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Lost my mother Nov. 1st, and it's starting to hit me now


CENGLERT

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Hi,

Never been part of a forum before so... here goes.

About a month ago, I lost my mother after a long period of illness - an illness which she otherwise (outwardly) managed well for seven years. Fortunately, I had the means to stop working as of March, so from that time onward, I was home full-time and spending as much time with her as possible. I took her to all of her appointments and treatments. We made many day trips together and even had a last trip overseas together, for a family reunion and christening. Even just a couple of months ago she mentioned how wonderful it had been, how glad she was that she had gone. We knew she was terminally ill as of December 2010, but the surprise/shock in all of this was how quickly the end came, when it finally did.

On Saturday, October 22nd she started rapidly debilitating, yet even after a brief hospital stay which restored her to about 80% of what I knew to be her "usual self," when they sent her home on Friday, Oct. 28th, her palliative care doctor told me she had weeks or months.

By Sunday morning (Oct. 30th), I was being told she had days. This still boggles my mind now, over a month later.

She passed away the evening of Tuesday, November 1st.

As she requested, I had her cremated and her ashes were buried both in our country of residence and her birthplace (Nov. 7th and 25th).

On Nov. 26th, I woke up here in Europe thinking, "What the hell do I do now? What is my purpose in life?" In a way, this is not surprising, since I've been focused solely on illness for the past months, with little or no thought for my own future.

As an unmarried, 39-year-old only child who lost her father years ago, and whose extended family is primarily here overseas, I am dreading returning home. I know when I step into the home I shared with my mother, it will be at times a comfort and yet often an awful reminder of this new void in my life.

I'm fortunate (though I hesitate to choose that word!) that my best friend experienced the loss of her own mother 11 years ago. It's invaluable to have someone in my corner who has walked this path before and can offer true words of wisdom, but I don't want to burn her out with incessant calls and emails. So it's truly comforting to know that there is a forum like this in which to read others' thoughts and experiences.

I'm going to be here for the next five weeks and I am really enjoying time with my family (sometimes reminiscing about my mother).

However, in the past week, since fulfilling all the immediate obligations of her funerals and the estate, the thoughts of my mother increased tremendously in their frequency... and now that I have the time to actually think, it is all starting to hit me, physically and emotionally. I became violently ill a few days ago and was bedridden for almost two days. (Was it any coincidence that it was exactly a month after her death?) The crying has started to happen ever more frequently, and of course it seems to happen anytime, anywhere, depending on the memory triggered. I feel like I should hold it back when I'm with people who don't know me as well, but sometimes this feels impossible to do.

I don't have any questions in particular, but I would appreciate hearing from people who have lost both parents, especially if they are only children.

Thank you for sharing your stories and for reading mine.

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Hi,

Never been part of a forum before so... here goes.

About a month ago, I lost my mother after a long period of illness - an illness which she otherwise (outwardly) managed well for seven years. Fortunately, I had the means to stop working as of March, so from that time onward, I was home full-time and spending as much time with her as possible. I took her to all of her appointments and treatments. We made many day trips together and even had a last trip overseas together, for a family reunion and christening. Even just a couple of months ago she mentioned how wonderful it had been, how glad she was that she had gone. We knew she was terminally ill as of December 2010, but the surprise/shock in all of this was how quickly the end came, when it finally did.

On Saturday, October 22nd she started rapidly debilitating, yet even after a brief hospital stay which restored her to about 80% of what I knew to be her "usual self," when they sent her home on Friday, Oct. 28th, her palliative care doctor told me she had weeks or months.

By Sunday morning (Oct. 30th), I was being told she had days. This still boggles my mind now, over a month later.

She passed away the evening of Tuesday, November 1st.

As she requested, I had her cremated and her ashes were buried both in our country of residence and her birthplace (Nov. 7th and 25th).

On Nov. 26th, I woke up here in Europe thinking, "What the hell do I do now? What is my purpose in life?" In a way, this is not surprising, since I've been focused solely on illness for the past months, with little or no thought for my own future.

As an unmarried, 39-year-old only child who lost her father years ago, and whose extended family is primarily here overseas, I am dreading returning home. I know when I step into the home I shared with my mother, it will be at times a comfort and yet often an awful reminder of this new void in my life.

