I'm feeling completely overwhelmed right now. I have no immediate family after losing my brother suddenly last year, and my parents several years before that. I have a niece who lives in another state and she's my closest relative. I vacillate between feeling like I have many things to be thankful for and feeling like I'm the only person on the planet who has no family. And truthfully, I don't know anyone else, personally at least, who has no immediate family. The enormity of it hits me at times and I think, "holy ****, I have no family!" I have dear friends and they sustain me, remind me of what is real, but it's not quite the same as having the unconditional love of family. It feels like there is nowhere I can relax and breathe and be totally accepted for who I am. Put my feet up on the couch and not worry about being judged. I feel slightly freakish, and I know some of my friends feel sorry for me and responsible for making sure I have company on holidays. I have a friend who is estranged from her five siblings and she remarked that she wasn't sure which was worse, having no siblings or having siblings who were hurtful and selfish. I wanted to say, "get back to me when they're all dead and we can discuss." I didn't say that, of course. People do say insensitive things, especially at funerals. Two friends who attended my brother's funeral made the observation "you're an orphan." The thought obviously occurred to them and they blurted it out, maybe because they couldn't think of anything else to say.
There is an odd feeling when a vacuum exists and the emptiness is blinding. I feel like I'm in a riptide and when I come up for air, I get pulled right back under. I believe mental health professionals call my condition 'complicated grief.' I can think of other adjectives to describe the grief, but I agree wholeheartedly that's it's complicated. I try to comfort myself, sometimes with healthy actions and sometimes not so healthy. I try not to be so hard on myself, and some days I'm mostly successful, others not. Social media is rubbing salt on the wounds and I try to keep off Facebook. The posts with families, which are the majority among FB friends, remind me that I have none. I see families every time I'm out somewhere, and I feel the gut punch of loss. Every. Single. Time.
There is good in this world and I have things to contribute. I am not considering leaving it anytime soon, but there are days when I feel like I might not be so careful to watch for traffic when I cross the street. Not today, though. I feel better right now, just sharing what's in my heart and on my mind.