My mother died just over 5 years ago from cancer and not a day goes by that I don’t miss her. I thought it was about time I wrote about how losing her has changed the way I see the world, has changed me and what it’s been like trying to get my head around it all.
It’s true what they say, you can never really understand what it’s like until it happens to you. I once described losing my mother as like the sky suddenly falling down. My mother carried me for 9 months, gave birth to me, was the first sight I ever set my eyes upon, fed me when I was hungry, got no sleep for months when I woke her up crying at night, changed my nappies, watched me smile when I recognised her face, start to crawl, take my first steps, say my first word. She was always there for me, every memory I’ve ever had growing up has her in it. When I was upset she was there to cheer me up. When I needed advice it was her I sought out. And when I stepped out of line it was her who put me back in step. She was a strong, loving mother who I always knew was on my side, would do anything for me and my brother and gave us the perfect upbringing that made us the men we are today. I’d known her as my mother and as I became an adult I knew her as the woman Jean Conners with a devilish sense of humour and a certain innocence about her. She was the most wonderful person I’ve ever known. She had always been a huge part of my life and now that she’s gone I realise that I’d always assumed she would be.
You never expect the sky to fall down, the sky is always there and always will be. And that’s exactly how I felt about my mother.
When my father phoned me early one morning to tell me my mother was dying the first words I said to him were “you’re joking”. Obviously he wouldn’t, but my instinct was that it couldn’t be happening. Him phoning me again later (I can’t remember if I’d left to drive home or was just about to leave) to tell me she had died just didn’t seem real – I was numb. I arrived home before my brother (who’d been staying with me that weekend and was driving himself to my dad’s) and stepped into the hall. My dad came over to me and something I didn’t expect then happened. All my life my dad had been the one to comfort me in times of sadness but this time he was the one holding onto me and I was the one comforting him. It’s times like that you realise when you’ve grown up and become an adult. We were both inconsolable and if you ever find yourself imagining what a situation like that is like, imagine it a million times worse. And then when my brother turned up, well think a British billion times worse (that’s a million million). Even then, I still just couldn’t believe it.
In the months after her death I just couldn’t grasp that she was gone. I’d walk past an arts and craft shop and my first thought would be to take her there the next time she was down. I’d see something on TV that I knew she’d be interested in and I’d go to pick up the phone and call her before reality hit me. It was as though my brain just wouldn’t accept that she was gone forever.
Whenever I’d visit my father’s house I’d come down in the morning before anyone else was up and watch TV in the lounge like I always did. I’d be sitting there waiting for her to come in and sit next to me like she always did (we were early risers). I cried far more while she was suffering with cancer than after she died but on mornings like that I could never hold back the tears, sat there sobbing on my own waiting for someone that was supposed to always be there who I started to realise never would be again.
After some time – I couldn’t tell you how much – my brain dealt with things in a different way. I seemed to accept that she was gone and didn’t find myself about to call her any more. Instead she kept turning up in my dreams. Sometimes the dreams would be set in my childhood and it was only when I woke up that I’d feel sad, knowing I’d seen her again, or feel happy because it felt like I’d spent some more fleeting moments with her. More upsetting were the dreams where I knew she was dead in the real world, and in the dream she did too and I was just talking to her telling her how I missed her. Waking up would just take me away from her. If I were a spiritual person I’d feel comforted that maybe she was reaching out to me from beyond the grave, but unfortunately I know better and it’s my mind coming to terms with her death showing me what it thinks I want to see – or something like that. Odder were the ones where in the dream I saw her and was really upset knowing that when I woke up she’d be gone. I’d wake up with tears on my pillow but had left the sadness in the dream and didn’t feel upset at all.
The dreams started to fade away (although they do come back from time to time) and I found that my mind seemed to understand that she was gone. It was as though in the preceding years (and it took that long) my brain had been drip-feeding me little bits at a time rather than trying to get my head around the concept that my mother was gone all at once. It’s a good job I didn’t take it all in at once – because it’s such an utterly terrible thing to have to get used to and live with. I feel so bad for friends who lose parents because I know that it actually never gets any easier with time – you have to carry the pain and burden for the rest of your life. The only thing that changes is that you learn to live with it in your own way.
As I said at the start, not a day goes by that I don’t miss her. I still get upset from time to time but my mother was exactly the same decades after the death of her mother. She never hid the tears from us and as a result we were brought up knowing that it was perfectly normal to miss someone you loved and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.
She wrote me a letter when she knew she wouldn’t make it and in it she told me she’s always admired my positive outlook on life and to make the most of life as it’s so precious. Every day that goes by that’s exactly what I try to do.
Tracey, and others:
I am feeling similar to you. I lost my mum on the 22nd December 2007 to cancer (3 days short of Christmas) I am also 20 and now back trying to face the hard life of university. My mum’s wish was that I complete the 4th year of my degree. My mother had breast, lung, brain, stomach and liver cancer and faced a long hard battle. I also don’t know whether I have managed to realize that she has actually gone… I keep having nightmares all with horrific death scenes. Do other people have these too? I feel like I want to cry, but somehow I can’t. I feel like everyday I am reliving some of the events that we had to go through in her final weeks (seizures etc) and I don’t know how to move beyond this. Maybe it just takes time. Thanks for sharing your story, its such an encouragement to hear from others also facing the battle.
