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The Girl

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    Loss of mother
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  1. Today marks 5 months since my mom passed. For me, the 9th stands out each month, to where I'm almost fearful of it b/c that's another month further away from the last time I saw her. I hate that I moved away, so far away right before her decline and lost the last year of her life, and often wonder what may have be different had I stayed. Maybe nothing, or maybe everything. I can imagine it going so many other ways that there's no way of knowing what could have been, and I'll probably drive myself mad if I spend too long thinking about it. @MayFGL Being caregiver is a lot to take on, physically and emotionally. I feel as though those are often the ones who are the most affected, b/c you've put so much into maintaining quality of life. My dad was my mom's caregiver and from what my brother has told me, he has only left the house on their wedding anniversary last May, aside from grocery shopping. I'm sorry you had to witness your mom's decline and then further in hospice. Seeing them like that is a helpless feeling. I had never felt more like a child and more like an adult than ever before in my life. And somehow at the same time. The part that haunts me is seeing my mom in a manner that was borderline infantile. I keep saying she was in a vegetative state for lack of better words, b/c she was but not entirely. Mentally there was still something there, impossible to say how much, but in a vastly decreased cognitive state, at least what she could project to us. It's just a very hard thing to watch that I wish none of us had to go through, but sadly I guess there's no avoiding it. I'd do anything for more time though. @Athina It probably differs person to person, where some find it comforting to have a place to visit their loved ones, but I personally don't find it necessary for my own grief. My mom was also cremated, but is in one half of a double urn that eventually, hopefully not for many, many years, that my dad will share. They have plots at the cemetery, but her gravestone is being stored in my parent's garage. I'm unlike most people here where I haven't been able to visit since her funeral. I've always been at odds with cremation. It seems so impersonal, but those were her wishes and I also kind of feel like after she's gone there wasn't anything to hang on to anyway. There's so many conflicting feelings with grief that I don't think anything would feel "right". Despite what arrangements were made, it isn't like we can truly let go. But those arrangements signify just that. The dreams are becoming fewer and far between. My last one was a week ago and all that happened was I saw my mom. No interaction even. I just saw her walk through the door, arms full of bags from shopping, like she was years younger, and I woke up. The dreams of her always rattled me, but it was always comforting seeing her. I hope there will be many, many more.
  2. @sadandlost when my mom passed (last Feb) a few people who had gone through it told me the sadness never goes away, that you just gradually have longer periods of thinking about it. One of my mom's best friends said time doesn't heal the pain, we just get better at not thinking about it, while her other best friend admitted nothing will ever be the same. Then my friend's mom parroted both those remarks, making me believe it must be true for 3 woman who hadn't met to confide this in me during separate private conversations. I greatly appreciated them being so candid about this, b/c it prepared me for the endlessness of grief, but in a way that reassured me that how I feel now or 10 years from now is perfectly normal. It also reassured me that my mom will always be that important to me while overall it won't always be this horrible. My greatest fear is forgetting something about my mom. Her voice or laugh, her facial expressions or how she would respond to this or that, memories and conversations. So as painful as it is, there's some relief in thinking maybe the grief will help to hold onto all that. I'd rather be desperately sad at times than lose any of that. Especially now that I'm not always sad all of the time. I don't know if it's the best thing to take away from that or not, but in a way it keeps my mom close.
  3. The whole time line feels almost shocking. Though I think the first 2 months I was so lost in my head that they may as well not have existed. I can't believe it's already July. My mom's last days in the hospital and in hospice feel like a bad dream, but it also doesn't feel like this much time could have passed. I think grieving probably does make us a little crazy. I am a bit relieved to not be in those first 2 months anymore, but there's also a part of me that wants to stop time and stay as close to my mom as possible. @Athina It is a strange place to be. The wound isn't as fresh as it was early on, yet I'm still learning how to adapt. In some ways it has gotten much easier, in that I'm not entirely focused on that loss all day long. But at the same time, my mom is always on my mind in some fashion, only w/o me actively thinking about her, if that makes sense. @MayFGL "Lonely" is the perfect way to say it. It doesn't matter how many people are around, they're just not the right fit. I think about my mom's unique view of the world and want to talk to her so badly. She was kind but cynical, and bluntly honest but w/o judgement. Such a light hearted, free spirited woman, but with a deep wisdom about others and how things worked. I've talked to a few people about different things going on and felt disappointed b/c they can't offer her perspective. Everyone has their own experience in the world that no one else could share entirely. I guess I just became dependent on what she had to offer. @ELiz You have some exceptional moments coming up and I wish you the strength to get through them. Other than mothers' day, nothing has stood out yet. My mom's birthday is July 22nd, and I'm dreading it. My parents anniversary passed but I couldn't remember the exact date. It was a day after that I learned my dad had left the house and avoided it, and then had to deal with an insensitive family member. I guess this is how we adapt though. Maybe in time those special days will get easier from this. I haven't been around mothers with their children yet. Not really, at least. I was invited out for drinks next week by my friend's mom while she's in town, and have another friend visiting the area with her mom later in the month. I'm hoping spending time with people I care about outweighs the pain and jealousy of seeing friends with their moms, but I really don't know how that will go.
