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Sweetisabelle

Returning to university after sudden/unexpected death of mom

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I lost my mom less than 3 weeks ago. It was sudden and unexpected and somewhat tramatic to me. She was not sick. I'm finding it hard to cope. I'm drained, it is hard to focus, I can't make decisions, I have no motivation, I feel very depressed... The list could go on and on...

One thing I'm struggling with is returning to school. I went to a lecture for 2 hours today and I'm drained. I'm in a fog. Just going to this one class took everything from me. This week I will likely be talking to my professors (I've already emailed them), but we will likely be setting up times for make up test since I missed one, and assignment extentions. I wonder if there is anything else I need to address. My concern is the classes I attend in which you get graded based on participation. It is one thing to listen to a lecture, but going to class prepared and knowledge of topics at hand seems daunting to me. I haven't even been able to read anything from my textbook the last 2 weeks or so. I hate the thought of my grades dropping, I was doing so well, but I'll have to see what I can do.

Has anyone lost my parent while in university? What was your expjerence like? When did you go back to classes? Was the school able to help and how? 

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Hi

my mum died in January, I'm in second year at year uni, she died and I had to sit my exams 3 days or I knew I would return to university. After that I returned home for 2 weeks/3weeks.

this is the hardest thing to do for me I feel that my university hasn't done a lot to help me feel safe or stable, I have basically been left to get on with life even thought I got mitigating circumstances, you don't just get over it losing your parent.

i would say if you have siblings try look after them , mine are struggling and you may have to go home to help support people if when things are hard, I hope this helps.

im sorry to hear about this happening to you , it's so hard you really have to try put a front on at uni and try look after your self and get the work done, but the things that go on in your mind are the hardest thing to deal with 

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4 hours ago, Idontknow said:

Hi

my mum died in January, I'm in second year at year uni, she died and I had to sit my exams 3 days or I knew I would return to university. After that I returned home for 2 weeks/3weeks.

this is the hardest thing to do for me I feel that my university hasn't done a lot to help me feel safe or stable, I have basically been left to get on with life even thought I got mitigating circumstances, you don't just get over it losing your parent.

i would say if you have siblings try look after them , mine are struggling and you may have to go home to help support people if when things are hard, I hope this helps.

im sorry to hear about this happening to you , it's so hard you really have to try put a front on at uni and try look after your self and get the work done, but the things that go on in your mind are the hardest thing to deal with 

I am so sorry about your loss :( I feel like losing a parent in university really complicates things. Luckily I like at home as my university isn't too far away. I can't even imagine what it would be like to have to go back to university and leave home.

That's what I'm worried about, worried that the school won't be able to help too much besides giving me extensions on a assignment and a missed test. But I have no idea how much extra time they will give me. And I don't know what can help me is getting my weekly seminar readings done. It is so overwhelming. 2-3 weeks doesn't feel like enough time, I feel like this grief will take months if not years.... But even to become a normal functioning person again, I feel would take at least 3 months minimum ... Its like school can't/doesnt know how to help

 

If you ever need to talk to someone about this loss and school I'm here for you. It is so challenging. 

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Dear Sweetisabelle,

I'm sorry for your loss. I know its hard after losing such an important person in your life. I can't imagine having to continue with your studies after such a devastating loss.

I hope you will talk to your professors and see what type of extensions will be offered. Are there any counselling services offered by the university? I hope they can offer some help and guidance during this sad time.

I know its not easy. I wish I could do more to help. Thinking of you during this difficult time.

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Dear Sweetisabelle,

I am so sorry for your loss. We all are here for one reason or another. After such a life changing event how one is supposed to get back to normal in a couple of days? I am not a regular university student, but I am a PhD student, and I also do have deadlines. I was working on my phd the night before my mum died (it was also sudden and unexpected). I could not get back to any of this until last week (and my mom passed away in October 2016). And it drains all my energy. I have difficulty focusing. It seems like I am a new person all of a sudden who has lost basic abilities to think, explore, etc. Step by step I am getting back, but besides that I try to treat me well - sleep enough, do some exercise, take walk in fresh air, eat some healthy stuff. Try to be good for yourself, take little steps. When right after my mom's death I could not present an article, I hated so much when people, untouched by such experience, told me it was actually a good idea to keep busy with studies. Because that way I did not have time to think. What is true is that I don't want to defer grief. I don't want to keep busy so that later in life grief hit me even harder. It is probaby the hardest time in our lives to navigate through. I give you lots of hugs. It just sucks to be motherless. 

