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Struggling with recent sudden death of my Mum


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Hi Everyone, 


I suddenly lost my mum just over 5 weeks ago to a brain haemorrhage, and I'm still really struggling to come to terms with what's happened. She was only 56 years old, and I'm 26. I'm still living at the family home with my younger brother and my dad. 


I was at work the day she collapsed. Everything was fine, it was just a normal day. She had sent me a message on Facebook that lunchtime about a holiday I was planning to book for the end of this year. Just before 5.30 as I was getting ready to leave work, I got a phone call from my brother saying 'Mum's collapsed, you need to come home now'. That's the last thing I ever expected to hear when I picked up the phone. I panicked and asked my colleague to drive me home straight away. Luckily I only live 5 minutes drive away.


When we pulled up the ambulance was in the driveway. I ran into the house, and the paramedics were with her in the bathroom (downstairs) where she had collapsed. I went into the living room and helped my brother write down some information for her, date of birth etc, as he was in a panic and couldn't think straight. A few minutes later they pulled her out of the bathroom on a stretcher and put her into the ambulance. I went with her, and I called my dad at work so he could come home and get my brother. They both followed on to the hospital and met me in the family waiting room in A&E.


They did a CT scan, and a doctor came in to tell us that unfortunately she had a significant bleed on the brain, and that she probably wouldn't wake up. At that moment I felt like I was in my worst nightmare. I didn't know whether to cry or scream, I just felt numb. This couldn't be real, it had to be some kind of joke. My lovely, funny, vibrant mum, who was absolutely fine one minute, had had a massive brain haemorrhage and wasn't going to make it. My whole world came crashing down around me. 


The doctors said they would be moving her to a specialist neurological unit at a hospital in Central London, but unfortunately she was too unwell to be transferred. Instead they moved her straight upstairs to the intensive care unit. We spent the first night at the hospital as a family. Me, my dad and my brother all in the poky little relative's lounge with two hard sofas and some thin blankets. None of us managed to sleep for more than 5 minutes. They thought she might go during the night as her blood pressure was very unstable, so we didn't want to leave her. 


The next morning they said that her blood pressure had stabilised, and that she would be kept on the ventilator while they carried out some tests to determine if there was any brain activity. Over the next two days they did several tests, and they all confirmed that she was completely brain dead. She was an organ donor, so they kept her on the ventilator until we decided the time was right for them to start finding the recipients for her organs. We decided not to keep her hanging on as she was already gone, and there were people desperate for organ transplants and it wasn't fair to keep them waiting. We said our individual goodbyes, then one last goodbye as a family, and went home. They called us once they had found the recipients and the operation had been completed. This didn't take very long, maybe about 12 hours. 


For the first couple of weeks I was in complete shock, just going through the motions doing what needed to be done, informing people that she had died, registering the death, making funeral arrangements. When I would talk to people about what happened it felt as if I was talking about someone else, not my mum. It took me two weeks before I was able to leave the house on my own without my dad and my brother, and I nearly had a nervous breakdown in my friends kitchen.


Slowly it has become easier to cope with day to day tasks, but I still just can't believe she's gone. I keep expecting to go downstairs and see her sitting on the sofa in her fluffy purple dressing gown, or pottering around in the garden. I can still see her face, hear her laugh, feel her warm embrace. Although I know deep down that she has gone, she is still completely alive in my head. 


She was the one person I could talk to about absolutely everything. I looked forward to coming home every day and seeing her, giving her a cuddle and talking to her about my day. I loved her with all my heart and soul. She was my mummy and I was still her little girl. She was everything to me, the centre of my universe. 


The funeral was this Wednesday just gone and it was a really lovely service, it couldn't have been more perfect and was exactly what she deserved. She was a truly amazing and beautiful person who was loved my so many people.


I am due to go back to work tomorrow and I just don't know how I am going to be able to go back to my normal life when my rock, my best friend, is gone. I'm worried it will suddenly all hit me once the shock wears off, and I will have a complete breakdown. 


How have all of you coped with adjusting back to normal life after the death of a beloved parent? Will it ever get any easier?


