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Everly

Loss of a parent - daily thread

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reader   

Dear May,

Thank you for asking your family about the significance of the rice. I appreciate it.

I haven't seen any chimes at the cemetery, but maybe I haven't paid attention. I will have to take a closer look next time I am there.

How is your wrists? I hope you are feeling better.

I can't believe the weekend is almost here. I'm looking forward to catching up on my sleep. I feel my emotions are all over the place.

Dear Mission,

What you wrote is so true. Without my dad I don't know who I am. I didn't realize how much of my daily life was about taking care of my dad. And like you said, I wanted so badly to make him happy and comfortable. In hindsight, I think the reason he was so grumpy after the stroke was because he also suffered from vascular dementia. I thought he was just a grumpy old man. But in hindsight I made a terrible mistake not realizing his frustrations and grumpiness was because of the vascular dementia. I should have been more patient. I took our life together for granted. I often would just sit in front of my computer or laptop while he watched TV or slept on the sofa.

I still wake up and I'm in disbelief that my dad has really passed away. I keep thinking why didn't I buy coffee for my dad today. I know the pain and sorrow will be with me for a long time. I don't know when I will reach acceptance.

Thank you my friends for your support and understanding.

 

 

 

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ELiz, when I told my last therapist about feeling guilty over spending so much time on my hobbies, she said it was normal for me to have my own identity and my own interests.  She showed me a life chart which was a pie chart indicating how much time we are supposed to spend on each aspect of our lives.  I don't remember exactly, but I think parents were only about ten percent.  Anyway, much less than I expected.  I don't know who the genius is that made up the chart, but I'm sure it differs in different cultures.  American culture certainly promotes independence and individuality.  It's not your fault that you needed time to relax from working all week and time to be with your friends.  Personally, I would prefer saving thousands upon thousands of dollars in rent every year, and just live with my parents, especially since rents are astronomical here in San Francisco.   I don't care what society thinks -- society doesn't pay my rent!  As long as my parents wanted me there, but each case is different.  My parents couldn't even stay with each other.

I know an elderly lady who moved next door to her daughter, thinking that she'd see her all the time, and it didn't work out that way!  One time a friend gave a package to the daughter for her mother and she said I'll have my son run it over to her tomorrow.  I know they have big lawns in the suburbs, but give me a break!  What is so hard about handing a package to her mother next door?   This is the reality of modern life.  Most of us are so busy we don't even have time to talk on the phone anymore.  Some people can't even be bothered to send a text.  Sometimes it's not caring enough, but many times it's just having too many obligations.   Perhaps spending time with your mom depressed you, and you were trying to avoid feeling down or frustrated.  There's usually a perfectly good reason why we don't do things that we think we should do.   We would never do anything to deliberately hurt our loved ones.   Instead of focusing on the times you didn't go out with your mom, try to think of all the times you did spend quality time with her.  I know it's hard, but every time we find ourselves with a guilty memory, we need to replace it with a good memory.  I think this is part of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), but I could never find a therapist who would actually use it with me, even though they said they knew how.   

This site about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy says, "Over time, if you replace self-criticism with self-compassion, your thoughts will change. As you do this, you might notice your thoughts about other people becoming kinder and more accepting too."

May, the moving is not coming along at the moment.  Ernesto and I keep having problems.  I may have to hire someone else to help me.  I also got a call from my cousin, the only one who was helping me, that he fell down and broke some ribs.  That will take about two months to heal.  I can't wait around for two more months or I will miss the peak listing period which is the spring.  I think I'm going to find myself all alone during the house sale and during the buying process and that is going to be miserable for me.  I wish it were easier to die, then I could be with my dad again at his new digs, even if they are six feet under.  One good bit of news is that the nice judge excused me from jury duty so I can get my house ready to sell.  When I was coming home from jury duty yesterday, the friendly cab driver said, "Please don't sell your home -- it's too nice!  Let me be your chauffeur..."    It looks nice on the outside, but the inside it's a disaster area right now.

Reader, we all should have been more patient.  I still would give anything to make my father happy, to see his warm smile, to hear him laugh again.  It was tougher for you, because your dad was grumpy.  My dad had his grumpy moments, too, but what I most resent is the way he held me back, instead of encouraging me to learn to drive.  Then maybe I wouldn't be so tortured with regrets about the thousands of fun things we would have been able to do over those 55 years together.  I lived life on his terms -- he should have tried to get more out of life instead of being so passive.  I waited decades for something exciting to happen, and it never did, until our one trip together to Mexico.   Even then we didn't do half as much as we could have, but he was starting to get old.  I understood that.  Watching movies with my dad was great fun, but there is so much more out there in the world.  My heart aches that he denied himself so much pleasure -- and me, too, just because he thought I was going to drive off and leave him alone.  He actually said that to me.   I would never have done that.  If anything we would have spent more quality time together, enjoying life, instead of me trying to distract myself with my computer hobbies.  My dad's older sister is 91 and she still goes to casinos!   All my dad had to say is take me to Las Vegas and I would have moved the earth to get him there.  I know he would have loved it. 