I know EXACTLY what you are saying. I lost my mother feb 2008. The worst day of my life. I feel like I died that day as well. I spend all day, every day thinking about her death. How horrible it was, the suffering, the tubes, the ventilator, that she was in pain, that she kept banging her little hand against the bed rail becasue she was in pain and scared, she was swollen, her skin was weeping fluid because the idiot doctors kept pumping her with fluids but she was no longer urinating. Then she coded, then what was left was her lifeless body. I cant believe it, i just cant get over it. It is beyond a nighmare, It is horrific, horrible, sickening,disgusting, i want to vomit thinking about it
I lost my mother suddenly to a brain aneurysm two weeks ago and still feel confused/scared/lonely and sometimes like I am in a bad dream that will not end. You talk about the sky falling and I am still working on pinning mine back up. My family is and always has been very close and supportive and it was my mother that really held us together, making sure all Birthdays were celebrated and holidays were very special. I am 40years old and still want and need my mother. I helps to read and know that I am not alone, not abnormal in the way I am feeling. I still forget that I can’t call my mother on the phone or drop by to see her on an afternoon. I am trying to support my father through this and help him find his new place in the world without mother (they had been married for 42 years.) Thank you for sharing your journey in this.
I fully understand how you feel. I am 56 yrs old and I still cry for my mother. In fact, on Saturday while getting everything ready for Easter Sunday, I just broke down and cried. It is not abnormal. It is very normal. God made us all human. It is how we make our relationships with other people that depends on the magnitude of hurt we feel when they are no longer with us. My parents were divorced and had been for many years. My mother lived a very sad life, I felt because she only loved one man and that was my father. She went to her grave still loving him. It is good you are there for your father and hopefully, that will help divert some of the hurt into helping him. Take care of yourself.
Mom died peacefully in her sleep Saturday morning March 15, 2008. Her spirit rose to meet Jesus as the sun rose that Saturday morning. I will never forget where I was standing at the moment I go the call. That was my Momma, my best friend. Although I am 38 that was my Momma. Her and my dad were married over 40 years and my heart breaks for him as much as I miss her. I shared everything with her. I talked with her everyday. There is such a void in my heart that can not be filled or healed. I do know God and have a personal realtionship with Jesus. I know this world is not our home and God loves us all and wants us all to be with him one day. I do believe he gave my Mom peace from sickness and saved her from undergoing a transplant that probably would not have saved her life. She passed peacefully with my father at home with her. We did not know this would happen now. She had heart problems her whole life and I just never thought it would happend. I know that God is with me and I know he knows best. I believe with all my heart that he saved my Mom from tremendous pain as well as my father. We will grieve and cry over our loss while the angels and my Mom rejoice in heaven. In the saddness of her passing I see God’s goodness and it is my hope for all who are suffering you search out God, he is real, he loves you and he is waiting for you to open the door of your heart. Thank you for letting me speak from my heart and soul. May God Bless you all as you deal with your loss.
Trina: You’re not alone and your feelings are certainly normal and exactly how I felt in the early stages of dealing with the loss of my mother.
On the point of your father, it’s taken my father quite a few years to find a new meaning in his life but he finally has and while his life is never going to be the same again my mother would have been proud.
Darlene: Thanks for sharing your thoughts in what is a tough time for you – my mother was my best friend too. As a non-spiritual person I envy people like yourself who have a strong faith and belief in God since it gives you the comfort that it’s not all over and there is a grand purpose in life. Still, I found the strength and support of the people around me helped a lot and I’m sure you’ll find the same.
