No Family to Share Holiday with

Discussion in 'Dealing With Multiple Losses' started by SallyD, Sep 27, 2020.

  1. SallyD

    SallyD Well-Known Member

    Hi. This has been a rough year, because I lost the last of my close family when my brother,
    Jordan, passed away on March 31, 2020. He needed a liver transplant--we got close to getting
    him one, but we ran out of time. I'm ill myself with thyroid trouble that doesn't respond well
    to the medication I need to take--it's been that way for years, since they changed the formula
    of the one drug that did help me a lot. Jordan looked after me, and I tried to help him, too,
    as best I could--with what he'd let me help him with. It was hard, and I still feel guilt that I
    wasn't able to do more for him, or wasn't smart enough to get him to take better care, etc.

    We lost our mom in 2005, to complications because her thyroid medicine didn't help her
    right, either. Our dad passed away when we were little kids, from something called Hodgkin's
    Disease. As hard as everything has been, I've always had someone from the family there
    to share a holiday with, or to get through things in general when things are hard--and to
    share whatever good times there were, too. This year will be really hard, on this Jewish
    New Year, to have no one around from the family. I know holidays of any kind are hard
    for people with losses....just needed to vent about this, and I feel for you, too, if anyone out
    there is going through something like this. Thanks for reading, if you did.
  2. HW2927

    HW2927 Member

    I am sorry for your loss. I am dreading the holidays without my husband this year and share your pain at being alone. I am sending you a hug to know you are thought of and prayed for.
  3. SallyD

    SallyD Well-Known Member

    Thank you, HW2927. I really appreciate that. I wish none of us had to lose the people we loved, and that cared about us the most.

    Every day is hard without my brother. This holiday just feels worse. Thank you for your good thoughts, prayers, and the hug. I need it,
    because it's been hard. Sometimes I meet nicer people on the internet in these groups, than in real life! My very best to you, as well.
  4. jennsuegood

    jennsuegood New Member

    Hi Sally, it seems like we're in the same leaky boat. My brother was the last family for me too. We lost our mom when we were really young, and our dad in 2008. Our mom raised us, and from the time she got sick, it felt like it was me and my brother in it together. We spent every Christmas together at the beach. I've been dreading the holidays too, and you've already had to face them, and I feel for you. What I'm thinking of doing is to plan something to look forward to - like a trip to Florida (can't get too crazy cause Covid:), but though I have good friends, I really don't know who will go with me. I hope you have close friends to support you.
  5. SallyD

    SallyD Well-Known Member

    Hi, Jennsue...it's hard, isn't it? I'm glad you have some good friends....I don't have enough of them, because I've not been well for a long time and I
    just couldn't keep up with everyone. I have a couple of people I can talk to about all that's gone on. Not the same as a good relative like a brother
    who's just been through everything with you...especially when there's been a lot of hardship. Sounds like you and your family had a rough time of
    it, too. I'm so sorry for that...it's hard when a parent is lost when the kids are really young, because it just changes the whole way the family goes,
    in many cases, and that can make it harder on everyone in different ways. Your trip could be a good idea, and if you do it, I hope you can get an
    especially nice and understanding friend to go with you....someone who doesn't mind if you can't be cheery all the time, on the vacation.

    With my losing my brother, it's especially hard because he had a great sense of humor and was funny, as well as being kind and encouraging
    through my illness, and our mom's. It's good when someone can make you laugh during a bad time, and he was great at doing that. So that's
    a real loss, and it's too quiet and serious without him. I don't know what your brother was like, but it sounds like he was supportive, too.
    So, you understand. Thank you for being kind enough to write....I appreciate it. :)
  6. jennsuegood

    jennsuegood New Member

    Hi Sally, thank you for your lovely message:) There really isn't anything like a brother. I knew my brother was important, and I expressed my love for him while he was here, but I never realized just how essential he was to me. I wish I had because I would have made some decisions differently.
    You say you haven't been well for a long time? Is that due to your thyroid? I think I saw that in another thread. I'm sorry that you have that to wrestle with in addition to your loss.

    I feel the same about my brother! At his first memorial, one of his college friends said that my brother missed his calling as a comedy writer. He was hilarious - always jolly, always making a joke, and on top of that, an empathetic and supportive listener. I've never met anyone like him, but it sounds like your brother was similar.
    This is just so hard isn't it? This is definitely the hardest loss for me because I've never had to go through a loss without my brother by my side. I feel for you and with you, and I'm sending you a virtual hug:)
  7. SallyD

    SallyD Well-Known Member

    Hi, Jennsue....Thanks for understanding all this, and for writing back. Yes, my health trouble is because of my thyroid. When I was eleven and twelve, I had a bad case of Grave's Disease, which means I was making too much thyroid hormone. They had to knock out a lot of my thyroid gland with radio-isotope drinks over the course of several months. It was hard for me and my family to go through, but we did--and I got better. Went back to school, and did well for the next six-plus years with a thyroid drug called Synthroid. But then they changed the formula to Synthroid and some other things about it, and I haven't been well, since. This was back in 1982-83, and I can't function that well because my breathing is affected (and many other things), making it hard for me to do a lot of stuff. Even though I've been on many different thyroid drugs and doses of them through the years, nothing helps me like the old medicine did. But at least I had family
    to help me through all this, you know? My mom and Jordan (my brother), until 2005, when Mom died because she also needed better thyroid medicine and
    didn't get it.....now Jordan is gone. They helped me with a lot of things, encouragement and support being a biggie--on a day-to-day basis. It's so hard, now.

