Instant Orphan

by Barbara Zimet
(Huntington Station, NY)


My name is Barbara and 26 years ago, 15 days before my 23rd birthday both my parents died in a private plane crash. 2 weeks later my maternal grandmother died and 9 months later my paternal grandmother died, a week later my dog! And that was just 1988. To say the road has been difficult is an understatement is about right. Life has been extremely challenging to say the least. Not a day goes by that I don't think about them. We do not have a big family so that made the loss even more difficult.

Over the years the really difficult issue is that I have yet to meet another person who has had a similar experience and it has made dealing with my grief more difficult since I haven't met a soul who could validate my experience. Over the years I have searched the internet to find a support group and it has been challenging. Becoming an instant orphan is more than life changing.

Is there anyone out here that has had this experience? I know I am not the only one.

Thanks for reading this.


Comments for Instant Orphan

Click here to add your own comments

Sep 14, 2014
lost my family and didn't have time to grieve as I was fighting Cancer
by: Doreen UK

IM I am so sorry for your loss of your parents to cancer and stroke and for your loss of your brother. I am also sorry for your difficult time fighting cancer and trying to find your way back in to life.
I nursed my husband for 3yrs.39days through a deadly cancer growing inside of him for 40yrs. from when he cut asbestos in the workplace as a young man in his 20's. I lost him 2yrs.4months ago. A horrendous cancer journey.
I am glad you made it through your cancer and hope that you get the all clear and your cancer does not return.
Many of us have families who behave in a way that makes us unhappy at the toxic behaviour and how hard it is to find fulfilment in each other's company. Instead we have division and separation.
You don't need this whilst trying to stay cancer free. I hope that you have friends who can be there for you and very supportive. Life is tough. May You have many more years of good health and freedom from cancer.

Sep 14, 2014
No one cares, I feel so alone
by: Doreen UK

Dear Anonymous I am sorry for your loss of your husband. You say you have sister's and a son and no one came forward to console you. You had to do this for yourself. I feel so sad when families behave like this. But saying this it is all too common an experience. When we need people the most they abandon us. This compounds our loneliness. One day they will go through what you are facing now and will get a reality check. You sound as if you feel so insignificant to other's that you even questioned sending your post to Barbara. God created you, and whether you believe in Him or not. God cares and you are significant to him, and others on this site. You need to know that you are valuable. You need to spend time building yourself up. Do lovely things for yourself each day and build on this every day till it becomes a way of life. You can become that strong woman that other's will lean on and find beauty in you even if you don't see it yourself. I felt this from reading your post. Remember it is not what people think of you or your life's circumstances that define who you are. It is what and how you think about yourself that is going to define you. People will always have opinions about us. Who do we believe? Life's circumstances and pain can rob us of our self-esteem. It is your self esteem you need to build up. Think of yourself as a valuable person and build on this. A good starting point.

Sep 13, 2014
I understand
by: Anonymous

I was terminally ill a couple of years ago. Cancer. While I was sick, both my parents died. Dad, cancer, mom, stroke.
A couple months ago, my brother died.
My parents didn't die instantly, but I had no time to grieve, because I was trying not to die myself.
I am single. Never married. No children.
My family is highly toxic. I cannot have them in my life. So, yes, I feel like an orphan too.
IM sorry. Xxx

Sep 11, 2014
Instant Orphan
by: Doreen UK

Barbara I am so sorry for your loss of your parents to a sudden death in a tragic accident, and for the loss of your grandparents and dog. I can't say I have had the same loss as you, but all too familiar with the grief experience. I lost my husband 2yrs. ago to a rare and deadly cancer. I nursed him for 3yrs.39days with a horrendous cancer journey. I didn't know how the grief felt like till I lost him. I could not function in any way for 6 months. I could only take to the couch and let T.V. bathe my wounds of loss and devastation at how life would be from now on. I slowly got my health back and able to take on some of the days jobs which increased as the days went by. I scaled back what I couldn't do and just let myself go with the flow of each day. I still can only take ONE DAY AT A TIME.
To lose your entire family is the worst experience of one's life. On this site you will encounter many people who have had multiple losses and struggling to the point of needing to see a grief counsellor. Often we have to get some support to help us move forward when life throws us a huge loss that cannot be understood, and acceptance of this loss causes us so much pain and stress that life is unbearable still.
I hope that you will get the support you need also from this site and that you will eventually find a way forward that will help you reclaim your life back.

Sep 10, 2014
Feel so Alone
by: Josie

My heart goes out to you I definitely understand what your going through and you are absolutely right No One understands unless they have gone through it. I lost my Dad 25yrs ago then 18mos later I lost my brother I went into a deep depression, then my only daughter @ the age of 14 suffered a cerebral hemmorage we were told she would not survive, but the Lord gave me a miracle and she survived. Two yrs later I lost my Mom and I wasn't with her I had to come back home to go to work I told her I would be back on the weekend & she shook her head and told me no it was the hardest thing I ever had to do and she died alone. The following yr my oldest brother on my Mom's birthday suffered a stroke & passed away I lost my last brother on Mother's day. I'm the only one left even though I have my children and grandchildren it does not make up for me losing my identity that's how I feel. I take meds and pray to God to give me strength everyday because I feel so lost. God bless you and keep reminding yourself you will see them again & their with us in our heart and memories. Take care you are not alone.

Sep 09, 2014
to instant orphan
by: Anonymous

I am sorry you lost your loved ones, i know you must be feeling very lonely and sad. At the age of 25 in 1979 i lost my mum, i lived at home with my parents. After my mum died my younger brother left home which left me to take care of my dad,weeks later i had to have my 16 year old cat put down then shortly after that i came down to find my budgie dead at the bottom of his cage. Sounds pathetic i know to grieve over animals but i loved them. It seemed like everything around me was gone. Then my dad was diagnosed with cancer. I looked after him the best i could, then he died, and since it was a council property i was told i could no longer stay there. I felt so lonely and lost. . Shortly before my dad died I was made redundant. No big redundancy pay out. I got a bed sit, ,Made some bad choices in my life due to loneliness. Fell pregnant, my son is now in his 20`s, but no happy ending, he is disabled, has learning difficulties, and im still on my own. The only thing i can say is what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

Sep 09, 2014
Dear Barbara
by: Anonymous

Barbara, if you read about losses here you will see the some of these people have lost numerous members of their families all within a years time or short periods of time. That way you will see you are not alone.
No one needs to validate your experience but you. It's sad at best when you have no one left.
My husband passed away and I have sisters and a son and they did not come to be with me after he passed and some didn't even want to let me express my grief or show any empathy. I was left alone with no one to console me so I had to do my own consoling. I am quiet alone even tho they are alive.
I go places and feel out of place ,like I don't fit in and when I talk I sometimes stop because I feel no one wants to hear what I have to say. I sometimes write responses an then erase them because I feel no one cares to read my opinion about things. Even as I write this I wonder if I should send it.

Click here to add your own comments

Return to Multiple Losses.

[?]Subscribe To This Site
  • follow us in feedly
  • Add to My Yahoo!
  • Add to My MSN
  • Subscribe with Bloglines

RSS Feed Widget


Tap into the compassion, support and wisdom of the


Essential Healing Guide

Grief Relief

Free Griefwork

Free Stress

SBI Video Tour!