Loss and Grief: How are you doing?

Posted by Teresa, Volunteer Mentor @hopeful33250, Jan 16, 2018

When my dad passed away several years ago I lost my keys 4 times in one month, I would wake up at 3 a.m. several days every week feeling startled. Sound familiar? These are reactions to grief. Grief is a very personal experience – everyone grieves differently – even in the same family because the relationship of a father is different than that of a wife or a granddaughter. Unfortunately, often we grieve alone. Sometimes we don’t want to “bother others” with our grief, and sometimes friends and family tell us that we should be over it by now. After all the person we lost was ill for a long time or was very old and “it was their time” or “they are in a better place now.” Sound familiar?

Grieving is often described as the “work of grief.” It does feel like hard work doesn’t it? Grief can be difficult because of the many factors related to the loss. If the loss followed a prolonged, serious illness you undoubtedly did some “anticipatory grief work” prior to the actual death of the loved one. If the loss, however, was sudden, i.e., accident related, suicide, a result of crime, etc. the sense of grief is coupled with shock.

The relationship that you had with the loved one also affects your grief experience, i.e. was your relationship close or had it been strained? Do you feel guilt that you were not closer or do you feel guilty because you don’t feel you did enough to help while your loved one was ill?

Sometimes anger plays a part in the grief process. Did your loved one get poor medical treatment or a wrong and/or late diagnosis? Did your loved one not follow your doctor’s orders with regard to their health (diet, smoking, attention to meds or exercise)? All of these factors contribute to your experience of grief.

Also, some losses are not so evident to others. These would include a miscarriage or a stillborn. Sometimes these losses are not considered as relevant to others as the loss of a person who has lived a longer life. In the case of a miscarriage, others might not even be aware of your loss.

You may think of that person on anniversary dates (their birthday, date of their death) or you might think of them constantly. Unfortunately, sometime people say things that can multiply grief. Have you ever heard someone say, “you should be over this by now?” or “I had a similar experience and I’m OK.” Well, most likely their similar experience was not the same as yours. Thinking you should be over it might compound your grief with feelings of guilt or frustration.

Whether a recent loss, or a loss you experienced a long time ago, let’s talk about it. Whatever your experience, I’d like to hear your stories and together find a way to relocate that loved one so that we can experience peace in our lifetime.

Together let us support each other in our grief journey.

Teresa

@badboys1965

I am so sorry for everyone that lost someone that they loved deeply. My dad has been gone since 2001. God i still miss him so much!! When he died, it was a shock to my whole family. Who would of thought he would die before my mother. My mother passed away three years later. She was in a nursing home for twenty-five years due to a stroke she had. My dad visited her every day come rain or come shine. I still am not over their passing away. They were good people. I still cry sometimes when i think of them and still have vivid dreams about them to this day. It got easier to deal with their loss with the help from my husband Mark who loss his mother a few years ago too. prayers for everyone who loss someone, Trudy

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@kdawn32

Yes, Kim, you are right – it is difficult.

Teresa

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Hello and thank you for writing and asking us to share our experiences. I had so many losses so close together it was numbing I guess is how I will describe it, First I lost my fiance to lung cancer. I cared for him while he was sick. We had only been together for 2 years. I thought his family had accepted me but i found out later that was not true. Anyway, I watched him die the whole time thinking he was not dying. He was too young. He was only 56 and strong. He finished all his chemo treatments so I thought it was a side effect of the treatment. I was on the phone with rescue and telling them when he was in the background saying things are getting dark. I thought he needed oxygen. So I hung up and ask him. He shook his head no. (Graphic) He was throwing up blood and when he finally stopped I said "oh good glad you are done with that" I took the cup from his hand took set it down and was talking to him. I then realized he was not with me I thought. So I told him what he always said. " you are not done with me yet" and then "I love you" I was sure he said it back and that was the end. I was so calm on the phone and dealing with it all. I know God was with me. But when I seen the paramedics come in I broke down and yelled why are you not trying to revive him! That was my first. loss.

