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My Baby Sister Is Gone


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Wellll.....I'm here because I don't know where else to go or what else to do. On January 6, 2007 at 130 in the morning, I got the call from my mama who said, "she's gone, she's gone!" Just waking up and not believing the words I was hearing, I dropped to my knees as my heart pounded crazily in my chest.....We buried her 4 days later.

My sister died unexpectedly from a drug overdose. She'd been off and on drugs since she was 13, but she was one of those very cool, very intelligent, very functional addicts (did I just call my sister an addict?). She got into some trouble last April and so my mama decided to move her to Michigan to live with other family so she could get clean. And...she DID! She was doing great! Had a great job, was enjoying life, it was all good! We had become close again and talked at least once a week....

Thursday, January 4 she called me and talked to me all the way to work. She sounded good and I was happy to talk to her. She was telling me about this great girl's weekend she had planned with some girls from work..they were going to Ohio to party and see some friends.

This was a lie. What she did was got her a hotel room and bussed her ex-boyfriend in (who we'd moved her to Michigan to get away from)....He arrived on Friday, January 5 and she was dead hours later from an overdose of Methadone.

I don't know what to do with myself anymore. First couple of weeks were tragic and hard. The second couple I did so much better. Now it's as if I'm reliving this nightmare again. I'm VERY anxious...like for no reason my heart just starts pounding and it scares me. I'm also 13 weeks pregnant...

I feel guilty, I feel abandoned, I feel angry that she did this, I feel angry because the people in the cubicle at work next to me are laughing, I'm devastated for my mama because I KNOW she's hurting so badly, I feel so unbelivably sad, I feel heartbroken....I've never had my heart shattered like this. I feel crazy, borderline insane. I don't concentrate on my work anymore which I used to take pride in, I'm late every day, I have no energy, and EVERYTHING reminds me of my sister. I love my husband but can't stand him, I just want to crawl into bed and sleep for the next 6 months. I have a 12 year old and a 2 year old and they seem to keep me distracted some of the time....I know I'm rambling but I can't stop. I'm sooo, soooo, soooo sad. I'm already on Prozac, which helps...but I shouldn't be so anxious...

Anyway, I come here because I know you guys have had some experience with this. Am I insane? When will the pain stop...or at least become manageable?....

I miss my sister soooo unbelievably much! I love her, why, why, WHY DID SHE LEAVE US????? WHY DID SHE LEAVE ME??? I'm an ONLY child now!!! Who will be there for me when our parents are ill and eventually pass? Who will I turn to????

I'm simply devastated.

Sad in Tennessee

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My dear friend,

My heart just aches for you as I read your post just now ~ I am so very sorry for your loss, and I can only imagine the depth of the shock, anguish, hurt, anger, guilt, sorrow, anxiety, confusion and everything else you must be feeling in the aftermath of this horrible, unspeakable tragedy.

I can only tell you that you are NOT “insane,” because everything you are feeling right now is normal. Surely if any of us were in your shoes, we probably would be feeling and reacting much the same as you are now.

Your grief is complicated by all the circumstances surrounding your sister’s death, and as you continue to sort through all of this, it is extremely important that you don’t try to bear the burden of this loss all by yourself. In addition to seeking the help of your primary care physician, a grief counselor, grief therapist and/ or an "in person" grief support group, I hope you will continue coming here to share the details of your story with us, to get your concerns and feelings validated, and to get some help in making some sort of sense of all of this.

I hope too that you will read through some of the other threads in this particular forum, many of which were started by members whose siblings have died from overdoses as well. Such posts will assure you that you are not alone in your reactions to this most tragic loss.

