Your gain: We’ll talk about why our loved ones sometimes die close together, what can cause this, and how to cope with it.

I wanted to write about this particular topic because it’s near and dear to my heart. As my parents passed six months apart, I can confidently say my dad was highly affected by my mom’s death. Here, I’ll give you a little insight as to why, and also how and why this can happen.

My Experience

When my mom died, my dad really just wasn’t the same person. I mean, he was, generally speaking. But I can tell such a big part of his soul had been taken from him the moment she left the physical world. 

He seemed a bit more uninspired and unenthusiastic with life. Very low vibration and very sad. Which, of course, is to be expected! When you lose a partner of over 30 years and you have so much of your life together intertwined, I can’t imagine how it must feel to try and feel whole again after that. 


I should also mention that my dad had been diagnosed with prostate cancer probably 5 or 6 years prior to my mom’s death. While he journeyed through this and had his ups and downs, when my mom’s health started declining, I noticed he was worsening a little bit, too. For instance, they both had pneumonia at the same time, and his mobility started decreasing. 

Once my mom died, this really began to take hold. I could see and sense that his cancer was worsening, Little did I know until later on that it was in fact spreading from his prostate to his lower back and, eventually, his brain. Really, I could just feel him slipping away. I remember having this one moment, really multiple moments, where I realized I was in the process of losing another parent. I just couldn’t wrap my head around that.

Why Does This Happen?

Why is it that some loved ones—most generally this is seen in couples who have been together a long time or parents who have lost children—die close together like this?

With my dad, I have to admit, at one point he told me point blank that he wanted to go be with my mom. This was at a point when he was in a Post Acute (essentially hospice) facility, the cancer was in his brain, but he was quite clear about it. Now, I know he didn’t want to leave me. I know this. But I do feel when it gets to the point where someone is just “done”, so to speak, there’s not a lot of convincing them. They’re almost resounding to their fate, and there’s actually a peace that comes with that for most people.

The occurrence of loved ones dying close together can be attributed to several factors. While sometimes it can be a matter of coincidence, oftentimes it feels like there’s a little more to it than that. Here are a few reasons why this might happen.

Age and Health

When loved ones share similar ages or health conditions, they may face similar life challenges and health risks. If they have reached a point in their lives where their health declines, it is possible for them to pass away in close succession. 

As I explained with my parents earlier, as they were going through a shared health decline, I can’t help but feel this was relevant. Even though they were 13 years apart (my dad was older), even while symptoms can be different, overall health and wellness can play a massive role.

Shared Environment

If family members or close friends live together or in close proximity, they may be exposed to the same environmental factors, such as infectious diseases or accidents. In such cases, the chances of multiple deaths occurring in a short span of time can increase.

I always felt this was so interesting—how our shared environment can play such a key role. But not entirely surprising, right? If we’re exposed to the same or similar things or environments, it’s very possible that humans can be exposed to similar circumstances.

Emotional Impact

The loss of a loved one can be emotionally challenging for others in close relationships. The stress, grief, or heartbreak experienced by one person can affect the health and well-being of those around them. Particularly if they were already vulnerable or dealing with underlying health issues.

As I was saying with my dad, who already had a pre-existing condition, losing my mom on top of all of this was the straw that broke the camel’s back, if you will. I know the classic “died of a broken heart” has been romanticized in stories as far back as we can remember, but I truly feel this was the case here. Grief is capable of nothing if not breaking our entire world apart. It makes us yearn for our past, find discomfort and agony in the present, and fear, dread, and uncertainty for the future.

Genetic Factors

In some instances, families may have a genetic predisposition to certain illnesses or health conditions. If multiple family members are affected by the same hereditary disease, they may experience a higher likelihood of passing away within a similar timeframe.

I always found this interesting because, in my case, my grandfather (my paternal grandpa) also died of prostate cancer. I never truly thought it was a coincidence that my died was diagnosed and died of the same thing. Now, this doesn’t always affect people dying close together, but this can certainly happen. Or, perhaps around the same age.

Timing and Coincidence

Ultimately, the timing of deaths among loved ones can be a random occurrence. While it might not feel like that (and it might not be!), human life and the event of death are inherently unpredictable. After all, accidents happen, random health incidents happen that lead to a very quick passing, and much of this can feel very random and happenstance. It is, of course, possible for multiple deaths to happen in close succession purely due to chance.

Whether or not the loss of multiple loved ones in a short period indicates a pattern or deeper meaning is truly in the eye of the beholder. It is how you ultimately feel about it, Whether you know in your gut (or by some level of proof) that the deaths, somehow, happened on purpose.

Coincidence or Not?

In my case, I do not feel it was a coincidence that my dad died six months after my mom. With what I witnessed and what I heard from him, I can’t even say I’m surprised. Did deep hurt and pain come along with that, though? Oh, yeah… that was and continues to be prominent. But have I also found this sort of twisted peace in that they’re together, happier and healthier than ever (spiritually speaking), and not stuck in this physical world in pain? Yes, I sure am.

I want for you to think about this as it relates to your loved one(s) today. Did any of these reasons people might die close together resonate with you? Which one? What is your intuition telling you about these deaths? Were they more coincidental than you thought, or do you feel they are, in fact, diveinely intertwined? I invite you to journal on those thoughts a little and see what comes up for you, or even share in the comments if you’re comfortable!

Explore my Course and Freebies!

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Discover Help Texts

Help Texts graphic by Losses Become Gains

I’m so excited to share that I recently discovered Help Texts, and let me tell you, I so wish this was something I had found when I was first going through the worst parts of my grief. For example, when my dad died. Good timing, right?

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My Other Favorites

Don’t forget to check out some of my other favorite grief, life, and business tools that I have personally used and are 100% backed by yours truly! Click here to get started.

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