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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My grandma, who lives in a retirement home, had some chest pains this morning. She was laying in bed when my cousin happened to drop in on her. She sat with her and talked to her a bit. Then a nurse came in the room (they do check-ins all the time as it's a retirement home), took a look at my grandma and decided to call an ambulance for her.

That was a good thing, as she was in the process of having a "massive heart attack". My cousin and aunt were at the hospital with her while the doctor was tending to her. The doctor said (literally) "this is the big one, you need to call your family right now, everyone".. they didn't think she was going to survive it.

She did pull through though. I'm not sure of the medical terminology, but I think what it was, they opened up an artery and placed a couple splints in it (whatever that means - whatever they did worked for the time being). She was later transferred to another hospital to be kept in critical care/observation. She's been in good spirits the entire time, she's completely "with it".. and she seems to have made it through this situation.

But... she's 91 and is basically on borrowed time. She's like a ticking time bomb ready to go off at any time with no notice. I actually have three elderly grandparents and they're all.. "winding down" like this.

My question is basically... How do you deal with it? Who do you talk to? Who's there for you? I mean.. my immediate family is usually available, but beyond that.. I don't have anyone there. No one is "mine".. they all have partners, or kids, or their own family who they can connect to on that deeper level. They all have "someone".. a solid support system in place. I don't.

People around me are going to start dying and I'm just wondering how in the hell am I going to deal with it? THIS, today.. was difficult enough.. and she lived. What about when the outcome isn't as good?

I'm sorry about the long post (thanks for reading). But... Have you ever lost someone close to you, and not had anyone really available to open up to and talk to? How did you cope with it? What did you do..?

Or any coping suggestions......? Thanks for any input..
 

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I can't say. I have yet to really deal with it. My grandmother, who sleeps in the room next to mine, right by my head is sick and deteriorating, so we're all pretty much waiting for her to pass on.
The prospect scares me because I was always close to my grandmother, more than anyone else in my family and when she got Alzheimer's, it was bad enough because it was sort of like losing her without losing her. Like having a plate of food just outside of your reach when you haven't eaten in a week. It's hard enough to just know she's there, but not really there and I can do nothing. It'll be much harder when she's gone.
But, as mentioned, time helps. I don't feel that way now, but I'm sure it's true. And, of course, dealing with it and accepting it.
 

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When my dad passed months back, I didn't feel like talking to friends or family at all. I found the experience more surreal than sad. I always saw death as a kind of freedom, so I had no problem with accepting it, and saw it as a positive thing that he didn't have to suffer.
 

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Just Lurking,

You know about my father by now - his was a sudden heart attack, too. It was brought on be high blood pressure - he was 60 and literally 1-3 months from retiring and moving in with my stepmother (they were married, but lived in different states!)

I also lost my last grandparent in late 2002 - my maternal grandmother had just turned 92.

You will probably need family first. I know that is a stretch, but they know your grandparents the most. I remember us all together talking about memories - learning things I never knew. It was absolutely the most amazing, healing time for such sad circumstances. We laughed at the really good times and at some of the things we did when we were young.

Don't worry about that now, though! Enjoy the time you have :yes.
 

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Yeah I can relate to this kind of worry, although my concern is with my parents which, I'm sure you'll probably agree, is even worse than losing grandparents. They are still relatively young (early 60's) but my father in particular is showing his age and what also concerns me is that a family friend recently died and he was in his mid-60's.

I just don't know how I'm going to cope when they're gone. Not only am I worried about losing them, I also have stupid SA worries on top of that. Like being the eldest son I would be expected to take charge of the funeral etc when the time comes, but I know I'm just not going to be up to it. Plus I haven't been to a funeral in 15 years so I'm worried I won't know exactly what to do. Stupid, trivial concerns I know, but that's SA for you.

But yeah, the most important thing is how I'm going to deal with the grief. I don't have a partner or close friends, so my parents are a huge part of my life even though I'm nearly 40 (I don't live at home though).

So to the OP, sorry I can't offer any advice, but just know that this is something that everyone finds difficult I guess, and somehow we just have to get through it.
 

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damn that sucks :(

Thankfully I haven't experienced the death of close humanoid relatives but I have experienced the death of my lovely dog that I was extremely close to :( That was bad, I remember the first thing I did when mum told me he died was I walked outside in shock almost like after you break your arm and then I punched the brick wall of the house and began to cry.

I would like to get a dog or a cat now but I'm scared, I don't want to go through that again so I'd rather just stay isolated.