Then Ernesto hoodwinked me into thinking life was going to be fun again, and now he's more of a party pooper than my dad was.  When will I meet someone who wants to enjoy life!  At the same time, I don't want a restless spirit who doesn't know how to relax.  I want someone like me who is part couch potato and part adventurer. 

Love and hugs to everybody!

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reader   

Dear MissionBlue,

That is very interesting about the life pie chart. Some people in my life always felt I was too much of a home body and spent too much time with my dad. They asked me why I didn't move out and have my own household. I was already managing my dad's household doing all the housekeeping, yard work, managing the finances so it never made sense to take on another household just to have more privacy. My dad and I shared a similar personality, so we generally didn't have much to argue about.  I honestly don't regret living with my dad till his passing. My main regret is the last year of his life. I am ashamed I didn't recognize my dad was dying. I lost my compassion and good judgment. I had so much anger with my dad. Anger that he was giving up on life, no matter what I tried to do for him.

About your house, I know there is still a lot of work to be done. But I sort of think that in a hot housing market, the inside won't matter people will still pay top dollar. I know you are doing the best you can. I hope everything goes well with the sale of the house.

I hear you, MissionBlue. You were your dad's lifeline. I know you would never leave him and only wanted to enjoy more of life with your dad. But I truly think he was afraid. I am afraid too right now without my dad. And as men get older, I think they become more home body types. You were a very dutiful and loving daughter. I know you wanted to do more and see more and that is totally understandable. Life is so tough. We all try to do the right things for ourselves and the ones we love, but even then things don't work out. I hope after you are settled into your new home, you will be able to do all those things you wanted. I know it will be bittersweet without your dad, but do it for the both of you. (((hugs)))

Finally feels like spring is here. I hope it holds. I would like to see my dad's grave site without have to trek through snow.

Take care my friends. Have a good weekend! Sending you all love and hugs.

 

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Dear Reader:

Thank you for your kind reply.  People would also ask me when I was a caregiver, don't I want a life of my own and a house of my own?   I lived in my great uncle's house.  He had never married, but through the years he had always opened his house to his siblings, nephews and nieces.  After his divorce, my dad came back to live with his uncle who was also his godfather.  My dad's mother was also like a mother to my great uncle, her second youngest brother, after their mother died young.  Everybody had been surprised by my dad's marriage in the first place, because he was such a homebody, and very devoted to his mother.  From a young age, I started helping my grandmother since she first started having heart problems when I was eleven years old.  I always felt I was needed at home and there wasn't anybody volunteering to take my place.  My grandmother had three daughters, but one died young, the other married and moved to NYC, and the third one was widowed and caring for her grandchildren in the suburbs.  My aunt also cooked and cleaned for her daughter and son-in-law, because they both worked full time.  So she didn't have much time to come visit her mother.   

Like you, I was managing my great uncle's household, so I felt like I already had a home of my own.  We all got along so well, it really was a blessing.  The people who gave us grief were some of the the relatives that came to visit.  But I had to receive everyone with a smile.  I sometimes felt like a short order cook.  But this was my choice, because to me the idea of leaving my loved ones and paying thousands of dollars of rent to live alone seemed absurd to me.   I was happy in my great uncle's garden.  On weekends, he practically lived out there and just came in to eat and watch tv in the evenings.  I spent most of my free time with my dad, so I never felt lonely.  I also had cousins to play with me when I was younger.  Maybe if I had had more friends my age, I would have felt completely different.  I had some friends, but I didn't have a lot in common with my peers, because I was raised in the old-fashioned way.  There were no rock concerts or even trips to Disneyland for me.  I didn't even go to my prom.  Maybe if I had had a boyfriend in my teens things might have turned out differently, but I went to an all girls' Catholic high school.  I rarely met boys, except for the local delinquents I passed on the streets.  Men would offer me rides to school, but they could have been the next Ted Bundy or Scott Peterson.   

I hope I haven't put everyone to sleep with my dull life, but I was happy for the most part.  I just wish that my dad and I could have experienced the world more.  If I get a good price for my house, I should be able to hire a driving instructor, buy a car, and finally have a normal life.  This is why I want to fix the property as much as I can, because I only get one shot at this. Then I need to find someone to have fun with.  I have tried dining alone, but it's not as pleasant as being able to talk to someone.

