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Betty Lou

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Lost and alone


Betty Lou

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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.  

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Hello,

I understand. I just lost my husband exactly 2 months ago. He died on July 8th not fromCovid  but he had a complicated heart condition that started 6 years ago. He was the love of my life, my angel on earth. 
We found out he had a very weak heart on July 4th 2014, on his 59th birthday. Yes his birthday was July 4th. And on July 4th 2020, because of his weak heart he had a massive stroke and that was the last day he was present.

Almost exactly 6 years later , he passed away. Even with a weak heart for six years he was the best husband. Nobody knew unless you knew , He was active, happy and always giving is all. 
Now he is gone and like you I am lost and sad and angry and absolutely lonely. I don’t know how to deal with the raw pain in my soul and what to do with myself.
It always hit hard at night when I’m done all these zoom meetings with clients. I got of my office and here I am alone without him sitting on the sofa asking me what I want for supper?

Everybody tells me it will get better but I don’t see it . I just know the pain. 
 

 

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Thank you for your response.  I was moved by your description of your husband and I'm so sorry for your loss.  The rawness of the pain comes and goes for me, but I can imagine it would be more present when it's a spouse and someone you've lived with for so long.  Plus, two months is recent. 

I think having had family who were loving and supportive makes the pain harder - but, I also feel a deep gratitude that I had it, if that makes sense.  I know so many people who had difficult childhoods or hurtful family members, whether it was parents, siblings or a spouse.  So I know how fortunate I've been to have the opposite and to know that I was loved unconditionally.  

I spent a lot of years numbing out, especially after my father died since he was the first person to pass away, so I didn't  really cry or feel the grief.  Now when I let myself cry, I feel like my grieving somehow honors his memory.  Same with my mom and brother.  That makes the pain feel worthwhile somehow, and natural.  

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Thank you Betty for your post. I just joined this platform few minutes ago.  Although I'm lucky to still have my siblings but I can relate to your post having lost both parents.  I grew up not knowing my father. I was told he was involved in a car accident and died a month before my third birthday.  So my mom raised my siblings and I alone. She worked more than 12 hours daily just to provide for us (I'm from a developing country with little government support). In 2011, I left my country to study abroad. I always  look forward to graduating  and going back home to visit my mom and siblings. Then on a particular  day in 2016,I got the most devastating  call ever. Mom has  passed!!  Just like that.....It was stroke and she went into coma two days before. My siblings were hesitant to tell me because I was far away from home and they didn't  want me to start worrying.

I was at a place in my life that I didn't  have the money to travel to another continent  to attend the funeral. I just completed my  undergraduate program and was applying for jobs so that I can save some money then travel home to visit. So I couldn't  make it for the funeral and never had the chance to say good bye (not even over the phone).

My life hasn't  been the same since that day. I feel so lonely, easily irritated and experience episodes of sadness.  Although I have loving friends and siblings(all in another continent), I feel so alone in this world. 

My mood swing is so terrible that I'm struggling to keep a relationship. I feel so hurt and broken. 

Thought it will get better each passing day but it's  almost 4 years and sometime  I just want to stay in my room and cry. 

 

 

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Thank you for the comments. I am not sure what they say and how to react to so much pain. My heart wants to reach out to both of you and tell you it will be ok.You will be ok.
I know it seems milked a mountain impossible to climb but I do believe we will find our way within this pain.

i believe that the pain changes and becomes part of whom we are and we try to live, laugh, love within that pain. To me that gives me hope. 
Every day I think about my husband and feel so sad that he is not here anymore to share his energy with us. I wonder why him.I wonder did he know before that he was dying? When he had his stroke I was there and I was the last person he saw and looked  at. I feel so lucky I had that last moment that he was present on this earth it was with me. He told with his eyes . He couldn’t  talk anymore how much he loved me . He told me how scared he was and he told me he was sad to be living me so muck quicker than he thought he would.

So I always search for the beauty and the love in the sadness of it all. I wish the same to rhe both of you.

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dena bickham

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I understand completely.  When you first lose someone, people are there for you for a short time and then everyone kind of gets back to their daily routines, and forget about the devastation you're experiencing.  People don't know what to say and no matter what they say, it never makes you feel much better.  It is nice to have people in your life that truly care but I'm feeling like everyone is just getting sick and tired of seeing me break out in tears and thinking I should be getting a little bit better and I'm not.  It makes me feel like crawling back in my shell and I find myself trying to deal with this huge loss all by myself and shutting myself off from the rest of the world.  I've gotten an attitude that nobody really cares which that is probably not the case .  I just don't want to burden anyone with how I'm feeling and don't want to bring them down but I can't handle this alone.  I am so devastated and this is so new to me.  Loss is horrible. It hurts so bad.  It hurts so deep.  You feel so alone and so hopeless.  I hope you can find peace in knowing I'm going thru it too and you're not alone. If I can help you with anything or if you ever need someone to listen, I'm here for you.  I don't know you, but I feel for you, I truly do.