Thank you for listening, and if any of you could offer any advice or words of encouragement I would be truly grateful x



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Penny, I am so sorry to hear of your loss: I can imagine and understand all too well what you're suffering as I went through much the same 7 months ago. At that time, we did not realize that my mother was  finally succumbing to her bile duct cancer; we assumed instead that perhaps she was recovering in the hospital and her appetite was picking up. She never made it home after that weekend. Although we knew that the end was near as she never gained consciousness from her stroke on early Monday morning, September 28th, little did we anticipate that she would die in less than 6 days. It was excruciatingly difficult then--and in many ways, can still be difficult months later. My mom was after all, not just a mom, but a best friend, confidant, and mentor over the years.


I've written about some of this in my own thread a while back (Still missing my mom) and in NeverBetter's; but suffice to say that work actually did help me recuperate somewhat. At that time, I was teaching online and had to give a 45-minute paper at another college that same week. The class wound up being a respite of sorts, I think: otherwise, I would have felt completely overwhelmed with grief.


Grief can come in waves: a lot of it depends on how close you were to your mom and how much emotional support you're getting at the moment. In some ways, it was easier for me at the beginning because many reached out. But when my mom's memorial service was over, it was like we no longer existed. Some distanced themselves. Others didn't call as much. For me, as an only child who has never particularly gotten on with my father, the whole experience felt exceptionally isolating and bruising. I was not only taking care of my father, but forced to deal w/ family finances and my mother's probate, but had projects I needed to finish (including a book manuscript), and work-related stress. In the past, my mom would have been a buffer and source of comfort. But, of course, she was no longer there.   I can't count the times I've wanted to chat on the phone so badly with another but couldn't. I wound up calling a suicide hotline not because I was in danger of doing so (and I told them as much), but because I felt I would have a breakdown if I couldn't talk with someone. Unfortunately, there are few if any hotlines in the US for those who have lost their parents: only those who have lost a spouse or child.  NOT FAIR!   


I was angry--and am still angry today. However, a few things which helped alleviate the pain somewhat was writing about my grief here--many of the memories I've cherished over the years. It can feel therapeutic. Folks on this site have been quite supportive too. In fact, I think I may have had more here than elsewhere. And although sometimes it can be depressing to read about grief, it helps you feel less alone.


Penny, I hope you find peace. Please share your thoughts on your mom whenever you feel free. 

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Hey penny I'm so sorry to hear of your mums death. My mum died very suddenly on the 20.04.15, so its still very new for me too.

I'm taking each day as it comes, dealing with life without a mummy.

Its hard, but work was a welcome distraction for me. Go back, see how it goes, if you need more time ask for it.

Your own wellbeing will get you through this, look after yourself.


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Hi Penny... I lost my Mom to a stroke 7mo ago... same type of thing as a hemorrhage but your Mom's was a bleed and my Mom's was a clot to her brain... the both result in brain death, how sad.


I'm so sorry about your Mom.  I know how much it hurts to lose your best friend... my Mom was my best friend too.  She was 80yo, I am 52yo.. I lived 3 miles from her and she was my entire life. I am lost without her as well.


I took off an entire month after my Mom passed.. and going back to work was still very hard.  At first I avoided the same route... sat in a different train car, took different buses, etc.. so I wouldn't have to see the same people.  I just did not want to talk to anyone.  People at work were pretty good to me... most didn't say anything cause I think they could see the pain in my eyes.  I left work many times crying my eyes out, bawling in the bathroom, crying outside, crying on the way home, it was not easy.  Now I don't cry at work too much or on the way home, but I cry enough at home and in my car.  It's not going to be easy... but you just have to take one day at a time.. I'm sorry.


Your Mom sounds like she was a wonderful person and I'm sure she didn't want to leave you... but unfortunately this is the life we are in.  It is not fair that a young girl like you should lose her Mom.  I lost my Dad at 5yo, he died suddenly from a heart attack... leaving my Mom at 33yo with five small kids.


I will never understand life.. I don't understand it.  I hope you can find some peace amongst all the pain you have of your Mom.  I know it doesn't help when people say your Mom would want you to be happy, but there is alot of truth to that.  You can feel pain and cry, but be sure to give yourself a break now and then and remember all the good things about her.


I'm here if you ever want to talk.  Hugs and prayers.

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