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Too Many Losses


ousontmesamis

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I don't know what to say, what to do, or where to go anymore. I have lost four very good friends within a 10 month time span - two to death, one to multiple strokes and the other is in a psych institution for the entirety of his life. They were all my good friends, friends I trusted, friends I confided in, friends I did things with; they were all I had, and, now, they are gone. I am lost, sad, alone, and as each and every day goes by I get lonelier and lonelier without them. It's being with people, being with strangers, being around my classmates which just makes me feel lonely, even lonelier and enraged. It makes me miss my friends; it just makes me want my friends even more. My friend with the stroke is out of state in a stroke home. My other friend that is in the psych institution his mind is so far gone that he can't recognize his friends and family anymore. And, there's no way to be with the dead.

I get so angry when people (my college academic advisor, it was "Mich****" and now it is "P*" and whoever else) discount my losses by telling me to leave them (my friends) in the past, move on, and meet other people. The last loss of my losses was six months ago. How am I to get over something so fresh let alone the three other losses? Maybe, I'm just being a big baby or I'm just feeling sorry for myself, I don't know anymore. Meet other people, my god, what insensitive advice! People are turned off by me anyway, by my despondency. That was some pretty good advice, "Mich****" and "P*", to give me about meeting new people!

In my one class, we had to work in pairs. So, then, this girl, "Kat**", pairs up with me but after some time she had started getting frustrated and fed up with me by my not being able to concentrate and focus that she suddenly stopped talking to me toward the end of the semester and she took up with another guy in the class. When it came to finals, in a hall of 200 seats, I looked around for "Kat**", I couldn't find her, so, then, I searched for my classmates. I finally found the familiar faces of my search so I sat in the far left of the row with them. Some minutes later I had looked up over at the far right of the next row and I see "Kat***" sitting next to "Ga***", the other guy in the class she had taken up with, I waved to her, she looked right through me as if she didn’t want me to have seen her, man, it just killed me. I wasn't able to concentrate on the exam all that was on my mind was why she had cast me aside the way she did.

I’m trying to take people’s advice meeting other people; it’s just not working. I can’t bring myself to feel fine. I can’t bring myself to get out of feeling this great sadness, this grief, this loneliness, this big loss.

I had met this other girl in my other class who is still grieving the death of her boyfriend some five years later. She moved back to her home state. Another loss for me.

Am I just being self-centered, self-absorbed? I say this because all I have been doing is letting this grief become the center of my life; I’m not being there for the living, I keep to myself feeling nothing but sadness and self-pity.

Edited by ousontmesamis
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My dear friend,

Sadly enough, the death of a friend too often is dismissed as insignificant, or somehow less important than the death of a family member, which leaves the bereaved feeling isolated, unsupported, and left alone to deal with the heartache of loss.

If grief is neither acknowledged nor supported, if it goes underground and remains hidden from others, it can become troublesome in any case, but most especially in a situation such as yours: when you are young and less experienced with loss; when the losses are multiple; and when you are away at school and separated from home and familiar surroundings, from your own family and the families of the friends you have lost.

In his insightful article, Friendgrief: The Adolescent as the Forgotten Mourner, Rabbi Earl Grollman writes,

Time does not automatically heal suffering. Time does not completely heal a broken heart; it only instructs how to live with it. For the young . . . a romance that ends with death can seem especially cruel. It may hurt so much that the survivor may wish to die, too. Such pain can be so enormous, and the anguish so intense. Try to reach out to your parents and other family members. Explain honestly what you are feeling. They’re not mind readers. They won’t understand unless you tell them. Don’t withdraw from friends and others. They may be experiencing similar emotions but are also afraid to share their feelings. Teachers, guidance counselors, clergy, and health care professionals may be of tremendous help during this disquieting period. You might drop by and visit the family of your friend and share some of your memories. As you relive these experiences, you will not only help them, but yourself as well. Healing involves being willing to hurt more now in order someday to hurt less. The invisible consequences of a close acquaintance’s death must be understood, expressed, and shared. Friendgrief is a painful reality for young and old alike.

[source: “Friendgrief: The Adolescent as the Forgotten Mourner,” by Rabbi Earl A. Grollman, in Journeys: A Newsletter to Help in Bereavement, January 2007, page 3, published by Hospice Foundation of America, www.hospicefoundation.org, 800-854-3402.]