  4. In a few days it will be 5 months since I lost my mom. It still doesn't feel real, until I'm hit, yet again, by the reality of it. More and more it seems to come out of nowhere. The odd part is I can talk about it w/o the pain of loss, like it happened but she got over it and she's fine now. Then randomly a flash of her laying in bed in hospice, or the text from my dad saying we have to let her go will pop in my head and I'm brutally aware that she's gone forever. I feel like I don't even know where the last 5 months have gone. I've been thinking about the last time my mom and I hugged. I hugged her often in late Jan/early Feb, but she was in a vegetative state and couldn't hug back. Usually she was sleeping. The last time I had seen her was Xmas, but I was sick and she was immunocompromised. Last July was the last time we hugged, during her stay at the nursing home while she was regaining her strength to walk again. I laughed b/c it was like she was never going to let go, since I wouldn't see her again til Dec. Then I thought about our last real conversation. Or tried to. I think it was Jan. 13, 2016, just before she lost her hearing. After that my end of the conversation was entirely written word. I did my best to keep up but I can only write/type so fast. I think about that and get upset thinking that right now we should be having our first verbal conversations in over a year again. That on Jan 24 she was scheduled for cochlear implant surgery, but instead got septic shock and an irreversible stroke. It's such bullsh*t. I see some of you have mentioned other people not understanding the severity of your loss, not having perspective for how deep it goes. And then the pain of seeing others with their parents. That all resonates with me and I'm sorry you all have to deal with that. I've reached the point, well, awhile back I did even, where everyone seems oblivious to my loss. For the most part, I've always felt alone in my grief, but it's reached a new level of alienation. It's hard to know what to say to someone who only just lost someone, but I think it's even harder after some time has passed and you've already spent all your relevant words. Their lives move on and so do their minds. Sometimes I think we learn more than we would like to about these peoples character during times like this.
  5. I don't know if I can do this

    I'm so sorry for your loss and what you're going through. Would it help you to get out of the house, or would that be too much this early on? Some ideas with the heat and your budget would be a library or window shopping, or family or friends where you could bring your dog along. No, people who haven't gone through this don't really understand, but they do tend to understand it's difficult for you. I'm more of the opinion that since not everyone will be grieving to the magnitude you are, they're in a better position to be there for you. If you're close to someone who isn't as affected, then it's alright to lean on them. And one day those tables will turn and they'll be the ones needing you. But I also completely understand just not wanting to talk to anyone who hasn't dealt with this. Only yesterday I was thinking how in just over a week it will be 5 months since I lost my mom and how could that be. It still hits me like it just happened, while the rest of the time it feels like she's in the hospital again. It's too surreal and too heavy to accept. It takes time. Or it takes denial and distractions. But I really think for a healthy transition it takes a lot of grieving over a very extended period of time. At least for me, I've found some consolation in accepting I'm going to feel horrible. Like somehow just knowing that every day life will be difficult and emotional makes it a little less horrible b/c I'm expecting it to. If it's any consolation, I found the first month to be the hardest. It was somewhere around the second month that I was able to be distracted, and distracted w/o feeling guilty. Even though you have to go through the grief, distractions are good. We all need the mental break when we can get it.
  6. Losing a parent is an almost impossible concept to grasp. I lost my mom over 4 months ago and the more time passes, the less real her last weeks feel. Her entire last year had been a nightmare, and although those memories are still vivid, they feel so fake. I don't think feeling like your mom's life was a dream is that far off. Grieving bombs us with extreme and difficult and confusing emotions that is all too surreal to absorb. For the longest time I felt my life during those first months was the dream. Time passed but it could have been one hour or one week, it all felt the same. So, no, you're not going crazy. You may feel like it, but that's completely normal.
