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nuvar

I killed my mum

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nuvar

Im an only child - I live in a somewhat typical Asian Chinese family. I lost my mum 3 weeks ago. She had been in hospital for 3 months in ICU following an elective lung surgery that removed her right lung. We wanted the op in Oct/Nov -(i started a new job, we wanted to celebrate our birthdays in Aug/Sept and we wanted a holidays) but the doctor disagreed. She was already on targeted therapy that kept her condition under control and Oct/Nov would have been reasonable given her age (77yrs). Instead, as the doctor didnt agree, we chose to have the surgery on May 31 (she had a resection surgery in March and barely recovered) - this was after only a brief 15min consultation.

My mum was my pillar of support and the glue of the family. Im not that close with my dad and we tended to quarrel. My dad isnt highly educated but is a responsible father who cares for me, but we disagree on many issues and due to these we quarrelled often. Since he is unable to understand nor have lengthy discussions, I usually talk to my mother, who is more highly educated and able to hold conversations regarding different topics. In a certain sense she's my bff as I have personal issues (low self esteem) that I confide in her - my career was going nowhere and I was switching jobs pretty often (im 34). I also have few friends and never been in a relationship because I lacked confidence. 

I know I hurt my mum because she is always worried about my issues and had to reassure me daily. I found out that she wrote these down and also told some relatives. In 2017 I changed/lost jobs 4 times (perhaps due to both bad luck and my problem). Late 2017, father was first diagnosed with Alzheimers dementia, then 1 mth later my mum was diagnosed with lung cancer (that I only found out to be stage 3a). My mum was petite but a strong-willed woman who weathered storms for her family - she took care of her younger brother until he passed away when she was in her 20s/30s. 

My mum didnt want to go for treatment as she told me she has "lived enough" but she went ahead with it because she wanted to do it for me. This was the worst choice we ever made. Had she not gone through it, she would still be alive today. Instead, she went through more suffering than other cancer patients - fully conscious but bed-ridden for a whole of 3 months with recurrent infections that in the end, no antibiotics was able to cure. The medical team told me my mum was a fiesty and strong lady who fought back many times after crashing (BP dipped) - this really didnt help, it only made me few worse that she was fighting so hard but medical science failed her. I also felt she didnt want to let go because of me and her worries - how i would be able to take this, take care of my father who was sick (many chronic issues - bow legged, kidney issues, other old people issues and dementia) etc.

I could only make many promises to her while she was in hospital. She couldnt talk coz she was on ventilator - she had problems weaning off ventilator that caused her infections. I knew what my mum wanted but all these years I was stuck in a rut not moving on. I knew she wanted me to get better in life, have more stability and possibly get married. After my father was diagnosed with dementia, I already tried to be a better son by bringing parents out, buying food for them and spending time at home but I only had 6 mths to spend with my mum.

I had to make the choice to pull the plug in late August as her condition deteriorated. I cant forgive myself for agreeing to the operation (although she signed and consented but it was for me), making her feel bad and sad all these years and also making her suffer and prolonging the suffering. I cant move on. I know what I promised my mum - to live better and take care of my father, but I can only visit her and cry at the temple where her remains are placed. We never expected this outcome, we thought she would be still alive even if for 1-2 yrs or maybe only 6 months more. It was a mistake and we feel we have been misled (i asked my mum and she agreed during the time when she got a bit better around a month after her operation and we really thought she would have recovered) into having the operation and the doctor downplayed the risks and possible post-operative complications. I feel we were not given enough time to consider and reconsider after we voiced our doubts. I am currently pursuing a case with the hospital, but I know it's futile

This was totally unexpected, we didnt make any preparations at all. I told her to forgive me only after I fulfil the promises, she did nod earlier and in the later stages she managed to blink to let me know. I really want to join her.

Now I have to take care of my father who is deteriorating, do the chores, go to work and I keep thinking of my mum and Im unable to focus. I can only keep apologizing to her in the hospital and now talking to her photo at home and at the temple. She has not come to my dreams yet and it has been 3 weeks, I think she doesnt forgive me. I feel so guilty. My mind is unable to focus and I keep reeling back to what happened in hospital and when she was here with us. I know I was never a good son.

