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  1. It has been 2 and a half months since my Mom has been gone. We were on a weekend trip with my whole family the weekend she passed. I had gone to her hotel room and was talking to her. It was usual conversation. She had been struggling to get over bronchitis and definitely didn’t sound good that morning. I had told her she needed to get back to the doctor, actually. We were still joking and talking when all of a sudden she said she couldn’t breathe. We tried her inhaler and that did nothing. She said Heather, I can’t breathe. I called 911 and watched her as she turned purple then blue. She fell and hit her head on the nightstand which resulted in a huge, open laceration on her forehead when I got up to open the hotel door for my Dad because he didn’t have the key with him. I got her laid out on the floor and tried to do cpr but I know I was not pressing hard enough. When the ambulance finally arrived they put a machine on to pump her heart for her and they rushed her to the emergency room. They tried to get her back but they couldn’t. The ER physician said she wouldn’t have any brain function. I still don’t feel like it’s real. I was so out of my mind that I didn’t know my family turned down the autopsy and not knowing what took my young mother of only 57 years old is so hard to live with every day. I feel so guilty that I wasn’t doing cpr correctly. What kind of a mother doesn’t know how to do this correctly? I am haunted by the scared look on her face knowing she was terrified and I could do nothing. I watched my mother die. She was my best friend. We talked every day. I relied on her for motherly advice as I am the mother of four little daughters. I feel like I am just going through the motions of my daily life but I don’t feel present. I honestly don’t remember half of what I’ve done since her passing. It’s all a blur of sadness. I feel like it is hard for my friends to relate as they are all lucky and still have their mothers. My husband does understand some of what I am feeling as we lost his Mom a few years back as well. It’s just different because my mom and I shared a very powerful bond that not everyone is lucky to share with their mom. I worry that when we die- we are just dead and that is it. I am questioning my faith more than ever. I am scared that I won’t see her again and I am terrified that after death we are just gone forever. I also find myself obsessively wondering if my mom knows she is gone. She had so many plans and wanted to watch her grandkids grow up. What kind of sense do any of these thoughts make? I just feel so very lost and sad. I replay her last moments over and over again and it is so hard. I know she wouldn’t want me to do this but getting over that is not something I am doing well at. I don’t know how to process or deal with any of this. I have thought about grief counseling but living in Illinois during this COVID pandemic has prevented me from being able to attend face to face grief counseling. I cannot meet with a counselor over a computer screen. It would be too awkward for me I think. I just don’t know what to do or where to go from here. I feel so lost.
  2. Hi. I'm 24 years old, and I have gone through the biggest tragedy ever to fall on my family. My beloved father passed away unexpectedly of a massive cardiac arrest. He was a healthy man with no history of cardiac problems or any major health related illnesses. He was an exceptional dentist, loving husband, and a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful soul. He passed away on April 7, 2017. I was devastated. I grew up with three younger brothers, and naturally they bonded with each other while I was always an outsider. My father had always sheltered me and he befriended me at a very young age. I learned to depend on him as a friend and as a father, and later on as a mentor as I chose to pursue the same profession as him. Our bond was unique and it was much more than just a father daughter relationship. We were the best of friends, and he would always adjust his role according to what I needed...from being a fashion advisor to an older brother to my best critic...the list goes on. He was the center of my universe. After his death, I tried my best to cope with his sudden departure. I kept telling myself he's now at peace and no longer under the tremendous amounts of stress he was dealing with during the last year of his life. I found peace when I told myself I could have him live through me through our shared passion for life, nature, and dentistry. I aim to be the best dentist I can push myself to be to carry on my father's legacy. I managed to be progressive even after my dad's death. Ten days later, I was on a train to Boston to find a quiet place to work on my college applications, and I managed to write a very moving personal statement. I returned home feeling like I had done something my father would be proud of. My feelings of contentment were short lived. My younger brother wasn't doing well after my dad's death. He became very aggressive and mentally unstable. I had to send him to the hospital out of fear that he may hurt himself or someone around him. After returning from Boston, my brother returned home the next day after a two weeks stay in the behavioral sciences section of the hospital. I was really worried he would be angry with me because I was the reason why he was locked up in a room. He didn't want me visiting him at the hospital during those two weeks. Naturally, I decided not to be home when he returned as to not upset him. He came out looking for me. He was very weak and could barely gather enough strength to walk more than five mins. He was on heavy antipsychotics and was always tired and drowsy. He came to find me on his longboard and gave me the tightest hug and told me how much he loved me. He thanked me for sending him away and told me how it was important and someone had to do it for him. For a second there, during that moment.... time stood still and I almost forgot my father had passed away. Just for a few seconds, I felt like everything was okay and everything will continue to be okay because my brother was there, and I could always fall back for him to catch me. My brother killed