Is there life after repeated trauma?

by Liz
(United Kingdom)

Yes, but here I am feeling sorry for myself because my only surviving daughter is leaving home in a few days.

Why? Because she has to as she is 27 years old and desperately needs to live her own life. She is excited and it will be a happy move for her to another town about 2 hours drive from here so no daily contact. I love her and actively encourage her in every way I can but how I am going to miss her.

It is with some fear and trepidation that I too embark on this new chapter of our life together. I am suddenly going to be alone.

My husband and my daughter's father died 18 months ago of cancer, at home because that is where he wanted to be. My daughter stayed and helped us. What a girl, compassion, level headedness, beauty, talent, she has it all.

But she has suffered unbearably because her sister also died suddenly 10 years ago, - she was a few years older and they adored each other. After my eldest daughter's death I slowly slipped into deep depression and before my husband died I became seriously mentally ill. She thought she had lost us all.

I am so sorry for that time because I would not have put them through more trauma for the world but I did not understand what I was doing and I tried to drown myself in the sea as her sister had accidentally done years before.

We had gone from being a small family to one that was decimated by death and decease in the space of a few years. But I wanted to say that we have and are have coming through it, we are not the same as we were at all but I am well and some days even happy and when my daughter leaves I am going to find the courage to embark on new adventures. I am blessed with a lovely home and enough income to live reasonably well. But it will be strange in the house, so quiet and they will have all left. Soon I may sell the house and move, maybe even to a different country but not too far away.

I am lucky to have been loved and am loved by my dear family and friends through all. I am tremendously lucky. I now have a growing faith and calmness, I never feel alone because I know that their love is always there for me and always will be.

Everybody's story is different and so is mine but may God bless you in your helpful website which I am sure is tremendously helpful to others on their journey.


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Jul 16, 2014
A Positive Attitude
by: Betty from GriefandSympathy

Dear Liz

Thank you for writing to us, you have certainly been through a very difficult, dramatic few years. We are so pleased to hear the positive words coming to us in your letter. Just as you are wishing your daughter all the best in her new beginnings, we wish you the very best with the new chapter beginning for you.

You have been a mother, wife and family rock for many years, this is your time now. Do all the things on your wish list, go out there and join clubs. Catch up with old friends, go to the movies. None of us know how many years we have left so go and enjoy yourself for your husband’s sake too. He would not have wanted you to be miserable.

We are pleased that the site gave you some comfort and hope it continues to do so. Your letter too gives comfort as everyone realizes that they are not alone in their grief. It makes us stronger in the end.

Our very best wishes and good luck.

Jul 17, 2014
Courageous lady!
by: michelle

Dear Liz,
Your story moved me - how much you have had to cope with, and how wonderful that you have come through and can see a way forward. Its quite amazing the resilience of the human spirit! As I read your story, i felt more courage to face my particular challenges.
Wishing you joy and fulfilment and peace and contentment!

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Coping with multiple traumatic losses

by Lynn

How do you cope with several major losses in short sequence?

1) sudden terminal illness, travel out-of-state to care for and hold my Dad's hand as he deteriorated and passed away in 2 short months, plus his legal and financial issues I was unaware of, such as drug squatters in his home stealing all his valuables, so by myself scary face-offs with criminals led to police, court, insurance claims, etc.

2) came back home 2 days after his military funeral, forced to put beloved pet down (my main source of comfort),

3) job lost due to 2 months absence,

4) 5-year significant other bailed admitting he had no support skills, 5) was denied unemployment due to lies my crooked employer reported to avoid accountability,

5) still unemployed during energy downturn,

6) finally closest friends distanced themselves after lecturing me about religion and praying, leaving me totally shocked and overwhelmed.

"Professional" grief counselor told me "if you have a strong enough faith in God, you don't need a support system, so stop burdening your friends and family", which only sent me deeper into isolation. First and last "professional" visit, as my faith is alive and I was deeply offended.

Reading everything I can get my hands on, praying, want to journal, but I'm still so physically and emotionally traumatized, like a form of PTSD. Coming into the holidays, loss of closest friends only seems to deepen the grief.

I'm not suicidal nor succumbing to addiction, I can laugh with remaining friends and my adult children, etc. Just looking for ways to heal and enter 2016 stronger again, recover my balance and sense of self. How do you cope?

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Nov 24, 2015
Finding Support in Hard Times
by: Betty from Grief and Sympathy

Thank you for writing to us at this very difficult time in your life. It seems that everything that could go wrong has gone wrong for you. It is heartening to hear that you can still laugh with good friends and stay strong for your family. Fair weather friends are not real friends.

Also you need to find a support group and or counsellor who is a real professional. Sometimes you need to try a few before you find someone who understands your needs. It is like getting a second opinion over a medical matter and not something unusual. It's not a reflection on you being difficult. Many people have not been really challenged in life so do not understand what you're going through.

It is not an easy pathway for you but you will cope as it seems you have managed a lot of difficult situations already and survived them.

Life can be so unfair at times, they say all these traumas make us stronger in the long term, hard to understand when you are coping with these huge painful multiple losses.

On a day today basis sort out the priorities first. A social worker may be able to help you solve some of the financial problems and may be able to point you in the correct direction for help.

Often it is just finding out what is available in emergencies. We do hope that you read more of the pages on our site, in particular this page on multiple loss.

