adelina

multiple losses

5 posts in this topic

Can someone help please?  I am confused.

20 Nov 2016 I lost a student of mine to death under influence of substance (he jumped out of a hotel window hallucinated and imaging he could fly after a wild party).  I broke news to his parents abroad and with the school chaplain, pretty much took his memorial service first on 27 Nov, and then funeral on 7th Dec.  The same evening as I returned from his funeral, totally depleted physically and emotionally, my husband broke news of my friend's unexpected death the day before, 6 Dec, due to a heart condition, aged 56. She was the only one I confided in about the student's funeral a few days prior to the funeral.  A date was finally set for her funeral on 7 Jan 2017.  Late afternoon on 5 Jan, I received a phone call from family members that my half brother (somebody very special and meant a lot to me,in my oriental culture, he was always my brother as there is no word for 'half brother' in my language) had passed away  earlier that afternoon, and in a follow-up phone communication I was told that his cremation would actually take place on the same day as my friend's (a very swift development apparently common practice in Spain).  I attended my friend's funeral in the end, as I could not get any air ticket to fly out within such a short space of time.  I cried at my friend's funeral, remembering the circumstances under which I was told of her death, also agonising for the fact that another funeral was taking place at the same time,of which I should have but could not be part of. I eventually made my way to be with family on 21 Jan for a few days.

A friend of mine said to me last Sunday, '... it's still early days, especially for such extraordinary multiple losses...' after learning that I had not taken any time off since it all happened last November and that I had little support and no counselling.  But I thought I have been coping at work and I should be able to carry on functioning at work, because all this will fade and it's better to let it fade, isn't it?  I am very confused with my approach with the multiple losses ( a term I only learned two days ago online) because I believed that it would work, but my friend was concerned as more and more tears streamed down my face as the conversation deepened and emotions seemed intensified.  But I thought everything was fading...  Nevertheless I have been reading stuff about grief and losses for the first time since Sunday and that's how I came across this forum.  Can someone tell me if I am doing it right to let it fade and carry on as I have been for the past weeks? Should I be seeking professional help?

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First of all, my dear, I want to assure you that what you are experiencing is normal under the circumstances you describe. You've been literally bombarded with one significant loss after another, which would overwhelm any one of us.

You ask "Should I be seeking professional help?" It's important to know that grief is a normal, natural response to the loss of someone dearly loved; it is not a pathological condition or some form of mental illness. It is a mistake, however, to think that the passage of time will take care of it ~ and that is why your approach of "letting it fade" is not working for you. Time in itself does nothing to heal grief. It is what we do with the time that matters. So yes, you might consider a session or two with a qualified grief counselor or therapist who specializes in grief and loss (not all therapists do) ~ Doing so will give you the support and guidance you deserve as you work your way through each of these losses, and will help you understand whatever reactions you may be having. You're also wise to continue "reading stuff about grief and losses" because that will help as well. Knowing what to expect in normal grief is empowering, because as you come to better understand why you're feeling as you do, you can learn to manage your own reactions. Being here with fellow mourners also helps you discover that you are not alone; others have been or still are exactly where you are now ~ and you'll come to see that if they can find a way to survive their losses, then you can do so as well.

Truly, adelina, I think your emotions seemed intensified the more you talked with your friend because you have thoughts and strong feelings about each of these losses and your grief is demanding your attention. The more you attend to it, the less intense it becomes. Similarly, the more you work to avoid or suppress those thoughts and feelings, the stronger they become and the more energy it takes to keep them at bay. Feelings expressed can be released. Feeling suppressed will fester and boil until eventually they can be contained no longer. It's a matter of deciding to take control of your grief ~ or of letting the grief control you.

I hope you'll spend some time reading through many of the threads you'll find here in our forums, as well as some of the articles we recommend, as I think that alone will help you. See, for example, some of the listings here: Marty's Articles and Voices of Experience 

You are among kindred spirits here, my dear, and we're pleased that you've found your way to us. Welcome.

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Thank you so much Marty - I am utterly speechless that someone, literally a stranger, would care enough to reply with such compassion and wisdom.  This is such a powerful act of compassion that I have not come across - I am calling a local charity for grief counselling today because I do want to do it properly now that I know I have to face it called grief.  Thank you once again for everything.  God bless you and this ministry.

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adelina,

Marty's answer was perfect, I can add nothing more to it, but I do want to tell you I am so sorry for your losses.  To have multiples losses pile up compounds your grief, and I am glad to hear you'll see a professional grief counselor that can help you navigate your way through your grief journey.  I wish you the best in your journey.

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kayc, thank you for being so kind and supportive - I don't know you but I truly am grateful for your encouragement. God bless you and your journey too.

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