Not sure where to start or how. It all started 18 years ago when my mum passed away , she was my best friend. After that I lost my way and felt very alone. I don’t think I fully dealt with everything. My close friend from school helped me a lot and we grew closer and closer she was there for me through everything. We spent so much time together we became like sisters, she was Aunt to my kids. She battled breast cancer in 2019/20 and got the all clear but it came back last December and had spread there was nothing they could do.
I was there right to the end . I now feel lost and feel like I relived my mums death.
Not sure how to start again

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Dear Lisa81,

I can understand that you are struggling, having lost two people who meant everything to you. It must feel like history repeated itself.
Last year one of the best friends I ever had died of cancer. We had been friends for about 16 years before she had moved back to New Zealand. A few years ago I lost first my dad, and then my mum, so I know what it is like to lose loved ones.
I am so sorry that your friend’s cancer came back after she had been given the all clear. That must have been so hard for her, and for those who loved her. It must have been such a support and comfort for her to have you as her friend right until the end. Was she able to stay at home or did she end her last days in a hospital or hospice?
Have you tried to get any help for yourself, for example from charities such as MacMillan or MarieCurie who offer support if you have lost someone to cancer? When I looked after my mother’in-law last year, I tried the MacMillan online chat option and found it very helpful to be able to talk with a nurse about how I felt.
Nobody can replace your friend, but I hope that as time goes on, you will find new friends who can be there for you , like she was, maybe through this site, or by joining a local bereavement group. I can’t answer your question on how to start again. Grief is very personal, and everyone finds their own way of dealing with it. Reading other people’s stories will show you lots of different things that others have found helpful. There are also many helpful articles on the main Sue Ryder site.
Take care,

Hi @Lisa81

I don’t know where to start either. I guess I’m older than you, because I’ve had cancer also, and all my female parts have been removed. Unfortunately, I had fertility problems, and also I never found the right partner when I could have children.

Am I right in assuming that your children’s father is no longer on the scene? That makes things even more difficult for you, and now you have lost your best friend you feel utterly bereft and abandoned.

It’s like the famous physicist Stephen Hawking’s said, the most important thing in life is to keep talking. He had a personal battle too - he had motor neurone disease for about 40 years before he eventually died. MND is apparently the disease that even doctors are afraid of, because it is more or less a death sentence - the average person who is diagnosed with it lives for about 3 years. Yet this remarkable man struggled his way through decades of it, producing along the way books galore, scientific discoveries, 2 marriages, etc etc etc.

Right now you are in battle mode - the most stressful and nasty human experience on this earth. Your support system is gone, you have to take care of your children, you feel as if you have nobody who cares about you.

All I can say is that I felt exactly as you do last year, when my husband became ill. He had just retired after working beyond his pension date, because of his personal situation. His priority in life was to take care of me, as my priority was to take care of him. He was my rock, and I was his rock. We had always thought that I was the one who was liable to die first, because I’d had cancer in my 50s, and then I discovered I had fibromyalgia and also severe arthritis more or less in every major joint in my body, including spinal cord compression in my neck.

Neither of us realised that he had a brain tumour that was slowly but surely destroying his nervous system. The first COVID lockdown passed like a dream, we simply hunkered down together and self isolated - we were OK. We downloaded the Good Sam app to try to help others.

Then in July he was sent to A&E because the GPs were worried that he’d had a stroke. That is when things went seriously wrong. The tumour was visible on the CT scan, but dismissed as irrelevant. Given his history - both his parents died as a result of strokes - that scan should have triggered another scan immediately, but he was simply sent back home. He walked into hospital mid August, and died at home a little more than a month after that.

I don’t know why. I have asked some questions, but they haven’t been answered. It’s now 8 months later, and although I am still grief stricken, the pain is beginning to ease a little because I have good friends, a good local support system, and enough money to see me through.

I’m Scottish, but I live in England. I’m moving back to Scotland very soon, because things are very different there.

You don’t have that option. If I was in your position, I would start by telling someone you trust, such as your GP, how you are feeling, and ask how they can help you to feel less alone. Perhaps you are depressed, and that itself is horrid, but there are options to treat it such as anti-depressants and also community support groups.

And please stay here, keep posting. Lots of people here have been through what you are going through, and they will try to help you feel less alone.

Christie xxx

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