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The past year for me has revolved around my mother, who became disabled due to a stroke last May. She is home with 24/7 care, so I am not a hands-on caregiver, but I am an only child (my dad died decades ago) and have been managing everything - her finances, Medicaid application, being the only person who visits her regularly. I have two teen daughters who have been pretty attentive to her, but only one of her friends is still alive and it's a sad situation.


Last week, my very dear cousin died very unexpectedly after a sudden diagnosis of lymphoma that caused all sorts of complications and killed him in 3 weeks. He was 67 and had a very active life. My whole family is reeling. He was such an amazing, kind, talented, generous soul, and a fixture in my life.


I am also struggling with middle age woes and not having found a partner since my divorce 7 years ago. I am on meds for depression and have a therapist and great, supportive friends, but this recent loss has just flattened me and amplified my sadness and loneliness around all the other issues. I couldn't get out of bed yesterday and cancelled plans with friends today because I just don't want to hear myself talk about all of it.


I know the grief over my cousin will pass and it's not like he was a daily part of my life. But all I see ahead of me right now is losing my mom next, aging, and living out the rest of my life as an old single woman in the midst of all the coupled people in my life. I have no control over losing people, but I feel like I should have some ability to find someone (yes, I've online dated, asked friends, focused on other areas of my life, taken classes, and done all the things people suggest).


How to see a light at the end of the tunnel instead of dead ends everywhere I turn?


Just had to unload all that - thanks for "listening."

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I really sympathise, XinaBess. There you are, focusing all your attention on one really challenging situation, and then you get whacked in the side of the head by something else you couldn't possibly have anticipated. It's just not fair.

Your cousin may not have been a big feature of everyday life, but he was part of your whole personal history. And he was young. And nobody, it seems, had much time to prepare for his passing. Surely you're entitled to feel pretty winded by this, aren't you? I can't see anything wrong in taking a little time out to get your balance back.

For curing yourself of the old single woman fears: try living next door to two married couples, one couple on either side. My neighbours are all nice individuals, I like them a lot. And they seem to like their respective spouses, and that's fine. But when they're out in their gardens, or setting off on visits, or coming in from work, or bringing in the groceries... I can't help overhearing the exchanges, and oh goodness.

Living with someone else can be a trial, you know. As you must know - you divorced for a good reason, didn't you?

I think there might be compensatory blessings for us old single ladies to count.

But don't get a dog instead. Dogs snore just as loudly as any husband, sigh...
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Thank you, cdn, that is very kind. Self-care is good and I do tend to my appearance in general, try to exercise, see friends, etc. But sometimes all of that seems like a Band-Aid when the underlying wounds are so deep, you know? It's also true that most of the people in my circles - at work, neighborhood, friends - are not going through the kind of stuff I am right now. That makes me feel very alienated from them. I don't think life is as hard for some as for others, but that's just the way it is, I suppose.
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I relate to what you're saying xinabess. I go through phases though. Some times are more trying than others. I sometimes wonder what happened to my plans. And do I have as many happy days ahead as behind me? I try to stay focused on maintaining current relationships and reconnecting some old ones. For me, it's nothing better than hanging out with some friends who knew me when I was just a kid or teen. There are so many stories and lots to laugh about.

In reconnecting with some old friends, I discovered that most people have their own issues. Not many people are all happy with all things going their way. Most everyone has some degree of dysfunction, loss, pain, misery, etc. I end up reconsidering my situation. Though, I'm not minimizing the pain you have had with the loss of your cousin. No doubt that is a shock. Plus, you have your mothers's decline to contend with. Maybe, just let yourself grieve for awhile.

I've been focusing on my health and I'm going to start on a second career. I'm going to take some courses and get my real estate license. At least, I'll meet some new people and get my energy level up. My goal is to fall in love this year! I'm aiming high. lol If I refuse to let go of hope, then, it will stay alive.
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Thank you, cdn, that is very kind. Self-care is good and I do tend to my appearance in general, try to exercise, see friends, etc. But sometimes all of that seems like a Band-Aid when the underlying wounds are so deep, you know? It's also true that most of the people in my circles - at work, neighborhood, friends - are not going through the kind of stuff I am right now. That makes me feel very alienated from them. I don't think life is as hard for some as for others, but that's just the way it is, I suppose.
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Dear xinabess,

My deepest sympathies and condolences on the loss of your cousin. I'm very sorry for your loss. Life is so hard. I hear you. I am also looking for some light at the end of the tunnel. People say I need to change my mindset. Make myself focus on some good things. My sister insists I do some self care. Go for a massage, pedicure, manicure, hair cut, or just a simple walk. Even on those days when we feel the universe is against us, we must get up and carry on the best be can. Please know you are not alone and we are all here to listen and support you in anyway we can. Thinking of you. Hugs, my friend.
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Xina, First my condolences about your dear cousin. My dad is deceased as well, and I have my mom in a nursing home also. I do feel your pain, frustration, and overwhelming sadness. The loss of losing someone so quickly is hard on the heart. Maybe honoring your cousin by establishing an award in their behalf, whether it be a sports award, a small monetary scholarship, or just planting a tree in their memory. Something that you can be proud of, and that others will be honored with will maybe help to keep your cousins valuable life to go on. You need to take some time for you. Maybe have a friend or neighbor, or even someone from a church group visit your mom while you rest, grieve, eat right, be with your children, or simply just be alone for a short while. I am living in the sandwich generation just as your are. We give, give, give and sometimes have nothing left for ourselves. Attending maybe a church group, art class, or maybe even going to have cocktails with your girlfriends, you will probably meet some nice people. Please take time for yourself. Hope these ideas may be helpful. Life is very difficult being the one everyone depends upon. Hugs all around you..
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Oh, Xina! How sad!

Too much to bear. Too hot and humid here, too.

Back in the day, I could usually make myself feel better by finding someone who needed help. Difficult to do, in your situation, because you've got so much on your plate. But hold a door for someone. Say hi to a stranger (I know, in Brooklyn, that can be ....well, interesting). But try to do something nice for someone.
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