The Unique Loneliness of Grief

Most people don’t think in depth about the idea of loneliness. Loneliness is one of those concepts we assume we know. We equate it to the very definable concept of being alone, which means “without other people”, and thanks to “lonely people” archetypes — like the spinster with 10 cats and the misunderstood teenager — we think we know exactly what loneliness looks like. The trouble is, loneliness is actually subjective (i.e. different from person to person), so there’s no way anyone can truly know what it looks like.

In the Encyclopedia of Mental Helath (1998) researchers, Daniel Perlman and Letita Anne Peplau define loneliness as,

The subjective psychological discomfort people experience when their network of social relationships is significantly deficient in either quality or quantity.”

In other words, loneliness occurs when a person’s social relationships don’t meet their interpersonal needs or desires. I want you to note, the above definition says nothing about the state of being alone, rather that loneliness is a feeling of discomfort that arises when a person subjectively feels unfulfilled by their social relationships.

Loneliness is dependent on what a person “needs and desires” and this measure is personal and varies drastically from one individual to the next. Based on this definition we see that prototypical characterizations of “loneliness” are misguided. Individual loneliness is defined by what a person wants in contrast to what they have. So whether a person has 100 great family and friends, if they long for something or someone they don’t have –like an intimate partner, a friend they can open up to, a group of people who “get them”, a family, etc – they are liable to feel lonely.

“Something or someone they don’t have….”

If you’re grieving you may feel this has become the story of your life.  There are aspects of bereavement that make loneliness seem inevitable and unsolvable. Primarily, the fact that what you desire is your loved one and what you have is an emptiness molded so specifically to your loved one’s likeness that no one else could ever fill it.

People who are grieving are at a disadvantage when it comes to loneliness because the person they long for is forever gone. I’ve come to understand that loneliness after the death of a loved one is many things. Above all else, it’s the ache of having loved someone so much that pieces of you became them and pieces of them became you. When they were taken from this Earth a piece of you, your heart, and your history went with them and you were left behind to live a life that feels forever incomplete.

Now that your loved one is gone there are parts of you that no longer make sense; the roles you both filled, the jokes and memories you shared, their part of the routine. What do you do with all these things now that your loved one is gone? If the common experience of feeling misunderstood and alienated in grief wasn’t enough, you have now lost one of the few people in this world who really truly “got” you. You feel alone in a world full of a people….you feel lonely.

Not to make things seem worse, but once your brain starts thinking in an “I’m on my own so I have to look out for myself” kind of way, it may be primed to guard against others by interpreting their actions negatively and by pushing them away. When this happens feelings of loneliness, you guessed it, can perpetuate feelings of loneliness.

The loneliness of grief is not easily solved. It takes time and effort.  Hardest of all, it requires acceptance.  In order to lessen the loneliness, you have to find a way to accept what simply is and find fulfillment in the reality available to you.  You will never fill your loved one’s void, that simply won’t happen.  Instead, you have to work slowly, slowly to fill in the abyss.

How do you do this?  I sadly can’t answer that for you. I guess I would say that, when ready, open yourself up to the love of people in your life.  You don’t have to let go of your loved one, but simultaneously decide to accept the company and support of others and maybe, if necessary, seek out new people in the process.  It won’t be easy and it won’t be perfect, but perhaps in time the hole left by your loved one will be filled by the love of many.

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May 22, 2019

127 responses on "The Unique Loneliness of Grief"

  1. My daughter was 6 years old when she passed away the beginning of this year. She had a heart condition, after her dad and I broke up 3 years ago. I stayed single as she needed me so much. It was only her and me, I lived and breathed for her. She was like my mini best friend, we were a family. I feel like I lost everything in this world. I come home everyday to an empty house. No smiles, no laughs…just me. I never hear the word mommy anymore, my life changed so much without a choice. I loved being her mom, I love her so so much. At my age ( I’m 29) none of friends can even comprehend what I’m going through. It feels as if I’m in this never ending dark tunnel all alone having to force myself to live this life I hate so badly.

  2. Hi, um my name is josh and Im 15. I lost my dad last year on October the third just a month before my birthday. I did everything I could to save him. He had cancer and I did a stem cell transplant for him but he died a month later. I feel like it’s my fault and I’ve just been so anti-social and happy and ive been so sad and sensitive.

    • Josh, you have been through more at your young age than most adults could handle. I can only imagine how proud your dad was of you. I think it’s very common for those of us who have lost somebody to feel like there was something else we could have or should have done. But what I’m learning is there is nothing we can do to prevent things sometimes and that so much is just out of our hands. Life can be so unfair and that is so hard to accept. Time will help but be sure the adults in your life know how you are feeling. I’m very sorry for your loss.

  3. I lost my mom in May of 2019, she had a lung transplant in 2005 and i have been her caregiver for about 5 years.
    I put everything i had into keeping her alive for 14 years, that was my purpose in life at that time because i loved her very much and i was signal so i could make that choice, and i could talk to her about anything and i also lived with her 6 days out of the week. My brother and sister are married and have kids, and now that she has past away i am very lonely and i have this giant hole that i can not fill, i don’t know what to do with myself or how to move forward in my life?
    It is like i stop living for myself when my mom was alive and now i have to find a way to live for myself.
    It has been really hard on me because i do not have a way forward because my mom was my world.

    • I lost my son in 2015 and have been so depressed and withdrawn since. It’s only gotten harder as time has gone on

    • Hey Carl, I know that exact feeling….when you don’t have a purpose or motivation to even live life. The reality is that there’s nothing waiting on the other side. There’s no motivation each time you have to lift yourself up from a very dark place of pain and heartache.
      My daughter passed away 28 February 2019 and she was my life. I found some ways to redirect my hurt into something positive….somehow it helps put me in a better space (it’s still a constant battle with my own thoughts) I know my daughter will be proud. My daughter had an inoperable heart condition, so I joined a charity for children who needs Palliative care. I am helping create awareness and also managing the social media page. I’m involved with a children’s home. I am dreading Christmas without my daughter but I decided to help with gifts for children in a home. I can’t see my daughter smile, but I can put a smile on kids that do not have. It doesn’t take the pain away, but it helps with the no purpose feeling and the feeling like you not adding value. Like you did with your mom in past you had a purpose and you added so much value to her life. Hope this advice can make some what of difference, like it did with me. I know everyone grieve differently, so what might have worked for me might not always work for someone else. In the end we would rather have loved than to not have loved at all. “Grief is the price of love”

  4. In June my father passed away. He was my only parent and direct family I had left. I was heartbroken. I knew nothing of how to make arrangements in a foreign country. My mother died in 1990. I have half siblings where I’m only closest with one. I’m feeling so isolated and alone. Everyday I feel like I’m just drowning in grief and sadness. My mother passing away was like a hole in your soul. What do you do when you have a gaping hollowness already? I hide my sadness but my eyes look so sad even when I smile. I . Am. Alone. It scares me sometimes when I have no strength to get out of bed. I have no desire to go outside. I have insomnia. I don’t know if I’m grieving the death of my parents or grieving just being all alone. I’ve thought about going to see a therapist. This has been so difficult and praying for strength.

    • Hi, losing someone is like losing a piece of you, I couldn’t agree more. When I lost my dad beginning of this year, not only my world shattered but a piece of me died too, my dreams died, half of me died. It’s been couple of months passed since he was gone but it always feels as if it was just yesterday. The thought of I can no longer see him, hear his voice, his laugh, his singing voice – [coz my dad loves to sing and he’s very good at it] its killing me. They said time heals, nothing is really healing up to this very moment. I shouldn’t be living on my what ifs’ and what should have been but how I feel isn’t comprehending the moving on stage. The process of going through grieving is excruciatingly painful.

  5. You all have the same emotions and grief as me. I feel I will never get through the loss of my mom, it will be 4 years coming up in November. No suppport from my brothers it’s like the are not having any grief. Well it has Devastated me. Mom and I were very close, I’m her only daughter, and we had a great relationship. Brothers weren’t like mom and I, we did a lot of things together, and talked on the phone every night. I loved her so much she was my best friend. My brother said to me once It wasn’t healthy for me to talk to mom every night W T F excuse my expression it was the healthiest thing a mom and daughter could do. We would share everything. We loved our phone calls. He can be very harsh. My mom was on her own for many years after my dad died when I was young, I’m 57 and I know she loved are relationship. She remarried when she was 73 and had six years with her husband before she was sick with cancer. She wasn’t alone and that makes me feel better. Mom was the type who would give hugs to me and say “I love you all the time she was warm hearted and always had a nice thing to say about everyone in her life, Full of life. And I was going through a bad time with a health issue she was so compassionate and loving, she was really truly a gem. And I cry everyday for her. I have had so many not so nice things said to me through my grief, and through me having diabetes, people can be very cruel, and they minimize what your going through and it makes you more lonely. Some times I really hate people, animals love you unconditionally more than humans. Even doctors can be very insensitive when your going through hell. You don’t move on from a loss, I’m so sick of the cliches , losing a loved one is PAINFULL .

    • Hello Sandy my lovely Mum passed away a year ago, I never thought it would happen. Still feels like yesterday and my two brothers are selfish gits so have divorced my family. Not easy is it

  6. I have a question for those who have lost their spouse or partners. I have a family member who just lost their spouse this week. I reacehed out, sent flowers but have not seen him. I told him I am here for anything. I want to support him, either staying overnight as much as needed or he can stay with me or visit. The thing is, as the death just occurred, and he told me he had a lot of family in the house right now, I don’t want to be overbearing with so many people visiting and helping. I’m probably one of the few people that live close to him. How can I be supportive and not overbearing? Should I be messaging him so many times a week or just once a week. I’m planning on being there for him, as they were like parents to me. But I don’t want them to feel bothered by being asked too many times. Some advice would help.

    • Hey Warren. I would suggest letting him know you would rather be too available than not enough, and let him know you plan to check in by text (once a day, once every couple days, whatever feels right) unless he says to stop or ease up. Give him permission to not reply if he isn’t up to it, so he doesn’t feel guilty. Try to make invitations genuine but also ‘no pressure’. Honestly, the beginning is when everyone is around. It is usually in a few weeks and months that people really need support and everyone who was there early disappeared. So the best advice I can say is be around for the long haul!

  7. I lost my husband in June and we’d been together 9 years… I see the people writing the same feelings I have… it was soo hard losing my Dad in 2013 but I had my baby my fiancé to lean on and he supported my sadness and now he’s gone and “ it’ll get better” is a lie. My cats understand better than they do. My younger brother lost his middle child ( there’s three) suicide. I can’t help sometimes want to scream at him “you still have your WIFE!!!!” You lucky you!! He stopped at nothing to protect me lifted my spirits always sometimes we argued a bit because we thought so alike..there will never be anyone like him in my life and I will never have room for another partner in my life I can’t survive another heartbreak like this one. How can I ever get through this at all????

    • Hi, i also lost my fiance last sept. 14 2019. We have eaxactly the same feelings as of the moment. So many what ifs, and questions. I even ask God if i deserve all of this pain? The week after my uncle who raise me during childhood past away too. But that one is acceptable since he is old already. But my fiancee is just 44. I really dont know how to start again without him. We work together. We are business partners, parters in crime. Bff. 24/7 buddies. And now i lost him, slowly im teaching my self but its so hard. I just want you to know that not only you on the same situation. Theres me, and somebody with the same situation. So lets try to be strong. If u needed someone to talk. Just msg.

