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Two weeks since mom died


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My mom died of sepsis and hypercapnic respiratory failure (her sepsis increased the carbon dioxide in her blood too fast for her lungs to expel and the iPap mask doctors made her wear didn't expel the carbon dioxide fast enough). This was two weeks ago. 

I am suffering from two types of grief: 

  • cumulative grief 
  • complicated grief 


When my mom was in her memory care apartment for three years, I experienced anticipatory grief...until she passed away 2 weeks ago. 
Her passing, triggered my grief from my dad's death from cancer 30 years ago...thus creating complicated grief for me. 

Two weeks ago, I'd just resigned from a terrible job and started my last semester of graduate school. Then, my mom went into the ER with a UTI and colitis (the CNA's at her memory care floor waited too long to contact me about my mom's two bacterial infections, that is what led to her sepsis and her death). Mom had dementia and wasn't always able to communicate her pain to me or anyone. 

I'm here seeking emotional support for my grief, until I can find ongoing grief counseling with a qualified grief counselor and grief support group classes. I plan to engage in somatic grief therapy (movement, art and music therapy, breathwork, meditation, yoga) to help me avoid developing high blood pressure, cancer, or die of a heart attack from the stress of losing my beloved mom. 

Funerals expose people's true colors, let's just start there.  An older couple who attended my dad's funeral 30 years ago showed up to my mom's visitation (pre funeral event to visit the deceased person's remains and interact with their loved ones) only to say that they couldn't stay for my mom's funeral because they were going to another friend's funeral. I found that rather rude. Why would you announce to the bereaved that you weren't staying because you had another funeral to go to? Just don't come in the first place! 

Then there were the cousins. Some of them didn't reach out to me at all - radio silence - no text message, no phone call, no email. Some did come to the funeral and stayed for the luncheon and some left after the funeral. 

Then there were my "friends." No one came to support me at my mother's funeral. Only one friend called me. She worked in hospice so she knew exactly what I was going through. She knew exactly what to say to me. She even followed up her phone call with text messages checking in on me these past two weeks, and she mailed me a condolence card. That's a real friend in my book.

Everyone else in my life exempted themselves from real support, by posting condolences on my Facebook wall, "so sorry for your loss." A digital condolence doesn't trump a face to face condolence, even the intention behind it was kind. A digital condolence is disingenuous to me, because it's for show; it's the person distancing themselves from an awkward and inevitable fate for all living beings: death. So, their digital condolences of "you're in my thoughts," are a feeble attempt to make themselves appear supportive without having to be supportive. 

If they handed out trophies at funerals, my brother took home the Golden Globe award for "Best Exploitation of Dead Mom," to further his religious agenda (which is, to evangelize his love of Jesus to everyone, exploiting his own dead parents to fit his agenda). He copied and pasted my Facebook announcement of our mom's death to his Facebook page, where he proceeded to eulogize her with a cockamamie story about how our dad (who died 30 years ago) came out of his coma to tell my mom he met "Jesus," and that he knew his soul was saved. He repeated that fictitious nonsense at our mom's post-funeral luncheon to rounds of applause. Well, that never happened. Our dad and mom never had that conversation. Once my dad went into his coma, he didn't come out of it and he died. They never spoke to each other about him having an NDE where he met Jesus to assure our mom that he was going to Heaven. 

Last but not least this morning. Last week, another "friend" I had helped through the own death of her mom by calling her to support her, messaged me she would call me. She didn't call. This morning she messaged me on Facebook to tell me, "can't call. Have too much drama going on." To imply that my grief and loss is an inconvenience to her so she can't take 5 minutes out of her day to call me to offer me emotional support. If my mom's death triggered her grief about her own mom's death, that's one thing, and she could share that information with me to help me understand her refusal to follow through on her promise to call me. But she didn't do that. Just an enigmatic message telling me my grief and loss was an inconvenience to her life right now. Some may say, "oh, well she's at least telling you why she can't be a good friend," to which I will respond with, "there is no excuse good enough to justify not being kind or respectful to a friend who is grieving the loss of a parent." 

For example, did I quit grad school or quit my job search or quit paying my bills or quit being social because my mom died? No. If a friend's loved one died today, I would reach out to them to offer my emotional support via phone call, because that is how my parents raised me. No, not everyone was raised that way. Not everyone will meet my expectations. I understand that. What I won't tolerate or allow, is someone to just ghost me right now, or make excuses as to why they can't offer me support. That's selfish on their part. And, I'm allowed to share my hurt feelings with them, when they do treat me that way. If they aren't ware how their choices made me feel, then they don't have the opportunity to apologize and try to repair the damage that their choice made. This "friend" hasn't apologized to me yet. So, her silence speaks volumes. That tells me everything that I need to know: that my friendship doesn't mean anything to her. 

Grief affects everyone differently. It even has physical and psychological side effects that are long-lasting and possibly life altering. But, that doesn't excuse bad behavior from people who claim to be in my support group. I'm glad I told my friend how her atrocious behavior affected me. My mom was my best friend and my biggest supporter and now she's gone forever. I have to advocate for myself now and grieving alone is very difficult. 

Edited by grievingwoman
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Has anyone here lost a parent to sepsis? Or had to navigate their bereavement without a supportive social network? All alone? I could use some advice. Thanks. 

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I am so sorry for your loss, grieving woman.  I am also really sorry that the people you counted on for support weren't there for you.   I know how hard it is to have a parent with dementia because my mom suffers from this.  (She still alive, so yes...some anticipatory grief going on. ). I lost my Dad a few months ago and was fortunate to have a pretty good support network but I did notice that I got angrier with people than I normally do, so have had to realize that anger is also a legitimate part of grieving.   Sounds like in your case you have every right to be angry, and I hope you can find a good support network and/or therapist that will really be there for you.  This random stranger sends you a hug across the internet. 

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