Struggling with the loss of someone who was like family

Just found this site. First Post. Hope I do it right.
I am so sorry for all of your losses.
I’m feeling really lost. I feel a bit of a fraud really. The person I lost wasn’t a family member or a partner. In truth, she was my very first teacher. My mum volunteered at school and they became friends. She was in my life from the age of 5, so for 35 years.
I lost my dad to a heart attack just before my 15th birthday. Sudden and awful. I was so much like my dad, spitting image of him, just with hair.
My mum was diagnosed with cancer the following year, during my GCSE exams. She fought it. After being given the all clear, two years later she was sick again, this time terminal. She fought hard to make sure my younger sister turned 18, so she didn’t go in to care. She had a stroke. Fell asleep one day and never woke up. Again, a devastating loss. This lady was with my family through all this. We stayed in touch and became friends ourselves. She had major heart surgery last year and flew through it. Working in the NHS I abused my uniform a little and got to see her in intensive care a bit. I finally stopped living with my sister and turned 40 in spring this year. She visited my new place and was happy for me. At the beginning of May I got a call from her daughter. I knew exactly what she was going to say. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t think. I had the day off work for her funeral, but no other time. It’s 7 months on. I feel beyond lonely in my new home, I cry at the drop of a hat, the weight of missing her is enormous. I have brilliant friends, but I feel I have talked about her so much it must be too much for them now. I knew her longer than I had both my parents put together. She was the last link to my parents too, so I feel I have lost a bit of them again too. I’m meant to take tablets for thyroid, which was a new thing, but expected, as both mum and sister have it too. I’m not taking it. I was given a prescription by my lovely GP for antidepressants, but I’m not taking those either. I’m not eating right. Not sleeping. I keep trying to put a brave face on at work, for the most part it works. I feel isolated and alone in all parts of my life. I’ll be glad when Christmas is over and the ads ramming happy families down our throats will stop.

Hi jojo,

I dont think it matters that your loss isnt directly regarding a family member. What this lady represents is your past and now she is gone you are probably grieving all over again for your parents as well as her.Losing them at such a young age must have been so traumatic for you. This lady was like a second mother, I’m guessing.
I lost my dad to a massive heart attack when he was 53. Then 6 months ago I lost my fantastic mum suddenly to a massive stroke. I can barely believe it but I do know that things are getting worse. I dont think the time of year helps. Last xmas was so exciting with my mum, partner, daughter and I all recently moved into a large house. Who would believe it would be my mums last one?
This site has been so good for me. I’ve made lots of online 'friends ’ here who all understand the sudden loss of their mum and who are also sick of xmas ‘cheer’.
Keep talking on here. We all understand and are good listeners!
Cheryl x

Grief is grief whoever it is for. I’m sorry for your loss. There a lovely supportive group of people on these forums.

I’m sorry you’ve lost someone that mattered so much to you. It doesn’t matter how you are connected to someone, when that relationship is lost your grief is your grief. I lost my son 8 weeks ago and it’s not just Christmas but the rest of life without Henry, that I need to learn to manage. I find being busy helps…soppy Christmas songs make it all worse…but I appreciate for many people they are looking forward to happy times with loved ones. I am too and Henry will be with me. You will find the strength my friend. Some days will always be awful but some will be ok. Keep talking to people and don’t worry about them being fed up listening. If they care they will be pleased you can share your feelings.
Also take your meds and look after yourself- the people you’ve lost would want you to be well. Life is a gift JoJo1 but it’s so hard to believe that when you hurt so much. :cry: Big hugs P

Thank you so much for your kind replies.
Your words have helped.
It’s so rough this time of year. You want to be happy for everyone, but it’s difficult.
Love to everyone going through hell. Nice to know we’re in it together. :purple_heart:
Fingers crossed for a better night’s sleep and maybe no tears tonight. :crossed_fingers:

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You guys are amazing!
Carol, Peanut, Purple, all of you!
I saw a post on Facebook a little while ago. An artist had tried to convey grief in a sculpture.
It was a person made of wire, like chicken wire, knealt down and the frame was full of large pebbles. My description doesn’t do the image justice, but it is very accurate. The weight of grief.
My dad wasn’t yet 51 when he had his heart attack and my mum was 55 when she passed.
5 years and 5 months apart. They were 12 days short of their 20th wedding anniversary when he died.
She was called Carol, born on boxing day.
Never a gift for both occasions. Always kept it separate.
Even now all these years later, if I see a jigsaw puzzle it crosses my mind for her birthday!
I think I’ve seen more poppy’s this year than ever before with Mrs F leaving us. Her favourite flower, whatever colour.
So odd picking something up and thinking they’d like that and then remembering they’re gone.
I know you get used to it over time, just hurts so much to begin with.
Love you guys :purple_heart:

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Hi JoJo
I’m going through a dip and finding it so hard to think my son’s gone forever- not just this Christmas. Nothing could ever hurt as much :cry: Hopefully tomorrow will be less difficult. Love to everyone x

It would be my Sharon’s birthday this Christmas Eve…I still went ahead and bought some of her favorite albums…I intend to sit and listen to them while thinking about her.
I have to admit I’m going through a really bad day… missing her so much…
Love to all you guys…
Thanks for being here…

Dear Peanut
It’s still her birthday so listening to songs she loved will keep that connection strong.
Sharon will be with you :heart: Big hugs

Dear Purple
Thank you so much…x

Hi Jojo1, So sorry for your loss. You are certainly not a “fraud.” Loss is Loss, and grief defies age, gender, and the nature of the relationship. There is no hierarchy in grief. and “family” need not to be biological. I lost my precious younger sister to cancer, and have been visiting this site for about a year. I find, no matter the circumstances of our loss, we are all connected by a common thread of profound despair.
Your teacher was indeed a part of your life history, and a connection to your parents. You have suffered so much loss, and at a young age, and this most recent loss will compound all of the losses that came before. This can be overwhelming, thus you must be gentle and patient with yourself.
Your teacher was there for you (as my beloved sister was for me, when our Mom died in 2012). We need them to help us now, but they are no longer there, leaving us empty and alone. I hear your pain, and you have every right to whatever you are feeling.
I am glad you found this site, it has been my “go-to” in my darkest hours. You will find the most lovely, caring souls here. We are also dealing with the challenge of getting through Christmas, and understand how the forced “merriment” can intensify grief. Please keep posting, sometimes just expressing feelings via the written word can be therapeutic. Take care of yourself during these difficult days. Xxx :broken_heart: Sister2

Dear all
I’m so sorry…but had to post this…Sharon has only been gone under a month…but I just keep thinking that I want to be with her…and not here. I guess you know what I’m thinking…I know it’s early days but I can’t shake these thoughts…sorry…xx

Hello Peanut,
There’s no need to apologise for sharing how you’re feeling. As you say it’s early days, but that doesn’t necessarily make it easier to deal with these thoughts you’re having. It is normal to have thoughts of wanting to be with your loved one, but sometimes they can become overwhelming so it’s important to seek support and talking about how you’re feeling - as you’ve done by talking to us here.

There are other sources of support that you may find helpful to reach out to. You could get in touch with your GP to see what support they can offer and what services, such as counselling, might be available in your local area. The Samaritans are always there to listen 24/7 and can be contacted on 116 123 or They’ll be open over Christmas if you needed to talk.

If you think you might be at risk of harming yourself in any way, please call 999 or go to A&E immediately.

Take care of yourself, and keep talking to us for as long as it helps.

Dear Peanut
I feel like that at times, I lost my son 9 weeks ago. However I think it’s because I just want the pain to stop and of course for me it would…but for Henry’s brother, my grandson and my husband and family they would all then have even more pain to cope with. It’s such an agony I know but do speak to your family and friends about how you’re feeling plus there is professional support available through this site.
This is a situation that we can and will survive and we will all learn to live without our loved ones.
This time of year plus Sharon’s birthday is understandably making your loss so much harder. I’ve been preparing food for Christmas today, Henry was a chef and last year he was here with me. I’ve thought about him all day and I know he’d be proud that I’ve got everything done to his standard. Our love is still as strong as when he stood next to me.
Big hugs and thinking of you.

