Until you lose someone close to you, you won’t understand the pain and the toll it takes on a family.
My mom passed away when I was 20 years old from pancreatic cancer. She was sick with the disease for 9 months from the initial diagnosis in 2013 to her eventual death in 2014. She was my best friend, biggest confidant, and the emotional support system to me and my three younger sisters. Her death was horrible for many reasons, and I didn’t just lose her — I lost my entire family.
When she was sick, I had just finished my sophomore year of college. I was struggling emotionally already as it was, being a 19-year-old female. Life is already hard enough when you aren’t dealing with a major trauma.
My father became her caretaker and was also no longer emotionally available to me. My relationships with my sisters changed. We were once a relatively happy-go-lucky family, and then after the diagnosis, none of us were the same.
My relationships with my mom’s sisters, who I’d been close to for my entire life, also became strained. There was drama surrounding the loss, and within three years, both of my grandparents on that side of the family died. It was a huge series of losses that took a long time to recover from, and even now in 2020, almost six years later, we are still recovering from the fallout.
We were all grieving individually for a long time and have continued to do so. It was very unsettling because the family I once knew and loved was no longer as emotionally available as they had once been, and they were no longer recognizable as the people I’d once known. Grief can really do that to you. It’s hard enough to lose your mom or someone close to you, but many people don’t realize the fallout that occurs as a result. Your life is just no longer the same as it once was before the loss.
I will say that for me, almost six years after the initial loss, life continues to go on. I’ve had to deal with a lot of trials and tribulations concerning my mental health since then, and I’ve learned a lot about death, grief, loss, health, and emotions since then.
The most important thing I’ve learned was to tap into spirituality, to trust in God, and to have faith. I now live feeling the guidance of my mom and grandparents as angels along my path. Some might say I do it out of comfort, but I truly do feel them with me on a nearly daily basis.
If you’ve lost someone you love, the first 3-5 years are going to be extremely painful. After that, it becomes more about making sense of the loss and incorporating it into your life. When you experience trauma, it can be very unsettling because it messes with your perception of reality and safety in the way you once knew it.
For some, like me, it was a huge wake up call telling me that I wasn’t living in alignment with my destiny, and it became a chance for me to start over and rebuild my life in a way that was more suitable to who I am.