Although it appeared in our Loss of a Spouse Forum last summer, I want to refer you to a certain thread that was started by a woman whose ex-husband died of an overdose, because I think her reactions will resonate with your own. Please make sure you read through all the posts in this thread, including my response ~ which among other things makes the point that, even though a death related to an overdose may be accidental, it is a suicide nonetheless, and the issues for the survivors of such a tragic loss are very much the same:

Am I to Blame

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Just seeing the words "baby sister" makes my heart ache. I lost mine in November 2006. Baby sisters are supposed to outlive us big sisters.

Teresa did not die of an overdose, she died of neglect. She neglected herself and ignored the warning signs that she should ask for help. The night before she died she told my sister-in-law that she knew she should be in the hospital but she didn't want to go and leave her family at home alone. She had a Dr. Appointment Monday any way. She died on Sunday.

I started a journal and write to her every night. It really helped to get my feelings out. I look at my early entries and I was very angry with her and I let her know it. Now I try to tell her something good that happened each day.

I have felt many of the emotions you are feeling now. For some reason, even though my husband is very understanding, I had distanced myself from him as well. Four months later I still have times that I just want to be alone in my grief. I can't really explain it.

I hope you keep coming back. This group has been my sanity and it has helped me work through so much of my pain and anger. Be kind to yourself and do not think you are insane, you are grieving and it is not an easy thing to do.

Peace is within you

Janine

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I just want to say that I am so sorry for your loss. You are not insane. Please, please take care of yourself. You are worn out and overwhelmed. Please continue posting. There are lots of good people on these boards that are always there to listen. Marty has excellent advise.

Again...I am so sorry.

Hugs to you...Lori

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I'm not sure how to reply to these responses. Can I respond to each one individually or do I have to address everyone as one?

Anyway, thank you guys for your kind words...It's strange that since I've posted here and this could be purely coincidental, the anxiety has lightened some. I'm not taking this for granted, but as every hour passes, I can say, "Wow!! My heart has not beat abnormally in the last little while."

I think I will read some of the other posts around here...but there is one thing that is really giving me a hard time...something Marty said...

We don't really consider my sister as having committed suicide... I guess "technically" yes she did, but I've never heard of an overdose without a note left behind as being ruled suicide. The medical examiner did not rule it as such, so why would we consider it that way? Your words here have brought on a new realm of thoughts for me. And why do you say that it's important to understand this death as a suicide? This perspective is intriguing to me and never crossed my mind until you stated it....

I'm not responding to the suicide thought negatively because I don't think it's that far-fetched. Apparently more was going on with my sister than my mother or I could have EVER imagined for her to do this in the first place...I know that in late November, she called me from work having an anxiety attack. She worked at a hospital and so I told her to go immediately to the emergency room. She did and they gave her...of all things...Klonipin. She abused Xanax heavily in the past....so...this scared me tremendously.

On top of these complicated thoughts, I did read the "Am I to Blame" post and while tragic and somewhat similar, I didn't relate totally with the writer. I feel guilty upon other reasons....because I told her to go to the ER and that's where she got the Klonipin. I feel like she overdosed on these as well, though Methadone was the title factor.

In some respects, I am the opposite of the writer of "Am I to Blame" because I was part of that family who wanted to blame the ex-significant other. I feel sorry for this girl because she really had nothing to do with her ex's overdose, but at the same time, I have a tremendous amount of sickening hatred for the ex of my sister. Why? Because he took the drugs up there to her. Why? Because if he'd left her alone, she would be alive. Why? Because he didn't die and she did. Why? Because he does nothing but drugs, he doesn't work, he doesn't do ANYthing but DRUGS!!! Was he allowed at her funeral? Absolutely, POSITIVELY not!...Not only because we didn't want to see him but because of what we were afraid we would have done to him had he showed up....I've never felt this way about anyone or anything in my life, and I hope that eventually I'll be able to make peace with my feelings about this guy...but today...not today. Not today.

At any rate, I know this is a long post but I desperately need an outlet at this juncture and I truly believe you guys here will be able to help me through this...

