Losing Both Parents by Age 27: How I Began to HealMarch 5, 2013 • Share Your Story contribution by Lisa A. Snyder, LosingYourParents.org
I woke up to my dad staring blankly at the wall the morning of October 14, 2004. It was the day before my 23rd birthday. I knew this day was coming, but nothing would prepare me to wake up and find my dad no longer alive—just a lifeless shell. He had battled Hodgkin’s lymphoma for a year and a half. At 54, his time here was over.
After my mom and I had cried over his body and walked the body bag down the hall, we decided to go out for lunch. Such an odd next step after your father was here on earth and now is suddenly just … not. We ate steak and potatoes and drank Diet Coke in his honor. It’s these things, I’m pretty sure, that led him down the cancer path, but that’s another story.
When I got home from lunch, I was all alone in the apartment we had lived in together. Strange things started happening. The lights went on and off. The song “Time Is Ticking Out” by The Cranberries was stuck on repeat on my stereo, the caps and num locks on my keyboard blinked back and forth without me touching anything at all, and my quiet cat, Bastian, was staring up at the corner, meowing at the wall. I was sure this was my dad trying to communicate that he had crossed over.
When I looked at him earlier that day and had called out, “Dad?” as if he was going to respond to me … I knew he wasn’t there, but what an odd thing? How can you be there and then … just not be there anymore? This moment made me come to be obsessed with learning about near-death experiences and worlds beyond the physical.
As I attempted to maneuver life, I felt like everyone started to disappear. The relationships my dad had built slowly started to fade. People were as scared to see or talk to me as I was of them, fearful of dealing with the harsh realities that my father was no longer with us. This took such a toll on my heart, as I wanted so badly to connect but had no idea how. How could life have brought me to this place of being 23 and not able to enjoy my dad in my life? Why do other people get this opportunity, yet it was “stolen” from me?
The Real Truth About Death
I continued to explore spirituality, reading many books about near-death experiences. P.M.H. Atwater changed my life with her book, The Real Truth About Death. In this book, Atwater tells the story of physically dying three times, each time going deeper into the afterlife. After returning from the dead, she interviewed more than 3,000 people from around the world who also had near-death experiences. After reading this book, I fully believed there was life after death. How could there not be? So many people from all over the world telling similar stories of tunnels, light, loved ones who had passed greeting them, and many times someone telling them their time is not over and it’s time to go back … doctors who can verify that their heart stopped beating for long periods and they were thought to be totally dead … there are too many similarities from all walks of life, all religions and ages, not to believe.
One evening in September 2008, I had one of the most dramatic spiritual experiences of my existence. I remember this event very clearly because I was conscious for all of it. My father came to me as what I can only describe as a spiritual entity—a ball of energy and white light. I knew it was him because I could feel him. The last time I had felt him in that way, he was alive and here on earth. He told me, “You need to spend more time with your mom because you don’ t know how much longer she’s going to be here.” I took this information very seriously and decided to take the opportunity to have a big 27th birthday party and invite my mom.
The Red Party
In October 2008, I had a red-themed party. Everyone came dressed in their brightest red. It was so good to see my mom, as we were just beginning to become friends again after a long period of post-teenage-into-early-twenties angst and her not fully accepting me dating women (I’d like to note that on my dad’s deathbed, he asked my mom to please accept me for who I am. Without the acceptance, we probably would not have a relationship in life.) This would be the last birthday she would spend with me.
A few days later, I learned that my uncle had taken my mom to the hospital. She was feeling weak and wanted to get checked out. I had planned to meet some new web clients at a cafe on this particular day. I’ll never forget waiting for my clients to arrive and, in the meantime, getting the phone call from my mom. She never expressed too much sadness in my life, but on the other end of the line, she was crying. “Lisa, I have leukemia,” she said. My heart dropped into my stomach. I realized this could be the very moment my father tried to warn me about.
We started the cancer roller-coaster ride of deciding what chemo to get and hospital visits. A few months in, the doctors had told us she was officially in remission. Come to think of it, this may have been a lie my mom had told everyone so we wouldn’t worry. In April 2009, her doctors had a sit-down with us and had the dreaded “there’s nothing else we can do for you” conversation. “All of your inner organs have a tumor wrapped around them.” ARE YOU SERIOUS? Part of me thought it was all a joke, and the other part of me was like, OK … OK universe … I know what’s going to happen. You have prepared me for this once before, and I’m going to have to do this again.
“I’m Sorry You Won’t Have Parents”
Later that day, I sat at my mother’s feet as she placed herself in the Pepto Bismol-colored recliner I had slept in many a night. She said, “I’m sorry you’re not going to have any parents anymore.” (This sentence has echoed in my brain thousands of times since this moment.) We used our time wisely, attempting to get things in order (or at least as in order as my mother would let them be). We watched our favorite movies, like “The Golden Child,” and laughed and cried in each other’s arms. I told her how much I was going to miss her … how much she meant to me, how thankful I was for her having me and everything she did for me in her life. She confided in me about things she would have never told a soul if she had the opportunity to continue on. We giggled at night about farts and stinky feet. I stopped my life to spend as much time with her as I could. I knew this time was precious and measured by the universe. I wasn’t going to let one drop of it go.
I was with her during her last weeks on earth. As the day got closer, she began to see people. My dad and her mother had come to tell her it was soon time. She had also seen people in Bermuda shirts with red balloons getting ready to welcome her. She saw an angel and I asked her to describe her to me. Long, blonde hair, white light around her, beautiful white dress … I could tell my mom was readying herself to transition, and these greetings were comforting to her. I played Enya in the background. Got her a professional, cancer-trained masseuse. Asked friends to join us and play music. The dreaded coma before death finally began to set in, and I wasn’t sure what moment she was going to go; it seemed like every breath could be her last.
Before I left to get some sleep, my mom had woken up with that last energy thrust many speak about (my dad had done the same). She was thirsty and hadn’t had water in what felt like days. I had been wearing a special shirt just for my mom because she liked it. The last thing she ever said to me—and I have no idea how she could have even formed words, because she had been on the edge of death for so long—was, “That’s a pretty shirt.” Hours before she passed, I began to get blank emails sent from no one, with nowhere to reply to and no subject line. Friends came to spend last moments with her. Her body got cold, her temperature was no longer reading on a thermometer … and after midnight on June 23, 2009, I watched my mom take one last, long breath. I had been watching the heartbeat through her neck for hours; after the long sigh that came from her lips, there was no movement at all. She seemed to settle into a peaceful smile. Her brow had calmed … her last day on earth had finally come … and I realized all at once that I was actually, totally, and utterly alone.
I sat with her for a little while, until a crew of people came barreling in to “place” her body so that when rigor mortis set in, she wasn’t in a weird position. They told my uncle and me that we had about an hour and then had to leave, so we gathered up her things and walked out to the parking lot—which may have been even more weird than when I went out to lunch and then went home after my dad died. I told my uncle I loved him, went into my tired, blue jalopy, and cried harder than I had ever cried in my life. I wailed as the idea of being alone in the world sunk in … that I knew this day would come … but I was only 27 and would now have to live out the rest of my days attempting to make sense of being so young and without parents.
The days that followed were the most difficult in my life. Freshly moved by two beloved friends (I will never forget what you did for me) the day after my mom’s funeral, one by one everyone I knew went back to their regularly scheduled lives and I was left in an empty apartment, with no parents and way too much alone time.
A Turning Point
During my mom’s illness, I had started to paint whenever I came home from visiting her or when I felt sadness. Although I had gone to art school, I had never really done much work with the canvas. It gave me peace to move paint around with a brush … my fingers … a random object. It was something I felt was beautiful, that I could control, and that helped me express feelings that continued to bottle up. This was the creative outlet I needed.
For several years, friends had asked me to submit to a local community art show. I felt finally this was the year I was going to submit. I found this painting I had worked on during my mom’s illness and decided to submit it to the show, completely releasing whether it would get bought and just focusing on the satisfaction of the simple act of submitting to a public show I’d always wanted to participate in.
I submitted it very last minute and the piece was placed in what I thought was a semi-punishing, badly lit area of the show. We spent hours at the show and, prior to our departure, my girlfriend and I stopped by for one more look—and there it was: a red dot! The piece had been sold!
Submitting this piece was a complete turning point for me. I learned that I had created a healing method that was between me and me. I could work through feelings by placing energy on the canvas, and suddenly I felt like negative energies such as fear and anxiety were being channeled and released on these canvases. The healing process had truly begun.