I also don't regret staying with my dad.  I sometimes think if I had gotten married, then my father would have gained a son rather than lost a daughter.  However, I would not have left him alone -- it would have had to be a package deal -- not sure if many men would have liked the idea.  I have a married cousin whose 91 year old mother lives with her, same aunt as mentioned above.  My cousin has to accompany her husband on many vacation trips, and leave her mother by herself, sometimes on holidays.   Even the bible demands that a person put their spouse before their parents.  Since her husband recently survived prostate cancer, I can understand their need to enjoy life as much as they can while they still can.  However, thanks to her and her husband's lucrative income, she is able to take her mother on many other trips to Las Vegas, Disneyland, the Grand Canyon, etc.  

Ernesto is being nice again and has promised once again to help me move, do repairs and get situated in my new house.  He will not move to Texas until I am all settled in, and he may still return to rent a room from me in the new house.   My best friend says he's just manipulating me and I should get someone else to help me move.  But Ernesto knows that if he leaves me in the lurch, I will never hire him or even speak to him again.  I helped him when he was down and out, now it's his turn to help me.   If he's a macho man, then he should be the man, take control!  He says he can get some permits to fix the cottage with the help of some influential people.  Then go for it!  I will move forward with or without him.

So for now, I am once again hopeful.  Take care, everyone, and have a nice weekend.  Love and hugs to all......

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reader   

Dear MissionBlue,

Thank you for telling us more.  And please don't think you ever had a dull life. Its your life. Your story. And we all have value. Everyone's lives are so different but there is no right or wrong. I like how optimistic you are about the future. If I had even one percent of your optimism I would be grateful right now.

Watching TV tonight and just watching a TV family have dinner is enough to bring me to tears. Still miss my dad. I still can't believe he is really gone. Waiting for him to call out my name and ask me to buy him a coffee.

I know I have to make a new life for myself. But sometimes it feels impossible.

Thank you all for your support and kindness. With love and hugs to all.

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Dear Reader:

I can so relate to your missing your dad call out your name.  I felt the same way after my dad died.  Thankfully, I now have Ernesto who often calls me to come see something or just to know where I am.  He also likes to say my nickname over and over as a joke.  I think just to have another human being acknowledge one's existence is essential to mental health.  Man is a social animal. Of course, many people feel they get enough social interaction at work or with their friends, and relish their time to themselves, but some of us who don't get out enough really need human contact. 

It has been very therapeutic for me to have Ernesto come to live with me.  When I was by myself, I could go for weeks without talking to anyone in person.  When you partner with someone you also get to know their family and friends, and you begin to feel less alone in the world.  I grew up around lots of relatives so maybe I'm more of a people person than some, but I also enjoy solitude.  However, either extreme is not good for me.

Relationships are not always easy.  I have had my share of problems with Ernesto, who is far from my ideal, but I think people come into our lives for a reason, either to help us or to teach us. 

If Ernesto leaves me. I would not hesitate to try to find a new partner, because the pleasures of life are better shared.

Love and hugs to everyone...

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PS:  Sometimes you have to push yourself beyond your comfort level to meet people, when you're shy like I am, but it's a way to move forward with your life.

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reader   

Dear MissionBlue:

I appreciate your encouragement so much. Everything you write is so true. I think I have tried my whole life to play it safe. I wanted to stay in my safe bubble. But that bubble has burst since my dad's passing. I know death existed but I just never wanted it to be my dad. I know that is not rational or realistic but its how I felt. Horribly selfish of me. I thought "death" happened to other people but not to me. I hope with more time I can come to terms with my dad's passing. This first full year without him has been painful. I know I need to find a way to move forward. Lots of gentle suggestions and ideas from friends, family and colleagues, but my mind is blocked it seems. I have to convince myself not to waste my time and my the remainder of my life. I need to do more, see more, be more, but I don't know how to convince myself sometimes.

Thank you for all your kind replies. I sincerely appreciate it.

I hope everyone is well. Thinking of you all. With love and hugs.

 

 

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The Girl   
11 hours ago, reader said:

Horribly selfish of me. I thought "death" happened to other people but not to me.

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The Girl   

My phone apparently doesn't let comment along with a quote, so I have to make a separate response to go with that. 

It's hard to imagine death as a reality to anyone important to you.  The finality of death is mystifying and unacceptable.  But it doesn't mean you refuse to believe death exists at all.  It's just too much to lose someone so close. 

While my mom was sick, we all wondered why her when her younger brother, a long-term alcoholic doesn't share these maladies.  My mom even openly questioned it.  I mean, here she was losing her livelihood from pancreatitis, a disease that normally afflicts drinkers, and yet my drunk uncle is still getting up every day and cracking a beer.  My mom who could barely tolerate half a beer, dying of an alcoholic's disease.  It was so unfair.  I wondered why not my uncle, it should be my uncle.  He's not even a good person, unlike my mom who cared so deeply and was always there for everyone.  I have no guilt about feeling that way.  But I do think I felt it b/c he would have been easier to lose.  I could accept that.  There'd be tears but life would go on.  

