The Worst Year of My Life
I have experienced loss before. The death of elderly relatives, the loss of a marriage, the loss of never being able to have my own child. These last 2 were particularly difficult and it took me a long time to work thru those. Life turned around for me 11 years ago when I met a wonderful man whom I married and am extremely happy with. We were not able to have children, I was now 40, and that window had closed. Dogs became our family. Life was great. I have a large extended family; 4 siblings, 10 nieces and nephews, many aunts, uncles and cousins and we are all close. I have learned that this closeness with my immediate family is unhealthy. There are issues with boundaries and problems within each family unit become everyone else's problems. The older I have gotten, I have realized that my family is unhealthy in many ways.
Six years ago I experienced my first significant death. My grandmother. She was the family matriach and I loved her. She lived to age 90 and had some health issues but was sharp as a tack. Her death was beautiful. She died surrounded by her 6 children, 20 grandchildren with her Swedish music playing. I took this very hard and each year around the time of her death, I have gotten very depressed and cry often. Her death represents something more. She gave me things that I didn't get from my own mother and I miss that.
One year ago I was celebrating my 50th birthday. My husband had a surprise party for me and I was surrounded by family and good friends and had the time of my life. I was so happy and life was good. Two days later, my mother in law died of a massive heart attack. I am a nurse and I have known my mother in law for 30 years, long before I married her son. I was working the day she came to my hospital with chest pain and I rode with her in the ambulance as she was transported to the city to the cardiac cath lab. She went in to cardiac arrest in the back of the ambulance just as we pulled in to the hospital parking lot. I was alone and panicked and felt so out of control. I never thought she was going to die!!! They tried everything and after working on her for over an hour we had to let her go. She was 72 years old. Such a shock and it was so traumatic for me. My mother in law was a great lady and she was a person I looked up to and could go to for advice and now she was gone. 4 months later, we had to put our beloved dog down that we had had for 9 years, 3 months later my aunt and god mother died from metastatic esophageal cancer. She only lived 9 months after her diagnosis. She was another source of love and support for me and now she, too was gone. The next month, my mom at age 74 was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. It has all been too much. I try each day to get up and focus on the day ahead and the positive but the sadness just comes over me and I cry. I feel so anxious and keep wondering what is going to happen next and what is the point of all of this? I do see a therapist on a regular basis but it just seems like the hits just keep coming. All around me there is sadness. My dear sister is struggling with anxiety and her son has mental health issues and will not take his medication and I worry for them.
How do I process all of this? My mom just had a doctors visit and some tests and we are told that she most likely has a form of leukemia! Going to meet with a specialist this week. It is like a bad dream. I am supposed to care for people in my job and some days I feel that I am going to burst in to tears at any time!! I am unsure how to process each of these losses as each one is significant and combined is just too much. Two days from now will be the fist anniversary of my mother in laws death. I hope and pray for peace and healing.