Sad in TN

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YOu are going through such a difficult time right now. Try not to analyze everything about your sister and how she died and the boyfriends part in this. Eventually you will figure it out. What's important is YOU right now and your pregnancy. Please try to take care of yourself and rest if you can. We're all here to listen.

Take care...Lori

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My dear friend,

Please forgive me if anything I’ve said has added to the “hard time” you’re already having ~ that was certainly not my intention. I hope you'll permit me to have another go at what I was trying to say to you in my post last Friday.

In my earlier post to you, I said that “even though a death related to an overdose may be accidental, it is a suicide nonetheless, and the issues for the survivors of such a tragic loss are very much the same.” I wasn’t speaking as a medical examiner determining the official cause of your sister's death, or from a legal standpoint. I was speaking as a grief counselor hoping to explain why this kind of death may be especially difficult for survivors to process.

My point was that your sister did not die of natural causes (e.g., of a heart attack, of a stroke or of cancer, or of some other terminal disease), nor as a result of homicide, or a natural disaster, or anything else that was outside herself or completely beyond her control. Rather, your sister took a more active part in whatever may have caused her death. This is what sets your loss apart from other kinds of loss, and may serve to explain what could be fueling your anger and complicating your reactions to it now. My comment was meant only to help you begin to make some sense out of this tragedy, and to explain why I would point you (and others reading this) to resources aimed specifically at helping with suicide and traumatic loss:

Suicide Loss

Traumatic Loss

I also wanted you to read Helen Fitzgerald’s comments about complicated grief associated with substance abuse:

If there was a problem of alcohol or drug abuse in the life of the deceased, you may have added issues to deal with. Substance abuse often creates discord within a family that will negatively affect relationships. Given time, your loved one might have gained control over his or her addiction and resolved the problems created by it. Deprived of that time, this person may have died with the problems unresolved, leaving you with conflicting feelings of anger, perhaps, and sorrow, not really knowing how you should feel . . . In cases like this grief is certain to be complex. If you are mourning the death of a loved one under such circumstances, think for a moment of the extra issues you have to deal with in addition to the death. Write your issues down so you can look at them, one at a time. Getting them down on paper will help you become more objective about them, and it also will make those issues less powerful and more manageable for you. If you have enlisted the help of a therapist, he or she can be more helpful when you have these particulars clearly in your mind. For additional support contact your local mental health center or substance abuse center to learn if there is an appropriate support group you could attend . . .

-- Source: "Complicated Grief: Substance Abuse," in The Mourning Handbook, © 1994 by Helen Fitzgerald, Fireside Publishing, New York, NY

The anger that you feel toward your sister’s “ex-significant other” is certainly understandable, but it can eat you alive unless and until you find an outlet for it, and a healthy way to process it. Anger is sheer, raw energy, and it can be put to good use or to bad. If it’s used to hurt yourself or others, it’s bad. On the other hand, if all that anger-energy is used in a positive way, it can be harnessed and channeled to change things for the better. You can use the energy of anger to push yourself to change things and find better ways of coping. But if you don’t express it, if you let it build up inside of you, as the saying goes, "like cement, it can harden and become very hard to break."

You can let your anger out in healthy, non-destructive ways that will bring no harm to yourself, to others, or to anybody’s property. Find a safe place, space, activity and time where you can let your anger out (through physical exercise, hobbies and crafts, music, writing, talking with someone you trust who won't judge you, asking others for support rather than expecting them to know what you need from them, etc.)

As I think you've already discovered, pounding out your anger on your computer keyboard can be an extremely helpful and appropriate way to discharge some of that energy. This forum is here for you to do just that, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Use it to rid yourself of some of that rage. You will be harming no one, and there is not a person here who will judge you for doing it.

Wishing you peace and healing,

Marty T

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Thank you all again for your responses. I had a hard few days since my sister's death certificate came in. I guess this is just one more step toward solidifying the fact that she's really, really gone. Dead. Forever. It's hard to believe, still.