Grief can not be rushed you will find your support person, who you can confide your inner feelings to. For others, put on a brave face, but don't be ashamed of tears,they will suddenly appear. Anxiety attacks will come and go - also the butterflies. Just let the waves pass and go on.

You will cope, sadly there is no choice, but life does get better. You are not alone. Write again whenever you need too. Our thoughts are with you.

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My sister lost our mom and a son within 2 days.

by Amy
(Pennsylvania )

My mom got suddenly ill and was on hospice in my home for 5 days until she passed. She had been in a nursing home and neglect of a simple urinary tract infection led to her getting sepsis. I blame the home, but also myself for missing how sick she was. My 3 still living siblings were here with her also.

My oldest sister talked to her son who is schizophrenic and was having a psychotic break in the midst of all this. He was 37, had a college degree, a good job and had done well for years. She has always followed him on some GPS phone app as a way of helping her not worry about him. She lost his phone signal last Saturday night.

Someone in his car was found deceased on Monday. She is in California and this happened in Texas. I am in Pennsylvania. Medical records needed to be sent to identify him. I assume he shot himself. I don't know how to help her when I haven't even processed my mom's death. I took care of my mom for 13 years and am devastated by this loss. I am numb, I feel nothing at all. I watched my mother suffer the loss of my brother from an accident 12 years ago. It was more painful for me to see my mom go through that than for me to have lost him. My sister will never recover from this. I am so far from her. I just don't know what to do. Life is so cruel.

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Sep 24, 2016
Multiple Grief
by: Betty from Grief and Sympathy

Thank you for writing to us, we are so sorry to hear the sad news. This is a devastating time for the family. A double blow, life can be so unfair.

You will be in shock and it is early days so don't expect too much of yourself. Give yourself time to assimilate what has happened. Continue with day today activities. You will know how to help your sister in time and when tragedy happens somehow we get an inner strength.

She obviously did as much as she could for her son and he did well, I am sure, due to her love and support.

There is a page on the site on how to cope with multiple loss.

Also with the difficulties and guilt felt whencoping with suicide in a loved one.

I hope you find these pages supportive.

Our very best wishes to the family.
The Grief and Sympathy team.

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Coping with Multiple Losses and Chronic Illness

by Connie

Severe depression, multiple losses of 8 close relatives and 3 in laws. My daughter and son nearly died plus I became disabled. Because I was the 24/7 caregiver for my mom and sister and we lived off their income, when they died I had no income. I worked as long as I could but finally could not carry on. I did not qualify for registered disability because of my last 10 year work history. They did not want to go in a nursing home and I honored their wishes.
WELL disability only counts the last 10 years and not your whole work history and so although I had worked plenty it was just not at the qualifying time.
The one medication that so helped my depression they won't approve and I can't buy it. I WAS on patient assistance program but once a generic came out that ended. AND it's as high as the branded. I became the matriarch at 48. AND facing my own mortality. I'm living on a poverty income which am grateful for but also in the same time frame I lost 3 in laws and my daughter and son nearly died.

On top of it all, my sister died at 39 and she left 6 children, 4 were still minors so I helped finish raising them. On top of that lost 4 precious animals also.

I so need someone to talk to and someone who understands. I feel so alone and sometimes wish the hopelessness will go away no matter the cost. I ALWAYS have been happy, light up a room. NOW to get out of bed is so hard. That medication is all that helped. Almost was Connie again. It's funny - I am good at fixing others' problems but never seem to be able to help me.

I really need help in so many ways. I always have helped others, am hoping someone may would take a lil time with me. IF busy is fine. Just a hope. PRAYERS and peace for all:)

Have a blessed day.


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Nov 02, 2016
So sorry for your losses
by: Lesley

Dear Connie.

I'm so sorry you are feeling so lost. I will get Betty to write you a response. Do keep reading the site, and I hope you will find something to give you comfort. It really sounds as if you have been dealt a lot more than your fair share. It sounds as if you are a strong and cheerful character and hopefully that will see you through these tough times.

I don't know if you have read this page on multiple losses? Also see the link at the bottom of that page to How to Deal with Grief. There are lots of different pages available there.

Grieving Multiple Losses

Our sincere condolences. Lesley

Nov 02, 2016
Coping with loss as well as loss of health
by: Betty from Grief and Sympathy

Dear Connie,

Thank you for writing to us. Asking for help is a step in the right direction.

We are very sorry to hear about all the problems you have experienced. How you are feeling now is a reaction to the challenges and crisis that have come into your life. Despite all the hard work you have done, the problems you faced were not in your control. You obviously did your very best caring for your loved ones.

Some people are born in poverty, some are born to wealthy families. Many are born in war torn countries and become refugees. None of these circumstances are in our control. We cope with our life's circumstances as best we can.

Because we hear you have been a positive person you will survive this. Not many of us have had to face the many challenges you have. You should be proud of all the help you gave to others.

You must continue to see your Doctor for the depression you are suffering. Also you must try to sort out your finances. Your local member of parliament could check for you what help you should be receiving. Also the returned defence personnel clubs often have free consultations from solicitors to give advice. You don't have to have served in the forces. Social services should also offer an advice service to check that you have been given the correct information. Do not be afraid to ask, ask, ask. (Some of these people probably have different names in the USA, but ask your doctor, local library, anyone who can put you in touch with services you are entitled to).

