by Amy

These last 17 months have been the hardest time in my life. I lost my Dad in July of '08, my brother Gary in January of '09, my Mom October 21, 2009, and now my dog, Sampson on November 20, 2009. These losses have been cumulative.

My dad was sick with Alzheimer's, pneumonia, congestive heart failure, and a heart attack that he coded on, and was brought back from. Dad went in hospice for 3 days and died.

Mom, one month and a day after dad died, she had a stroke which left her blind and unable to get around or feed herself anymore. Last November, the hospital staff informed my family that she had anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months to live. Mom came home to in-home hospice. We couldn't figure out why Mom had lasted as long as she did. She had a plan to make sure all of us kids stayed together and became closer as a family. Which really did happen, and then she was finally able to let go.
When Mom came home from the hospital in December of 2008, my brother Gary lived for about 3 more weeks. The night that Gary died, my brother Rick, who was the caregiver for Mom, Dad, and Gary, broke his shoulder. Rick was unable to care for Mom and his own self.

My 9 other brothers and sisters and I all pitched in to take care of my Mom and Rick. Round the clock care was needed. Mom has only been gone a month and we had to put my dog of 12 1/2 years to sleep.

The pain that is in my heart is immeasurable. I don't know where to go from here. I have a husband and two young daughters, who need me and I them, I have to keep myself together for them. However, I need to grieve myself.

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