Is there life after repeated trauma?
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.
Coping with multiple traumatic losses
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?
My sister lost our mom and a son within 2 days.
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.
Coping with Multiple Losses and Chronic Illness
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.
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.
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.
Multiple losses, abortion, family deaths, loss of job, loss of family support. . .
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.
Angry with death
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.
Five years of death...coping
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!
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
Father in law passed away
Our 2 cats passed away
My husband lost our life savings and we’re now in debt
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”
No immediate family left
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.
I feel so many emotions and I don't know what to do
(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. ❤
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.
My sister lost both her children 28 years old & 30 years old less than 90 days apart.
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.
Late miscarriage, a stillborn and my mother's death
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.
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.
Don't feel anything after multiple losses. Why?
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?
I have lost both my sisters and I am haunted...
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.
ARE YOU A BEREAVED MOTHER OR FATHER?
We are two bereaved parents who have teamed up with researchers at Yeshiva University and Memorial Sloan Kettering to study how the death of a child impacts parents’ lives, and the resulting ripple effects as life continues without our children. We invite you to participate in a survey which will help us develop resources to better support parents experiencing the heartbreak of child loss.
For mothers or fathers who have lost a child (or children) of any age, and would like to make a contribution to our understanding of bereaved parenthood, this is a way to make a difference.
If you would like to participate in our study, please fill out this confidential survey at https://yeshiva.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_cUXcBDFIiWAg6Ng It will take about 20 minutes.
For more details, you can contact the Principal Investigator:
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Thank you for your consideration --
Judith Kottick, LCSW and Jean Singer, PhD
IRB Approved at the Study Level, May 10, 2021. #30499052.0
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