Second was my best friend from Jr. High school. We always kept in touch or found each other if we moved no matter what. I lost her to a boating accident. The canoe tipped over. I heard she made sure her grand children were ok and then was swept away by the water. I kept asking God to please find her. I finally heard "I have her" I knew God was listening and letting me know he had her but I knew she was gone.

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@kathy4385

I really dont even know where to start. I lost my best friend, lover and husband to liver cancer 2.5 years ago. Didnt really start to grieve till last year. As to, I believe having recieved 2 foster kids 6 mos after he died. So poured everything into the kids. and delayed my grieving, untill they left my home 5 months later. Then it was like I lost and was grieving all 3 at the same time. To say the least, Im not doing so well. My friends and neighbors dont understand, and say I push them away, (not what I wanted to do, or intended to do) just didnt know how to express myself. so ended up more alone, and felt abandoned. I am a christian, and have been studying all I can in the word about grief, depression, and loneliness. My family lives far away, I thought I had the church family, but feel I dont fit in anymore, and they quit reaching out cause they feel I should be over it by now. and they dont know what to do with me, I dont fit in any of the groups that we used to be in. All I really want is to feel needed, wanted, and to belong to something, cant find the new normal, dont seem to fit in, feel more alone in a crowd, so I just stay home alone. know that is not the answer either, but dont know what to do. Want to go home to be with my husband, and all the loved ones who have died before me. At times it seems the only answer. Just waiting to die of a broken heart. I get up each day, because I have animals to care for, so all I am living for now.

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@muppey I am glad you have found someone to talk to about your similar situations. I can only relate in that I was the one that physically left, however I felt then and still feel that he opted out of husbandry and fatherhood long before I gave up. I have always said that I was able to leave out of fear and disgust, as I said before, but also because I had attempted every avenue I knew of to make the marriage work. I marry for life, not just until it becomes unpleasant. Even though I was the one that moved out and filed for divorce, I felt like a loser. And the questions! Why? Why wasn't I enough? Why didn't he respect me? Why was I not cherished? What is wrong with me? It took a lot of time and work to realize that those were the wrong questions and even longer to realize that I WAS enough and deserved to be respected and cherished. A large part of my healing has come from my current husband. We have been together since 1984. We have gone through some bad times, but it was with him that I learned to pray to be the best wife I could be and focus on improving myself rather than trying to change him. Turns out that he is fine just the way he is.
I am also glad for you that you have therapy through the VA and have found this community to heal. I mostly appreciate your openness to my "brutally honest" ways. I have few male friends, but those I do have are solid. I look forward to continuing our visits and experiencing your healing with you. Blessings.

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@littleonefmohio

Hello and thank you for writing and asking us to share our experiences. I had so many losses so close together it was numbing I guess is how I will describe it, First I lost my fiance to lung cancer. I cared for him while he was sick. We had only been together for 2 years. I thought his family had accepted me but i found out later that was not true. Anyway, I watched him die the whole time thinking he was not dying. He was too young. He was only 56 and strong. He finished all his chemo treatments so I thought it was a side effect of the treatment. I was on the phone with rescue and telling them when he was in the background saying things are getting dark. I thought he needed oxygen. So I hung up and ask him. He shook his head no. (Graphic) He was throwing up blood and when he finally stopped I said "oh good glad you are done with that" I took the cup from his hand took set it down and was talking to him. I then realized he was not with me I thought. So I told him what he always said. " you are not done with me yet" and then "I love you" I was sure he said it back and that was the end. I was so calm on the phone and dealing with it all. I know God was with me. But when I seen the paramedics come in I broke down and yelled why are you not trying to revive him! That was my first. loss.

Second was my best friend from Jr. High school. We always kept in touch or found each other if we moved no matter what. I lost her to a boating accident. The canoe tipped over. I heard she made sure her grand children were ok and then was swept away by the water. I kept asking God to please find her. I finally heard "I have her" I knew God was listening and letting me know he had her but I knew she was gone.

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Hello @littleonefmohio

I am so glad that you joined our discussion about loss and grief. Losses that are close together are difficult to deal with. I appreciate you sharing your experiences and feelings – getting those feelings out is very important for you and will also help others to identify their feelings as well.

How long ago did these losses occur? I look forward to hearing from you again.

