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Those of us in our 20s and 30s, can we vent?


KaytieP

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To follow up on the "children who have lost their parents too soon" post.

First of all, this should probably be filed under Anticipatory Grief, Subset-Rage, so I'm not sure if this is the right category, but I don't think Family & Caregivers is the appropriate place, either.

Fortunately, my mother is still here, nearly two years after diagnosis. However, she has just failed second line treatment, and I've found I'm feeling the grief that I did when she was first diagnosed, with a lot of extra RAGE! thrown in. Aside from the obvious fact that lung cancer sucks, it's very isolating being an adult, but someone who is considerably younger than most people who are dealing with their parents' life-threatening illnesses (not on this board, but in everyday life). I'm still at an age where people take their parents very much for granted. I often hear friends and coworkers complaining about their parents being too intrusive, indulging the grandkids too much , or buying insufficient gifts for their birthday. When the subject of losing parents early comes up (from myself, in the news, from an older friend/co-worker, etc.), I've heard so many of my friends respond with, "Wow, I'm so sorry for your loss. I would be devastated. I'm so lucky my parents have excellent genes for longevity, so I won't have to deal with that for a long time." My mother never smoked and had 3 of 4 grandparents live into their 90s. Do you think anybody expected her to be diagnosed with Stage IIIb lung cancer at 59? And if they did, would it make the reality of the diagnosis less painful? I'm not sure why that one makes my insane, but it does.

One of the most painful parts of this disease, for me, is seeing and realizing what it is cheating both of my parents out of. Neither will get to have a "normal" retirement. Their friends and siblings are at an age where they are retiring or slowing down at work, and traveling, playing golf, buying RVs, etc. My parents have gone nowhere - earlier because no one wanted to plan too far ahead, now also because the heavy-duty treatments my mother has been on for two years has taken a toll (luckily she's never been sick or hospitalized, but she moves like she's 80). They were finally at the point where they were financially somewhat comfortable at the time of mom's diagnosis, and have made no major purchases since. Part of that is my mom being disability with astronomical medical costs, but also there is the uncertainty. My sister's children, who my mother takes so much joy in, are so young that they will have no memory of her. My father, who got married at 22 and has never really lived alone his whole life, will be a widower in his early 60s.

And aside from that, it is Pink Ribbon Time (which, I have noticed, now actually starts the month before Breast Cancer Awareness Month).

Gah, too long of a rant. I know many of you have similar stories, and many have even more challenging situations, but I just had to vent. There are few places in "real life" where so many people understand.

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Oh Girl, I so get it! I am sorry for your Mom's diagnosis and that you and your family have to deal with this.

I lost my Mom in November and I remember the anticipatory grief and the pain with watching her become prematurely aged before my eyes. Please try not to dwell on that and focus on the good things you still have. I know that is easier said than done, I have been there. But as I look back, I remember the conversations we had and the times she felt well enough to just sit together and not focus on the CANCER. We put together lots of jigsaw puzzles and I cherish the memories of us working on them together.I do wish I had taken more pictures of her during her treatments.

Now I get sad(er) when I see the little old white haired ladies out in public. And the older couples really break my heart. My parents didn't get to do that. And I too get irritated with my friends and coworkers when they complain about their parents. I "get" that.

Up until recently, I too got irritated with the pink ribbon campaign. I am at peace with it now. Who knows when I or someone I love will battle THAT disease. And I also hope that some of that research will trickle down to lung cancer research and treatments.

Feel free to PM me anytime, I understand. And don't applogize for venting, that's why we're here!

Hugs,

Leslie

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I get it too..my parents worked liked dogs to provide for a houseful of kids, all of our food,clothes, and education- rarely going anywhere and counting every penny....JUST 2 years BEFORE it was time to retire a well planned retirement, my dad is diagnosed with lung cancer.

It's not fair when I think about it like that...and there's such anger at this disease- I think part of that is what fuels my advocacy efforts.

My dad passes away at 64, my mom 3 years after him.

They should have been here to share in their grandkids lives. They should have been able to retire and travel. They should have had the "golden years" they both worked so hard for and deserved.

I think too many people take their "time" and life for granted and that is what makes me mad when other people have their "time" and life robbed from them.

I get your rant. You aren't alone.