It concerns me that you say “people (my doctor, therapist, college advisor, and whoever else) discount my losses by telling me to leave them (my friends) in the past, move on, and meet other people.” If that is the case, I am left to wonder what these people know and understand about the normal grief process, and what qualifies them to be counseling you in your grief – and I would strongly encourage you to look elsewhere for the help you need and deserve.

How do you find grief support in your own community? Call your telephone operator or public library and ask for the numbers for your local mental health association or your local suicide prevention center. Either agency will have good grief referral lists, and you need not be suicidal to get a grief referral from a suicide prevention center. Use the Yellow Pages and call hospitals and hospices near you. Ask to speak with the Bereavement Coordinator, Social Worker, or Chaplain's Office to get a local grief referral. Many hospitals and hospices provide individual and family grief support to clients for up to one year following a death, and offer bereavement support groups to the general public at no cost. In addition, The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization maintains a database of hospices for each state in the United States. To search for a hospice in your own community, click on Find a Hospice Program.

You might also find this article helpful, along with other resources you’ll find listed on the Death of a Friend page of my Grief Healing Web site:

Coping with Friendship Endings because of Death, by Jan Yager.

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ousontmesamis,

I'm so sorry for all your losses. I, too, have suffered multiple losses in the past two years (most of them in the first two months of '05) and it is overwhelming enough to lose one person, let alone many. It is hard, if not almost impossible, to "make new friends and just get on with your life" as so many have told you. Marty is so right about them not knowing what they're talking about! And her advice to get in touch with someone who deals specifically with grief is so important. I would suggest a support group because you would meet other people who won't treat you like you have the plague, because they understand your feelings. And it would make you feel less lonely. You might even be lucky enough to find one that deals with your age group (I don't know how old you are, but I assume fairly young, with the mention of school).

What you are feeling is normal. The lack of concentration and sadness and not wanting to be around others....all normal. If you want to be by yourself for awhile and not interact with others, that's ok. You just have to give yourself time to let your mind deal with all of this. Hang in there. And think about the support group, I think it would really help.

Hugs to you,

Shell

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Marty and Shell, thank you for your kind support and resources. Shell, how are you dealing with your losses, what are you going through?

They are still suggesting that I get it together and get involved with student organizations, and, all I've been doing this semester is snapping at instructors and classmates during class projects, the same as last semester. That will definitely win me new friends.

This is the first that someone's death is affecting me this way. I have never felt these feelings before; it is all new to me. When does it get better? I have never felt this way when my grandparents died. There is also a lot of guilt that I have for not spending the time with my friend; I chose my studies over him. If I had been there then the paramedics would have been able to save him in time instead of his having to die alone and a real estate agent finding his body five days later.

It's strange how he came to me in a dream telling me that it was his time to go, that he was going to a better place, that he was finally happy and free, and he told me not to be sad. It is also strange that I didn't see his face as he was saying those things to me; it was like I was seeing through his eyes the place that he was going to. This dream came to me on the day he died and it was before I found out he died. This wasn’t the first time I had a dream like this. The other time was when my grandpa died. I had that dream at the exact time he died. I just dismiss it as coincidence. How could it be a coincidence when I hadn’t expected their deaths. They weren’t dying or given a death sentence. So, it wasn’t expected.

I should check out Sandy and Ocallah.

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Ousontmesamis,

You asked how I am dealing with it. One day at a time. That's about all you can do. Some days are ok and others I'm a mess. Unfortunately, there is no timetable as to when it goes away. Because it will never go away, but you will learn to live with the losses. Reading books on grief really helps.

Is there any way you could leave school for a few months to just get in touch with your feelings and grieve? Everyone pushing you is not helping, I know! It takes time to go through all the ranges of emotions and heal. And don't feel guilty about your friend. I believe strongly in fate, and for some reason, you just weren't meant to be there maybe.

I think your dreams are fascinating and very important. Take comfort in them.

Keep posting and letting your feelings out. We all care very much here and will try to help you any way we can.

Hugs to you,

Shell

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  • 2 weeks later...

I dropped this semester and I have found online a few bereavement support groups. I'll check them out. I know I've said this before but I can't believe how insensitive people really are. "It was just a friend, get over it, you can always make new friends." I say to them, (please, forgive me, I mean not to offend anyone here in the forum) "yeah, you can always make a new brother or sister or some other family member who has dearly departed." There is disgust in the tone of my voice when I say it. Sure, I've lost other friends, not to death, but to some other reason and I was able to move on with my life unlike now. I made other friends but I still had my other living friends that I stayed in touch with. Maybe, it's because I never had a friend who died before. Maybe, it's because I never had a friend that I was really close to, that I really had a connection with, die. His death was unexpected which didn't leave me well prepared. His death has hit me the hardest than his girlfriend's death, my friend who had the stroke, and my other friend who was sent to a psych institution.

