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Is anyone still here? Long story - lots of loss

Periodic Contributor

Is anyone still here? Long story - lots of loss

Hi all,

I am going through terrible grief and seems every day it gets worse and not better. Over the past 6 years I've lost 7 family members. An aunt passed away while I was living with my parents 3 months taking care of them; my sister to suicide, a brother to cancer, a brother to a drug overdose, my dog (hardest loss of all), my father, and my stepmother. I was not with my parents when they passed, they live in Idaho and I live in Maryland. My stepmother died alone, and no one knew for a full 24 hours.


All I think about now is death. I'm upset and feel guilty that I was not with my parents. Being with my dog when he was put down was a trauma I'll never get over. I've pretty much given up on my life (I'm 59 now). Issues with my parent's wills has broken what is left of my family apart - they have disowned me for something I didn't even do. My parents passed on their wishes, and left them out.


I've been trying to find grief counseling services here but am high risk for Covid and can't find any Zoom groups. I don't know what to do, I can barely sleep, and can barely eat. I spend most days in bed now. As soon as the sun comes up I start crying and asking "Why am I still here?"

Not sure what to do from here. I'm on depression meds. I'm in therapy. But I can't sleep even on sleeping meds, not eating really, and don't see any sense being here any more.


What to do?


Hi, I am very sorry about your losses and with them fallout issues like the estate, Covid risks, and obviously suffering from your grief.  I have been grieving for some time and now have realized that I am on my own with occasional support from friends and neighbors.  I am responsible for all the paperwork that comes with death notification.  There are no extensions, and many actions are very time sensitive.  I was crying for 2 days as I filled out my husband's death certificate information.  What really got me was the question on time of death.  Luckily the hospice nurse was at the house when he died and was able to call in the death and note the time.  There was no extension of time for completing the form and I was bombarded with emails on the day he died asking why I didn't complete the form.  Callous yes, but that is an example of how society does not understand the grieving process at all.  And I don't see that changing.  Covid has also made matters much more complex and riskier for us, since in many ways we can be immune compromised with our grief.  Based on what I read and discussed with my Grievance Counselor this is all natural.  Somehow, I don't find that all that comforting but just reality.  No can give you a formula for relieving the suffering.  I have found at least doing something I like and taking care of myself every day if possible has helped.   Your future peace and comfort lie in your hands and God's if you are spiritually inclined.  Just remember you will have bad days, but I personally feel that the deceased are still with us in some way.  For example, I have sensed my deceased 25 year-old cat coming to visit and brushing her paw in my hair.  Perhaps that is wishful thinking, but it has helped me to feel loved and not alone.  I am hoping to make new friends and relationships as time goes by and an trying to maintain an open attitude for recognizing those opportunities.  Not always easy, but I think essential going forward.  Good luck to you and blessings for a better 2022 for all of us.  Sue

Periodic Contributor

Hopefully your life has improved and you're Getting back in the "Swing of things". Hospice has Online Bereavement groups. Perhaps you could contact a local Hospice for contact information?

Blessings to you

Marie Doucette
Not applicable

Friday - June 11, 2021


Dear @LeKook losing a furbaby is traumatic. I presume that is a picture of your darling as your avatar. I myself have swore I will never get another dog after Jeremiah. The first year was rough. Now I can think of him, remember our walks and not cry. Nothing like Doggie Luv!!! We are here if you need us. Lots of hugs coming your way, Angela

Periodic Contributor

Hi, no, you are not alone.  Everyone grieves differently and it is unfair if anyone tells you otherwise.  I lost my only son in 2010 to a horrible disease and my friend from my point of view your grief does not go away.  It might change, but it lasts.  Of course, it also depends on the significant relationship of said individual.  For me, my loss of a child is the worse pain of death.  I have lost parent, siblings, and a spouse.  Nothing is more painful than a child dying.  When i was 7 months pregnant my father died.  At that time i was dealing with a spouse who was diagnosed with a degnerative disease who died a year after my son.  When my son was 5 my mother died and i could not be there for  her even though she was 45 minutes away due to my sons illness.  My father i could not see when he was dying for i was dealing with my husbands illness.  In 2014 my brother died of esphogaul cancer.  In 2015 i became ill with a disease and now battle everyday to stay alive.  I don't have any supports.  You are not alone.  It is unfair for folks to put out their opinions and point of view if they have not gone through this kind of trauma.  Counseling is great and there is knowledge, but if they have not endured the experience they don't understand no matter how much work experience you have or formal education.  For me, i did counseling and medication which was very helpful for me.  I terminated the counseling after 20 years, but still remain on medication under a doctors care.  I think support groups and a network of friends is beneficial if you find the right match.  I think being a new member to this orgainization and seeing that they offer such wonderful ways for people to connect goes above my expectations.  I was a member of a support group when my son was alive but i had to leave the group due to me being the one who was informing all others of progression, outcomes, etc.  People were wonderful in this on line group, but i was not getting the support i needed.  I am so glad i read your post and i would be more than happy to be whatever kind of support i can be in the future.  Hope this helps

Periodic Contributor

One more note.  I am and have gone through the same garbage with estate plans.  For me at the present time i have 2 older sisters and people have not been there for me over the years with all the trauma i have gone through, but when there is money or personal belongings involved they sure do.

AARP Expert

That. Is a lot. of Loss.


Here's what I'm thinking. I'm glad you're taking medication and seeing a counselor. I would not give up on finding a zoom grief group, particularly in Maryland. You could find one in the UK if not in the USA, but there has to be at least one that would welcome you. The group would be sponsored by one of the home hospice programs, particularly the non profit ones, anywhere in the USA. Start with the national hospice organizations. Keep calling until you get a human and a referral.