  7. I'm really sorry you lost your dad. I feel like w/o fail one way or another the medical staff will make a mistake. Usually it's something minor or just something negligent that didn't actually cause harm, much to the patient's discomfort, but sometimes those mistakes are huge. You have every right to be angry. They should have be cautious and held off, rather than assume it was a glitch in the machine. I'm very sorry you and your family have had to go through that. Dealing with Drs and hospitals isn't always easy. My mom was in and out of hospitals her last couple years and I've literally told them they were wrong a few times, but they never listened. Everyone makes mistakes, and that's usually okay. But hospitals have so many patients they don't have enough time for and who are almost constantly rotating. The Drs spend so little time with each patient that you just have to hope they're on their A game that day. I lost my mom last Feb in a very similar situation. She had been battling chronic pancreatitis for a long time and had various infections that led to sepsis three times. The first and the last time she went into septic shock. She experienced a-fib when she was recovering in ICU the first time. Until I read your post I was completely unaware that a-fib was a sign of sepsis. They just told us she was getting too excited. The last time she went into septic shock she was at home. My dad worried something was wrong but she kept telling him she felt fine. She was going into shock when he rushed her to the hospital. I text her that morning and my dad responded saying she had a c-diff infection causing septic shock and she was going in for emergency surgery to remove her colon. Nothing was working to raise her blood pressure and she was dying, so there was no choice. For a few days they thought she was just really drugged and having a hard recovery. Then they realized she had had a stroke. They said her BP dropped to 60/30 during surgery. They did an MRI and EEG that showed significant signs of a stroke. She was paralyzed. We waited for signs of improvement. My mom had gone deaf a year before, so we couldn't talk to her. She was on a vent, so she couldn't talk. She was paralyzed from the neck down (excluding organs), so she couldn't write or gesture or anything. The stroke affected her ability to read, so she couldn't understand even the most simplest of signs I made for her. After about a week all the Drs signed off on her and we had to let her go. All her vitals went back to perfect or near perfect, she recovered from sepsis yet again, but we still couldn't save her. From this I learned that some things in life are just completely horrible. That doesn't mean you can't be angry or blame someone. You absolutely should, b/c people should be held accountable for harmful mistakes and they aren't always. But that's something that has got me through this a bit. Just knowing that some things will really suck and there's no helping that. I was just talking to a friend the other day who mentioned these losses not being fair. I said something that fair isn't the right word. There's never been a guarantee of fairness in anything. But some things will be really terrible and we'll never be prepared for that.
  8. What I don't think other people realize is that it isn't just that day (mothers' day/fathers' day), but the days leading up to it. For me, it was my first mothers' day, and I never realized before how thrown in your face it is for about two weeks leading up to it and a few days following. B/c of that, I wanted to avoid thinking about it at all on mothers' day. I would suggest staying away from social media next weekend, and even next Monday. I spent the weekend with a book and my phone on silent, b/c some people will check in, and for me that was just another sad reminder. I think we all have all we need to honor our lost parents right in our own heads. Memories. You can honor your dad by remembering him.
  9. @Luna1 with everyone in your family grieving and everyone processing it in their own way, it's normal for those emotions to ricochet off one another. I think the best defense for that would be to calmly remind each other that you're all experiencing so much and it isn't anyone's fault, you're all just in pain and trying to find your way out. Sometimes we need a little nudge to break out of that shell long enough to see how our pain is being directed at others who are no better off than ourselves. You can let them know you're there for them and to please not take it out on you. @Dgiirl I was recently looking into online therapy. Maybe that would be a good fit for you? If you Google it, the first one that comes up has you fill out a questionnaire so they can match you with the right therapist, but they also let you switch therapists if you're not happy with the one you're matched with. I liked the convenience of doing it from home and forming your own schedule that way. People do act like after a short time frame you should be getting better. Part of me wants to tell them just how horrible a loss like this is, but the other part finds that exhausting. Until they go through it, they just don't know. You're not obligated to smile for anyone. Though I completely understand how much easier it is on yourself to just pretend instead of get into it.
  10. I understand. When it's happened to you with someone you love that much, the feeling of being at fault is hard to shake. My mom used to tell me to think aboutwhat I would say to someone else. Often our perspective and advice is different when we put ourselves in third person. Sometimes that's easier said than done though. I feel my mom may still be here if I hadn't moved over a year ago. I moved and her health failed. Her health had taken a few hits before I moved, and I always watched out for her. Her death was a fluke. A quick succession of unanticipated accidents. Would it have been avoided if I hadn't moved? Honestly I have no idea. But even knowing that I still feel like I ruined everything, b/c something, anything, would have gone differently over the last year. See what I'm getting at here? Neither of us probably ever had that much control, but we don't interpret it that way. There's too many "but she", "but I", "but this", "and that"... There's no way to really know if anything would have changed. What I can say with certainty is that we don't actually have control over a grown adult. We don't have control over sudden medical issues. But I do understand feeling like you had a bigger role in it.
