Lost my Mom....

theresaerj

This is so strange, she has been gone 2 years and I feel like it is just yesterday still. I am a grown woman with 3 young daughters and I can't get past her death? like I am achild still or something. When will I feel like the world is a happy place again? My God, I did not expect myself to feel like this, I was so strong through her death, but it hit me 11 months later ( last summer ) had a serious panic attack, wondering what was happening to me, then I realized, it was her, I wasn't so strong after all, it was my weakest point in life. I am strong for my girls, I try not to let them see me so sad or anxious, but sometimes I feel so alone yet I'm not. I want to be the happy person I was before she died. Will I ever get there, or will I mourn forever??

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mav63_2007

Theresa,
I am so, so sorrry that you lost your mom and you are in so much pain. Your letter could have been word for word, mine, I know what you are going through. When I lost my husband of 37 years I was a little proud of myself for keeping it all together for the first year (but crying myself to sleep every night), the second year wasn't bad because I was busy finding my way in my new life (still crying myself to sleep), but.... the third year it has hit me like a ton of bricks, he is actually never coming back.
As time goes on we will have happiness again but it will happen slowly and by degrees. It is good to be strong for your girls, I was for my girls but then after a while you realize that everyone has seen you being strong and you are now alone in grieving because you never showed it.
I am pretty sure we will mourn forever but it will be more gentle as time goes on, I still want to miss him but without the pain. I think we would find a lot of people who would agree with that.

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Ninapearl

theresa,
i can only echo what mav has said. i'm so sorry for your loss. in the scheme of things, 2, 3, even 4 years is a pretty short time. it seems that when we get to the point where you, mav and i are (i lost my husband 2.5 years ago), reality seems to come crashing down on us.

take your time, grieve and cry when you feel like it. holding it in only prolongs it. i also agree with mav, we will mourn until they day we are reunited with our loved ones. until then, i try to let happy memories take the place of my sadness. we will all be works in progress for the rest of our lives but time does dull the pain, so i am told.

God bless and (((hugs))) to you in your sorrow.

nina

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theresaerj

Thank you so much ladies, this site has been very helpful, your words have been very helpful. I know I just need more time, I miss her so much though. I am sorry for your losses as well. Sometimes I wonder why we need to feel so much hurt, is it really necessary? :) Have a wonderful day and God Bless you. Theresa

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mrkwork1

Hi Theresa:

Dear lady, you are not alone, and your feelings are completely normal. I don't know the circumstances of your mother's death (i.e., was it sudden or was she sick for a long time) but perhaps if I tell you my experience you may be able to relate to it.

My mom died on May 6, 1996. I had been her caregiver since February of that year. It was a whirlwind; I lost 35 pounds during that time. She was home during most of the time I cared for her and then ended up going into the hospital for an emergency surgery in late April. She lingered afterward and died while in the hospital.

When a caregiver is going through such a traumatic event, one is in survival mode. There is no time to grieve, only time to survive. The time for grieving is deferred. After all, we can only handle so much emotion at one time.

My mother's death hit me hard; the grieving hit even harder. I did my best but felt it was not enough. Caregiver's guilt. She has been gone now 14 years, and I still grieve. It is different now, but it is still there.

I hate the term closure; there is no such thing, in my book. But eventually you will integrate the loss into your life. You will find that you will be able to talk about her more and cry less. The grieving process hurts like hell; I liken it to the physical pain of being cut open from stem to stern without the benefit of anesthesia.

Another complication can arise when we lose someone else who may be close to us while still grieving the loss of another. In my case, I lost my husband 10 months after my mother's death; his death was a suicide, so that made my grieving all the more complicated.

I ended up getting professional help in the form of medication (an anti-depressant) and therapy. Before, I had always scoffed at the notion of people getting help via therapy or through medication. But how I needed it(!) and I'm glad I sought help.

Whatever the case, Theresa, please realize that you are not alone and that others care so much about you, even the people on this forum who don't even know you.

I don't know how old your girls are, but sharing your sorrow with them in an age-appropriate way is a positive thing. Lean on each other for support. Also, talk to any relative/friend who is receptive to letting you vent your grief.

Perhaps writing your thoughts down in a journal can help you cope with your feelings of loss. A lot of emotional "stuff" comes up when a parent dies. It makes us face our own mortality, and it can feel like a smack in the face when that happens.

Be kind and patient with yourself. Grieving has no timetable. Everyone grieves in his/her own unique way. Make sure you eat properly, get enough rest, and do something which validates and celebrates life.

You are in my thoughts and prayers, Theresa...

