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Lost my brother and father within 20 days....

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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?




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My dear Kai, I'm so sorry to learn of all the significant losses you've endured, and all so close together. It's not at all surprising that you're feeling as you do: alone, lonely, misunderstood, unloved, alienated, uncertain whom you can trust, and in unrelenting pain. Your dad's sudden, unexpected death is bad enough, but to be followed shortly thereafter by the death by suicide of your brother ~ well, that is just way more than anyone can hope to cope with and manage without some sort of outside, professional support. I hope you will give serious consideration to finding a qualified counselor or therapist who specializes in grief and loss. This is way too much for you to sort out all by yourself. While it's good that you've found your way here to us ~ and where I know that you'll be among some of the most caring and compassionate people in the world ~ it's not enough. You need and deserve the kind of face-to-face, one-on-one attention that good, solid grief counseling will provide. If you're not sure how to go about finding it, you may find this article helpful: Finding Grief Support That Is Right for You ~ and be sure to see some of the articles listed at the base as well. Again, dear Kai, I am so very sorry, and my heart reaches out to you in your pain.

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My dear, I am crying as I read this.  To lose your beloved father is enough, more than enough, but then to lose your brother, and especially under these circumstances and fashion, it's just not fair.  Death is not fair.  It strikes where it does and cares not where the fallout lies.  I realize you've just experienced that point where everything in your life is before or after that day.  My own family had such a point.  It's life changing.  Nothing will seem the same from here forward.  But that's not to say there won't be good in your life, there will.  It's just that when death hits us with such magnitude, we are not left the same...we are changed by it.  Not all of that is bad, I have found many silver linings since my life altering event...the death of my sweet beloved husband twelve years ago.  It's made me a deeper person, more compassionate.  I can no longer take life for granted anymore...I live in the present and fully appreciate what is.  I ponder things I wouldn't have thought twice about before.

Let me tell you, I am so sorry for both of your losses.  Suicide in particular is very difficult to process in our minds, so much so that I strongly encourage you to seek a professional grief counselor.  Not just ANY counselor, but one trained especially in grief, one that will be able to guide you through this maze of grief and help you understand that this is not your fault, you did the right thing by getting your brother help, he was troubled and sometimes we want to stop the ebb that flows but it's not in our capacity to be able to do so.  Sometimes people have their own choices or can't see their way out.  It has nothing to do with how much your brother loved you.  It has nothing to do with what a great sister you were and still are.  It has to do with his own demons that troubled him.  And I'm so sorry for that.  He sought peace the only way he knew how to.  Oh that he could have seen his way out!  Sometimes clouds obscure their vision, and they just don't see the same way that you and I do.  Perhaps it has to do with their coping ability, I don't know.  I have known someone who commit suicide...a coworker, a close friend of mine's son, someone I had known all his life.  He was in his thirties.  This was someone I saw day in and day out.  We had no idea when we said goodnight on Friday evening that it would be our last.   I hope in addition to the article that Marty posted, that you will read this one as well:  http://www.griefhealingblog.com/2012/10/seeing-specialist-in-grief-counseling.html 

I do know what you speak of when you talk about your friends' reactions.  When my husband died, our friends disappeared.  We were not young, he was 51 and I 52.  Yet even so, our friends disappeared.  My two closest friends did not even attend his funeral!  People are uncomfortable with "death", they want to "fix" problems and this is something they cannot fix.  They don't know what to say.  They don't understand that there IS nothing they can say, all we need is for them to come and sit with us!  Instead, they withdraw, leaving us alone with our devastation.

Everything I read about you tells me you are a smart capable being, and you will get through this.  You may not feel like it right now, grief has a way of shaking our faith to the core, of making us question everything.  We will be here for you, we will listen, and we will understand....not everything, but what we can.  Your grief journey will be unique to you, just as you are unique and your situation is unique, but it will bear similarities to others in grief as well.  I invite you to come here... and visit our Tools for Healing section, the many articles written here and in Marty's blog.

I read about your ex's response (or lack of it) to you ...wow.  He sounds like my ex-fiance from 41 years ago.  I can tell you that you're better off without him, but then you already know that and that does nothing to help you right now...right now, that is another loss to get through, another thing that you did not need.  You needed someone you could count on, someone to be there for you, and he failed, badly.  No, that is not what you needed.  I've learned in life, sometimes we aren't afforded closure.  We feel we need it, but I've learned that we can move on without closure, I know because I've had to. Closure makes things so much neater, easier to deal with, but we can move past broken relationships even when we don't understand the "why" or know what really happened.  I went through such a thing very similar to you with a fiance that I had 41 years ago.  I still don't know the truth.  I still don't get it.  But it no longer haunts me, I let it go, I moved past it.  Now he is old, he never married, never had kids, and has pursued me in recent years, ha!  No, not interested.  The time for that is past, long past.  People can be odd and quite complicated.  I no longer care to analyze and try to figure them out, I don't have enough energy to waste any longer, I have my hands full with ME. :) 

You say this has destroyed your mother, and then you go on to say she is strong, just like you.  That may seem an incongruity to some people, but to someone who has been through grief, I understand.  Both statements are true.  The old her is destroyed...but who she is now is learning to be strong.  There may be some days she doesn't feel like it, days she doesn't feel like emerging from the covers to go about her day, but she gets up and does so anyway.  That takes courage...the courage we have when we least feel courageous.

You ask if you will ever be happy again.  Yes.  Will you ever be the same again?  No.  You will be a different person than the person you were the first 24 years, just as all of us who were profoundly touched by grief.  But you will be okay.  Grief is forever, but it does not stay the same, it evolves.  It will not stay in this intensity.  You will make your way through it, you will find your way, your own way.  But please enlist the help of a professional grief counselor.  In time you may want to try a grief support group.  It may or may not feel right to you, every group is different and they aren't for everyone.  The timing for you is important, you will know if it is something you want to be involved in or not. 

There is no timetable for grief.  No need to rush it.  It will take what it takes.  My heart goes out to you in your loss, I'm rooting for you.

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I am very sorry for your losses.  I lost my 5 year old daughter 24 years ago, and it seems like yesterday.  Some of my best friends did not know how to act around me after her death.  I was very hurt because I didn't understand why everyone's life went on as normal and my life would never be the same.  I finally realized that my friends were just as hurt about the loss as I was.  It took some time to figure out my "new normal".  I will say that the only thing that keeps me going is knowing that I will see my daughter in heaven one day.  As a Christian, I have that promise from God.  Please read the articles from the other posters and seek help from a certified counselor.  My husband and I struggled for years over the death of our daughter, and our marriage only got better after we met with a counselor.  Thinking of you!

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