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Suddenly All Alone

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I'm 28, it's been 6 months now since I watched my mom die of cancer. Loseing her has shattered my life, she was the only person in this world that ever understood me and loved me for who I am, not what they want me to be.

I not only lost her but I lost all my friends and relatives, it just seems like they can't handle it. They don't know what to say or how to act so they just stay away, even my best friend since we were kids won't even phone me, she trys to keep our conversations to short emails. I had to tell another friend that I've known since we were kids goodbye because she only thought of herself and never considered what I was going through. I know they don't know what I'm going through but how hard is it to pick up a phone and say hey how are you doing? I don't even really need a phone because it never rings.

My Dad and sisters never want to talk about it, so I'm all alone in this world now and all I can do is cry. It's the long weekend and the few people that are still in my life don't want to do anything with me, so I'm at home in my housecoat crying. I can still smile and have fun why does noone want me around? All my life I've been there for everyone now that I need them they are gone. What should I do? Should I just learn to live life alone now?

I feel betrayed by everyone in my life and by life itself for takeing my Mom away. I'm scared that there is nothing left for me in this life, what should I do?

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Hi there,

I can tell you this much.. I do understand where you are comign from. I bet while your mom was sick they were always around. When my dad died suddenly last August there was so many people that came around.. people I had not seen in years and all his brothers and sisters and then it was over. Everyone went home and moved forward. Its quite possible that they feel you are not moving forward and cannot deal with the pain themselves. I personally feel that talking with them is the way help you as well as them deal with it. Are you more open with your feelings? does it hurt them to be reminded? that might be it. It hurts me to see my mom because it forces reality on me yet again. My fathers favorite saying when someone was down in he dumps or worried was " its ok, Haul up your socks and hold your head up" Which basically means You can do this! You will get through it! As for your friends maybe you should call them up and say Hey I noticed I haven't heard from you in a while and invite them to do something if they turn you down ask again and if they still don't want to then go out and do something without them then let them know what a great time you had. As for your dad, theres not much you can do. He has to grieve in his own way. You can let him know you are there and when hes ready to talk you wil listen that will reassure him and he may just open up. Grief affects us all in different ways. I know one thing the pain is real. I ache for my fathers voice.. and smile. When I think about him being gone It almost burns it hurts so bad. Another thing you should try is to locate a grief couselling group. My sister and I went and boy it certainly helped plus we met a ton of people our own age that had lost a parent and knew how we were feeling. Keep strong


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  • 8 months later...

Hope it isn't too late to post a reply to these posts.

I can identify with your feelings of being all alone. I'm in the same boat. My mother died 2 months ago and now I'm all alone. The others in my family have families to be with and take care of and do things with but I don't, and even my friends are leaving me alone. They said they were sorry when they first heard about my mother, but they never call to see about me or even to see if I'm still alive. I don't think anyone cares that I still am alive, and it's hard for me to care when no one else does. One relative told me my mother wouldn't want me to be sad because she (my mother) is happy now, but that just made me sadder and angry because it sounded like the relative was telling me that my mother didn't care that I loved her and would miss her. I don't know if it's that no one understands how I feel, or that no one cares. Someone said I should get a pet to care for, but I don't want to care for anything that will just end up dying at some time. Nor do I want to go out and try to make any new friends because the friends I've had don't care about me so why should anyone new?

So when I read these posts, I thought I may sort of know how they feel, so I decided to post too.

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My name is Patti, & I am the baby of nine children.

We all used to be one BIG happy family till two years ago March 30th, when our mom passed away. When this happened it is like we do not even know each other any more.

I have 9 brothers & sisters, 30 some nieces & nephews, & 40 some great meices & nephews. Since moms passing I have 2 sisters who talk to me when they want or need something, & 1 niece who talks to me almost every day.

That is all. I do not know why this has happened, but I do know all about your feeling all alone.

Please remember that your life is worth living to the fullest, & if the old friends do not want to be around you, it is their loss. I have learned over the last two years that I can make new friends, some who will love me for who I am & what I am not what others think I may be.

You can do this too. It is not going to be an easy road, but you are strong, & remember your mom is right there beside you to help you along.

I wish you all the best, & I would also like you to know that if you need someone to talk to I would like to be here for you.


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  • 1 month later...