I too was in my 4th year of college when my mother got sick. It was so very stressful to try to concentrate on my studies and also take care of her. I also had to deal with the fueding within my family. My oldest sister, who for the last thirty years never wanted to be involved with the family, and was never that close to any of us, suddenly came into the fold and started to create discord. I had tried through the years to develop a relationship with her, to no avail. She eventually divided our family and created many bad feelings and made an already unbearable situation worse. Then my husband of thirty one years had a stroke and was laying in the hospital paralyzed on his left side. Him and my mom were very close and she didn’t believe me when I told her that he would be alright and get better. She thought I was keeping the truth from her. The two people I had relied on all my life, who were my best friends, were both in distress. I felt so alone without them both strong and stable, by my side. They were my counselors, confidants and friends. This was five months before my mom died. With the love of our children, my mother, rehabilitation, and the grace of God, my husband is recovering from his stroke, back at work, and dealing with his disability. I will never forget the day my husband and I walked into my mom’s room at the hospital and she saw him. She put both of her hands on his face and said “Don your here and alright.” I will never forget the smile on her face. I know that her being able to see him made it easier for her to go up to heaven with God. She was tired, so sick and had no desire to go on with her diminished quality of life. She didn’t want to leave all of us, but told me that it wasn’t in the cards for her to stay. She took great comfort in knowing that my husband was here and that he would continue to keep us strong and help us go on. You see my husband and my mom had always been the glue that has held us together and kept us strong. I have since graduated from college, and continue to remind myself everyday how fortunate I have been in my life. I had a wonderful mother, still have my husband and children and little granddaughter who is three. I also realize now that my mom is gone, I have to step up and be strong, like my mom was, all of the years she counseled all of us, shared our hopes, dreams and disappointments in life, guiding us along. She was the compass that kept our boats going (to coin a phrase I once read). So through all of the pain of losing her, I have learned that this too is part of life. Carrying on when we lose the ones we love, the glue that kept us going. It is now my time to carry the compass and be strong for our children and my husband and anyone we can help. Together we will get beyond this terrible loss. I will never forget my mom laying in the hospital bed, dying. She was gasping for air and was unable to talk anymore. She did hear all of us talking though. And tears streamed down her face. She knew her loved ones were with her until the end. We kept telling her how much we loved her. I try not to relive her last moments. (they are too painful. It was the hardest thing I ever had to witness. I did not want to leave her. I wanted to wake her up, take her home and be happy). Instead I choose to relive all of the happy memories we shared while she was with us. I think that is one of the reasons God gave us memories…so we would always have those we love with us. I didn’t cry very much initally after losing my mom. I was too busy planning the funeral, helping all of our children and nieces and nephews to deal with the pain. It wasn’t until all of that was over and a few months had passed that I really started feeling what I had lost. I lost my mom last May and this has been the worst winter of my life. I have been depressed, good one day and a wreck the next. I have found that it is a long process, but that it does get better. Little my little, you find ways to live with the loss you have experienced. I never thought I would feel that way. I wanted her back and was so hurt that she was gone. It was too much to bear. I also have not had any dreams about my mother. I wonder why, but have no answers. Namoi, you are so young, only twenty. I am forty seven. I feel for you. I had my mother well into my adult life. I can’t imagine losing her when I was twenty. I do know that you will get through this though, because, I am too. I wondered too, why I didn’t cry very much at first. I now think it was because I was still in shock of it all. The tears eventually came and the pain too. I experienced it little by little. I now realize that it will take a long time to learn to live without my mom, but it does get better. It ebbs and flows like the ocean. I think slowly, but surely we learn to live with the loss. One thing that helps me is to remember that my mom always wanted me to be happy, accept life as it happens and move forward. That is so hard to do after losing her, but I decided I had no choice. I still miss her, cry about her and need her, but everyday I get up and tell myself to move forward and be strong. She told me she wanted it that way. You see, she had prepared me all of my life to deal with her loss. Through her wise counsel, love and may wonderful memories. That, I think is the way God intended it to be. We suffer in the lose of our parents, but are renewed in our new role as the new compasses in the lives of others. I still think of her everyday. All of her love and words of encouragement. She lives in my heart and my mind and so she is always with me. I still rely on her words of wisdom, her smile and her strength. Namoi, you will get through this. We are stronger that we think. Also, with the help of this website, we help each other get through the pain. I come to the site whenever I need to vent. Thank you to John and his mother!
Like you, I was thrown into this world of grief suddenly. My mother, my best friend whom I spoke to every morning, felt dizzy and passed out at noon on Febuary 11th. At the hospital a few hours later where my sister and I met her and Dad, we laughed and joked as she said she “just needed some attention” We thought it was an early warning of heart problems that would be resolved with a day in the hospital, and some cardiac tests. She’d never been sick – it was my dad, her husband of 65 years that was in ill health. He was the one that I regularly hugged goodbye not knowing if it would be the last time I saw him…. I never dreamt I’d never hug my mom again.
I wasn’t until after they began to treat her for the heart attack that they realized it was an aortic aneurysm. We were given two minutes to see her…. I will never forget how she looked into my eyes, and telling her “You’re gonna be ok Momma…I love you”
At 5:15 – less then 5 hours after “feeling bad” my wonderful Mother, my best friend, my biggest supporter was gone….. there is so much more to say, but the emotion is too raw… the tears once again falling…
I found your site while looking for someone who understands this pain of losing a precious Mother. My tears won’t seem to stop. My Mom died 2 1/2 weeks ago. Thank you so much for creating this place, this tribute to your Mother, and sharing your feelings. I am crying now but feel better somehow. Thank you again.
You’re most welcome Gwen. 🙂
It has been 8 weeks today since my beautiful, most loving mom left me. I cant stop thinking about her every moment. I am consumed by thoughts of her and how she died prematurely. She should not have died. It was too many hosptial mistakes. She should be with me right now. It is not fair. Every one else has their moms for so much longer. Why did this have to happen this way. I cannot go on without her. There is no purpose to life.
Wondering how you are doing? I was thinking about you and know that God is looking over you in your pain and loss. Take care and know that I am praying for you.
After I sent my comment today, I noticed that you had sent one just a few minutes prior to mine. So, I am writing again. I wish their were words to make it better for you…but, I know the pain is too fresh. I too was angry and felt much like you. You are right it is not fair and the pain is too great at first. I too experienced mistakes made by hospital staff, during my mom’s long illness. I just wanted her home and better and out of the hospital, so I could watch after her. I know that you will find many reasons to go on. You may not believe it right now, but it will come Maryl. Thinking of you and understanding your pain.
