Coping with Cumulative Losses


A reader writes: I lost my brother to brain cancer five months ago. After the funeral, I headed to my best friend's home (in another state) for our annual visit. Her dad had been in a nursing home for Alzheimer's for the past 7 years. The day that I’d intended to return home was the day that he passed away. So, I stayed for that funeral too. Barely two months later, this same friend’s mother (who for years has been like a second mom to me) suffered complications during surgery and developed a blood infection. I rushed back to my friend’s home and arrived in time to see her mom, although she was in already in a coma. She died two days later. Okay - that's three major deaths within three months. I feel as if I can't breathe. I don't know anyone who this has happened to. Many people have no idea what I'm going through because the deaths of my friend's parents “don't count” for me. People think that I don't have a “right” to grieve these deaths. They aren't my “in-laws” and they aren't technically related to me. Tell that to my broken heart. So, I thought that I would write and see if you could say a few words that might help me.