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loss of parents


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I am a twenty six year old mother of two that has lost not only my parents in the last five years, but my entire way of living. I became pregnant with first son at 18. He was born in 2001 and completely changed the way I look at life. Me and my mom have always been close, but this brought us even closer. My mom was perfect in every way and the closest to an angel I have ever been in contact with. Many people describe her this way. In 1999 my only brothers first baby died after three weeks of life support. My mother was devastated for everyone involved. She tried very hard to be there for everyone. When my son was born it brought back memories, but we cherished every moment. In August 2002 my mother(who has never smoked a day in her life) was diagnosed with lung cancer. After a year of taking her to chemo and radiation and watching her waste away to a former shell of herself, she died. She held on for as long as she could, and the memory of her last weeks will stay in my memory forever. My father was lost without her, and it kept me busy to tend to his needs as well as my new family.(fiancee and son). Two months later my fiancee called me in histerics at work. I managed to figure out where he was and pulled up to see my baby boy walking aimlessly around the courtyard outside his fathers house. His father had died in his sleep. This all happened in the year 2003. In 2004 I found out I was once again pregnant with my second son. The past year had been spent buliding my relationship with my father. We had not always been close, but after the passing of my mother we bonded. He was so excited for another grandchild and stayed by my bed as I had complications with the pregnancy. I called him often, but on April 1st of 2005 I called and his cousin answered.(My father gave him a place to stay, he was down on his luck) He told me my father passed away in his sleep. My father had a multitude of medical problems and even recieved a kidney transplant 3 months after the birth of my first son. The doctors all said he was doing great. The drive from my work to his house haunts me every day. I kept expecting to pull up in his driveway and find it to all be a joke. The next several weeks were spent trying to deal with his death and the normal dividing of the estate. My brother was wonderful and we dealt with eveything the best we could. I gave birth 26 days later and quit my job to stay home full time. My second son had colic and took up a lot of time. Losing my parents was extremely difficult. We had a leave it to beaver family growing up filled with family get togethers every Sunday. After my father died, every one went away. No one gets together anymore which makes holidays unbearable. I watch everyone have somewhere to go, and family to spend time with, but me and my family are left alone at home. My mother never really had a true family, but my father has two sisters and a brother. I do not speak to them and they do not call. We are a burden to them. NO one understands that the death is not the hard part, but everything that follows. Everyone says they will be there for you, but dissappear after the funeral. I do talk to my brother regularly, but he spends a lot of time with his wife's family. Once again, we are left out. I want my sons to have the great holidays and family get togethers I remember, but that will never happen. I have not had time to grieve either of my parents, because I do not have the time. I do not have time to break down, because I have to stay strong for my husband and sons. How do you deal with losing parents, and an entire family, an entire way of life?

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It's really hard to adjust to such a difficult transition in your life. I lost my fiancé to pancreatic cancer in August. While I haven't suffered nearly as much loss as you have, I understand what you mean about the hard part being after.

I also understand what it's like to have to be strong for others. I'm the same way. When my fiancé was sick, I was comforting everyone around me. So was he, actually. We made a good team, I guess. I only cried around him maybe 3 or 4 times - the rest of the time, I just found the strength inside to have hope and see the positive in everything. A lot of people would have probably said I had a twisted, morbid sense of humor, but to me I just needed to see the humor in life, and to do that you need to see the humor in death, too - it's the only certainty there is in life, and such an integral part of it.

I've found that for me it helps to write down my thoughts and memories in a journal. Since I just can't be upset around other people, it's a way to get everything out. Also, sometimes I just find something relaxing and quiet to do. For example, I like to burn candles, watch the soft glow of the candle light, and create my own form of art by melting the wax down the sides of a bottle. It's very relaxing and soothing for me. I'm sure that even with children, there's something you can do or specifically set aside time for that will help you relax.

Hang in there - it gets easier some days, and harder other days, but over time it can get better.

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Dear Katieth-

I am sorry to hear about your losses and all that you are going through. I may have missed something in your post, but why can't the family get togethers occur... perhaps on a less frequent basis at first? Why don't you have the first one and suggest starting a ritual?

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Those are enough losses and stressors stacked up in too close proximity to send anyone over the edge. That you are managing in the face of such losses and significant life changes is evidence of your strength. Of course you are devistated; who wouldn't be?

Your phrase about the death not being the hard part but rather the aftermath is beautiful and true. It is the adaptation that makes grief so difficult. the loss is done for us, but we have to make the changes necessary to reforge our lives.

So - things are and will be difficult for a long while I expect, but really there is hope here, I expect. You can be a good parent for your children, and you can create special holiday times with them, if not with the remainder of your family members. with time and networking, you may find friends with whom you can become close enough to spend holiday time with. It won't be what you remember, but the future is never the same as the past. The constant thread you can pass on is not a particular configuration of family but rather the feeling of being loved and cared for that you felt and which you can provide for your children.

I'm probably not addressing all of your statement, but this is what comes to mind for now.

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I just wanted to thank every person that took the time to read my post and respond. I never thought anyone would actually care. To answer some questions, after my father died my aunt became angry with me. Money was given during the funeral to send to the cathoilc church. This money is given to the priest to say masses in honor of my father and it is thought this gesture keeps them out of "purgatory" and sends them to heaven sooner. Because if the circumstances of settling the estate, and having a baby, I put the money aside and forgot. When it was brought to my attention I immeadiately gave the money to the church plus more. After more than a year of not talking the entire situation came to blows around Christmas. My other peacekeeping aunt tried to explain to me why my other aunt was upset. Eventually we had a get together but nothing was said about the year we did not talk. Before my fathers death, me and this aunt spoke every day which helped me after losing my mother. She is now too wrapped up in her two daughters and four grandchildren to worry about me or my brother. Get togethers are awkward because of everything that wasn't said. Like I said before, everyone is too wrapped up in thier own families to care about mine. We do get together with my husbands brothers and mother, but there again, they all have mothers or other families that are first priority. They will fit us in on holidays late at night if at all. His mother attends her second husbands family get togethers. If this is confusing I apologize. I should be thanking my lucky stars I have two beautiful sons and a wonderful husband instead of dwelling on the what if's. During the holidays I seem to be even more depressed which outweighs some of the joy. Hopefully as the years progress it will get better. Maybe not getting together with family will become my new normal. I will just have to make the holidays extra special for my boys to compensate for what I know they are missing.

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