- What relationship that you have lost are you sharing about here? With two of my siblings/their children and for a while with my mother (she has re-established contact with me since my son was born, but is careful not to talk about me or let me have access to information about the two siblings that distanced themselves). It also fundamentally changed my relationship with my twin and other sibling, such that interactions with these are now often awkward and infrequent.
- How long ago did you experience this loss? Since 2001 with my siblings/their children and from 2001 until 2007 with my mother. Initially I got death threats and nasty letters / phone calls from my family – this settled after a couple of years. Anything I sent, card, presents etc were returned to me – normally having been destroyed so after a few years I stopped sending things.
- Did you or the other person initiate it? They initiated the separation. I have always kept the possibility of future relationship open, such as inviting them all to my wedding. Only my twin came. And letting them know when I am in the country.
- What was your relationship like before it ended? It had been typical sibling style relationship – we get on because you are my sibling rather than that we have anything in common, but really enjoyed my niece and nephews (3 of them) and spent a lot of time with them when I could. My relationship with my mother had varied over the years – we were never close but I would visit her at least 6 times a year, as well as phone calls etc.
- What happened that resulted in the loss of this person in your life? They reacted this way in response to my unwillingness to let abusive, dysfunctional relationships continue on to the next generation. I asked us as a family to do something to protect my niece/nephews and was “punished” (their words) for trying to raise something that should have been left alone by being thrown out of the family. I did follow through as they would not, and my father was placed on a sex-offenders register so this seriously impacted their lives (one sibling was using my parents for almost daily child-care before that and could no longer do so after – but they were more concerned about their reputation, living within a smallish town).
- Where are things at now regarding this person? I have a restored, but shallow relationship with my mother – as long as we keep to safe topics and never discuss the past, or the rest of the family then we can talk. She has stayed with me and I with her since she re-established contact… and I have been very careful to allow her as non-biased a relationship with her grandson as I can. The two siblings that ‘punished me’ continue to ignore me. One sibling’s partner apparently still threatens “to kill me if she ever saw me”. I followed my niece on Facebook for a while, but her settings changed so that I cannot see much now. I hear snippets of info about my nephews and (for one his children) through my twin.
- What is your ideal future with this person? With my mother – to have an open and honest conversation about the past and an apology about how she reacted. For my siblings to re-establish enough of a relationship that it allows me to attend my mothers funeral and allows the niece/nephews to have the opportunity to get to know me if they want to. (I was told about my father’s death a couple of weeks later so that “I did not turn up at the funeral”).
- What do you miss most about this person? The chance to be an aunt to my niece and nephews and for my own son to known his family (cousins, aunts and uncles).
- What is now possible without this person in your life? One of my worst nightmares from childhood happened – our family would fall apart and not be together anymore and the people who are supposed to love me no matter what completely rejected me…… and it was ok, I survived, in fact I thrived. I no longer have to worry about what I say to whom or if I forgot something etc. I could concentrate on what my life was about, without trying to please my family and prove myself acceptable to them.
- What advice do you have for others experiencing similar loss? It seems extreme and painful in the early years, time (and tears and prayer) doesn’t bring back what you lost but allows you to see from a different perspective and feel more comfortable with that.
- BONUS: A question you would like to see added to this list that readers can respond to in the comments. Would you have done something different if you had known it would lead to the loss? My answer would be NO
Welcome to my (our) new adventure!
Anyone who follows my other blog, somemother, is familiar with my format…. “Contributors” are invited to submit their responses to the same 20 questions that mothers from all over the world are answering. At somemother, everyone is a writer, blogger, author… because everyone has something meaningful to share!
And share, you have… I have posted 52 contributions and counting… That’s 52 different mothers willing to put their thoughts, admissions, history, and hopes out there… Many contributors have their own blogs, and almost all use Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Linked In, Pinterest, and more. We all have connections to family, friends, and colleagues…. yet, still, somemother is a unique forum because it is anonymous. There is safety in being able to share so personally in this over-exposed yet under-supported world of social media.
Each somemother post is its own piece of awesome, and even in the blog’s infancy, I have big dreams for what it can become and how it may impact the lives of those somewhere out there reading….