My Mom left three days before her birthday last year. We had her funeral on her birthday. I am alone now. You never know how it is when Mom is gone until it happens to you. Friends are tired of my grieving. No one calls, invitations are few...at first some family members and a few friends hung around because they thought I had been left money. When they found this was not the case they disappeared. I understand how Patti feels. Nonetheless we must go on...this is the worst time of my life. We must take comfort in the fact that we even had a Mom to love and to love us...some folks never have even had what we now miss so desparately.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have been learning that I've lost more than my mother--I've lost some people who I thought were good friends of mine. I wrote my oldest friend about my mother's death, and this friend has not written back. It has been months since I heard from her. I don't understand this. I don't understand why people abandon the bereaved just because they don't know what to say to someone who has lost someone. If a person has a friend, and that friend loses someone, it shouldn't mean that all of a sudden the person no longer knows how to talk to or listen to the friend. Surely being someone's friend means you can be together without having to talk all the time; surely being someone's friend means you are comfortable enough with each other that you don't always have to know how to say something.

It makes me wonder how real my friends really were, if they are not here for me now.

At least I know my mother was real. Our relationship was real. The friends can take away their friendship, and themselves, but they can't destroy the friendship my mother and I had.

Maybe the absence of my other friends is serving to make the bond I had with my mother stronger.

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Oh my dear friends! Wouldn't it be wonderful if we all had a network of family and friends who could be present for us, who knew exactly what we needed without our having to tell them, who would bear witness to our struggle, and who would honor our unique journey through grief?

Sadly, though, most people in our culture simply don't know what to do or say when someone dies, or they're so afraid of doing or saying something "wrong" that they avoid us and / or the situation all together.

Can any one of us honestly say that, until we lost a loved one of our own, we were completely sure of ourselves in the presence of another's sheer, raw grief? Did we always know the "right" thing to say? Were we always the first one on the scene to offer our presence, solace and comfort?

I think until it happens to us personally, we simply cannot know how involved and emotionally draining the grief process is, much less how vulnerable we are to the insensitivity and lack of understanding we may encounter from others who've yet to walk this journey.

One of the advantages of coming to these forums and reading what is posted here is that we find ourselves among others who are on the same path, and in addition to sharing our own stories of pain and loss, we can practice giving to one another the compassion and understanding we ourselves desire from all those friends and family members who may mean well, but don't know how to comfort us. We have a wonderful opportunity here: to learn and share what helps and doesn't help and to increase our awareness as we reach out to others.

As Deidre Felton says,

At the moment, take heart from those around you

who want to care for you

and be present for you in your distress.

They don't always know how,

they don't always do it right,

but they try.

Sorrow is a matter of taking turns.

This year, it's yours.

Next year, it might be you

setting the table for someone else

who feels that they cannot cope.

-- Deidre Felton, in Bereavement Magazine, November/December 2000.

In her wonderful piece, What Am I Supposed to Say? How Am I Supposed to Be? Fran Morgan makes these points:

My friend’s son died six months ago. Her note to me says, “People ask me how I’m doing and I don’t know what to say. How am I supposed to be doing? I don’t know.” In the beginning she’d say to me, “I feel as though my heart has been ripped from my body.” In a perfect world she could tell that to everyone. But bereaved parents learn quickly in the grieving process that honesty is NOT always the best policy. Some answers I think people would LIKE to hear are: (with a big smile on your face) “Fine! It was a big shock when I first heard two months ago, but now I’m over it!” or (with a big smile on your face) “Oh, we’re fine, we’ve taken up ballroom dancing.” If the definition of “fine” is: Fragile, Insecure, Not Interested in Anything, Emotional then I guess “fine” is a perfect answer.

Every psychiatrist, psychologist and therapist I’ve ever read or spoken to says that talking and crying for your deceased loved one is healthy and normal, and crucial to one’s recovery. But in a world where most parents are NOT bereaved, many people have not experienced the hard work of the grief process. We are often put into the position of trying to dream up an “appropriate” answer to the question, “How are you doing?” We try to give the answer that we know the person asking WANTS to hear. Something positive. Often, after telling a person how awful missing our child is they will respond with, “Well, aside from that, how’s everything?”

