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Raven13

Overwhelming number of losses

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I am new to this forum, and would like to say I really love the concept, I finally feel maybe just a little bit less alone in this...

I’ve endured an overwhelming number of losses in the last few years.. the very first loss I recall was when I was about 9 years old - it was my grandmother. She and my mother were very close and so when my grandmother passed, my mother became very depressed and really changed completely - as a kid I couldn’t fully comprehend this change, but now, I kind of understand...

Six years ago I lost my mother - she wound up with an infection that spread to her bloodstream (sepsis) after a hip replacement surgery and her organs failed rapidly - her heart stopped while I was sitting in the ICU waiting room as they called a “code blue” - the ptsd of this still hits me when I work in the hospital to this day. 

Two years ago I lost my father unexpectedly - he passed away in his apartment. A police office came to my door to deliver the news which I, again, had to deliver to everyone, including my two brothers. 

Six months later my brother passed away at 38 unexpectedly - this consisted of a late night phone call and police visit to my home, and again, I was responsible for delivering the news. Another ptsd type situation - any time I hear the door bell and it’s not expected I immediately panic and think “who’s dead now?”. 

Last month I lost my aunt to metastatic lung cancer. Now there’s an interesting twist to this - she was actually my biological mother - so my aunt (her sister) actually adopted me at birth (my adoptive mother who passed in 2013) - I’ve known since I was about 21 - so it was like a double whammy mom loss for me. 

At this point I’m just angry, bitter and really can’t stand being around others, mostly because their petty problems just can’t ever amount to the tragedies I’ve endured, and I realize how wrong that sounds... There’s layers of dysfunction and chaos that go along with all of those losses as well (DEEP layers), but even without that, no one, NOT A SINGLE FRIEND, can relate. It is incredibly lonely and makes me want to isolate myself even more. 

I am only 34 years old. I have not even gotten married or had any children yet and it feels like everyone is gone. The aching is just so strong and I can’t help but express my pain in anger - I don’t cry often, instead I just get mad at the world. 

I really hope no one else has endured this amount of loss, but I could really use some support from those who understand to some degree. I don’t really know what to do... 

 

 

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My dear, I am amazed that you're still standing in the wake of all this overwhelming loss. You don't say what, if any, support (professional or otherwise) you've received to guide you in navigating through all of this grief ~ but I hope you will consider finding a qualified grief counselor or therapist who specializes in traumatic loss. This is way too much for you to manage all by yourself, and I strongly encourage you to think of this as a gift you can give to yourself. There are many resources available to you; you just need to spend some time looking for them.You might begin by asking your primary care physician or your local hospice organization for a list of providers in your area.

Here are some articles that you may find helpful to get you started ~ and note that every article has links to related resources listed at its base:

Finding Grief Support That Is Right For You

Seeing a Specialist in Grief Counseling: Does It Matter?

Coping with Cumulative Losses

In Grief: Coping with Multiple Losses

Coping with Traumatic Loss: Suggested Resources

 

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15 hours ago, Raven13 said:

At this point I’m just angry, bitter and really can’t stand being around others, mostly because their petty problems just can’t ever amount to the tragedies I’ve endured, and I realize how wrong that sounds...

It doesn't sound wrong to me at all!  It's common in grief, loss has put things into a different perspective to us and it's kind of hard to listen to people who broke their fingernail when our whole life as we knew it has been pulled out from under us.  

I am so sorry for all of your losses, that's a whole lot to handle.  I've had a lot of losses too but more time to go through them...I lost my aunt when I was a little girl, I lost my nephew (age 3) when I was 14, my dad when I was 29, eventually my grandparents and many uncles, my husband was barely 51 when he died, my mom died four years ago, my sister one year ago tomorrow.  I remember after my husband died and I'd lost multiple pets within the next two years, crying out to God, "Can't I keep ANYBODY???!"  You get to where you feel like that.

I hope you will consider grief counseling and a grief support group, you are not alone in what you are going through, it's just your select group of friends haven't experienced it yet, but it helps to know there are others going through the same things that can relate to your losses.