In April 2011, I decided I wanted to explore blogging. As a web designer, putting one together was easy, but what kind of writer was I? There was only one way to find out! I told myself that I would write when I felt pain and try to turn it into something positive, creating what has become a recipe book for myself and future life situations. My intention was to connect those who were suffering from parental loss, like I was, and to hopefully help myself and others heal through art, writing, and focusing on the positive. Thus, LosingYourParents.org was born.
My intention is to enjoy the time I have in this life, and if I’m not enjoying it, to figure out what I need to do to get unstuck. I got a tattoo that says “follow your bliss” to always remind me of this thing that can seem so easy to forget.
Using my blog and art has helped me tremendously through the healing process. Those of us who have lost our parents are forever changed and will never forget. I do have faith that if you’re dedicated to wanting to live a brighter, lighter life, doing the work, finding the tools, and feeling the feelings will help you move forward. It has helped me. You’ve got to feel to heal.
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KatyMarch 5th, 2013 at 11:21 AM
omg Lisa this is such a powerful post. “you’ve got to feel to heal” is so true. tnks for writing this
Maria MannaMarch 5th, 2013 at 1:48 PM
This is beautiful and heartbreaking to read, Lisa. I recommend your blog often to clients who are coming to terms with death because your words are so important and meaningful. Thank you for showing such courage and sharing it with the world!
Jared.LMarch 5th, 2013 at 11:13 PM
I have had a few unexplained things happen to me when my brother died years ago. Losing someone so close to me did push me towards depression but somehow the happenings around me just saved me from it. Even to this day I feel like my brother was protecting me from falling into a depression even though he was no longer around.
jason fMarch 6th, 2013 at 3:53 AM
This is so sad for you that you have lost both of your parents by an early age, but I am encouraged by the news that you seem to have made some peace with that and have found some constructive outlets for all of that grief that you have been dealing with.
The thing about death is that since it is so permanent it is hard for most of us to wrap our heads around it and accept that this is someone that we will never see or be able to call on the phone again.
But I think that what you have done is somethning that all of us who have lost someone close to us could try, just to remember all of the good, think about our grief journey and then how we can turn that into something good for someone else. There could be no better lasting legacy and tribute for our lost familiy and friends than that.
adminMarch 6th, 2013 at 6:33 AM
Your story brought me to tears this morning as I imagined what it would be like to lose both parents. I’m 42 and even though I’m not particularly close with my folks, I know it would still mean heartache. I’m reminded of the wise Stephen Jenkinson who writes this about grief, “it’s how you love all those things in life that end.” Thank you so much for sharing your story and letting us see your beautiful heart.
KateyanneMarch 6th, 2013 at 7:28 AM
Lisa – many gratitudes for your open, loving words. I have had the same kinds of ‘strange happenings’ when my husband died (lights blinking, etc.) I remember yelling, ‘Leave me alone! You don’t have to convince me!’ lol Well, now you are flying on your own, and showing others the way. Well done.
LisaMarch 6th, 2013 at 9:43 AM
Katy, thank you for reading and for your support! You gotta feel to heal… :)
Maria, thank you, too for reading and for all your support over the years. Thank you for sharing the blog with your clients, I hope that it encourages them to work through their healing! There is a light at the end of the tunnel, although sometimes it doesn’t feel like it.
Noah, thanks for reading… I really appreciate your comments and thoughts… It’s not easy to put it out there but it’s the truth and it’s what happened. I don’t think I’d be able to write about it if I didn’t have tools for healing, like art and writing… Sending love to you and thanks…!
Ella KMarch 6th, 2013 at 9:44 AM
What a great piece! I love your writing style and really enjoyed your article. Keep up the good work!
DortaMarch 6th, 2013 at 9:51 AM
I am right there with you on believing in “people” communicating with us from the afterlife. My husband and I bought the house his grandfather built on a lake along with his sons for the extended family to use. It was our permanent residence so we were there all the time. And, so many things happened! In the end, looking back on it all, everything that happened was just like him-it was all very protective in nature with a good dose of practical joking going on. We’ve since sold the house and moved on and I sure do miss him being there. It was kind of fun!
jamesMarch 6th, 2013 at 9:54 AM
parents are a treasure for sure and it is so hard to lose them i know. my mom and dad died in a car wreck. when i was only 13. kids that age always complained about their parents and i’d just keep quite. but it was so hard. i’d have given anything. to be able to fight with them about that stupid teenager stuff. i miss them both every day.
GingerMarch 6th, 2013 at 9:57 AM
What a gift your dad gave you on his death bed! To encourage your mom to accept you as you are is priceless indeed! And, good for you for being who you are even though it must have been tough.
Heather GreenMarch 6th, 2013 at 10:00 AM
LOL Kateyanne! that cracked me up on a bad day when I was really missing my sister. she hadn’t never tryed to contact me but if she did i do believe that is exactly what i’d have to tell her. i don’t want no ghosts in my house!!!!!!!!
LisaMarch 6th, 2013 at 12:12 PM
Jared – That’s incredible that you had unexplained things happen when your brother died. Would you like to share any of them? I’m always curious what other people’s experiences are like.
It sounds like your brother was absolutely looking after you and protecting you from depression. You were open enough to receive those messages – it’s amazing!
Jason – Thank you so much for reading and for your support… I have made a lot of progress in the last several years and I have come to a peaceful place for the most part — and when it’s not peaceful, I write or create art… find some way to express it. Let it flow through and OUT!
Death can feel very permanent and it is on a lot of levels. If we’re open, which can be hard to do sometimes, we can shift the idea of permanently “dead” to permanently alive, if we can open our minds to what alive means. They are not here physically, but I do believe they are having another life beyond this one and one day, we’ll understand how that works.
Kateyanne- Thank you so much – not easy to be so open sometimes, but I feel like it’s my duty to share my story so we can all heal. What a cool way for your husband to say hello! Any other stories you might like to share about those experiences? Like I said to Jared (above) – I’m so curious to what other people experience. Thanks so much for your support.
Ella – thank you for reading and for your kind words!! It’s been a journey to find “my voice”.
Dorta – WOW – how cool to have those communications! What kind of things happend? Did it ever scare you or were just always like – ha, that’s fun…?
James, I’m so sorry to hear about your parents – you were so young and lost them both at the same time. I’m sorry to hear that. Sometimes I hear people complaining about their parents and I usually think to myself… I wish my mom or dad here so we could even just eat a meal together again. I’m sending you lots of love… How have you gotten through those dark times?
shaneMarch 6th, 2013 at 11:53 PM
to all those who miss a loved one who has passed-revel in the memories. and take heart in the fact that you got to share some special moments you shared with the loved one. for some of us, they are snatched away without a warning and before any meaningful talk could ever be had.that is extremely painful :|
LisaMarch 8th, 2013 at 7:55 AM
Hi Shane – I know there are several kinds of death, the ones that are long and painful and the ones that are short and painful. I’m sorry to hear of the loss in your life. I knew every minute my parents were dying that this could be the last time I ever exchange eye contact, share a moment… it was very special and I hope that it makes all of us really take in our own lives and own special moments. I’m sending you love.
BJWilliamsMarch 18th, 2013 at 3:24 PM
I rushed home from the best bakery in town with a birthday cake for my brother’s child whose birthday we were celebrating. My brother had just been released from the VA Psych unit after over-dosing on tons of pills and surviving: In the unit for a week. We had the little party for his daughter. The next day was Mother’s day. That was the day my brother shot himself through his temple and didn’t die. I was on the phone with our mother, wishing her Happy Mother’s Day, when the call came through from my brother’s hysterical girlfriend to tell me she couldn’t find my brother in her house, but she could hear him. I hung up with my now hysterical mother and raced to the scene; a few neighborhoods away from mine. The EMTs were carrying my brother out on a gurney, upright and mumbling and conscious.
In the ICU my brother lay plugged in to tons of tubes. His daughter was brought in by her mother (divorced from my brother) in order to become guardian of her father; in the state of Ohio, if you’re divorced and have a child over 18, that child becomes your guardian…not a brother or sister of the patient…the child over 18. It was my brother’s only child’s 18th birthday..that very day and she was consumed with trauma from this.
Nine months later my mother lay in ICU with congestive heart failure. I was called to her bedside by her doctor. I arrived in Florida the day after my birthday, from Ohio. My mother refused further treatment and was put in hospice. She asked me to sing “Darktown Strutters Ball” and I did. The priest was called.