Teresa

Liked by kathy4385, muppey

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The first one in 2013 and I still have problems with it and my girlfriend was 4 months later in 2014 I believe. Then I lost my mom 7 months later in 2014 I have guilt from that because I was living out of state when that happened and I feel I should have came home sooner to be closer to her. Even though I called her every day it was not enough for me. When she was in hospice my sister said she may not come back because of some bad blood between her and someone else in the family. It just got my blood boiling because of where we were at and what was going on. I made a smart remark that she may not have to worry about it because the way mom was breathing she probably won't be with us much longer. I kick myself in the butt for saying that to this day. It was wrong because mom probably heard me and I feel so bad about that. I guess the guilt of me not being close to her and everything else that was going on.

Then my step dad died 5 months later in 2014 I was not close to him because of the past but still I hated to know he was suffering. Don't like to see or hear anyone suffering no matter what happened in the past. He had called me before and wanted to come live with me because the other kids where trying to put him in a home. I could not take him for one because I was and still raising my grandbaby and two because there is no way I could let him live with me. I sound just like my mother and I believe he wanted to be with me because of that and I am so much like my mom.

In between those losses I started raising my granddaughter in 2014 also. I believe God gave me her to help me cope with all these losses and of course for other reasons. I finally realized I need to come home because of other relatives getting up in ages and I wanted to be close to them and other family members.

I returned back home to Ohio in 2017 I was caring for a friend of the family because he lived close to me and needed someone to help him. He also had lung problems. So I went to meet him and found out I could help him some. He was very nice and enjoyed my company and coming by. He had just lost his daughter to heroin and was hurting badly for losing her. He was very nice man with a good heart. I was so glad I could help him the short time I could but I hated to hear he had passed on. He was suffering terrible and you could tell he was afraid. I lost him last year.

Just so many losses so close together.

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@littleonefmohio

The first one in 2013 and I still have problems with it and my girlfriend was 4 months later in 2014 I believe. Then I lost my mom 7 months later in 2014 I have guilt from that because I was living out of state when that happened and I feel I should have came home sooner to be closer to her. Even though I called her every day it was not enough for me. When she was in hospice my sister said she may not come back because of some bad blood between her and someone else in the family. It just got my blood boiling because of where we were at and what was going on. I made a smart remark that she may not have to worry about it because the way mom was breathing she probably won't be with us much longer. I kick myself in the butt for saying that to this day. It was wrong because mom probably heard me and I feel so bad about that. I guess the guilt of me not being close to her and everything else that was going on.

Then my step dad died 5 months later in 2014 I was not close to him because of the past but still I hated to know he was suffering. Don't like to see or hear anyone suffering no matter what happened in the past. He had called me before and wanted to come live with me because the other kids where trying to put him in a home. I could not take him for one because I was and still raising my grandbaby and two because there is no way I could let him live with me. I sound just like my mother and I believe he wanted to be with me because of that and I am so much like my mom.

In between those losses I started raising my granddaughter in 2014 also. I believe God gave me her to help me cope with all these losses and of course for other reasons. I finally realized I need to come home because of other relatives getting up in ages and I wanted to be close to them and other family members.

I returned back home to Ohio in 2017 I was caring for a friend of the family because he lived close to me and needed someone to help him. He also had lung problems. So I went to meet him and found out I could help him some. He was very nice and enjoyed my company and coming by. He had just lost his daughter to heroin and was hurting badly for losing her. He was very nice man with a good heart. I was so glad I could help him the short time I could but I hated to hear he had passed on. He was suffering terrible and you could tell he was afraid. I lost him last year.

Just so many losses so close together.

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@littleonefmohio

You have had a lot of losses, close together – I'm so sorry that you had to experience so much in such a short period of time. You are to be applauded for all of the efforts you made on behalf of all of the people that you lost.

It is very common to feel that we didn't do enough when someone was dying. However, as human beings we have only limited time, energy, resources and abilities to care for others and still take care of ourselves. You have to give yourself permission to do what you can and realize that none of us is "super woman" that is only in the movies.