When a person has suffered a physical injury, it is visible (broken arm, cast) and people are solicitous. When one’s soul has ceased to soar and one’s heart and spirit are broken and bleeding, no one can see. Last year, as a contestant in the Ms. Senior America, NY State Pageant I was required to tell the audience my philosophy of life. In advance I rehearsed what I planned to say to a trusted family member, saying in part that I was a bereaved parent, and that whenever I’ve reached out to help another, I’ve always helped myself. I added that I felt all life on this planet is enriched when we have compassion for one another. My well-meaning advisor suggested I not mention I was a bereaved parent, saying, “people don’t want to hear it. They want to hear upbeat, positive, happy things.” My feeling was that for a bereaved mother to stand in the spotlight and show the world we can survive the worst in life, and live life abundantly was a great message of hope!

When our son died, there were many good people who reached out to me, and there were many good people who could not. The journey of loss is the most predominant thing in a bereaved parent’s life, but even the most loving family and friends do not have a vast reservoir of patience or knowledge. Education about the grief process, for others AND for us, begins when our child dies. And so we learn conformity to the world’s misguided notions of what our grief “should” be, while being bewildered at the time limit the non-bereaved place on us. (Twenty-five years ago, Jacqueline Kennedy’s tearless, stoic, silent countenance at her husband’s funeral had become the nation’s role model. I think to many it still is.) Recently a friend, referring to a woman who lost her only two children, said that the mothers mentioning them “after all this time” made her uncomfortable. She said, “I have had my share of tragedies, but I don’t believe in talking about them” . . .

We learn as we grieve about the “fixers”, who want our grief to be all over, “so we can have a laugh again.” We learn about the “controllers”, who want us to do it their way, and though they’ve never experienced the horrific process they are sure the rules of positivity should apply to us. Dr. Wayne Dyer says that there is only one time in life that positive thinking cannot apply; when we are grieving the loss of a loved one.

Last year a woman told her best friend - as the friend was reminiscing about her recently deceased husband, “He’s not coming back, get used to it.” Why? “I wanted to give her a reality check.” Grieving parents hear this type of comment, too. The friend thought she was being helpful. Maybe she doesn’t realize that a griever’s “reality check” begins before she opens her eyes in the morning, when the knot in her stomach is the ever-present signal that she will not see her loved one again in this life.

The Eleventh Commandment ought to be carved in stone. “Thou shalt not EVER ask a griever, “How are you?” unless you are a Licensed Loving Listener, ready to listen with your heart. Grief work is hard enough without having to dream up a dream answer. As Jack Nicholson said, “You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth!” In the first years, I thought, ‘say you think of me often, pray for me, tell me you’re proud of me, send me a card, mention his name, hug me....don’t ask!’

Dan Fogelberg sings a good answer to my friend’s question, “How am I supposed to be?” It’s a song called,

“Part of the Plan”. “Laugh when you can/Cry when you have to/ Be who you must, its part of the plan/ Await your arrival with simple survival/ And some day we’ll all understand."

Wishing you peace and healing,

Marty T

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  • 2 weeks later...

When one’s soul has ceased to soar and one’s heart and spirit are broken and bleeding, no one can see.

I just want to say thanks, Marty, for posting that quote. It describes just how I'm feeling after this weekend, when I was wounded by a family member who I would have thought has been feeling as much grief as I have been feeling since my mother died. That quote you posted is so true. No one can see, no one can know; and I don't want to tell them what I think they SHOULD see and know. I guess I feel that if they can't see, what is the point is trying to describe it? But it is how I feel, and I also don't see any point in trying to get over this additional wound.

Thanks again for posting the quote.

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  • 1 month later...
  • 1 month later...

I, too, have suffered the loss of all family and all old friends since my Mother and brother died 1.5 years ago now. Even some friends who'd also lost one of their parents years before, didn't support me much, if at all. One friend, who lost her own mother a few years ago, and who even told me losing a parent really "does a number on you", asked for my phone # again (via email) after she heard my Mom had died, as it had been lost... just never called anyway. I got tired of being the one to call others, begging for crumbs of support. None of these friends even sent condolence cards....not one. The most I got was one email.........very tacky, if you ask me! Aunts and a cousin who I'd grown up around stopped calling and my last brother has turned into the direct cause of my prolonged grief, he's made so much trouble with our parents' funds and our father's care and housing. My father always was THE Problem, so was already a lost cause. I've discovered just how much my Mom was the central glue holding immediate and extended family together.....too bad she'd never been given credit for her powerful role when she was alive. And I lost the only brother who was communicating with me to begin with.