      • I hope everyone in this thread has friends and family so they don’t feel alone. I don’t know if anyone has lived in the Pacific Northwest, but people are up here are generally withdrawn inside themselves. Maybe it’s the weather combined with many activities that don’t require major social skills like fishing, hunting, dirt biking, very competitive or isolating hobbies.

        I lost my wife in 2015. Being 34 at the time, I think I had more hope that things could get better than i do now. Over the last three years, I realized I knew a ton of people who were actually not friends. Nobody offered to hang out with me or keep my spirits up. I had to find my own way to happiness. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to talk to a therapist because I allowed myself to cry and feel sad rather than resisting it. I tried church, I tried talking to a therapist and even she didn’t know what to say because She said it sounds like I know why I feel the way I do. Four years later though, I feel more lonely than I ever have before.

        I’ve watched everyone else in my family (cousins, brother, family members) live with life with someone else in their lives. I give (or try to give) my family the benefit of the doubt that they can understand why I feel so bummed out a lot.

        Now I’m at a point where at age 39, I’m done with PNW. The only thing I can seem to do successfully is work. I have not met anyone who can understand the loneliness I feel. I don’t think it has made me feel less self sufficient, but I’m tired of feeling like this all the time. Like I want to go ride my bike or go play pool or go for a drive, but I’m tired of doing all of that myself. I don’t have any friends for whatever reason I do not know.

        I just feel like I have no purpose now. It’s getting harder and harder to find motivation and purpose. I even wish I had a child so I could be a father, because that would put my existence beyond myself.

        I just really wish I could have companionship and share some direction. Have someone to talk to.

        I do believe a major relocation to another geographic location will be beneficial. Granted I probably should have done that two years ago, but I had found some promising jobs here in that seemed more accessible and was better on me physically and mentally.

        Now though, I have quit my job and am in the process of moving and lining up something else somewhere else like North Carolina (or evening Texas).

        Am I alone for feeling like I’m in a deep state of darkness of sadness and loneliness? I just hope I can make things better for me. Years ago, I felt sure about where I was headed. I was transitioning from being an educator to working in finance. Now I really want to apply my confidence and dedication to working with Apple. I hope that can work.

        I don’t know what I’m trying to get out of this post, but this seemed like the right place to share my grieving experience. The rough part is accepting that my family doesn’t understand what grieving is like. My mom does probably because she was twelve or so when she lost her mom, but everyone has built lives with someone and they all have their purposes in life. I just feel like an outcast that will never know what having someone else for longer than a year. I wa only married for five months. With her more than a year prior. And she suddenly had liver failure and died before we made it to six months of marriage.

        I hope nobody else ever has to experience that. I will not lie that I have wished for me to be taken away, too, but I’m also not a quitter and I just keep going. Lately though, I feel very sad again, perhaps more so than four years ago because I don’t know the answers any more or if I’ll ever get to know the value of having a soulmate and someone to enjoy life with. I’m bored and tired of doing all of that myself.

  8. I lost my father 53 days back.It all happened so suddenly,the three days when my dad was fighting this illness went by swiftly and I couldn’t understand what was happening.in had to leave my mother and my elder sister after his funeral because of my studies.You getc to know the true colours of people when you go through bad times they say and that is exactly what is happening.i have no one by my side whom I can lean upon and it feels lonely

  9. I have known that life can be this much tougher, I have no idea about my tomorrows. I am just nineteen and i have no one. since I was ten years both my mom and dad were onto adultery. But I had a blind love for my mother that father, I always fooled myself that mother was still good and she loves you more than anyone, but now she is going in her own with another man, father is in abroad and he has his own family, with a good looking wife and babies. i really feels like an orphan,,,beacuse family is something that i never had and it is my only dream still.
    i had a boyfriend at the age 15 and use to date him till i was eighteen but i ended it because i felt like i was detaching from her more than ever. i am still sorry for him, he loved me so much. so i am never good at keeping bonds. i always felt like finding parents to adopt me as a child. i know there is no life without a family, to live alone is something like dying day by day.

    the grief you feel inside is suffocation, i merely cannot breathe at all, i have had enough lying to my friends about my family, i always wanted to share this but i am scared that they would avoid me because of this as all of them have good families.
    one thing i cannot understand is why all parents cannot sacrifice a little bit of their ife to their children? isn’t it the child matters the most? why cannot my mother live without a man and my father a woman? i am noyt praising myself but for all the years i have been steadily confined with them, i have never lied or had being stubborn. i am that good type girl… but still they see no worth in me,…. i always wanted to go a trip, have dinner, have a party but its impossible alone,,,, all i need is a family….

    • Sweetheart, I feel your lonliness also and if I could be your mother, I would be in a heartbeat. You are a good soul, just like I tried to be my entire life. When we are in a dysfunctional family all we want is for are parents to love us, so some of us try to be perfect so they will. Other disconnect and learn to not need or want anyone but they can never let love in. They are called avoidants. I am 56 and I tried to be perfect my whole life. I loved my whole family. My mother, husband, 3 kids. I always put them first and tried to do everything for them. When my mother turned my daughter against her family. I learned about narcissism. People who have very little empathy and use people to get what they need. When my sons got older realized that they rarely said or did anything nice for me. I became more and more depressed and started to have very low selfesteem. I couldn’t understand why no one saw me as the good person I tried to be. After much research I realized I married the avoidant type. Could never really get close to him. He is a good person but can not accept love. Since boys mirror their father’s my boys behave the same. I am 56 and feel completely alone even though I am still married and out son still lives with us. I’m hear to tell you that having a family does not mean that you will not be alone and completely lonely. Find your tribe! That is what I’m trying to do. Made a few friends but when we are depressed and lonely it is difficult to make friends. No one wants to listen to unhappy people that they don’t know. After much research, because of our childhoods, the only solution for not feeling lonely is to learn to love ourselves. Until then we will always feel alone and lonely. I’m doing everything I can to learn how to do that, since my life was about making everyone else happy. I’m not sure how this site works but I would love share articles, videos with you that are slowly helping me. If you’d like, you could write to me anytime.

  10. I lost my mom 3 years back. I came to America as a student 4 years back and it had been almost a year since I didn’t see my mom. And on the 31st of December, I just woke up and everything felt different, then my cousin told me that my mom had fell down in bathroom and was hospitalized. I wasn’t really worried because I thought it was normal fall but later that day my dad who used to work in Qatar, booked a plane home cause my aunt told him that my mom was in an ICU. Then I started to get really worried and when I finally land home. My younger sister who was just 18 at that time ran to hug me and told me, “I’m sorry I promised you I will take care of mom but I couldn’t” My mom had passed away on the December 31st, no one knows what happened, they told me they found her in the bathroom and she was probably there for 3-4 hours on the cold tiles and then they took her to the hospital, the doctor said its too late. I’m the oldest daughter and the only people home were my 18 and 14 years old sister and brother who had to go through it alone. When my dad got home, they had my mom’s dead body outside ready to take her to be cremated and that’s how he found out that she passed away. I reached home a week after that, so I didn’t;t even got to see her or say goodbye. I hated my family for not telling me right away. I hate myself for not being able to be with my mom and how she died alone. Its been 3 years and I cry myself to sleep every night. I don’t know how to get over this. I don’t think I have started to grief yet because I never got a closer or a goodbye. I feel like I’m just stucked and every time I try to get past the fact that my mom is dead my brain just freezes, I get chills and it feels like I can’t breathe.

    • Oh Dear. I can understand your pain. It’s hard on u and ur family. Like u me too longing for closure. I lost my mom 6 months back. She met in accident and couldn’t reach to hospital. It was unexpected as she went to the work as usual. I am married and stay in another city . I have been told she is critical when I reached at mid night and saw people I got to know wht has happened . There was not good bye. She struggled through out life and about it retire from job in a year. But ahe could live her life. It was not fair with her.

  11. Parnell E. LaLonde IVAugust 5, 2019 at 9:42 amReply

    It has been one year and five months since I lost my Wife, my partner, my friend, my confidant. The “needs and desires” of having ANYONE, someone acknowledge me is true. I have had EVERYONE, I mean everyone, walk away within the first year. Loneliness ebbs and flows but I ever present.

    • Hi it’s the first time I’ve posted on anything like this.
      I lost my dad when I was 24 to lung cancer it was 18 months of hell watching my best friend take his last breath and seeing my mums world fall apart.
      My mum was so strong I only ever see her cry once but she was broken , she missed him so much, they had been together since she was 16 and he died at 61.
      I had moved back in with her as a single mum with my 11 month old baby and our lives became the 3 of us. I really struggled after losing my dad I was so young and my world fell apart all at the same time, I lost my house, my relationship and was responsible for a child all through no choice of my own.
      my mums strength got me through she never gave up on me and made me the best mum I could ever be.
      I reinvented myself from a hairdresser to the manager of a health and fitness club whilst getting myself a diploma, she was so proud.
      Nearly 10 years on it will be my dad’s aniversay on the 10th Aug 2019. I would say it took me a good 8yrs to finally feel like me again, where i really wanted to do things to make him proud and see a future that looked brighter where I woke up and actually felt happy.
      My purpose in life was my mum and my daughter who is now 10, that’s what kept me going, everything we did we did together. we lived together, I cooked, mum washed up. I took care of the garden and mum did the ironing cus she new I hated it. Holidays, days out , everything was all done together just the 3 of us. We even spoke to each other whilst we was at work, we became so close.
      Then tragically on the 20th July 2019 aged 61 the angels came and took her. They didn’t make a sound she was so well, fit and healthy. she had been to work and just felt unwell with in hours an ambulance was called they took her in, she deteriated and they couldn’t save her. nobody knows why it’s happened we have to wait 6-8 weeks. we laid her to rest on weds 7th Aug.
      we had so many plans we was meant to be going away in a couple of weeks.
      An now it’s just me and my daughter and for the first time in my life I really know what lonely means. I’m 34 and I’ve lost both my parents so young and I’m left here in our home being a mum to my daughter.
      I know i have no choice but to carry on, my mum and dad would never forgive me if I didn’t, so there’s no point joining them if there gonna hate me but for the first time ever I know exactly what you mean.
      life is cruel and to anyone who feels lonley believe me when I say I feel your pain. I know there feels no way out but some how we have to continue on, even to help ease the pain for the one we lost. I don’t know how I’m ever going to get through this but i know I have to try. An one day I’d like to help other people get through grief because it really is such a lonley place to be.

      • Dear Amy. U reach a brave heart. I can feel it ur pain. God gives u strength. Count me your friend.. I am also going through terrible lonliness. I lost my mom 6 months back in an accident. I couldn’t meet her.. She was 59 and she too went to work but on special duty that day and in a village away from city.. So she couldn’t be reached to hospital. There is no closure, no last talks. Not expected that mom can leave forever in a moment. Without giving us time to say goodbye

    • You then know something of how I am feeling having lost my husband on June, I don’t know how to deal with it and I feel like no one has any use for a sad widow like me I feel too old to start over and too young to be so alone….I talk almost every day to this medium who keeps saying his spirit is very much present in this house and my only hope is to learn to “channel” the way she does I have been contacted by others who’ve past but only a couple of times in my life I’m 57 my darling husband was 58.. I keep feeling like HE was the lucky one he got to go and he doesn’t have to feel so abandoned….