Oh my – I really cant take it anymore. The pain is so unbearable and searing. My mother was not supposed to die then- she really wasnt. I know she was still supposed to be here- I cant go on thinking that the stupid doctors killed my mother. How could this happen? I dont know of any one else that this has happened to. Why my helpless mother. Why wasnt I able to stop that. I hate my life. It is so completely over. I am too young to have lost my mother. She was too young. I hate my life so much. What is the purpose of going on? NOTHING. NOTHING. I am nothing without her.
Hang in there Maryl. In the dark times I reminded myself that my mother would have wanted me to carry on and make the most of my life. Throughout the time my mother had cancer she never once had an MRI scan which would have shown us how widespread the cancer was – the incompetent doctors seemed to prefer guessing and my mother never wanted to make a fuss. Maybe we’d have had longer, maybe not, or maybe her death wouldn’t have been such a shock, but I came to realise that playing the what-if game and getting angry was pointless as it didn’t change the reality that she was gone.
Remember that you’re not alone, and if you can find someone you can talk to about it – then do. It’s much more difficult to convey emotions and deal with them via the written word than it is in person. Having my (now) wife with me all the way through helped me immensely, I hope you can find someone who can play that part for you.
It will get better, you don’t see it right now. Although i still cry when i watch a sad movie or hear the music that she loved to dance to. As you i felt my mom didn’t have to die so soon, she didn’t like to go to the doctor much, and i had to bug her enough to get her to go. And i wonder everyday what it was that i could have done different. She died of Ovarian cancer, and i didn’t find out till she past away that one of the symptoms of it was kidney infections. Before she was diagnosed with the cancer she was get kidney infections allot. But the doctors just gave her a subscription for the infection and never questioned what was causing her to get an infection almost every month. Then when they diagnosed her it was too late. And yes i blamed them for a long time, but like John said it doesn’t change the fact that she is gone. I finally got tiered of trying to find someone to blame or from blaming myself. It seemed to be easier to just dealing with the fact that she is not here anymore. And coming here and reading what everybody is going through helps me alone in those empty moments i have.
please tell me how you are coping with your loss.
because i am not coping well AT ALL.
I am now feeling an extreme amount of anger since my mother “left.” please help.. th
I understand what you are saying- I know blaming wont bring her back. But really, she was healthy. She went into the hospital for a planned admission for something so minor. She was supposed to come home in a few hours. How can i not blame. She was not supposed to die. She was so healhty. She was supposed to be with me for many more years. She did not have medical problems. This is why it kills me. If I had brought her to a differnt hospital, called a different doctor after the first mistakes in the hospital were made, if I had brought her home earlier, if I had not listened to the advice of this doctor but listened to another doctor. I should have brought her home before they did more mistakes. I cant stop thinking about every horrible day in the hosptial. The suffering. She suffered so much that it kills me. I want to die when I think of this. My poor mother suffering. It is sickening. This healthy, perfect beautiful helpless woman-they made crap out of her. How can I ever go on knowing that she suffered so much-she died in so much pain. She wanted to go home. I should have brought her home. Oh my, I should have brought her home at the first chance. I hate myself. I hate my life. I didnt protect her enough. She was so helpless. I will never be able to live again. I am in so much pain. My life is over. The pain is excruciating because this is more than just grief-it is anger, guilt. There is no way to get past this. Every minute I see my mom suffering. I cant move on ever.
terri, maryl: Anger, guilt, helplessness, regret, feeling like your life will never move on and feeling lost are all normal parts of the grieving process. I went through them all myself and in time managed to learn to live with it and carry on. I hope you will too. It won’t be easy, but then my dad always used to say that nobody said life was supposed to be easy – and he’s right unfortunately.
Terry and Maryl and to the rest, John is right about the steps of grieving. Here i have copyed and paste the best explanation on a web site i could find.
Let’s look more closely at a four-stage grieving model developed by Bowlby and Parkes.
1. SHOCK & DISBELIEF: In this phase, we begin to realize the reality of our loss. Many will have a hard time accepting the facts and will want to hold on to the belief that “it just cannot be.” This phase impacts a person’s body, mind and soul. Many people will withdraw to protect themselves and re-engage slowly over time.
2. SEARCHING & YEARNING: Here people try to understand what has happened and why. People often seek answers, and question what has happened. Common thoughts include “Why this?” “Why my loved one?” “Why now?” “If only…,” And, “This couldn’t have happened.”
3. DISORGANIZATION & DESPAIR: During this phase people may be depressed, appear lazy, absent-minded, and indifferent. Commons statements include “I just don’t care anymore.” “I can’t go on without him/her.” And, “My life is over.”
4. REBUILDING & HEALING: At this point, we are becoming accustomed to life without the deceased and are beginning to develop a renewed sense of identity and purpose. During this phase, we work to restructure and reorganize our lives.