I've been searching, slowly, to find new and better friends, but w/o that shared history ( all the old ones knew my family, my Mother and brother ), it's not ever going to be the same, and so I also mourn that loss of what feels like my other lifetime. No, it sure isn't fair, or right, but if I've noticed anything on grief boards, it's that this is happening to the grieving all over the place! Feeling betrayed by those who'd been in our lives seems to be so common....I'm surprised a book hasn't been written about this yet! And sadly, despite trying so hard, through my intense grief, to really reach out to newer people who've also had losses, still hasn't netted me more than one really supportive friend, but THAT was through another grief board, and we don't even live in the same countries....so again, it's not the same thing; I may never even get the chance to meet her in person.

I feel so bad for all of us here who are made to suffer these extra stresses and losses, when we're barely hanging on as it is, and unfortunately, don't have any answers for anyone, either. 1.5 years later, I'm still suffering with depression and stress-induced physical problems because of, not only all that, but because it brought up the huge question of " What IS the point of life then, anyway?" If no one cares about you or your loved ones, after an entire lifetime of living, what was the point in having lived that life in the first place? How can one go on with a question of such magnitude hanging over one's head every day? To feel like one is doomed to exist, survive, but not really have a zest for life anymore, and to live like an island, is frightening, to say the least. We DO have to learn to give and take on these kinds of boards, because it creates some purpose in our lives, and without a resurgence of sincere caring for each other in this sorry world, things can only get worse. Sorry for the depressing thoughts, everyone, but THAT is my current truth, my inner state, and if I can't share that here, there's no hope for me at all. sad.gif

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Hi Maylissa,

Today I was thinking about a lot of the very same things you said here, while I was at my parents house. I was there today because my father had been ill and while I waited for him to sleep and feel better, I was sorting out more of my mother's things. I lost her last October 17th. My mother was also the glue in my family. I was looking at pictures of our lives growing up and I thought the exact same thing today - that it looks like my former life. The one before I knew the grief of losing my mother and also my best friend Tish within a year of each other. Losing both of them cut my ties with the people who loved me unconditionally and knew me the best. The only person left grounding me in this life right now is my father.

As I sorted through more of my mother's things, I also was looking at things thinking what is the point of all this? Some part of me that used to always pull me through and think that the future could always improve seems to be gone since their deaths. How do you generate that optimism again? The only way that I can think of is to lose yourself in helping other people less fortunate. It's like I need to be pulled out of myself and my misery from losing them both. I feel so isolated.

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I lost my mother on March 22, 2005 due to a tragic auto accident with a semi truck, she was only 60 yrs old. My father was in the vehicle also, he survived. These past 5 months have been the hardest that I have ever had. The emotions are running wild. My mother was also the glue in our family. I have 3 brothers, 1 sister and 1 adopted sister. My dad has been dealing with - if he had only gone the other way, mom would still be here. We have always professed to be a close, strong family but this has tried us to the end of our ropes. I feel that now we are just faking it.

Don't get me wrong, my family still gets together fairly often. But I can feel it in the air, that there are things that want to be said but are not. I know my siblings have to be going through the same heartache I am but I do not see it. We are so afraid to open up and let the others see us breakdown. I know I am, I feel that if I opened up to them that I things would be different between us. I just want to talk to someone who knows the pain that I am in and not judge me.

As we have been slowly sorting through moms things and we just shake our heads. My mother was a collector of stuff. For years, it had been a family joke why mom would buy all this stuff. Her reply was this: so when I die, you guys will have to go through it and decide what to keep and what to get rid of. We laughed then, I am NOT laughing now. It is no fun going through mom's things trying to decide what to keep and what not.

I am having a hard time not getting into the mindset that why buy anything except for the neccesities? Someone is just going to have to go through it some day when I die. That is actually what goes through my head when I want to purchase anything that is not really needed. I have limited a lot of buying unneccasary items not needed for daily survival for that reason.

I feel the same about seeing my former life when going through pictures. Life was so much simplier then and we didn't even realize it. No one could have told us how our life was going to change on that terrible day. I want the old times back. I miss my mom so very much. She was suppose to be around for another 20-30 yrs. I am too young to lose her. She was my rock, she always answered my questions about anything, she made me feel special when I was down and she knew how to juggle it all without missing a beat. I have a hole in my heart and being that will never be filled and at times the pain and heartcahe are just too much to bear.

Thanks for listening.

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JCL and Tbear,

Thanks to you both for listening AND responding...it always helps to have a willing ear and 'pen'.