    • Sounds like you’re telling my story I lost my husband last February we were together for 27 years I didn’t need anybody I had him but when he passed suddenly all my family came out from under the ground and just embraced me and cooked for me and pampered me, but once the funeral was done the memorial was done everybody just dropped off like flies and now I am so so lonely oh, I was so stupid because I had received a bunch of insurance monies and a lot of people just latched onto me like ticks. And now here I am all alone with not a friend in the world I’m lucky if I get one text a day from a brother and that’s it. I have a sister that lives about four miles away and I see her maybe every 4 months if I’m lucky, people are out for themselves they’re so chickenshit

  12. Lost my Mother 8 years back, she was 62. There is not a single day when I have not missed her. Whenever alone, I remember her and weep like a child. I feel lost without her. I just want to be with her.

  13. its been like 3 years since ………but i just cant move on …i left home my heart filled with hate even to my family members ….i feel like they ddnt put enough effort ..like they just gave up on my my mom ….. perherbs they saw she couldnt make it and the hospital bills were rapidly increasing ……my life has realy changed from loving to hatred…..from smiling every morning i wake up to weeping every morning i think how my day is going to be like without her……for them i think they moved on ….nobody talks about her …………i feel bad my life has been ragged ever since ….i left home when i was 19 now iam 22…..i stay on my own

    • I’m so deeply sorry for your loss. Losing your mother must have been absolutely devastating. I hope you can find some supportive friends — someone that you can share your memories of your beautiful mother.

    • U can talk to me Richi.. I ve lost my mom 6 months back.. And I feel the same that no one wants to talk about her.. As apart from my father, brother and me she was not anyone’s losss

  14. I just broke down in tears thinking about how much I miss my husband of 19 yrs. Those years saw many struggles but we finally
    built the family we we’re seeking through adoption. Now I am the single parent of two adolescent girls. It’s been over a year
    and I haven’t moved on in any fundamental way. I also lack support. When I heard about his stage 4 melanoma diagnosis,
    I immediately thought my life was over, I would be lonely and bored and feel like I failed the girls. This has come to pass.
    I appreciate the article and the comments. I feel a bit less alone.

  15. Lost my only daughter in April 2019. It is so devastating and excruciating pain in the first couple months not accepting she is no longer here. I’ve been reading about grief and only today I told myself she is gone to Heaven and now belongs to God. For me down on Earth I miss her, I cry and try to go on. Losing an adult child is hard, you miss her calls, her visits, her hugs. Talking with other parents who lost a child helps.

    • I can’t imagine what it is like as a mother who has lost a child. I have a hard time knowing what to do or so around my mother who has lost two children tragically at different times in her life. I wish it wouldn’t be weird to give you my mother’s info so maybe you can reach out to someone who goes through it every single moment she’s breathing. God bless you and I pray that you are able to find comfort.

    • Dearest Linda, My condolences and very sorry to hear that. I too lost my daughter, which was in April 2018. She was 15 years old. She was epileptic and seizure was the cause for her death. Since then I don’t know how much I have been crying. Its not that I am always crying but don’t know when tears roll down my eyes and I am not keeping a count of all that including sleepless nights. Its my daughter. I miss her. I cry for her. So what? is my theory. Who else can miss my daughter other than me?. I understand how you feel. It reduces over a period of time but I am not sure that you will stop missing your daughter ever. In sanskrit we say ” putra shokam nirantaram”, which means child loss is a permanent grief. You may even stop crying but the grief. Is always there probably in a more invisible manner and may not errupt every now and then. I am with you as I too miss my baby girl. I feel its natural to grieve about child loss but doesn’t mean we pass on the grief to everyone. We do get over that phase and keep our grief within us. Its perfectly ok. This is purely my feeling. Each one of us may handle it differently. Once again I am with you. Please do take care of yourself and listen to songs like ” Breathe” by Sarah Beltran and ” Tears in Heaven” by Eric Clapton. It really helps.

  16. Thank you for writing this article…
    … and thank everyone here who commented.
    I needed to hear all of this, my dad passed away April 17th, 2008 when I was 16. I never received the support I needed after that and my life has felt unstable ever since. Grief effects every day of my life and all of my decisions. Loneliness sits upon my heart and weighs heavily. My dad was my foundation for everything. The entirety of my sense of security and a large portion of my sense of wellbeing was dependent on everything my dad held up for me and my brothers. I forget just how much it effects me and have to remind myself regularly. Reading things like this helps me not feel so lonely.

    • Oh girl! I know all too well. Girls need their Fathers ALWAYS. And it’s hard. Thoughts like— what if I get married? Whose gonna ya know walk me down the aisle— the father daughter dance— what if I have children? It was hard growing up without someone to be protective of me. Ya know to interrogate the guys? It has been nine years for me and it’s been a ride. However, I guess you get used to it in a uncomfortable kind of way, but be prepared for moments of jealousy or envy when you see other fathers and daughters together. You never know I mean it even comes up in kid movies and on commercials/add. I didn’t mean to be soo like bold I guess. Maybe blunt. But I’m just being honest. Hope I can make you feel as if you may be understood— even just a little

  17. It’s was 4 years ago last week when my wife of 30 years suddenly passed away. The grief, no matter what I’ve tried hasn’t gotten any better. I’ve resigned to just bid my time till I die. It sucks but sometimes it doesn’t get any better for some people

    • I to feel this way. My heart feels like it just cannot go on. I lost the love of my life in Jan. 2019. He was truly my soul mate… Now that he is gone, Its not even like I have life left in me. There is no joy, no happiness, its just pain, and unending longing just to hear his voice, or touch his face. To see him again I would give all. When he passed away My heart died along with him… I have come to the conclusion that I am just waiting my turn to go. I’m not suicidal, I’m just done with life without him. I have wonderful family, and I love them dearly but its just not the same. We built our lives as one, and no matter how I try its just not life anymore. I have good days and I have bad days, but the bad out weigh to good… I will carry on as I have been doing for the last 4 months, day by day going through the motions of life.

      • I too have lost my husband. We were together for 41 years and I loved him every minute..we were so close and did everything together. He was the love of my life and I his . I understand how you feel, it’s so hard to get each through each day. I take one day at a time and cannot look to a future without him. I still find it hard to accept he has gone. He died suddenly with no warning and left a huge void , that nothing can ever fill. I hope we can both find a way to live along side our grief. I wish you well .

      • I feel so sorry for you. But i feel the pain you are tryng to tell. I am also in the same feelings as yours. But im too young i have 2 kids. But waiting to be with him my fiance. Life is not good without him by my side. No more happiness. I dont know how to move forward. Its been a month. He left us last sept. 14 2019. Cardiac arrest.

    • So sorry you are going through this. And so sad for your loss….. I to feel this way. My heart feels like it just cannot go on. I lost the love of my life in Jan. 2019. He was truly my soul mate… Now that he is gone, Its not even like I have life left in me. There is no joy, no happiness, its just pain, and unending longing just to hear his voice, or touch his face. To see him again I would give all. When he passed away My heart died along with him… I have come to the conclusion that I am just waiting my turn to go. I’m not suicidal, I’m just done with life without him. I have wonderful family, and I love them dearly but its just not the same. We built our lives as one, and no matter how I try its just not life anymore. I have good days and I have bad days, but the bad out weigh to good… I will carry on as I have been doing for the last 4 months, day by day going through the motions of life.

  18. Hi everyone,

    So sorry for the late reply, but first and most importantly, I am sending sincere hugs and condolences and blessings to all of you!

    I am appalled by my lengthy diatribe in June’18, but it comes from a place of truth…now I have to add one more: found out my long-term bf/ex had found a woman immediately after me and now they are getting married. He gave her the same nickname – a made-up word – he gave me. I am a fighter but this news has been a knockout blow. The loneliness and sadness is terrible and I wonder if my worth will ever be appreciated, or is there something intrinsically wrong with me to have ended up as the janitor for my broken family and to be so alone.

    To all of you, THANK YOU for ‘getting it’. If we were in the same town I’d offer to sit with you in whatever space you held and we could go for a hike, plant flowers, find an activity… just to DO something life affirming with someone who understands.

    Huge hugs to all of you!

  19. My tears comes every day and night from day I lost my husband 27th.novermber.2017..that night when the doctor told me he is gone to rest with the Lord.. My husband was 32year old we have a son.. He died of kidney failure.. Till date I feel hurt my son of 3year keeps asking where is daddy but I feel tears full in my eyes I can’t answer.. Besides the lost if my guy , my in laws blocked well the resources finances etc I can’t access for either me or my son.. I feel sad and broken lost.. But God has better plans for us a..ets trust in him.. We surrender all to him. May you all be blessed

  20. Sheryl CvijanovichMay 22, 2019 at 2:34 pmReply

    Nice to read something that differentiates between being alone and feeling lonely. Since my husband died in July 2017 I often feel alone, but rarely do I feel lonely. I don’t expect anyone to fill the huge gap that he left but there is still room for others to be part of my daily life.

  21. Solitude is a blessing that sometimes brings out the best realisations

  22. I lost my wonderful husband suddenly 6 weeks ago, my heart physically hurts with the loss of him and my stomach is in knots, not to mention the turmoil going round my head. I’m angry that he had everything he was looking forward to abruptly taken away, he was a great guy, helped so many and so loved, nearly 300 people attended his funeral, he was that well liked. We had no children and I cannot deal with waking up without him every morning and realising he’s never going to be there again and I am on my own. All I keep thinking is why him and why me? What did we do to deserve this. I’m thankful for the love and care from our friends, they are doing their best but all I want is what they can’t help me with, to have him back loving and living his life.

    • I’m so sorry for your loss. And I’m sorry there are no answers. I wanted my husband to walk back into my life somehow, anyhow, impossibly months after he died. I want him to walk back now, like magic is reality, – almost two years later. I don’t think I’ll ever stop wanting him to just walk back into my life somehow. But, I know it’s not going to happen. I have, somehow, managed to maintain my sanity. However, I’ll never stop loving him, so I’ll never stop missing him. But I’ve been working on remembering who I was before I met him. Not a whole lot different than who I was with him – we respected each other’s individuality (another thing I REALLY loved about him). But that girl is still who I am, and she’s still here. So, I’m going to continue to be the best me I know how to be without him. We were married for 43 years and I’ll never stop loving and missing him. I wish you all the best. I’ve had a wonderful support system of loving family, friends, and a great church. I pray you have the support you need to see you through your loss.

    • Julia- I almost felt like it was me writing your vomment. I lost my wife of 37 years on Jan 31,2019 and also ask why us? We had no children. I feel dysfunctional without her and don’t know how to solve this. I send prayers to you and all others who truly know the pain of grieving. Until someone experiences this themselves they have no idea how deep the pain hits you.

  23. It’ll be 3 weeks this Sunday since I lost my partner of 8 1/2 years. Both 26 years old and had been together since we were 17, high school sweethearts. We have a beautiful 3 1/2 year old and while he was in the hospital in a coma, I found out we were expecting a 2nd. We both knew I was likely pregnant before all this, he had wanted another child so bad and had been pressing on it since October. I told him the news while he was in a coma, hoping the news if he heard, could give him that extra strength to fight.
    He suffered a brain aneurism and had a stroke which then put him in a coma. All unexpectedly and in a matter of hours. He was only 26. In the end doctors told us there was nothing else they could do, and to start thinking about what he would want. We ultimately decided to let him go in peace and with no more pain, as they had kept telling us that he was suffering. I had cried everyday in the hospital, and have not stop crying since he’s passed away. I’m physically present but not mentally here, I try to be strong for our daughter, and for this baby on the way. But no one understands the pain I’m feeling, everyone has theirs spouses and their partners to go home to every night. No one can relate or has experienced loss in their life like this. I lost my best friend the love of my life my everything. I have this feeling of never ever accepting that he’s gone and longing him for the rest of my life. When he passed away he took a peice of me with him. Everyday I ask “WHY” , he was healthy he was young and strong and had everything going for him and for us. It hurts so bad and I will never understand this and never be “ok” with this. I hope I have the strength to keep going.