You are obviously very sensitive and care about people and that is too your credit. However, that sensitivity can make it hard to accept our humanness as well. So give yourself a break and realize that you probably did what you could and you were appreciated for who you were at the time. Is it possible to connect with a Grief Support Group? Often funeral homes in the area will have a list of such groups in your area. Give a call and see what might be available for you – I'm sure it would help you over this difficult time.

Please keep posting as you can, I am glad to get to know you better. Remember: Take it easy on yourself!

Teresa

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@IndianaScott

I think, especially in these types of conversations, it's important for us to remember we are each unique. In that each of us are individuals complete with our own differing needs, points of view, beliefs, and personal situations which influence our views of life, perceptions, and our beliefs.

One is not correct just as another is not incorrect. Our views and lives are like art … some folks love Picasso while others love Monet. One is not good art while one bad. There are just different views and we each have our own tastes in art.

Likewise we each grieve in our own way and for our own personalized reasons. As I have continued in my own journey with grief I've come to more fully realize, now more than ever before, how individualized grief is.

Just my two cents, plain.

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@kdawn32, This is probably not news to anyone other than me, but I was watching some church TV yesterday and the speaker explained grief as a form of separation anxiety. That made perfect sense to me in that when I quit drinking, I had separation anxiety (grief) and also when I stopped smoking. Anything that has become a "friend" and is taken away causes the same reaction even if it is an inanimate object.

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What a beautiful note, Theresa. I wish I had received that 35 years ago when my mom passed. I have to be in a good place to write about my grief and will respond soon.

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@kathy4385

I really dont even know where to start. I lost my best friend, lover and husband to liver cancer 2.5 years ago. Didnt really start to grieve till last year. As to, I believe having recieved 2 foster kids 6 mos after he died. So poured everything into the kids. and delayed my grieving, untill they left my home 5 months later. Then it was like I lost and was grieving all 3 at the same time. To say the least, Im not doing so well. My friends and neighbors dont understand, and say I push them away, (not what I wanted to do, or intended to do) just didnt know how to express myself. so ended up more alone, and felt abandoned. I am a christian, and have been studying all I can in the word about grief, depression, and loneliness. My family lives far away, I thought I had the church family, but feel I dont fit in anymore, and they quit reaching out cause they feel I should be over it by now. and they dont know what to do with me, I dont fit in any of the groups that we used to be in. All I really want is to feel needed, wanted, and to belong to something, cant find the new normal, dont seem to fit in, feel more alone in a crowd, so I just stay home alone. know that is not the answer either, but dont know what to do. Want to go home to be with my husband, and all the loved ones who have died before me. At times it seems the only answer. Just waiting to die of a broken heart. I get up each day, because I have animals to care for, so all I am living for now.

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@2011panc, I'm still listening to you panc. Just took a walk after spending an hour on the phone with my brother Phil, he says he's going to come up here.
Bet you'd like my yard, there are thousand of daffodils which bloomed early this year starting in January, now there mostly gone. My place is open because I knock down all the oaks and pines which sprout like weeds here, I like open, lot's of people here let the trees grow. I like it open so the people can see all the daffodils, mostly ladies slow down and look, plus it reduces fire danger.
One year a friend was getting married and they needed flowers so I said, take what you need, thousands of them. Deer don't eat them so the old timers planted here. My place was built in 1930, it's a Montgomery Wards kit house with an extension for a large bedroom.
"brutally honest" I certainly don't think honesty is brutal, may seem like it some times like, I have to stop smoking cigars because…I never intended it to become a habit, just a thing where I'd smoke at my other cabin up on Love Creek Rd., that's in the Arnold, CA, area. You can google to when you come to a fork and the cabin is right there. Hardware girl owns it now, she got a great deal on it, and she's a great hardware chick, knows the business.
I'll come back to your post, just feeling melancholy right now, but going to heat up some soup and get better.
Thanks, and going to read your post again, thick skull maybe. I don't know, stubborn?

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@shoregal45

I'll look for your post. Please write as you feel able to do so.

