Too much sadness lately

dedtiredSeptember 18, 2012

I apologize in advance for all this downer news, but it helps to talk about it. I have heard so much sad news lately, although the latest news has really thrown me for a loop.

My neighbor's 34 year old brother (both are doctors) died suddenly of a heart attack. News like this really gets me because my ex-husband's father died of a heart attack at age 46 and I worry that my sons could have inherited this tendency. I did not know the neighbor's brother, but I see the parents coming to visit and they look so lost.

Then I heard the heart wrenching news that the baby of a friend of a friend died of congenital heart failure. What makes this especially tragic is that they lost another daughter, age 3, in a drowning accident just 18 mos. ago. How does anyone survive such loss? They have another daughter and a baby on the way. I hope the new baby is healthy and brings them much joy.

Yesterday I spent the entire day in the ER with my 95 year old mom because she thought she was having a gall bladder attack. Although this was a false alarm and she is fine, it just made me so sad to see her lying on the gurney, wondering how many more years we will have her. I would also like to say NEVER go to the ER alone if you can help it. This is a very fine hospital but I could not believe how I had to watch out for her, with no one checking on her. It was freezing and I had to ask for a blanket. She had to use the commode. I asked for help to get her off the gurney (the rails were up)and it took so long for someone to respond I finally had to help her off the end of it. Jeez, at age 95, when she has to go, she has to go NOW. We were both glad to get out of there.

The very worst news was that of the death of my son's (former?)girlfriend. She was 36 and one of those magical people who had it all (brains, beauty, talent and kindness) and was still a wonderful person. They had lived together for more than five years and she moved out about a month ago. My son was heartbroken. Friends invited him to Maui to help him get through this and while he was there her parents called to say that she had died. She was extremely athletic and went mt. bik-ing in the hills of CA. She was in a remote area when she began to suffer chest pain and called Nine One One. It took search and rescue 1.5 hours to find her by 'copter (by the GPS coordinates on her phone)and by that time she was gone. Her three dogs were by her side. We still don't know if it was heat stroke or heart failure. Everyone who knew her is heartbroken and in disbelief. She was one of the most physically fit people I have ever known.

My son was very close with her family and he is the only person they know who knew anything about N's life and is the only one who can help them. Most of her belongings are still in his house. He flew home right away to help. When I talk to him on the phone, it doesn't even sound like him, he is so sad. His heart was already broken by the breakup and I know he was holding out hope that they would get back together.

I am not going to write her name because I don't want people googling around for info to find this post. There are a number of news articles about the event and I see that info and pictures have been lifted from her Facebook account, which really bothers me. Go check the privacy settings on your account and be sure the pictures you post are only pictures you'd like to see in the paper. N's were all very appropriate but it still feels wrong.

I also found out that my Ex has been on dialysis for the past year, three times a week. For some reason, this was a secret. I feel very bad for him and cannot imagine the impact on his life. I have no idea what the prognosis is for him.

Anyway, all this has made life kind of sucky lately, although it is another wake up call to "seize the day". I am very grateful that my good friends and loved ones are all well and safe, and I wish the same for you and yours.

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Oh, dear, that is so much all at once.

I'm thankful for my family and my health. My brother is 59 and will not stop smoking in spite of two heart attacks. At least there's a reason for his, unlike your son's girlfriend.

I'm praying for your family and all those who lost loved ones.


    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 12:51PM
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Pam, So much to grieve over. I know it's got to be hard to deal with all at one time.

Best wishes and prayers for you and your loved ones.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 1:50PM
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Oh, Pam, I know you must feel just engulfed with sadness.
The babies are just too awful to think of. How do people survive such losses? Hard to imagine that it was a usual occurrence a hundred years ago.
I'm thinking about your son. So sorry to hear about the lovely young woman's death.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 3:14PM
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I had a friend too Pam, who died pregnant at 36 of an undiagnosed heart defect/heart attack. Left a 2 and 4 year old. Her dad died of a heart attack too in his mid 40's, they were friends of the family. Some families just get dealt a bad set of cards it seems like. Wonderful people, just didn't deserve it no how no way. I am still grieving my best friend who died with no prior warning one day of a massive brain hemmorage. She was the picture of health and a full-of-life person, joi de vive. Happened last Oct. I miss her so much! Don't know if that helps you any, to know you're in a big boat??

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 4:41PM
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Thanks, guys (yeah, I now you are women). Sad things happen every day and I guess a list like this could posted frequently. Still, it helps to get it out and I appreciate that you all read through my long post. It is the loss of N that really has me reeling. She and my son were here last December and I enjoyed that visit so much. After time has passed and the "googlers" have lost interest, I may post some pictures of her.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 5:09PM
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Sorry to hear about all that bad news coming at once. We all have good and bad times, but it can really get to you when the bad times hit all at once. Believe me I know. Especially sad to hear abut all those undiagnosed heart conditions and so many at such young ages. My son has MVP and we have him checked yearly but you just never know.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 5:19PM
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Such losses - too many losses. I would be reeling also. I will include everybody in my prayers tonight. Sometimes, life just doesn't give us the answers we crave.

I am thankful your Mom is home and all is well. You're so right - ER is tough.