Marty, I appreciate your guidance on the suicide perspective. I've done some research and I do relate to some of the things I've read. My sister did take an active role in her death, even if it was accidental...and of course we don't know that to be true.

Her death certificate did say "drug abuse, Methadone and indeterminate intent." This scares me because I hope that her life insurance through her employer will pay. My mama and daddy had huge expenses for her funeral and I just hope that they'll be able to recoup some of them.

Today I am angry. Really angry. At my sister. Today I realize the significance of her lies to us about her "girl's weekend"....Today I realize that for a week before she passed, she talked to me and my mama and our daddy excitedly about her weekend with the girls. I found that even BEFORE that week, she'd ordered the bus tickets for her ex to come see her. Soooo...she had an ELABORATE scheme in place to spend the weekend with this guy while telling us something very different. Today I want to just scream at her and tell her what she's done to us, to me, to my mama. Is that selfish? I really don't have the right to be mad at her because I don't know how she really felt and the things that she was going through to make her want to take drugs again. But today I want to know...HOW COULD SHE TEAR OUR FAMILY APART???? And for what? A "good time?" A "high?" I hope that "high" was soooo great to her because she has totally and completely destroyed us.

Thank you guys again for just letting me come here and get my feelings out. I think just hanging out here this short time has made such a tremendous difference in my ability to cope with my feelings and myself. Even my husband has commented about how much better I am....I still don't take it for granted, but day by day.

Angry in TN

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Dear One,

You said, Today I want to just scream at her and tell her what she's done to us, to me, to my mama. Is that selfish? I really don't have the right to be mad at her because I don't know how she really felt and the things that she was going through to make her want to take drugs again. But today I want to know...HOW COULD SHE TEAR OUR FAMILY APART???? And for what? A "good time?" A "high?" I hope that "high" was soooo great to her because she has totally and completely destroyed us.

Please understand that wanting to scream at your sister, taking what she did so personally, and feeling "selfish" are NORMAL reactions to this terrible, terrible event! Please know that you DO have every "right to be mad at her," because regardless of her reasons, the actions she took had very drastic consequences. If she was trying to escape from whatever problems she may have had, she chose a very permanent solution to a temporary problem. Whatever pain she was in has now been transferred onto you and all the others who love your sister, who now are left to live with the fallout from this awful, senseless death. You are enraged because an outrageous thing has happened to you! If I were in your shoes I would be screaming till my throat was raw and shaking my fists at the heavens, too. It is where you are right now in your mourning process, and it is where you need to be. Such feelings are neither right or wrong, good or bad, my dear ~ they just ARE, and like steam in a pressure cooker, they will build until they boil over, unless you find some way to release them. That's what this forum is for -- use it as you did just now, as an outlet, and as a container for your feelings. And please don't judge yourself for feeling as you do.

As you get these angry feelings out, they will dissipate, and I promise you that you will not feel this way forever. The day will come when you will know that your sister's life was so much more than how she spent the last weekend of her life on this earth, and you will remember and treasure all the good things about your precious sister. You will get there eventually ~ but you're not there yet, and you need to feel and express your feelings ~ all of them, both negative and positive ~ first.

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I am glad to hear that you are feeling better. This is a healing place and it is good to get your feelings and concerns out to somebody.

Anger is so normal and as I said before, I let Teresa have it in my journal and it felt good to express my anger somewhere that it did not hurt anyone else. Marty is right about getting it out. My anger seems to dissipate on paper and I have even been using it to deal with my three teenagers that know everything.

Even though you are much better, let you husband know you are not that through grieving. I had to be very up front with mine and tell him that I still had a lot of work to do and he needed to know that there will still be days that I will not be better. I just needed him to know that just because I was having good days; it did not by any means mean that I did not need his understanding.

Take good care of yourself during this time and we will all be here for you.