    Our friend Jeff (whom we've known since childhood, but lives kind of far, now) does call in to check on me a lot, and Jordan's girlfriend is here, but it's not the same....the girlfriend wasn't even talking to me much for about four years before Jordan got really ill--she had a lot of health and other problems, too, from
    her bad marriage she had to an abusive husband--and from dealing with a really mean sister for years. So, she had trust issues....and Jordan told me not to
    really bother her or talk to her....I listened to him too much on that, because we needed to be working together more for the good of Jordan's health. The
    few times I tried in the four years she wasn't speaking to me, I couldn't really get anywhere. Jordan told me that in the last year, she got better-medicated
    with whatever problems she's taking meds for (health and emotional problems), and then she was forced into working with me more because of his illness,
    and we could do it....but it came too late, this cooperation. And I feel terrible about it, because I needed someone to help me work with Jordan better, to
    get him to go more to the doctor's appointments, because he wasn't listening to me, enough. And it was just a mess, made harder because of my health.

    Your brother does sound like mine--funny, and really should've been a comedy writer. Jordan did win awards in high school for writing sports journalism,
    and he always had some funny twist he'd put in to the stories he'd write. He ended up doing other things (like teaching special ed. on a long-term basis,
    even though he didn't have his full teaching credential....we couldn't afford for him to finish up.) But he made such a difference with students that other
    teachers had given up on, because of his kindness, humor, encouragement, and sense of fun. He had that for me, too. And I miss that, so much.

    It's really hard for me to deal with all this without family support. Jordan was close to getting a liver transplant in March (needed it, I think, because
    he also had thyroid trouble that they didn't diagnose for too many years--and it put too much stress on his liver. He didn't drink.) It was a struggle
    to get him on the liver transplant list, but I worked hard to make it happen. There were delays because of our low income, but finally things looked
    like they were going to be OK for him and us....they scheduled the liver transplant for March 12, but cancelled it at the last minute because they said
    this liver "wasn't a good fit." But don't worry, another will come along, soon. It didn't. The Covid-19 virus made donor organs scarce just when Jordan
    needed them....he passed away on March 31. I thought I'd be helping him recover from a transplant at this point....not all this. It's just 'way more than
    I thought I'd ever have to deal with. Thanks for listening, and I send good thoughts and wishes for you, too. You definitely deserve them.
  8. jennsuegood

    jennsuegood New Member

    Hi Sally,
    I am so sorry I dropped off here. To tell you the truth, I was experiencing denial, and it was nice for a while. It helped buffer the pain. And, coming on here meant facing the reality. But, reality hit again today. I am grateful for those bouts of denial. I think they might be longer lasting with sudden death. I think it's a way our brain protects us some while we process.

    I hope you've had some reasons to smile even a little lately. What a bumpy journey with your thyroid. Why do pharmaceutical companies do that?! I'm sure that has frustrated you for a long time. Have you ever tried any alternative therapies? I really value conventional doctors for acute health problems, but I don't think they're that good at alleviating chronic problems. I really feel how difficult it must all be for you without the support of family. I feel like life generally is nearly impossible without my brother's support.

    I hope you've been kind to yourself about this. What happened to Jordan was a true tragedy. It sounds like you are a loving and supportive sister. I hope you don't blame yourself. That's something I've wrestled with. And, I also thought I would be spending this fall helping my brother recover from an unexpected and scary but surmountable health issue. One of the hardest things about losing someone is accepting that I can't do anything about it. There's also a little peace when I do accept it (which comes and goes) because then I can just focus on the pain of the loss rather than the searing regrets. I have it in mind to even write a compassionate letter to Jenn from early July (just before it happened). She didn't know what was coming, and I really feel for her.

    My brother was a teacher too! First, an English teacher in a community college, and then he got disheartened with the way the system can take advantage of students, and he started doing private tutoring - English, guitar, and tennis, but mainly guitar lately. He loved music. A lot of his former students have asked me if he was really that "chill" and jolly all the time, and he was. Deaths like his and Jordan's feel particularly unfair.

    What has brought you some comfort recently? I tell my friends I don't expect happiness or joy or anything like that, but I do look for comfort. It's helped me some to listen to podcasts about grief. I'm also doing more meditating with guided meditations. I hope that you find some comfort each day.
  9. blue heron

    blue heron Guest

    Hello ladies. I am new here. Just joined today. I am just reading the above posts and can relate to it all.... I have no family - parents died, two sisters to suicide and the rest of the family just not people I want to be around....daughter caught up covid scare which I think is a hoax... so I'm by myself.... with holidays coming up. Been this way for a while.... finally taking action to get support... thank you. Lori