On Valentine’s Day my mother died. Even the hospital staff was visibly upset. I had no shoulder or arms holding me the entire time and twelve years later still wait for that….even when I’ve asked. No family came to help me make plans (and my mom had no will or plans, or husband). I just had some people at the hospital in Florida.
12 days later, after I figured out how to cremate my mother in Florida, I rented a car to drive to a small town on the Gulf Coast I remembered as a child. I needed to be off the planet, or where no one would guess what I had been through. My brother lying in a hospital….no short term memory and little did Iknow he would last 5 years that way before dying.
When I arrived in the little Gulf Coast town, I was in a motel room about 11pm that night.
I got a phone call from a brother in Oklahoma. He told me “Dad didn’t make it”.
Didn’t make what? I didn’t even know he was sick, or in the hospital. (this is how fragmented families operate: take heed folks).
Dad died today.
Dad died? I’m in a motel. With no one. Not even the clerk was really friendly. Our mom just died…I’m trying to make some little something or other with the chaplain at the strange unknown hospital she died in when I get back…
Now Dad died. Dad died? That’s in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I’m in Florida.
With no one but myself; I get back in the rental car and have no idea how I got back to Daytona Beach to turn it in. Then I got in my own car and went to a WalMart (24 hour) to buy little brown craft boxes put mother’s ashes in. I used a little sugar spoon to sift through and put them in 5 equal amounts, at night, alone, in Florida…and I didn’t know anyone. I carried them on to the plane to go to Tulsa for a funeral for my father. I gave them to each of the five of us children. I don’t remember talking. I don’t remember seeing my father lying anywhere. I don’t remember the airplane trip back to Florida alone. I don’t remember ONE phone call from anyone back in Ohio where I lived.
My parents died 12 days apart. They had been divorced for a long time. Having no one to hold me for even five minutes to grief has taken its toll on me now. I have been to therapists (they usually say “oh, it’s all too much for you to think about, we’ll pick this up next week. Would you like an appointment next week?” I went to a grief support group and the leader said I had complicated grief because it’s more than one person and I should seek a specialist. A specialist? Have you looked up counselling on the internet in your area? Do you see titles that counselors address called “Complicated Grief Issues”? No you do not.
I drove back and forth to Florida and Ohio, saving my mother’s belongings; nice art, furnishings and little things. I don’t remember much of it.
Neither of my parents knew the other was sick or died. My mother died thinking my dad would be around for me. My brother shot himself thinking the rest of the family could make up for the hole he made in my heart. My father died thinking my mother was still alive ( I had not even had time to call and tell him she died).
Most days I just want to move to Paris, France and make a whole new life out of nothing. I hate therapists now. They DO NOT WANT TO TALK ABOUT DEATH. Who the hell will talk about it?
LisaMarch 19th, 2013 at 10:28 PM
BJ, I just read everything you said, and I want to talk about it. I would give you a giant hug if I could. I’m visualizing my arms around you, sending love your way. I can’t believe that happened to you. So much intensity. So much distance between your family. So little communication and so much death around the same time. I can’t imagine the pain you have been through. I totally understand wanting and needing and hoping for family and friends to kick in to gear and just help people like us through difficult times. I found that these difficult life situations really part the seas of who’s in and who’s out in your life. The fork in the road is there and many people take the easy way out which is totally not dealing at all which means walking away from you which also means deserting you and leaving you feeling probably more alone than you ever have been, ever. Am I getting any of this right?
You were meant to be here and you were meant to be alive and live and live and keep living. You are deserving of a beautiful life, despite the circumstances of your family. The difference is between us and the people who desert us is that we are warriors. For whatever reason, and we often don’t know why until later, this happened and this happened to US… And we have a choice how to look at the world and what we fight for… So I ask you, BJ, who are you now, who do you want to be and what are you fighting for?
Sarah ClarkMay 22nd, 2013 at 8:19 PM
My mom died on a brain aneurysm at 45, 7 years ago.
My dad died 2 months ago of complications after surgery to remove cancer. I’m 26. I look forward to reading your blog and am hoping it will help my healing.
EileenMay 27th, 2013 at 4:39 AM
I am sorry for your loss at such a young age. You never stop missing your parents, and I find that holidays and certain days I miss them more. I hope you can find comfort in friends and knowing that they have moved on, but are not “gone.”
My father lost his parents, tragically, at age six. He never knew them, or had much memory of them, yet, I am quite sure that he grieved their loss his whole life.
CoreyJune 28th, 2013 at 4:04 AM
18 years old. I found this website somewhat searching for answers. By the time I was 16 I lost both of my parents. You know Lisa reading your story I thought what are the odds? My mom was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia in February 2008, I was in 8th grade. She made it past the summer getting treatments after treatments and it destroyed me watching it happen.
I feel the really twisted thing is that she was cleared clinically in remission of her cancer. She made it 74 days into the 100 day remission period. She had went into her weekly checkup and the doctors said the Leukemia was back and stronger than ever. I remember a phone call on Saturday I got from my mom and we just talked like nothing was wrong. I told her I loved her and that was the last time I got to talk to her. She passed on September 15, 2008.
After that sure it was messed up but ive always been the guy to go on with a smile on my face and never had anything effect me because that is just who I am. My dad was always the dad with the corporate job in a suit providing for my family and before my mom got sick, life was good atleast what I can remember. But after she passed, he was never the same. It seemed he felt like he should do what he loves, spend time with his children. I feel he just wanted to be happy and enjoy life with a new perspective due to my mom passing.
So not even 3 years later, at the end of the summer of 2011. We got invited to go on a vacation with another family from I believe August 1st to August 7th. This was a true surprise because we have never had money. We barely made it by. There was a week I can remember that our water got turned off for a week just as an example. But for my dad to say we are going on a vacation was crazy. We were going to the OuterBanks, I cant remember the name of the island off of North or South Carolina, so the basically it was an unreal opportunity.
I probably spent the most amazing days with my dad and my little brothers over a 6 day period in my life. Me and him drank beers on the roof of the beach house just laughing, smoking cigarettes, literally having the time of our lives. Its surreal I can visualize each day so vividly.
It was August 7th and we were leaving. It was a 12-14 hour drive back home in a small town around Knoxville, Tennessee. So me and my little brothers were in for a long ride. We stopped at a gas station just a mere hour and a half away from home and I was sitting there and looking up at the road as we(in my mind it seemed) drifted slowly off the interstate. Before I knew it we hit trees and next thing I knew I was laying on the ground 20-30 feet from our van in pain Ive never felt before. It turns out we hit the trees going 80mph and I wasn’t wearing my seatbelt sitting in the passenger side. When we hit the trees it spun the van 180 degrees and the force threw me, my head busted the window and I was thrown from the vehicle 20-30 feet and hit the ground. When I can conscious on the ground I somehow someway got up because in my mind I felt I had to move to keep my heart beating so I wouldn’t die. Next thing I hear is my little brothers screaming for help. I sprang into adrenaline, I somehow ran to the car and grabbed my youngest brother and pulled him out of the van. I hear my other brother and he was trapped in the floor between the seats. So me gushing blood from my head busting the window out, I remember this moment so vividly.. I leaned inside the back window(which was broken) and saw him. He was in shock because he was so calm. I remember the moment, he was just reaching out to me saying “Help me Corey, help me”. I grabbed his hand and pulled with all the strength that I had, pulled so hard I yelled to the skies just hoping I can get him out. Then he got unstuck suddenly and flew into my arms and I carried him to safety. Keep in mind that at the time my brothers were 9 and 11 years old.
I got them to safety. All the while, all of this happened before anyone had stopped because we wrecked(so fairly quickly). Then I ran back to the car and saw my dad, laying across the driver and passenger seats. I pulled and pulled and yelling trying to pull him out but I just couldnt do it. I tried so hard. So I just yelled and screamed for help. Eventually the ambulance came I knew that he didn’t make it. I had his blood all over me from a gash on his head. They told me that he never made it to the hospital. So he passed on August 7th, 2011.
Crazy its been coming up on 2 years this august. I guess I just wanted to share my story and look for advice. Look for answers. Still to this day I’m a very happy person, just some days are harder than others. You guys just remember, I know that these days are going to be hard if you’ve ever lost anyone, but dont let the past or tragedies hold you back. Cherish the memories, and move forward with your life as your parent or parents would want you to.
