You have heard the term “No Man Is an Island, No Man Lives Alone” by poet John Donne. That is so true, as much us we want to believe that we can do everything alone, we need others as much as they need us.

When my siblings and I started the journey with our mother’s illness, we were close but became closer because of the experience. Whatever differences we had between each other we laid them down to provide the loving support we knew our mother needed. I am not going to say that it was easy because it was not. During the two years our mother was ill, we had many times that we did not agree on the matters before us. I am so glad that were able to go above them for our mother’s sake.

I know that our family is the exception rather than the rule. And I know it is not easy to work with others that you have issues with. If you can find a way to cohabit and work together for the sake of your loved one, you will not regret it. In cooperating with your siblings or caretakers, you are providing loving support for your loved one. After the dust settles and you go back to your life, your well-being is what is going to be important. When providing a loving non-combative atmosphere for your loved one, your memory of that time will be more pleasant.

My next point is one of providing support for yourself during this stressful roller-coaster ride. Depending on whether you are an only child/firstborn, second, middle or last child in the family. Your loved one’s passing will affect you differently, especially if it is a mother or father.


Being the oldest of five siblings. I found myself numerous times expecting help only to find no one was at my back. I learned early on to provide for myself. With four other children to take care of, my parents expected me to manage certain things on my own. This attribute was a blessing and a curse. A blessing that it gave me the strength to handle the situation. A curse because I did not talk out my feelings. I kept them bottled up.



The need to be strong, not show signs of sadness or worry in front of my mother or siblings was my duty. I did express some feelings to my husband but not to the degree that I needed. Eventually, I became depressed but I did not see it. The symptoms were there, losing interest:

  • Things that I enjoyed
  • Always tired, could not sleep well
  • Did not want to cook or clean
  • And the worst taking care of myself.

It was like the proverbial frog gradually boling in hot water, slowly affecting me. It was one and half years after my mom had passed that the gravity of how depressed I had become hit me. Thankfully, once I saw how it affected me, I was able to pull my bootstraps up and get moving again. It took several months afterward to get back into my favorite activities.


My brother became more sensitive to our mom’s feelings, wants and things she wanted done within her home. Through the years he did not visit her as often which brought on the need to help her in any way he could. Of all of us he misses and griefs for her the most.


My sister, child number three, was helpful in giving our mother comfort, love and support. She did the best in this entire process, coming out with a balanced outlook regarding her passing.


My sister, child number four, this sister lived with our mom. Day to day care was handled by this sister. As the workload and care our mother became to great we stepped in to help. In living with her for over 20 years, she not only lost a mom and a friend thus felt the passing the most acute and still is grieving.


My sister, child number five, this sister received a double whammy as her husband passed from Covid-19 ten days after our mother passed. She shows a brave smiling face, it is hard to determine what she is feeling and how much she is grieving for the loss of her mother and husband.


Sharing your feelings with someone during this stressful and emotional time, is very important. Whether it is a friend, husband, relative or professional, please express your feelings, do not feel you have to put on a brave face, be honest with yourself and face those uncomfortable feelings.


Anticipatory Grief is the name of grief you express while your loved one is still with you. The link below gives a good explanation of this type of grief and suggestions how to cope with it.

Verywell Health

After the passing of your loved one you might find this link helpful, where you put your town/state in the search box and bring up various grief groups in your area.

GriefShare › findagroup

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