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reader   

Dear The Girl,

Thank you for your reply and your comforting words. Its true. It has been too much to lose my dad. I struggle with my new reality. Maybe its too early for me. Its only been 5 months since my dad's passing. That final day in the hospital still doesn't feel real.

I have the same questions as you. Why my dad? Life is so unfair. There are people out there who don't care about anyone. My dad cared about his kids so much. Loved us all and didn't deserve to go...not yet. I blame myself still for not doing enough.  Even if he was ready to go, I was never going to be ready.

Life does go no matter if the Pope passes or the homeless guy on the corner street. But you are right its not fair. And its not right. The questions still swirl in my head.

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ELiz   

@MissionBlue Thank you for sharing that CBT reference. I love that quote reference. I'm actually a mental health therapist myself. In a lot of ways, my line of work has helped with this healing process. Prior to my mother's passing I was on maternity leave. The very last client I provided services to before going on leave was to a young lady who was working through grief bc she had lost her mother. She had been my only client that I had seen completely through treatment as many stop attending services before end of treatment. Then as soon as I returned back to work after maternity leave + bereavement I seemed to attract every grieving person in my town. More often than not women who had lost their mothers. I was like are you freakin kidding me?! It almost felt like a cruel joke. I had to really put my therapy skills to use in order to provide therapy to these types of clients following my own experience. I recently brought this up to my supervisor the other day and she told me maybe life sent me those clients for a reason. I saw a whole client through the process before it happened to me. And I my first client back same issue. While therapy is not about me, and I never allow it to be about me, i find that through helping my clients I am somehow benefiting as well. Maybe by the advice I give them my brain applies it my own similar situation. 

Btw I really enjoyed that chart thing to. Thank you for sharing that. Very insightful. It's hard for me to imagine a relationship with a parent taking such little room on that chart. Maybe bc since losing my mom I feel like I have lost a major part of life. She is the person I had the longest relationship with. The person I called for almost everything. The person who took a huge part of my heart. Her role in my life seems even bigger now that she's not here. But like you said we all have our own lives to live. I would never want my children feel like they couldn't explore all this works has to offer bc they need to be by my side all the time. I have to really remind myself of that. It doesn't help that my mom was queen of guilt trips. If I spent more than a few days without calling her she would get mad or get her feelings hurt. I think she needed me more than I needed her. 

 

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The Girl   

Eliz, it's uncanny the clients you've had surrounding all this.  I can see how the strength to get through those sessions and your resolution in treating them would trickle down into your own recovery.  I mean, words have to be taken to heart or they don't mean anything at all.  Your clients or your own.  Or this forum, for that matter. 

I like that you said your mom is the person you had the longest relationship, b/c that's an excellent point.  Our parents were a constant in our lives.  Never knowing life w/o them, even after becoming independent adults, and then they're plucked away.  Culture shock. 

My mom would lay guilt trips on me as well.  She was more playful about it, but I knew she meant it.  We had a lot of fun together.  Art projects (she was an artist with a huge collection of supplies and knowledge of fun techniques), shopping trips, or just sitting around her kitchen table chatting about everything.  But when I read through old messages from the years I lived only a mile away from her, there were so many times I said I was coming over only to put it off.  I thought nothing of it at the time, but she probably wanted the company.  Life happens.  I do wish I had spent more time over there, and I was over a lot anyway.  Now that I have to live a life w/o her, I can't imagine any amount of time would have been enough though. 

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Athina   

Hi, I've been reading everything that you've shared. Somehow it is painful even to write. As if I wrote it out loud, it would mean that it really happened. This trip back home really knocked me down. I am having a very hard time at work. Thinking again how unfair everything is. I just want to quit - quit everything and go hide somewhere. 

@ELiz, if I were those people, I would definately go to you, because I would know that you felt my pain.

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The Girl   

I've had to take time off from responding as well.  Sometimes you need to talk, sometimes you just need your space.  I'm sorry to hear your trip home took a lot out of you.  It's totally understandable if you need time to recover from that.  Downtime is necessary.  Mentally you have to process everything, and emotionally it's just draining.

I ordered a journal to write my grief in...somewhere I can be completely self indulgent.  My mom was an artist with a deep love of elephants, so I thought I found the right journal with a painted elephant on the a front  but when it arrived it was too big to fit in my memory box of her.  I was bummed...one little thing like the wrong journal really upset me.  So I ordered a new one and basically hid from my thoughts, trying to catch up on work instead, until it came.  It just arrived.  It's sitting in my mailbox and I feel sad and anxious about starting that emotional endeavor.  But I feel like keeping a journal will be helpful to get through those emotions and hopefully arrive at a place where I can cope better.  

