Two deaths in two years

by kathy rippley
(conroe, tx)

Hi, my name is Kathy. On April 17, 2009, I lost my 66 yr old mother to colon cancer after a very harrowing 7 year battle. While trying to deal with the grief from this and the grief of my children, my 45-yr-old husband developed a lump under a strange mole under his right ear, which I had been begging him to get looked at. The diagnosis: melanoma, the deadliest skin cancer. Despite surgery, high-dose bio/chemotherapy, Gamma-Knife, and a clinical trial, he was dead in 13 months, he lost his battle on July 31, 2010, at the age of 46, leaving me with a 4-yr-old daughter to raise alone, and my 11-yr-old son, who I share custody with my ex-husband with, devastated. I feel like the lone survivor of a war in one of those movies, when the mist clears and all you see is one soldier standing there, surrounded my dead bodies. I am angry, sad, hopeful, devastated, wistful, guilty, sometimes relieved (wow, so I feel guilty when THAT emotion comes along) sometimes all at the same time. I also no longer believe in God. Please help me.

Comments for Two deaths in two years

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Apr 17, 2011
by: Anonymous

Today is the two-year anniversary of my mom's death, and I am having a really hard time. Haven't eaten in three days, and I have no appetite at all. I had been doing pretty good up till this past week. Don't know what is going to happen on July 31, the one-year anniversary of my husband's death, also from cancer. On the up side, I actually prayed to God last night. I just wish that I had an answer for why.

Apr 10, 2011
by: Kathy

One week until the two-year anniversary of my mom's death, and I am not doing too well. I feel like I must be the worst person on this earth for God to have taken my mom and then a year and 3 months later, my husband. I don't think I can do this anymore.

Apr 01, 2011
to Kathy
by: Julie

You shouldn't feel guilty for staying away from your in laws, you said you have small children, your main focus is what is best for them. I had to think, would I want my child to be influenced by this person? Actions speak volumes. So how are you doing today? Was it an ok day? I just asked my husband last night what was wrong with me. I mean his dad passed away almost 3 years ago this year and it still feels just like yesterday and I still miss him so much he was such a great guy. I really miss how our daughter doesn't have him here to talk, laugh, play, read, with. I miss the family we use to be. I know things change. I just got a job that I am finally being my old self at (after 3 years) and this week my feelings were hurt because the 2 women I considered friends turned out they were just out for themselves. So know i feel like I'm back to square one, just go to work, you're not there to make friends, just go to work, work, then go home. No one cares about your day to day life, what happened in the past, what your weekend plans are, etc. But that doesn't make for a very friendly atmosphere.

Mar 31, 2011
Thank you
by: Kathy

I want to thank everyone who responded to my story. Julie, I do not talk to my in-laws(except for one sister-in-law) for precisely the reasons that you stated about your family. My father-in-law is a horrible alcoholic, and it has only gotten worse since his son (his favorite) has passed away. My mother-in-law is hateful and controlling, and was never there when Jim and I really needed her. It was not until the end that she started to get involved and try to act like the "good mother". But I saw right through her, as I always have. So I choose not to have my children around these hateful people. Is that wrong of me? I also am not talking to my sister, because she has never been supportive of me and is terribly competitive, and I don't need that in my life right now.
What I have found is that the people that I thought would be there for me have not, and people who I thought could care less have really come through in some surprising ways. I have also made some new friends who I can relate to better at this point in my life. Life is strange, you know? Yesterday was 8 months and although it was hard, it was not as hard as it has been. I am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But i KNOW that I am only at the beginning of this journey, and I am changing and evolving every day.

Mar 31, 2011
I have lost so much in such a short time.
by: Lynn

Dear Kathy, it is so hard to lose so much so fast.
I four years i lost my Mom, than i got married and in July 09, i lost my father in Nov. 09. Than my husband of 1 yr and 2 wks was killed in a construction accident, 3 months later i lost my fatehr in law and just last month lost one of my husbands and mine dear friend who was part of our wedding. I just want it to all stop! These are all people i LOVED, ADORED, and CHERISHED. I don't understand and never will. My husband was 41 and he was my hero. My mom the matriach of our family never met him but my daddy who i was the apple of his eye was able to give me away. My father in law was an incredible man who treated me like gold as did his son and our friend was an inspiration to so many that left an impact on all of us. 5 people that my love for is so strong taken from me so fast, so soon and not fair! My heart, what is left of it breaks for you Kathy.

Mar 30, 2011
The grief rollercoaster...


I know that you have so many emotions rolling around inside your head. Grief is painful in many ways guilt is the main player.

When my husband first died it was horrible I felt so alone and abandoned, angry you name it. Later I noticed the absence of fear, wondering when we would take that trip to the emergency room. It was always lurking around the corner and like a new mother I always slept lightly, keeping an eye and ear our for my Love. Worried constantly while at work. So yes there was guilt just recognizing that that constant fear was gone.

Such a huge array of emotions grief causes but do not try to rush grief take it day by day and on a bad day moment by moment. Keep coming here and reading, half the battle of grief is knowing that you are grieving "Normally". After a hellish year surviving grief, the ups and downs feeling so very alone I know grief has its own way towards healing. It cannot be rushed or ignored just survived. My best to you in your journey.