Having spent a great deal of your life caring for others, it is now time to think about yourself and your needs. This is your priority now. Yes, it will be strange at first to think - I am important and my needs matter.

There are many pages on our site discussing multiple loss and pet loss. Also how to cope with chronic illness and loss of health. We hope you find some comfort in these pages.

Coping with Chronic Illness

Health and Grief

Grief for Pets

Our very best wishes to you.

The Grief and Sympathy Team

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Multiple losses of very close family members

by Jean L.
(Eugene, OR, USA)

In the past nine years, I have lost my: Husband of 29 years, Father in law, Mom, favorite Auntie, Brother in Law, dearest Mother in law and Sister. Also my health, career and only Child, a Son moved across country. I am overwhelmed with grief and am now suffering from depression and anxiety. I feel that these profound losses came faster than I could grieve them. Each loss piled up on the other (some with only three months apart) with sorrow restimulated from the previous one. Since I lost my Husband first, I was a widow trying to handle all the others without my life partner and our mutual support. Fortunately I had two years to mourn my Husband before my Mom died yet there was months of caregiving and Hospice for both.

My question is, how to now walk the grief journey with each one without getting more overwhelmed? One at a time? I thought after my Husband died, I learned the tools to grieve in a deep and healthy way. But now, I am simply overloaded, still in shock and not sure where to start. Just let the tears flow and do the very best at self-care and compassion until I can see my way clear?

I am seeing a licensed counselor about 3 times a month but it doesn't feel like enough. I'm blessed with special, dear friends as well as good widow friends but no one who has experienced numerous losses. Most of the time, I feel pretty lonely trying to get through this and heal.

Your thoughts and guidance would so very appreciated.

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Oct 11, 2017
Coping with Multiple Losses
by: Betty from Grief and Sympathy

Dear Jean

Thank you for writing to us. You have certainly been at the sharp end of the slings and arrows of life's misfortunes. You are correct in saying that not many of your friends can understand your huge losses, very few suffer in this way. It is not surprising that you are suffering anxiety and depression now. I am so pleased to hear that you are going to a counselor and have a group of friends.

However you may need to talk to someone more than monthly to discuss how you are feeling or you might need a change of counselor if you feel that it is not helping. Try someone different, or there are online specialists who you can contact at any time. Just a friendly voice to cry with or get some angry feelings out of the way. Why did this have to happen to me? etc, and all those negative feelings need an outlet.

Yes, crying helps and yes having a rant gets you calmer through these difficult times, but much easier when a support person helps you.

Also have a look at our page about bereavement and PTSD in case you feel you are suffering any of those symptoms. Don't be afraid of asking for help from your doctor who may be able to refer you to a psychologist if you feel it would help.

I hope that your son moving away is not a final thing, but just the empty nest syndrome you are feeling.

You can then be pleased for his future as our children do need to find their own way in life. They usually come back at some point.

None of us can rely on others to make us happy, it has to come from our own inner strengths and being comfortable about ourselves. You had so much time visiting sick relatives and hospices that you should be proud of all the support you gave your loved ones, not everyone can do that.

You have spent so much of your life being a wife, mother, daughter or going to work. Now is the time for you.

Try to look at it as your special time and look at creating a bucket list of what you wanted to do but did not have time.

The fact that you are having counseling and written to us for help, means you are trying hard but at this moment you just need more support on a regular basis. You will cope but the journey is not an easy one.

Our very best wishes to you.

The Grief and Sympathy Team

Oct 12, 2017
by: Jean L

You have given me an incredible gift: acknowledgement of the depth of my grief from the multiple family losses in my life recently. How grateful I am for your compassion and understanding of this healing journey I am taking. I was feeling somewhat alone in realizing that this is a very significant and pretty traumatic situation which few can even comprehend. Most people expect me to be the same cheerful and sociable person I was by now and be back to normal.
I cherish the friends and acquaintances that offer support and gentle kindness even if they have not experienced this.
Even in the midst of these losses, I feel hope that I can heal, for there is love, help and support. I know with good self-care, I have the strength inside me to go forward one step at a time.
Thank you so much for your wonderful website and commitment to help people as they grieve.

Oct 21, 2017
I can Identify with you
by: Anonymous

Hello Jean,

I am sorry about all your losses. I can certainly identify with your losses. I lost my dear Husband of 54 years just a few months ago, also we lost our only child in 1989.

All my family is gone except for some cousins who are not in touch.

I live alone and have anxiety, loneliness, depression. I go to support groups but have never met or bonded with anyone like me, the people attending so far have all family. I am the odd one out. I try to go out every day and walk and eat well mostly except for breakfast.

My dear husband worried about me being left alone before he died. Take care of yourself.

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Did I just experience grief overload?

I'll try to keep this short. I'm a 31 year old male. Marine, college educated, have a lot going for me. I've been dealing with some pretty bad depression as of this past year which I am now seeking help for.

To sum it up for you, I was sexually abused by an older step cousin when I was 6 or 7. Never met my biological father. My adoptive father and mother divorced when I was 4. He moved away when I was 10.