Trisha-AnnSeptember 5th, 2013 at 3:52 AM
Hi, I just want to thank you all so much for taking the time to write about your very difficult experiences, I too have been through a huge trauma and have been struggling big time with suicidal thoughts, last night I was extremely close to taking a huge pile of pills again, when I found your website, it helped me get through the night, thank you all, you just may have helped save a life xxxx
AnnieSeptember 23rd, 2013 at 9:54 AM
Just wanting to extend love to everyone who posted and especially Corey who doesn’t seem to have had an answer. I lost my father when I was 7 and my mom when I was 23. It sure is hard keeping going and it does affect the whole of the rest of your life. I hope everyone here gets enough love in the rest of their lives to make up in some way for such hardship. Xxx
AliciaOctober 13th, 2013 at 3:58 PM
Thank you so much for sharing your story. I’m 34, lost my dad when I was 31 and my mom 2 years later, a little over a year ago. I keep thinking lately about how “weird” it feels to be that person without parents. I’ve met these people in the past, some younger than I was and I remember thinking how strange it was for someone young to not have parents. And then suddenly, I joined that weirdness. This weekend I was thinking about how when I get old my parents will be a distant memory. Will I even remember their voices? The only thing that makes me feel like they’re still with me sometimes is occasionally the cuckoo clock in my dining room that was theirs will start on it’s own. Well and the dreams too, but those are often still too painful. I feel like an alien often, it’s good to see people blogging about things that make us all feel more connected. Oddly, this blog was published on my birthday.
NatashaJanuary 4th, 2014 at 5:11 AM
My mother passed over 20 years and right now my dad is on a ventialor
Cathy A KurtzFebruary 4th, 2014 at 3:25 PM
I so understand and felt myslef drawn into the article as I lost my whole family at 16 in a private plane crash. There are no words to descibe the loneliness you feel. It has taken me almost 40 years to have the courage to write my story, Living Through The Pain – The Lonely Me which is will be available March 2014.
Bria RApril 28th, 2014 at 5:07 AM
Thankyou for sharing this. It is nice to know I am not alone. I lost my mom 14 years ago and just lost my dad a few days ago. I am scared and lost and confused but know I will get through this just seems so crazy to lose not one but both parents before I am even 30 years old !
Bria rApril 28th, 2014 at 5:11 AM
My mom passed away also from a brain anyrusm and my dad passed away a few days ago from sepsis after chemo. Hope your hanging in there xoxo
SarahMay 15th, 2014 at 5:46 AM
How is your dad doing now?
MeghanMay 23rd, 2014 at 8:00 PM
Hi Lisa (and all others who have left comments),
Thank you so much for sharing your story. As I am typing this, my only family member in the world – my best friend and mom – is trying to transition into the next life. I just turned 30. I moved back to my home town in January after my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her onc was so positive that I started focusing on building my life – finding a job etc. A month ago, after my mom complained for two months that her tumors felt like they were growing, the onc finally ordered a PET scan that showed things had spread. There was nothing left for them to do but palliative radiation. Right after we finished the radiation (about 10 days ago) she started declining rapidly. People kept saying it’s the radiation and she’ll bounce back at least for a while. She has not bounced back. We are on hospice and currently in crisis care because she seems so uncomfortable. We have spent non stop time together this last 4 weeks for which I am eternally grateful. We shared stories, secrets, laughed and cried. I know not everyone gets to do that so I feel lucky. I am beyond heartbroken that this is happening and don’t know that I”ll ever know how to be in the world without her. She is my best friend and the only person who has known me since I was a kid. I believe in an afterlife and have asked my mom to visit me as often as she can. My dear friends are all reaching out but I can’t help but feel some resentment that they all have healthy moms – and probably will for 10, 20, 30 more years. All I have ever wanted was to buy some land that me and my mom could live on and have a garden on. I don’t know how to go through this. She is in the other room restless and moaning with the nurse. Any advice on how to cope? Blessings and peace to all of you out there who have lost your parents.
MeaganAugust 4th, 2014 at 12:25 PM
Wow it is so nice and comforting to find that I am not alone. I lost my dad to ocular melanoma when I was 19, and when I was 24 my mom was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. After my dad passed we thought we were immune to anything bad happening to is because we had lost our dad so young. My mom became our rock and pulled my sister and I together to keep from falling apart. Recently she started getting very I’ll and spent her last 2 months in the hospital. I quit my job and spent every second I could with her and am so thankful I did. 3 days ago my mom lost her life due to compilations from the trauma of the cancer, chemo and radiation ( perforated colon that the wound was unable to heal due to high steroid dosage) I am now 26 years old and although it’s only been 3 days I miss her so much and cannot imagine the rest of my life without her. I am struggling with awful anxiety and fear and trying my best to find peace with both my parents being gone.
Zack W.August 28th, 2014 at 10:27 PM
Really lost right now. I found my mother dead un expected when i was 15 that was august 14 of 2004 and we buried her on the 18th…..10 years to the day that i buried her i found my dad dead on the floor in front of his bedroom door…the autopsy found he had a brain tumor….i am so lost right now..i cant eat sleep..i have no peace
The GoodTherapy.org TeamAugust 29th, 2014 at 9:07 AM
Thank you for your comment, Zack W. We wanted to provide links to some resources that may be relevant to you here. We have more information about what to do in a crisis at http://www.goodtherapy.org/in-crisis.html
The GoodTherapy.org Team
JulieSeptember 12th, 2014 at 9:24 AM
I am so sorry for your loss and I hope God gives you strength and courage to move on. Myself I am 35 and I have a brother who is 25. We both lost 4 family members o. June 22nd 2014 in a car accident that was caused by a drunk driver. Out of 4 family members 2 were my parents. My brother and I are going through a lot at the moment and it seems our lives had stopped since June 22nd. . We have a hole in our hearts that only my dad & mom can fill. My parents were/are/ and will be our rocks and always will be as we listen to our inner voice recalling their strong assurances that Ravi (my brother) and I could do anything we put our minds to. My dad taught both of us what unconditional love is. He was the one to come right out and say “I Love You and he was the lovey dovey huggy kind of Soul AND he was the one to always be there to bail us out of whatever situation we managed to get ourselves into and he NEVER gave up on us.The hole in our hearts remains and we try to keep it plugged with memories of our parents, walking on the path both showed us, and taking care of their precious grandkids. We hold on to the memories, and look at pictures of our parents. We get to be proud when people still talk about what a fantastic human beings you and mom were. They were always there for people when they needed help and they never expected or wanted anything in return for helping people. Their generosity and selflessness is inspiring and unmatched. Both of my parents have left people with a lot of good memories of you both. They always mention how you made them laugh, always listened, how they both always helped whoever they could with whatever you could. It gives us a feeling of warmth inside to hear these things about both of our parents and inspires us to be the kind of daughter/son you’d be proud of. I like to believe you’re watching over Ravi (my brother) Aru (my son 9 yrs), Ruchi ( my daughter 6 yrs), Ajay ( my husband) and me.
MichelleSeptember 13th, 2014 at 10:48 AM
I am so sorry for your loss. I cannot imagine your pain. My brother in law lost both of his parents on the same day 10 years apart, and wrote/recorded a tribute song in their memory. It is so emotional, and so moving. Brings tears to my eyes every time… You can feel the loss and learning to heal and it is both very sad and beautiful at the same time.
TonyaSeptember 23rd, 2014 at 6:28 PM
I lost my mom five years ago and just lost my dad yesterday trying to cope but I’m just so lost my appetite is gone and I can’t sleep and I can’t focus I hope reading some of these stories will help me with this process of griefing
AparnaOctober 3rd, 2014 at 10:58 PM
Julie, I just lost my mother two weeks ago to cancer (she was only diagnosed in May so I did not get a chance to really deal with the diagnosis before she passed away). My dad had passed away when I was 9. I am 37 now. I feel so lost right now without my mom who was also my best friend. I am looking for people to talk to (people who are going through a similar situation). Please let me know if you would like to stay in touch.