  11. Lost

    My sympathies on your loss. It's a lot to take in, a lot to recover from. My opinion is that we heal, but it takes us to a different place in life. Everything that breaks can be mended, but it always leaves a crack. Break a bone, it'll heal, but it will always be more delicate in that spot. Break a vase and piece it back together, but there will be marks. So when we break, when our proverbial heart breaks, there will always be traces of it. When we lose someone we love that much, there's going to be a break and there's going to be a change. Your dad, my mom, imprinted on us throughout their lives, and they imprint on us again in passing, just differently. But we do heal. You will get through this, but there will always be triggers to face and there will always be a tenderness to that old wound. It's hard to get through, but when someone is important enough they're gonna leave a mark. You are NOT a burden. You're a person going through a painful transition. You're entitled to your grief and your thoughts and feelings, you're entitled to expressing them and you're entitled to your recovery, just as much as everyone else is. You do whatever you need to do to get through this. Never forget that it's your journey you have to take. Take care of yourself. And give yourself a break. It certainly isn't an easy journey to make.
  12. Cancer took my father

    My sympathies on your loss. It's hard to watch your parent struggle that long, and then losing them after that, it feels like they were cheated. My perspective, at least. My mom had a long illness as well. It takes a lot out of you going through that for so long. Everything you've described is normal. Some people grieve hard right away while others have delayed grief. Perhaps it's just whenever the shock wears off, whenever it starts feeling a little too real. There are many aspects to grief most everyone shares, but we all process it in our own time. Anger, and irrational anger, is something that hits almost everyone. I've read it's a reaction to going from the more "comfortable" (for lack of a better word) state of denial to the impossibly sad realization that it happened. Family and friends end up in the line of fire, so we have to do our best to remember it's only redirected aggression and not actually them. When the anger finally leaves you, you'll have a change of heart. Isolation is normal too. You just need time to grieve and adapt. It's hard learning to cope with this experience being around others. I've always had a dark and cynical side, but I can say there's many things that now draw little to no emotion or care from me. Losing a parent changes you. Not in a good way, but in a manageable way. I've had two major losses that have changed me. My mom 3 months ago, which time will tell how that molds me, and a loss 7 years ago. In my experience we pretty much fall back into our normal selves, but with a part missing. It's like the happy parts of me were dulled, but not so much that I was unhappy. Know what I mean? Things just feel a little less bright than they once were, but it's not such a significant change that you don't get used to it.
  13. Relationship Vs Grief

    It sounds like you're doing everything right. Everyone handles grief differently, so there's no definite answer for how long he'll need this much space, or what direction he'll go. A loss this big changes you, but I do think most people will recognize who supported them through it and who didn't. It's really a roller coaster for the bereaved. One hour you feel one way, the next something different. It's exhausting and I can't say I've been in my right mind through much of it. But there will come a time when that veil lifts and he's able to feel something that resembles normal. I think offering to walk his dog is an excellent idea. I had friends take my dog out for a playdate with one of their dogs the day after my mom's funeral and it's the best thing anyone could have done. A lot of people say, "if you need anything...", but we're living in a fog. Half the time we don't even know what we want. So articulating a way to help is much better.
  14. Maybe you could hire someone to do them for you and then rewrite them in your own words. Either a student or someone online on elance or something. There's also nothing wrong about asking a favor from someone you don't care for but who is in a position to help. That's just an unfortunate part of life, having to deal directly with people you don't like. Just saying, if the assessments are an obstacle, there's ways to overcome it. Losing someone in the Manchester bombing would be a traumatic loss. Maybe in helping him through his loss you'll be able to process some of your own. I mean, it seems like the words we offer others are kind of a reflection of our own. Sometimes repeating them to others helps them sink in.
  15. @Alley I'm sorry for your loss. It is really hard to go through this. You will find your way, and remember there's always someone out there who can offer you help in one way or another as you need it. Take care of yourself as well. Grieving takes a lot out of you and for everything you're going through, you deserve that kindness to yourself. @EmBee I'm sorry about your dad. You have every right to complain and to feel this great loss you're going through. That's wonderful your dad lived a long and healthy life, but that shouldn't degrade what you're experiencing. Losing a parent is hard and it affects us all no matter how old they were or what life they lived. I've had people tell me my mom was sick for a long time while others tell me she was too young...they may all be right, but it changes nothing no matter which way you cut it. In the full scope of things, you lost someone who was a top priority to you, so it's understandable for everything else to lose meaning. Your job, well yeah that one you'll probably want to hang on to, but you have so much going on, delegate your energy as needed. I almost wore combat boots and a dress to my mom's funeral. No one would have cared. How you're doing will always be more important than what you wear.