I had no choice but to agree to withdrawing medical treatment, I cant forgive myself for letting her suffer nor for pulling the plug. In the end she suffered more than any cancer patient and they did tonnes of medical procedures on her that caused her so much pain. I slept over at the ICU (when there were no one outside) for at least 2 months but I couldnt do anything more. I watched them do procedures, stick needles in her until she wailed like a little girl (giving me that painful expression and telling them to stop). I was helpless. Why did I let them do these. She was a strong woman, one of the strongest and would do anything for me. She was reduced to like a 6 year old afraid of a thermometer thinking it's an injection

If only I didnt agree to the treatments. I cant forgive myself. I told her not to forgive me. I dont know how to move on. I feel ashamed and I want to apologise to her. I wish to rewrite everything and turn back time. She totally didnt deserve all of these. I feel shes gone, can anyone tell me if theres afterlife. I really think I killed her. I wish she would take me with her. There's nothing I can do to right this wrong. We didnt manage to prepare. She left with a lot of regrets and worries, and possibly anger with the doctor (even though she has a very mild temper, my aunts could attest to this, that's shes the most mild tempered person they knew). She shouldnt have to leave this way

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Dear Nuvar,

My deepest sympathies and condolences. I am very sorry for your loss. I know the pain and sorrow you feel is very deep for your beloved mum.

From everything you said, I know you loved your mum a lot and wanted to keep her with you as much as possible. But also try and alleviate her suffering as well. I know its really hard right now with all the questions and looking back.

Please know you are not alone in these thoughts and feelings. I did this too. It is torture. We spend our whole lives caring for our parents and its hard to think one day they are not with us on this earth.

Take your time to mourn your mum. And know you truly did everything you reasonably could for her. Keep writing and talking it out. If you want to consider talking to a grief counselor or joining a support group in the community or through church.

Thinking of you during this difficult time. Sending my thoughts and prayers.

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nuvar

Thanks so much. I appreciate you reading through the junk I wrote

I still regret my actions and decisions deeply. It was an elective op and she was old. We should either have delayed it (as we wanted, and sought relatives' advice or another medical professional's  advice), or not go for it.

It was simply wrong to make us decide on the very day when we were unsure

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Dear Nuvar,

What you wrote is something that many people can relate to. Please know everything you are writing about is part of your grief. It is so hard to look back. Two years later I still do this to myself as well. We both saw our parents every day and felt so responsible. It is only natural to think back and say...but if only.

Take care of yourself the best you can. I hope you will consider reaching out and get some additional supports in the community or through church during this sad time.

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nuvar
  • 27 minutes ago, reader said:
    • 27 minutes ago, reader said:
      • Dear Nuvar,
      • What you wrote is something that many people can relate to. Please know everything you are writing about is part of your grief. It is so hard to look back. Two years later I still do this to myself as well. We both saw our parents every day and felt so responsible. It is only natural to think back and say...but if only.
      • Take care of yourself the best you can. I hope you will consider reaching out and get some additional supports in the community or through church during this sad time.
    •  

yes I am trying to find help with counselling. and i am trying to move things along like in job and starting out something. social wise trying but not easy to make any steps ahead. still settling some issues and trying to get help for my father.but im also overwhelmed

but i feel what i mentioned above is what makes me feel so angry. we lost time, she was gone prematurely. none of us thought of what to do in the worst scenario. it simply never came up to us because the doctor downplayed the issue. the entire thing feels more like an accident that happened out of the blue, rather than an elective operation that we have prepped ourselves for.

it's just totally unfair. she's gone prematurely because of our decision. because we were duped and misled. i feel a lot of anger and hatred towards the dr and the hospital and total guilt towards myself.

i am rational in that the doctor is a good doctor and he is kind and helpful, but we wanted to reconsider and he didnt give us that opportunity. it was obviously a high-risk op based on what was to be done and her age and not a moderate one. even if it were truly a moderate op, we wanted to reconsider he should have let us done so. he also did not explain the other alternatives and what would happen if we dont do the op(the time left) and also many other information was not given to us.

i just feel, it could have ended better. we would have an additional 5 mths should we have chosen to delay (definitely the case if we knew of the post-op complications and risks etc). instead we got conned into doing this and killed her and screwing my life and finances.

i really want to dream of my mum and talk to her but i cant get her in my dreams. now im also psychologically screwed and on medications.