Take care and Regards,
Nadine DambraOctober 12th, 2014 at 12:45 PM
My mom died too of a brainn anerysm in 1993 at age 49 Feb 6 1993 it took a toll on my brother sister neices nephews and me then just now Sept 4 2014 my dad died at age 75 both of their deaths changed my life forever I am mentally challenged dealing with both of my parents death like my loving sister brother neices nephew and great neices nephews
Vicki TOctober 12th, 2014 at 11:54 PM
I lost my dad 3.5 years ago, he had an aneurism so died suddenly! I’m now 33 and my mum died 2 months ago of secondary breast cancer! I have no siblings! Luckily I have a wonderful husband who is so supportive! But when I start thinking too much I realise that I’ve lost the only people who loved me unconditionally! :( my fears of ill health and my husband leaving me are escalating! To be honest I can’t see myself ever feeling better and secure again!
StephanieOctober 20th, 2014 at 8:09 PM
My mom was killed by a family friend in 2003, I was 15 years old. I became the “mother” of the house, helping my dad with house work, cooking, cleaning, taking care of my brother etc all while in high school. I graduated, moved out, went to college.
My dad and I always had a great relationship. He supported me through so many ups and downs during college. He, at the age of 49 went back to college. Got 2 degrees. Got a job promotion. 5 years ago, he was told he had a rare type of sarcoma. He had multiple surgeries, radiation. We thought it was gone. This last november, I got married. We moved to Houston in February for my husbands job. In March, my dads cancer returned. More surgery. Second opinion from MD Anderson which brought him to Houston. He got to stay at our house, I got to cook for him, take him places etc. I loved this time. Little did I know this would be the last time I would see him in person.
I turned 27 in September, He began radiation and chemo in September, right before my birthday. He was 1 week away from completing his treatment and he died October 2, they think an embolism. Since he had cancer, no autopsy was done.
Life is still surreal and I am so happy I found this blog post.
TinaNovember 5th, 2014 at 12:19 PM
I lost both my parents . I’m single and 34. I kniw the feeling of anxiety disconnectedness. So hard to just go through the motions
JenNovember 5th, 2014 at 7:57 PM
You guys have some heart breaking things going on in your lives. Im so sorry for all of your hardships. I can say… when I was at my worst, I lost communication with the large majority of my friends and I was too depressed to do much of anything more than I had to. I just didnt know where to turn. I went out on a limb and went to a church. I continued to go and that weekly inspiration carried me through every week until I got stronger. I remember a point where I felt so helpless, I just laid in my bed, crying in depression and sadness. I reached for my bible and hugged it because I just had nothing else. It was my savior. Not trying to necessarily “preach” but just wanted to share my own experience. My heart hurts for you and im sure your family would be sad to know of your sadness. Every day is a gift. The best we can do is honor our loved ones by living this and each day to the fullest. <3
SammieNovember 6th, 2014 at 12:55 PM
Enjoyed reading your story, you are very good at writing & expressing yourself. I’m sorry for your loss’s & your pain, but both is so inspiring! God bless
SammyNovember 7th, 2014 at 7:40 AM
“Feel to heal!” Like that. Having lost both my dad suddenly after he went for a run when I was 22, my mom when I was 25 and brother when I was 28 I could never describe how I felt. I only knew survival mode. But my body paid a price; chronic migraines, fibromyalgia and TMJ. Faith and hope got me to the point of reflecting on art and scriptures to finally feel again. Pastoral counseling led me to therapy where a mix of talk, pet, equine and biofeedback has enhanced coping skills when feeling overwhelmed or disconnected. A trip to France reconnected me to the generation of roots I never knew but always “felt”. A dream realized from my childhood, my parents would be thrilled for me! I rejoice in that, and will continue to live for more dreams realized that make me truly, deeply happy all these years later; as this is what my parents would want – a happy, healthy, mentally, physically, spiritually, best I can be me.
soniaNovember 9th, 2014 at 11:34 PM
I am 23 going on 24in November it was the morning of August 19,2010 I recieve a call from my sister saying moms gone I asked what do u mean she’s gone she’s in the hospital? My mom had suffered from diabetes since the day I was born my mother has 5kids making me the youngest it wasn’t until I was born that she got diabetes from then it has been a daily struggle in 2010 mom moved to florida with my oldest sister she didn’t want to leave but my sister was the only one who could care for her, leaving the other 4 of her kids in Massachusetts mom went to florida just to help her settle in I went with them for a month we had fun but she was sick in and out the hospital but soon I knew my time to go back home was near I had a boyfriend of almost 3years back home waiting for me (things were rocky and we weren’t at our best but we tryed to make it work) when I got back to mass mom was getting more sick than usual and was put into an induced coma because she was just out of it trying to yank out her breathing tubes I had to take another trip back to florida this time I went with my second oldest brother and two cousin and there we would meet up with out other 3siblings getting to the room was impossible just to see her laying there so out of it at one point she would react to our voices squeezing our hand and moving her toes a bit but she didn’t open her eyes at one point she coughed and started choking on the tube I couldn’t bare to see her in that state we stood there for 3days maybe 4 but had to return back home. My sister kept me updated on her condition the doctors finally took her out of the induced coma she she started to wake up her throat sore from the tubes but she managed to call us all who knew that would be the last time id speak to my mom :'( although she woke up her diabetes wasn’t any better her kidneys were failing she started to retain water and well she was just loosing it. The doctor let her go on hospice finally the call she had passed I was only 20 when she died. Remembering it was my sisters birthday I called her back to wish her a happy birthday telling her I know it probably wasn’t so happy her response shocked me saying “it is happy because I know she isnt in any more pain” I dont know how she remained so positive and on her birthday of all days but I admire her for that, but in that following week maybe days me and my now ex boyfriend had broken up (he cheated on me) leaving me with noone to help me thru this
So now 3years later February 14,2013 (Valentine’s day) my father passed my dad had been struggling with drugs for as long as I could remember it was hard to get in touch with him, him being in and out of jail him trying to get better in and out of methadone facilities him and mom have been off and on thru the years together then breaking up when he started using again, But in march of 2013 me and my brother (were the only 2who share the same mother and father) receive a phone call apparently they been trying to reach us for a month noone could get ahold of my dads family until they found my uncles (his brothers) number with his belongings they needed his kids to identify his body because it had been there for a month and didn’t know what to do with the body my uncle had suggested giving it to science I wasnt going to let that happen just my luck yet again I was having a bad relationship this time with a woman for 2 years we had just broken up so again I was left to cry/mourn alone (me and my brother never got along) so hand in hand with my brother and his girlfriend we went to identify his body as my brother looked to his girlfriend for support I had noone but as for the life style my father chose noone could help with his funeral and my father’s oldest son (which we never met) was in jail me and my brother found just enough money to at lease have him cremated
I guess sharing my story I just needed to talk to people who know what it feels like I cry at night and I dont feel like I can talk to my girl (same one as above we fixed things) because she still has her parents and hearing my fathers past she doesn’t always have anything positive or comforting to say or help me feel better but I cant blame her she goes off what she knows. Anyways for me it just doesn’t get any easier I still haven’t learned how to live with the fact that there gone I was mommy’s baby girl & daddy’s only daughter I feel like I won’t ever get over it I find myself often blaming myself although my dad chose drugs over family I feel like if it wasn’t beacuse of my birth mom wouldn’t have diabetes and would of never been sick
The GoodTherapy.org TeamNovember 10th, 2014 at 9:37 AM
Thanks to each of you for sharing your experiences here. This ongoing dialogue is heartwarming, and we encourage you to continue talking about your experiences with mental health issues and therapy with a wider audience via the Share Your Story feature on our blog. Writing your story may be healing for you and encouraging to others. Learn more and submit a piece for review here: http://www.goodtherapy.org/submit-your-story.html
The GoodTherapy.org Team
DeeNovember 16th, 2014 at 12:02 AM
I lost my mother when i was 5yr, father at age of 8.. Bought up by legal gurdians, its childhood grief i have not came out of it till date, i find myself so lonely, i dont socialise because that creates attachment, afeection, care and love i hate all these words, i be with people but only if i feel like, i dont know how to cope up with all this, i run away from people who try to read me or care for me, i have becume so practical in life that at times i dont even care for other people emotions, and equally if will fully i get attached to any then i become there headache.. This is
RachelNovember 24th, 2014 at 8:38 AM
I’m now 34 and lost both parents by 23 ,father had rare form of leukemia and mother had a brain tumour,I now have a child with sn I am from the uk and interested in talking with like mind people x
ShantiJanuary 11th, 2015 at 1:02 AM
My mother was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in her colon or stomach area (not even sure where it originated because it was so far gone) in Feb 2007 and died Dec 22. My step father who felt like my father, died of unknown causes Feb 23 2008, almost 3 months later. I was 27 years old. I am pretty much an only child except for two much older half brothers from my father. My biological father is 84 years old and lives in another state. Most of the family friends that my parents had are not in contact anymore, and I cling to the few dear friends I have. There have been so many ups and downs since this happened, things and situations I never imagined I’d be going through so it’s been almost like a surreal dream. I’d love to talk with others in similar situations, already reading some of the other comments and Lisa’s story (which I could relate to in parts) has helped me feel not as alone. But although the shock is gone, I feel that these past few years I’ve really felt the weight of their absence.