I don't know if anyone else has tried that...if it's helped?  I feel like when writing, it will kind of be like writing to her.  Say all the things I've wanted to tell her since it happened.  

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Hello, All--Eve, May, Eliz, Athina,, Mission, Reader, Cindy Jane, The Girl, and others I may have missed

It's been a while since I've been here and I can assure you for good reason: less than a week after my dad arrived back from rehab, I wound up in the hospital myself--the first time EVER for me. My left foot was hurting so badly that I ended up taking a cab to the ER in no more than a nightgown and bathrobe. Turned out I had cellulitis and a fever to boot. All of this was further complicated by my dingbat dad and an oncoming blizzard. I had told my dad to answer the phone....which he did not. After several hours, I called his nurse who told me to call the cops. The nurse convinced them to send my dad to ER since there was no one to take care of him at home. This really screwed things up since I needed someone to be home to feed the cats on Tuesday and Wednesday. As it was, given the threat of an 18" snowfall on Tuesday, I had to beg the docs to discharge me early. If only my dad had answered the phone, I would not have to worry and he would not have been sent to the hospital--and I could have taken my own sweet time to recover.

And btw, yes, I'm still furious about my dad for not fighting his younger brother for his share of the inheritance. Seriously, only someone who didn't care about the welfare of his child/ren would do such a thing. I'm sorry, but there's just no excuse. If you have a male appendage, you should FIGHT TO THE GILLS. After all, mom and I always fought anything we found unfair or unjust. I once spent 3 weeks fighting to get $800 back from a hotel....and another 2 weeks for $300 from our moving company: successfully too!  My mom would always call up to contest late fees (even though they were deserved, LOL!).  I am angrier than ever before at the fact that this asshole sent a good deal of money--$200-300 a month every month for 20 years to his father and step-mother--and DIDN'T GET ONE PENNY OF THIS BACK.  Talk about POOR INVESTMENT SKILLS! Meanwhile  the same shitforbrains used to talk as though I used his money on college and grad school. NO, YOUR PHUCKING PARENTS SPENT ALL OUR MONEY. AND WHAT KIND OF ASSHOLE PARENT SPENDS MORE ON HIS PARENTS THAN HIS OWN CHILD, AN ONLY CHILD? He spent at least today's equivalent of $600,000 on his crappy LOW-CLASS policeman and teacher scumbag parents, the same ones who encouraged him to cheat on mom.

So, yes I have every right to be ticked off at him: unless someone wants to pay our bills, they have no right expostulating with me. I HAVE EVERY REASON TO BE ANGRY! At this point, I do not want to pay for his ashes....as far as I'm concerned  they should be dumped in a landfill, where they belong! By refusing to fight for me, he has essentially put me in the dumper--and this is after years of his pisspoor parenting: one that has damaged me thoroughly. HONESTLY, WHAT DO I OWE HIM? We need this money so badly...it's not even for me anymore, but for his nursing. Because of this we might have to sell the house. Unfortunately, my dimwit dad never considered this when his younger brother took everything....chances are my dad was too busy sleeping w/ his kunt cousin to care.

All of this makes me more depressed than ever. I want mom so badly it hurts....she was the only one who cared for me. I still remember her telling one of my aunts to make sure I got a share of her mom's property even though the chances it will be sold are very slim. Yet, that was mom. 

I happened to read an article on What's Your Grief and found a very interesting one about yearning....before realizing immediately that it described my feelings to a T. I have always yearned for the past, possibly because I was much happier then. Back then, I suppose, there was still hope. And now that mom has passed, I long for the past even more. I can't help but think how my Tuesday and Thursday mornings--the days I go to NYC to teach--begin with a ride past the hospital where my mom died. I gaze at it, thinking to myself "If you are still there in spirit, mom, God bless you, I love you so much." As I'm heading home from NYC in the evening, I think of our years there all over again as we pass by the George Washington bridge. I think of the times we passed it at night when I was growing up in the Bronx, with the twinkling lights and stars still up above as I looked through the windows of our Vokswagen....I reminisce over the picnics we had there with my cousins in the evenings; and as I see a sign for Jerome Avenue in the Bronx, I look out at the buildings, knowing that my old apartment is tucked somewhere in there. I think of the times when we were so happy....when mom was in the kitchen as I played with my dolls....when she read to me....when she sang to me in bed in my toddler years...when we watched TV together. And now, here I am, 40 years later,  seeing the same sights and heading back home but without Mom.