Teresa

Liked by muppey

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@harriethodgson1

I love your comment about supporting each other because that's what this website does. Although grief has similar symptoms, each of us recover from loss in our own ways and in our own time. Don't let anybody tell you that you should be "over it" and moving forward in life. There are many thoughts to process before this time comes. When four family members died in 2007, including my elder daughter, the mother of my twin grandchildren, I was at a dark place in life. To complicate matters more, my twin grandchildren's father died six months later, and the court appointed my husband and me as their legal guardians. It took me several months to realize I was grieving in the order my loved ones died. Sometimes I would go forward on the recovery path, and other times I would take a giant leap backward. Yet my grandchildren gave me hope that life would get better and it did. I accepted my emotions, let myself feel them, and named them when I could. This kept me on the recovery path. Joining a support group may help you. On the other hand, if you want to be alone, give yourself this gift. In the quiet you will hear your soul–the key to grief healing.

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@harriethodgson1, "grandchildren gave me hope…" That sounds nice. Hang onto that big piece of hope and focus there. I've got a book called "Man Thinking". That's what I'm trying to do here.
My friend came by this morning and brought me coffee and a breakfast sandwich, plus her toddler son. Just saying about the little one because he's a towhead just like my sons, plus I like little kids. They stayed a couple hours and then she had to get to work…stacking firewood. I do that for myself only. I'm lazy. Hah, not really just stacking firewood to sell sounds like boring work.
Used to work hard building decks and stuff, that all disappeared for different reasons.

"On the other hand, if you want to be alone" I can live alone but I still like people. Mezi's visit helps because she's going through the same thing with her life, husband didn't come home from work. At the grocery store she tried to make believe it didn't matter but you and us here know better. She needed a listener and I was happy she came by. Joe is showing signs that he misses her and I'm rooting for them both because I know they are a match. I'm repeating myself but years ago Joe came by and said Mezi and I broke up. I didn't say much about that but he knew because I did say something like, "Oh,sorry." Brilliant I know but I was also thinking, "Yeah, Mezi's pretty cute and I bet there are lots of guys who would like hooking up with her." They made up that time.

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@harriethodgson1

I love your comment about supporting each other because that's what this website does. Although grief has similar symptoms, each of us recover from loss in our own ways and in our own time. Don't let anybody tell you that you should be "over it" and moving forward in life. There are many thoughts to process before this time comes. When four family members died in 2007, including my elder daughter, the mother of my twin grandchildren, I was at a dark place in life. To complicate matters more, my twin grandchildren's father died six months later, and the court appointed my husband and me as their legal guardians. It took me several months to realize I was grieving in the order my loved ones died. Sometimes I would go forward on the recovery path, and other times I would take a giant leap backward. Yet my grandchildren gave me hope that life would get better and it did. I accepted my emotions, let myself feel them, and named them when I could. This kept me on the recovery path. Joining a support group may help you. On the other hand, if you want to be alone, give yourself this gift. In the quiet you will hear your soul–the key to grief healing.

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My twin grandchildren, one male, one female, are 26 years old now and still give me hope. Even better, they understand what my husband and I did for them after the court appointed us as their guardians/caregivers. We are profoundly blessed.

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@littleonefmohio

Hello and thank you for writing and asking us to share our experiences. I had so many losses so close together it was numbing I guess is how I will describe it, First I lost my fiance to lung cancer. I cared for him while he was sick. We had only been together for 2 years. I thought his family had accepted me but i found out later that was not true. Anyway, I watched him die the whole time thinking he was not dying. He was too young. He was only 56 and strong. He finished all his chemo treatments so I thought it was a side effect of the treatment. I was on the phone with rescue and telling them when he was in the background saying things are getting dark. I thought he needed oxygen. So I hung up and ask him. He shook his head no. (Graphic) He was throwing up blood and when he finally stopped I said "oh good glad you are done with that" I took the cup from his hand took set it down and was talking to him. I then realized he was not with me I thought. So I told him what he always said. " you are not done with me yet" and then "I love you" I was sure he said it back and that was the end. I was so calm on the phone and dealing with it all. I know God was with me. But when I seen the paramedics come in I broke down and yelled why are you not trying to revive him! That was my first. loss.