It seems I have so much anger that I have never had before.

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ousontmesamis,

Anger is such a huge part of grief. I thought of hanging up a punching bag just so I could go beat the devil out it when my anger surfaces! I may still do that. It is normal to feel anger and you just have to let those feelings out (in a non-violent, constructive way, of course, which goes without saying!)

People are incredibly insensitive. My mom seemed to get dementia or alzheimers from the day my dad died (two years ago this month) and when I cry over her behavior, my brother tells me that this is just the way it's going to be from now on and that it's just going to get worse and I have to live with it. He doesn't understand why her memory loss and irratic, sometimes mean, behavior towards me bothers me so much! I want to say, "Duh....what the hel* do you mean, WHY does it bother me so much?" I basically lost my mom the same day as my dad. I just don't understand people who are that cold and insensitive. They are not even worth a reply, so try to walk away from them.

Hang in there and take care of yourself. It's tough, I know.

Hugs,

Shell

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shell

Have you told your brother how you feel by what he says to you? I understand how your mother's erratic behavior bothers you. I grew up with a borderline mother and her verbally abusive behavior always hurt me. It still does to this day. It's hard not to take it personally. I know for me my mother meant every hurtful word she ever said. I'm just not sure of your reasons.

My aunt came over for a visit the other day. I'm staying with my mom these days and she came to visit her. She said that there's nothing to be sad and depressed about my friends' passings and she saw no reason why I dropped this semester. She said I'm just weak. If they only could feel the pain I'm in and how bad I'm hurting. It just made me feel that she viewed my relationship with my friends as insignificant, not of much importance. I can't also believe that she said that she wasn't going to feel sorry for me. I thought to myself, WHAT! I'm not looking for pity, sympathy, empathy, or anyone to feel sorry for me. I don't know what to think or even say to that remark. Like I really want to be feeling this way.

Take care, shell. Let me know how things are going with you.

I just hope it gets better.

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ous (I'm going to shorten your name if you don't mind),

My mothers behaviour is from having Dementia or Alzheimers. She was a loving, kind, warm, wonderful mother before this happened, so I know she doesn't mean the hurtful things she says, but it hurts anyway. Yes, I've told my brother how I feel, but he just doesn't want to deal with anything "emotional". He is selfish and doesn't want to deal with anything.

Your Aunt is a jerk. Sorry, I hope that doesn't offend you, but anyone who would say such things is a jerk and more. Losing friends is just as devastating as losing anyone else! Sometimes we are closer to our friends than some of our own family...they are like our family. Just try to spend as much time alone as you can to think about your feelings and let them out. Try your best not to let what anyone else says make you feel bad, guilty, wrong or anything else negative. I should take my own advice, I know!

Hang in there.

Hugs to you,

Shell

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Hi All,

I have also suffered alot of losses, but now I just think what a baby I must have been after reading the above posts... I loss my mom in April of 2005 and my dad in August of 2005... I loss the house I grow up in November of 2005 where I lived with my parents till they died... I lost some of the most caring and understanding neighbours in the world... I lost alot of my close friends.... I lost my dog who I have never been away from since I got her at age five weeks old because I could not take her with me to the new house... I lost my job because I had to relocate... I lost just my town where I grew up for most of my life... I lost routine to my life...I know now that I probably sound like a spoiled brat and really have not loss much more than my parents.... Take care Shelley

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Ahhhhhh, Shelley ~ you just know that I will not let your comments stand, don't you?

Name-calling is not allowed here, especially when a member is doing it to herself! You are not a baby and you're not a spoiled brat. Like everyone else in our GH family, you are living life and in the process, you're discovering that nothing in life is permanent and nothing stays the same ~ We all are constantly coping with changes, no one is immune from them, and for each and every one of us, life is a but a series of necessary losses. Our challenge is to help one another learn better how to cope with them.

I think you may need to re-read this article:

Understanding Secondary Losses in Grief

And no more name-calling here :wub:

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Hi Marty,

What I meant is that there are so many others here and I feel so bad for taking up so much time... I want to say I am sorry for the name calling it will not happen again.... I am truly trying to cope but some days are so hard... I feel for everyone here who have had to cope with loss in their lives... I am thankful for everyone here and that there is a place like this to receive help when we need it... I am truly hoping that I do help in some way because I have received so much help and friendship I hope I am returning it to as many people here as I can in some way Take care Shelley...