    • I understand your pain. The love of my life suffered a brain aneurism last month and passed away on February 5th. He was the sweetest man God ever made. He treated me like a queen and was an amazing father to my two children. We are heartbroken. I believe by helping others we help ourselves get through difficult times. I would love to communicate with you via email if you are comfortable with that. Focus on the love that he gave you and the live that will live in through your children. Keep him alive in your lives by talking about him everyday with your children and know that he is always with you in spirit.

      • Hello Rae, i think it would help me a lot to be in contact with someone who can relate with me. No one knows what to say to me, I know they see me as delicate right now and honestly I am. I can’t speak about him or what has happened without crying in just a matter of words..the worst pain and deep deep sadness I’ve ever had to feel and endure in my life..

  24. Today marks four years since my mother died. I feel disenfranchised in my grief within my family because Mother was 89 years old, I was 64 years old when she died, and my grief seems “foolish” because she was as old as she was and I was certainly not young…losing a parent in one’s senior years is not understood or valued. My grief has been solitary and lonely. I am not angry and I certainly understand what it means to grieve well, and I have done so, but an ignored sadness on a “hidden anniversary of the heart” is isolating and very painful. To be misunderstood is a very lonely path to walk.

    • Hello Nancy, I am so sorry for your loss. I lost my Mum on the 2nd of February last to COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder). I was her primary carer and I am single and childless. I am 45 years old. I think I understand your isolation and I one hundred percent agree with you that society does not “get ” the oft times overwhelming grief of losing your mother. I think they way the world looks on it it is that it is natural for a child to bury a parent – especially if a parent has had “good innings” – God I hate those words! Even if it is “natural” in the sense that it is an understandable part of the human story, I am not at peace with this new world I am now living in. A world without my Mum whom I loved dearly and she loved me – is a colder harsher world.

    • Hello Nancy,

      After reading your heartfelt message about the death of your mother- dated February 15, 2019- it felt as though you validated what I also feel. My dear “mom” died May 29, 2015 and still I am so very lonesome as she and I had a unique relationship. Some things we experienced are only known to us and this has fostered a continual emptiness which permeates into all aspects of my life. I have become a pretty good actor so that no one can identify my sadness because mom was 91 and myself almost 60 and that signifies “you should be over it by now”. I have attended support groups, one on one counseling yet the ache is very deep in my heart.
      Please know that your words comforted me in that they give credence to my feelings.
      Thank you and may your journey ahead be filled with peace of mind and the memories bring you comfort.

      • Im thankful to come across this entry. I lost my beloved mommy 3 weeks ago. Im also 45 with no kids. The pain is unteathering . I feel like im in a movie i did not sign up to be in. There is a blanket between myself and the world and i cannot relate to this new reality. We spoke hours everyday, were the best of friends, traveled together, in essence we were soulmates. It sounds like others had this deep bond with their moms as well. I was in such denial in her last weeks because the pain was to great to accept she was so very ill. Also her oncologists were never honest with us or never expressed how terminal her illness was which is infuriating. I will sY this though… the kind of love we share with our mothers cannot ever be destroyed or go away. The body gets older or diseased and the body will go, but the essence and energy of moms soul is forever with us everywhere we go now. Its not perfect and its not ideal but its a truth i find comfort in even if its just a sliver. My heart does feel very full and grateful to have had that love i just wish i was kinder and more caring the last weeks instead of being fearful and in denial. Mom wouldn’t want me to be hard on my self so i will be working on that bit of guilt. God bless everyone who is hurting over the loss in their lives.

    • Dear Nancy, I am a 57 year old man whose mom passed away In August 2018, she had just turned 87. She fractured her hip and spiraled downward mentally and physically, I watched her suffer, and she passed away 4 months later. I never married nor had any children. My mom lived with me, she was my mom, best friend and constant companion, and my only source of happiness and joy. Her love is what got me out of bed in the morning. Your grief IS NOT FOOLISH, no one is ever ready to lose their mom. My mom is gone and I am truly alone for the first time in my life. Loneliness IS WORSE when you’re older, because the hope you had in younger years isn’t there anymore. I don’t know if life on earth is part of a master plan or just random. I can only hope that there is something after this, but, sadly, I haven’t seen any evidence and I have my doubts. My heart goes out to you and everyone in our situation who knows how we feel.

      • To Nancy, Donna and Mark,
        Your moving and painful at times, comments about losing your mother said it all for me. I lost my beloved Mom suddenly on October 5, 2018. She was a healthy 96. It was a heart attack. The grief has been awful at times and I can’t stop crying sometimes for hours Even though it’s been only seven months, I noticed that the emptiness seems to be getting worse. The future seems so bleak and foreboding when I think about it. I’m already 66 years old. I have no wife or kids. I’m totally alone! I have a few friends, but it’s not enough to carry me forward. Not even close! When you lose the one and only person that really made life wonderful and tolerable, the future really seems so vast and scary now and hopeless. I refuse to deal with it! I don’t want to create a new life for myself. At my age? What for? So I can eat, defecate, sleep, shop, drive, watch TV, read etc..for the next 10, 20 30 years? Then watch myself grow old in the mirror and decline in health? No thanks!

        We all can make choices. I’ve decided that I don’t want to go on anymore for any length of time. I really don’t!
        At the proper time, I will leave this world and join my mom in the next one. I really want to leave this life. I’m sorry people for saying such a shocking statement to you all here. But I’ve decided to go out “my way.” I expect to wrap things up within two years.

        Perhaps I will post here again when the time grows near. To all of you who are suffering so much, I hope you find the right path for yourselves as you navigate through life and the future. I’ve made my choice. I intend to carry it out. Farewell.

        • I feel the very same way. I feel better knowing I have a choice. I’m leaving something out because it may not be understandable. I will be 57, never married, and no children. I don’t believe I will want to continue much longer either. It’s just not worth it. It’s not a pity thing either. I truly feel this way.

        • I`m very sorry for your loss Rene . Consider one thing. How do you know if you will see her again if you do what it is your saying your going to do ? Would she want that ? God is the one who gave you your soul and he may think it isn`t yours to decide what you want to do with it. Its his decision. There is a video on “You Tube” of a Catholic priest named Father Schier. He had a near death experience that is incredible after a horrific car accident in 1985. It may not be the same life experience you have but he describes a judgement. Please view it before you choose your own demise.

      • This is very accurate to how I feel. I just replied to Rene also. I didn’t realize there were people like us who don’t have a spouse or children to fall back on. I’m not saying others pain is any less. I just don’t (or won’t) have a life without her. It’s not possible for me personally and some people really can’t understand that.

    • Hi Nancy,
      I lost my mum one month ago from heart attack after a brain surgery for glioblastoma. My dad passed away from cancer 9 years ago while I was alone abroad giving final exams for my architecture degree. I am 45, with a useless boyfriend who has come to visit me 4 times in this month, he didn’t even appear in the funeral, I have no children, never been married. The pain is unbearable. I know exactly what you mean. There are people telling me that it is normal to lose a parent who is 75. Sure, fine, they’re giving this useless advice while they are fine with both their parents who are over 80. I want to see them when they lose heir parents too and have nowhere to turn to. They were giving me the same stupid advice when I lost my dad too (He was 79 when he passed away, and I was 36). I try not to blame them for their stupidity but I simply can’t. Losing your parents is devastating regardless your age. Especially if you are old with no family of your own, it is simple hell. People who still have their families cannot understand it. It feels so awful losing your closest relatives, I keep telling everybody that I m feeling like I am Oliver Twist and they think I am joking. They cant understand the pain, they cant understand that I find no motivation to work, there’s no one left for me to care about, there is nothing out there for me anymore. I wish you feel better, I wish I feel better too, I wish everyone in the same situation feels better. Wishing you the best.

    • Hello Nancy, I truly understand your pain. My mom passed away March 15th 2019. She was 89 and I’m 66. She was always in my life. My dad passed away February 2014. I feel so selfish because I didn’t realize the pain she was going through. She must have suffered in silence. I should have been there for her. I feel so guilty. She was always doing something. She loved doing yard work. She also took care of the animals, did housework. I kept telling her not to do anything that I would do it. But she was stubborn.
      It was a horrible accident February 2nd. She fell going into the garage. There was so much blood from her head. She developed a hematoma on her brain, broken ribs and collarbone. She fought so hard to stay with me. But in the end she was too weak. I could see it in her eyes. She was begging to let go. I knew it was time. I crawled in bed with her and told her how much I loved her and told her to let go I would be ok. She worried more about me than herself I cry almost every day and night . I feel I’m worthless. I blame myself. I’m alone and lonely. My heart hurts and is broken. I feel my life is over. I know I have to find my purpose and start my life over. I will never stop missing her. I would really like to stay in touch. I can send you my email if you want to stay in touch. We’ve got a long road ahead of us.
      Take care, you are not alone.
      Dottie

  25. I had lost my mother to brain cancer December, 2018.
    Watching her whither away, never getting to go on the vacation she highly anticipated… I took care of her. By myself. My father passed a few years ago. It’s just me left, and I will be celebrating my 28th birthday (and would be my fathers birthday as well) on February 12th. I feel so alone and disconnected, like a totally different person.
    I’m still working on taking care of the things in her home, the house I grew up in. It’s like a giant time capsule.
    Along with her pets, and bills.
    I can only seem to remember when she was sick, dwelling on those painful moments. Moments she was connected to tubes, and I would give her medicine, and she couldn’t talk or respond at all. The pain. Her seizures… regrets.
    I’m in between getting my own place again, or leaving this state, and traveling the world.
    My internal struggles.
    I miss her…
    This article was a good find. It had helped me gain perspective, and hope, even motivation in a way.

    Grieving is part of the human condition, and one way or another, we will all experience it.
    At some point in time, we must gain our control over our own lives, and begin a new chapter.
    And with this chapter, new beginnings.
    Get the most out of your life.
    Our loves ones wouldn’t want us to be suffering, and would wish for us to find peace, accomplishing our goals, and fulfilling our dreams.
    Stay strong, ladies and gentlemen.

  26. I lost my mother a week back. She was 57 and suffering from multiple myeloma (form of bone marrow cancer). She gave it a wonderful fight having fought this cancer for a decade. Being a single child, I was extremely close to her. Other than being my mother she was also my best friend and confidante. I do not remember a single day in my 32 years of existence when I didn’t speak to her at least once (mobile phones had come when I moved out for college and work). Life seems so meaningless and full of void right now.

    I have a strong family support- my loving father and wife and other relatives. But somehow, I just feel crippled thinking of that I would never speak to my mum again. There would be good and bad days, occasions, anniversaries, birthdays and festivals. Nothing would remain the same. My mother was a super energetic person who would manage all these things in our family. Loneliness is driving me crazy and when I talk to others, I feel irritated that nobody is able to understand me.

    • I think you hit the nail on the head when you describe the feeling of not being understood by people. Without people who can understand what you describe as feeling crippled following your loss the resulting isolation and loneliness is horrible and at times terrifying to the point where you feel like youre going mad because of having to hide the suffering. The feeling of irritation with others makes sense because when they cant reach out to you in your grief they start to seem lacking and shallow and the effect is to heighten the loss of the person you really connected with. Finding people who you can have good connection with is difficult but I guess that its important to find those people whether on helplines or in the real world even fleetingly as they can help you restore lost faith in people amidst the solitude of grief.