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Hello Sweetisabelle, idontknow, and Athina--let me offer my condolences to you. I can't even begin to imagine how horrible I would feel if I were a student rather than a faculty member experiencing a death of a parent. Let me just begin by saying that my own mother died during the middle of a term, back in fall 2014.Although my first impulse was to quit, I did not; in fact, I got back into the swing of things the day after her passing. I also had a paper to present at another college later that week.

However, the challenges for students and faculty are anything but the same; you are all building your foundations so it's especially important to be on the right foot.

I hope you've thought about Reader's suggestions. Have either of you gone to see a grief counselor on campus? I think this is a good place to begin--as well as paying a visit to your college advisor.  Perhaps you can sit down together and decide whether your current course lineup is realistic for what you're sustaining right now. It goes without saying that grief is a huge load. If there is a course that you think will bring back more triggers or pangs than you can bear at the moment, you might want to think about dropping it this term. And if you think at all that your work might be compromised, sometimes a leave of absence can help.

I bring this up because I had a foreign student who took one of my classes last year before losing her mom towards the end of the term. I remember asking her if she really wanted to take my class because she had already missed the first 10 weeks; that was already a lot even without her mom's illness. (IMO, she should not have taken it in the first place.) If you have trouble keeping up with a class, it's going to be even worse when you are going through bereavement.

Anyway, no one has any right to decide for you. If you think you can weather it, go right ahead. But if in doubt, take it at your own pace.

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On 2017-02-28 at 11:58 AM, Athina said:

Dear Sweetisabelle,

I am so sorry for your loss. We all are here for one reason or another. After such a life changing event how one is supposed to get back to normal in a couple of days? I am not a regular university student, but I am a PhD student, and I also do have deadlines. I was working on my phd the night before my mum died (it was also sudden and unexpected). I could not get back to any of this until last week (and my mom passed away in October 2016). And it drains all my energy. I have difficulty focusing. It seems like I am a new person all of a sudden who has lost basic abilities to think, explore, etc. Step by step I am getting back, but besides that I try to treat me well - sleep enough, do some exercise, take walk in fresh air, eat some healthy stuff. Try to be good for yourself, take little steps. When right after my mom's death I could not present an article, I hated so much when people, untouched by such experience, told me it was actually a good idea to keep busy with studies. Because that way I did not have time to think. What is true is that I don't want to defer grief. I don't want to keep busy so that later in life grief hit me even harder. It is probaby the hardest time in our lives to navigate through. I give you lots of hugs. It just sucks to be motherless. 

Thank you so much for taking the time to reply to this post. I really appreciate hearing from others in similar situations. I just returned to my classes full time last week- and my goodness, it is difficult. It is so hard going into seminars where none of my peers know the situation, I just feel so alien, not only because no one know, but because I feel like if you've never been in this situation you just don't understand. And I feel like I don't want to advertise to everyone about my mom passing. I told my profs and TA's, yet when going back to seminars nothing was said. I understand that maybe the TA's went comfertable saying anything to me... but it just felt strange. It is frustrating because I'm not performing to my full potential. I barely said anything in class, and half the time my mind isn't as quick as it was. Then there are the assignments and readings and exams coming up... I'm terrified my grades are going to drop severely. It is so tough, but I didn't want to throw my year away.

i think you hit on so many things like taking the time to take care of me. I've been majorly lacking in the area, but I think taking the time to exercise,get fresh air , eat proberly will help a lot. I'm glad that I should be done exams by the end of April. Hopefully I can use the summer moths to grieve. I really hate feeling like I need to push my grief, and emotions away in order to get through this term. Honestly, I wish I could just spend my time taking care of me, and thinking about and grieving my mom. I feel like I need to spend time doing things that make me feel close to her. I feel so different saying that I rather be doing other things then school right now, because before this happened school was my everything.