    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 5:46PM
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Oh Pam, my heart goes out to all of you that have suffered such tragic losses.

That's an awful lot of grief in a very short time. I wish there was something I could say or do to bring some comfort to you.


    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 7:35PM
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Thanks again. Here is a picture of N on a particularly happy day. I simply cannot believe she is gone.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 10:13PM
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Pam, that sure is a lot to have going on all at the same time. My heart goes out to everyone.
One minute all is good and then wham o... the crap just starts in. Stay strong, you're needed.


    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 10:26PM
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My heart goes out to you and all who are mourning. What a load of sorrow in a brief period. N's zest for life was snuffed out too quickly, and I cannot imagine losing two children. Sending you strength and a shot of good humor to keep you positive.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 12:41PM
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Thanks, Nancy and Ellen. It is all just surreal. My heart breaks for N's parents. What an awful loss.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 12:47PM
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If you find that your grief is taking too much control of your life, you might want to find a support group or possibly see a grief counselor. This is what my doctor recommended for me yesterday, and I am starting to look for a support group. If you are single, like I am, it is even more difficult, and you might want to consider re-entering the dating scene. I do think it is a very good idea to talk to a group or a therapist about how you are feeling. I do not deal with these situations well myself either. At times like this I am reminded of Wordsworth's quote: "Though nothing can bring back the hour of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower; we will grieve not, rather find strength in what remains behind..." I'm not sure why I keep thinking of that quote, but it helps me a bit, and I am reminded of Wordsworth's contemporaries Shelley and Keats who did not live long enough to see 30.

I hope your son get some help, as he is in a very difficult situation now. One of my very best and oldest friends died this year of a heart failure while riding his bike. Bad things happen to good people, and we have to be grateful that it is not worse, as it was in times past.


Here is a link that might be useful: Ode - Intimations of Immortality

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 1:35PM
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Thank you for linking to that lovely poem, Lars, and for your good thoughts and suggestions.

I really feel like I have a support group here and it was helpful to just pour it all out. I am extremely fortunate to have good supportive friends nearby as well as family. I've also talked a lot with my younger son and my brother who also knew N.

You are so right. My older son has had the worst emotional blow. He truly loved her and was crushed when she moved out. However, he had already done a lot of the emotional work of dealing with being apart when he got the news. In some ways her death may give him closure that he may not have gotten of he knew she was still around, with the possibility of reconciling. I don't think that was going to happen.

Several people have asked about the dogs. They were taken to an animal shelter and then picked up by a friend. I don't know who will keep them. The one was a terror -- cute, but bad, so I don't think anyone is anxious to have her. Maybe the parents will take them as they live in the country.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 2:36PM
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I'm sorry to hear about your losses Pam. The ones who go early or unexpectedly are hard to deal with mentally and emotionally. We don't have much experience with death in our modern age. Unless you belong to a church or temple I guess.

How heartbreaking for your son. I imagine this is a loss he will never get over.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 6:10PM
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Pam, I'm so sorry all this is happening around you and to you. It seems things like this happen in clusters, making it all the more difficult to cope with. Losing a friend is one of the hardest things to go through, I believe. My heart goes out to you, your son, and all those affected by the losses.


    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 9:43AM
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Thank you, again. I think I feel worse as time goes on and my son is really having a hard time. I wish I could be there for him. He is fortunate to have many good friends who will support him. He rode his bike out to the very spot where she died, just to spend time thinking about her and feeling her presence. He left flowers there.

The service is tomorrow on a cliff overlooking the Pacific. There will be hundreds attending.

I know time heals all wounds (I've been wounded before, as have many of you) and one day I will just have the good memories of a special person.

All of your comments mean a lot.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 2:05PM
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Such a sad time for you, your family, and friends. Unfortunately these losses seem to hit us one right after the other sometimes, with no rhyme, reason or connection. And as we get older ourselves, loss and sadness come into our lives more often.

Know that your friends here are thinking of you and holding you in our hearts.


    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 10:58AM
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Thanks, Teresa. The memorial service was on Friday. Hundreds showed up and my son spoke, along with others. Her family came to his house and took away most of her belongings. He now has her dogs, but he cannot keep them. A sister may take them although I don't think she can really afford the expense of two dogs. The dogs lived in my son's house for five years and really think of it as home, and him as their owner. He might be able to handle the German Shepherd because that dog is just a big doofus dog, but the other one is a handful and nips at people.

The whole thing is just a heartbreaking mess. Of course she had no Will. Who expects to die when you are 36 and very healthy? Her family has a big mess to settle.

Now my son has to get his own life together and move on. I am so proud of the way he stepped up and managed as much as he could in a difficult situation. He has been a huge help and support to her family.

Anyway, thanks for listening!

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 9:56PM
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Pam, I sent you an email via GW. I don't know if it went through.

I can't imagine how difficult this has been for your son.


    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 10:08PM
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Eileen, got it, thanks for telling me. I can't use my regular email account for GW, thanks to long ago wrist slapping from Spike. I use an alternate email address that I don't check all the time.

Son will somehow pull through. I wish he weren't so far away.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 2:39AM
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