Fast forward 11 years and in the matter of three years, my mom and stepdad father split. My grandma died. My mother dies. Both dogs die. Had to sell the house we grew up in. GF broke up with me. Step father died. Grandpa died. Fast forward 8 years and my ex-fiance cheats on me. I am now the most, miserable bastard walking this planet. I'm in a deep depression and meet someone amazing. After 8 months of ups and downs and self sabtogage on my part she and her three little girls leave for good, forever. I tried to play some calming music this morning after getting out of the shower and I literally WEPT like stopped breathing, whimpering for an hour. Did I just let go of some that grief? Because I'll be perfectly honest with you. I never really grieved any of that growing up and getting older.

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Feb 05, 2017
Men Do Cry
by: Betty from Grief and Sympathy


Thank you for writing to us. It is a huge step forward for you, not only for asking others for information, but for getting rid of a lot of that pent up anger and grief.

No one ever said life was fair, some of us get more than their fair share of misfortune in life. You seem to have hit the jackpot in yours. They do say that these misfortunes make us stronger, in fact, able to cope better with what life will throw at us next.

To cope with what you did as a child, then achieve success at college and in your career means that you are a survivor and will get through this latest painful episode.

You have to put yourself first for a change, enjoy your freedom and your own space. Learn to like yourself and realise that all the tragedies that happened to you were not of your making.

To be alone is not to be lonely when we learn to be happy with ourselves. It is far better to be alone than living with partners who make us feel unhappy.

You have a right to be depressed after everything that has happened to you and yes, men do cry and it is good to get rid of pent up feelings. I hope you felt better for it. You have probably tried to be a big strong Marine for too long. Crying is NOT a form of weakness but a natural emotional reaction.

If you haven't already, do read our page on Grieving Multiple Losses

We wish you well for the future. Good luck.

Our best wishes

The GriefandSympathy team.

Feb 05, 2017
So sorry!
by: Michelle

That's just huge! Seems too much for one person. I do think giving in to the tears was a very good thing. Sending best wishes that the help you have reached out for will make a very big difference!

Wishing that things turn around for you very soon!

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Multiple losses, abortion, family deaths, loss of job, loss of family support. . .

by Z

Hey. I'm a 21 y old girl from NJ .
I just want to share my story.

At 20 Years old I met the love of my life. We've dated for a year. We plan to move to Florida together, where his family resides.

First 6 months he has to return to Florida; death of his grandfather rocks him to the core, he flies home to be with his family and kids.

I'm left alone for our first summer and it's a cruel loneliness that overtakes me. I quit my old job.

He returns by the fall and we rejoice in seeing each other again, although separation from his mom and kids is hard for him.

We throw ourselves into work.

21st birthday. Few months later I get a great job.

I begin training for this great job, only to suddenly discover positive pregnancy test. I panicked, knowing that the stress of this job and my life habits are not good enough to sustain myself or my child. Money would start to flow in but at the expense of my health and health of the child. My family hasn't even met him yet, at this point.

I chose to go to Planned Parenthood and get an abortion. We are both distraught, especially me. I descend into deep depression, loathe anything to do with kids and pregnancy. It doesn't help that his roommate just discovers she's pregnant, and my supervisor at work is thrown a pregnancy party.

I threw up the first week of my new job, before my planned parenthood appointment.

Nobody except our mothers know. I'm in anguish by the time the appointment rolls around and I'm exhausted.

Then the death of my own grandfather happens right after the abortion.

Then I lose my job. I request time off, but I am let go after I return.

I've been unemployed almost 2 months, relying on my boyfriend's support. I'm in and out of the house due to difficulties with my family mentally and emotionally.

My only hope has been reaching out to family members hoping they will understand, but it's hard.

I just learned today that my Dad's godmother passed away.

Three family deaths in 4 months. Less than a year.

Depression eats me alive and feels like forever, but I refuse to let myself sink.

I am managing.

Thank you for letting me share my story, it feels better to share it the way I've felt it.

I write in a journal and write down my feelings usually but its comforting hearing the stories of others.

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Jul 31, 2018
Writing about your grief helps.
by: Lesley

Thank you for sharing your story with us. You have certainly had a lot to deal with at a young age, but you are being positive and doing the right thing in writing and reaching out for help.

Do read the page on this site about Multiple Losses.

There is also a page about Abortion Grief.

and a page from a young woman who lost her grandfather: How Yoga Helped Me When I Lost My Grandfather.

We wish you strength and comfort on your grief journey.

The GriefandSympathy Team

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Angry with death

by Gem

How have people coped with losing a loved one and then within a month another? My father died in December from cancer, his death was unpleasant, it made me switch off. We had a different relationship, which my partner doesn’t understand (divorce and relationship staggered but as an adult resolved relationship to seeing each other but knew where I stood from a priorities perspective) Then in January my maternal grandmother also passed away (very close to her throughout my life). I feel like I can’t grieve for her, it’s too hard and I have shut down. I am very angry. Sorry for long question.

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Mar 07, 2019
Anger after multiple losses
by: Betty from GriefandSympathy

Dear Gem

We are very sorry to hear about your sad losses and can see how you are finding it difficult to come to terms with what has happened.

You have experienced the opposite ends of the grief spectrum. When you lose a parent and feel that the relationship could have been better there is a lot of regret with feelings of how things could have been. The if only and wasted years that you could have shared.

When we lose someone who has always been close to us the shock and sadness can overwhelm us. Why should they die? They were too kind or too young?

Anger is a common factor during the grieving process - more than we realise.