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nuvar

im gradually losing my father also. his dementia is getting from bad to worse and he is stubborn and does not want help. he forgets anything he does within a 5 minute span. i find it really hard to believe in god, buddha or any higher being

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StreamingTheLight

Nuvar,

I identify with you so much. My mom was our keystone. Our rock and the one who kept us all together. Medically they failed my mom too and I had to make so many decisions and explain things to her they the oncologist and surgeons should have, but didn’t. I felt responsible for so much and what she had to go through even though it wasn’t my fault. It’s not logical the guilt and pain I feel because I’m not a doctor and didn’t do the things to her, but I still feel pain, guilt and an overwhelming amount of responsibility. My dad won’t get help for his medical stuff and gets angry, irritable and can’t talk to me for more than a few minutes without losing concentration. He can’t head and forgets things, loses things and it’s so hard for me to go through and watch. I really empathize with you. Sending love, healing thoughts and hugs. 

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nuvar

i keep tearing up at work when i get reminded of her. thinking what she would be saying and the advice she would give.

thinking how i've disappointed her all these while and how guilty i am in causing her death

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nuvar

its really hard to let go. i cant forget how she looked and how they tortured her. her death was totally unexpected and premature. it was supposed to be an planned elective surgery but we werent given enough time to think and reconsider. it seems more like an accident than a planned thing. the risks were also downplayed. i basically sent her to her death.

 

she would definitely be still alive today. damn the doctor. i know the laws and insurance and the hospital would protect themselves. shes so old and fral and barely recovered and he said the op would be slightly higher risk than the first one? i call it bullsht. he said risk was 5-8%. i checked the rates online its much higher given her age. i dont know what other avenues can i seek help from. i rly just want justice done. i lost my mum prematurely due to bad advice from doctor. im feeling so aggrieved that i cant sleep at night. this was not the outcome we expected. it was the post operative complications that killed her. the doctor should have known from his experience. this is just so fcked.

that look on her face, being resigned to fate and feelings of being betrayed and lied to, by the doctor. now thinking back im fuming. they killed my mum and lied to us... used her as a lab rat. they didnt tell us everything about the operation so we were all caught unprepared

i wish i could kill the doctor

And now no one rly cares coz its not their mums and i have no mood to work and still have to take care of my dad who has alzheimers. i rly wish to take a break and call a long stop to this. i can only think of my mum and weep..

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Dear Nuvar,

I am so sorry for your pain and sorrow. I know it is deep. And there is a lot of anger for the unfairness of this unimaginable loss.

Keep taking it moment by moment. What are you questioning and feeling is part of your grief. Grief is a long road. It has been two years for me and I still go back and think but if only...it is extremely hard. There is so much on you as an only child. All the responsibility. All the judgment.  I know its a lot easier said than done, but you did what was best in that moment. If you had any idea of the outcome, I'm sure you would have said no. We all would.

Keep talking it out with us. Please know we are with you.

 

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StreamingTheLight
On 10/1/2018 at 2:05 PM, nuvar said:

its really hard to let go. i cant forget how she looked and how they tortured her. her death was totally unexpected and premature. it was supposed to be an planned elective surgery but we werent given enough time to think and reconsider. it seems more like an accident than a planned thing. the risks were also downplayed. i basically sent her to her death.

 

she would definitely be still alive today. damn the doctor. i know the laws and insurance and the hospital would protect themselves. shes so old and fral and barely recovered and he said the op would be slightly higher risk than the first one? i call it bullsht. he said risk was 5-8%. i checked the rates online its much higher given her age. i dont know what other avenues can i seek help from. i rly just want justice done. i lost my mum prematurely due to bad advice from doctor. im feeling so aggrieved that i cant sleep at night. this was not the outcome we expected. it was the post operative complications that killed her. the doctor should have known from his experience. this is just so fcked.

that look on her face, being resigned to fate and feelings of being betrayed and lied to, by the doctor. now thinking back im fuming. they killed my mum and lied to us... used her as a lab rat. they didnt tell us everything about the operation so we were all caught unprepared

i wish i could kill the doctor

And now no one rly cares coz its not their mums and i have no mood to work and still have to take care of my dad who has alzheimers. i rly wish to take a break and call a long stop to this. i can only think of my mum and weep..

I share your feelings. Truly. Thinking of you.