It sounds like your family is doing what so many families do after a death and an inheritance: estrange members of the family over money. Good Lord. It was your parents' money, and they chose you. Since the latest deaths and losses are so raw, i'd leave this for now. In the future, you could possibly take some of the knick knacks to give to various (peavish) family members, and send to them. You can take the high road. You can give baby blankets to the grandniece who's about to give birth. But only if you have the energy to take the high road. Just a thought.

Are you still working? Or retired? Are you comfortable financially?

These years of loss are like a long winter. Like you're a single survivor of your town that was destroyed in the Holocaust. The only one left standing after a tsunami. And whether or not you are working, you are not caregiving at this moment, and you have some means. Slowly, out of the many-year winter of your grief, there will be little green sprigs of hope and creativity. I just lived through the evacuation of my town in high desert Oregon last September. The town was spared, many other towns in southern Oregon went poof up in smoke. And already the forest surrounding our town (population 220 and about 1000 head of cattle, a couple of llamas, a bazillion dogs, our own deer herd, and a bunch of chickens) is showing new life. Fattening buds on the bushes that are half burnt. Why? Life. It's very stubborn, life is.


I would buy The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron, and the workbook. And use whichever creativity-building suggestions you wish to encourage one or two thoughts of a future. Alongside death, not ignoring death or the people you miss. But affirming life. You are young. You've got at LEAST 15 years of excellent health if you're lucky, and maybe 25. What would you like to do with your one wild and precious life? (to paraphrase poet Mary Oliver.)

Why not?

Volunteer for a dog rescue.

What would your sister say? Your brother who overdosed? Channel them: they might say, girl, we lost out. Live for us, too. Have some fun, dammit.

I don't know. What do i know not much. But i know you have a wee bit of life force in you that hasn't been blown out by all this death. And you have a little bit of time. Breathe in, breathe out. Give thanks for another day of loving....

Excuse the mixed metaphors. I will keep my day job.



a psychotherapist in the middle of nowhere, former hospice social worker, and grateful that you shared your pain today.


Periodic Contributor

My parents left the estate to me and my older brother (he was the executor). After a year I got a share of it, and realizing that they had left nothing to the other siblings, I took chunks of money and sent it to the siblings separately. Now bear in mind they have not asked or said anything about the will so you know they knew they were out. They cashed the checks and then started wanting to see the will and why didn't I send them x percentage of what I got? I've lived in poverty for over 10 years, they all have jobs and savings and live very comfortably. My point is, regardless of what I sent them, they would not ever be happy with it, and would want more. So that's what happened. And I'm left feeling like I'm the guilty, greedy one (my older brother sent them NOTHING).

So I have no relationships but with the older brother. I was close to my sister, and she cut me off just like that, no explanation. I'm heartbroken that she and my surviving brothers have disowned me with no explanation at all. Nothing.

I have lost interest in life and don't know how to get it back. I used to love art, gardening, needlework, lots of things. Now, nothing interests me at all. I have enough money to pay rent for maybe 7 years then I'm broke again. The money means nothing to me at all. What breaks my heart is my mom died alone and I wasn't there when my dad passed, and that shortly before they passed they told me they thought I was a failure. I took that with a grain of salt, continued talking to them for a year after that, continued to love them and even though they lived across the country always took their calls and told them how much I loved them. 

I don't know, I'm just lost. Sleep is the only good thing about my life right now. What good is 15 or 25 years if every day is painful like this??

I'm sorry, I am not always in this kind of mood. Just feeling sadder tonight than usual.

with love. Thanks for caring.

Social Butterfly



I'm sorry for your losses due to deaths. Very sad to lose family like that.


I'm also sorry for the loss of your living family members. The loss of connection, family, support, and cohesion. Perhaps this was something many years in the making; perhaps exacerbated by the loss of both parents. Sometimes in such cases things have simmered below the surface for many years suddenly come out. All the long standing resentments, competition, etc. So sad, when family ought to be a source of support.


There's a concept of "family of origin" and "family of choice". People with a dysfunctional family of origin (the biological family) may find their "family of choice" in a community of friends, to provide the close family ties and succor that is missing from the biological family.


A brief story to share with all: way back in the early days of the internet, before the "www" (world wide web) and browsers, there were "newsgroups" and "chat rooms". The newsgroups were like bulletin boards (like this AARP group). Born in academia they broadened to all interests. I participated in for several years. I miss that place. Now it's virtually unknown. But I met my wife through there (!).  

Periodic Contributor

yup!  The best part of my membership to this organization is the forum groups that are super supportive.  It is amazing to me!  I have belonged to several over the years, but have not had the pleasure of this one till  now.  My older brother who did die in 2013 had not a lick of sense for plans burial.  How could he when he was an alcoholic.  One of my older sister's refused to pay her share which was 1,000 so my other sister and i had to eat the cost.  When my mom was alive there was so much bickering over who was going to get what and they tried to get  me on the bandwagon and i couldn't believe they were that insensitive for i was going through my only son being ill with a degenerative disease and dying working as a single parent with no help from the state another story for those of us who have been subjected to no support financially, family etc.  It is so hard to articulate these kinds of dynamics to other folks who have been blessed with family support and that has been painful for me to witness.  When my son died i spent or shall i say have been spending holidays, birthdays, mother's day alone.  Do you think anyone thought about even extending an invitation to me or a card?  I have learned to cherish and hold onto the memorable experiences in my life and focus on that.  We can't change the past but we can empower ourselves with the future.  Take baby steps is the best advice i can pass on for i do this all the time and i do self inventories all the time.  Reach out to this community because from what i have seen in such a short time of being a member is a great group of people and on line experts that care.  Brenda

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