Thank you so much for sharing your expierence. I admire your strength and honesty. I admire that you took time off when you so needed it. I also think it is admirable that you are continuing to work on your phd (I'm dreaming of doing the same by I have a ways to go). Right now I'm in my first year and am only taking 2 classes, I can't even imagine the pressure you must be under.

I wish you the best in your journey, and am sending many hugs your way. We are doing the best we possible could do right now. Sending love 

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On 2017-03-01 at 3:22 PM, silverkitties said:

Hello Sweetisabelle, idontknow, and Athina--let me offer my condolences to you. I can't even begin to imagine how horrible I would feel if I were a student rather than a faculty member experiencing a death of a parent. Let me just begin by saying that my own mother died during the middle of a term, back in fall 2014.Although my first impulse was to quit, I did not; in fact, I got back into the swing of things the day after her passing. I also had a paper to present at another college later that week.

However, the challenges for students and faculty are anything but the same; you are all building your foundations so it's especially important to be on the right foot.

I hope you've thought about Reader's suggestions. Have either of you gone to see a grief counselor on campus? I think this is a good place to begin--as well as paying a visit to your college advisor.  Perhaps you can sit down together and decide whether your current course lineup is realistic for what you're sustaining right now. It goes without saying that grief is a huge load. If there is a course that you think will bring back more triggers or pangs than you can bear at the moment, you might want to think about dropping it this term. And if you think at all that your work might be compromised, sometimes a leave of absence can help.

I bring this up because I had a foreign student who took one of my classes last year before losing her mom towards the end of the term. I remember asking her if she really wanted to take my class because she had already missed the first 10 weeks; that was already a lot even without her mom's illness. (IMO, she should not have taken it in the first place.) If you have trouble keeping up with a class, it's going to be even worse when you are going through bereavement.

Anyway, no one has any right to decide for you. If you think you can weather it, go right ahead. But if in doubt, take it at your own pace.

Thank you so much for sharing your expierence, both with loss and with working in the university. I really appreciate hearing about what has worked for you and what you have seen with other students. 

I finally returned to classes last week, in the weeks leading up to that I only made it into lecture. Fortunately I did not miss too much, but getting caught up is a struggle. I'm trying to tough it out as I am so close to the end of the term, but I'm also realizing that by doing this I will/may have to scarfice some things (having to delay grieving, drop in grades-which I hope I can avoid). It has been a tough call. 

I am currently speaking to someone for support which has been great, and had the chance to talk to faculty. They have been helpful, and are giving me extensions on papers, allowing me to write exams a little later, and will prorate my grade for a missed test. They were able to offer more than I expected, and I think that has brought me some relief.

Again, thank you so much for sharing your expierences with me. It is greatly appreciated.

On 2017-02-28 at 3:49 AM, reader said:

Dear Sweetisabelle,

I'm sorry for your loss. I know its hard after losing such an important person in your life. I can't imagine having to continue with your studies after such a devastating loss.

I hope you will talk to your professors and see what type of extensions will be offered. Are there any counselling services offered by the university? I hope they can offer some help and guidance during this sad time.

I know its not easy. I wish I could do more to help. Thinking of you during this difficult time.

Thank you so much for your thoughtfulness. I'm currently seeing someone for support which has been very helpful. I'm hoping to complete the semester, then I'll have 4 months off for summer, I think the break then will give me some much needed time, I'm just hoping to take things a day at a time until then.

Your compassion is greatly appreciated 

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Hey Sweetisabelle,
I feel really sorry for you. I know what it feels like to lose a parent. I lost my father when I was eighteen. He was my everything, and I was confused and not sure on how to live after the death of my dad. I even thought of ending my life. 
I was in University then, and I decided to discontinue my education. My brother realized that I was in a state of depression and took me to a psychologist in Toronto. The counseling over there was really effective and changed my entire concept of life. I am thankful to the psychologist over there. 
My advice to you is to continue your education at the University. Getting your mind engaged in something helps you to divert your thoughts. Meeting and talking with friends will help you to relax. When you sit idle at home, your mind will become obsessed with unnecessary thoughts. All the best.
 

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