Bewildered and Frustrated

2 posts in this topic

My stepdad passed away on March 6th.  He and my Mom met when I was in college and would have been married 20 years come this June, so he's been around my entire adult life and sort of stepped into the long vacant father role but was more of an ally/friend than the traditional type of dad.  His passing was not unexpected given his Stage IV pancreatic cancer diagnosis in January but it was very abrupt (40 days from the first time I heard the word cancer until he passed).  I am just bewildered and I'm an only child so I don't have any siblings to help or talk to.  My mother is devastated and I'm doing all I can to help her, I've been coordinating her finances, dealing with her income taxes, working with the monument company on the headstone, I'm spending every evening after work at her house, bringing her dinner /arranging dinner plans, listening to her vent (the last year or so was not a happy one in their household, he didn't take to retirement very well and she resented not being able to retire when she wanted to so there's many layers of issues), etc.  I also wrote the obituary, coordinated the cemetery plot, took her to plan the services, compiled all the information for clergy, etc.  I live less than a mile away and the first week after he passed I took off work and stayed the night at her house.  She sent me back to my house that Saturday saying she was going to have to start getting used to being there by herself so she might as well start now.  I have two issues right now.  First, is her Pastor.  He is very kind and compassionate to her, but he makes me feel like garbage because I didn't just move in with her.  Anytime one of us has an encounter with him, he demands to know if I'm staying with her.  I have told him and my Mom has told him on multiple occasions that I am spending a lot of time with her but I also had to go back to work, so NO, I am not (and my Mother doesn't WANT me to move in with her).  And this is on top the 6:30am phone calls he was making in the days following my stepdad's death, demanding information that admittedly, I knew but at 6:30am the day after I watched someone I loved die, I was not able to recall "on demand."  And I also feel like no one realizes that I've lost someone too.  Everyone says "be strong for your mom, help your mom get through this" (btw-what do they think I'm gonna do, feed her to the wolves??) etc etc but aside from my husband, no asks how I'm doing.  And kind of feels like I'm radioactive at work, like no one wants to bring it up.  Which, I get, because it's uncomfortable but I also just kind of feel alone and bewildered and like no one cares.  My husband is supportive and understanding and for that I am grateful, but he gets frustrated when I can't go to bed at a normal hour because my mother needs me to call her back one more or time or starts texting me.  I'm just overwhelmed right now and to go one step further, the person I'd normally say all this to is my Mom and clearly that's not an option.  I feel like I lost both of them in some ways.  Any words of wisdom?

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Dear Fiona,

My deepest condolences and sympathies on the passing of your stepdad. I'm sorry for your loss. I know you are going through a lot. Trying to support your mom but also dealing with your own grief. You are an amazing person for doing everything you can to support your mom. Please be kind and gentle with yourself. And don't let the Pastor bully you. You were only trying to do what your mom wanted. He is way out of line. I would block his number if possible. You don't need anyone in your life making you feel bad right now.

There is so much pain and sorrow. And grief is a long road. We all need all the care and compassion we can muster our selves and those around us. Please know you are not alone. We are all here to listen and support you anyway we can. Everything you are feeling is natural and normal.

Consider checking out these websites for additional support. What's Your Grief, The Grief Recovery Method, Tiny Buddha, GriefShare.Org, The Grief Healing Blog.

One moment at a time, one day at time is all any of us can handle right now.

Take care my friend. Thinking of you. Sending you all my thoughts and prayers.



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