Mar 29, 2011
Anger stage?
by: Julie

Hi Kathy. My name is Julie and I read your devastating story about your mom and husband. I am so sorry, my heart goes out to you. Your last comment about not believing in God anymore I can understand after everything you have gone through. I am so sorry your mom had to suffer and struggle and battle so long. My father in law had started out with lung cancer that spread to brain cancer and he was diagnosed and gone within one complete year, at the age of 52. Not fair. He had a 3 year old granddaughter that was the apple of his eye. I wish they had more time together. My heart aches for it. His birthday is actually April 17th, and he loved St. Patricks Day. So the holiday was very hard for me this year. All day at work I thought about him, then when I got out, I went to the cemetary (even though it will be 3 years ago this Nov.) and just cried my heart out at his grave. But I look at the world differently now. In ten years my husband and I have lost his beloved grandmother, his biological dad, his step-dad, and I have been through 2 miscarriages and 1 premature miracle birth, our 6 year old. I came from a terrible verbally abusive upbringing, and didn't want that for my child, so after my father in law passed away of the cancer I put my foot down and said no more. The cycle is stopping with me. My "family" will not get the opportunity to be abusive to my child. It is very weird but after 30 years of on and off therapy of thinking I'm no good, I suddenly do feel at peace not having them in my life. I don't know if my father in law is looking down over me or what. But I sure wish he was here. Then after he passed away, his ex-wife, my husbands "mother" wanted his life insurance policy which she was willing to take her boys to court over and so to say try to "dance on his grave" and disown her boys and grandchild for a measley $60,000. No amount of money could bring him back. We didn't care about the money, but knew he wouldn't want to just hand it over to his ex-wife either, so we used it up in court costs. Anyway, now we are without both sides of "grandparents" yet another "loss." And one more loss, very important to me, my best friend of 13 years, my cat Tigg. He wasn't just a cat, I "grew up" with him, because of my dysfunctional family. He was unconditional love. So those losses have been the last 8 years of my life.
Also, I look back to the job I got after Tom's passing. The Best group of people I ever worked with. Really a God send. And I look at how our little tiny family of 3 relationship has only gotten stronger. If we can make it though all that, we can make it though anything.
Don't give up Kathy. God is there for you. Even though you may not feel like he is. It will take some time, but little by very very little, it will get better. Bless you.

Mar 29, 2011
Time to Heal
by: TrishJ

After the death of my husband Joe (he was waiting on a transplant list and didn't make it) I too started doubting my faith. I was so angry at God. How could he do this to me????? Why did the guy down the hall get his heart transplant and Joe died?
Your emotions have been in a near fatal full on collision with life. You need time to heal. Just as broken bones need to heal so do emotions. You have certainly been dealt a crappy hand. I'm sure you look around you and ask, "Why do other people go on with their happy lives while I'm dying inside?" Nobody really has the answers. I have to now deal with my mother who's dementia is so bad she might as well be dead. It's so sad to look at her as she slips further away with each passing day.
Grief is a horrible thing for a widow to go through. We've lost our chosen partner and love. Our husband's death has brought the cruel and abrupt halt to a lot of our future dreams. We've been cast in a role we are never prepared for and don't want. It's like a huge violating slap in the face.
Please consider joining a grief support group where you can network with others who are going through the same thing. It's hard work but if you talk with other widows who have made it through to find some joy in life again it's a huge help. It can take up to several years to work through your grief but you owe it to your little daughter and yourself to try. Think about what your husband would want for you and your daughter. My bet is that he would want you both to be happy.
It won't be easy. Some days I can barely get out of bed and put one foot in front of the other. Some days are OK. Some days I'm sorry I woke up that morning. Some days I feel a little happiness (I'm getting there). It's an emotional roller coaster but it helps to know that you aren't alone and the feelings you are feeling are normal. It's OK to question God and ask why.
Your relationship with God is up to you. My belief is that there is a God ~ he had a plan for your husband's life and yours. I truly believe Joe is watching over me and I believe that I will see him again someday. That's the only thing that keeps me going. I want to suggest that you read the book, "Talking to Heaven." It really helped me a lot.
I hope that you find some peace and joy in your day. Blessings to you. Hug that little girl (she's your husband's legacy) and take care of yourself so you can be a wonderful mommy to her.

Mar 29, 2011
Two deaths in two years
by: M Mack


My heart goes out to you. Shouldering all this grief causes a mix of emotions that you don't even know how to feel. Your mother passing was a big loss. Then loosing your spouse on top of that is even more devastating.
You want to blame God for this, I do understand. So many step away from their faith when they are given so much to deal with. It's normal to lose hope when everything around you starts to crumble. You need time to grieve and go through all of these feelings. Take time to let your emotions surface. Holding in doesn't work. Don't push yourself to hurry up the process. It's a long road and the emotions take their toll on your life. Keep writing, seek counseling and read the many writings on this site. You are not alone and there are many suffering in different stages of grief. It helps knowing you are not alone. God understand what you are going through and it's ok to talk to him too. I lost my faith for awhile but returned when I found there was nowhere for me to go. I needed help, lost everything including myself. Hang in there and know we are here for you. You are in my prayers and I hope you find some comfort here.

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