himself three days later. No one saw it coming. We all thought he was getting better. He was twenty. It was the 29th of April, just three weeks after my father's death. I was devastated. Beyond heart broken. I was confused and angry. I didn't understand why he left the way he did. I felt guilty. I felt as if I wasn't a great enough sister to him...that I didn't try hard enough to understand him. My brother was a very conflicted young adult. I always tried my best to reach out to him, but he would never want to talk about himself. He was battling his own demons, and he didn't want to share anything about himself with anyone...not even his own parents. Even though I have lost two family members within 20 days, I am still able to function and perform my daily tasks and carry out my responsibilities. I am broken inside. The pain doesn't go. But I try my best to not fall into despair. The reason why I am writing here is because I am just so tired of not being understood by anyone. By being alienated and losing people who I thought were my friends. People have just stopped talking to me or reaching out to me, and they say things like "we don't know what to say". I don't like it when people say that or when people tell me to be strong for my mother and my remaining two younger brothers. I am strong enough as it is to be able to continue living my life and working hard for my dreams. I was in a long distance relationship for three years. We met every six months and spent hours over the phone daily. We were planning to end the distance once I graduated from graduate school. When my dad died, I asked my boyfriend to leave. I wanted to be alone and didn't have the energy in me to share my emotions or anything with anyone else. He refused to leave and told me he would be there for me as my comfort and support. He followed through for two days and then he got lousy. I wouldn't hear from him for two or three days and then he would resurface and talk to me. Sometimes I would have to call him out and ask him why he wasn't paying me any attention. I didn't expect or want long phone calls or Skype sessions. He couldn't visit me because his visa was still pending. I just felt better waking up every morning receiving a loving or encouraging text from him. Was that too much to ask for? He would blame his work or he would tell me he was busy with family. And whenever we did talk, he never really asked me how I felt or what I was going through and if I did express how I truly felt after my dad's death, he would never know what to say. That didn't bother me though because I don't really think there is anything that anyone can say to make me feel any better especially when my loss was so recent and so unexpected. He and I ended up discussing a trip to see him because he couldn't come visit me. I booked my flight to see him three weeks after. While waiting for my flight, I continued to feel that he wasn't really being there for me the way I would have liked him to be. I even told him what I wanted from him, he would do it for a day and then he would get lousy and disappear again. At this point, I had decided that I was going to see him and break up with him in person because I didn't need someone like him during my time of need and vulnerability. (Im a very self sufficient woman and I've learned to depend on myself only and I know exactly how to take care of myself. I left home to study in a foreign country at the age of 18 and that helped me grow in so many ways.). However, my brother passed away a week later and I was beyond shattered. When my boyfriend found out, he came back to being an affectionate and caring boyfriend. He said all the right things and paid attention to me. I forgot about dumping him and liked how he was being caring. He started counting down days and told me he had a surprise trip planned, and that I wouldn't know where we were traveling until I met him. I went along with it. I had a pleasant distraction, something to look forward to just for a short time. I went to see him. The first three days were pleasant. He was a doting and affectionate boyfriend. We did everything a normal couple would do. We were happy. I felt at peace. After three days, I found out the surprise was a six day trip to Portugal. I thought it was very sweet of him. We got to Portugal and the next day, we went to see Lisbon. We were sitting by the water when he chose to tell me that he felt happiest when he was alone and that he didn't want marriage or kids. He told me he no longer saw a future with me because I wanted to eventually get married and have kids. I was so shocked. It made no sense. He was always the one who would talk about kids with me. I would feel uncomfortable because it would make me feel pressured. I wasn't ready for kids or marriage and I told him that. And his reply was that I want it in a few years and he doesn't want either things at all. I honestly don't believe it. I also know he wasn't cheating on me. I feel like he was a coward and he chickened out when my life fell apart and he didn't know what to do. He was afraid of commitment and responsibility. I was the partner who was always the most giving, and when I stopped giving and became vulnerable and it was my time to take, he wasn't ready to give. He was selfish and immature that way. He told me how he thought I was perfect and how he knows no one will ever love him the way I do..but he has big plans on establishing a huge business and retiring by the age of 40 and that for him to make his plans a reality he needs to sacrifice certain things in order to live other dreams. I was really shocked. He told me that he loved me but not the way I loved him. He told me he loved himself too much. He told me that he wanted to continue knowing about me as a very good friend. I booked the first flight out and chose to leave him. He spent the last few hours holding on to me and asking me to keep in touch as a friend...telling me he didn't want to lose me. It wasn't fair to me, and it was confusing that he wanted that. He still texts me asking me how I am doing. I don't reply. All this is pretty recent. It happened just a week ago. On top of all this, a friend who Ive been friends with for ten years told me I was no longer welcomed at her place. I