5 losses in 2 years (4 human, 1 pet) but I'm surviving!!!

by Well Loved Daughter
(Alabama, USA)

I’m a 32yr old female and an only child who was so very blessed. My parents split amicably when I was about 3. Both remarried but my mother divorced my stepfather. He remains a dad to me even though they divorced when I was 12. He remarried in 2004 to a wonderful woman who I loved and who treated me as her own. My stepmother is also a volunteer “parent” who entered my life when I was about 4 or 5. My biological mother was a phenomenal woman and my idol. She battled several complications from diseases like double curve scoliosis, neurofibromatosis, and hydrocephalus. She and my father stayed friends and they both empowered me to be who I am today. Though, after the last 2 years of loss, I’m struggling some days to even do a load of laundry. My mother fell ill and stayed disabled not even a year after I graduated high school (her decline began in 1999 with a fall). She suffered permanent brain damage and eventually seizures that left her in poor mental condition similar to Alzheimer’s. I was her world and all she ever wanted was a baby girl to name her after her own mother who passed during her senior year in high school. My father and I were always close, like best friends and he helped me cope with missing my mother. I think a timeline best represents the losses:

06.30.2011 - Stepfather’s 2nd wife, age 51, died unexpectedly of a heart attack while lounging on a blow-up raft in the ocean the day before I was going to meet them there to celebrate July 4th. (personally I feel this is sort of the way to go … on vacation, happy, in the sun and quickly …)
11.17.2011 – my biological father lost his battle with cancer at age 64
05.14.2012 – my cat of 9 years passed away after having seizures in my arms
10.10.2012 – my stepdad’s father who was 91 passed away (though expected as he was older, still a loss)
05.29.2013 – my biological mother passed away at age 56

I don’t feel as though any of this is directed at me or punishing me for anything. I just feel a little lost in the world and constantly tense like waiting for the other shoe to drop or next death to occur. My stepmother just turned 70 and that has me anxious. All of my biological grandparents are gone already. The only grandparent left is my stepfather's mother and she just turned 90 or will this year. I’m single and got out of a long-term relationship in November 2010. I have my 2 feline children but otherwise I’m alone and I want hugs or a shoulder to cry on but then again I don’t… I’m just worried that I have not adequately grieved for one before another has happened …

I’m so sorry to everyone on here who is going through this. This is the worst time of my life!! It does make me curious though … Maybe it’s easier to get it all over with so close together? Just one big blow of overwhelming grief and for me loneliness? At least the pain is sort of concentrated this way? Like if it were spread out we’d begin to feel a false sense of security then BAM another death or loss? Hugs to you all.

I cannot get past how it will ever hurt less. My heart is broken and most days are good but the ones that are bad are just absolutely miserable and foul.

Comments for 5 losses in 2 years (4 human, 1 pet) but I'm surviving!!!

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Jun 26, 2013
Thank you!!
by: Well Loved Daughter

Dorren U.K. and silver,

Thank you both for taking the time to respond to my post above. I had not expected any comments. I just sort of figured I'd put my feelings out there online as a reference point (to see later how much I've grown) and for anyone else facing these obstacles. My hope is that we can all do exactly what you have both done for me. We can grow and be better because of our challenges and we can share with others the genuine empathy that unfortunately only comes with experiencing exactly what we've all been through.

I had a pretty good day yesterday but woke up again today wanting to cry. I have accepted that they are gone. I have no regrets and do not wish either of my parents back alive. To have them alive would mean to have them suffering or fighting to survive. They are much better off!

As for my grieving, I just want to move on … I don't even want to cry most times that it happens! I've been reading books about grief and surfing the web for helpful information. I have so many friends that are so supportive that I cannot even begin to tell you how fortunate I am. However, those friends are mostly in other states or busy with their lives so it's phone, email, facebook or text support. I'm glad to have it but sometimes a hug is all I desire. I think that while being an only child is huge disadvantage in some ways it has helped me cope with my recent losses. As a child I was used to entertaining myself and being my own emotional support. I work from home so I'm rarely out of my house. I think I need to set some short term easy goals to help me out. For example I will take a shower today.

I succumb to the crying spells and the heartache because I know there must be something truly amazing for me around the corner. I have a new-found faith in myself that since I survived all of this I can take on anything.