Janine

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hey guys, how is everyone? I was doing so much better and thought my black cloud had finally passed, but no...no such luck. Yesterday my mama told me about the final medical examiners report that had come in on my sister. She had a large amount of methadone and morphine in her system. I knew about the methadone and thought morphine was a possibility, but for some reason I'd felt better that the initial report did not reveal the morphine. I knew that she died from a drug overdose so why did the bricks fall down on me again? I just got sooo mad at her all over again. I haven't cried in several weeks and last night I just lost it. Had a few yelling spells in there too. Why would I yell at my dead sister? I asked her "WHY???? WHY???? THIS WAS SO UNNECESSARY!!! HOW COULD YOU DO THIS? WHY??????" Unfortunately I got no answers....

Today I'm exhausted and depressed again. My head hurts, my shoulders hurt, I know it's stress. I don't know how we are going to make it through this.

Yesterday morning before my mama told me about the report, I'd heard that we could get very severe weather here. I prayed for the first time since my sister passed that God would spare us from going through this. Later, I heard about the deaths in Alabama and thanked God for sparing us from going through this. This morning I'm angry at Him again. I don't understand why people have to die at all. Yes it's the nature of the life cycle, but why young people? My sister was 27. The kids in Alabama were teenagers. The bus accident in Atlanta this morning killed kids as well.

If God spares one of us does that mean he has to take SOMEone? ANYone? What do we say after He takes one so young? "Please give me peace?" I've done that. It doesn't come. "Please don't take anyone else from me?" And then He takes someone else from their family? Where is He? Why do we have to hurt this way? Where is the logic in this suffering?

Were we that bad of people that we must be punished in this way?

My mama told me about a lady on television one day that was at a church service. I forget the channel. And her son was in a bad, bad accident. The doctors told her that he was not going to survive and that she should let them go ahead and take him off life support. Well she prayed about it and God "told me not to give up." So she refused and lo and behold, her son ended up living! Wow! Congratulations.

Why didn't God give US that opportunity to save my sister? Why didn't God save those teenagers in the Alabama tornadoes yesterday? Why didn't God save those college kids on that Atlanta bus this morning?

God and faith don't make sense to me now. Not that they really ever did, but they truly don't now.

I hope someone can offer something up to turn my behavior around. I know that in times of adversity, Job refused to curse God and his situation was somewhat worse than mine....but I'm not Job. I'm a human being confused by life right now.

Angry in TN

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Wow, you bring up some very deep "meaning of life" questions. I wish I had the answers for you, but I don't. I am not a religious person, but I would like to believe that everything happens for a reason and that God has his reasons. But what are the reasons? Is tragedy supposed to make us stronger people? Maybe, but it takes a lot of energy to get there and to be strong. And for what? And why put you and your family through this with your sisters fate? And the families of those kids in Alabama and Atlanta? And the the families of the soldiers in Iraq?

I wish I knew the answers. I feel for you and your family and I am very sorry.

Hugs to you...Lori

One thing I am aware of is that when tragedy strikes, some people use that tragedy...in your case drugs...to help others in similar circumstances. But it doesn't explain bus accidents, natural disasters, war, etc...

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Dear Ones,

As you have observed, death has a way of forcing us to confront the big questions that get at the heart and very meaning of life. When a cherished loved one dies, all our spiritual doubts and questions come to the surface, and we may find ourselves confronting – and questioning, and re-thinking – some of our most basic beliefs about God, religion, death, the meaning of life, and the existence of an afterlife. This is the beginning of our spiritual journey through grief, the essential heart and soul work, the important “search for meaning,” as we struggle to sort out, understand and make some sense of what has happened to us.