JamesJanuary 13th, 2015 at 1:09 PM
My mother was terminally with cancer at 58 when my father suddenly dropped dead with a massive heart attack at just 63. That was 25 years ago and it still feels like yesterday. My sisters and I struggled to cope as the loss was so immense but really we just froze our emotions as it was too much. I returned to work and tried to get on with it but there was a terrible tiredness there all the time, a leaden weight pulling me down all the time. A couple of years later, in a very demanding stressful job, I found myself making mistakes. I approached my doctor and he listened and noted this on my record. I made more mistakes and my employer started disciplinary proceedings against me. It was a very low time and very worrying for me as the sole wage earner in my household. One week before Christmas my employer dismissed me from my job. It was a devastating blow after losing my parents and realising that this was what was underlying my problems at work. I had delayed bereavement. Despite reports from mental health professionals that I had been affected in this way and that this was affecting my work capacity, despite my GP telling them that I had consulted him worried about making mistakes and not knowing why, I was dismissed. So far so bad but somehow strength grew in me to fight back and I did. I must have inherited some legal ability from my lawyer mother and researched at length how to win my appeal by showing how wrong my employer had been. I succeeded and got my job back. During my research and preparation I had also found out that a close work friend was betraying me, passing details of my appeal plans to higher levels in the organisation. I closed him down and fought on and still succeeded. I learned a lot about how horrible people can be when you are down and at your weakest. My trusting nature was affected. I shut myself off from most of life outside my family. I liked being at home, felt safest there. Now I still feel an almost always present underlying sadness, from losing my parents and the turmoil and treatment not long after. But in some ways I am stronger. I was at my most vulnerable yet managed to fight back and win. After that I tried to help out others who were being unfairly treated, advising them on how to get the better of employers who fail to follow their own procedures or the law. Yet and with all I am still sort of haunted by the loss of my parents and the terrible experience of losing my job not long after. They have left a scar on my view of life and people. I have become obsessive about losing someone close to me and about how I would cope. I try to imagine what I would do, if I would ever find love and happiness again. I run through scenarios in my head daily and obsess about them. Would I just freeze again only to be struck with a torrent of thawing emotions a couple of years later and fall apart? I look for answers but there are none. It is all in my head, a never ending wall of anxiety and bleakness that seems to stem from losing my parents. I have good days, am not truly depressed but am living as if life and people have lost their capacity to give joy. I should be happier, I am now older than my mother when she died, a hurdle passed. My former measure of my life expectancy passed. Now to pass my father’s age if I am lucky. The loss of two parents who died too young while I was also too young does damage that we carry with us into our future. Somehow we get on with life, we remain a bit wounded but we survive and find some joy in life at times. I hope that anyone who reads this and finds themselves facing similar difficulties, realises that in time things can get better.
PaulJanuary 15th, 2015 at 1:12 AM
My mother took sleeping pills when i was 22 just before her pancreatic cancer woukd have killed her and my alcoholic father shot himself when I was 24. I’ve struggled to find close relationships and a sense of purpose since losing them both and gaining an inheritance. Like you, I’ve thought about connecting with people in similar situations.
VanessaJanuary 31st, 2015 at 10:41 AM
I lost both of my parents within a period of five months. They both just dropped dead. We didn’t see it coming. There were no goodbyes. No letters. Probably a heart attack. No inheritance since neither had money to buy life insurance at the time. I think of how horrible their story is then I see your response. I guess that every story is horrible. Your parents story especially makes me sad. Life just isn’t fair.
OwenFebruary 7th, 2015 at 2:26 PM
Dear all, it is so very sad to read your stories. I found this website, most probably in a similar way to many others- because I’m struggling to cope and looking for some kind of support myself.
To say I’m struggling to cope may well actually be an exaggeration, I have just about coped without my parents for the last 4 years now- my father dying suddenly an unexpectedly from sarcoidosis, which he never knew he had and then my mother falling down the stairs and suffering a terminal brain injury some 6 months later. I was 25 when my father passed away.
I can relate to other poster’s feelings of isolation and disconnectedness… My mother was my main caregiver as her and my father divorced when I was a baby, I saw my dad infrequently but more so as I got older and we became close friends despite him not speaking to mum’s side of family, or rather them not speaking to him.
In the years since their passing I’ve really felt that my family’s dysfuctionality has been highlighted to me… Two sides not talking, me in the middle and barely many people very close to one another on either side. It’s basically myself, an aunt, a couple of cousins I speak to sometimes and an uncle and another cousin in Canada.
As the years have gone by I’ve started to feel progressively more isolated and lonely, it’s as if now the dust is settling I’m beginning to realise just how alone I really am and how much I wish things were different… Obviously wishing mum and dad were around but also wishing there were more people that cared, a family unit to invite me out to do stuff or check up on me more often. I find myself so often walking along and just looking up and missing them so much.
I feel alienated from my friends and have been experiencing some severe panic attacks, I have noe left my job which I was very good at- working in mental health, and also abandoned my course in psychotherapy, mainly due to.my anxiety issues.
So although I’m coping, the reality is thats all I’m doing, day to day, and my world and prospects are getting smaller all the time it seem. It feels like everything is in decline and in a few years I’ll be on benefits, agoraphobic and bitter at the world and jealous of others, which I know is completely unfair and something I wish not to become, but can’t deny that the seeds of this feeling are there- some of my friends are doing so well, surrounded by their big families, going to events and sharing new experiences whereas I just see some friends occasionally and have a cup of tea with my aunt every now and then.
So really I feel that my problem is not getting by, because I can, but thriving and starting out again.
Frankly, this situation sucks! And I’m fed up with people telling me in one way or another that I need to change my viewpoint, think of the future, everyone has issues and troubles in life… Yes all these things are true but actually, sometimes I feel that actually some things are just terribly hard and it’s better to recognise that and just be there for others rather than giving them advice when they have no frame of reference.
Okay, rant over! It’s just a bloody minefield at the moment.
I wish you all the very best and hope you’re hanging on okay.
OwenFebruary 7th, 2015 at 2:34 PM
Hi Rachel, I am from UK too and now 30. If you are interested in talking I would be too. I have struggled to find anyone else in a similar situation since all this happened.
If anyone else wants to I think we should set up a uk group and set up some forum for discussion with a view to a group meet up. What do you think?
OwenFebruary 7th, 2015 at 2:40 PM
Corey, I’m so very sorry for your losses. Your story, like so many others is so tragic. I wonder how you are doing now, a couple of years on. I hope you are coping okay and still managing to find a smile.
LillyFebruary 18th, 2015 at 5:20 PM
I would be interested in a UK group too. My dad died when I was 18 months old and my mum died a week ago after 4 years of terminal cancer. I’ve just turned 30 and the few relatives I have don’t understand as they all still have both of their parents :(
HeatherFebruary 24th, 2015 at 9:15 PM
Owen i was so touched by what u wrote. I lost my dad when i was 11 and my mother in a car accident when i was 25. The five year anniversary of her death just passed and it was the hardest one ever. I am happily married And have many friends. But there is something different about me versus them. There is a loneliness And a singular feeling of isolation and emptiness that none of my friends can understand. I too don’t have a lot of extended family. I have a brother and we are close but the subject of our parents is just so painful that we almost never bring it up for fear of sinking the others ship so to speak. I have an Aunt and uncles but they have their own kids and their own famalies. My mom missed my wedding, my brothers wedding, me buying a house getting dogs, And one day soon she will miss me having children and some days i just cant fucking cope with how unfair that all is. I have found that this kind of loss is doubly hard because ultimately a child burying their parent is how the natural order of life is supposed to go, and i find that people maybe don’t understand that even with that natural order its doubly painful to lose them when you yourself are so young and still need them so much. It just really freaking sucks . I hope that you will be okay. Anxiety and depression are the worst. I will say a prayer for u tonight. Good thoughts to u my friend.
eleshaFebruary 28th, 2015 at 1:06 AM
I found this site while on Google looking us ways to deal with the death of my parents. when I was sixteen my dad died of unknown reasons and six months later my mother got the news that she had breast cancer. she just died February fifth. and I am having a hard time with it. I am thinking about fights with her. we fought a lot after my dad died because we were both hurting. I just don’t know if I can deal with it
VanessaMarch 1st, 2015 at 9:17 AM
That’s normal. I went through the same thing, I used to be angry with myself over it. Now, I’m disappointed from time to time but it’s human nature. I think what it boils down to is that we are sad our actions/words have hurt them. In an odd way, it’s a testament to how much we love them. If it was anyone else we didn’t love as much we wouldn’t beat ourselves up over it. So it’s normal that we are human. You will continue to regret things. I still do. I lost my parents this past year. My father died on my mom’s birthday in November and my mom pass just the June before. I miss and regret every single day. The regret isn’t as overwhelming now. And I’m not angry with myself anymore. It takes time.
