When the Loss of Loved Ones Impacts Multiple Aspects of Life

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After many years living a more secluded life I met some amazing people in a group I joined locally in 2021. We were all passionate about freedom, highlighting the truth of what was really going on in the world and we were a bunch of misfits coming together for a common cause. We were outcasts from society and it felt like the most wonderful experience of my life so far, being part of such a tightly bonded community albeit frustrating at times being seen as the bad guys in society.

I loved being more social, being a rebel of sorts and feeling such loving people who had my back like I had never felt before (my best friend Michael being an exception), but in September 2022 that all changed for me. The reluctant leader of our group Paul Soden passed away after a short experience with cancer that had spread everywhere. He and I were incredibly close, I was his right-hand woman and we developed a beautiful friendship. I cared for him near the end of his life and was dreading his passing, not just because I would lose someone who I felt a tremendous connection to, but this overwhelming feeling that everything would change once he passed. Paul in many ways was the glue that kept our little band of rebels together.

I was expected to continue running the meetings, even though I was heavily grieving the loss. Some members of the group expected us to continue using his venues for the meetings (he owned and ran several pubs in the Gloucester area of the UK), but I could not face setting foot in these places, mainly because of the memories, but also the fact his family and friends made sure I was not invited to the funeral, something I know deep down Paul would have been disgusted by. I believe on some sick level they thought I was after something, when I have a sneaky suspicion they were trying to protect their own haul from his inheritance. I had no need for anything from him, I loved him and that was it. I would have given anything for Paul to still be here, but he was too sick.

After trying to chair a few meetings, I realised that the group as a whole would not be contributing too much to organising or chairing and that many things were still seen as my job. I was one of the main organisers and created a lot for the group, so in late 2022 I fell back, dropped out of the group. It was a sad decision, but in early December 2022 my best friend Michael had the sudden unexpected diagnosis of cancer that had also spread everywhere. I was just starting to pick myself up and felt myself be knocked down.

I needed to care for Michael and I had no emotional, mental or physical energy to take care of the group anymore and my priorities changed. I no longer wanted to look at what was happening in the world, I no longer wished to fight the good fight, for my own life was intensely painful, any energy I had was for Michael and myself because I had little to no support locally.

Lost Friends, Lost Purpose, Lost Community

COMMUNITY PAUL SODEN KELLY MARTIN

Once Paul passed away I lost the bond. I had friends psycho-analysing me and my ‘behaviour’ when grieving. Some members expected me to just move forward within a short time, others just wanted me to keep it all going. Some were understanding, but still, I lost the community I belonged to and loved dearly because I didn’t want to talk about their fight anymore.

I had a strong sense of personal purpose when part of that group and so I lost friends, purpose and community.

And this was all at a time when I really needed support and community.

I was grieving Paul, then I was pre-grieving Michael’s death, I was grieving a lost identity, I was grieving a lost purpose and the hardest was grieving the loss of connection to the group.

It has been one of the hardest two years of my life so far 2022-2023.

And Then Michael Died Suddenly 

On May 1st 2023, Michael died suddenly. We had this feeling he had at least a year to live. We thought we had time for him to put his affairs in order, for me to get my business going more so I wouldn’t lose our home or my ability to pay bills, but sepsis came and within a week he was gone.

Here I was with few friends to turn to. 

And those friends from my previous group who still kept in contact mainly came to see me within the first month after Michael passed. I’ve barely heard from them since. 

So as 2023 draws to a close, I mourn many losses and pray that 2024 I rise completely into my own rebirth from such upheaval and change.

With death many changes happen and sometimes multiple changes at once.

It can be one too many shocks, but somehow we keep going.

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Kelly Martin
Kelly Martin

Kelly Martin, author of ‘When Everyone Shines But You’ is a dedicated writer and blogger who fearlessly explores life’s deepest questions. Faced with a decade of profound anxiety and grief following the loss of her father and her best friend Michael, Kelly embarked on a transformative journey guided by mindfulness, and she hasn’t looked back since. Through her insightful writing, engaging podcasts, and inspiring You Tube channel Kelly empowers others to unearth the hidden treasures within their pain, embracing the profound truth that they are ‘enough’ exactly as they are.

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