Dealing with the deaths of 4 very close loved ones within 10 months (3 within 3 months)
First let me say that I am finally having more better days than bad. I'm still going through the grieving process but thinking about my loved ones in a positive light is becoming a little easier each day.
The only family I ever knew was my mother and her brother and their parents. My mother had lived with my grandparents nearly all of her life. I had children born in 1985 and 1988 from previous relationships and 1 child with my husband in 1995. We were married in 1992 which means our 20th anniversary is coming up soon! My oldest son had a beautiful daughter and my daughter married and has 2 beautiful children. We were, and whats left of us, are still a very very close and loving family.
The first loved one that I lost was my grandfather to esophageal cancer and emphysema when I was 15. Sometimes I'm not so sure that I ever fully recovered from that. My grandfather and uncle were like my superheroes. Always taking me places...always playing games with me...I don't know that my heart could have held anymore love for my family. My mother became pretty ill when we lost "grandpop". We were worried about her but she did start to come around after about 7 months or so.
Fast forward 28 years to September 2010. My uncle informs me that he has stomach cancer and orders that I tell no one until the rest of the test results were in. My mother told me that he died in the middle of December 2010. Once again my mother became ill, even though she did already know about his cancer and I watched my healthy as a horse 91 year old grandmother go through her grieving process after preparing herself the best that she could.
Almost 3 months later in the first week of March, my oldest son calls me and tells me that my grandmother is in the hospital and she is unconscious. She passed away early the next morning. I saw my mother lose her best friend and she fell apart even more at the seams. I felt that I needed to try and stay strong for her and my son who went even deeper into depression.
At this time, my oldest son was living with my mother and was struggling with drug addiction and depression. He was a dynamite kid with a heart of gold that would do anything for you. He would give you the shirt off his back or break his back for you. We were making arrangements for him to come stay with us and get into a rehab when my mother told me 15 days after my grandmother died, that he's on the living room floor and he was already gone for hours.
She thought he was sleeping and didn't think anything about it at all until a couple hours passed and she didn't think something was right. I drove the 4 hour ride from our home to my mom's and by the time I got there they had already taken my son to the morgue. They don't allow anyone to see the bodies here only pictures and I just couldn't go through with that. At that point I wasn't even sure if I wanted to see him like that knowing that I couldn't do anything for him to bring him back and make it better.
Well, needless to say, I moved myself, my husband and our son into my mother's/grandparent's home to stay with my mother who was living completely alone at that point. We were very concerned about her health and being an only child, there was no one else to take care of my mother or call me if something had happened to her. As she felt guilty about my son, I would have felt guilty if I didn't move back home and be there for her.
About 3 weeks later, in the beginning of April 2011, my mom ended up in the emergency room with pain that caused them to take x-rays of her lower abdomen. She was also dealing with a "UTI" for about 3 months. Shortly afterwards she was diagnosed with stage 2 bladder cancer.
My mother had lost the will to live. She was already extremely frail and she did not take well to the 1/2 dose chemo treatments. She was not a good candidate for surgery because she had smoked for 50 years. We eventually talked her into allowing a home hospice nurse to come out to the house. She only came out about 4 or 5 times to take vitals and order meds before my mother passed away peacefully at home, as per her wishes, in her "sleep", exactly 7 months after my grandmother.
Out of all of these deaths, the hardest one to swallow is my son. My uncle and my mother were sick so I expected it. I prepared myself for my grandmother because I know how she felt about a parent seeing a child to the grave...how it doesn't follow the natural order...and now I saw one of my own children to his grave. Unexpectedly...an otherwise healthy 25 year old lost his life and he didn't have to.
For a while there, it was extremely hard for me to think about my son and not think about his struggles and his death. For a while there it was hard for me to think about my mother and not think about her failing health and state of mind in the last month of her life. It was one of the darkest times, if not THE darkest time of my life. Thankfully my husband was and is my support system and my youngest son did and does his best to stay out of the way.
I can finally think about my son and mother and not cry every single time over said and unsaid words or things that have or haven't been done. I'm finally starting to think about them and feel good inside. Of course I still have my moments, but I am on my way to healing.
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