I'm fortunate (though I hesitate to choose that word!) that my best friend experienced the loss of her own mother 11 years ago. It's invaluable to have someone in my corner who has walked this path before and can offer true words of wisdom, but I don't want to burn her out with incessant calls and emails. So it's truly comforting to know that there is a forum like this in which to read others' thoughts and experiences.

I'm going to be here for the next five weeks and I am really enjoying time with my family (sometimes reminiscing about my mother).

However, in the past week, since fulfilling all the immediate obligations of her funerals and the estate, the thoughts of my mother increased tremendously in their frequency... and now that I have the time to actually think, it is all starting to hit me, physically and emotionally. I became violently ill a few days ago and was bedridden for almost two days. (Was it any coincidence that it was exactly a month after her death?) The crying has started to happen ever more frequently, and of course it seems to happen anytime, anywhere, depending on the memory triggered. I feel like I should hold it back when I'm with people who don't know me as well, but sometimes this feels impossible to do.

I don't have any questions in particular, but I would appreciate hearing from people who have lost both parents, especially if they are only children.

Thank you for sharing your stories and for reading mine.

Paprika,

I am very sorry to hear about the loss of your mother. It sounds like you had a wonderful mother and you will always cherish those warm memories of her. Many people report falling apart about a month or so after they lose their loved one. I think it's because reality sets in, some of the numbness and craziness of the choas has calmed, and now it's back to "normal" living, whatever "normal" will become.

I lost my dad two years ago. It was very difficult because we had concentrated for so long on taking care of him. He became everyone's focus, and when he was gone, it was like "Wow, now what do we do?" I cried and cried and cried whenever I wanted to. It is perfectly okay. While I still miss him, I can now laugh at funny stories about him or remember how irritated I was over arguments I had with him as a teenager. Holidays are still tough, but we move on.

There are many people here who are only children. They will be able to guide you through this. As for the rest of us, we will be here for you.

ModKonnie

Do you have to go back to work? Do you have an extended family for support?

ModKonnie

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I understand all too well. i am an only child here in us. My mother was from scotland. Sometimes its so hard to go on without her. I just don't know what to do. You are so lucky to have a best friend i don't even know anyone here other than my roommate and a few others.

Let me know if you need anything.

Debbie

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Hi, Debbie - thanks for your kind note and you're support. The offer goes both ways... if you need anything. I can't imagine being on my own in a country without some closer support... times like these I am really thankful for email and Skype! It helps close the distance somewhat....

-Paprika

I understand all too well. i am an only child here in us. My mother was from scotland. Sometimes its so hard to go on without her. I just don't know what to do. You are so lucky to have a best friend i don't even know anyone here other than my roommate and a few others.

Let me know if you need anything.

Debbie

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Hi, ModKonnie - thanks for your kind message. I don't have to go right back to work, in the sense that because I was on contract work previously, now it's about finding a new workplace in the new year and getting back into a routine. My extended family is all over here in Europe except for one branch in Chicago... though I am nowhere near as close to them emotionally, unfortunately.

I am smiling at some of the memories already, but of course, crying is the norm. Trying my best to keep up with a fitness routine (because the food here is plentiful and rich and that's how my family often says "I love you," of course.... :). I have the regular email support of my trainer for that, so... I am truly lucky.

Am glad to hear there are many only children on this forum, thank you for mentioning that. And thank you for sharing your own experiences as well. The more I hear from others, the more it helps "normalize" parts of my own experience.

-Paprika

Paprika,

I am very sorry to hear about the loss of your mother. It sounds like you had a wonderful mother and you will always cherish those warm memories of her. Many people report falling apart about a month or so after they lose their loved one. I think it's because reality sets in, some of the numbness and craziness of the choas has calmed, and now it's back to "normal" living, whatever "normal" will become.

I lost my dad two years ago. It was very difficult because we had concentrated for so long on taking care of him. He became everyone's focus, and when he was gone, it was like "Wow, now what do we do?" I cried and cried and cried whenever I wanted to. It is perfectly okay. While I still miss him, I can now laugh at funny stories about him or remember how irritated I was over arguments I had with him as a teenager. Holidays are still tough, but we move on.

There are many people here who are only children. They will be able to guide you through this. As for the rest of us, we will be here for you.

ModKonnie

Do you have to go back to work? Do you have an extended family for support?

ModKonnie

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By the way i am 52 and single and was wondering today what my purpose was also. My mom died 3 weeks ago. She had parkinsons and then lived with me for quite a while. I put her in a nursing home as she could not get around anymore and she was not doing well there or eating. They should have put her in the hospital 2 months prior because they found that she had pneumonia.

