Confusing double bereavement

My very ‘young’ 84 year old mother had a mild stroke 15th February which she was recovering well from and seeming to be on the mend. Until one of my brothers (family of nine) sadly lost his 10 year fight against alcohol and mental health issues and died 27th February. This obviously knocked my mother for six and although she tried to recover, after a very swift decline, she died 18 days later. My main direction of grief has been for my mother as we were incredibly close, and although I felt that I had grieved for my brother (during the shocked/numb phase), I am only now beginning to have overwhelming feelings of loss, anger, guilt and incredible sadness for what happened to him. On one hand I feel that I have begun to come to terms with my mother’s death only to find that the same feelings are coming up even stronger than before. And the one person who I need so much now (my mother), is no longer here to make any sense of it all. I do hope by using this forum and knowing someone out there may be listening it will go some way to relieve these feelings and get them ‘out of my head’. Thank you so very much.

Hey, I lost my dad 13years ago and it’s only just coming to the surface. I similarly went through the numb/shocker phase but that was it. I can tell you what you are going through is completely natural, I’m not sure if that will bring you comfort though. It makes a lot of sense that you will be now feeling this about your brother as well. The mind is excellent at trying to protect us from things but it catches up. I’m sorry you are going through this. I’m unsure about you but sometimes I feel confused? One minute I want to bust into anger, the next I want to cry and then I feel scared. It’s so overwhelming. Also I can’t seem to focus on much, people talk and I’m half there, half not.

I started counselling 6weeks ago and was advised to write a letter to my dad… I thought this was bonkers but I dug deep. I had no idea how much sadness, anger and guilt I felt. Maybe you could try and do the same for your brother and mum? Another thing I started is writing a journal, sometimes it’s just what I have done throughout the day but a lot of the time I get a lot of feelings out. It gets very messy in our thoughts and I think it’s a good way to be able to see what’s going on. You are greiving but also daily life stressors are there or maybe someone says something that really gets to you.

I know the person you want to talk to the most isn’t here, I feel the same. Some people on here have told me to try and talk to him in my head or out loud, maybe you could give this ago. I feel slightly afraid to but am starting to open up to the idea.

Just know you can come on here and people will support you the best they can. And remember you are never alone.


Dear Angela, I am very sorry for your double loss. Jay gives you excellent advice and I can only add that I have been writing a journal for 2 years since my husband passed. I can honestly say it’s my best coping strategy, it really helps.

I can relate somewhat to what you say. I lost my brother in January 2017 and then 5 months later I lost my husband. The loss of my brother got completely overshadowed by my husband’s passing, understandably so. Sometimes I forget that my brother is no longer here. We too are a big family, I’m one of 8. Our mum died six and a half years ago. Since mum died, we all meet up once a month for Saturday breakfast which keeps us all together.

This forum is a Godsend. You will find plenty of understanding and caring people here. I hope it helps you as much as it has helped me. Sending love and strength xx

Dear Jay and Kay, I hope you are well.
I’ve just had my 5th counselling session and thought I’d look at my original post. So I’ve only just seen your replies, thank you so much for getting back to me. Strangely, I was thinking just yesterday of writing to my brother and Mum and also starting a journal, so have been getting there too! It means so much to hear from you and how you have been coping, it’s a comfort to know how others are going through such similar emotions and thoughts, most of the time it’s just very confusing. Thankfully, by joining the Sue Ryder forum and the counselling, I have begun to unravel so much of the ‘mess’ that is grief and do believe I’m on a path to further understanding of my feelings and that of those close that have also been affected. It’s hard work and very challenging and after hearing from you, I’ve had a boast of strength, understanding and peace. I do wish you both the very best in your lives and hope you are receiving the support and strength you need to help you cope. xx

Hi Angela. I have found that grief can come back into out lives at any time. My father died suddenly in his forties in the 1970’s. I couldn’t understand why he should have died. He was a sportsman, non drinking, non smoking man with a lovely disposition. I kept this confusion in me for years. In our family we never talked about death or loved one’s after they had passed and I thought this was how you coped with loss. Until that is I lost my Brian in November, then I realised what loss really meant big time and Dad and the rest of my family has come back into my thoughts Along with dad the loss of my mother, Nan and Grandad (the latter I was very close to) have come back to haunt me. I was expected to get on with life then and never really mourned for them. Never gave my mother or Nan support with their losses at comparatively young ages.
My mother once told me that if she lost my stepfather we was not to keep visiting her and making a fuss and at her funeral I held back tears until my head was splitting as I knew it wasn’t expected of me. Now I am remembering them all as if I lost them yesterday because I now know what it is truly like to lose someone you love. I am now mourning all my family and find myself apologising to them for not being more caring. They was all cremated in different parts of the country so I have no where to go, except my husband and he’s just up the road. Perhaps a small area in my garden dedicated to them might help.