I wrote this article about ten years after my husband died, and I hope you will find something in it that will be of help to you, the best advice I ever got was taking a day at a time.  The other big life changer for me was looking for something good in each day, no matter how small.

TIPS TO MAKE YOUR WAY THROUGH GRIEF

There's no way to sum up how to go on in a simple easy answer, but I encourage you to read the other threads here, little by little you will learn how to make your way through this.  I do want to give you some pointers though, of some things I've learned on my journey.

  • Take one day at a time.  The Bible says each day has enough trouble of it's own, I've found that to be true, so don't bite off more than you can chew.  It can be challenging enough just to tackle today.  I tell myself, I only have to get through today.  Then I get up tomorrow and do it all over again.  To think about the "rest of my life" invites anxiety.
  • Don't be afraid, grief may not end but it evolves.  The intensity lessens eventually.
  • Visit your doctor.  Tell them about your loss, any troubles sleeping, suicidal thoughts, anxiety attacks.  They need to know these things in order to help you through it...this is all part of grief.
  • Suicidal thoughts are common in early grief.  If they're reoccurring, call a suicide hotline.  I felt that way early on, but then realized it wasn't that I wanted to die so much as I didn't want to go through what I'd have to face if I lived.  Back to taking a day at a time.  Suicide Hotline - Call 1-800-273-8255
  • Give yourself permission to smile.  It is not our grief that binds us to them, but our love, and that continues still.
  • Try not to isolate too much.  
  • There's a balance to reach between taking time to process our grief, and avoiding it...it's good to find that balance for yourself.  We can't keep so busy as to avoid our grief, it has a way of haunting us, finding us, and demanding we pay attention to it!  Some people set aside time every day to grieve.  I didn't have to, it searched and found me!
  • Self-care is extremely important, more so than ever.  That person that would have cared for you is gone, now you're it...learn to be your own best friend, your own advocate, practice self-care.  You'll need it more than ever.
  • Recognize that your doctor isn't trained in grief, find a professional grief counselor that is.  We need help finding ourselves through this maze of grief, knowing where to start, etc.  They have not only the knowledge, but the resources.
  • In time, consider a grief support group.  If your friends have not been through it themselves, they may not understand what you're going through, it helps to find someone somewhere who DOES "get it". 
  • Be patient, give yourself time.  There's no hurry or timetable about cleaning out belongings, etc.  They can wait, you can take a year, ten years, or never deal with it.  It's okay, it's what YOU are comfortable with that matters.  
  • Know that what we are comfortable with may change from time to time.  That first couple of years I put his pictures up, took them down, up, down, depending on whether it made me feel better or worse.  Finally, they were up to stay.
  • Consider a pet.  Not everyone is a pet fan, but I've found that my dog helps immensely.  It's someone to love, someone to come home to, someone happy to see me, someone that gives me a purpose...I have to come home and feed him.  Besides, they're known to relieve stress.  Well maybe not in the puppy stage when they're chewing up everything, but there's older ones to adopt if you don't relish that stage.
  • Make yourself get out now and then.  You may not feel interest in anything, things that interested you before seem to feel flat now.  That's normal.  Push yourself out of your comfort zone just a wee bit now and then.  Eating out alone, going to a movie alone or church alone, all of these things are hard to do at first.  You may feel you flunked at it, cried throughout, that's okay, you did it, you tried, and eventually you get a little better at it.  If I waited until I had someone to do things with I'd be stuck at home a lot.
  • Keep coming here.  We've been through it and we're all going through this together.
  • Look for joy in every day.  It will be hard to find at first, but in practicing this, it will change your focus so you can embrace what IS rather than merely focusing on what ISN'T.  It teaches you to live in the present and appreciate fully.  You have lost your big joy in life, and all other small joys may seem insignificant in comparison, but rather than compare what used to be to what is, learn the ability to appreciate each and every small thing that comes your way...a rainbow, a phone call from a friend, unexpected money, a stranger smiling at you, whatever the small joy, embrace it.  It's an art that takes practice and is life changing if you continue it.
  • Eventually consider volunteering.  It helps us when we're outward focused, it's a win/win.

(((hugs))) Praying for you today.

 

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