  27. To all the ladies, Connie, Wendy, Pam, Renae, Terry, Carol and others that have lost their husbands I can relate to your pain as I too lost my husband of 38 yrs 3 yrs ago and it is still difficult and painful to move on, and I truly believe that only time will be your friend and ease up your pain a little as years go by. I have noticed that around year 5, it becomes less painful and easier as I witnessed my own mother and friends handled the loss of their spouses reaching year 5, suddenly felt lighter and they finally accepted their loss better and were dealing with it in a much better way. so I am hoping it will be the same for me when I reach that time. I am trying to change the narrative I play in my head by recalling wonderful memories, tell myself more positive messages as our loved ones would not want us to suffer. they are and will always be part of our lives and in our hearts forever. I did go to grief counseling which helped me a lot and I also joined a group MWC (Modern Widows Club) (Founder Carolyn Moore) which provides a wonderful nurturing environment in helping widows move forward while remembering and honoring our loved ones. You may want to find out if there is a chapter near where you live. Sending hugs, please take care of yourselves. Josie S.

  28. My husband if 42 yrs, died in April 2018′ My heart is d I broken.
    I haven’t been able to move on. I long for him every minute of My waking hours. He was the most kind and loving man I had ever known. He told me the first time he saw me he fell in love with me. It only took me two weeks to fall in live with him.
    I believe That God brought us together. My life will never be the same again s in.
    Watching the one you love more than anything else in the world dying from cancer and CACHECIA ( wasting of the body , is gutwrenching , when you know there is nothing you can do to save him. Watching his body looking like a holocaust victim.
    He was skin and bones. I felt so helpless and so alone
    My sorrow was so huge and I tried not to cry in front of him. I did not want him to give up. But he was dying and I believe he knew that, but he never ex pressed his feelings to me. We were both trying not to say things to hurt each other. I will forever live him. We had no children, so our life revolved around each other. We had the most wonderful marriage and I thank God everyday for giving him to me.
    But he had just turned 64 before he had died. Too young to leave this earth. The only thing that keep a me going is to b r liver there us an afterlife and that one day we may be together again. Other than that I do not want to Live anymore. I just try to get through each day The best I can. My heart is so filled with sorrow and sadness and the need to stay away from people has become a daily thing.
    I do not like the things they say to me .
    None of my friends have lost a spouse so it is not possible for any of them to understand the longing that I have for my husband. They do not understand all the crying I do .
    My life just seems like an endless sea of sadness. This is not really living.

    • Hi Connie, I read your story about your husband. I wish I had something miraculous to say that would make you feel better but given that it’s 2:18 am and I’m reading articles on coping with grief and bawling my eyes out I’m probably not your best bet. I am however out here twirling around in my own state of grief as are many so I can relate to some of your feelings. I lost my Dad in June of 2017 and my Mum in 2018. Two of the greatest most loving parents and people on the planet…according to me anyway. Sure they were older and “lived a good life” BUT that reality doesn’t help me process the sadness and loneliness I feel. There’s very little friends or family can say that helps. In most cases they don’t say the right thing anyway so why share my grief with them. Geez I’m probably not making you feel any better. I’ve hijacked your grief with mine. When I read your comments I felt I had to reach out. I feel your pain to the extent that I can. We both feel sad, have experienced pain and loss and we have both watched people we love die. For these reasons we have something in common. I wish us both strength and light.

    • Hi Connie ,
      I am facing the same problem as you . My husband passed away three weeks ago . I am finding hard to cope , I cannot sleep at night . My life is only both of us without anybody all through the years we been marriage for 45 years. My only hope is to join him fast. I believed in a after life. Every morning I served him my breadfast and talked to him tell him to come and bring me with him.I wish you are staying near to me so we can met.

    • Hello Connie. My wife of 26 years died last Nov 2018 a day after my birthday. I agree with all the things you have said. It is a difficult thing we are going through but God is there to minister to us moment by moment and help us readjust and give meaning to our life. God bless us as we read Psalm 23- ‘tho I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I fear no evil for thou art with me. Thy rod and Thy staff they COMFORT me. God cares for the widows.

  29. Hi folks – I noticed almost all posts are female . Not sure if it’s because most men think feeiling sorrow, grief , loneliness after a death of loved ones is ‘ weak ‘ or what . Certainly there are many men out there that have had loses and feel like the rest of us on here . However , I’m not too proud , not feel weak as a man by saying I am struggling like everyone on this post . I lost my mom & dad , aunt & my brother all within a year of one another. Loved them all, the last to go & the one that hurts the most ? My mom .
    Always so strong , she loved life , took great care of herself , was 56, but moved like someone half her age & had a huge , caring heart . Trying to make this brief as possible , just grateful to share with others that understand the sorrow and all the other unpleasant emotions that come with .
    Im 31 , divorced , and caregave for all mentioned above .
    Finally , mom , my world . My reason for surviving the horrid deaths of the others . Diagnosed with stage 4 cancer , passed 3 months ago . She beat the statistics of her type cancer by living a year or so when given 2 months , tops , as the doctor put it . Nothing is the same anymore. After all the loses , friends don’t know what to say , so they disappeared .
    No family left here & all joy is lost . Feel as I’m just existing in hopes I’ll feel interest , joy , peace , anything again … pushing is exhausting & basically you know they aren’t coming back yet so hard to accept that . God bless you , all . I know how difficult it all is & I pray god gets us through this until he takes us home to heaven . Peace everyone.

    • Thank you for sharing Joey. I felt your pain reading that. I lost two young very close friends this year suddenly and it’s been a shock to be without them. The unexpected profound loneliness has knocked me for six. Something useful I read is that loneliness tells us something now needs to change so I’m moving back closer to my family. Hopefully will be the silver lining to the recent grief.

  30. Hi folks – I noticed almost all posts are female . Not sure if it’s because most men think feeiling sorrow, grief , loneliness after a death of loved ones is ‘ weak ‘ or what . Certainly there are many men out there that have had loses and feel like the rest of us on here . However , I’m not too proud , not feel weak as a man by saying I am struggling like everyone on this post . I lost my mom & dad , aunt & my brother all within a year of one another. Loved them all, the last to go & the one that hurts the most ? My mom .
    Always so strong , she loved life , took great care of herself , was 56, but moved like someone half her age & had a huge , caring heart . Trying to make this brief as possible , just grateful to share with others that understand the sorrow and all the other unpleasant emotions that come with .
    Im 31 , divorced , and caregave for all mentioned above .
    Finally , mom , my world . My reason for surviving the horrid deaths of the others . Diagnosed with stage 4 cancer 3 months ago . She beat the statistics of her type cancer by living a year or so when given 2 months , tops , as the doctor put it . Nothing is the same anymore. After all the loses , friends don’t know what to say , so they disappeared .
    No family left here & all joy is lost . Feel as I’m just existing in hopes I’ll feel interest , joy , peace , anything again … pushing is exhausting & basically you know they aren’t coming back yet so hard to accept that . God bless you , all . I know how difficult it all is & I pray god gets us through this until he takes us home to heaven . Peace everyone.

  31. I just lost my mom due to a massive stroke. In the beginning my friends seemed so supportive and now I haven’t really heard from them much, no cards ,no visits or anything. I’m so hurt. My mom passed away October 10, 2018 and I’m so lost and confused. It feels like no one really cares about me.

    • To me, grief seems like a long and lonely road. If you have family that are sympathetic and one or more close friends, at least you can take some comfort from that and count yourself very fortunate. There are some persons who through circumstances, etc. , do not have that human help and it makes the grief process very difficult and perhaps even more protracted. I know that gratitude is an attitude that we should pray to enlarge, but that is also a hard thing to do when feeling so alone, sad, and depressed. Hopefully, it may help to write one another here in this venue, because walking that long and lonely road does give us understanding of the deep pain and real anguish of grief. I hope you may sense my sympathy and my hope for your mental and emotional to be strengthened and stabilized. With best wishes to you.

  32. I lost my dad march 20th. 8 months ago. He died in my arms as i prayed with him 8 minutes after being taken from the ventilator. Im 47 and ive never been without him. I cry everyday still and i just cant beat this grief. I am a female veteran and my dad was so proud of me. I feel guilty driving his truck, parting ways with his belongings,…i still have his belongings from the hospital in the patient bag. I go to grief counseling but its not budging this pain im feeling. I want my dad back

  33. I lost my husband suddenly after 36 years of marriage 40 years together just 6 weeks it was so sudden one day he was here and the next he was gone I have had so much heartache in my life I am just not understanding why all this has happened to me first I lost my brother only 15 years old from a football injury I was only 17 at the time it was a very sad time than my first husband at the age of 20 left with 2 children to raise than my sister passed from the worst case of rheumatoid arthritis I her hand till she passed I lost a daughter on her 20th birthday and watched as they turned off her life support she was born with heart defects and was just tired from the fight my father died in my arms my Mom had a stroke and lived in Florida by the time my sisters and I got there she couldn’t talk we stayed by her side till she took her last breath and now I sit her at the age of 68 alone I watched my husband take his last breath just weeks ago on my living room floor from a massive heart attack my children and grand children are devastated this is not what I envisioned for the golden years of my life now what??? I’m so lonely and sad without him he was our families rock

    • ooh!i feel how sad you are dear, take heart and stand in the gap to pray for your family

    • I’m sat in tears reading your post.. What heartache you’ve had to deal with. I’m so sorry you’re feeling like this. I’ve suffered trauma and loss but nothing to the extent you have. I know the feelings will never fully go away but i hope one day you feel content and strong enough to realise what a strong woman you are. Your grandkids are very lucky to have you.

    • Wendy,

      Reading your post, I can’t imagine the torment you go through, having dealt with so much loss. I’m extremely saddened by your story, but also inspired, at how you continue on. I lost my husband and at times, wonder where I find the strength to continue, but losing siblings, and a child, and two spouses… I feel foolish being sad about my own loss. I will pray that God gives you some Joy I’m your golden years. For you are golden, and although we don’t fully understand death, we can live rest assured that your story provides strength for others. ( I know that doesn’t provide you with comfort, and I would be wondering why?) However if there is some connection in the universe as we all will suffer loss at one point or another, I’m sending as much love as I possibly can to you and your family. May your continue to push on. Be blessed.

  34. My mom just passed away a little less than a week ago. She was my best friend, my everything. She passed away from a battle with stage 4 lung cancer. I took care of her for the last few weeks of her life (she lived out of province). Going back home to an empty bedroom where I would lay down after a long day at work and just talk to her, pour my heart out to her. I don’t have that anymore and it’s hard to go on. I don’t have many friends or family. The only few family members I began to talk to just before she passed for her sake, don’t even reach out to me. I haven’t heard from them since she passed. This has been the hardest thing I have faced in my life and I just feel so alone and lost. Everything reminds me of her and I don’t know how to get past this.

    • I have had a similar experience following two major losses less than a year apart. I had no support from family or friends which I found both shocking and depressing. People I had supported through losses in the past were not proper friends so I am still coping with not only grief but feelings of being let down/betrayed by so called friends and family members who I thought would be there for me. When youre feeling so vulnerable the last thing you need is to be effectively invalidated by selfish people. It causes you to question all relationships and to seek out truly kind people.

  35. My mother passed very unexpectedly 5 months ago and I too feel an open hole in my heart. My father passed many years ago and I have no siblings or romantic partner. I thought I was doing pretty well considering but suddenly the loneliness has kicked in. I have friends but it’s hard for me to be around them for any length of time. I don’t care about their broken washing machines or other trivial (to me) concerns. I believe this impatience with people will pass in time but until then, I’m hiding out in my house. Hiding out doesn’t seem healthy so I’m trying to figure out who I am now that my mother is gone. I’m trying new solo hobbies and just trying to find something that brings joy to my life. Right now I feel like my mom’s dog (I promised her I’d keep him) is the only one who understands…ha…crazy….Thanks for listening.