It is such a short time since you lost your beloved grandmother and when the initial shock wears off the next few months are the challenging times. We miss them each day and have to fill the void they leave by talking to other friends and family. You will cope for her and others you love, but mostly for yourself. The grieving process can not be rushed, give yourself time, don't feel guilty, you are going through a difficult time in your life.

Be kind to yourself. The anger will subside, tears will come and one day you will realise that you enjoyed your day again.

There are many pages on the site for loss of parents and grandparents also about anger and grief. Once you accept that this is not unusual I hope you can continue along the pathways of grief. Multiple loss is difficult but you will get there.

Thank you for writing to us. This is a good step forward.

Sorry for the delay in responding we have been away.


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Five years of death...coping

by M

I really don’t have a question, just looking for a reason why.? I’ve lost my only sister, my step mother and now my boyfriend of nine years, within the past five years. I feel alone and sad as I miss them greatly! I’m dealing with the loss but focusing on my teenager attending college soon. I wasn’t prepared to be totally alone so soon! Starting over!

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Mar 13, 2019
Dealing with Multiple Losses
by: Betty from GriefandSympathy

Dear M,

Thank you for writing to us. We are so sorry to hear about the loss of so many of your loved ones in such a short space of time. You have faced a huge set of challenges.

Please do not look upon your teenager going to college as a further loss. You are obviously proud of this achievement and it shows the support you have given them despite your difficult years. Going to college is a life change for them and they still need a lot of support, emotional and financial. Knowing you are there for them gives them confidence during this settling in period. You can visit them and they will be back during long vacations. Many come back home when their courses are finished. With texts and mobile phones these days
distance is not such a problem. Close relationships can survive distances.

You owe it to yourself and your beloved teenager to cope with this situation. Writing to us is a good sign that you are already planning for this new chapter in your life.

It is now time to think of yourself and write your bucket list. We spend our lives helping family and friends, also working to pay bills. Rarely do we get a chance to ask ourselves,"What do I want to do?"

You are at a crossroads in your life full of opportunities. Do a degree, work for charity, take up a sport, only you know where your interests lie.

We never forget those we have lost, but we can make the best of the time we have left, do it for them for your beloved teen and mostly for yourself.

You have proved you can do it by coping with the many challenges you have faced already.

There are many relevant pages on our site that may help.

Our very best wishes.


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Difficult to see the way forward after multiple losses

Firstly I want to share my love with all of the people sharing their grief on this site, I’m so sorry for everyone’s losses. This is my story... in the last 2.5 years the following has happened …

Miscarriage of a longed for 2nd child
My husband lost his great job
2nd miscarriage
Father in law passed away
Our 2 cats passed away
My husband lost our life savings and we’re now in debt
3rd miscarriage
Our beautiful home is currently being sold, we’re not sure where we’ll be living as property is expensive here
My husband can’t find work
I can’t find work
2 imminent job offers for husband fell through last minute. The last being this week when we were told last week we could expect an offer.

All of this stress has greatly affected my relationship with my husband, I’m staying strong for my daughter but feel overwhelmed with anxiety, stress, anger, grief, sadness and isolation.

There’s only so much in bad news I feel I can tell people so now I don’t want to see people and am losing friends and family.

Will things ever get better? I’m finding it hard to keep positive...

Am I being melodramatic? Some people here have experienced much worse loss...

I’m so grateful for my daughter, I’m so scared something bad will happen to her, or me, and she will be without a mother...

I’m just trying to breathe deeply and know that “this too shall pass”

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Apr 27, 2019
Multiple losses, miscarriages and job loss
by: Betty from

After all the losses you have endured in such a short time, it is no surprise that the way forward seems too difficult to comprehend.

You have been through an awful lot and many of the losses you have experienced are not always acknowledged by society so you don't always get the support you deserve. Few people realise just how devastating a miscarriage can be and you have had three. Check out our pages on Coping with Miscarriage.

The emotions you describe are all part of the roller coaster of grief. Multiple loss is overwhelming (check out our page on that - Grieving Multiple Losses.)and the prospect of losing your home frightening.

The challenges you face are more than many of us ever do. You will survive this for yourself, your husband and the love of your daughter will be a huge motivation. Reaching out to our site is a good start, but you will need on-going support.
Find a close friend you can trust to talk to when things get tough. A support group, counselor, GP or family member.

You must also talk to your husband to discuss finances together and find reliable advice on how to cope over the house selling process and loss of income.

If you get financial advice on the way forward this will take away some of the stress. Your husband is also going through a difficult grieving process, with the loss of his job a huge challenge. You may both find it helpful to read our page on Coping with job loss.

It is often difficult for couples to support each other when they are both anxious and worried about the future. It is the time when you both need a lot of support. Do try to find this support for you both during this difficult period. It is a chapter in your lives which will pass.

Going through tough times in our lives makes us stronger. Though at the time it does not seem possible. When the going gets tough the tough get going was an old wives’ tale but most of us have needed that advice at times in our lives.

Try not to give in to the fear and imagine that more bad things are going to happen.

Remember this period is only one chapter of your life, a new chapter is about to start and by working together your lifestyle will improve.

Getting any new job these days takes time and effort with lots of rejections along the way. This is not your failure but too few jobs for too many people. Do not take it personally just keep trying.

We wish you and your family our very best wishes for the future. You sound like a person who tries to be positive which is so difficult when facing all these challenges, you will get through this with your determination.

