I come from a large blended family.
I have six siblings- four brothers and two sisters. I’m especially close to two brothers.
November 19, 2017 will always be the hardest day of my entire life. You see, early that morning, I got a text from my mom asking me to call her; it was very important. I called her immediately, expecting that my grandfather, who is already in terrible shape, had fallen again or had another stroke.
When I called, the first words out of my mouth were, “Is it Pappaw?”
It wasn’t. It was Eli, my youngest brother, just 25.
He had committed suicide in the middle of the night.
I screamed for hours it seemed. I couldn’t stop screaming.
My baby brother, and one of my biggest supporters, had chosen to end his life with no signs of depression or struggle beforehand. I cried myself into one of the worst migraines of my life.
I was in the ER that evening seeking treatment.
As if that earth-shattering day wasn’t enough, the next day was just as bad.
My dad, 66 years old, had gone to the ER complaining of back pain and unable to walk. I mean, his legs wouldn’t support him or move, not that it hurt to walk. After scans and exams, we found out that he had stage four cancer. His bones were riddled with cancer.
He went straight from the ER to radiation.
Now, this is a double whammy. Not only am I reeling and numb from Eli’s loss, but now I have to hold myself together to support Dad. He’d always been my greatest supporter, it was my turn to help him.
I immediately began packing bags to go to his side. After a cluster of idiotic errors and misjudgments by the doctors, he was finally given an accurate diagnosis regarding the type of cancer and I stayed with him as much as I could during the next two months.
Since losing these men that helped shape who I am, I’m barely breathing some days.
There are times when it all seems like a nightmare. There are times when I’m drowning in tears. I’ll never be the same. I don’t know how to live in a world without them. As crazy as it sounds, I’m reluctant to seek grief counseling. I’m worried I’ll hurt more if I’m forced to talk about it. I am on an antidepressant that takes the edge off this utter depression.
I distract myself with movies and books to get through the day.
I’m sending you every bit of my love.
Unfortunately I have experience in this field. My Dad was taken pretty quickly too, by brain cancer. I know it sounds corny, but it is true when they say that you can’t go around grief, you have to go through it. I was absolutely broken. The only thing that put me back together was my grief counselor. She helped me so much. It will hurt to talk, but it is so healing. As you experienced, sometimes all I could do was wail, and I understand the women of “old” who would keen at gravesites. I did that off and on for a loooong time.
Please let yourself go through the grief, it is healing in the end.
Love to you
Hugs to you as you deal with these losses…
Talking about your memories and feelings is the only way forward. As a Catholic, I also believe that those who have died can hear my prayers to them. My “godmother”, as I think of her, died just 6 weeks after her diagnosis of liver and pancreatic cancer in 1999. She was 46. One of the ways I dealt with her loss was to talk to her. I still sometimes talk to her in my head, asking what she would recommend in certain situations or just letting her know I’m thinking of her and missing her. Whatever your religious beliefs (or lack thereof), these kinds of conversations can help.
Don’t be afraid of your grief. Of remembering. Tears don’t kill people and strong emotions do pass. Everything you are feeling is okay and the fact that you’re still here shows your strength.
Another tool I’ve used is to find a happy memory with someone who has died. (This works great for memorial or family gatherings). Just finding a memory from the time they were here that you cherish, that makes you smile, especially if you share it, can be enormously therapeutic as well.
Sending you healing vibes and warm wishes…
I think Shawna has hit it on the head: you need someone to help you work through these painful losses. It’s hard enough to lose someone we love, but these are such tragic deaths. We’re all here for you, but please do think about finding a grief counselor. So much love to you.