Hugs to you both. I sincerely appreciate the support. I can't imagine how hard it is for you both and I send you lots of love, hugs and support as you continue your path towards your new normal.

Jun 25, 2013
5 losses in 2 years
by: silver

Dear loved daughter in Alabama.I forgot something on the previous note.I also live in Alabama but in the north.I neglected to say that I understand how it feels to wonder when the next shoe will drop.I was reeling with my dads death,when my friend died.That funeral was hardly over when my mom died.I didn't have time to grieve because 11 mos later my husband died.When those things happen it's like being repeatedly hit over the head.You just start to think it's over and you can go on then,BOOM,you get hit again.I do think it makes it hard to realize who you are grieving for.I admire you for how you are handling this.It's so very hard sometimes.I kept going after my parents death because I had to deal with their belongings,house,bills,and my older brother(he is mentally retarded).The first couple months after my husband died I did nothing.I only dressed if I had to go somewhere.I only ate sporadically and usually junk I didn't have to cook.I am going out now at least once a week.I go to church.I finally started walking again.Hang in there.You will make it.You are stronger than you think.I send you the love of someone who knows what you are going through.Take care of yourself.Sending lots of hugs for when you need them.

Jun 25, 2013
5 losses in 2 years
by: silver

As someone who has been where you are I am with you in spirit.My timeline is this:
My father-in-law Mar 2009
My father Dec 2009
My friend of 28yrs May 29,2010
My mother June 2010
My husband May 29,2011.
We both have buried our parents.As hard as that was it was no contest that sending my husband on was by far worse.I didn't realize this would be until I buried my mom 7 months after my dad.I can tell you though that it does get easier.My dad has been gone 4 yrs in Dec,my mom 3 yrs in 5 days and my husband 2 yrs this past May.I still cry for them sometimes.I will always love them and keep them in my heart.I have to believe I will see them again one day.That is what keeps me going sometimes.I have lots of memories and those are what sustain us.GOD send you strength and peace.I will keep you in my prayers

Jun 25, 2013
5 losses in 2 years ( 4 human, 1 pet) but I'm surviving !!!
by: Doreen U.K.

I am sorry for all your losses in your life. You seem to have a quiet acceptance with maturity of your loss's and feel somewhat disappointed with yourself for not being able to just handle this part of your life and get on with it. BUT. These losses are interfering with you moving forward in your life.
You are right. You may not have grieved each loss. And yet I wonder what this means in terms of grief. We cry and feel upset for our loss but we also accept what we cannot change. It is the days ahead of this loss that leaves us somewhat disoriented and unable to move forward. Days when you feel like you can do nothing as if some illness has come upon you. This is what grief does. Counselling does help because the skill of the counsellor teases out things that leaves one thinking and before you know it healing is taking place. Somehow or other many who don't understand counselling don't understand the skills used. The family dynamics can tie everything together and somehow it does get sorted out. When I look back I think? Now how did my counsellor/therapist do that. He got me to a place I could never go back to, and a way forward that helps me cope with loss. Because it is not only death that robs us. It is all the other losses in life and the big one is RELATIONSHIPS. And they are all tied together in our life because in some way they are all connected to us in the experience of FAMILY.
I can understand you not having the energy to even do the Laundry. I lost my husband of 44yrs. 14 months ago to cancer and I am feeling more alone and unhappy today than in the beginning. Perhaps I was numb in some way and now the thawing is taking place rather as if I am defrosting and now melting with grief. Not knowing how to move forward in life. I feel as if I can't be bothered some days. When one crisis happens in life there will always be another one to take its place and we never get a chance to recover. Like you I feel the same way. As if someone else is going to disappear from my life. It is difficult having to restructure one's life again after loss. It can also be a fun experience if one is younger and has their whole life in front of them. I would say GO AND LIVE IT WELL. The older one gets they develop ill health as I do which makes living more difficult because I can't get around as much due to being in pain. Grief adds to this physical pain. You are a much loved daughter and It reads as if your parents reared you well and you have developed into an articulate person with a maturity that will help you in life. Sadly life is full of sorrow and we just have to develop those positive aspects of living. But don't hold everything too tightly so that you wouldn't be able to cope if you lost those people from your life. It is hard but something I am now having to practice. I hope you are able to find healing from your grief and you go on to find happiness and Love again in your life. In time you will find it. Best wishes.

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