Betty from GriefandSympathy

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No immediate family left

by Tracy

I lost my mum 13 years ago, but in the last year I lost my dad, a friend and my sister within 7 months.

I’m feeling alone with no family. My sister was only 57. I only have 2 aunts left.

Just feeling not part of a family even though we were a small family. Feeling incredibly sad.

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Jul 31, 2019
How to Cope with Grieving Multiple Losses
by: Betty from GriefandSympathy

Dear Tracy,

Thank you for writing to us. We are very sorry to hear of your multiple losses. Not many of us have this amount of trauma to cope with in a short space of time. The loneliness and isolation you feel must be challenging for you.
When grieving we want to crawl away into a corner and mope but please do try to renew relationships with old friends and join a support group or hobby class so that you can feel part of a group again. It may take a while to find the right one for you, but you know what your interests are, the lists are endless, art or photography, yoga or choir. This will give you motivation to get out and you will feel part of something and make new friends.

You are not alone in your grief - so many of us lose loved ones every day and somehow it is up to us to get through each day. Do it not only for you, but for your sister, she was young, but would not like you to be so sad for her. At first we have to go out with friends and pretend to be having a good time, then one day we discover we really did. It is not disloyal to your father or sister to enjoy yourself. Many people feel guilty to be going out after a loss as if they should be sad all the time. Often inside we really are but putting on a brave face to the world helps us too.

Coping with losses like yours takes time and determination, only you can do it, but not alone, go out and make new friends. Confide in people you trust with personal matters. That may be a close friend or a doctor or Minister. Some grief counselling may help.

There are pages on this site discussing grieving multiple losses that may help. The pathways of grief are not easy but you are reaching out for help and that is a good first step.

We wish you well on your journey.

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I feel so many emotions and I don't know what to do

by Caroline
(Boston, M.A, U.S.A.)

Hi, I don't know how to start but here I go. On Valentine's day, I lost my ex boyfriend in a car accident. We had broken up a couple months prior and I was so hurt and mad. He called me almost every night and I refused to meet him and would barely talk to him on the phone. The BOOM! He was gone forever. I have so many regrets for not hearing him out and guilt that this all happened. It's been pretty awful. I had one sibling, my sister, whom we've had our ups and downs with due to an addiction but as soon as he passed, she was right there for me. Calling to see if I was ok, texting me, etc...but 6 weeks later, on March 31st, she passed on as well. I feel awful and lots of guilt like I didn't help her enough with her issues. I'm still in shock but mostly anger and sadness at this point. How could I lose my only sibling on top of this?! Why did this all have to happen within 6 weeks?! Also, on top of this, my Nana passed away as well 4 weeks after my sister. We weren't really close but I feel terrible for my Mom. My parents in general because now I am their only child. If anyone has been through something similar or has any advice, please help. Thank you all. ❤

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May 29, 2019
Help with Multiple Losses
by: Betty from GriefandSympathy

Dear Caroline

Thank you for writing to us at this challenging time in your life. So many losses in such a short time are very difficult to comprehend.

The roller coaster of emotions you are feeling are all part of the grief. Many of us feel guilt following a loss, we think of what we said or did not say. The car accident was not your fault. You can read about guilt and how to stop blaming yourself here.

Your sister must have cared for you as she helped during your break up. That shows she felt you had tried to help her. Addiction is a problem and very hard on families. It was not your fault. At the time you and your Mom must have done all you could.

It is sad to lose your Nan as well at this already challenging time in your life and I wish I could say it was easy. However you will get through this and supporting your Mom is a good start.

So is writing to us and seeking help which shows that you are on the right pathway and trying.

Try to continue seeing friends as usual. Choose someone close to confide in on those very difficult days.

Visit your Mom and support her as you will both be feeling these extremes of emotions.

Don't be scared of tears, they are never far away and are beneficial.

Forgive yourself for these unnecessary feelings of guilt. We can all only do what we feel is right at the time and that is what you did when dealing with your break up and your sister's addiction.

Now is the time to care for yourself and your Mom. Your lives are precious and by supporting each other you will cope.

We have a page on the site about how to cope with grieving multiple losses. There are also some other forum posts about multiple losses if you look on the main Bereavement Forum page. Also there are a group of pages about the emotions of grief. During these difficult times it helps to know that you are not alone feeling these onslaughts of many different emotions.

Our very best wishes.


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Losing Multiple Family Members

by Chris Styers
(Canton, Mi. )

My wife lost her father, mother, and brother to COVID-19 on April 2nd, April 7th, and April 11th, respectively, this year. I’m very concerned for her. Her parents and brother were very loving and caring people. The parents' home, when they were children, was the place everyone hung out. Many of those kids regarded her mother as a second Mom. Her father was very hard working and would help anyone at anytime. Her brother was similarly caring. He loved his four children more than anything. He also belonged to a motorcycle club that did great things for many charities. He was very well known. We couldn’t go anywhere without someone knowing him.

Her grief is very intense. I realize this trauma isn’t expected to mitigate within weeks or months. I’m still worried that she is unwilling to accept this and start to heal. What can I do as her husband to help her navigate this tremendous tragedy? Also, what would you expect her disposition to be at this stage knowing that everyone grieves differently.

I feel so helpless as she experiences unwavering sadness and anger that this virus has destroyed her family. Any advice is appreciated.