I hope things getting better for you and your family. There is HOPE for that. Your mom is still here. I will keep you all in my thoughts and prayers.

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I hear you about the anticipatory grief. Even though my mom was 77 at diagnosis, her mother lived until 95 and she had an aunt who lived to be 106. I took it for granted that my mom was going to live to be 100.

Everytime another shoe drops there is a new round of anitcipatory grief. I have resisted posting on this board (except to show support for our friends who are grieving), because my mom is still here. But in truth the first experience with grief comes the moment we hear the words "lung cancer."

The thing that has helped me the most at this stage is to be actively grateful for each day I have with my mom. Every day she is here is a gift. Every day I can talk to her on the phone is precious. Every trip I can take to see her is wonderful. This is the only thing that keeps me from despair.

Susan

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((((Kaytie))))

I'm glad you felt safe here to let that out -- it's important. I think what you said about your mom just failing 2nd line treatment may be hitting you even more than you realize.

I don't know your mom's story, but I can tell you that I remember distinctly how panicked I was when I knew Bill's 1st line didn't work. We went immediatly to 2nd line, but had to stop that after one round. It's a time when your hope is 100 times harder to find. You've had a set back and a blow and you're trying to get your sails up again. It's a giant punch in the gut.

Keep expressing yourself in safe places, and give your parents the greatest give you can -- yourself. I think you will find that there are a lot of people in the Family section that relate.

I'm so sorry for what you're going through, and for your mom and dad too.

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Kaytie, I so understand. My paternal grandfather died in 1999, my dad had just turned sixty. His mother is still alive and will be 93 next month. My maternal grandfather died in 2000 and my maternal grandmother just passed at the age of 91 in May.

Neither side of my family ever had a history of cancer. I always thought I would have at least 20 more years with my Dad. All of my grandparents except my maternal grandmother smoked. My maternal grandma however was obese most of her life.

Life throws us curves and what I have learned is never depend on a tomorrow and treasure what you have. I have also learned not to sweat the small stuff. A couple of months ago, my seventeen year old called me while I was at the cemetary and told me she got a speeding ticket. She was crying hysterically and I had to put her in perspective and told her it was small stuff. Nobody died, that's big stuff.

On September 11th of this year, she totalled out her $10,000 car. I was a couple of miles behind her, she called crying, I asked her if she was okay, she was and again, I viewed this as small stuff. When I arrived to where she crashed into a steel drainage pipe in a ditch, I was so relieved to be able to hug her.

She kept expressing how sorry she was, and I had to finally tell her to stop. It's not a big deal. She survived a crash with minor seatbelt abrasions, in a culvert that seven years earlier hosted a fatality. According to the sheriff, the car didn't look half as bad as hers.

I have survived the greatest loss in my life. I never thought I could. I'm just thankful for everday I have with the people who remain that I love most. You still have Mom, you still have hope. Cling to it, research and spend as much time as you can with her. My prayers to you and your family.

Oh and today I came home to have my water turned off. I forgot to pay the bill. Whatever, I'll borrow some water from the neighbor to get ready for work and get it turned back on tomorrow. My stress level has definantly downgraded a few notches.

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Kaytie,

I am not in my 20's or 30's, but I can relate to your post on a couple of levels. I lost my mom when I was 45. I was very close to her and I grieved for her for a very long time. I was also dismayed to hear many of my friends talk about how annoyed they got with their parents, when all I wanted was to have my mom back. I was so lucky to have a husband who understood and told me it was okay to cry and miss her, who held me when I felt bad. He was the only one who really helped me get through it.

Now I have lost him, and although I have caring friends and family, I have no one like HIM to help me get through this biggest loss of my life. We were like your parents are now - looking forward to our retirement years to enjoy each other and do all the things we had been saving for in our future. We should have had 15 or 20 more years together. I also get very sad when I see couples in our age group out enjoying their lives - that should be us! It all seems so unfair. As it is for your parents, and for you.

For those of you who still have your loved ones, spend quality time together with them while they are able to talk to you. Ask them about their lives, take notes, record their voices. I miss hearing the voices of my mom and my husband more than I could have imagined. I have lots of photos, but very few videos with them speaking. As they get sicker and on more medication, these conversations become very difficult - the thinking process is dulled by pain meds, and you lose the chance to have those important discussions. Tell them how much you love them as often as you can. I think I did that, but wish I had done it more. Each day you still have them with you is special.