Mary Ruff-King

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theresaerj

Thank you so much Mary, what a wonderful woman you are. Your words were so comforting - along with the other wonderful ladies who posted
Myself and my brother were my Mom's caregivers prior to her death ( although there are 7 siblings ). She was diagnosed with terminal gall bladder cancer in March of 2008, within a very short time it spread to her liver and stomach. She passed away peacefully ( but very drug induced ) on July 15th 2008. I guess what sits with me all the time is she had cancer for a few years prior but told none of us and knowing her very well, she did not want to upset us or "put any of us out" because our lives were so busy if she required chemo or radiation, I am angry at her for that because she very well may still be with me had she not did that! When she finally wanted to get chemo and deal with it, the doctors told her it's too late. I sat at her hospital bedside every chance i could get, reading to her, laying with her, talking with her ( although she could not talk back near the end ) for many weeks, I had just started a new job, it was so difficult but all I kept thinking was, she is going to live much much longer, don't worry, I was in such denial. At her very last moment, I held her, her heart beat decreased from the normal beats per minute down to 10 beats per minute within 5 - 7 hours, then rapidly decreased within no time, I felt her very last heart beat and then kissed her forehead and told her good bye. ( I am crying so bad right now ) I miss her terribly Mary. My daughters are 12, 11, and 7. They are what keeps me here.

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theresaerj

BTW Mary, I am so sorry for your losses - that was so rude of me for not saying.....I spoke with a lady last year that had lost her Mom and then her husband had a massive heart attack and died 14 months later, she was a complete and utter mess, she had no interest in anything. I felt so sorry for her, thinking I just had my Mom to mourn over, she had two!
We all need to keep our faith, I truly believe it makes a huge difference on how we get through.

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mrkwork1

Hi Theresa:

Thank you for your kind and comforting words, and thank you for providing such personal information about you and your mother. Whatever you are feeling, it is ok to feel that. The anger at your mother for not telling family members about her illness is understandable. It sounds like she was scared and in denial, and (as you said) did not want to burden others with such news.

We all have issues with our parents; I guess it's because it's a dominant-submissive relationship. Even when we become adults, we are still viewed as children by our folks.

What has helped me through my grieving process is to view my mother as a person--another human being going through this life process of being and growing--who made some good and bad choices but did her best under the circumstances, raised/treated me the best she could based on her life experience, and loved me through it all. We were gifts to each other because we needed to learn from each other.

I remember when I was caring for my mother, I heard her ask her sister (my aunt)the following: "Do you remember Mom ever hugging you?" Here was my mother, in her 70s, asking her sister if she ever got hugs from their mother. My mother went on to say that she could not remember one time that their mother ever hugged her; she sounded so hurt. That's when it hit me that we are all just people trying to do our best based on how we were raised and loved as children. And no matter how old we get, there may be emotional needs not met that will hurt us and perhaps even haunt us for the rest of our lives.

I believe my mother is around me quite a bit which is comforting. I realize that although there is no physical connection anymore, there is still a strong emotional one, a psychic connection if you will, and all I have to do to communicate with her now is to think a thought.

The fact that you were with your mother, lay with her, and held her until she passed away is a true testament of love. Most people would not be able to bear that emotional pain. Bless you, Theresa! You are a terrific daughter.

I shall keep checking this forum. You just keep posting your thoughts and feelings here so we can fully support you.

You mentioned faith; I too am a big believer in faith getting me through rough times. The worse things got for me, the stronger my faith become.

In addition to losing my mother and husband within a 10-month period, I also lost my therapist and mother-in-law to cancer during the next 14 months. So I lost three relatives and my grief therapist in a two-year period. At one point I felt like "Typhoid Mary." In fact, I refused to make any new friends for awhile thinking they might drop dead or become ill. That time period was hell for me and I too was a mess.

You can and will make it through this hellish grieving process, Theresa. Be real, be honest with people about it, communicate with those who can and want to help you.

One thing I wanted to ask is how are your children? How are they handling their grief? Have they talked to you about it?

Take care, Theresa....you are special, you are loved, you are a valuable child of God.

Mary R-K

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theresaerj

HI Mary, you really know the right things to say! you are wonderful.
Out of my 3 girls, my littlest one ( she is 7 now ) was the closest to my mom, although she was only 5 when Mom died, she was very attached to her and they called eachother their "angel" , so many moments that made me cry, leading up to her death, with my Mom and Shelby. My mom always told me there is something special about Shelby, I can;t quite place it but she will do or be something very special. I sometimes catch Shelby crying and will ask her what is wrong and she says I miss Nana so much, I want to see her again.....it makes me cry like a baby.
I remember this moment like it was yesterday - The day after my Mom passed, I was picking up the girls from my Mom-in-law house and as we were driving home Shelby asked if she could have my cell phone, I gave it to her and she pretended to dial out and said these exact words
" Hello God, it's Shelby, can I please speak to my Nana, ( after a slight pause ) she says "Hi Nana, you don;t hurt anymore? that's good, I miss you very much and you are my angel. I love you, bye"

I absolutely fell apart inside.

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theresaerj

Mary, how do we keep going through life as normal through all of this? how do I stop thinking I am going to croak at any time, or my husband will die and leave me.....this is an awful feeling. Did you feel like this?
I am 40 years old and never lost anyone I loved, my Mom was the first one, is this why I am feeling this way, because I never experienced such a loss?