Second was my best friend from Jr. High school. We always kept in touch or found each other if we moved no matter what. I lost her to a boating accident. The canoe tipped over. I heard she made sure her grand children were ok and then was swept away by the water. I kept asking God to please find her. I finally heard "I have her" I knew God was listening and letting me know he had her but I knew she was gone.

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@littleonefmohio, Sounds pretty rough to me. At first you were calm. I'm wondering about a while latter when it sinks in. Some form of shock or disbelief, like you said to the paramedics, "Why are you not trying to revive him…". That's why you're here and these people are great. This is the first time I saw your name, stay around for a while because 'here' has helped me a lot. Littleone, I'm a bit stubborn but I can still listen. You said "I knew God was listening".
I have a little friend who's going through this kind of stuff, her husband didn't come home from work…
I like your name Littleone.

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@kathy4385

I really dont even know where to start. I lost my best friend, lover and husband to liver cancer 2.5 years ago. Didnt really start to grieve till last year. As to, I believe having recieved 2 foster kids 6 mos after he died. So poured everything into the kids. and delayed my grieving, untill they left my home 5 months later. Then it was like I lost and was grieving all 3 at the same time. To say the least, Im not doing so well. My friends and neighbors dont understand, and say I push them away, (not what I wanted to do, or intended to do) just didnt know how to express myself. so ended up more alone, and felt abandoned. I am a christian, and have been studying all I can in the word about grief, depression, and loneliness. My family lives far away, I thought I had the church family, but feel I dont fit in anymore, and they quit reaching out cause they feel I should be over it by now. and they dont know what to do with me, I dont fit in any of the groups that we used to be in. All I really want is to feel needed, wanted, and to belong to something, cant find the new normal, dont seem to fit in, feel more alone in a crowd, so I just stay home alone. know that is not the answer either, but dont know what to do. Want to go home to be with my husband, and all the loved ones who have died before me. At times it seems the only answer. Just waiting to die of a broken heart. I get up each day, because I have animals to care for, so all I am living for now.

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@kathy4385, Just guessing here…You are sharing with us and even if we just 'love' your post and don't write doesn't mean you haven't reached us. Maybe you're being "useful and needed." right here for the moment. I like to quote some songs because whoever wrote them had some insight else where did it come from. "Time has a way of changing everything".
How long did it take for me to say, "I'm not drinking my whiskey anymore."? At least two years with the VA, Mary, and finally two AA guys came to my home and they thought I was a waste of time. They told me later. I called them over when I was drunk enough that I could hardly remember the evening. They stayed for a while and I know I argued with them. Just took time. Thankfully I was not a mean drunk as in yelling and screaming at my wife. Still mean but, you know! Wrong!
Take care!
Mark

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@littleonefmohio

Hello and thank you for writing and asking us to share our experiences. I had so many losses so close together it was numbing I guess is how I will describe it, First I lost my fiance to lung cancer. I cared for him while he was sick. We had only been together for 2 years. I thought his family had accepted me but i found out later that was not true. Anyway, I watched him die the whole time thinking he was not dying. He was too young. He was only 56 and strong. He finished all his chemo treatments so I thought it was a side effect of the treatment. I was on the phone with rescue and telling them when he was in the background saying things are getting dark. I thought he needed oxygen. So I hung up and ask him. He shook his head no. (Graphic) He was throwing up blood and when he finally stopped I said "oh good glad you are done with that" I took the cup from his hand took set it down and was talking to him. I then realized he was not with me I thought. So I told him what he always said. " you are not done with me yet" and then "I love you" I was sure he said it back and that was the end. I was so calm on the phone and dealing with it all. I know God was with me. But when I seen the paramedics come in I broke down and yelled why are you not trying to revive him! That was my first. loss.

Second was my best friend from Jr. High school. We always kept in touch or found each other if we moved no matter what. I lost her to a boating accident. The canoe tipped over. I heard she made sure her grand children were ok and then was swept away by the water. I kept asking God to please find her. I finally heard "I have her" I knew God was listening and letting me know he had her but I knew she was gone.

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Thank you for responding. I will be sticking around for awhile. I am sorry to hear about your friend. I hope she is doing ok.

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