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Shelley,

I second what Marty said...you are NOT a baby or a spoiled brat! If you are, then so am I and everyone else here! hahaha. As far as helping people, you have helped me. I have felt very close to you and your story and your pain. Just hearing your triumphs (your recent trip, deciding to stand up for yourself more) has made some of my days. It made me realize that things can get better, even when we do slip back sometimes. And proud of you for pushing yourself to work on your grief. You have helped many of us, so don't think otherwise. Hang in there, I have seen real progress in you. We all love you here.

Hugs,

Shell

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shelley:

I "third" what Marty said (the motion is carried!) and also agree that all those other losses are significant, as they make it harder for you to focus on and cope with the primary one, your parent's deaths.

I didn't just lose my Mom, I lost my house, my family (they're jerks) my neighborhood and the familiar surroundings there (and the familiar and friendly way home), I lost some possessions, the list goes on.

I even lost a friend in a nearby town, who doesn't return the occasional phone call, and I am totally clueless as to why. He was there for me before Mom's death and the immediate messy aftermath, but after a half-year, poof, gone.

All these secondary losses just magnify the primary one.

Paul

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello all

Hi Shell, Marty. Welcome, shelley and Paul.

I've just read through everyone's posts here. I guess we're being too hard on ourselves but it's just too hard to deal with these losses, for me it is, anyway. I try and I'm out meeting people but when I'm with these others all I want is my best bud to hang out with and it just makes me more sad. I just wish I knew what is wrong with me.

Paul, I'm sorry to hear about your friend. I agree, these secondary losses do magnify the primary one. I just feel like I'm swimming in a sea of an ocean with no one throwing out a life preserver.

Shelley, I'm sorry to hear that not only did you lose loved ones but also your home and possessions.

I'm so glad that I have all you guys for support.

Take care! shell, shelley, Paul, Marty

ousontmesamis (where are my friends)

P.S.

I spoke on the phone with my (deceased) best bud's grandma the other day. She had just received his autopsy (nine months after his death) and the cause of death is listed as adverse drug interaction from all these psych meds that his doc prescribed. There were nine medications interacting against each other and at toxic (lethal) levels. I'm so distraught. It was something that could have been avoided, prevented. Something that just didn't have to be. I remember how my friend constantly told his doc about the side effects that he was experiencing from all those meds; his doctor mostly ignored it or brushed it off by telling him that he was just getting old and that it is what comes with a man of his age (he was 37 yrs old, for god sakes); the other thing he would tell him was that his body hasn't adjusted to the meds yet, that it would take some time for his body to adjust to them; the doc instructed him to continue taking them. So, in the mean time as he doing as the doc instructed, the physical health of his body was just getting worser and worser. I was witness to what those meds were doing to him and his body and for his doc to be so blind, careless, and oblivious is just deplorable. :angry2::angry:

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I'm so sorry about the cause of your friends loss. My grandfather used to say, "Stay away from doctors, they'll kill you". I'm beginning to believe he was right! I know there are good ones out there, they are just so darn hard to find! And for any of our members who are doctors, please don't be offended. I'm sure you are some of the good ones! Actually, if we have any doctors, maybe you could give us some hints on how to find a good doctor!

My grandfather said this because my grandmother died from a medical "mistake". She had a heart operation, did really well, and then they (a team of seven specialists!) had to decide whether to give her something to clot her blood or unclot her blood. Gee....they picked the wrong one and she died. They admitted this (this was WAY back before malpractice suits!).

Anyway, sorry to get off the subject. It certainly does make you feel that much more devastated when someones death could have been prevented and was a mistake. As far as trying to make new friends and just wanting your old ones back, that's totally understandable and normal, so there is nothing "wrong with you"! We have history with friends and it takes awhile to get this. You can't just go out and get new friends that you will have that with. But, friends will come along that you click with and someday you'll realize you have a certain amount of history with them. Just take your time. Hang in there.

Hugs,

Shell

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ousontmesamis:

(Where are my friends! So THAT'S what that means. I knew it was French for something.)

I am so sorry about how your friend died, especially since it could have been prevented. That is terrible, I don't know what else to say.

I know what you mean about the life preserver. I felt that way to for a bunch of months after Mom's death. I found that sometimes life preservers just float by and you just grab.

We are your friends. We may not able to hang out in person due to geography, but we can meet on the boards here. (Yikes, how often have we all heard the wish that we all lived in the same city.)