ChaChaMarch 9th, 2015 at 11:55 AM
Thank you for all of your inspiring stories of healing. I, myself lost my parents.
My father died when I was 12years old. Now I am 23years old and my mom just recently died January 5, 2015 because of Colon Cancer. I am a mother’s girl and my mom is my “bestfriend”, “sister” and etc. It hurts a lot. I am very young and has a lot of future plans with them but now its all gone.
I am a programmer and blogger. Right now, I spend my whole time sleeping, eating and working. I’ve tried to accept and divert my feelings in all of these but still when I’m alone, I think that I am so unlucky. I don’t know what to do. I even prayed to die in order to be with them but I will never do suicide because I know that I will still meet them someday. That I will die as well in God’s time. So what I did is to enjoy every single time of my life. Going with friends, eating a lot and soon to travel different places.
I still love my life. I only have one brother but we live differently so I am alone. I can do everything that I want to do.
MUZMarch 22nd, 2015 at 1:10 PM
I m 28, lost my Mom at 25, because of Diabetes.. She was 44 when she died. I was speechless. I still find no words that can describe how i still feel. And i have absolutely no doubt in saying that My mom was the best Mom in this world, who did huge sacrifices for me. I didn’t had such a close relationship with my Father. But after my mom died I came so close to my Father that infact i was seeing my mothers shadow in Him. 2 years after Mom died , dad had a Heart attack .. I got a call from my Uncle… Saying its over for him, although had spoken with him the same day a couple of hours earlier.. I am Married , nd have a wonderful nd caring wife. But Something what makes me write here on this blog is , when you See how other people care for their relatives children , sons daughters anything, nd you being an Orphan now have no one on your side , except God. Its a very strange heartbreaking feeling , making you realise what if my Parents would have been alive and backing up for my flaws mistakes and weaknesses.. Being an Orphan gives an Empty feeling inside you, although i am having a good job as a Resident Cardiologist a good wife but still an emptyness that i wont be able to repair ever. And its something we cant help. Just suffer
AshlieMarch 23rd, 2015 at 8:19 AM
My mom was sick for many years.. She had many strokes. Till 2 strokes took her life.. I was 21. Last month, my dad was rush to the hospital. Do to lack of oxygen.. His heart stop twice. One time for 20 mins. The EMT brought him back.. He was on life support for a week.. We had to take him off.. He lasted for a hour and a half.. My brothers and I where with him till the end. I am only 27. My mom passed away when she was 49. My dad was 59. I am just lost.. I miss everything about them.. I just don’t know how to deal with it yet.
The GoodTherapy.org TeamMarch 23rd, 2015 at 11:32 AM
Thank you for your comment, Ashlie. We wanted to provide links to some resources that may be relevant to you here. We have more information about what to do in a crisis at http://www.goodtherapy.org/in-crisis.html
The GoodTherapy.org Team
MikeMarch 25th, 2015 at 6:35 PM
Hello Heather and All –
Thank you for sharing. I completely connected with what you are saying about that empty, lonely, painful feeling that others in our lives just do not seem to understand. I lost both of my parents to terrible illnesses this year, and I am just completely empty, devastated, and traumatized.
It’s a pain and an emptiness that I don’t even know what to do with. I have a wonderful small extended family and great friends, but my parents were (always will be in my heart) the breath to my life and the biggest part of my heart and soul. I am utterly miserable without them. I have been in therapy but it doesn’t seem to help. I have become very religious, which helps some, but I spend most times feeling the same empty (something really important is missing from my life) feeling that you described.
So far, this website has helped me and others’ comments here, so thank you. I will pray for everyone here. I have come to the understanding that I will live the rest of my life with a deep sadness but I try very hard to remember the many good days and all the love that my parents blessed me with. I miss them and love them forever and ever.
Mike – Massachusetts
SheaMarch 29th, 2015 at 9:54 PM
When I was six years old I lost my mother to leukemia. And it wasn’t till after she passed away that I met my father and he became part of my life and gained custody of me from my grandparents. Things became rocky tho and it ultimately led to the death of my maternal grandpa due to a fight that broke out between him and my dad. I was eight when my Pappaw passed away. I was so young and went through two deaths so close together. And I forgave my father for what happened to my Pappaw. But I didn’t have much choice. Me and my dad always had a roller coaster type of relationship. I did love him, but once he created a drug habit our relationship wasn’t as good as it used to be and I only saw him from time to time. I am now 21, and my father committed suicide on March 6, 2015 and I was shocked and devastated. I would never have the chance to make things better with my dad. Or to tell him all the things I wanted to tell him. Sometimes I don’t know how to deal with everything. I go most days feeling absolutely nothing. I feel like i have lost part of my identity. I am no longer a daughter anymore. I am just roaming this world with no guidance other than what grandparents I have left. My heart is so broken.
BridieApril 11th, 2015 at 5:16 AM
3 years ago my beautiful, funny Dad died of lung cancer at the age of 61. I was 30. He suffered so terribly for the last few weeks of his life, and I was only weeks away from having his first grandchild, he was so excited, he burst into laughter when I first told him I was pregnant. I felt so ripped off that he was going to miss out on seeing my baby. He was perfect grandad material, I could not fathom how I could be a good mother while grieving my dad. It was just so terrible I could hardly bare the cruelty of it. But my baby was born and life went on in a very different way, tinged with a deep sadness. My mum was heartbroken, she put all of her energy into adoring my daughter, who really was our saviour, compensation from the heavens I think. A year later I became pregnant again. A couple of months later, my mother, who had been my rock, told us she had breast cancer but it was all going to be fine. It wasn’t. A few months later we found out that our baby had a congenital and incurable heart defect. At 24 weeks pregnant I gave birth to Thomas, stillborn. I have no words for that experience. 11 months later my mum died in my home after being in a coma for a couple of days. I begged god for her to be pain free, I had seen what a painful death was with my dad and I was terrified. Thankfully her pain was controlled. So here I am, 33 years old with no parents. I’m often jealous and angry at people, secretly, who have their parents, or who have babies so easily. I’m ashamed of that.I seem fine to the outside world but I’m always waiting for the next tragedy. But I’m also grateful for what I do have, as it is a lot more than some people in this world. I wish for everybody in similar situations to find peace and healing in time. X
KrystalApril 14th, 2015 at 8:44 PM
I too lost both my parents last year. I am also 27 years old and do not have any siblings.
The day my mom passed, February 18, 2014, she went to the clinic complaining about a constant headache but since her blood pressure was normal, they gave her her usual prescription renewal and sent her off. We picked her up and went for brunch along with my dad. It felt like a normal, good day with my parents. I had no idea it would be the last time we’d all be together..
I drove her to work and we continued talking/texting throughout the day. That night, I smoked up with my friends and passed out.
The next morning at 7am I woke up to find over 60 missed calls. Right away I knew something was wrong. Was it my dad? He had been doing dialysis for over 7 years and had multiple near death experiences already. Or maybe it was my grandma I thought, she also has serious medical conditions. But it was my mom. My beautiful, active, kind and oh so generous mom. She wasn’t even sick!! As I write this I can’t help but cry thinking of how unexpected it all was and how things would never be the same again after that. She passed away from a brain aneurysm at work the night before.
After she passed, it was as though all her energy had transferred over to me. I handled everything. Making sure my grandma and dad were taken care of, arranging for her sister to fly over from Dubai, organized the entire ceremony on my own so that my dad wouldn’t have to worry about it. I even smiled and chatted with the 400+ people that showed up at the funeral.