Eleanor Purple
What beautiful words of support …
I suppose it can be normal to feel this way…
One foot in front of the other…
You’re both…of course…right…
All I can say is…thank you…Sharon wouldn’t want me to do something so heartbreaking…there is more than enough for my family and friends to contend with…
Love and best wishes from me…and of course.Sharon.xx

Hope you’re doing ok tonight everyone, especially Peanut.
Thank you to Sister2 for your kindness.
I’ve had those dark feelings too. So many times.
With there just being me and my sister left, and she’s an adult, we don’t get along, to say the least, I often thought, I wouldn’t be missed.
I confided these feelings to a friend and she made me promise if I ever felt like that again to contact her no matter where or when. I promised and then she went on to shout at me and give me a big hug.
This lady has dealt with so much in her life, including losing someone that way, I could tell she meant it.
Knowing she’s at the end of a phone or text makes a big difference. I hope that you all have at least someone out there like that for you.
Dark days feel never ending sometimes, but then some tiny thing happens and lifts you in to the light, if only briefly, but gives you that extra bit of oomf to keep going.
Love to you all. :purple_heart:

Thanks jojo1…Been a difficult and heartbreaking day…
I wish you all the love you all deserve…
This site provides so much hope…xx

Hi Peanut,

I joined this forum about 10 minutes ago and I sincerely hope that you’ve found some understanding company, both online and in your day-to-day life during your horrendous time.

I feel terribly sorry for you and having read your posts, it’s good to see that you’re doing things in Sharon’s honour during this horrific period for you.

Just for the sake of expressing my background, I’m a 40 year old single child and I lost my Mum without warning to a heart attack as she slept in 2017 and I lost my Dad after a grueling 18 hour ordeal with several heart attacks in 2018. This is my second Christmas without my parents and it’s proving to be another horrendously difficult time for me.

My wife and her family have shown me more love and affection than I could ever thank them for.

It’s so encouraging to see that you bought her favourite albums and you listened to them with her so prominent in your thoughts. I did the entire opposite of this after my losses and while I think of them during every second of the day, I packed every aspect of them away both mentally and physically immediately as a defence mechanism. This is something that has caused me great harm and anguish in the long term to the point that I sidestep anything that causes a reminder to surface where I can. This is something I truly regret.

Please keep doing what you have done! Keep speaking to people on here and wherever you can. Knowing that the cold harsh reality of the world has others who have their own experiences and their desire to reach out has done more good for me than I realise to this day.

I will always be happy to speak to you even though I’m exceptionally new to this site. Please keep talking; especially during a period like this.

All the best, Scott

Peanut, I just wanted to say hello and express my condolences. Christmas Season is hard enough, without having your loved one’s birthday fall on Christmas Eve. Take comfort in knowing you are forever connected to Sharon, and not even death can break that bond. My precious sister also died from cancer, and it is a cruel disease. My heart :heart:goes out to you. We are all here for each other, and will be here for you . When struggling through this maze of grief, and it is easy to lose one’s way. But the good people here will shine a light to guide us, :candle:
Take gentle care. Xxx Sister2

Hi Scott-Glad you found us. I am very sorry for your losses. I lost my Dad when I was quite young, then Mom in 2012, then my younger Sister in 2018.:family_man_woman_girl:
This is also my second Christmas without my sweet Sister. Like you, I lost both parents and now my Sister .
Multiple losses leave one with no time to come up for air, and the grief just intensifies with each death.
Thank you for sharing your story. After reading your words, I believe that you did what you had to, in order to survive a devastating life trauma, Being on this site, you will find that we all cope differently. and in our own way. Perhaps in time you might be ready to allow those reminders to arise, when you are less vulnerable.
This grief journey takes patience, not easy when we need to feel better 'Now."
Take care and post again, there is always someone here to listen & support.
Xxx Sister2