Hi my friends, my name is Maria and I am from Ireland.
I have come through so much over the last eight years and I am thankful I am still here to tell the tale. In a strange way all my loss and suffering has changed me and I'd like to think I'm a stronger more positive person, with a special appreciation for life and others.
My story of loss begins back in 2008 when my marriage broke down and I had to deal with so many emotions; loss, jealousy, anger, to name a few, and worry about how I would manage telling my three children aged 9, 6 and 3 that daddy would no longer be living with us. Heart broken and feeling so alone and ashamed, I carried on while also grieving the loss of my mother a couple years before, and my eldest brother who passed suddenly aged 45 years only a year later.
It was a difficult and emotional time. But just when I felt I was getting through this loss I ended up having to lose my home, this haven where my kids where born and I thought I would be happy for the rest of my days. It was a struggle for the next few years but my family and kids got me through so many hard times.
Then sadness hit again early February 2014. This was to be the start of the worst two years of my life to date. My second brother, who was also my dearest friend and a wonderful person, passed suddenly and I felt like my world was crumbling down around me. I was numb and lost, with only my wonderful father now, and a sister who lives abroad. It was heart breaking and nothing could fill the void. This was a difficult year, and watching my father cry was immensely painful. He had lost his wife and both sons and was completely heart broken, aged 81. He was so strong for me and my sister.
As this year ended I prayed there would be an end to my family heartbreak but unfortunately 2015 was the year from hell for me. This year started with a hope for better things to come but as we got through my brother's first anniversary in February, I lost my father in March. I was the one to find him on his bedroom floor and that image will live with me forever. It was a blow to my heart as he was fine the day before. Even at 82 years he had so much life left to live and I felt I was robbed of this man, my hero.
While still grieving my brother's loss and all that had gone before, I never felt more alone in my entire life. Just after my father's funeral (I was also in the process of moving house and feeling totally stressed) I was diagnosed with a tumor on my lung. Of course this just added to the stress, pressure and heartache.
On July 10th 2015 I had major surgery having the tumor removed along with half my left lung. It was a major ordeal trying to cope with so much grief, loss and emotional pain. I really don't know how I would have gotten through it all if it had not been for my amazing sister and my three children. They were my rock, my healing ground and my incentive to thrive. I also found great comfort and support listening to Olivia's album Grace and Gratitude Renewed. I have been a fan over 40 years and I played this album on a loop, especially the track Help Me To Heal.
So my sister is back living abroad now and I am here with my children taking each day as it comes and thankful for every one I'm given. I treasure my children, I treasure my sister and friends but most of all I treasure myself because I am a fighter, a survivor and a believer that there is hope and there is always something to live for, to fight for. This has been my test in life to see how well I come out the other side... I think I did pretty well and I have learned to let go.
I hope my story has helped you in some way and thank you for reading it. Whatever it is you are coping with I hope you find complete happiness and a way to let go.