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nuvar
56 minutes ago, StreamingTheLight said:

I share your feelings. Truly. Thinking of you.

Thanks StreamingTheLight and reader, for reading this.

My mind just keeps replaying scenarios with my mum, like how she would react, what she would have said... and i keep tearing up thinking of her crying and feeling painful... the crying part was when she cried due to me (before she got unwell).

I went to her resting place again today to talk to her. In my culture/faith, we burn things to those who passed on... I wrote a lengthy addressed to her... I really hope she gets to read it... I told her to take care of herself and tell her how sorry I am... and I remember things from the past

Frankly everything feels so different, now i no longer have any motivation, but I told her I will fulfill what I told her in hospital, to take care of my father, myself and become a better person, achieve better things and get on in life so she would forgive me... and I hope to be able to see her again some day... I told her to visit me whenever she can, and to guide me along which was what she had always done but I always took granted for

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nuvar

Nov 2017 - Father diagnosed with Alzheimers (we already guessed though)

Dec 2018 - Mum formally diagnosed with lung cancer

Feb 2018 - Mum went for first surgery on left lung, it was successful

Late Apr/Early May - We went for consultation, within 15min told us to decide on surgery

Late May - Surgery and Hospitalization

31st August - She's gone

Everything really just 6 months. If she was still on medication she would still be here today, possibly only doing surgery in Oct/Nov. If she went on medication all the way and later other medications/treatments she could still be here 1-2 yrs down the road. She's just gone prematurely, tortured worse than any other cancer patient. She couldnt even talk because she had to be on ventilator... we werent told the full fricking details to make the right choice

Now I cant get back myself. I really wish to say sorry to her, I dont think I can ever forgive myself - she put so much trust, confidence and hopes on me. I dont think I can ever get on normally in life

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Dear Nuvar,

I'm so sorry, I know how hard it is. As an only child you carried a lot on your shoulders. Losing a parent is a terrible shock. I did the same thing and still do. I go over the time line and think and wish and think again. Why??? Why didn't I make another choice?

But from what you write, I know you loved your mom and truly did what you thought was best in the moment. There was a lot of stress on you and lots of pressure. We all just try and do what we think is right.

Keep talking it out with us. Grief takes a toll and will slowly evolve over time. But the first weeks, months and first year will feel like an eternity of what ifs. But know that is normal.

Thinking of you.

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nuvar

im really finding it really hard to cope and my psychiatrist isnt useful... im merely using lorazepam to cope

day in day out i cant focus on work

i feel really guilty and that i cant have any closure, im just living by day and going to talk to her, im not even sure if she knows how sorry i feel. i just dont know how or where to move on... i have no friends

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Howsadiam

I’m so sorry for your loss Nuvar.

I too am an only child and come from an Asian family.  I lost my mom on August 28th of this year.  My mom passed away from a brain bleed.  

The Sunday I took to the emergency room, she told me she was nauseous and light headed.  She said it might have been something she ate the day prior.  

I didn’t think anything of it and thought she would be ok in the days to come.  She was sleeping a lot, so I thought she was tired and needed rest.  I tried not to disturb her. 

The following day, I told the doctor she kept rubbing her neck and to look into it.  7 hours later after the Ct scan, I was told she had a massive brain hemorrhage and inoperable.  

They told me she was brain dead, and gave us 3 options.  1. Have the surgery but she would most likely die during surgery, or come out successfully and 2. be in a vegetative state her remaining days with life support or 3. remove life support and let her die.  

My dad and I had the hardest decision to make and we told the doctor we will discuss the issue  and give him our decision in the morning. 

We chose to remove her life support.  That is not a way to life.  My mom wouldn’t have wanted that.  

My mom took her last breath after 7 long agonizing hours.  I held her hand and brushed her hair with my finger tips the entire time.  

When she took her last breath, I felt part of me died with her.

That was the most traumatic thing I have ever been through.  

I feel so guilty for not talking to her more and wished the day prior to her ct scan I hadn’t left her side for 3 hours to run 2 errands as I thought she was resting and doc said she might have had s viral or bacterial infection.  

I wasn’t there when she was semi conscious and she was always there for me when I needed her.  

I just moved my elderly father to live with my family. I can’t leave him alone by himself.  It’s what my mom would have wanted.

My guilt is eating inside me daily. 

I pray you find peace.