I'm quite close with my mum and I always think about what it'll be like when she dies. It's going to be the worst thing, I don't even want to go to her funeral because it'll be so awful...
My plan so far is to get really drunk and possibly take my own life.
 

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Just Lurking,

I had one close friend to confide in last year while my mom was battling cancer. I was in a demanding graduate program and trying to take care of my sick mom at the same time. It was incredibly stressful. If I hadn't had her to talk to, I don't think that I would have been able to make it through.

My mom's cancer came back this year, and, unfortunately, my friend is unable to be there for me like she once was. I knew that I wouldn't be able to survive unless I had someone to talk to. We all need a social support system, especially when dealing with the illness or death of a loved one. Thankfully, I have met some very sweet and supportive people here at SAS. They are very important to me. I am so grateful that they are here to listen. It is so comforting to know that they care. Hopefully, I am being a caring and encouraging friend to them as well.

So, my advice is...reach out to others. There are many kind people on this message board if you don't have anyone to talk to in your "real life." Find someone (or more than one person!) that you feel comfortable with. Don't suffer alone! Feel free to send me a PM whenever you need to chat. I am a great listener, and I would be very happy to hear from you.

I wish you the best!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I really appreciate the responses. It helps just to hear the thoughts and experiences other people have had.

Heart attacks, cancer, Alzheimer's, "losing someone without losing them".. miserable times.. I know grief will heal with time. I am fairly confident of that much. But it's getting from Point A to Point B that concerns me.

For those of you also dealing with this sort of thing, I wish you the best. Thank you for your words.
 

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Have you ever lost someone close to you, and not had anyone really available to open up to and talk to? How did you cope with it? What did you do?.
I lost my mother at a young age but wasnt close to me. I still miss my mom but I learned over time to let go of her because theirs nothing I could do to change it. The sad paradox is being free has enabled me to live my life even though I lost somebody.
 

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Sorry to hear about this. I lost my stepdad who I was very close to a few years ago. It was really hard at first. I honestly had no one to turn to who actually understood. Honestly it just took time. I realized that he would not want me living in grief over him. You will be ok, if you need someone to talk to feel free to PM me.
 

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I totally get where you are coming from . I am 35 and my biggest fear in life is losing my parents. They are both in their mid 60's and in not so good health. I still live with my mother. Three out of four of my grandparents died before i turned 6 years old, the other one died a couple years ago. I do have a sister and three nieces / nephews and I am thankful for that. A couple years ago my dad almost died of an infection in the hospital. The doctor misdiagnosed him with a weird liver problem and for about a year I thought he was going to die of it ( the doctor said that ) . I kind of just put my head under the covers and hoped to die . I'd drink too much, and try to either be asleep or boozed up at all times. I pretty much slept everyday from 3am when i went to bed until 4 or 5 pm the next day. He is still here though thankfully and I am doing better.

I understand what you mean about feeling like you don't have a support system . I mean it's hard enough to lose a parent for anyone, but people who have normal lives - jobs, families, etc. have something to fall back on. People like me have nothing. I feel like when my parents die, i'm alone forever, and that's it. Not to mention not knowing how I am going to support myself once I have to be on my own. I wonder if there is a God, what I did to piss him off.
 

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Hey, I'm sorry to hear about your grandma. My grandma had to go in for a colonoscopy just the other day and she's going to have to go back in for surgery to remove polyps later on. She's a health fanatic so this has got me worried. She just... doesn't seem like her normal bubbly self, that's for sure. I'm mentally and emotionally preparing myself to be possibly losing her. The best thing you can do is spend as much time with them as you possibly can, because you never know when they're going to go. I lost my grandpa last April to cancer and I regret not having spent more time with him - It was due to SA that I didn't get out to many family gatherings. But my grandpa had this near-magical way of bringing the family together, even at the time of his death. There were over 200 people at his funeral!

So anyway, my advice is to see your grandma as often as you can, and to tell her that you love her.
 

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When I was 8, my grandmother (only grandparent I ever knew, the rest were already gone by the time I was born) who I was extremely close to died, and two days later, my favourite aunt died. I don't even know or remember how I 'dealt' with that, but I wasn't really screwed up yet, so I think I just talked a lot with my parents about it.

In the past two years, three other relatives/family friends have died, and each one was unexpected (to me at least) and I haven't had anybody to really talk to about it. I mean, I still have my parents, but I'm not really comfortable with talking about that stuff anymore. I just had a really good cry (or crying jag.. haha) and kept going with everyday things.