    • I just wanted to say that I am so with you on being annoyed when people start going off about trivial concerns. My father died in January, I am DEVASTATED, and to my friends, it’s like nothing happened. I can’t listen to you complain about nothing things when I am just being dragged down by sadness, people. Be grateful that those are the only problems you have.

  36. “You will never fill your loved one’s void, that simply won’t happen. Instead, you have to work slowly, slowly to fill in the abyss.”

    I don’t get it. You will never fill the void, but you have to work to fill it in? And later you say you can in a way… Can you please explain this?

  37. I lost my Dad in May this year and my partner 18 days later.I am in a deep hole of despair.I cannot work and find just getting out of bed every day a major achievement. I did have some supportive friends in the beginning but I feel they now find me too difficult and so I now isolate myself.I feel angry that they expect me to just move on.I cannot relate to them anymore and find it is easier just not to bother.This probably sounds selfish but I need to be able to grieve on my own terms and cannot live up to anyone elses expectations of grief following some time line.So all the loneliness of losing my two best friends has now snow balled into me feeling totally alone.I just cannot accept that I am now supposed to feel some sense of shame for not coping.It is a terrible time.

  38. I wish I could meet you guys one by one in person, we could hug and cry, and then go simply DO something life affirming together like a hike or a concert or row a boat or anything of that sort.

    This is the short version which will be told discombobulated style for brevity: 3 yrs ago my best friend died, it was a good death at least. Father got sick and died, it was a terrible death – nightmarish actually as my mother started declining into dementia but was in charge of his health care and kept undoing everything…dad was in incredible pain and I never got quality time with him as I was running around and he chose to ignore me and but chatted happily with my cousins etc.. right in front of my face( we had a good relationship previously ) Funeral/s was a nightmare as well due to mom and another delay for the military aspect of it…( one church one Arlington ) Went back to work and found my favorite client had died and favorite coworker had left. On my dad’s burial day I called my long term partner/boyfriend and he told me his mom was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and now ‘it was his turn’ . So literally every single day I listened to him and my mom and it was never enough for either of them. Felt awful for my bf but he also had zero comprehension what I was bearing. I could not do enough of what he wanted. Not one friend called me when Dad died, and I DO have friends. Nor a card…people just blurted condolences on Facebook. I got a card from work. During this same period of time an Aunt died, a favorite uncle died, another uncle recently died, and due to the crazy economics of this place my 5 closest and most reciprocal friends ( non of us fair-weathers ) moved far away to separate places. Of course my boyfriend’s mom died in the middle of this and I skipped my favorite uncle’s funeral to support him – not to kvetch about that but trying to do the right thing…anyhoo then all during this time trying to help mom find a retirement place, move her, empty and sell a FULL house – Dad was kind of a hoarder – plus SIX storage units – and this was the childhood home, many memories, etc…BF has to empty and sell a house too and after he realizes he is going to come into money, starts smoking pot ALL day every day and talking about moving out so we could live happily apart?? I figure we’ll have the big talk after my childhood home gets emptied and sold as I was up to my ears…Oh yes and then he wants to scatter his mom’s ashes in another country so I sacrifice my two week work break for that – no regrets there but oi yoi – anyhoo meanwhile tons of mom drama plus she ends up in and out of the ER for passing out…hence delaying the ‘you need to stop smoking so much pot and let’s discuss our future’ talk…during this whole time I got professional help but only helpful family was my mom’s sister who lives 3000 miles away. My own literally insane sister and her husband show up after a 20 year disappearance, ask for and take the silverware, do virtually nothing to help empty the house or help with anything – not even a scrap of paper did they move to recycling – and start having ‘lunch’ with mom and she thinks they’re wonderful!! Longs story but sis has a history of trying to snow relatives for money. So now I have this money grubbing insane sister I’m trying to stave off from ripping of mom’s money and mom with rose colored glasses starts pressuring me to get close to them. Mom also talks and repeats constantly, so she talks about my sister and complains about my dad over and over and over…flash forward cue my boyfriends smoking getting worse, then ten minutes before a meeting with agents about who will buy the childhood home, I find my bf’s lost phone in my car with text messages to some woman…yup he was trying to hook up with someone, it turns out right around the time I was running back and forth to the ERs for my mom. My long term relationship ends. Also during this year I try and fail to get a restraining order renewed ( guy really is insane ) and also get tested for and thank god am not positive for cancer.

    Throughout this time I try to eat right and exercise. I talk to friends and don’t blab about myself – honestly I want to get out of myself. The house sells and passes over, my boyfriend is gone – oh yes he also made me get rid of his stuff as he refused to come in and get it. The guy I thought was a partner for life. I find myself alone in the place where we lived with my family dead or crazy and my support network is literally gone. No nieces or nephews, no children, no husband, turning late 40’s. All this time I’ve exercised, tried to eat right, and lord knows I’m not perfect but I’ve tried to do my duties. I do what you’re supposed to do – exercise, sign up for a kickboxing class, plan activities. Throughout all that time I’ve talked to friends a bit and have not babbled exclusively about myself, in fact I’ve said I would just like to do ‘life’ type things and distractions…truly. Well everyone is gone and too busy even for a cup of coffee. All I want is some companionship. I start sinking. I keep trying to do the right things and reach out and ask literally for what I need. My birthday comes up, after 3 years of skipping it due to someone dying every year that time I tell two friends, look, if we could just have a cupcake with a candle in it, that would mean a LOT. I know it’s ridiculous, but it would really mean something to me. One friend says she’ll hang out with me so I plan a full day of fun. I look forward to it so much. I tell her to please please let me know if she has to work. She promises she’s free and we’ll do cake etc.. Day comes and she flakes for work. I spend my whole birthday alone sobbing. Not one friend calls but people say happy birthday on text and facebook. My mom calls, as do the estate lawyer, financial planner, and cousin to discuss family estate stuff. I still go to kickboxing, cry all day, and literally call several people asking them to call me. I’m not crying when I call. I say I just want to chat. These folks all know my history and about my long term now dead relationship. Nobody. Calls.

    I feel kneecapped. I can honestly say I’ve tried really really really hard not to be that self pitying boob and I’ve REALLY tried hard to reach out but for what. There are goals and dreams in my life too but it seems the only worth I have is when it comes to helping others. Now I am that self pitying leper. I read about support networks and friends and family and how that can help and cry more because all people goddamn do is text. I dream about dead people or my ex every night, or I simply dream someone hugs me. Fyi I do have a counselor who is the only consistent person in my life and it’s hard not to think that’s because I pay her. In fact the most consistent people in my life now are people who get money from me.

    I feel like a textbook case of doing the right self care things, and am failing regardless. This is how I find myself pouring my heart out to total strangers on the internet. What kind of world is this when everyone’s faces are shoved into texting and ‘meme’s and not a 5 minute phone call where it really would just be a chat. What has happened to real life and real company and real sight, smell, and touch? If I didn’t have my pets or knew I’d disappoint people I would kill myself and I’m not the suicidal type. Been strong for so long and now I am crawling through every day trying not to destroy myself. Crying for help to empty air!

    This is why I sincerely send everyone here blessings, and a REAL walk and a real cup of coffee with an actual person while we watch the birds fly overhead. Thank you so so much for hearing me…I truly wish you all the best

    • wow i am astonished by you holding up
      what a hell of a ride

      how are you holding up now. hope you have enough madness in you to roll with it a little bit

    • Madison do you have an email?

    • Hi Madison, I really enjoyed reading your very well written story. I can identify with many of the issues you spoke about, Stay strong and always believe in yourself. Take care Pam

    • Hi Madison.i read your story and I was very touched by it.i have just lost my husband in February 2019 from stage 4 cancer.nice if we could become friends.i live in Australia

  39. My husband and I married at 16 and 17. Married for 41 years. I grew up with him. He passed away 3 years ago and I still cant cope with daily things. I go to work because I have to support myself now, if that wasnt the case I would be home everyday feeling like a shell of myself, I cry at the drop of a hat sometimes so hard I cry myself to sleep. More often then not I hope I dont wake up. How long does this last, I know everyone has their own way of getting past this, but no matter what Ive done, even been to counseling, moved into a retirement community to try and make new friends and I come right back to not wanting to leave the house. I miss him so much I’m miserable all the time. My kids won’t talk about him, in fact nobody does, why is that? I bring his name up all the time.

  40. I have been thinking for a while which word best describes me: alone or lonely. To tell you the truth, you slip back and forth between those to categories. I was married for 44 years, married at age 19. The last 14 years of her life, she had declining health. I was the caregiver the last couple of years since she could not be alone for a very long time. I had to make some brutal decisions after a couple of back-to-back hospital stays where one doctor to the lead to tell me that the care could not continue and to select a hospice person to discuss her care. She had in-home care, and not at a hospice facility. The hospice nurse came out on a Tuesday, and my wife died in bed with me on Wednesday morning. She had awoken at 3:30 AM wanting a sip of water and for me to rub her back. When I awoke at about 6:00 AM, I could see she had possibly passed away. I wasn’t sure at first. I put a pulse reader on her finger and it said “OFF” and I was trying to figure out what that meant. Later, I understood the little machine thought it had slipped off the finger since it couldn’t read a pulse. We have all been through our private hell. It’s been 14 months now. Usually, I would be crying when I write a response like this. Something has changed. I took a 5-week trip to New Zealand. My son is building a new house out in the country. I am taking an on-line course. i drive my grand daughters around to different activities. I remind myself that my wife would not want me to suffer over her passing, and she would not want me to be alone. I plan to join Match.com. I am ready. I can do this. I have hope.

  41. My boyfriend of 17 years died almost 3 weeks ago. He had not been feeling well for almost 4 months, and was depressed still from the loss of his Mom over a year ago. I went to his apartment on a Saturday, one of our usual “date days” , and found him unresponsive on his bed, unable to speak and breathing with difficulty. I called 911, and he was taken to the local hospital. Backing up a little, the year before, he had a stroke and spent 2 1/2 weeks in a hospital about an hour’s drive from here. The experience was traumatic for a man with social anxiety disorder, and he was obsessive/compulsive “clean and orderly” as well. He was not bathed, or shaven during his hospital stay. When I Brought him home, one of the first things he did was to fill out a MOLST form, stating that if he was ever found unconscious again, he could be taken to the hospital, but only for comfort care. No life giving procedures. I was his health care proxy, and I had to enforce this MOLST paper for him. After almost 5 days in the hospital, he was taken to a local nursing home for Hospice care. He had previously told me on several occasions (we actually talked about it constantly) that he did not want to live. His world had slowly been disappearing, the family business was sold due to his Dad’s illness, then his Dad died and his Mom became ill a few years later. He cared for his Mom, as he had for his Dad, and when the stress of caring for her, and his own illnesses, (he also was severely bipolar) his Mom was taken to the nursing home. She was there for 3 months before being put in the care of Hospice. After her death, he sold the home he had lived in for almost 50 years with his parents. He made it clear to me after his stroke that if he had another stroke, or developed a terminal illness, he would be happy. He wanted to “Go Home”. With his MOLST form, and my promise to enforce it on his behalf, he died peacefully at the nursing home, knowing that he and I would lie next to each other for eternity. ( Some time before his death, we had our foot stones placed in his family plot, side by side. ) There were two plots remaining, we assumed for his sisters. When my boyfriend died, the funeral director was called, and when he got there, the sisters were quick to pull him aside and whisper something in his ear. Then he came into the room where I was sitting with my guy, and bluntly asked, “And who are You??” I told him I was the girlfriend of the deceased, to which he replied, “And how long were you in his life?” When I told him “17 years”, he told me that the second my boyfriend passed, my health care proxy ended, and that I didn’t count anymore. “The control of the body, and the funeral would be in their hands. ” I was devastated. Of course, he had to adhere to my boyfriend’s instructions as to his burial, that there to be no services, no visiting hours, he only wanted to be put into the ground. I asked if he knew about when the burial would be. “He said he would let the sisters know, and if they chose to “invite” me, I could go watch him be put in the ground. They never called, and I wasn’t surprised. My Sweetie had told me for many years, never trust my sisters. They were greedy, and vindictive. Because of his warnings, I had been driving by the cemetery every morning after his death to see if there was a hole being dug. One morning, 4 days after his death, I saw activity in the cemetery. I had missed him being put in the ground, but I got there to see the workers filling in the hole. They stopped for a few minutes so I could say my goodbye’s. Then I was informed that the sisters were insisting on my stone being removed from the family plot. It was their brother’s greatest wish that we be buried next to each other. Now, in spite of losing the love of my life, I am having to battle to keep my stone where it is. This is not over yet. Attorneys are trying to sort this all out, and I feel totally empty and alone. Why do people have to be like this???

