Trying to Stay Afloat in a Sea of Loss

by T. Fleming
(Fort Worth, TX)

My father died unexpectedly after being ill with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease for 4 years. The day he died, we thought the doctor would give my Dad a breathing treatment and keep him in the hospital a day or two. 13 hours later my Dad drew his last breath with us at his bedside.
That was February 2009.
In August of 2010, my son, my only child, was in a car wreck. He was in a coma from the time of the wreck. One operation and a month and a day later, he died in a rest home where he had been sent to wake up.
In April 2011, my mother's Alzheimer's got the point she could no longer live in her home alone any longer. We moved her to an independent living apartment, and had to clean out the house since it was reverse mortgaged and once it was no longer occupied by my Mom and Dad, it went to the bank.
Three family members in three years, plus my childhood home.
Add to this a lawsuit against the rest home my son was in (we won). That was emotionally draining.

During all of this, I was "ok". I took care of business, got things taken care of and carried on.
Now, I'm falling apart.
My son's birthday was this past February and it's set me off again.

I have recurring/remitting MS. All this stress of the last three years has caught up to me and it's laid me out.
I'm having trouble lifting my right leg and that makes it hard to drive and walk. I get tired very easily. I'm depressed off and on, and I cry daily.
It's been remarked about me that "It's all just now hitting her", and that's right.
I want to return to normal function, but for the time being, I don't give a damn about getting anything done.
I love to read, but I find it hard to read my favorite genre, horror. Same with movies. In fact, I can't sit through a film easily. I do better with episodic TV. I have a book review blog that I don't care about anymore. I used to love to bake and cook. Now I don't care.

I feel robbed.
Of my family, but that can't be fixed.
Of my life, that I can fix. I think. I'm attempting to fix it at least.
I have a fantastic support system.
I eat well, following a balanced and sensible diet.
I drink a lot of water.
I do yoga and qi gong daily.
I try to meditate.
I use aroma therapy to help myself relax.
I try to relax.
I've been plagued by spikes of fear lately, but those seem to be dissipating somewhat.
I know I will get better, and I know it takes time, and I know it's something I have to work through in my own time, but damn why does it have to affect my mobility? I was fine for a while, but now I'm sure not.
I know there's light at the end...but where is the end?

Comments for Trying to Stay Afloat in a Sea of Loss

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Mar 10, 2013
Trying to Stay Afloat in a Sea of Loss
by: Doreen U.K.

T Fleming I am sorry for your losses in your life that has affected you for some time. You are a remarkable woman. You have had a lot on your plate and have tried to resolve this. CONGRATULATIONS! for winning your case against the care home. This has left you depleted and drained and trying to climb up again from this ordeal. You are taking a lot of energy trying to do all these different things to help yourself move forward and you are tired and worn out and feel despair about "What is the point." You can only move forward so much and then it doesn't work for you and you feel like giving up. Don't worry if you can't do the things you used to or trying is not working for you. I feel the same way. So I don't do anything I don't want to. Some days I can handle little, and days I can handle that bit more. I don't push myself until I feel inside I am able to tackle something that day. You will find the same level for yourself. You should applaud yourself for accomplishing much so far. With lack of mobility it is very frustrating because when you feel motivated to do something your body lets you down. I am in the same place as you. I am housebound at the moment because I can't walk well so can't get out. This lets me down and I feel frustrated and angry with life. I feel as if I am fighting a losing battle. Because I have a lack of mobility. I am glad you have a good support structure. You are taking the time and trouble to eat well and do those necessary things to help yourself maintain a good level of nourishment which will help you feel better. Don't beat yourself up anymore. Find out if Social Services or some organisation can come up with other ways to help you move forward. Perhaps a day away. a vacation, a weekend away. Just something to help you where you need it. Just a change of focus at times can be beneficial. Perhaps other posts will support you here. Best wishes.

Mar 10, 2013
Trying to Stay Afloat in a Sea of Loss
by: Anonymous

Life is challenging and difficult to understand, we try to make sense of the horror that we go through in life. My sympathy and prayers are with you. Loosing a child has no explanation or name,we just know it hurts at the deepest tissue and bone we have. It is tough at the same token we are still alive and we need help; giving up is no a choice. I too lost my son, It has not been easy. Like you I could not cook, clean, think, read or talk to anyone without braking up in tears, the nights were endless because I could not sleep, the days a nightmare because I did not want to speak to anyone, nor I did want any one to say" I feel sorry or pity for you" I had to seek help, help that I knew was not going to change the circumstances, but would help me cope. getting the help from a mental health professional is not being weak but strong because you want to move forward. I was given antidepressants with the preconceived knowledge and agreement with my doctor that this was only temporary, otherwise I know I would have lost my mind.Grief has no timing the timing is in your heart and your patience to give your self the opportunity to heal. Stay afloat use the tools available to you, seek a support group or talk to someone that will up lift you. DO NOT GIVE UP, STAY AFLOAT IN A SEA OF HOPE.
My condolences, receive a hug from a mother who like you have had to endure the loss of her son.

Mar 10, 2013
Dear T. Fleming,
by: Pat in Missouri

It's no wonder your MS has flared up. You are drowning in a sea of loss, just as you put it. You mentioned that you were ok when you were taking care of everything. The thing is: you were taking care of everything, but yourself. I know the feeling. I have done the same thing. When a loved one dies, there are many business and ceremonial things to take care of, but after all that is done, the real grief sets in. I also have been through multiple losses (3 in 5 months in 2011). The phone doesn't ring anymore. I can't pick up the phone and call my brother, my father, or my fiance. I am cooking for just 1 now. It is very different and very lonely. I have gotten myself in much the same position as you. My health has taken a toll just as yours has. I am often feeling like I don't care either. I think we are both dealing with unresolved grief.

Instead of trying to stay afloat, I think you should just give in to the grief, experience it, cry it, shout and scream. Get it out. Unless we face our grief head on and deal with it, it can kick us in the butt. I am sure that your grief has affected your MS. I am sure you have been told that stress flares it up. I am trying to learn how to reinvent myself because my life was so defined by the people who lived around me and are no longer here. Except for my 2 dogs, I am alone now. In order to find life again, I am thinking about writing a cookbook for grievers. I have noticed that I don't have the energy to fix the large meals I used to fix. I have to keep it simple. I have found that journaling my feelings helps. Putting my feelings on paper seems to be a good outlet. I call it crying on paper.

You mentioned that you want to return to "normal functioning." I don't think there is any way to do that. We can't return to what we have lost. Instead, we have to move forward. I think it might help you to try to do something you have never done before. Explore things you have wanted to do, but never have. Counselors tell us to put our sorrow in a "box" in our hearts, visit it like scheduling an appointment, then move on to something else. Perhaps you could help me with the cookbook. You mentioned you like to cook. I am looking for very simple, but tasteful recipes. I have found that even my taste buds are affected by my grief. So, I am trying new recipes. Getting through all this loss is very difficult. It feels like treading through muddy water. It's dirty and it stinks and it's easy to get stuck in there. I think we both have to "call a tow truck" and get help. I hope you understand what I am saying. When your car breaks down, you take it to the repair shop. When we break down, we have to do the same thing. I wish you well. Let me know if you would like to help with the cookbook. Take care, dear one. The answer lies in moving forward.

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