 

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StreamingTheLight
7 hours ago, Howsadiam said:

I’m so sorry for your loss Nuvar.

I too am an only child and come from an Asian family.  I lost my mom on August 28th of this year.  My mom passed away from a brain bleed.  

The Sunday I took to the emergency room, she told me she was nauseous and light headed.  She said it might have been something she ate the day prior.  

I didn’t think anything of it and thought she would be ok in the days to come.  She was sleeping a lot, so I thought she was tired and needed rest.  I tried not to disturb her. 

The following day, I told the doctor she kept rubbing her neck and to look into it.  7 hours later after the Ct scan, I was told she had a massive brain hemorrhage and inoperable.  

They told me she was brain dead, and gave us 3 options.  1. Have the surgery but she would most likely die during surgery, or come out successfully and 2. be in a vegetative state her remaining days with life support or 3. remove life support and let her die.  

My dad and I had the hardest decision to make and we told the doctor we will discuss the issue  and give him our decision in the morning. 

We chose to remove her life support.  That is not a way to life.  My mom wouldn’t have wanted that.  

My mom took her last breath after 7 long agonizing hours.  I held her hand and brushed her hair with my finger tips the entire time.  

When she took her last breath, I felt part of me died with her.

That was the most traumatic thing I have ever been through.  

I feel so guilty for not talking to her more and wished the day prior to her ct scan I hadn’t left her side for 3 hours to run 2 errands as I thought she was resting and doc said she might have had s viral or bacterial infection.  

I wasn’t there when she was semi conscious and she was always there for me when I needed her.  

I just moved my elderly father to live with my family. I can’t leave him alone by himself.  It’s what my mom would have wanted.

My guilt is eating inside me daily. 

I pray you find peace.

 

Howsadiam,

My heart reaches out to you and your family. I’m so sad for your loss. I was with my mom when she took her last breath in July. It was also traumatic. I too brushed my moms hair and held on to her. I have stayed with my dad since. I go over every second, all our moments and although I know she is gone, I can’t stop yearning for her. I pray for all of us. 

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Dear Nuvar,

Please don't give up hope. If this doctor is not helping you or if you feel disconnected, please don't hesitate to look for another doctor. Get a second or third opinion if necessary.

I know its really hard. Grief makes us all feel lonely.

Know that you are among friends here. We will be here to listen and offer any support we can.

Take care of yourself. Your mom loved you and knows you did the best you could. She can hear you. She can, my friend.

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nuvar

actually i was and still reliant on mum all the while (psychologically) more than anything else. i poured my problems to her and she was my best friend even though it caused her to worry and be sad.

at least i knew someone would be here for me. all these happened too suddenly.

i would rather she be around and i keep my problems to myself... and work doubly hard on all aspects. maybe it's God/Buddha/The One Above who feels i've bothered her too much, even so, she need not have to suffer so much

life is unfair and i cant get on with life myself... now i have to work, cook, wash and care for my father and deal with my own psychological issues and acting strong to others, faking a front and lying that issues dont exist. they still do and are in a way magnified now. but i cant gain back my self esteem or take a rest because they need to take a back seat as i deal with financial issues and other issues (like my father's care) etc.

frankly speaking, im not sure if anyone here has the same problem but my self-esteem/psychological issues are quite profound. i face them everyday and im finding it impossible to cope

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Dear Nuvar,

Be kind and gentle with yourself. The first weeks and months and year of grief is very hard. It does take a toll mentally. I don't want you to feel you are alone in your thoughts and feelings.

Being from a Chinese family I know its extremely hard. And right now you still have to care for your father while grieving. Are there any friends or family? Any resources in the community you could access to help you. Any resources through church?  I was too proud to ask for help, but that was a mistake. I tried to shoulder everything on my own and that only made it worse.

I know your mum meant everything to you. It is a huge loss.

Keep writing to us and getting your feelings out.

I found these websites in helpful in helping me cope with my sadness and grief.

Grief in Common

What's Your Grief

Grief Healing Blog.

I know others share your pain and will be able to add their own experiences.

 

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Gem 27

Dear Nuvar,

I too struggle with feeling I did the wrong thing right before my father died. I always tried to take care of him as best I could, but feel like I let him down when he needed me most. I just didn't realize it was near the end for him...I should have known...

