- Quality of Life & Wellness
Tips For Handling Life When Many Family Have Passed Or Exited Your Life
When I was younger, I never imagined that my life would turn out the way that it has. That is,
as far as loss and misfortunes go. It all started at an early age, it seems. I'm not complaining,
of course. I've learned that too much complaining is a waste of time and doesn't do anyone any
When I was only almost 4 years of age, our dad passed-away from complications of an
ulcer. However, my mother handled things remarkebly, as a widow. She was a very good
Christian woman, as well as a good provider. However, I believe this death affected my brother
and I in ways that many may have not understood. I know that when I was in grade school, I
didn't want to tell anybody that I didn't have a dad, because most of the kid's I knew had dads.
And, letting-out this secret, I remember, made me very nervous.
I guess this would seem pretty silly, by today's standards. But in the small town where I lived
a person just didn't see many single-parent families, back in the mid to late sixties.
Then, a few years later, my grandma, who was like a second mother to me, passed-away
from cancer. So I became acquainted with death, it would seem, at a very early age.
I always knew from a very early age that my mother was not as healthly as a lot of people
or parent's her age. She lived with an incurable lung disease, from the time of early childhood.
I remember in childhood, sometimes I would imagine something happening to my mother,
and nobody had told me. However, my mother did survive for many years, and was able to
live an almost normal life for many years.
Then, when I was 38 , the time came that most of us usually dread. My mother passed-
away the morning of May 25, 1997. It was on a Sunday. She died at home. I remember that
morning, almost as if it happened yesterday. The call came from an aunt, who told my hus-
band that we needed to come right away. So, we made the almost hour trip over to my mom
and step-dad's house. As me, my husband, and our 2 1/2 year-old son made our way over
there, we knew what probably happened. I said the 23 rd psalm on our way over there.
When we got there, several cars were there. When we got out of the car, my knees felt
very weak, as I made my way up to the house. The minister and several other people were
That afternoon, as me, my step-dad, and brother went to make arrangements, I felt as if
I was in a trance, just going through the motions. It's a feeling that is hard to describe. It just
felt like I was there doing these things, but I wasn't. My brother told me that it was because we
were in shock.
I've found that in the process of burying a loved-one that a person may feel numb during
the process, but when the day comes for burying that loved-one, then when the casket is
closed, that's when the reality hits. As the old saying goes, it ain't over till it's over.
However, for me, I think that seeing the way my mom suffered those last two years, especi-
ally in that last 6 or 7 months, I think that all-in-all was the hardest part. I couldn't hardly stand
to see my mom suffer.This sounds horrible, but, in a way, if she couldn't be healed in some
way, I was ready for it to be over.
However, I think, this was one of the hardest things I've ever went through. I was an awful
nervous wreck before my mother died. I couldn't even stand still to talk to talk to someone.
Then, after she died, I was better. But, I felt an awful emptiness in my heart. I had to take one
day at a time, with God's daily help, or I don't know how I ever would have made it. And, people
may say they understand, but you don't, unless you experience something like this for your-
self. And, sometimes, you can feel so terribly alone, in your grief. It's not very pleasant in life
Then , almost a year later, my only son, at the time, was diagnosed with autism. I felt as if
someone had just kicked me in the stomach. This was an awful day, if I must put it that way.
I remember staring into space and telling my husband, his sister, and my step-father, that
maybe that day would be the end of the world. I think I probably had a mild case of post-
traumatic stress disorder, for a while, after that was over-with. I didn't want to go anywhere,
especially where I had to be around normal children; and, for a long time, I didn't dare go to an
autism support group, although my husband tried to get me to go. One of the reasons was
that I didn't want to see any autistic children. I didn't want to look at the face of autism, so to
speak. Of course, when I finally did go to a support group, the ceiling didn't cave in; and we
were all still alive; and none of us were insane or anything.
It took my husband and I awhile to get over the trauma of our autistic son's diagnoses and
to adjust to it. Probably less time for my husband. But, with God's help, our church family, and
friends, we did over time.
In fact, I believe that I am the person I am today because of my mother's death and my
son's diagnoses. Even though I was 38-years-old, at the time, I believe this was really when I
grew-up. And, years back, I read an article of a woman who lost her mother who also experi-
In fact, I had a dream years later, after all this, where I saw my mother at a train station;
and I looked at her straight in the eyes and told her: "Ya know, there was a time when I didn't
think I could stand on my own;but I can! I can!" Then I woke-up.
However, the ways that I have grown through these experiences I wouldn't trade for the
Anyway, several months before we adopted our youngest son, who is now 7 1/2, my step-
father passed away from having several strokes in less than a month's time. He was a really
good man, who treated my brother and I like we were always his own. I believe I handled this
death a lot better, because I think he wanted to pass-on. He wanted to be with my mother.
As I have written in a previous hub, my brother passed-away suddenly, over 4-years-ago.
This was very sudden, and a shock. At first, I was a little concerned where my brother went
after his death. However, at my brother's showing, an aunt came up to me and told me that my
brother told an older couple he was close to, shortly before he died that eveything was fine
between him and God. And, also the Lord reminded me of a Bible verse that says something
like: "I am the ressurection and the life. He who believes in me, though he were dead, yet
shall he live." So, I believe and am confident that my brother is in heaven. I believe he watches
over me, too.
I also used to have two step-sisters, but they and their families no longer keep in contact
with us, for various reasons, I'm sure; which I will not go into in this hub. However, this is sad,
Now I am getting to some important points of how my life has changed and how me and
my family have been blessed over the years, since these events, and through some of these
events. I have met a lot of good people. A lot of forever friends, and even some who have
became "adopted" family. I try to make as many friends as I can.
I now have two "adopted" sisters. Also, we have "adopted" some younger people. And,
also a baby girl grandchild, who needs another set of grandparents, even though we do have
a 2 1/2-year-old grandson.
My husband's parent's have also been gone for many years. In fact, I hardly got a chance
to get to know my mother-in-law, before she passed-away. However, my husband and I did
have an adopted mother, who passed over a year ago. Coincidently, she reminded me a lot
of my biological mother, in physical appearance and in personality. She also died of a lung
disease. She had smoked for many years. But we consider her a great woman. Anybody
who was as good to us and our family as she was will always be great, in our books!!
We also knew a lady from church, who passed-away about the same time, who was a
mother-figure to us. She also had a very good heart and lived well over 90-years of age.
I'll always remember the day after our son was diagnosed with autism, she came over to
our home, early in the morning and listened to me, with my red eyes, where I had been crying
all night and hadn't hardly slept the night before, if any.
I've learned through (legally) adopting our older daughter and our youngest son that it takes
more than blood to be a parent, or a relative, for that matter.
If a person is lonely or lacking something, my advice is to reach out. If a person gets in-
volved enough, people will respond to that. Of course, not all friends will become adopted
family; but I've found that the more people one has in life, the more fulfilled they will feel.
I especially love making friends with older people and younger people. And, sometimes,
some people may need you just as much as you need them.
When I was younger, I used to be really shy; but now I feel like I have a lot of family and
friends! And, that has been a real blessing and a big delivery from loneliness and sadness!