Research conducted by J. William Worden, PhD, and by Alan D. Wolfelt, PhD, identify the following central needs of grief:
What they say here,is true of what you will go through. And Maryl and Terri you need to find a family member or friend that you can go to to help you through the greiving. That is what has helped me, my husband, my neighbors who i have grown up with. People who help me through her illness. That is what has help me through the grieving process. And the best thing is they don’t deny from going through the greiving process. They help me through it. Then after i go through it, i feel better. Then to do honor to her memory, start back with the lesson learned from her life to carry on with mine. But don’t let anyone stop you from greiving, it’s the only way you will heal. John has given us here a way to express ourselves here which all so helps! We all have a common bond, by the way of the loss of someone we cared about. Thanks to John! I hope this helps a little.
I don’t know the despair you feel having lost your Mom suddenly. My Mom had a bad heart her entire life. I knew 7 years ago when she had her last big heart surgery that she was on borrowed time. But it did not make it any easier loosing her now. We all hurt but we all have to go on. I have days when I cry the whole day because there was so much more I wanted to share with her. I think about the last time I saw her alive and hugged her. And I think how grateful I am I got to hug her that I got to share so much of my life with her. After her funeral I felt like all of my memories were buried with her. I couldn’t seem to remember what she sounded like or think of any memories we shared. But suddenly it all came flooding back to me. And I know my Mom knew I loved her and you have to know that to. You can not live today and tomorrow thinking what if I would have done this or what if I had done that differently. You have got to let go of that and say to yourself what would Mom want for me? What would she want me to do? Being a mother myself I can say I would want my children to live life to the fullest and fulfill all their dreams but carry my memory with them. I believe that is what every mother would want for their children. So go and live you life to the fullest and fulfill your dreams take you Mom along for the ride in your heart and memories. That would make any Mom smile. These are words I say to myself as I am only 22 days without my Mom and I miss her so bad it hurts as she was part of my daily life. But I know she would not want me to be sorrowful, she would want me to be happy and be all I she dreamed I could be. Be encouraged that you are not alone in your pain and that you can go on it is what your Mom would want for you. You are in my prayers.
I lost my mother Nov 10 2007 due to a heart attack. I didn’t know she had heart problems. I am 25 and pregnant, due May 28th. It hurts to know that she will not be here to be a grandmother.
I just want to not hurt anymore.
Just wanted to say I admire you for writing about this. I havent yet been able to do that and its been almost 8 years since i lost my mother. Now, I still cannot believe she is gone. Don’t want to. My mother was diagnosed with brain cancer Dec. 13 1999. Was supposed to only have weeks to live but stayed with us till October 11, 2000 only days before her 50th birthday. Those long months of her being sick me and my father took care of her. I try to remember the good times but always my mind wonders back to her being sick…unable to speak or move. I went to a doctor about a year ago and was told i most likely have post traumatic stress from my experience. but after many different counselors and doctors trying to “help” I just gave up. No medicine or talking is ever going to fix me. Right now at this point in my life I am trying to control my emotions diferently. Two days ago I lost my grandfather (my mother’s father). What Ive learned most about everything is crying is actually a good way to feel better. So thank you for making me cry 🙂 Knowing that there are others that actually know how I feel makes me think I can eventually come to grips with what happened. Oh and if your wandering what has been my strength through it….my daughters!! I had a child at the age of 19, which may have been a blessing. So when my mother was sick I had to keep going for my daughter. My father also was greatfull for my daughter. She held us together! Sorry for rambling about all this. I pray that one day we will all be reunited with our loved ones.
It’s interesting you should talk about your daughter Abby as my mother’s mother died when I was 1 year old. One of the things that helped her cope was having to look after me – while she was very sad that her mother would never get to see me grow up she did at least have this little baby to take care of and demand all her attention. A year later my brother was born so while my mother would get upset 20 years after the death of her mother, she at least had a family (my father, myself and my brother) to support her.
One of the things that still really saddens me is the thought that if I have children they’ll never get to meet my mother and she’ll never know them. Although as my friend Steve mentions in the comments above, I’m sure I’ll see a piece of my mother in my kids.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts. 🙂
I know how you feel. The only thing that I can think about continuously day in and day out is my mother suffering so much in the last few days of her life. I simply cant function. She was in the hosptial and they took such bad care of her. In the end, she was on a respirator but did not receive any pain medications. She had tubes coming out of everywhere. She was on medications to keep her blood pressure high but it caused her to be in so much pain and the doctors did nothing at all about it. I honestly feel like vomiting every time I think about it. I will never ever be the same. My beautiful helpless mother died so horrifically, tortured. It is so unfair. I no longer want to live thinking about the pain she was in. It overwhelmes me all the time. It is just so unfair. How was this allowed to happen. I am sure I also have post traumatic stress disorder. People tell me I should be on medications but I know this will not do anything to take away such horrible, sickening memories. No one I know has ever experienced this type of torture. On my poor mother. I am sick of life.I am sick of everything. I am so so angry that this is how the end was for my mom. Everyone else seems to die peacefully. NOt in so much pain. I cant take thinking about how horrible she felt. HOw was this allowed to happen. I cant go on with these thoughts. I just dont want to go on.
Maryl: I don’t see how medication will help you in the long term – sure you might feel happier in the short term, but the point of my article was that it takes a long time for your mind to cope with and learn to live with the loss. Anger is the first step in a very difficult path – as explained very well by Simone here.
I think what you need is to find someone to talk to who can understand what you’re going through and at least help guide you onwards past the anger.