  42. I never knew loneliness until my mom passed away unexpectedly. Now loneliness is a prominent emotion.

  43. My boyfriend just had a stroke and he has congestive heart failure unfortunately his family as in his kids won’t let me go be with him, or see him or communicate with him at all. I haven’t been away from him for 3 n a half years and now I’m so depressed, I feel empty inside almost like I want to die myself I don’t understand and I’m so lost without him

  44. I lost my husband of nearly 32 years about 6 1/2 weeks ago. I have adult children that are trying to be there for me, yet I am still so lonely. I have no one who can truly share the memories we made or plans that we had for the future. My husband and I relied on each other for social interaction because we both tended to keep to ourselves and were family oriented. Now, I must trudge on alone and wonder if there will ever be anyone that I will feel as comfortable with again. There have been moments where I wish my life would just end. How do we get through this? I am glad I have come across this site. Thanks.

  45. My mother died on July 12, 1976. I was 26 years old. My children never got to meet her.It does get easier with the passage of time. So many things she would say to me I CAN STILL REMEMBER TODAY.

  46. I can’t believe the grief I have. I lost my husband 7 months ago. We were married 52 years. He as my everything. He died suddenly of a stroke. I didn’t get to say goodbye. There is so many understand questions. I have 2 grown married children. Some days I don’t want to go on. All I want to do is sleep. I know I need grief counseling. I can barely function. I don’t eat well. Every night I tell myself that I will do better tomorrow but I don’t. This is the hardest time of my life.

    • Terry…….hugs to u. I am so sorry for your loss. My husband and I were married 20 yrs when he died suddenly of a heart attack. His death brought me to my knees. I can’t imagine what it’s like for you after 52 yrs.
      The first yr I didn’t leave my sofa if it wasn’t absolutely necessary. Finally, after nearly 7yrs, I’m starting to live again. It’s going to take time….a lot of it. Grieve as long as you need. Trust me, it will get better. You will always have days when the grief comes out of no where and slaps you in the face. We have to learn to live w that, sadly. Praying God helps ease your broken heart.

  47. I find myself contemplating both “the absence of presence” and “the presence of absence” in my grief journey of (loneliness) losing my husband of 39 years. Grieving not only for what was lost, but what never will be. Acceptance is difficult, but necessary. Godspeed to all.

  48. Wow…this So accurately states what I am feeling. I am an unmarried only child(47 years old.) My mom passed away June 12, 2016, and I lost dad January 23 this year. Those 7 months with just dad were a mixed blessing, missing mom, but deepening our relationship. To have him torn from me by a broken hip was heartbreaking.

    Yes, I have many wonderful friends, and cousins, and aunts and uncle, but the mom and dad shaped holes in my life are sometimes unbearable. I enjoy myself at work and running errands, and spending time with others, but at some point, there’s always that time that I have to walk into the empty house. I was a caregiver for my mom’s venous stasis leg wounds for so many years, that it just seems strange to not have to change bandages and DO things for her. And I still havent figured out what is worse…the acquaintances who ask me if I’m enjoying my freedom, or the ones who say “it’s really lonely, I’ll bet.”

    Thank you for the perfect article.

    • Tracy,
      I understand your pain. I lost my mom on 2/16/15 and my dad on 10/12/17. I took care of my mom alone raising my children also for seven years with stage four ovarian cancer. It’s hard going from having so much to do to nothing to do. My children became adults and moved out and my mom was my best friend. Very small family. Just my sister and I and only one cousin. My sister and I live in different states. So not close enough to drive for visit. I spent last night crying off and on the whole evening. Sometimes I’m ok, and sometimes I’m not. Somehow, we will get through this.
      Sandy

  49. To My Family / August 15, 2016

    As I try to make sense of what happened in our family and its effects, I wish to share with you my feelings about Ma and Bah Bah.

    Looking back at our parents’ personalities, I can see a little bit of both of them in each of us. The good and the bad. Not only in our basic dispositions, but in how we may respond to the kicks and kisses of life. More significant than Ma and Bah Bah’s inherent traits, I believe, was how they reacted to their lot in life, not only to conditions from the outside, but their interaction with each other in coping with those conditions. Financial hardship seemed to reign and we had only glimpses of their true selves. What if Ma and Bah Bah had similar life conditions and experiences to ours? They had only basic education in a faraway country and alien language and had to toil and sweat to make a living in this country. But what if they were able somehow to get higher education and become professionals, like we were? Bah Bah surely would have pursued his interest in the natural sciences or technology rather than having to work in laundry sweat shops; and Ma had a dream of being a nurse or a teacher rather than working long hours in the laundry and later as a seamstress (although she derived great pride in her reputation as an excellent worker and the shop owners’ reliance on her expertise—I still have her work logs reflecting the minimal pay she got for a day’s work). But, alas, Fortuna dealt some pretty tough blows. Yet, perhaps we can say that Fortuna showed mercy to them after all, through us. Ma and Bah Bah both found solace through us. “Look at our children, they all went to excellent schools and they are all successful at their jobs because of our sacrifices,” they both said at one time or another.

    Their lives were filled with hardship: an early impoverished existence, a long stressful time of hand-to-mouth existence, and, sadly, the seed of love for each other (as I looked at a long-forgotten studio wedding photo of them facing an uncertain future) never had a chance to blossom, only to be slain by the hand that Fortuna dealt them. And so they didn’t have the tools to do other than take their life’s frustrations out on each other and, sometimes, on us. I accepted this in Ma and Bah Bah and since have forgiven them. We all saw and heard the dark side of their souls, the hatred and bitterness that manifested itself each to the other and to us, which pushed us away from them. Later, after Bah Bah retired, I noticed his hatred and much of his bitterness towards Ma had dissipated, but by then it was too little too late to garner forgiveness from Ma and ameliorate his lonely existence (I tried to help by providing him and Ma with funds for summer trips to various places and so did Mike with his family by their visits, having restaurant meals, and Ma’s vacation cruise). Woefully, Ma never lost her bitterness, especially while Bah Bah was alive.

    But why was that for her? I believe her early childhood experiences, without a living, breathing model of this newfound unfamiliar Christian religion adopted by her mother that had the martyr Jesus at its center (which really could have helped), molded her into an unforgiving person who would hold on to grudges and only remember the mistreatments. Her mother was not loving toward Ma, despite all the responsibilities Ma took on for her; so, Ma deeply resented that. Her siblings behaved thoughtlessly, as any youngsters do and, at times, and from her perspective, whether it was reasonable or not, she felt mistreated and suffered from feeling they treated her like their personal hired maid. For the rest of her life, she would rather not have any dealings with them or even be reminded of them, for only thus could she forget the past. Her demons would come out, though, when her memories were dredged up. I knew those ugly demons were always lurking there, just below the surface, and she knew it, too, and she tried to keep them at bay as best as she could. She told me she prayed that God always protect her from harm. She believed that God was always there for her because she survived it all. Those feelings allowed me a glimmer of a frightened little girl inside her, yearning for love and protection (I’m tearing a little bit right now as I remember those fleeting moments when I perceived that little girl. If only she knew enough to pray for delivery from the burden of those dark feelings).

    Despite the dark and gloomy years, she did have fond memories of her kind and loving uncle (from whom she often told me that she had learned a lot), her father (who loved her), and her high-school friend (one of the few who treated her kindly; I think she was the one who died from an incompatible blood transfusion.). I vaguely recall seeing her once when I was with Ma having lunch at an air-conditioned restaurant in Hong Kong; I still remember the cold air and the smells of the food. Ma ordered a dish of fish with tomato sauce for both of us; I don’t remember what her friend had. They talked and then we went back home (in San Tin or her parents’ apartment where we all had lived before moving to San Tin).

    My last five years with Ma were a blessing. After she was in the hospital a couple of years ago from a bout of very high blood pressure and she was put on medication for it, I think she realized that when she started all the negative talk (and thinking) about the past, she was riling herself and her blood pressure up, and so she eased up on that and was more able to enjoy the present moments. She would always make known to her apartment neighbors that, “He is my son!” I was not embarrassed at all by that because they understood she was proud. I’m glad that she was able to support herself comfortably without financial worries and that as long as she lived she saw us all still well employed, hoping and praying that our jobs would last till our retirements. I spent as much time with her as I could. Before moving to New London because of my job change, I had visited her almost daily because we lived only a few blocks from each other; after the move, I visited her twice a week: taking her blood pressure and eating meals on Wednesdays, and delivering groceries and medicine on Saturdays. “Here’s some money for the take out,” she would say when I brought her Singapore lo mein, or she would ask what I would like to have, “Rice porridge or Chinese seafood with ramen noodle?” “I feel like having rice porridge and please make enough for my next day’s lunch,” I would say and always thanked her for it. She made quarts of red bean drink for summer days; I brought her dumplings and chicken feet whenever I came back from Boston Chinatown, roasted chicken legs for the last few years’ Thanksgivings, and this Chinese New Year we had seafood hot pot with lobster. These small moments I wish you hadn’t missed with Ma are what I treasure. So it’s not surprising that I cried inwardly when I finished the remaining portions of her cooked rice for my lunches last week. I poured out a small portion of iced tea that she had made for me and went outside the office building with it; while standing in the hot humidity, staring at the summer sky, I cried inwardly as I gave thanks to her for my cold tea. There’s still a half a bottle of it in our breakroom’s refrigerator.

    The year before he died, I once saw that Bah Bah had tears in his eyes while he was looking up at the Brooklyn blue sky. I didn’t ask why and to this day I wish I had. I saw a tear in Ma’s eye while she was in ICU; I didn’t ask why because I sensed that she knew she was dying. I fervently held on to her hand and brushed her tear away and told her I was there with her. I was so glad for that. I share in Mike’s grief that Bah Bah died alone.

    As I was wheeling her into the Emergency Room for her workup after she had already experienced the cardiogenic shock, remembering the ER visit a couple of days before having to wait for hours and hours before seeing the doctor, she said to be sure to buy sandwiches for both of us from the vending machine because we hadn’t had our lunch yet.

    And those were the last few words she said to me.

    So, under sad circumstances, we came together. The four of us were with her at the end, holding each other’s hands, and for that I am very grateful.