Thank you,


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Jul 30, 2020
Losing Multiple Family Members to Coronavirus
by: Betty from GriefandSympathy

Dear Chris

Thank you for writing to us. It is so difficult to imagine how your wife must be feeling after her multiple losses. It is also very difficult for you to cope and know how to deal with this deep sorrow she is feeling. We never get over this type of loss but over time we learn to accept what has happened and somehow cope day to day.

They will never be forgotten by her.

Anger and many other emotions are all part of grief. Why did it happen to them? Why do I have to cope with all this sadness? This is the time of the roller coaster of emotions which are so unpredictable. Tears, anger, jealousy of friends who all still have their families, so many anxieties plus the fear of the pandemic itself which affects everyone at present.

We have pages about all the different emotions of grief that you will all be feeling:

Emotions of Grief

The slings and arrows of life's misfortunes have certainly rained down on you both.

Take life a day at a time, be there to support your wife, listen to her concerns, which she finds overwhelming at present and put on your patience cap.

There are no miracles only time will help along with your support.

Our site has many useful pages devoted to Grieving Multiple Losses and coping with and explaining grief. Perhaps show your wife some of these when she is ready, but don't push it if she is not interested yet. It can be very overwhelming and people need to grieve at their own pace.

There are also contacts for online counselling services on the site if you feel that would help.

One day she will realise how lucky she was to have had such a loving family but that takes time. Grief is the price we pay for love and we would never want to miss that love, but the loss is hard to come to terms with. It can not be rushed takes time and lots of support. I am relieved she has you in her life to help with that caring support.


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My sister lost both her children 28 years old & 30 years old less than 90 days apart.

by Cheryl
(Huntsville, AL.)

I am grieving not only for myself but for my sister & my brother-in-law and their unbearable grief. They lost their 28 year old son to an overdose in February. He lived in a different state & in May they lost their daughter from a drug overdose in their home. They went to tell her dinner was done and she was dead in her bedroom (see what can happen in 2 hours). My sister had 2 children and lost both of them, my grief is for my sister and the pain that she is in.
How can I help her get through this along with myself.

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Jun 14, 2020
Coping with Deaths from Overdose
by: Lesley from

Dear Cheryl

First of all, may we send you our heartfelt condolences for the loss of your niece and nephew. This is a terrible tragedy for your whole family at such a difficult time.

You are doing the right thing in reaching out to ask for help.

The first thing you can do, is let your sister know about our site. There are lots of pages that can help. The emotions of grief are similar no matter the cause of death, even though multiple losses and from such a tragic cause can bring more complications. I will recommend some specific pages and resources for you and your sister below.

The main thing is just to be there. To listen, to give practical help and let her know that someone cares.

Also make sure you look after yourself too. Self-care is very important when you are supporting someone else as it takes a lot out of you.

Grieving Multiple Losses

Emotions of Grief

Helping Others Cope with Grief

This last one is one I found for you from the Center on Addition site which seems very good:

How to Support Someone Grieving Substance Use Loss

We wish you peace and strength on your grief journey.


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Late miscarriage, a stillborn and my mother's death

by Marianna
(Belgium )

Within 3 years I lost everything!!! I had a late miscarriage a stillborn and a month ago I lost suddenly my mother. We were so close. We live in different countries but we were talking at least 3 times per day. I wasn’t there when she died. She was only 57 years old. I couldn’t go to the funeral because of Coronavirus. I feel guilty for that. I miss her so much. I miss my babies too. I had to give birth twice and my mother was my rock. How can I live without her? I got so much love from her and now it hurts so bad. Every night I'm praying I can see her in my dreams but nothing.

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Apr 21, 2020
Dealing with Multiple Losses and Missing a Funeral
by: Betty from GriefandSympathy

Thank you for writing to us. We are so sorry for your multiple losses and can not begin to understand just how difficult this must be for you. Not many of us have as many huge losses in such a short period of time.

Losing your mother so suddenly is tragic especially at an already sad period in your life when her support was badly needed. When someone has been ill and we worry about their health, there is feeling, a doubt, that they may not survive this. However a sudden death shows us just how vulnerable we all are. The shock, the trauma, is more difficult to accept and believe. All we can do is remember that grief is the price we pay for love and the fact that you had such a great relationship with your mother for many years is a huge positive in your life and will have given you lots of memories to sustain you during the pathways of your grief.

Everyone grieves in their own individual ways and there is no time limit. You will never forget the losses of your babies and your wonderful mother. There are many pages on the site on how to cope with loss from miscarriage, stillbirth and of your mother.

Coping with Miscarriage
Coping with a Stillbirth
Loss of your Mother

During the early stage of loss we can only aim to take a day at a time and survive that day. It does get easier with time but there is no shortcut. You will need a lot of support and do talk to close friends about your feelings by phone in these difficult times. On line support groups and online counselors are available from our site, if you find you need more help.

It is a particularly difficult time for you as you could not go to the funeral. We have included a new page on this with our reply as many people are facing huge problems with the loss of a loved one and isolation due to the virus pandemic. What to Do When You Can't Hold a Funeral. Reach out to other members of your family and have chats on the phone to your mother's friends. All contacts with people who knew her will be a way of sharing and talking about her life. A funeral should be a celebration of that person's life and communicating with family or friends and sharing memories helps if you can't have one.