I would like to share with you the last month’s of my Mom’s life on earth and how she died a slow death. My mother seemed to me to be healthy before being diagnosed. When we did go to the doctors they used to say that she was healthier than me. But one day i started noticing that she was losing weight all of a sudden for no reason that i knew of. I had this sick feeling something was wrong, so i begged her to go to the doctor’s so we could find out why this was happening. They did tests and found out that she had Ovarian Cancer, and that it had spread to her lungs and they told us that it was too late to really do anything. But the doctor and my mother saw the look in my eyes and knew that i wanted to a least try to fight. All i kept on saying to the doctor was that my Mom was my world. My Mom went through three treatments of Chemotherapy for my sake. But it wasn’t working so they stopped the treatments and told me & my mother that we should call hospice and they would help us through this. After that day i watched her die slowly for three months. I gave her pain medication to make things easy for her, but she still suffer greatly. I had to take care of her like she was a baby to put things nicely, but i did get some help from Hospice. She lost her hair and all i could see were those beautiful blue eyes she had. After awhile she longer could eat or drink so along with suffering from the cancer she also starved. Her body function’s slowly stopped. And that still is in my mind. The last 2 weeks were the worst I was angry because i didn’t know how to stop this, but i knew deep down i couldn’t. Every time i would cry while keeping her company, she would tell me, Simone i made you strong, you’ll be ok without me. I didn’t want to let her go, but she asked me to please let her go. So reluctantly i said while crying, Mom you can go and i love you with all my heart and soul. Everyday I saw death taking her over, regamortis was slowly creeping up her body. I would try to adjust her body by pulling on the sheets that were under her from the top of her bed and cry while i was doing this to a least try to make her more comfortable, but i couldn’t move her even an inch, she literately was dead weight. That’s something no one should have to experience in life. She even told my husband about 4 days before she left, while pounding at her chest, that her heart won’t stop and she didn’t know why it wouldn’t stop. But finally it did stop. I was downstairs on the couch sleeping to be closer to her if she needed me. Something must have told me to wake up and check on her, Or maybe it was her spirit that woke me up. I went to her room and that’s when i saw that she had past. I kissed her on her head and gave her a hug, and my Husband and i cried our eyes out, before i had to call the funereal home to pick her up. My last memory of her is being taken away in a body bag. I think all that time the reality of it hadn’t set in right away. It all seemed to be a bad dream. And when i do think of her, the only images that i have right now are of her dieing a slow death. I try like hell to get those images of her out of my head, so when i have those thoughts i would get a picture of her and try to set that image back in my mind. But i hope one day the images of her when she was healthy will come back. But luckily i have other people in my life that i now have to live for. And i lean on them like i said before. Find that emotional support that you so desperately need right now. Trust me it helps! Some one that will hug you and not ask why but just do it because you need it. Right now I’m crying writing all these thought’s, but some how it feels better letting this out. And somehow has healed me a little more. I have now accepted what happened to her, and now have to get past it. I wish it was true Maryl that everyone seemed to die peacefully, but a great number of people now a days seem to suffer before death; some more than others.
John, I understand what you mean. I know I should try to talk with someone. But i really dont think many people have experienced my situation and I dont think someone could counsel me through this. To me it feels so unnatural what happened. The premature death of my mom who was healthy. It is a hard thing to reconcile- it is not like she was declining before me. She was as strong as an ox-but medical errors killed her. It is weird that I cant stop reading obituaries to see when people died-nobody writes they died of hosptial error. And it does seem that everyone lives to 86-96 years old. Geez. It kills me. My mother maybe could have lived to a ripe old age. That is what hurts. That constant thought that she still was supposed to have so much time left and I wish I could have done something to prevent the crap that happened at the hospital. But maybe I should try to see a counselor or something because clearly I am not functioning well. Thanks.
Simone, Thank you for sharing your experience with me. I know that must be really hard for you. I will say that in some ways you and your mom were fortunate. You were together at home and it happened peacefully as opposed to in the horrible hosptial surrounded by people who do not give a crap-in fact, when my mom died, we were trying to clean her up because they left her a bloody mess (my poor, poor, helpless mother) and the nurse told me to hurry up because they needed to get the next patient in her room. can you believe? What an absolutely horrible experience. I couldnt even spend time with my mothers body. I want to vomit thinking about this. This is not how it is supposed to be. Oh I really get sick thinking about it- I never in a million years thought it would be so bad. Iguess I always imagined it would be at home and she would be surrounded by love. I am so angry that it happened that way-the worst way possible.
How old are you,if you mentioned it i don’t remember, sorry. Also i don’t remember if you mentioned your father, is he still alive? Yes, you so need to talk to someone. What worked for me better was my family and friends. Their love and understanding is what keeps me going on the everyday bases. Not that they necessarily understanding my pain, because no one can understand your pain better than you. But just having someone hold you for awhile can do wonders! Also what has helped me is to keep my mind occupied with the things i need to do on the daily bases. Has anyone look into your mothers death as far as her mistreatment at the hospital?