    In the end, I pray that Ma and Bah Bah forgive each other, as they are joined for eternity.

    Oh, life. We think we have all the time in the world. But, now I am more aware than ever that we don’t. And with these thoughts of all of us, Ma and Bah Bah, and with prayers and hopes, let us go forward in peace with the knowledge that life is short, a new sense of compassion and love for Ma and Bah Bah, a more objective understanding of our upbringing, a deeper appreciation of the love in our lives, for our spouses and kin; and our own softening remembrances of things past.

    Love, Auggie

    As a follow up message to my family on the passing of our Ma.

    Wednesdays have become something of a melancholic time for me. That’s not so surprising because that was when I would usually go and visit Ma after leaving early from work.

    So yesterday afternoon, I took a break and brought my last cup of tea to go outside to be alone and feeling the last bit of summer heat. I thought about Ma while drinking the tea and then I suddenly realized that I already drank half of the last remaining cup of tea (a bottle of tea that she had made for me). After walking around outside my office building, I went back and put the remaining tea in the freezer.

    I was mildly depressed for the rest of the afternoon, while still working on regulatory rules against the deadline.

    While driving home, I had an epiphany. That inner voice that, once in awhile, made itself known and then carried on a conversation with me (and no, I’m not crazy. That voice has been like a guardian angel that reassured me on those occasions that things would be alright and not to worry about those major events.).

    It asked me to think about what actually happened from another perspective. Didn’t it gave me a chance to take Ma to the park on Thursday that she usually didn’t want to go outside for the longest while? Yes, we went out to the farmer’s market in the park that warm summer afternoon. Weren’t we happy? Yes. Didn’t she greet her neighbors who were sitting outside the Roger’s House? Yes. Didn’t she hear one of neighbors who saw us and said what a good son I was? Yes. Then that Friday, didn’t it allow Ma to have a transient coronary blockage and thus allowed us to spend more 12 hours together in the emergency room? Yes. And then afterwards, didn’t I sleep in that old bunk bed in her apartment before heading out to pick up our McDonald breakfast and her weekly groceries? Yes. Didn’t we have the Saturday breakfast together? Yes. Didn’t it allow Ma to live to call me that Sunday afternoon after she had her profound cardiogenic shock? Yes. Didn’t it allow her to live long enough to know that we were all there with her in ICU and that she didn’t pass away alone? I said yes. So, what more could it have done for me? And finally I said thank you!

    With love,

    Auggie

    • Auggie, I do not know you obviously, but your outpoured honesty about your relationships with your parents struck an entire chord of notes deep within me. My parents were raised during the Great Depression, and suffered many hardships at young ages from which they never recovered emotionally as well. Then my father fought in the Korean War, during which time his younger brother, also serving nearby, was killed. These traumas necessarily took their toll on my parents and marred their emotional lives together…. things I, as an only child, only began piecing together in their last years when cleaning out their home for them to sell, and discovering that each had saved love letters from the other from decades before — most likely unbeknownst to each other.

      It was in these final 6 years of life when I came to know my parents as people, and to embrace them as they were… And now, grieve their absence, as well as grieve that it took me so very long to “truly see” them for their true worth.

      Thank you for sharing your heart here. May the Lord bless and keep you, until the time we can be finally reunited in wholeness.

  50. I have been looking for an article about just this. I lost my mom about 15 months ago. At that moment my life stopped, my mom was my better half, my soul mate my best friend. Since loosing her, I have felt that apart of my soul died with her. I am married and I have a very supportive family, however I still feel very alone, I haven’t been able to open up to any one of them like I did to my mom. I know this is just the new normal, but its not fun, it sad.

  51. Thank you. Your post (and the comments) make me feel a little less alone in this. My mother was my everything- my best friend, my memory, my protector, my champion, my confidant- and now she is gone forever. I have no family now, and while I love my friends, they are not enough. “Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone”, and she’s never coming back. It’s been three years, and I am trying so hard to find some sense of meaning and joy in my life, but I have yet to find anything to fill the void. I’ve tried to explain this is my friends, but I don’t think they “get” it or, maybe they do, but there’s just nothing they can do to help. And, after three years, it feels like everyone thinks I should be “over it” by now.

    • I totally get you. I don’t know if your still on this site, I see this post was from 2016, but if you are, my mom passed in 2015 so it been a little over 31/2 years and my friends didn’t seem to understand where I was coming from either and it was fusterating. I think grief is never ending and as time goes by it feels worse, the longing starts the loneliness for my mom really came on this year. I long to talk to her on the phone. Make plans to go for lunch or shopping. I miss her so much I get an ache in my throat. When I cry my daughter says what’s wrong they don’t remember your still grieving or the you just think it should be over I don’t know. The thing is people who haven’t lost there mom or there dad can’t relate even if you explain it to them. They are not on the same page as us. But when it happens to them they will get it. They will go through what we’re going through, they won’t have a choice it is normal feelings, sadness, longing, emptiness,forgetful, feeling anxious,crying, seeing others with there moms you feel a bit envious, then the lump in the throats comes trying to stop the tears when your in public, for fear that ppl will look at you and wonder what’s going on with you. The first few years was it didn’t feel real, I don’t think the true grief sets in till the 2 and 3rd year, because when they first pas on that day it’s shock, and you feel numb, then you cry, then you get up in the morning and for that split second as your crawling out of bed you think they are still here then reality sets in then you cry they really are gone. It’s horrible, then you get anxious, kind of a panicky feeling, hard to explain. My husband well I had to ask for him to hold me while I cried, wished he tuned in and came to me, it hurts to cry alone, you kind of feel abandoned, what you really want is mom there to get you through losing her. I know that sounds a bit odd but that’s how I felt, she was such a loving mom, she would know exactly what to do, she protected me, I could tell her anything, she used to use words like sweetie sweetheart, my nick name was dolly, she would say you will always be my dolly. When I was little she said I looked like a little dolly, so cute. That’s what she said, I cherish that so much. It brings tears to my eyes and my heart ponds when I think of this. She was an amazing mom raising three kids on her own, worked a full time job to look after us. I am very proud of my mom and love her dearly.

  52. Wow. This is right ON. Today is the 4 month mark of my wife’s death. April 3, 2016 began my horrendous sense of loss and LONELINESS. Although I have three grown children who love me very much, the emptiness I feel for my wife of 27 years haunts me. I feel like a leg has been amputated, and now I must adjust to limping through life. The Bible says, The two shall become one.” How devastatingly true that is. A big part of me has been cut out. Thanks so much for clearing my mind about the loneliness I am feeling each day.I look forward to reading more of your messages. Thanks.

  53. This is very much how I now feel. My lover husband and best friend of 52 years died in September . I can’t seem to resolve the loneliness without him. With children and grandchildren around me I can’t reconcile myself to the emptiness and loss I feel. Your article really resonated with me. Thank you.

  54. This is oh so true. I lost my 30 year old son just 3 months ago and have a husband and another son that I love deeply, but they are handling their grief in an entirely different way, so it is lonely for me. My husband and I are able to express our grief with each other, but I am so worried that my oldest son does not reach out to us at all. I know he is lonely and I pray everyday that he will come to us in his grief. Thank you for this.

    • I so understand where you are coming from. My 21 year old son died 4.5 mos. ago. My husband and I do grieve differently and my second son, is a typical boy and doesn’t emote much. He leaves for his first year of college next week and I worry about how the grief will impact this big transition.

  55. Oh so very true…
    Very worthwhile for me to read this, as it so accurately describes my current state. My 27 year old son’s life was taken 2 years ago and I & my family still struggle immensely, have come to the realisation that I am now a changed person, which increases the loneliness. I very much like the term grief friends as well. I feel closer to them than I do to my friends of long standing. I have learnt that I will have to learn to live without my son, but it will be a different me and not the me that I had always thought of being. Thank you for this article.

  56. This is the most gut-wrenching, yet accurate description I’ve ever read. After he died, I filled my journals with these exact words. Not as neat and concince, nor legible of course. But they were/are there.

    Nicely done.

    Cheers.

  57. Thank you for this. It could have been written for me. Although I have always been a bit of a shy introvert I never ever felt lonely until I lost my lovely husband Peter late last year. He really was my best friend, confidant and protector as well as a truly loving husband. Your words today have got to me more than any others and I am so grateful for them. Thank you.

  58. I miss my son more everyday….11 years after his decision to end his life…grief never stops for me….

  59. I truly did not understand that sadness and joy can exist at the same time until recently. I find joy every day when I spend time with my loving friends and family, but so long for my loving husband. Maybe my “hole” is slowly being filled.

  60. I am shocked at how your words express myself. I have been pinning for my son and wondering if it were normal. So thankful to read that my slow process of yearning is working towards acceptance, using new resources and that I am not alone in this endeavor. So appreciate you.

    • I agree completely. Just recently I was thinking that after 1.5 years of grieving for my son, I’m trying to hide my grief from people so I don’t make them uncomfortable anymore. I realized that I do feel alone in my grief, that maybe I prefer it that way.

  61. My husband took his own life 4 years ago after we had been married 32 years. We were childless by choice, but sometimes the loneliness I feel, the absolute lack of that person to connect with, is almost unbearable even after this much time. I enjoy my friends who have been wonderful, but most of them go home to spouse or kids and I face my solitary life. This essay is spot-on about how it feels.

    • Wow….Rhonda Grundy, my sincere condolences. I think your loss must be the toughest…..w/that extra complicated layer of sadness and lonliness. My loss not quite 2 yrs yet, but due to move to a new city which I love, still surprised @ how lonely life still feels. 21 yrs together, no kids. ( So much so I am back in hospice grief group). Blessings to you…..hang in there…..

    • I am so very heartbroken for you. Thoughts and prayers for you Rhonda.

    • You know exactly how grief does after losing the one who was close to your heart
      7years down the line my 15yrs old daughter took her life she was the youngest of the 5 children.They all grown up leaving in their own homes because she was the baby I presume she will be home right now. The gap she left me with nothing can fill it up. My hubby passed on 12yrs ago .Um just trying to survive this life but emptiness is above me

      • I understand the words you say, of course no one is exactly alike but I ‘get it”. ..how you feel losing your dear daughter.
        My son died of an overdose 18+ months ago.
        I’m seeking psychiatric and in therapy as I really have no desire to move on, I try though.
        He was my only child…kind of how you feel even though you had 5, just like my beloved mother had.
        I’m just muddling through life with zombie like affect…and want to be alone
        Loved ones say “help others ” it’s hard to even get my act together and out of bed to even do that! My memory from teh shock of it all is like a PSTD.
        I took care of my dad who I adored and he died 4 months before my son.
        My mom not even 4 years before all of this. I cared for her too…thought she was the hardest loss now it’s my son I long for every day. I was a hospice nurse and at almost 63 I am not going back to work after caring for mom, then dad then my sons death. I can’t think — I can hardly function. I’m just so sick of this life, everything is changed I’m no longer myself. I pray and have some decent days, but they’re so short lived. God Bless you and I will keep you and all of us in prayer for healing.
        Take care, Marianne

    • I’m 42 and have also lost my husband to suicide 8 weeks ago. We’d tried for children but had not been blessed. We’d been together for 18 years. The loneliness I feel is overwhelming and have no idea how to cope. We spent so much time together. People offer to visit or for me to go out but they don’t understand and think it’s a quick fix so that I won’t feel lonely but they don’t leave an empty house or return to an empty house or can’t talk to their partners or have someone to tell the little things that have happened. I’ve never felt so isolated in my life.

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