When family stops calling… something changes you. You find yourself frantically looking for ways to cope.
It feels like your village starts to come undone. You feel that wall of security starting to crumble.
When my mom passed away, I was only 24 and my life changed in an instant. The one thing that brought me comfort was leaning on the adamant thought that my extended family would be there for me. After all, these were the people I had grown up with.
During the preparations for her funeral, I felt so much love. My family was really there for me, just like they had been for my entire life. They called, they visited, they offered help, they fed me, they helped me take care of my baby. I can’t count how many times I was told not to worry, that they would be there for me.
It was really the best thing they could do for me during that time. I felt the love, comfort, and support fill me up. All of these actions really made the difference from me carrying on with my life versus me giving up completely.
When Family Stops Calling
Side Note: (To my family who is reading this now. I have waited for months… no years to make this post public. This was not written to call you out. It was written for my healing process.)
Then the funeral was over. And folks stopped calling to check on me. They no longer offered to help with my son. They didn’t come around and they just stopped calling.
At first, I thought, oh this is normal. The harsh reality of it was that even after death, life still goes on. The world still turns even when your best friend leaves this earth. That alone was a slap in my face. My entire life changed. How would I continue without her? I only knew of a life with her weaved into every last thread.
Even though I was in the throes of grief, at this point, I defended and understood.
Trying to continue… I would call my family. Write. Remembered birthdays, sent cards, gifts, and my love. I thought well, maybe it’s my turn to be there for them. For the next several years that is exactly what I did. Pursued, pushed, communicated, and loved on my family.
As the years past, obstacles were popping up at every turn. Some of my family was there, but not all. A few of my family members were great. Others just vanished.
Some would visit the town I live in, and would make zero attempts to reach out to me. Witnessing their travels, celebrations, and smiling faces throughout social media stung, really really bad. The biggest thought in my head was that if I visited their hometown, there would be no way I would ever even consider visiting without making an effort to visit with my family… even if schedules only allowed for a few minutes. I still don’t understand how they don’t see how painful this part is.
I don’t know why this happened. I’ve reached out. Which has only resulted in being ignored or being layered with excuses. Regardless, the end result has left me feeling so alone. I don’t know if that loneliness stemmed from losing my parents or if it is from the drastic change the occurred along with their deaths.
But as I mentioned earlier, life goes on. And so has mine. It may sound harsh but it’s the truth.
I’m married, have 3 boys, and I work. I’ve lost many loved ones. I need the support of my family throughout this crazy life. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out the way I thought it would.
How to Cope
I wanted to share this for a few reasons. One, writing helps me heal. I’ve done it for years and will continue to do so. Two, maybe sharing my experience will help just one person get through the feelings of rejection.
Here are a few ways that have helped me move on.
- Lean on people who are really there for you. Whether they are family, friends, your spouse or partner in crime, or even a pet. Besides my loving and understanding husband that supports me unconditionally, I have an incredible Aunt who is like a mother to me. She has been in my life since I was born. I don’t know life without her. It would be very difficult to cope without her in my life. My point is to count the ones that are there instead of the ones who are absent!
- Accept the things you cannot change! This one is HUGE! Do not let others determine your worth. Even when you are rejected by others this does not mean you are useless! It just means these are not your people! You have received your no… now it is time to move on to the YES!
- Do what you LOVE! I cannot emphasize this enough. Life is too short to be stuck! Shake things up. If you are on the brink of making changes with your career, love life, ANYTHING…. just do it! Find your happy place. Make it your life’s mission. You only deserve the best!
- Always remember, even at your darkest time, you are loved.
- Go for a walk. Seriously… no matter what kind of convincing you have to do with yourself, just get outside and get some fresh air. There were many times I would stay inside for days (sometimes weeks!) at a time! This only fed the negative feelings I had. Once I made that step outdoors, I started feeding the positive feelings.
- In the worst of times, take care of yourself as a mom would take care of a sick child. Eat chicken noodle soup, drink your juice, take a nap, and make yourself smile by surrounding yourself with things you love. Make art, visit a zoo.
- If things get really dark, head to the doctor and ask for help. I’ve done this before. I promise the world will not come to an end.
- Take time off work if you can. If you can’t, and have to work like most of us, try and make the best of it. Make a thermos of your favorite drink. Pick up your lunch at the supermarket before work. Pick up some fresh fruit and some chicken or salad from the deli. Milkshakes are my go to, but smoothies would be great too. And when it’s quitting time, focus on yourself!
Change is so tough. It hurts. Most of the time we never understand the why… what is the reason for all of it? You know what I think, it’s just life. We have to learn to evolve with the ever-changing world. I’m trying to embrace it…. how do you cope when family stops calling? When did you finally see the rainbow after the storm? I never found my rainbow in the clouds, I found it within myself.