But I know that he knew I loved him and would do anything for him, and I do not believe that he is angry or disappointed with me.

We are only human and do the best we can. Your mom knows you're suffering, and I don't believe she would want you to feel such guilt, when she loved you so much.

Please try to forgive yourself, and I hope things get easier as time passes.

Gem 27

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nuvar

I feel my mind is terribly broken now im just barely holding together. i already have low self esteem and lots of problems and my mum was my pillar of support.

she really forced herself to go through all the crazy procedures and stayed alive, gritted her teeth coz she knew i needed her and the family needed her. could you just imagine 3 months wide awake in the hospital's ICU battling recurrent infections and fighting so damn hard to stay alive until all the doctors were amazed at her spirits. 

i think it's because she knew i couldnt cope with life and my dad........ the amount of pain she had to go through i just cant imagine. can u imagine urself sleeping on a bed with sores for 3 freaking months and the most terrible thing is u cant talk and cant scream and she bore with it.

when she got slightly better she smiled at nurses and she nv pressed the bell at all, until i told her to. and i think she pressed it less than 3 times so that she wouldnt have to bother the nurses and doctors. she was so self-less. she suffered needlessly for me and my dad. i killed her. 

if we did not treat the disease she would have suffered less and lived longer, if she had been on the drugs only she would still be alive today and months or even a year later. if we had the operation in Oct/Nov she would still be alive today and we would have 4-5 months more to do things together

she fought so hard to live and they killed her. she fought so hard for me because she didnt want treatment.

i made her suffer.... actually i cry everyday and i ask her to take me with her. the only reason im still alive is that im trying to fulfil her dreams and to take care of my dad. then i will join her. i will not kill myself on purpose but i will wait for god or whatever powers, or nature to take me along... frankly im really still so preoccupied by my personal issues. she strove on so hard for me and i only let her down. i really cant deal with this grief and guilt........

im pretty much living for nothing now, i think i will not feel anger or pain if i were to have my life taken away from me this very second. no regrets at all

im really having problems coping at work.......... my relatives and friends are already moving away from helping because it's the 7th week.

im really breaking down...... im visiting her later

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Dear Nuvar,

Please know you are not alone. I'm so sorry for your terrible pain and sorrow. I know how much you love your beloved mum. Part of grief is replaying all the things that could be different. Keep writing and expressing yourself.

Please know we are all with you.

Thinking of you.

 

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nuvar

Thanks reader.

I really cant believe we went ahead with the op, i am someone who never forgets and i can be guilt-stricken over the smallest things that others would forget. i dont think i can ever get over this.

It's made worse by how fast the entire thing was and like a farking bad dream. We went ahead with the doctor's recommendation in 15minutes. My mum suffered for whole 3 months.

Im also thinking I probably wont ever get justice for her, the hospital is NEVER going to admit wrong-doing. Im going to call them again. They told me the case was still under investigation. I think it's highly likely they will close this case and said nth was wrong

Even if they admit, compensate us or whatever, it's not going to bring her back. and the chance of that happening is 1%

I feel really sick at myself, she suffered consciously for 3 months. My mum suffered her whole life and gave her everything to my family and her brother and was a nice lady. I really find it hard and nearly impossible to believe in god, higher being that they will help me/us.

i've never had a good day in my life too, and that caused my mum to be sad all her life. and my dad is now stricken with dementia and i have to juggle everything. im really feeling helpless because people are all generally forgetting us already. i dont know how long more i can cope.

It pains me to see everyone having things so much better. i practically have no one to cling on to.

Everything is so broken now and im in debt and shambles........ i dont know how or where to pick up myself from or if i am keen to do that

 

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Dear Nuvar,

I know its really hard to look back. And I'm sorry things are so tough right now.

I wish you could be kinder to yourself. We all make so many decisions in our day. I know you only agreed to the surgery because you thought it would help your mum. I too had to make all the decisions for my mom and dad. It is a lot on a person. And you had the added stress of caring for your dad as well.

Grief makes us all feel like nothing will be right again, but try to be gentle with yourself and give yourself more time.

I don't know where you live, but always know there are supports. I wish family members and friends were better sometimes at reaching out. But don't give up...there are meet up groups, support groups, government resources, church resources...keep taking it moment by moment.

Please know we are with you. Thinking of you.

 

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