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MyAuntsNiece

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I apologize in advance if I tend to ramble. I have so many thoughts going through my head at times.

First, some background. I lost my Aunt two weeks ago. She was diagnosed with Stage 1 non-small cell adenocarcinoma two years ago. She had surgery to remove a lobe of her lung, her lymphnodes were clear. No chemo or radiation was done post-op.

Fast forward two years, she was not quite herself over the holidays - long story short, they discovered 2 mets on her brain. She had surgery to remove the larger tumor and 15 WBR radiation treatments post-surgery. Keep in mind, this was a 75 year old woman. She died just over a week after finishing her radiation treatments. There is a question as to whether or not the cancer was also in her lung/liver. We didn't have an autopsy performed, so we will never know for sure. From diagnosis to death - just under 2 months. There is a lot of frustration and second guessing about decisions that were made, but we can't turn back the hands of time.

I am feeling all of the usual emotions, and I know that, in time, things will ease. In the interim, I wish well-meaning people would stop saying stupid things. Do they not understand that grief isn't a switch that can be turned on and off? Also, why do some people feel that your relationship with the person should determine the amount of grief you suffer? Grief is not a sliding scale, if it was someone you loved, it hurts all the same regardless of how they were related to you.

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The guilt will eat you alive if you let it grow! It is and was what it was . You can not change the past. I know the pain you speak of because I have been there over 5 years ago.

Rambling here is perfectly acceptable and welcome. it gets heavy things off our minds so You do not have to apologize. completely acceptable at any time.

When my wife passed away, I had no idea the cancer was as bad as I thought nit was. SHe never wanted to know all the details just how to keep fighting for her life. Details were trivial to her ! when I read final medical report I learned she had cancer in all her organs basically. I havve accepted that fact.

I am sorry for your loss. I know its hard right now and still very new and fresh. We are always here to help and listen

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New wave of anger - to find out that the company I've worked for, for 13 years, won't even give me a day of bereavement time because it was just an "Aunt". I guess I shoudn't be able to grieve, mourn or attend the funeral services for someone who isn't considered "immediate family" when in reality she was like a second mother to me. The first quarter of the year is over and I won't have any vacation time for the remainder of the year because I took time to see her before she passed and then had to make arrangements after she passed. I am so angry right now. Thank you, Corporate America, for minimizing and trivializing my loss, it makes me feel so much better.

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Hi there, I'm so sorry for all of this, the careless comments, the Corporate America that feels no sympathy for you and your loss. My deepest condolences on your Aunt's passing.

You are right, there is no sliding scale on grief. It is what it is. I didn't take note of where you live, but I would check into whether or not there is a Gilda's Club near you. They have a grief program that has helped many deal with the varying emotions that encompass grief. Or is there a Hospice near you? They also have grief support programs.

And writing here is therapeutic as well. We share all kinds of emtions here, and it does help to get it out!

Bless you.

Judy in MI

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The first quarter of the year is over and I won't have any vacation time for the remainder of the year because I took time to see her before she passed/quote]

I am so sorry you are not being allowed time to attend your Aunt's funeral that you arranged. Can you afford a day without pay? If that would be a hardship, please take comfort in the fact that you were with her when it was most important "before she passed." May the day pass gently for you. We are here for you to grieve or vent as long as you need to.

Judy in KW

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Dear niece,

Oh you bring back memories.

When my Mom was in treatment (two months from dx to death) I flew to see her as often as I could. Work was pretty low on my priority list. At one point, my supervisor took me aside and warned me that I was running out of time off - and maybe I should save it for after she died or the funeral! I told him that I thought seeing my Mom alive would mean more and that I would deal with the consequences later. I was 27 at the time. I did go to her funeral, and I spent a great deal of time in the following year staring out the window. Actually, I was doing as much work as many of the old farts that had been employed there for decades. The experience propelled me to make to changes in my life - back to school, relocation, re-evaluated priorities.

Best to you - take care.

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Thanks to everyone for your words of support and encouragement.

TS, I can wholeheartedly relate with the experience propelling you to make changes. My loss has inspired me to want to live a better life; a life with more meaning. To do something I enjoy instead of coming to work and waiting for the day to end. Life is too short to spend what little time I have here, wishing the days away and pining for the weekend.

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#1 - That's not rambling...if there is a group of folks who get it and are happy to listen, it's us.

#2 - Too many of us know the fast advance of the disease, My mom was 30 days from diagnosis to her passing...we understand how hard it is to digest.

#3 - Too many of us know the people who just don't get it, they are plentiful and shocking. But in my heart, I know they mean well or just don't have any idea what they mean. But I've written some of the shocking ccomments here over the years...wierd stuff is still said .

#4 - Work - I was lucky, very understanding boss, but I did have a co worker who made a comment about how I took a WHOLE WEEK OFF after my mom passed.

Hang in there and post whenever you have somethgin to just get out!

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Thanks again for your words of support and encouragement. I just can't seem to get my mind off of her.

Although I knew what the outcome was going to be; I had researched it and thought that I was prepared, in all honesty I wasn't prepared for how quickly she passed.

In the week before her death, I had traveled out of state to be with her and offered her words of encouragement. She had just finished her last radiation treatment and went into a rehab facility. Everyone told us after she finished radiation, she would bounce back and get stronger. In hindsight all of the near death signs were there, but we didn't recognize them, we attributed it to the radiation treatments and her weak condition. If the health care professionals knew, they didn't tell us how close to death she was.

I wonder if she knew that the end was near and whether she was prepared. One day she would say that she wished she had died during the surgery and the next day she would say that she wasn't giving up. In a way, I wish that we could have openly discussed her passing because there was so much more I would have liked to have said to her. When it was time for me to travel home and it was my last visit with her, I said goodbye to her, I didn't think it would be so much a goodbye, but rather I will see you soon. She told me she would miss me and I was crying too hard to respond, I wish I had told her that I was going to miss her too, but I didn't want her to know that I was crying (she had lost her vision) and I was trying to hold it together, although I'm sure she could hear it in my voice.

I wish I had the benefit of knowing that she was ok with the thought of passing, but my impression is that she was still fighting to live. She was just over a week after having finished her radiation when she passed away. The surgery and radiation treatments were all for naught. I wonder how much time she would have had without surgery, with fewer radiation treatments. My greatest hope was that she would have some quality time for the last few weeks/months that she was with us but that was not to be. I have so many questions and so few answers, it's so frustrating.

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Sweetie,

I so hear you.

My Mom would be in the hospital but with pain control each time I saw her. On my brother's visits, she would be home and in pain. We had very different experience of her last two months, neither very good. We both left the night before she died - and got the news as we were at breakfast and headed to our jobs. Way before cellphones - luckily his girlfriend had spent the night with him and knew where to find us!

Can you imagine my mind when I got diagnosed? But it is 2 1/2 years later and I am in pretty good shape, for now. One of the kickers about lung cancer is that they can't really predict who will benefit from treatment - you just go with the best info you have at the time and try not to second guess yourself down the road. Think of it if she did not have treatment and passed in two months - you'd be wondering if she might have survived had she had treatment. We have no way to know.

All we can do is live each day to its fullest (even on days when that means doing no more than sitting on the couch watching stupid tv), be kind to others and ourselves. You never know what type of burden anyone is carrying.

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