Do not give up hope. There are other lines of treatment which may give your mom more time. But make the most of the time you have now.

Thinking of you,

Tk

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I can relate to your post. I lost my Dad at the age of 27. He was only 58. He was very much in his prime, a very active person who most people did not even know was sick until he was hospitalized (never to return home). I feel cheated and, as a result, struggle with anger quite frequently. His parents are in their late 80s, although his Dad was recently diagnosed with cancer as well, so I always took for granted that he would live a long life. It's tough and it feels so unfair. I am the oldest of two girls, neither one of us are married or have children. There is an entire second part of our lives that we will not be able to share with him and it hurts so bad.

I wish I had some advice that would help. I am a year and a half into this journey called grief and on most days I function well but there are those days when I am a complete mess. Since I lost my dad, I have witnessed (and had to be there for) people my age and younger that have lost a parent and that reminds me that nothing is promised. I understand that death is a part of life and I try to intellectualize my experience sometimes but it doesn't negate the fact that he is gone and I am hurting.

Though it is hard not to think about the future, try to take one day at a time.

Sincerely,

Rochelle

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I can relate as well... My Dad passed in April at the age of 57.. I am the oldest of 3 and i am 34.. My daughter is 5 and the oldest of the grandkids and will probably barely remember himon her own.. My son is only 1 (he is named after dad) and was just getting a connection going with "umpa" when he passed.

Dad was an active person.. always on the go.. even when he was not feeling well.. he would lie, just to please others and not wanting to be a burden.

Most days I cope ok.. other days I am sad, but have to function for the kids. I miss him soooooo much some days... he was my go to guy!.. he always had the answers...

Anyways... YES i get it. Too Young.....

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Kaytie,

I join a long list of people who can relate - so possibly unnecessary to chime in, but the comparisons are just too great.

I'm 34 - too young to be facing the lung cancer diagnosis of a 62-year-old father, in my opinion. Of course, I say that knowing full well there are too many people who 1. never got to have half the relationship with their fathers that I have had with mine, and 2. know that many people have lost parents at younger ages. My Dad retired as of a couple years ago, and is absolutely living up his retirement. He appears so very, very healthy. This isn't supposed to happen to US! My parents are supposed to have a good 15+ years of travel and adventure together before running into these types of roadblocks! (And I'd love to say a number higher than 15, but was trying not to be overly greedy in that vision - ugh.)

Because we're only a little more than three weeks into this, my friends are still pretty sensitive about what they say. I haven't heard any complaints about parents yet, but I have felt similar bitterness when friends have complained about how "stressful" their weeks are. This was before I was even allowed to tell people about his diagnosis, and I too, had been one of those people at one point. This puts a whole new perspective on "stress" doesn't it? A busy week at work will never again be considered stressful for me. That said, I acknowledge that those moments are stressful for people, and I don't want to play that down just because I have a "better" story at the time.

Part of my grief is that my parents are all I have, really. I haven't married, have no kids, etc. While I have some dear, dear friends, all those friends have families of their own. I have my parents, and they mean the world to me!

Oh, the only thing I couldn't relate to was the frustration with the pink ribbon campaign. I totally see where you're coming from though! But, my best friend was diagnosed with breast cancer (on BOTH sides - two independent cancers) in March at the age of 33. I thought that was going to be my blast for the year. Then her mom (who is also so dear to me) was diagnosed with Lymphoma in June. Then my uncle was diagnosed with bladder cancer in earlly August, and my Dad's diagnosis came just a couple weeks later. That same best friend's aunt then died of breast cancer one week ago today. You can imagine what she and I talk about on the phone! We can't wait to have 2008 behind us, and often "joke" about topping one another's stories.

I'd love to share frustrations with you again in the future. Feel free to PM me, or don't be surprised if you hear from me again!

Amy

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I understand... I'm 31 and mom was 55 when she died. Never in a million years did I think I would be raising my three kids without her. Not in a million years did I think I would be visiting her grave at this age. Not in a million years did I think that I would not get to sit and drink wine with her on the weekends. Not in a million years did I think she would be gone so soon. I miss her. It's been almost six months...I'm not sure that could even be possible.

