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Too Much Loss

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I lost my dad on May 4, 2010 and I lost my mother-in-law, who was more like a mother to me on September 16, 2010. I went through a period of time where I was pretty much paralyzed emotionally. Now my mom is dating quite a few men and going back to the way she was in my childhood. So in addition to the loss of the two people who were my best counselors and friends, I now have to go back down a painful memory lane and also deal with the person she is now. A selfish, narcissitic person who cares more about her men than her children and grandchildren. Thanksgiving was rough and bittersweet because I have the memories of last year when Gloria and my dad were still with us. We spent last Thanksgiving with my husband's family in California and we were able to give my mother-in-law a very happy final Thanksgiving. My dad and my mother-in-law had been very ill for years so their deaths weren't unexpected. Sometimes, I flashback to watching them both get sicker and sicker and then I see them both lying there dead. I have avoided seeing a counselor through HOV or group therapy for reasons I don't quite understand. I know I need them and I know I have been unable to really do this on my own. My husband is great and supports me but I thought I could count on my mom. All she seems to care about though are her string of men and how she looks. She is a disappointment and I can't help but feel that my kids had 3 grandparents and they are stuck with the worst one. My mother-in-law was the grandmother everyone wanted and my kids were so close to her and my dad was all about family. My mom is all about herself.

How can I heal? Why are the holidays so hard? Will I ever feel right again?

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I'm so sorry for your double loss, Melissa. How sad that your dad and mother-in-law died so near in time to each other.

I lost my husband a month ago today and it's the worst pain imaginable, so I'm glad that you have a husband who loves and supports you.

Something that I am learning, though, is that there is no magic timeline. Your Dad's only been gone for 6 months and your mom-in-law for two. Maybe you're being too hard on yourself? You can't be expected to get over something like that in that short time. As for you needing therapy, maybe you do, maybe you don't, only you can know for sure. If you don't mind me saying so, though, it sounds like your issues with your Mom are all mixed up with your grief. Maybe it's time to stop expecting much from your mom and just try to heal yourself without her help, but with the help of your husband and the positive people around you. If she isn't able to help you, there's nothing you can do about it. Lean on those who can help you.

The holidays are hard because you don't feel like celebrating and because so many of your previous holidays involved your loved ones. I'm sure you'll feel right again, but just keep in mind how recent the deaths are. It sounds like you expect yourself to "get over it". I'm told that's the wrong thing to do. Take each day as it comes and give yourself permission to grieve.

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Dear Melissa,

I am so very sorry for all your loss. You have taken the first step Melissa in healing by finding your way here and posting. I know how much courage that takes. I hope you can pat yourself on the back and know that your healing journey has already begun. I agree with Dimcl, there is no magic time line. The time we need is just that, "time". We all want to get to the end of this journey of bereavement and we will but to get there we have to go through the journey. It is hard to be in the moment when we feel so much pain, sometimes we would rather focus on other things so as not to acknowledge or feel are pain for it feels unsurvivable at times. I understand your avoidance in seeing a counselor. I encourage you to trust yourself and do what feels right for you in the moment.

I am sorry that your Mother is not able to be there for you in ways that are supportive and helpful, that in itself is a loss. My Mother was not able to fulfill her duty as my Mother either. I want you to know that we can learn to Mother ourselves and one of the tools I used to help me get there was a book titled Warming the Stone Child by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, PH.D. It comes in print format and audio format, you can find it at www.amazon.com You might find it as well at your local library and if not they may be able to bring it in for you.

The holidays are hard because they involved your loved ones who are not here any longer. I have faith that you will feel right again. I encourage you to have faith that you will too.

Courage and Blessings, Carol Ann

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I'm sorry for your experience. I kind of felt that way when I lost my mother-in-law...she was the mother I always wanted and never had (my own mother is nuts and still around). We can't pick our parents, all we can do is learn from their mistakes and try to be the best parents we can be to our own kids.

Loss is hard, and losing someone new often brings up old losses, like a trigger. I'm sorry, you'll get better at coping with it in time, but it does take a long time to heal.


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