As I arrive back in Hartford, I inevitably think of our more recent past....the time Mom and I took the very same bus home in March 2008 on a Monday evening. How long ago that seems...I think of the times when mom picked me up at the train station in 2013....and now there is no one to pick me up. On the cab ride home, I think to myself how mom and I passed the hospital many times but never thought anything of it, probably because she had never been there for her own issues. Then when I'm back home, I'm happy to see my cats....the only thing that's missing sorely is mom.

Sometimes, I'll be reminded of England--or Europe when I hear a song from the 80s and 90s. If it's from the 90s, I think of all our jaunts to London. Random songs from my college summers recall our times in Salzburg. Sometimes, I'll think of our visits to the various Viennese delis when I'm eating a coldcut sub. 

And now it's coming up on the anniversary of my mom's first stroke. Funny, how it happened 3 years ago, but I still remember some of the days before the event so clearly. I still remember all the hope and enthusiasm I felt when I turned in the first chapter of my textbook. And just the other day, I found a Lowe's receipt from June 4, 2014: exactly 4 months before she passed. Couldn't help but remember what a happy day June 4 was, little realizing she would disappear so quickly. I remember it was a day right after I had successfully fought to get my class back; my mom was so thrilled for me. On the 4th, we all went down to mom's rehab for her health check; I remember feeling just a tad apprehensive, worrying that she might have to stay there again if there was something wrong. It was the same day that I finally received a cat bag that I ordered....mom wanted it so much I let her have it even though I wanted it myself. I remember how we got a ride that afternoon from one of the Taiwanese when they brought us to Lowe's where we bought a fan and some bottled water. We were so glad to be back home that evening--and I felt especially thankful that I still had mom. I told myself that I would make her as healthy as possible. 

Three years have come and gone. It seems as though little has changed. I can't help but look back because I am so unhappy--never knowing if I am going to finish that textbook. Never knowing how our finances will hold up. I am so scared and need mom more than ever. All I have are memories...

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Athina   

@silverkitties, I was already worried about you. Seems you've been through a bit of stuff lately. I hope you are recovering, regarding the circumstances. 

I also divide my life into one with mom and one after her death. But I cannot think of good moments yet, e. g. last year, even if we had so much fun then together. Because when I think of it, I always get a feeling that death was very near, but I was totally off guard. And all the memories are not nice... with a hollow shadow of death. I hate FB so much as it reminds you of your last year's memories. I had our last Easter mountain hike popped out. Seriously, how one is supposed to handle such things. 

I also noticed I have this stupid habit thinking what mom has missed. Like very usual things - what clothes I have bought after her death, what changes I have made in my house.

I am really composed at work but I break down the very first minute I am out of office. 

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ELiz   

@The Girl Not ever having enough time is definitely true. I just pray to God that whatever time I did have with her made her happy even though to her it would never have been enough. I didn't move out of my parents house until I was about 26 years old. I had it way to good at home and did not find a need to move out until i had to. Which didn't happen until I became engaged in 2012 and moved in with fiancé (now husband). I was only 31 when my mother passed away last year so I was only out of the home 5 years. I guess I can find some comfort that I was able to spend 26 out of 31 years with her.

@Athina Thank you. It is definitely a very humbling experience and can definitely sympathize/empathize with my clients much much more. I just wish it was easy to take advice as it is to give it to others. 

@silverkitties I hope you are feeling better. I'm sorry you are having to take on so much. It's only been 3 months since my mother passed away and makes me sad that in three years I will still feel as bad as you do. It's a sad reality when all you have left of that person are memories. Memories that make you both happy and sad when thinking of them. 

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The Girl   

You know, I hadn't thought what it would be like years down the road.  I've thought how I hope I don't live to some ripe old miserable age, b/c that's too much time w/o my mom.  Even my 50's or 60's sounds painstakingly far away.  But 1 year, 3 years, 5 or 10...what are we expected to do with that?  

Even just a few more months of this, my spirit will be broken, my ass will be flabby, and I dare anyone to try to peel me off the couch.  I'd like to just hibernate the grief away. 

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Athina and Eliz,

I don't want to give either of you the impression that nothing ever changes or improves--or that you will feel miserable forever. It all depends on your individual circumstances.

I know it hurts tremendously right now, only a few months after the passing of your moms. It's only natural. But I think one way of making your grief feel a little more manageable is remembering that both of you have husbands who love you and wonderful children to boot. This can make all the difference. I have never liked kids myself but after my mom died, I found myself wishing I had a few of my own just so I could look at them and trace out mom's genes. Maybe if I had a little piece of mom in a child--her eyes, her nose, her temperament, her wit, I would feel that life was definitely worth living.