Your Mother’s mistreatment sounds a little like my step-daughter’s mother. My step-daughter was serving a tour in Iraq when she got a call from us telling her that her mother was in the hospital. When we were visiting my husbands family in Puerto Rico, his ex-wife family contacted him to let his son and daughter know. Well to get to how their mother died. Her mother was wanding in a lake in PR. when she all of a sudden collasp in the water. The little boy that was with her and some one else tried to get her ashore. The MT’s finally arrived, but didn’t want to get their shoe’s wet. So the little boy and neighbor had to figure out a way to get her to shore which they finally did. The MT’s then started to work on her and finally got her breathing again. Then they air lifted her to a hospital in San Juan. There they said that she had an Aneurysm, and they wanted to wait till the swelling went down around her brain. They had her on a ventilator and a feeding tube. After a day or two they decided to take her off. And said she could eat normal food. But to tell you the truth they should not have done that. They also had her on allot of med’s. They had no nurse tending to her, they saw the doctor only one time during the 4 day’s she was there. They also kept telling the family that she wasn’t ready for surgery yet, we believe they waited too long. Well on the forth day she pasted, and because there wasn’t anyone tending to her, they didn’t even know she had past. My step-son found her dead in the room when he came to visit her. He said he found her with her eye’s open laying in bed, not covered. He had to go into the hallway and find someone and let them know that his mother was dead. It’s a terrible feeling when you put your trust into the doctor’s and hospital’s and they betray that trust by neglect. I just got off the phone with my step-daughter and she told me they diagnosed her with post traumatic stress syndrome and some other form of depression. And they have her on med’s. But to me med’s are not the answer i agree with John. Love from family and friend’s or maybe even group counseling is a good thing and maybe you can connect with someone in the group.
The support of a friend, family member, or someone who has also lost a loved one does wonders when we are in such pain. Like Simone said, having someone to hold you and listen to your grief helps us to deal with the pain we are going through. Maryl, is there a support group you can go to where you live? It would be so helpful for you to be with others who can help you deal with your anger and pain on a personal level. Check the yellow pages and try to get to one. I know that you will feel better. Let me know if you find one and how it goes. I pray for you everyday and look forward to hearing from you.
I lost my brother 8 years ago, and although it doesn’t really ever get easier, I can honestly say without a doubt that death is not the end.
I know you doubt your dreams about your mother, and maybe some of them were there to help you cope, but I have had dreams, too, and much more happened as well, that has led me to conclude that these were not just delusions. I can say with great confidence that our loved ones never die, and as long as there is love, they never part from us, either. Take those dreams as gifts, no matter what you believe.
thanks for writing. I am trying to join a support group at the end of the month. Although I am trying to go in with an open mind, I dont think it will help me. Although every death is unique and every mother and father are unique and every story is unique, I feel that no one could really relate to what happened to me and understand how bad I feel for a number of reasons. As I had previously mentioned, my mom was healthy when she went into the hospital and medical mistakes killed her. She also suffered beyond words in the hospital. Her death was horrifying and painful. My poor helpless mother in so much pain till the end and I was there watching every moment, helpless. It was like she was being physically tortured. I still see her tears as she lay in bed hooked up to machines and her looking at me wondering how this could happen after she was admitted for a minor procedure. How???? My poor mommy. I cant beleive this happened. And then there is the guilt. I should have done more. I should have been more rationale. I should have done so many things to get her out of that hellhole hospital But I was not thinking clearly. In hindsight there was so much I could have done, but it is too late. I hate that. I see things so clearly now. I could have saved her. I know. I let my poor mom down. She would never have let me down. I am horrible. I am so angry at myself. I am angry at the crappy doctors and the nasty nurses who treated her poorly. I am angry and feel guilt and have terrible terrrible grief because the woman I loved more than anything in this entire world is no longer with me-and I could have done something to prevent this from happening. So that is why I am not sure if group counseling will help-I dont think that most have had this type of experience. Watching their mom die such a painful death and the knowledge that it could have been prevented. I am so mad. I LOVE YOU SO MUCH MOMMY. I WANT TO BE WITH YOU. PLEASE MOMMY I WANT TO BE WITH YOU. TAKE ME WITH YOU BECAUSE I DONT WANT TO BE HERE ANY LONGER WITHOUT YOU MOMMY.
Hi Melanie. I do take comfort from those dreams and a friend of my mother’s said to me at her funeral that she lives on through me and my brother. And I take comfort from that too. Thanks. 🙂
I did see my mother suffer for motnhs. She would cry out and i didnt know what to do. She couldnt tell me. For months she wasnt able to talk or hardly eat. I also regret not doing more for her. But no matter what i had done it couldnt have saved her. Yeah, maybe you could have gotten her outta that hospital or gotten the the bottom of what they were doing with your mother and why. But you cannot blame yourself. I can undertsand that you want to be with her. I feel that way a lot! I agree that group counseling may not help, but its worth a shot!! Anything to get some of the guilt and that blanket of hardness that pushes on you like a wieght to lift. Have you spoken to a lawyer about the hopstital your mother was in? That is somthing you might want to look into. Hospitals these days get away with all kinds of stuff and nobody wants to say anything about it. And if you do something about it maybe you can stop them from doing that to someone elses mother!! Oh, and by the way do you have a dog or a cat? If not you may want to get one. My mother had a shitzu that she loved dearily. And just last year my husband bought me a shitzu/maltese and she is the greatest. She is always there for me and is the best sunggler!! I dunno just trying to think of things to help. One more thing….take everything day by day. Try and keep yourself busy and if you have other family members….keep them close. Okay I hope i might have given you something to help. *BUG HUGS* It will never get better but you must keep going. I hate it myself but its the only way. take care of yourself!!