I have no idea where this unbelievable strength and came from. I like to think my mom left me with it. I always admired how composed she was in stressful situations.
In the following months, I managed to successfully complete my school exams, got a promotion at work, care for my father and deal with the ton of paperwork following her death. Although I’d break down once in a while and needed my Ativan every other day, overall I was surprised that I was even able to function. I just wanted things to be ok. Which was also why I was actively harassing my fathers doctors to get him on the kidney transplant list. I knew I had to do everything I could to save the only parent I had left. I needed him..
Around September of the same year, my father was increasingly losing his strength. I stayed over at his new bachelor pad as he was no longer able to complete simple tasks. He was complaining of immense fatigue and insomnia. We found out in October that he had cancer. Multiple myeloma. From then on, it was one battle after the next. Each one he fought like a champ (as he had always done for the past 7 years). At the end, December 21, 2014, the fight was over. He passed away in the ICU from a heart attack after over a month of fighting other sicknesses.
So here I am. Writing this and feeling an extreme void in my heart. I feel like the life got sucked out of me! Things are so much darker than they used to be. I have many many friends, but I’ve never felt so alone in my life. My parents and I were extremely close. No matter how much we disagreed and argued about little things, I always had someone to call. Someone that would love me and do anything they could to help me. That unconditional love.
I’m sorry this text is so long. I just feel so lost. I smoke too much, I can’t focus on my work and exams, I lay awake most nights thinking about that horrible night at the ICU..watching him suffer for hours before going..life just seems so cruel. And I’m scared that in this newfound lonesome I won’t be able to find myself again.
KrystalApril 14th, 2015 at 8:55 PM
Also, Lisa, I had read this blog before my dad passed. I googled “how to deal with losing both parents” trying to mentally prepare myself for the worst. When I started reading, I’ll be honest, I was scared. There were too many similarities, I didn’t want to face what was to come. I closed the page and haven’t returned until now.
I want to say a big Thank You to you and those who have posted on here. Even if it’s hard to explain these personal feelings, knowing that there are people like you out there, living similar struggles..it does help.
Thank you again. Xx
cherayApril 16th, 2015 at 7:05 PM
My daddy passed away January 9,2015 in his sleep. My daddy had prostate cancer and was 70 Years old. My mama passed away March 23,2015 from lung cancer and grieving. I am 41 years old and the only child although I am married with a 3 year old.
I did not hesitate to take care of my parents, sacrifice paying my bills to take care of them and move in.
My mama passed away 3 days before what would have been my daddy birthday.
I miss and love them so much.
cherayApril 16th, 2015 at 7:11 PM
You will always be a daughter and grand daughter. I am sorry for your loss, I just lost both of my parents and I am heart broken.
Just know there are others who are walking in your shoes and know how you feel
soniaApril 26th, 2015 at 8:52 PM
I know what you’re going through and I’m so sorry for your loss and everyone’s loss on here. I lost my mother suddenly to a heart attack on November 15, 2014 and a little over 4 months later on march 31, 2015 my dad died of pancreatic cancer. He was in hospice barely diagnosed on February 6, 2015. It is very hard.
ArsalanMay 18th, 2015 at 9:05 PM
May 8, 2014 we found out that my mothers breast cancer had metastasized to both her lungs, a tumor was on her spine and a tumor was in her cranial cavity. May 13, 2014, 5 days later, my father passed away. May 15, 2014 I received a major award recognizing my performance at work. May 19, 2014 my brother graduated law school. Finally, May 24, 2014, i got married, something my father had planned out and in his honor we continued. The month of May was an unexpected roller coaster but my ride is not over yet.
Fast forward to September 2014, my wife had back surgery, my mother was doing ok. Another quick fast forward to January 2015, my wife has another back surgery, scheduled to be ambulatory, and mom is now on constant oxygen. This surgery goes very bad. She has another surgery the following day. My wife did not return home until March 13, 2015. Throughout this time my wife was in the hospital, my mother was also admitted to a different hospital. Ping-ponging between two locations while working full time was extremely taxing. March 30, 2015 my wife has more surgery and is in hospital for over a week. Late April 2015, mom is readmitted to the hospital and she didn’t make it home. My beloved mother passed away on May 17, 2015.
I have lost both parents and gone through so much with my wife who is still needing more surgery to correct the damage her previous surgeon caused. My wife has gone from fully functional to being limited to walking 10-20 feet at a time.
Throughout all this if I didn’t have friends and family, i wouldn’t have been able to get through it all. Even those who I haven’t seen for some time were able to help me in ways I could not imagine.
I’m not writing this to seek out sympathy. This is primarily a rant that is helping me vent. But when you think you are having a difficult time with your life, keep in mind that friends and family will always be there to help you as they did me.
randy r.July 5th, 2015 at 5:34 PM
Guys I’ve never felt what u guys went through…I sometimes have nightmare whereby my dad is dead and I get very scary only to find out it was a dream I don’t know what will happen to me if he dies because his the only parent I’ve ever had he raise me when I had no one to go to
Jessica W.July 13th, 2015 at 2:34 AM
This is the first time I have ever commented on anything Ive read online…but I feel like I need to after reading what you have shared. 6 months and 1 week ago, at 27 years old, I lost the only parent I had left to brain cancer. My mom committed suicide when I was 8 years old, after a long battle with Manic Depression. My dad raised me, with the help of my paternal grandma, from then on. I have been struggling with her loss more in the last 4 years than ever before, after I became pregnant in 2011, a mom in 2012 and married in 2014…and losing my dad this January, after only a short 7 weeks after his diagnosis, was devastating (of course). He died at home, in my childhood bedroom, less than 48 hrs after his release home to hospice care. I was the one to find him (eyes and mouth wide open), -after I realized I no longer heard the “death rattle,” as I was preparing his meds 10 feet away in the kitchen- and that image still breaks my heart each time it pops into my head. I am now 14 weeks pregnant with my 2nd child and am devastated my children will never know their grandparents…and that I am forced to live without parents for the rest of my life.
So, I just wanted to tell you you are not alone in facing life without parents. Nothing rids us of the pain…but, in some small way, knowing someone else knows the degree of it helps.
Best of luck to you <3 Sending many hugs
Erin BJuly 18th, 2015 at 10:43 AM
37 year old orphan. My mom died from a pulmonary embolism on July 22,2008. Just two months after I got married and three weeks before I found out I was pregnant with twins. My dad spiraled to a dark place that he eventually came out of with his girlfriends help. So fastforward to May 1, 2015. I have three little girls, a husband, and a dad who has been diagnosed with stage 4 terminal brain cancer. The doctors said 3-5 months without treatment. Maybe a year with. Well 10 weeks later I watched silently as my dad took his last breath on July 9, 2015. So I am now an only child with no parents at the age of 37. There are only 13 days and seven years between the deaths of my parents. It is amazing how alone I feel. My kids have lost two grandparents. One before they were ever born and the second at an age where I hope they can truly remember him. My girls are 6,6 and 4.5. I am angry. I am sad. I feel like it is hard to breathe. This is bullshit and I hate it for each and every one of us.
Erin BJuly 18th, 2015 at 10:45 AM
I just lost my dad after 10 weeks to glioblastoma…..stage 4 brain cancer. The death rattle is the worst sound in the world. I hear it in my sleep. I am so sorry for your loss.
Jennifer B.July 31st, 2015 at 4:31 PM
I lost my Mom on July 23, 2010 from a pulmonary embolism and just lost my Dad this July 23rd, 2015 from lung cancer. I too am feeling upset that I don’t have any parents anymore but I’m happy for them that they are together again. After my Mom passed, my Dad went into deep depression and couldn’t get out of it. Essentially, I lost both parents the day my Mom went. I am sorry for your loss and I hope that in time it becomes bearable.
Patricia S.August 1st, 2015 at 11:28 PM
I lost both of my parents 12 years apart 85 my dad and 97 my mom, I miss the both of them to this very day, sometimes I ask why was I ever born? To feel so sad like this after so many years? But I guess I’m still learning g to cope with it. There’s not one day since I don’t think about them just once or twice, I miss u mom and dad forever hopefully I can find something that will help me get through this like the author did above? It was a nice story u told, thank you for sharing it.
Patricia S.August 1st, 2015 at 11:31 PM
The death rattle??
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