Chronic Grace

Finding the Grace in a Life With Chronic Illness

The dirty little secret about death that no one ever seems to talk about is that the funeral is the easy part. The hardest part is learning to live without the person you loved so much. And by then everyone else has gone on with their busy lives and either don’t care or want to hear about it or maybe just don’t want to take the time and effort to pick up the phone for ten minutes a couple of times a month and just ask, “How are you doing? Would you like to have lunch, or maybe go to a matinee, or just talk awhile?” With a very few exceptions, everyone–family, friends–I thought I could count on are just…gone. And when I do try to reach out, it’s very awkward, as though they don’t really want to talk anyway.

It’s just unbearable, the loneliness. I would like to die, I really would, and be with mom and dad again. I don’t feel as though I have much here left to live for. George would remarry. I don’t have any children who would miss (nor will I ever). Apparently none of my extended family would miss me too much. My biggest stumbling block is that I don’t know who I would leave my family mementos too, because I can’t think of any of my cousins who would cherish my dad’s things the way I do. And since barely any of them bothered to show up for my mom’s funeral or even send a card, I know no one would treasure her pictures and writings as I do. And I don’t have any life insurance, so I don’t know how George could afford to bury me.

Anyway, I made an emergency appointment with my therapist for tomorrow. She’s paid to care, after all, so maybe that will help. It would be nice to not cry myself to sleep every night.

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7 thoughts on “dirty little secret

  1. Missy says:

    Barb, I’m so sorry to hear you are feeling this way. I haven’t lost anyone as close as you were to your mother so I can’t truly understand what you are going through.I know that people do care about you – I’ve seen it! Perhaps they feel stuck or don’t quite know what to say. I know it doesn’t help to make excuses, but I’ve heard others say that they felt deserted by their friends after a loss – I think people just feel clueless.I’m glad to hear you are going to meet with your therapist tomorrow to talk out some of these feelings. Some of the things you wrote concern me a lot and I think talking with her about it are a good idea. Maybe you could even print out your post and bring it along.Take care of yourself please.


  2. liz says:

    I echo everything Missy said.I’m sorry that I haven’t been there for you, Barb. I have been in a bit of a funk myself and have been in my “cave” lately. I know how difficult it is when friends scatter after a loss – I REALLY found out who my true friends were after my brother died. I could count on one hand the number of people that have truly been there. I think Missy is right – it’s just too heavy for most people, especially when a loss is untimely or particularly difficult and people just don’t know how to deal.Please, please hang in there. You are not alone.


  3. Emilie says:

    {{{HUGS}}}(I sent you an e-mail)


  4. Kristie says:

    Barb,I will just ditto Missy and Liz. I’m off to work right now but I will be back to post a more thoughtful reply.I am thinking about you and I care about you!


  5. Kerry says:

    Barb,I am so sorry to read your blog and hear about what an isolated place you feel you are in. I don’t have any other pearls of wisdom in addition to the things the other ladies have said. I know for certain that there are people thinking and praying for you, myself included, so please take that to heart, You ARE loved and cared for.


  6. Kristine says:

    I know my reply is late in the game here, but I feel it’s never too late to feel some love and support. I hope your session went well with your therapist and you were able to discuss these points you brought up. I also have not lost anyone as near and dear to me either, but I know I am guilty of “scattering” when someone has lost somebody close to them as well. It’s hard. You don’t know what to say or do. There is never the right thing to say, or at least that is how I have felt. I hope you are doing better. You are in my thoughts and prayers.


  7. Amy says:

    I just stumbled across your blog and read the last several entries. You don’t know me, I don’t know you — but please take care of yourself. Last year, in the space of under 5 months, my husband and I lost his 11 month old nephew (completely unexpected), my grandmother, Mamie, we were very close, and my little brother, Greg (of an accidental drug overdose, he was just 22). Ever since I’ve felt basically blindsided and so thoroughly lonely that I didn’t think I could keep going. But I did, and I will continue to, and I’m healing. You will, too. Take care and ((hugs)) from a stranger who cares.


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