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marylmi

theresaerj....I am so sorry for your loss and that you are going through this. Grief is so hard to deal with and we all have our own way of doing that. For me, it is taking one day at a time and trying to just think happy thoughts. I lost my Mom 4 yrs. ago (she was 96 and she was ready to go..she said) and 1 month later, I lost my sister from a stroke, which was completely unexpected. That really hit me hard because it happened so suddenly and it is still hard to accept at times. With my husband, I knew it was coming..but still hard to accept and I miss him so much but like a previous poster said; I would not want him to go through more days being like he was. I know he is in a better place and that gives me great comfort, and I'll see him some day. I never told him "good'by", it was "see you later". Your girls will bring you lots of comfort, just concentrate on them and make some happy memories.

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theresaerj

Thank you for your response Mary7060....

Mary Ruff/King, please see my post....thank you

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mrkwork1

Hi Theresa:

You asked: How do we keep going through life as normal through all of this? We don't. We establish a "new normal." There is life before your mom died; now there is a new life, a new beginning post your mom's death. You are now the matriarch. Sometimes it's not so easy to transition from one role to another; this is a hard one to fathom and to do. Yet we all do it, each in our own way.

I think what throws all of us for a loop when someone dies, but especially our parents, is that we realize WE are now the older, next generation. We are IT. Our time of earth is getting shorter. We have lived more days than we will have lived entirely. That's a stunning, shocking realization.

There is comfort knowing we have parents to whom we can turn in times of duress and crises; once they are gone, we must rely on ourselves, siblings, other relatives and friends.

I know that I personally faced some severe abandonment issues, feeling that my husband was going to abandon me somehow. And he did in a big, horrifying way. But the anticipation of that abandonment, the GUT-WRENCHING FEAR(!) caused by that anticipation was far worse than when he actually did "leave" me by suicide. The same was true of my mother's death; I anticipated, dreaded it; but when the time came, it was a relief to know she wasn't suffering anymore. And selfishly (but very normal), it was a relief that the rest of us could go on with our lives.

I think your fear of dying or your husband dying suddenly is a normal fear. Your mother would want you to enjoy your family, your husband, your children. There are no guarantees; any one of us could die tomorrow. Now we can bubble wrap ourselves, our children, ensuring nothing happens to us/them, or we can know the risks of going outside and taking calculated risks involved with living and enjoying life (like looking both ways before crossing the street minimizes getting hit by a car).

Just keep putting one foot in front of the others and take cues your children; they miss Nana and cry, but then they go about the business of living, too. Talk to your mother every day; tell her you miss her like crazy. Cry about it for a bit. Then carry on. You can do it, my friend.

And if you find that you are stuck in your grief, look for websites that talk about "prolonged grief." I've put the link below for you.

Regards,

Mary R-K

Here is a link that might be useful: Overview of Complicated/Prolonged Grief

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theresaerj

Wow, your words are so comforting, not only for me but I have read some of the other posts you have made as well, I hope they feel the same when reading your posts.
Thank you Mary, Thank you, I feel truly blessed to have come across someone like you. My family and friends tried to say and do the "right" things for me and then out of the blue a stranger ( you ) say some words and comments but they just make so much sense and it is comforting.
I have found as time goes on it doesn't "hurt" so bad, I still miss her like crazy and tell her that often but my little ones need me. I believe you hit the nail on the head when you said
" I think what throws all of us for a loop when someone dies, but especially our parents, is that we realize WE are now the older, next generation. We are IT. Our time of earth is getting shorter"
I need to accept this. I will know when I have because I won't be afraid anymore.
Are you handling life ok, Do you still seek counselling or support groups, you have been through some hard times. No wonder you are such a rock, you have had some hard lessons.
God Bless
Theresa

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mrkwork1

Dear Theresa:

Thank you, dear friend, for your kind words. I receive as much comfort from yours as you have mine.

It's been 14 years since my mother's death and 13 years since my husband's suicide. I usually still have a difficult time between March and June (birthday, anniversary, death dates) but overall I feel I am doing well. I take good care of myself. I am not around people a lot. I work at home. I can control my environment so I am not subjected to toxic people or loud noise which tends to really make me anxious. I also avoid crowds/crowded stores because of anxiety.

I attended a support group one time for survivors of a loved one's suicide and it was so totally overwhelming that I did not go back. I attended some group and private therapy sessions in the past which were beneficial at the time.

I did suffer from PTSD and had terrible nightmares for awhile. For the most part, the nightmares have subsided; I still have some but very rarely now.

What I have been through has really been a rough ordeal; I wouldn't wish it on anyone; however, I am who I am today because of my past experiences.

Like a blacksmith pounding away on a red-hot piece of steel to shape it to his design, it seems our Creator does the same with our souls. Our experiences--good and bad--temper our core being, but it is only the tough times that show us what we're really made of. Our mettle is formed and put to the test during those times.

So I look at what I've been through and thank God for all I am today because of what I've been through yesterday. And that is the greatest lesson I've learned from it all; just to be grateful for whom I am today and how it all came to be.

So even though it is difficult, rough, and at times overwhelming, embrace your continuing journey through grief and growth. You will get through it; and you will be much more of a person (more empathetic, compassionate and loving) than you ever thought you could be.

Take good care of yourself, Theresa, and we'll "talk" soon.

Regards,

Mary Ruff-King

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