By writing to us you have already shown that you are working your way through your grief and seeking help which is a good start. I wish I had a magic wand that could wave away your loss, but we are a resilient species and somehow whatever our world throws at us we get on with our lives. The slings and arrows of life's misfortunes have certainly been unkind to you but experts tell us that these tragedies make us stronger in the end.

Our very best wishes
Elizabeth and Lesley

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Will this ever get better?

by Caroline west
(Can by Oregon)

Will this ever get better?

I lost my dad last April due to cancer
Just last week I lost my mom to cancer.

My son is struggling too. He is 16 and the loss of my mom and dad affects him.

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Apr 24, 2021
Your son's grief and yours
by: Betty from GriefandSympathy

Dear Caroline,

Thank you for writing to us.

It is a difficult time for you as you were still grieving for your father and now the shock of your mother. As well as your loss, you have to be brave and support your son.

Make sure that his school knows that he is suffering grief for the loss of his grandparents. Teachers and friends could help with his support too.

All we can do in the early stages is take each day at a time and cope in the best way we can. Shock sometimes lessens the pain of loss. However do confide in good friends when you are in low spirits. They are often wanting to help and be a shoulder to cry on, but do not like to bring up your loss unless you do.

One day we remember their love with wonder not grief. It takes time but good, happy memories will return. You will cope for not only your benefit but your son's.

We are very sorry for your loss.

Our best wishes for your future.


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Don't feel anything after multiple losses. Why?

by B'ann

I lost my dad in 2016, our son in early 2017, and my mother in 2019. I was sad and cried with my dad. I fell apart with my son but quickly got 'over' the crying, and hardly cried at all for my mom. I think about them, but there is no overwhelming sense of loss. I don't think this is normal. Is it?

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Jan 12, 2021
Grieving Multiple Losses
by: Betty from GriefandSympathy

Dear B'ann

Thank you for writing to us. We are very sorry for your multiple losses and it must be difficult for you to have coped.

Your first loss was traumatic. If you had never experienced the loss of a close relative before it is a challenging time in your life.

To lose a child is devastating. We all expect to outlive our children and it is a huge loss.

The grieving process takes a long time and I suspect that your grief feels less severe because you are still coming to terms with the earlier losses and still grieving for them. Your recent loss is probably causing shock and you have not properly accepted it. Many of us are in shock for months after a loss and it is difficult to process what has happened. The shock protects us from the pain of loss. Yes it is common and your feelings are not unusual.

There are many pages on the site about multiple losses, loss of a child and the different processes of grief. It does not mean that you cared less for your mother only that you have not processed this loss yet.

You have had so much to cope with, you just need time to focus on yourself and daily routines. No doubt the shock will wear off in time and you will be able to accept her loss.

Our very best wishes to you. You have had such a difficult time, all in such a short space of time and it sounds as if you have coped amazingly well.
They say loss makes us stronger in the end.

Betty from Grief and Sympathy

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I have lost both my sisters and I am haunted...

by Jojo

Both my sisters died of a genetic illness by the time I was 17. One of them I knew and the other sister, she was only 4 months old when she died and I have no memory of her at all (I was only 6). And lately, as I get older, it is her death that haunts me.

There are no photos of her, no discussions, no mention of her (she died in 1976, I know things were different then).

I keep crying about this one thing - who was with her when she died. She died in hospital, very ill with bowel problems and I could be wrong about this but I don't know if either of my parents were with her when she passed away. She was in a city hospital and we lived hundreds of miles away and back then, parents weren't allowed stay with sick children. My other sister died in the late 80s and it was so different then. I know they were both with her. I can't ask them as they can't talk about her.

Do people think that my baby sister had a nurse with her, at the end? I know nurses are angels and I pray someone was comforting her, I would give anything to know who was with her.

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Apr 07, 2021
Pandemic makes grief worse
by: Betty from GriefandSympathy

Dear JoJo,

Thank you for writing to us and we hope you find some comfort from the many pages on our site.

This pandemic has made us all aware of how vulnerable we are and you are grieving the loss of sisters you might have known had things been different. My friends who are close to their sisters show what good friends and support they can be. I did not have any sisters, only one much older brother who died many years ago.

I had experience as a child, as an inpatient in hospital; when families could only visit once a week and had to wave from the window outside. However the care and kindness we were given was so supportive. My first time away from home it made me keener to be a nurse. It could have put me off but the quality of care was exemplary.

The long dormitory type wards had sister's office in the corner with all windows. Every patient could be seen at all times. When children or babies were sick they were moved to be much nearer these rooms for constant observation. I realised this when I worked as a midwife and also was a staff nurse on a children's ward. All the student nurses in those days were working on the wards all the time. Doctors did many ward rounds and could be called. The specialist did daily ward rounds. I would honestly say that not having anyone around you was the impossibility.

The chances of your baby sister being alone at her death are remote. It was common practice to have a nurse routinely beside a very ill child 24 hrs a day. There was a rota system. Any change at all they would send for the doctor.

This pandemic has caused many anxious thoughts for us all. We have had too much time to linger on the negative side of life. Let us hope that this period will pass soon and we can mix socially with all our friends again and get back to a more positive view of life.

Our very best wishes to you.


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Where to get help: 

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Online counseling can help by giving you that support so you don't feel so alone. You can have someone to talk to anytime you like, a kind and understanding person who will help you to find meaning in life again, to treasure the memories of your loved one without being overwhelmed and to enjoy your activities, family and friends again.

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