I lost my uncle in 2009. It was hard to watch him go through it, especially when my dad and my aunt were both fighting cancer at the time too, but we all toughed it out. Then in 2011, my dad lost his fight and went to be with his brother in law. Worst pain I've ever felt in my whole life, and the sheer enormity of the loss still takes my breath away and brings me to tears regularly. Three months later, we lost my aunt, and she went to be with the love of her life and her brother. My young cousins were left orphans, and my grandparents were left with no children. That isn't how it's meant to go. But we all did our best to keep going and keep some kind of forward motion as my sister, cousins and I are still reasonably young and deserve lives of our own. Fast forward to last year. My grandfather ( the same guy who lost both his kids in three months ) was diagnosed with cancer. We all took a deep breath and got him to his treatments, updated relatives overseas, comforted and supported my grandmother, and generally tried to remain positive. Because surely it couldn't happen again, right? Surely life isn't that cruel, right? Miraculously, he went into remission. We were all besides ourselves. Then he developed a cough and was coughing up blood. Ice in our veins and a cold chill shuddered through us. Once again we got him to all his appointments and tried to remain positive, as much as for him as for ourselves. The cancer had spread to his lung. Further scans etc revealed it had also spread to his stomach and all through him, and we were informed last week that we have four months max. Holding my grandmother while she cried and said ' cancer took both my children and my son in law, and now it's going to take my husband ' ,was just shattering. What do you say to that? There are no words. She said she was going to go with him when the time comes, and as much as I'm not sure I can bear to lose them both at once, I totally understand why she feels that way. I've been doing my best to support them as we move through all the steps I am now so agonisingly familiar with, but to be honest, I really don't know if I can do this again. I just don't feel like I have the inner strength to do this for the fifth time ( did I mention a very close friend of mine died from cancer a couple of years ago? ). Of course, in reality I have no choice. I have to get through it and help my grandmother as much as I can. And I will. No question. But there are nights, like tonight, where I rail against the cruelty of it and the unfairness, and I allow myself to feel the desperation and the abject terror of facing it all over again, and I want to flee and hide. I need you guys to remind me how we all keep going, no matter how unbearable the pain in our souls get....

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Nicole, I understand where you are coming from and a bit of what you feel. In 2001, I lost my father to a brain cancer that we never knew he had until it ate thru one of the brain blood vessels and caused a bleed mimicking a stroke. I lost one of my best friends to spinal cancer shortly before that. After that came the pancreatic cancer of another close friend. 3 years ago my sister lost her husband to brain cancer, diagnosed only 3 months before he died. 6 months later my husband died of lung cancer. 3 months before  that the husband of a friend of mine died, also of cancer. A friend of over 40 years, who had helped me thru my parents death and my husband's death, died last year also of cancer. Now I help her husband grieve and move on. Over the past 3 years, I have lost more people in my life than I even realized I knew. I've always hated funerals, now more than ever. I am still coming to grips with death. I know it's part of life...but somehow never figured it would affect my life.  I feel sucked dry and quit my job (nurse) because I just couldn't care anymore. I don't cry as much as I used to, but do get blind-sided occasionally with memories. I move on because I have to. I know my husband wanted me to move on, he provided for me and I can't let him down. Cancer sucks big time! And it's becoming more and more prevalent...nothing much we can do about that. BUT we can show our loved ones that we care and they have made a difference in our lives. I wish you strength for this very difficult time. It sounds like you are a wonderful caring woman who has a strong sense of family, don't ever lose that!

Thanks for your response Fran. Sometimes it just feels too overwhelming, as I'm guessing you know all too well. Sometimes it's just good to know that I'm not the only person who has lost multiple people in close succession. Logically I know it, but sometimes you need to emotionally know it too. So thanks again for your kind words and strength, and I hope you continue to learn to live with your losses and continue to keep their memories alive.


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