Jaded, I got chills when I read your letter because it was so incredibly similar to my own experience.
I lost my mother to breast cancer at 3:23am on April 26, 1996. She had battled it bravely for 13 months and never complained once, but in the end it was simply too much.
Like you, I had big events around that time...I was a junior in high school and it was SAT time. (College Board Testing for those who have not heard of it) My birthday party was supposed to be that same day, my friends and I were going to have fun at the beach. I was confused as to whether or not I should go, but my father reminded me that my mom would have wanted me to have a good time. So, I invited my younger brothers to the party too, in order to get them out of the house, and we all went to the beach.
The next day I had SAT testing for 3 hours, and still had the image of my mom burned into my head. I am amazed I got a decent score on it, I didn't know what I was doing. Two days later, my mother was buried...on my 17th birthday.
My attitude changed dramatically after that. I noticed little quirks in my personality that I didn't have before, I began to screw off more in class, but puzzlingly enough my grades improved. I think that I was trying to do what would have impressed my mother. She wanted me to go to a good university, so I worked hard to make it that way.
I also had a girlfriend at the time, and I wound myself tightly into her, just like you are doing with your boyfriend. When we are hit by such a momentus loss, it is natural human response to want to "fill the void." Whether or not is healthy is debatable, but I did the same thing because I wanted to feel "whole" again and I felt like a large chunk of me had been torn apart. Like you, I got clingy also and had constant fears of losing my girlfriend. My thoughts at the time were "If I lose her, what do I have left?"
It was difficult at that time for me to see that I had many friends and helpful family members who were right there willing to give me support and love when and if I needed it. I know how hard it is to open your eyes up to a world that has been so shaken by a loss, but when you feel able, try to take a look around you and take stock of who all is out there. It sounds like you have a good-sized family who can offer you support when you need it, and there are always friends to count on. By recognizing that there are people outside of your boyfriend who can offer you a dose of support, you will be taking some pressure off of your relationship. It took me too long to make this connection myself, and I spent many months alone with my girlfriend (who was also very close to my mom...they used to get their hair done and legs waxed together! Kind of weird when your girlfriend comes over to visit your mother!) I tended to discount the help of my other friends because I considered my girlfriend a perfect antitode for my own loneliness and pain. In reality, there is no one person that can be relied upon in such time...and if I had spread myself out a little more and looked around more to find the help I needed, there wouldn't have been such a strain placed on my relationship.
I know there are days you want to talk about things and days that you wish it would all go away, but if you are in the mood to chat, please feel free to contact me via ICQ.
I'm sorry that this happened...and we're always here to talk. Take care of yourself...
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