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Dena, I can relate to everything you wrote. People are acting the same way with me and I have gotten the message. They just don’t understand or care, I don’t know what it is. Then abandonment by people who were fairweather friends that hurts too. But the loneliness is so painful. If you ever need to talk I am here for you. 

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I agree that it's hard for people, even people who love me, to understand and I also feel like they are tired of hearing my sad story.  I've been so focused on the fact that I have no family and I'm coming to realize that I need to focus on what I do have.  My family is now my circle of friends, and even though it's not a traditional family, they are very supportive.  I just contacted a therapist and will be seeing her next week, so I'm hopeful that she can help me wade through my grief.  I think that may help - instead of putting the entire burden of emotional support on my friends, I will be able to talk with someone who has an outside but compassionate perspective.  It's so hard right now with the pandemic.  I live alone, so I feel more isolated than ever, physically and emotionally.  I do know others are suffering through it too and that helps to know I'm not alone.    

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Betty, I can totally understand what you are saying. Please know you are not alone. I too feel like people are tired of me and you know what they probably are. Its no fun listening or talking to people in the doldrums. Grief unless you have empathetic people around you is an alienating experience. You are just expected to get on with it. I’m glad you have good friends. That will help. I have also read that volunteering does and though I have not tried it, it really struck me. Since we are in the place where only suffering gets through, helping less fortunate people is a worthwhile way to spend time.

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I feel like people are tired of me too, :D. I empathize with this entire Thread, my support group is also my Friends but It is a lot different right now as they all have their own emotions and families to deal with and a lot of them are closing themselves off to people as they cope, I also feel more isolated then ever. It’s helping to read this thread honestly, so thanks for sharing Betty.

My dad passed in 2015 right before I started college, my mom left when I was very young and I never knew her,  I have been in contact with her recently but she is in a psychiatric ward. A few months ago I was hoping to connect with half siblings I have never met too but that probably won’t help.

You are right that the work that needs to be done right now is internal and putting it all on friends doesn’t always feel great, I think the truth is we always need coping mechanisms and sometimes we just need a little more of them and this is a time where a lot of us need a little more of them and I think old feelings of grief start to come up in different ways, but just like you I recently thought to myself “wow, is the pandemic helping me realize that It actually hasn’t  gotten easier for me to cope in the last five years???” but I don’t think that’s the case(Atleast I Hope not). I used to see a grief counselor Regularly that I now talk to over the phone sometimes, I’m realizing that’s not enough for right now either.
 

I also have been feeling like it’s hard to feel grateful for a lot of great things I have and that I’m the only one without immediate family around so thanks for writing everyone. 
 

And I agree about helping less fortunate people, for me any activity where I have felt like I am voluntarily assisting someone else who is dealing with something no matter how big or small it is, has helped me to stay a little bit more present at a time when I just want to shut out reality. 

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Also want to say I understand a lot of what you are feeling bebari, thanks for sharing! And Betty what you said reminded me that the first few months after my dad passed I definitely wanted to die, I didn’t want to kill myself because I thought that would  be a slap in the  face to my dad who raised me (funny how we rationalize things) but I definitely stood in the street way too long hoping someone else could do it for me, it’s nice to know I’ve atleast moved on from that, but the thought does come along on some bad days. 

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You are right Lucas about finding coping mechanisms and not bothering people about this. Unfortunately you have to learn to keep your thoughts your self because they come off as petulant, needy, spoiled, selfish. In fairness to people, nobody signs up for such a demanding role of listening and if we need that, then we should find a therapist. I guess this is one of those things that is so personal but I have definitely turned into more of a loner than I was before and I wasn’t exactly an extrovert either. But since we need to spend so much time by ourselves and our thoughts, I guess you develop a comfort with your own skin. Has that happened to anyone else but the loneliness is something that has been bought about and you learn to accept. Since we cant really share our true thoughts about stuff with anyone because nobody actually wants to know. Its like them asking you how are you but nobody really wants to know naturally. Which is fine too but a major letdown from family and friends who you thought would be there. Definitely with the end of the year and Christmas and winter it feels like despair but again nothing we can do about it. 

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