If you're close enough, and comfortable enough, to talk to your family about your feelings and everything, you should be fine. Death sucks, but it's bearable. And your grandmother clearly had a long life, so you should think about all the things she's accomplished and the impact she's had on your life. Once somebody you love dies, there's no point in getting really depressed (at least if they're older and had a good life..), but instead you should just remember how great they were. That's what I do anyway..

Anyway, I'm sorry to hear about what you went through today, and I hope your grandmother and everybody is doing fine. :)
 

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I'm sorry about your Grandma. I think when the time comes, you will deal with it however you need to to get over it and heal. It will be painful and people will tell you things that will go in one ear and out the other because even though they are just trying to help, it's not what you want to hear, nothing is. There is no easy way to get over somebody dying, expecially someone who is close to you, there's no fast remedy. The only thing that will help is time and time alone. Time is the only thing that can heal a broken heart. Don't hold your emotions in and pretend that they don't exist. The more you cry and honor your grandma, the sooner you will heal and except her exit. Something somebody taught me is that you can't mourn the death of somebody by being sorry for them because even though people look at death as an evil part of life, it is actually a gift. Sometimes they don't always leave this world in a simple way but wherever they go after life, it has to be 10 times a better place than life itself. There is no proof of that but if you have faith in that, then you will feel much better about death in general. Celebrate her death even if you have to cry. It's just a part of life. It's going to happen to every single one of us. It hurts because we don't know if were ever going to see that person again or hear their voice, that is why we must never take friends or family for granted because when they leave, they are gone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
This post is from March - I'll update things:

My grandmother's been in and out of the hospital twice more since my original post. The first was a heart/cardiac scare (doctors determined that it wasn't an attack this time).

She was also there again in June for severe back pain, which turned out to be a "bad" kidney infection and a fractured 5th (?) vertebrae (no one's really sure how she got that - she does have frail bones to begin with so it could've been anything). June was a very bad month for her. (And for family - she's on her deathbed, then she's not.. she's back on, then she's not.. it's a rollercoaster..)

But aside from those health scares, she's been "ok" since she had the heart attack. Very, very frail, but still living in a retirement home and in pretty good spirits. So I hope she'll be around for a little while yet... (though I'm still very much aware of the fact she could go at any time..)

As for me, I'm going back to school this September and also hope to get a job outside the house, so hopefully I'll have some semblance of a support system available to me when that time actually comes.

She just... doesn't seem like her normal bubbly self, that's for sure.
Yeah, you can tell when they start giving up.. I think much of their survivability is based on their attitude. There were a few times my grandma looked like she was giving up, but overall she has maintained a positive attitude.. I think that's what got her out of the hospital. By the time you get to be that age and so frail, you can probably will yourself to die by just giving up.

Thanks for the supportive replies everyone, they're much appreciated. :)
 

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Hi Just Lurking,

I think when the time comes you will need to rely on your family to help you through. I am estranged from all my family but I know that that is what people do. They stay over at each others' houses, spend weekends together etc. It seems to happen naturally.

It will be different for you since you live on your own and won't have someone with you every evening but I think that you and the remaining family members will all grow closer. You will be able to call them or just pop by for a chat in a way you might not do now. So you might be at home alone but you wont feel alone.

And then there is always this board. Maybe it's 'just the internet' but this place has helped a lot of us though some very dark moments.
 

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everyone has to go some day but the important thing is to let that person know how much one cares for such person before they go, not just to feel bad when they are going. i have never felt bad about someone dying, it's life. heck, if it's my time to go i would not want doctors to try to keep me alive. i can't remember exactly what socrates (philosopher) said when they where going to kill him but it made sense. one has lived their life and it's time to go.

i suggest to let her know you care by writing her a letter, sending her flowers, drawing her something, anything.

i hope i'm not being cold but that's how i feel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
everyone has to go some day but the important thing is to let that person know how much one cares for such person before they go, not just to feel bad when they are going. i have never felt bad about someone dying, it's life. heck, if it's my time to go i would not want doctors to try to keep me alive. i can't remember exactly what socrates (philosopher) said when they where going to kill him but it made sense. one has lived their life and it's time to go.

i suggest to let her know you care by writing her a letter, sending her flowers, drawing her something, anything.

i hope i'm not being cold but that's how i feel.
I don't think that's really cold. As you say, that's just the way you feel.

Writing a letter is a good idea. I'll have to think about that one - makes sense because I'm a lot better communicating in writing than I am verbally.
 
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