In Companioning the Bereaved: A Soulful Guide for Caregivers, Alan Wolfelt notes that in our modern Western culture, people “tend to travel through life believing that the world is essentially a nice place in which to live, that life is mostly fair, and that they are basically good people who deserve to have good things happen to them.” But when a death happens – especially one that is unexpected, untimely, or tragic, “the pain and suffering that result undermine these beliefs and can make it very difficult to continue living this happy life. The death can have overwhelming impact as the mourner may lose faith in his basic beliefs about the world being benevolent and fair. The result is that through the search for meaning, pain and suffering are intensified." [p. 176]

When a loved one dies, we often feel “singled out,” as if God has personally selected us, and only us, to experience this tragedy. We may know intellectually that loss is a natural part of life, but still, it is only human to think of natural disasters, tragedies, accidents, death and loss as something that happens to others, not to us. Unfortunately, however, the sad reality is that ours is a mortal, frail, and imperfect world. Tragedies do occur – and there is no immunity from loss.

Louis LaGrand, a leader in the field of grief counseling and known worldwide for his research into the afterlife experiences of the bereaved, writes in his latest book about the inevitability of loss:

Whenever I give a lecture or workshop on grief or coping with the death of a loved one, I usually begin with an insightful Chinese proverb well-known in the grief literature. “You cannot prevent the birds of sorrow from flying over your head, but you can prevent them from building nests in your hair.” The proverb points out two extremely important concepts. The first: All relationships end in separation, divorce, disagreement, incarceration, or relocation, to name a few causes. And “the birds of sorrow” will fly over your head and reappear throughout life. Bad things happen to all of us; brokenness permeates life, which is unpredictable and at times unfair. As many therapists tell their clients, “the problem with fairness is that it doesn’t exist.” Nothing you can do can give you immunity to the loss of loved ones. There are no exemptions: Everyone dies and walks through the doorway of death. It follows that grief and suffering are forever part of the human condition.

– Louis LaGrand, in Love Lives On: Learning from the Extraordinary Encounters of the Bereaved, © 2006 by Louis LaGrand, Ph.D., Berkley Books, New York, pp. 59-60

Charlotte Mathes is a psychologist who lost her half-brother to suicide when she was just 19, and her own grown son Duncan “first to schizophrenia, then to suicide.” In her extraordinary book, And a Sword Shall Pierce Your Heart: Moving from Despair to Meaning after the Death of a Child, she confronts some of the very questions you have raised. For example, If God is all good and all powerful, then why does He allow suffering and evil in the world? Charlotte writes,

We must grant again that human suffering necessarily troubles believers in monotheistic religions that view God as omnipotent, omniscient, and all good. If a benevolent God has complete control, then why indeed do suffering and evil exist? Rational explanations either see God’s power as limited, or suppose the existence of evil to be only the absence of good, or hold that evil exists to allow humans to have free choice. Hinduism says that “evil” results from faulty perception, our low level of consciousness making us unable to see everything as a manifestation of God. The Buddhists, on the other hand, maintain that suffering results from attachment and desire.

In his book When Bad Things Happen to Good People, Harold Kushner says, “God can’t do everything.” By thus limiting God’s power, we will understand that He is not responsible for life’s tragedies. Monotheistic critics see this concept as contrary to traditional doctrine: they cannot conceive God hasn’t complete control. Accordingly, some believe our sinfulness brings about pain and suffering. Others maintain that if all went well in life, having no need for God, we would not seek Him. Others say that God suffers with us, for He sent His son to a human death.

In the stories of Jacob and Job, however, we find another answer. By undergoing the struggle of wrestling with the angel, Jacob came to see God face to face. Through his travail and questioning, Job, too, was finally able to see God. Both stories show that finding God is an individual and experiential quest, one that changes our psyches in ways beyond rational explanation. To advance the search, we must all shine the bright light of fact upon our feelings of entitlement. None of us is immune to the darker powers erupting from within and without. Each night on our television screen we see how they inflict suffering on others. War, disease, natural disaster, hunger, and violence are massive killers of the world’s children. Why did we feel we would go through life unharmed? A mother in mourning for her dead child is one sufferer in the human family. [p. 174]