had stayed at her house for three days and one night we were talking about how I was feeling. I have a hard time crying, and don't reallyy cry much. I get frustrated. I ended up getting frustrated and was shouting about how I felt while being frustrated and she took it personally. I'm beyond disappointed and shocked that some people can be so ruthless and cruel even to people like me who have lost so much and it's all so recent. I am trying my best to keep it all together, but inside Im just really disappointed and hurt. I feel so lonely. I know I am better off without these two people in my life, but it still doesn't take away the hurt or disappointment. My ex showed no empathy or emotion as he sat there saying hurtful things, breaking my heart. And as I sat there crying, he listened to music on his phone using his headphones and ignored me. He never had the decency to drop me off at the airport. I had to take a cab on my own at four am in a country where I didn't even speak the language. I know I am better off without him. I will never reply to him or give him any satisfaction. I just don't understand why he won't stop texting me. I don't know why he behaved the way he did. The reason he gave me seems like bullshit to me. I don't buy it, and because I don't believe it, I don't really have closure. I know there's no point asking him because he won't give me any answers. Im just really lost and confused. I feel so alone. My life seems to be chore right now. I have some really pleasant days and then I have days where I don't want to talk to anyone and just want to be miserable. It's only been a month and three weeks since everything happened. Im tired of grieving and being sad. It exhausts me and then I feel guilty because I know both my father and brother wouldn't want to see me be miserable..but I can't help it. I am happy and then I wish I could share my happiness with them and when I realize I cant, I become sad. It's a cycle. I also don't know who is being kind to me because they actually want to be kind and they care or they're just being kind because they cant help but feel sorry for me. Everything just seems really confusing and overwhelming right now. On the outside, if someone were to meet me, they wouldn't know about what Ive been going through. I laugh and smile and make jokes and behave normal. But inside, I just feel this void and it gets bigger everytime someone hurts me. I feel alone and lonely. I feel like no one understands. I lost unconditional love when my father passed away. My father and brother's death destroyed my mother, and no one is really the same anymore. She's being strong just like me. We all seem to behave normally to anyone who meets us. I hate feeling alienated and alone. I wonder if I'll ever find love. I cant believe my boyfriend left me the way he did. He could have left when I told him to and when I was ready to let go. It was more painful that he played with me for three days before he told me what he really wanted. I know I am being redundant. I should stop now. I've been holding it all in for so long. I just dont understand how some people can be so cruel. Will I ever be loved? Will I ever be able to be happy without feeling sad about it later? K.
  3. My brother was 56 years old. We were a family of five - my parents, my older brother, my sister and me. I am the youngest. Our parents have both passed away in the last couple years. I was prepared for them to depart because of their multiple health issues. I knew that my brother had both high blood pressure and diabetes. For the last year - for whatever reason, he chose not to treat them. His nickname for me since I was a child was Snickelfritz. He called me on the morning of May 20 to tell me that he had been diagnosed with congestive heart failure. I know he was scared. I got in my car and was down there in a couple hours. Within 40 minutes of being there, he collapsed and suffered a massive heart attack. I called 911 and started chest compression. But I knew in my heart that he was gone... My dad and i had a very distant relationship - he was not emotionally stable and was not a nurturing, caring force in my life. My brother was. He taught me so much - he was my surrogate father. He was kind, gentle, lovable, humble, sincere, genuine, generous (to a fault). Here is my eulogy that I wrote: Our family thanks everyone for coming to celebrate Bob’s life. Some of you have known him for decades and others for only a brief time. But what comes through regardless is that he was universally respected and cherished. Bob’s life can be best summed up with the quote “Preach the gospel, and if necessary, use words. Bob’s attitude, love, grace and generosity was exuded through his every-day actions. He was exuberant about his love and showered those in his life with kindness, care and the knowledge that if he’s around everything will be just fine. He was fun loving, genuine and selfless. Everyone who knows him, even for a minute amount of time, could sense that he was good-natured, and a gentle soul of a man. He touched so many lives here and away – we will likely never know the scale or the impact of his reach. He was dedicated to his entire family and his friends. He was tireless in helping others, often sacrificing his needs to help better other’s lives. He lived a simple life, took great pride in his work, and was a natural with children and animals. I think it’s safe to say that he did not have a mean bone in his body. Our family is indelibly proud of him – despite the fact that he was so humble – he will forever remain a giant in our hearts and our memories. During the past days since he departed, we have heard so many stories of how Bob helped them or touched them in small and sometimes grand ways. We would venture to say that all who had him in their life were better for it. We all owe him a great deal of thanks. Today, tomorrow and throughout the future, we encourage everyone to honor Bob’s memory by paying it forward. A simple way to keep a piece of Bob with you is to give your help, your money, your time, your talent. Be compassionate to others, smile, consider becoming a donor at the end of your life, and always, always be kind.
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