So she died on nov 14 and i feel all sorts of feelings. Wishing i did this or that better, etc. Had she been kept home she would have lived longer and not got pneumonia. Oh dear. Thank god for my masters degree online I am just trying to get through the day and holidays. Its very difficult being an only child. My mother was from scotland and now im in the us alone.

Debbie

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Hi, Debbie - we're all unique in our ways and situations of mourning, but grief is indeed a common thread. My aunt (mother's sister) had Parkinsons so I understand a little bit about this condition.

Wishing we did better in some things or didn't do others is a natural feeling but also a sure way to drive ourselves crazy with pain, I think. I have started thinking, not about recent months and what I should have done otherwise, but earlier in my mother's and my life, when we weren't getting along too well for a perios of a year. There is a little regret for the time lost then, but I console myself with the fact that I did the best I knew how, at that time, with the resources I was given. I hope this thought can bring a measure of comfort to you as well.

So is all or most of your extended family in Scotland? Did your mother have siblings, with whom you are or could be in contact?

I find that the time I have now in Hungary, which is limited to a few weeks, is bringing me some comfort. Is there a way you could travel to be with family over the holidays? I'm not sure about you, but my family is all over here except for a branch in Illinois. So I'd have to travel for the holidays regardless, in the future.... and I plan to do this whenever my means allow.

Good luck and perseverance with your Masters studies - that is great that you have that to focus on as well.

Take care,

Paprika.

By the way i am 52 and single and was wondering today what my purpose was also. My mom died 3 weeks ago. She had parkinsons and then lived with me for quite a while. I put her in a nursing home as she could not get around anymore and she was not doing well there or eating. They should have put her in the hospital 2 months prior because they found that she had pneumonia.

So she died on nov 14 and i feel all sorts of feelings. Wishing i did this or that better, etc. Had she been kept home she would have lived longer and not got pneumonia. Oh dear. Thank god for my masters degree online I am just trying to get through the day and holidays. Its very difficult being an only child. My mother was from scotland and now im in the us alone.

Debbie

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Hi, Debbie - we're all unique in our ways and situations of mourning, but grief is indeed a common thread. My aunt (mother's sister) had Parkinsons so I understand a little bit about this condition.

Wishing we did better in some things or didn't do others is a natural feeling but also a sure way to drive ourselves crazy with pain, I think. I have started thinking, not about recent months and what I should have done otherwise, but earlier in my mother's and my life, when we weren't getting along too well for a perios of a year. There is a little regret for the time lost then, but I console myself with the fact that I did the best I knew how, at that time, with the resources I was given. I hope this thought can bring a measure of comfort to you as well.

So is all or most of your extended family in Scotland? Did your mother have siblings, with whom you are or could be in contact?

I find that the time I have now in Hungary, which is limited to a few weeks, is bringing me some comfort. Is there a way you could travel to be with family over the holidays? I'm not sure about you, but my family is all over here except for a branch in Illinois. So I'd have to travel for the holidays regardless, in the future.... and I plan to do this whenever my means allow.

Good luck and perseverance with your Masters studies - that is great that you have that to focus on as well.

Take care,

Paprika.

Well my mom was from scotland, she had 3 sisters only one is left the one i went to the funeral with and she is a handful and 92. No at present i am trying to get 2 roommates together to rent a house so i can move out of here which id on't like. I hope to buy a cat too and continue with my masters online. I also applied for a couple of jobs, one in a nursing home and the other at the YMCA so will see. Blessings to you. I cried alot today missing my mom but then i am ok, its a process. Take care Debbie

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HI, Debbie -I went away for a long weekend to Budapest and no email, hence the delayed reply.

It sounds like you are making some positive strides forward, with making certain changes in your life. Wow, 92, that is fantastic but I can imagine, a handful.

My best friend is trying to convince me to get a hamster (her 8-year-old daughter's idea... :) or a grown cat. We'll see how I feel once I get back to the house in Canada.

Right now, I am concentrating on the time here, involving myself as much as possible in the lives of my family here, especially the kids (helping the 12 year old twins study and playing with an almost-one-year old little third cousin who laughs and smiles whenever he sees me :). But I have started putting out feelers for a new job, too.

Take care,

blessings to you, too.

-Paprika

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