Sounds Like a Sad Country Western Song

by Karen Zych
(Downers Grove IL)

My first experience with real loss was that of a 50 year old friend who battled brain CA for 4 years. I visited regularly in her last 6 months, mostly non-responsive, yet something told me she could feel my presence. Other friends had fallen away, too uneasy or too busy to visit. Then a 36 year old friend who was in the happiest time of her life, dropped dead from a brain aneurysm. I should have known then what I was in for.

Living a thousand miles from my family, my sister was diagnosed from lung CA. She lived one year from diagnosis. I moved back to Chicago help out. Mostly myself. I was there for the last 10 weeks of Linda's 44 year old life. I stayed home to help my mother and other family members get through this. I remember the day we buried her. They played Garth Brooks, "The Dance" at her funeral. Her son's wedding was in 9 months and her daughter was pregnant with her second child.

Within 3 years, my mother died on January 4th, my second sister, Marilyn, 47 was diagnosed with Lung CA two weeks later and she died 6 weeks later. She also was in a very happy time of life. My surviving sister was diagnosed with breast CA the day after we buried my second sister. Shirley is a 14 year Breast CA Survivor and we now live across the hall from each other in condos.

1 1/2 years later, my spiritual teacher, my Sister in Law, 60 died in her sleep. A smoker also. Her husband, my big brother, Stan, died 18 months later, 16 days after diagnosis of lung CA.

18 months later, a neighbor poisoned my 3 dogs who later died. I was just so grateful it wasn't my only family member left, my sister Shirley.

How does this kind of thing hit some people so often and others, not at all? Has it made me a stronger person? I do know that it changed me completely. I had been working in a 6 figure job when I began hospice volunteering 14 years ago and did that for 7 years, then became a CNA making $12/hr and now a Volunteer Coordinator for Hospice for the last 3 years. I used my hospice experience to work through my grief. I see others do the same.

I still suffer depression from time to time, no matter how much I tried to live in the present, and enjoy life. The pain may not be the same as it was, but it is still a large part of my life. I am grateful I was born a with a positive disposition, it shines through in spite of my life experience. I find my sense of humor keeps me sane and my 2 Maltese, great nieces and nephews do too.

Blessings to each of us that trudge this happy road of destiny. Karen

Comments for Sounds Like a Sad Country Western Song

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Apr 27, 2011
Please find help...
by: Anonymous


We have a difficult time dealing with grief when it is one close to us. How you have managed this far I have no idea. Please go to the left column and look under multiple deaths. I do not know what to say to help you but hope that you get some counseling. This is not something that you want to go alone. It's just too much. Anyway my prayers are with you and hope that you get through this.
one day one breath at a time...

Apr 26, 2011
Beyond Sad
by: TrishJ

I live in a Chicago suburb (far north). The losses you have suffered are tremendous. I too, know many people that have never experienced the death of a close friend or loved one. I almost feel sorry for them because the older they get, that first loss will devastate them. I told my friend the other day, if God is testing me, I've had enough. I lost my younger brother when he was only 32 (over 20 years ago), my father, my grandparents, two cousins who were younger than I when they passed, 4 uncles, 5 aunts. Two of my son's best friends (they practically lived at our house when they were growing up) were killed in horrific car accidents at young ages. I felt both of those deaths. Now, most recently, I lost my husband while he was waiting for a heart transplant at the University of Chicago. I just turned 58 and I'm a widow. My best friend's brother committed suicide a few years ago. We somehow get through it. I am looking to return to full time employment. With all the loss I have suffered I know I want my employment to be in the capacity of helping others. That is what brings me the most satisfaction. I really would like to go into some area where I would be lending support to people whose loved ones are terminally ill. It's such a frightening time for the family.
God's blessings to you. I hope you find the strength each day to carry on. Life can really drag us down.
Peace and Love.

Apr 25, 2011
sad song
by: teresa

im so sorry for all your losses i am just starting this journey my fiance died in feb he drowned i also wonder why everything hit me all of a sudden i was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009 and again a year later in 2010 my fiance was my care giver and my only support there for me and i know god was there also. i lost my job of 8 years a week before he died then our home 2 weeks after that. i had many dark days while going through the cancers but i finally started seeing light and boom the dark days returned again when he died. my hope and faith got me through it before i know it will get me through this in time. i take one day at a time and pray each day will be better than the one before it. i do believe god may not take us out of it but he will see us through it.

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