Yah, I understand that isolated feeling...even though we know there are many of us out here suffering the same things, somehow it still feels so lonely, doesn't it? It's that hole that we feel can't possibly be filled by anyone other than our loved one(s), which it true, as everyone's unique even though we're all connected. We miss their uniqueness. I wonder, if we could discover exactly what that "part" is that used to keep us hoping, would we be able to carry on better? It's like all life-giving energy has been sucked right out of us. I have a smidgeon of hope left, only because my life did contain some enthusiasm after about 3 years beyond the passing of my beloved furchild ( my cat ), although it wasn't ever quite the same as before I lost my 'innocence' regarding death's effects. But with my Mom and brother gone, too, it seems much less hopeful that I will be able to recreate that again.....OR it's going to be that much more depressed a return to that inner zest. And the only thing that gives me any optimism about it is that, like many others ( believe it or not....it's true for me, regardless ), losing my furchild was much worse than any other death so far.....just the same as losing a child, which he was to me. But there are different, yet no less impactful aspects surrounding each, unique loss, and maybe because I've had 3 different types of losses in 5 years, too many connected aspects of my life have been shot full of holes before I could deal with each one fully. And it's strange how these things are on these boards, but your mother's anniversary is the same as my Mother's birthday....Oct. 17, so a hard day for both of us. ( it was the last day I ever got to physically see my Mom, the year she died )


Firstly, have you read the article by Marty here, on family differences in dealing with grief? I think it might help you to open up to them since you have that option with them.

Although I really understand how painful it is having to sort through a parent's personal things, it was different for me, since our father not only had dementia, but had always been a very cruel, materialistic and greedy man. So when I went back to hopefully retrieve what he would allow me to take of my Mom's clothes ( and much of that was missing, too ), it was an exercise in fear and, of necessity, stealth, with much anger, loathing, disgust and other related negative feelings. I managed to take a couple of old photos of her, my not-yet-deceased brother and I got a few sibling-related items out ( like bronzed baby shoes, etc. ), my Mom's old cowbell from her family farm and a special rolling pin she'd wanted me to have...but little else. The bulk of the rest of the family photos were either sold or burned later by our father, and these are only the highlights of that part of my story. I eventually was able to buy back my Mother's china set from the stranger who bought it at his estate sale (which no one knew about until it was virtually too late to save anything much). I had dreams for months afterwards about being able to properly go through her precious things and take what should have come to me in the first place. I just received the last 4 older photos that I'm likely to ever get, from an aunt....the rest of the family either won't or can't be bothered to send me any THEY might have of my Mom, her family, or our family. This has caused me unending pain - our whole history seems lost forever, as I can't recall every photo there was. And with no family members willing to recall things about my Mom and her life, I have no more triggers for past events, in order to do that on my own. I only remember what I remember so far....and we all know how grief adversly affects one's memory! huh.gif

So, if nothing else, I hope you can, in contrast, ease the pain of having to go through your mom's things by knowing that some of us don't even get the choice of proper arrangements or division of sentimental articles which we might use later as vehicles to fond memories of our loved ones. Please, for your own sake, count it somehow as a blessing, even if that seems rather a weird concept. Even if this should be a normal, part-and-parcel task of someone's passing, and certainly nothing to celebrate, I'm not the only one who has been denied this honoured and relationship-acknowledging task. At the moment I was denied this, I also lost any 'status' I had as a child of my Mother - another dream lost, and another loss to grieve, that being my very own daughterhood. It was as if I had never even existed for anyone but my Mother, in my own family! You can't imagine ( or maybe you can? ) the utter rage that has been created inside me because of that one, singular act. mad.gifmad.gifmad.gif !!!!!!!

This won't sound right, so please forgive me in advance, but please try to take some comfort from my pain, just because you have been spared this kind of affront, if you know what I mean.

I truly feel so sorry for the loss of your mother, especially since she WAS such a good mother, and can barely even imagine the extra anguish that brings, as my Mother was fabulous in some ways, but certainly not in others. Had she been too wonderful, I don't know WHAT I'd do now, as it seems to be for you.

Luckily, or not, I'd already suffered tons of regrets throughout my entire life, about my family.....otherwise, I'm sure these deaths would have killed me outright. But there are no more chances now to make things even a little better between family members, and that is yet another dream dashed, too. Sigh.....it's all just so difficult to accept, even this long afterwards.

Thanks for listening again.

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