Despite this positive momentum, my followers also know that for months, I have been struggling… the awesome contributions I’ve received have languished while I wrestle with the forces in my heart, mind and life that make publishing a post difficult or, er, impossible… I have fleeting moments of motivation, and get a post up, and then it dissipates as I spiral into my life… What could be causing this disruption??? (besides kids, activities, laundry, cleaning…!)
last year more like two okay, well, four years have been significantly impacted by…. “difficult” relationships in my life. I know this is hardly original, something faced by MANY, yet I have not found a forum where I can talk about my issues. Things are complicated and messy, and I want to shield my positive “in real life” relationships from the whack of the troubling ones… And, the online world is too exposed with too much potential to cause more damage by seeking support there.
Many (both IRL and online) would never guess I have been struggling so intensely… I have been continuing with the business of life, kids, marriage, groceries, book clubs, playdates, appointments, and all the other things that propel us along even when we are so.very.broken inside. I think my life would be perceived as rather successful… I have a great husband, I have beautiful, healthy children, we have a nice home, we have friendships and activities and interests and all the things that make a life good. Blessed.
However, I have lost the most important relationships next to my husband and my children. Three very important people are gone from me.
…more on that to come…
For now, suffice it to say, what is most difficult is that, they are not dead. They walk, they talk, they do their lives, running parallel to mine, rarely if ever meeting and certainly not engaging. What is confounding is that all of us are seemingly normal, functional, happy people and our friends, acquaintances, and extended family would never guess that such a fracture has occurred. Even if they knew, their own relationships with each of us makes it difficult to be understood, to share our own understanding, and feel supported and validated.
HERE’S WHERE LOSS OF THE LIVING COMES IN….
Because, this is not unique. RIGHT??!! As a former therapist and frequent client (!), I am certain that ALL families cope with friction in relationships, and that ALL INDIVIDUALS have experienced the loss – sometimes profound, sometimes less significant – of someone living. Raise your hand if you have:
- been dumped by a boyfriend or girlfriend
- had a friendship falter under changing circumstances such as having kids or moving
- lost a friend in the aftermath of divorce
- lived with an expectation that was different from you were prepared for, such as having a child with a disability or keeping a marriage vow when your spouse doesn’t
- faced estrangement from a parent
- distanced yourself from a sibling for some good reason
- been fired or otherwise left a job
- lost a friend when you or they advanced to a senior role in the work place
- been defriended, unfollowed, or otherwise snubbed in any real or virtual social engagement…
The list could go on and on. The common thread is that they are all losses, and to some degree, must be grieved. The process may be no less difficult than a death*, except without the ritual of a funeral to express your grief or other people expecting and understanding that you are in mourning. In fact, if the loss is somehow your own doing, there is even LESS consideration that it still might HURT.
That PAIN is what has kept me STUCK for months.
And I am hoping THIS BLOG will change all that.
This is your opportunity to anonymously share, not because there is something to hide, but so that we can all identify with what’s written. Even if you are comfortable sharing your identity, it can change how your story is received by those who know you (or think they know you!). (However, if you want to link up, it’s your choice to include your url.)
Like somemother, Loss of the Living poses Ten Questions — just 10 — to help express and share the impact of the loss you are experiencing. The hope is that by sharing, you may be able to let it go, move on, and find some relief from the grief in your soul. In the process of doing so, you just may help someone in their own lives by reading about your experience.
Take as much time and use as many words as you need to answer these 10 Questions:
- What relationship that you have lost are you sharing about here?
- How long ago did you experience this loss?
- Did you or the other person initiate it?
- What was your relationship like before it ended?
- What happened that resulted in the loss of this person in your life?
- Where are things at now regarding this person?
- What is your ideal future with this person?
- What do you miss most about this person?
- What is now possible without this person in your life?
- What advice do you have for others experiencing similar loss?
See? That’s not too hard. Instead of just thinking about these questions, write something down, and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be raw. Be long. Be brief. Most importantly, be honest.
Please spread the word about Loss of the Living. The more contributions, the more interaction, the better. Check in often. You might laugh. You might cry. You might be inspired. Know that if you want to discover something that means something to you, you will.
Please comment on the contributions…. Your comments are what take each post from being told to being heard.
Loss of the Living will post a new contribution as often as they are submitted……! Really. I promise.
Other plans are also in the works!! Stay tuned!! Follow Loss of the Living on Twitter. There might be a Facebook page. We’ll see how much laundry I have to do first.
*The intent of Loss of the Living is not to diminish the magnitude of the death of a loved one. Such losses are serious, profound, and we honour those who are coping in this circumstance. ((xox))