In Life Touches Life: A Mother's Story of Stillbirth and Healing, author and bereaved mother Lorraine Ash vividly describes how she eventually gave up her belief in an all powerful God:

I could not allow myself to ponder what God was thinking, but I started from a place of trust – a lifetime steeped in Catholicism, which I often challenged but nevertheless always honored. I simply believed what St. Augustine said in the fourth century: Faith precedes understanding. I simply believed the Jesuit theologian Teilhard de Chardin when he wrote in Le Milieu Divin, “If we believe, then, everything is illuminated and takes shape around us: chance is seen to be order, success assumes an incorruptible plenitude, suffering becomes a visit and caress of God.” These age-old luminaries were helping me through my grief. Instinctively, I believed what they wrote. I did not know, of course, whether they were right. Such things are unknowable, I told myself, and human tragedy does nothing to lift the veil of mystery between heaven and earth. But it did me good to contemplate my beliefs. In that contemplation lay one of the greatest gifts my daughter’s life brought to me – a clearer view of life and myself that seemed to explain how terrible things like Victoria’s stillbirth could happen in God’s creation . . . In the course of my reading, slowly I chose to give up the belief that God was all-powerful. Instead, I chose to believe God was hard put to stop the death of Victoria, a pure and innocent soul. What, then, were Victoria and I and God powerless against? Could it be nature? Granted, God created nature, but the nature He created is inherently unpredictable and hardly benign. Nature is ruled by laws implicit with danger. Take gravity, for example. Gravity is a good thing. It ensures that everything on earth stays down in its place. However, as [Rabbi Harold] Kushner explained:

"Gravity makes objects fall. Sometimes they fall on people and hurt them. Sometimes gravity makes people fall off mountains and out of windows. Sometimes gravity makes people slip on ice or sink under water. We could not live without gravity, but that means we have to live with the dangers it causes. Laws of nature treat everyone alike."

One of the first good laughs I had after Victoria’s death was while reading Kushner’s book. I imagined God as an old rabbi in the sky throwing up both his hands, “What? I have a whole world here to make go. You could do better?” I relaxed after that. I had found a rational way to support my belief in God. I had found a way to be angry at what happened to me without being angry at God. [pp. 52-54]

In his informative book, Grievers Ask: Answers to Questions about Death and Loss, Harold Ivan Smith addresses the question, “Where was God when my son died?” In this passage, he quotes theologian William Sloane Coffin, Jr. following the drowning death of his son Alexander:

The one thing that should never be said when someone dies is, ‘It is God’s will.’ Never do we know enough to say that. My own condition lies in knowing that it was not the will of God that [let] Alex die; that when the waves closed over the sinking car, God’s heart was the first of all our hearts to break. [p.41]

At one time or another, I suspect we’ve all asked questions such as,“Why me?” and “Why now?” The simple truth is that, when a significant loss like this occurs, there aren’t any satisfactory answers – but it’s still important for us to ask – and discuss – the questions! And it’s good to know that here in these forums, we all have a safe place where we can puzzle with one another about such things.

Wishing you peace and healing,

Marty T

P. S. You might also find this thread helpful: Adjusting but nothing changes

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Wow, Marty -- that was powerful! I have been feeling VERY sorry for myself. My dad's death in December has brought back my grief about my ex-husband. I had found my pain settling down somewhat after two years, but then my dad's death seemed to bring it all back (which a counselor told me was normal.) Now I spend a lot of time crying over our divorce, our arguments, every single thing that went wrong in the 33 years I knew my ex. I joined a widows group, but they are not dealing with the same types of issues, though they are warm and welcoming and accepting. I read books and websites about straight wives/ex-wives of gay men, but they are not dealing with death. I know a lot of things intellectually (you can't change someone's sexual orientation, we needed to get divorced or the marriage would have just gotten worse, I needed some time to move on so it made sense at the time to stop talking to him, I have no control over the liver disease that killed him, we were fortunate to reestablish a close friendship before he died.) But my emotions are still on the roller coaster -- why, why, why? I loved him so much, WHY did this have to happen, that I lost him twice?