Paul

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Leave it to Paul to figure that out! Now I understand your "name".

Hey shell! ;)

Thanks, but I didn't figure it out. :o "Ous" said what it was in a previous post. :glare: I never studied French. :blush:

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I know about those multiple losses, and friend loss, too. I lost my best friend in June 2004, he was a gay man who used to be my husband, but we'd been divorced for 20 years. I loved him so much, I miss all those long phone calls and talks about our lives and romances, all the humor and support and love. People said, "Oh, he was just your ex, why are you so upset?" Well, the heck with them! They don't know how I feel, that I am all alone. Even when we divorced, it was not this bad. Then when we became friends, it was so nice, and then he died -- I thought I would die, too. I didn't because I know he would never want that, but it was so hard, and so hard not to have people recognize my grief as significant.

A year and a half later, a coworker/friend died of cancer. I spent some time with him before he died, and that was hard, too. Not as painful as my ex-husband's death, but still ...

Two months later, last February, my dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He died Dec. 7th, and during the previous two weeks my mother's only cousin AND her stepmother died. I wasn't close to them, but it was still a lot of death, and it was hard to lose my dad. And it brought up the pain from the other losses too. I find myself grieving my ex-husband all over again.

All this death -- I am only 54, but feel like I'm 84, with nothing but loss to look forward to... I have diabetes, and am a cancer survivor, but wonder just what will be the one that causes my death. And I'm scared of losing my mother or any of my siblings. I guess I've learned that no one is safe...

Ann

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi shell, Paul S!

Welcome AnnC! My mom's diabetic so I'm getting ready to prepare for her death. She keeps saying she only has five years left. It's interesting how her doctor never tells her that. Ah well, all I'm doing these days is isolating myself away from everyone and the world. Is this a good sign?

AnnC, wow, your story hits close to home. My best friend was gay and his girlfriend died after he died. I strongly believe her death was a suicide. Who dries clothes in the oven and then goes to bed? First of all, who dries their clothes in the oven anyway.

I applied to a summer study abroad program but I wasn't accepted into it although they are reconsidering. I'm just waiting right now for what they decide.

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What a kicker this day was. I've decided never to return to UW ever again. My previous academic advisor who had replaced my initial academic advisor who had the multiple strokes was replaced a few weeks ago and the new one is just as worse, if not more.

I don't know maybe she's right. She told me to get my act together, to pull up my grades, that my friends' deaths are in the past, to get over it and that enough time has past that there is no excuse for letting it affect me i'll finish this post later.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hello all

Hi Shell, Marty. Welcome, shelley and Paul.

I've just read through everyone's posts here. I guess we're being too hard on ourselves but it's just too hard to deal with these losses, for me it is, anyway. I try and I'm out meeting people but when I'm with these others all I want is my best bud to hang out with and it just makes me more sad. I just wish I knew what is wrong with me.

Paul, I'm sorry to hear about your friend. I agree, these secondary losses do magnify the primary one. I just feel like I'm swimming in a sea of an ocean with no one throwing out a life preserver.

Shelley, I'm sorry to hear that not only did you lose loved ones but also your home and possessions.

I'm so glad that I have all you guys for support.

Take care! shell, shelley, Paul, Marty

ousontmesamis (where are my friends)

P.S.

I spoke on the phone with my (deceased) best bud's grandma the other day. She had just received his autopsy (nine months after his death) and the cause of death is listed as adverse drug interaction from all these psych meds that his doc prescribed. There were nine medications interacting against each other and at toxic (lethal) levels. I'm so distraught. It was something that could have been avoided, prevented. Something that just didn't have to be. I remember how my friend constantly told his doc about the side effects that he was experiencing from all those meds; his doctor mostly ignored it or brushed it off by telling him that he was just getting old and that it is what comes with a man of his age (he was 37 yrs old, for god sakes); the other thing he would tell him was that his body hasn't adjusted to the meds yet, that it would take some time for his body to adjust to them; the doc instructed him to continue taking them. So, in the mean time as he doing as the doc instructed, the physical health of his body was just getting worser and worser. I was witness to what those meds were doing to him and his body and for his doc to be so blind, careless, and oblivious is just deplorable. :angry2::angry:

I just wanted to say that what you wrote was very upsetting to hear about your friend and his doctor... It is certainly hard enough to deal with a death but one that could have been prevented..... It just makes me feel very sad that their are doctors like that out there... Take care and God Bless you Shelley

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