As such, I can't help but think it is a good opportunity for bonding more closely with your children. Here, I think of my relationship with my own mom after the death of her mother in 1992. I still remember the night when she got a call from one of her sisters in Taiwan telling her her mom had died. I absolutely deplore my own insensitivity at that time: mom wanted me to sleep with her but I didn't--just because I hate sleeping with others. I so regret that now--even though my mom and I sometimes shared rooms together later on our trips and certainly during her last year after the stroke. But at that time, I selfishly said no. In fact, I even wondered if she had to go back to Taiwan--after all, she had just returned home. But I did understand when she said she had to. No one misses the funeral of her own mother! When mom returned from Taiwan, she looked no different: yet, now, having read so many experiences from mothers here missing their own moms, i'm beginning to wonder if I didn't miss anything. Did I assume mom got over it because she lunched and shopped with me right after her return? Shared laughs? Or did she secretly cry herself to sleep without my knowing it? Or were her ties to me and my dad just naturally stronger so that her mother's death did not overwhelm her--especially since she'd been away from her mother for several decades except for a visit every 5 years? (Remember that my mom was my one and only one....and there is no one to buffer the loss in any way)

At the same time, I like to believe that mom did share a great deal of happiness with me afterwards: our relationship became much stronger over the course of the 1990s when I turned 30. She did not get to travel with her own mother, but she traveled with me and I have reason to believe that she enjoyed herself when we tried new pastries, got excited over bargains, tried on different outfits, and marvelled over breathtaking scenery and architecture. I know mom enjoyed many of our intellectual discussions and bawdy talk too; I can still remember our giggles and sometimes ringing laughter.   And of course, I know she shared a lot of my personal and professional triumphs. I myself came to be much more aware and sensitive of her needs, particularly as she aged. When she felt uncomfortable in any way I tried to comfort her as best I could. At the end, Mom may have lost a mother, but she certainly gained a daughter. As such, I hope you mothers--Athina, Eliz, and others here--will also begin to relish life with your children. Your moms were great to you, and you will be great to your children. You will create your own memories. Eliz, I know you mentioned something about travelling--and I hope you get to do it with your daughter. I hope you will share as many happy memories as me and my mom.

Athina, I do the same thing you do--categorize my clothes, makeup, and other belongings by phases in my mom's life. And not just material things--but recollections of events and music. Yes, it really does sound exceptionally silly, but this intensity is only proof of our extreme devotion. It just goes to prove how involved they were in our lives.

Right now, my one antidote to depression over mom is telling myself to "be like mom." Mom always did her work, regardless of circumstances. I tell myself to do just that. (OK, back to work!)

 

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Great post, Silverkitties,  I don't have children either, and sometimes I wish I did to carry on my dad's genes, but I always feared that my mother's bipolar narcissism would get passed down, too.  My niece has it, and it's heartbreaking.  She's beautiful, sweet, and talented, but can't function normally due to periodic debilitating depression. She has it worse than my mother did, who was highly functional during her prime years. 

Your mother was such a wonderful person and you were such a great daughter, I'm sure you helped ease the loss of her own mother.  I wish I could have spent quality time with my mother, for her sake as well as my own.  But since she didn't visit me as a child, I didn't feel right about seeking her out, until she sought me out when she was of retirement age.  She used to blame my father for warning her to stay away from me, but I don't buy it.  My grandmother told me that my mother wanted me to stay with my father, "Because she's Mexican."  I was just a young child when she told me that, and that convinced me that my mother didn't want me.  I remember going to my father and saying that I was ashamed that my mother was part German, because they gave the world the Nazis.  Then my father explained that Germans have a reputation for being intelligent and efficient.  Germany also gave the world great scientists, musicians and writers.  God, if only my mother had taught me to read music -- she was a gifted pianist and violinist.  Thankfully, my dad gave me the ability to play piano by ear.  We had such fun playing our keyboards together.  I miss him so very much.

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Athina   

@silverkitties, thank you for your insights. How I would like my mom be there and share her wisdom with her grandchildren. I'll try to take this opportunity even though my older children do not like to talk about it. How I hate that thought that my mom will only be some random woman for them. 

I finally received Motherless daughters. I hope I'll find some comfort reading it. 

