Please Help Me Understand

Question: Dear Luise: It’s been 6 weeks since I lost my only child Brandon at the age of 27. I feel so emotionally drained! Can’t do or say anything correct to my new husband.  Brandon was a Type 1 Brittle Juvenile Diabetic (which meant his blood sugar was either high or low).  He was diagnosed at 18 months old and it’s been a roll a coaster ride with many emergency room visits, lengthly hospital stays. All he ever ask me “why can’t I be normal like everyone else?”  I’ve lived my life for him and feel guilty about slowing down to nurture his medical needs. Sometimes I felt like I knew more than the doctors.  Please help.  My son was the first grandchild for my parents and didn’t want for anything. They passed away 6 years.ago and my son never ever got over their passing. They died within 6 months of each other with Cancer. How do I cope with all these mixed feelings, especially the recent loss of my son. He was so liked and would do anything for anyone. Please help me to understand. D.

Answer: Dear D.: There is no way to explain the unexplainable. And for a long time it is very hard to go on alone. I know. There is very little motivation to do so.

When I lost my son at age 52, (he lived almost twice as long as your son did,) all I seemed to be able to think was that I “should” have been the one to leave so that he could stay. However, it doesn’t work that way as you know. It’s hard not to be bitter when we see people abusing themselves and living long lives. Death and health are things we can’t orchestrate. There are many belief systems that can soften the blow but nothing can actually remove the loss.

You are at the beginning of the journey. How can you feel any other way than the way you do after just six weeks? After you get a better sense of balance you may want to give the love in your heart to some kind of meaningful volunteerism. I am not talking about stuffing envelopes; I’m suggesting making “grandma” visits at a day care or participating in a hospital visitation program for children who have no family (that cares.) There are endless ways to funnel love but it’s too soon.

There’s no way past it. We have to go through it and it often feels like we won’t survive it. We can even come to “what’s the point?” Grief counseling might be helpful. I would strongly suggest you look into it. And hang in there. Blessings, Luise

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