Your post reminded me that we were not singled out for this. It happens to people. There are no guarantees in life or marriage. And divorce and his being gay didn't mean I should have stopped loving him, or he me. My heart cries daily for the unfairness of it all. But as you posted -- fairness is actually not part of life. I grew up in a church that said if you lived a Godly life, you would be happy. Which ended up convincing me that since I had all these losses, I must have been to blame. I brought it on myself by not living a good enough life.

I know that is not true. But it's embedded in my right brain, I guess, where the left brain logic doesn't penetrate. How do the emotions catch up with the logical brain? I can repeat over and over that none of it was my fault, none of it was his either. It never gets through. I feel so much pain, and I fantasize all the time how I could have changed it if I just could go back in time.

What do you do when your brain understands but your emotions are on their own separate treadmill of pain? I talk, I journal, I cry, and nothing stops the constant rehashing of pain. I can go to work, go out with friends, and have a good time, but the pain is just there waiting for me. Am I just stuck and wallowing? How do I stop? It's been 2 years and 8 months!

Ann

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My sister also passed away in August...also from an overdose on methadone. It has been several months and I am still almost obsessed, falling apart even when I see a car similiar to her or hear a favorite song of hers. It is very hard but weird. I feel guilty for smiling at times or for not crying all the time, as I did until a month or two ago. Anyway, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. If you ever need someone to talk to Im here. My sister was 33 and left behind two teenage boys. I still cannot get over how similiar our stories are... my e-mail address is plpatsy@yahoo.com. Please e-mail me if you ever want to talk. I am also a resident of Tennessee.

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  • 2 years later...

it's been nearly 3 years now.....the holidays are so hard. i hate them. i want to go to sleep and wake up in february....

Wow, Marty -- that was powerful! I have been feeling VERY sorry for myself. My dad's death in December has brought back my grief about my ex-husband. I had found my pain settling down somewhat after two years, but then my dad's death seemed to bring it all back (which a counselor told me was normal.) Now I spend a lot of time crying over our divorce, our arguments, every single thing that went wrong in the 33 years I knew my ex. I joined a widows group, but they are not dealing with the same types of issues, though they are warm and welcoming and accepting. I read books and websites about straight wives/ex-wives of gay men, but they are not dealing with death. I know a lot of things intellectually (you can't change someone's sexual orientation, we needed to get divorced or the marriage would have just gotten worse, I needed some time to move on so it made sense at the time to stop talking to him, I have no control over the liver disease that killed him, we were fortunate to reestablish a close friendship before he died.) But my emotions are still on the roller coaster -- why, why, why? I loved him so much, WHY did this have to happen, that I lost him twice?

Your post reminded me that we were not singled out for this. It happens to people. There are no guarantees in life or marriage. And divorce and his being gay didn't mean I should have stopped loving him, or he me. My heart cries daily for the unfairness of it all. But as you posted -- fairness is actually not part of life. I grew up in a church that said if you lived a Godly life, you would be happy. Which ended up convincing me that since I had all these losses, I must have been to blame. I brought it on myself by not living a good enough life.

I know that is not true. But it's embedded in my right brain, I guess, where the left brain logic doesn't penetrate. How do the emotions catch up with the logical brain? I can repeat over and over that none of it was my fault, none of it was his either. It never gets through. I feel so much pain, and I fantasize all the time how I could have changed it if I just could go back in time.

What do you do when your brain understands but your emotions are on their own separate treadmill of pain? I talk, I journal, I cry, and nothing stops the constant rehashing of pain. I can go to work, go out with friends, and have a good time, but the pain is just there waiting for me. Am I just stuck and wallowing? How do I stop? It's been 2 years and 8 months!

Ann

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