war with Iraq. She was also sad to learn that Bush was still in office. She said she wanted to go back to school to get a master's degree. She complained about the food and how they didn't take very good car of her teeth at the nursing home. She was sad to see how gray her hair had gotten. She wanted to see her dog. I think she just woke up to say goodbye.....

She was awake for three weeks, and then gradually sank back into her catatonic state. Three months later we got a call that she was going to pass away and wouldn't live more than a couple days. We went to see her and her skin was mottled and cold. Her face looked sunken in.

That night she died....right in front of me. I hadn't ever seen anyone die before. Her breaths got slowly father and father apart until they were only coming every two minutes......I wasn't sure which one was her last....when there hadn't been one in over five minutes I called the funeral home and told them to come and get the body. My father and sister were crying. Again, like with my grandmother I wasn't sad. I was focused on what had to be done. The next day I called my fathers life insurance company. I went to the funeral home and paid them for the stuff the stuff that needed to be paid before the insurance check came. I went to the mall and I picked out an outfit for her for the viewing. I got pictures together...I ordered flowers...I contacted my family and friends.

I never did cry. The viewing and funeral felt surreal. I expected people to be crying, I knew I wouldn't be. I wasn't sad...I was sort numb....empty. I was just focused on not saying the wrong thing to people telling me how sorry they were, not letting a faint hint of relief show.

I still haven't cried. I do think of her often. I miss her. She was my mother. She gave birth to me, cared for me...believed in me, believed that I was just different and not defective....believed that I wouldn't end up in an institution as an adult...and she was right.

I just had a dream about her on Easter morning. I was at my parents house and she had just come home from a job interview. Her hair was black, she had makeup on, she was wearing a dress and she looked really pretty. I told her I hoped she got the job, and I gave her a hug. I could smell her hair.

So she's gone now....but occasionally I'll still see her in my dreams...so she's not completely gone.



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13 Apr 2009, 10:28 pm

KingdomOfRats: yeah I find it helpful to see the body too. It was good to visit my grandmother just after she'd died, to see her body. It helped me to understand it better.

Sublyme: I relate to how you felt about your grandmother - I was also glad that my grandmother was no longer suffering. And like your mother, she pretty much lost her entire personality to dementia. So it was like she was already dead, but her body was still around.



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13 Apr 2009, 10:52 pm

i lost my grandparent some years ago. i too was kindov "non affected" by it.
i was kinda worried about it, at the time i didnt know aspergers existed, and i hadnt lost a family member since i was very little

not crying, not grieving, etc, worried me. in an attempt to comfort me, she told me it was normal sometimes, and that i would most likely grieve and cry later, when it "hit me" that he was really gone.

now its... 3-4? years. still nothing, but now i know its relatively common among us weirdos :]


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