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The Girl   

Silverkitties, I also find myself reassessing what my mom must have gone through after her parents died.  I knew she was depressed during the three years following it, her last healthy years leading into her own illness.  She had been their caregiver for the three years preceding their deaths, making the 45 minute drive almost daily to help them out, take them grocery shopping and what not.  She blamed herself for them ending up in a nursing home their last days.  The state was stepping in, threatening to put them in a home if we didn't choose one b/c they were considered fall risks.  She did her homework and found them a great facility where they could share a room, and they passed days apart, about a month after the move.  I felt for my mom, I understood it was difficult, I tried to comfort her telling her everything she had done for them was the right thing to do.  But they were in their 80's, my grandma had cancer and my grandpa had advanced alzheimers.  I accepted it was their time and felt it was nice they passed so closely, the other one never knowing the other was gone due to my grandpa falling into a coma (told grandma he was sleeping, then she passed soon after).  It made sense to me, so I imagined there being that closure for her too.  Now I realize how wrong I was.  But at the same time, I know my mom had a lot of good days throughout her grieving, too.  We would do our art projects together, or go on shopping trips, or just sit around and goof off.  I think what my mom took the hardest was losing her sister unexpectedly a month after my grandparents passed - to gullian barre syndrome from a damn flu shot, something people don't die from when they receive medical care...but she did.  Looking back now from the perspective of losing a parent, I feel like she was stronger than I gave her credit for, but I also don't think it sunk her.  What you said about having kids, I think that's a large part of what got her through.  I was a grown adult at the time, and I'm the youngest, but even if I was insensitive at times, I was there.  It sounds like you played a huge role in your mom's recovery after your grandma passed.  I've always been happy to be childless, but I'm just glad I could help my mom through such a difficult time.  Now that she's passed, I feel being there for her was far more important than my own grief. 

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ELiz   

@silverkitties That is an interesting way of viewing having children. One of the most painful things for me, when looking at my children, is knowing that they will never remember their grandmother. That they missed the opportunity of making memories with each other. That my mother never got to see them grow up as they are only 6 months old and 2.5 years right now. However, I also think God gave me a daughter for a reason. He gave me my Lily just three months before my mother's passing. I think God knew how major of a void this mother/daughter relationship absence would mean to me so he gave me a daughter to have one with. Except now i'm the mother to a daughter. She has my eyes and my dimples. Besides that she looks nothing like me. However, her nose and other features remind me of my mother. Another thing I thought about after my mother's passing is that each of my children are a quarter of each grandparent. In a way I feel my relationship with my mother lives on through me and my daughter. 

 

Both you and @The Girl make interesting points about our mothers' after the passing of their own parents. I'm sure the memories you guys had with your mothers helped them through their grieving process in more ways than you know. I can almost guarantee it. As all it takes is a smile from my children to snap me out of whatever depressed feelings I have if just for a moment. I remember my mother grieving for her mother. It was a painful thing to watch. My grandmother lived out of the country so my mom was only able to see her once every so many years. Not nearly enough. I think not spending much time with my mom over the years made it especially painful for my mother. My mom would throw herself on the floor and cry and as a young child I remember not knowing how to react. Looking back I should have at least hugged her. I was just so young I didn't know what to do. I know over the years she thought of her mother. She dreamt of her mother several times before her passing as well. She told me a few months before her passing that she had a very vivid dream of her mother. Although I know my mom would have loved to have been around longer I think she's very happy in heaven to finally be reunited with her mother whom she adored. This sounds horrible because I loved my life. My children. My husband. My father. My brother etc. All who are still alive. But, the grieving side of me can't wait to reunite with my mother one day. I miss her terribly.

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The Girl   

ELiz,  I look at it like, everyone has their own place in our hearts.  Your mom has hers, your daughter another, and so on.  Some are closer than others, but it's that part that's affected after a loss while the other parts carry on.  The loss of a mother is huge, it's a devastating blow that overwhelms us, but even though we feel it so deeply and so broadly, we can still feel joy for our other loved ones through it.  Like you said, a smile from your children snap you out of it.  I don't have kids, but there are others in my life who bring me happiness.  The young age you lost your grandmother, I'm sure you gave your mom every bit of what your kids give you now - those smiles, those moments of happiness, a reason to get out of bed every day.  That innocence may be more than what I was able to give as an adult, since although I likely helped, I was also expected to understand to some degree.  Even if you didn't realize it, you were there for her. 

I just found out that I'm expecting my first visitors since my mom's passing.  I don't know how I feel about this.  I'm expecting them in just over 2 weeks (and then a week break before receiving my next visitors).  I didn't want to tell The Boy he can't have family, and then friends, visit...we live so far from everyone and aren't able to travel much, that I know with my depression he's going stir crazy and I haven't been able to provide much companionship.  I never know how I'll feel day to day, what I'll be capable of.  I can't even predict what my mood will be an hour from now.  A friend told me I can be polite and social w/o having to entertain, but that's not entirely true...they're staying in my house and I'll spend the weekend showing them around the city...but even if I didn't have to entertain, it's still demanding.  Part of me really wants to be excited.  It would be nice to do something that would make me feel normal.  But there's not going to be anything normal about this for a very long time.  It also makes me wonder how much people get it that I'll barely be 2 months in by then.  If they're already planning visits, and not just them but The Boy as well, then do they think I've had enough time?  

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