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Kaytie, I can't relate on the level of losing but, as I've said before, when I was diagnosed the first thing I thought about was my daughter (single mom) and grandson. It would be devastating to them. I just wanted to jump in and say how glad I am for you that so many people who can relate came in to respond. It is what this site is all about. Thank God it's here for us.

Judy currently in Orlando

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I haven't been on the board in a long time and this is the first post I read and I can relate. Its been almost 4 years since my mom passed. She would have been 62 this year and I'm 37 now. Way too soon...

Hardest for me is seeing women in their 60s escorting their mothers- women in their 80s- to the grocery store or the mall. How much Mom and I missed out on... Only my 8 year old remembers her much at all. And I have a daughter she never met.

Amy

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Having lost my dad when he was 56 and I was 17. My mom when she was 66 and I was 35. My sister when she was 43, and I was 36. (all to lung cancer). My son when he was 25 and I has 48, I've learned one very important thing. There is no good age or good time to lose or say good-bye to the loves of our lives. It all hurts the same no matter how old THEY ARE or how old WE ARE!

We miss them forever but we carry them with us in our minds and in our hearts everyday of our lives here on earth. ((((GROUP HUG))))

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Kaytie--

I haven't posted on this board in a long time...but I so related to your post, that I had to respond. I lost my dad one day after my 32nd birthday. While my dad got to see me get married, he will never meet his grandchildren (and I just know he would have loved being a grandpa)--and they will never get to meet a most incredible, human being. He will never get to see his son get married...

And I grieve so much for my mom...like you, my parents lived so responsibly...saving so that they could enjoy retirement...they were really starting to take pleasure in the fact that both my brother and I were finally "settled" in our lives...and then lung cancer took over. Both my parents were the paragons of health before cancer...they both were swimmers and runners...this was never supposed to happen. And my heart just breaks for my mom who is having to learn to be alone after 43 years of marriage (she married my dad just a few months after turning 20...)

I miss my dad every single day. Hell, every single hour. I will tell you that I find great peace in the fact that I was fully present with him throughout his illness. That our relationship was incredibly strong before his illness--and that the four of us made all decisions together throughout the illness.

There is no silver lining...but you are not alone...and your feelings are so understandable. Throughout the experience, I found that writing all of my feelings and being on this board helped...

I wish you strength...feel free to PM anytime.

Best,

Leslie

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  • 2 weeks later...

I haven't posted since my mom died almost 10 months ago, but read the forums often. This moved me as well - I'm 34, mom died at 56, non smoker. NEVER, EVER thought I would be doing this solo - she was my only family, so I feel like an orphan. My husband doesn't "get it". It's been tough and I'm constantly thinking of what I could of said, what I could have done, and EVERYTIME I see grandparents with their grandchildren, I feel like a knife has gone into my heart and it's twisting (sorry for the graphic desc but it's truly how I feel) - I also grieve everytime I see mothers/daughters together, I sometimes don't even realize I'm staring until one gives me a look. I still can't beleive that she's gone, can't get my head wrapped around it. It's truly challenged my faith in God. Her mother died of cancer when she was 3 yrs old, then she get's it 53 yrs later - how if life fair?!?

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Hey guys--

I still pop in from time to time, and these topics have caught my eyes.

I wrote this blog post quite a while back and I've received over 50 replies from people who have lost parents in the same age and stage. It's a really unique time to lose a parent, I believe, and one that is so often glossed over.

Anyway, For what it's worth: http://digtoesin.wordpress.com/2007/03/ ... otherhood/

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  • 4 weeks later...

I know exactly how you feel. My Mom died a few days after I turned 28. I'm still struggling through this first year, and especially this first holiday season. I've searched and searched for books and support for people our age. Too old to be considered a child, yet I don't exactly feel all grown up. It's like there's nothing!

I don't have any other friends who have lost a parent, so I don't really have anyone to relate to. It breaks my heart that she will never see me finish my PhD. Never see me get married (heck, she won't even get to meet the guy! Whoever he is!). Never see me have kids. She won't see me do any adult things really. All she really wanted was a bunch of grandkids. I am an only child and her only shot to see them, and my life simply has not gone in that direction yet. I do hate that it's an experience that I will never have with her.

And I do understand the rage thing. For a while there I think I was the angriest person on the planet. I still have moments, but it's so much better now.

Faith in God gets me through. And my Chihuahua.

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