I just want to thank all of you for sharing your stories. Sometimes one of the hardest things is that I don’t feel like anyone understand how I’m feeling. I’m 24 and none of my friends have had to experience the death of a parent yet, which I am very thankful for. My mom died almost 6 months ago. She lived in Florida and I had just moved to DC. I got a phone call from my sister saying that she was in the hospital. My mom walked into the hospital on a Wed night. Her boyfriend didn’t bother to let anyone know until the next day, which I am still angry about. My mom was an alcoholic and her liver was failing… by the time by sister got there on Thursday she was delirious and not making much sense. The doctor told me to wait before I rushed down but I just had a gut feeling it was bad. I got on a plane first thing Friday morning and cried the whole time. I just knew… By the time I saw her she was on a breathing tube and at least 30 IVs, completely unconscious. I never got to hear her voice or see her eyes again. I stayed at her bedside for 2 days, I didn’t leave the hospital. I kept praying she’d come out of it. Saturday night the doctor told us we had to make the decision to take her off life support. He said there was no chance of her making it and it was just a matter of time. Her body was seizuring constantly and it was painful to watch her. My siblings (who are even younger than me) and I had to make the decision alone about what to do. She had always told us that she would never want to be kept alive by machines and we ultimately made the hardest decision of our lives and let her go. We all sat around her bed while she went, which didn;t take very long…and all I remember is her heartbeat at 23 and blood and I lost it. I still can’t get that image out of my head. I know deep down that she is at rest now. She had a really hard time in the last few years. Even though my mom had her problems, she was an amazing woman and my best friend. I miss her everyday. Lately I feel like the pain is just getting worse instead of better. I hate thinking about her not being around to see me get married or to meet my future kids. I have so many emotions, I’m mad at her for not getting help, I have a lot of guilt from not being able to help her more, but more than anything I am sad that I will never see her again. I just feel like it’s not fair. She was only 50.. she still had so many things to do and see. I miss and love her more than I can describe. I just don’t feel like the pain will ever get better. I am trying to live my life and be happy because I know that’s what she would want, but it’s hard.
April 26th will be a hard day for me because it will be 4years since my moms passing. It never gets easier and it seems some days actually are harder then others. I’m 34 years old and have 4 brothers and 5 sisters. My mother was our world! She was taken suddenly at the young age of 54. She called me that day and said she needed someone to drive her to the hospital beacuse she wasn’t feeling very well. I along with my 2 year old son and my 5 year old neice drove her to the hospital. Just expecting it to be a case of the flu or acid reflux I wasn’t worried. She was called into see the doctor right away and having two young children with me that were full of energy I took them to the cafateria for a snack. My sister in law worked at the hospital and met me there to pick up her daughter (my niece). We sat there for maybe 20 min and as we were walking back to the waiting room a nurse in complete panic approached us and told us that my mom had went into complete respitory arrest and was suffering a massive heart attack. I colapsed and all the air in the room was gone. I could not breath…. I could not take in the information that I had just heard. My world at that time seemed to be stopped. As the nurse calmed me she took me up to the floor where they were trying to do surgery on my mother to save her but it didn’t work. They lost her before they could perform the operation. My life has not been the same since that day. I feel as if a part of me died as well. You go on living because you have to … because people need you just like I needed her. Its not easy but you cope with the help of family and friends.
It’s all about surrounding yourself with family and love one’s to get through the hard times. I am an only child and most of my family are old and dying. And when i was young i used to tell my mom i didn’t want to die lonely. She stayed alive long enough to see me get married and now thank God i have a larger family with two step kids to boot! I don’t know what i would have done without them. My step kids lost their mother last year as i told Maryl. I guess that is our common ground that will hopefully bring us closer. I know people probable think i’m crazy but i hug my mom’s urn a give her a kiss at night before i go to bed. We decided to have her cremated so i was able to have her where ever i go. I promised her i would never leave her behind if i ever moved. I cry very badly some time alone and hug her and talk to her. She was my love, my life, and the very air that i breathed.
I’m glad you are going to check into a support group. I know for myself that just being with others who are going through the same thing can help. Also sharing our feelings with others who are in pain can help us heal. Please don’t blame yourself. We can’t second guess ourselves. My Mom once told me that everything happens for a reason and we have no control over it. I believe that and know that you loved your Mom and did your best. God is watching over you and things will get better Maryl. Hang in there and know that you are in our thoughts and prayers. Keep in touch.
I think it so neat that you kiss your mom’s urn every night before you go to bed. I too wanted to preserve some of my mom’s ashes, but her wishes were that her son’s sprinkle them into the lake she lived on. She was an independant soul and I respected her wishes. I miss her so, but much like you I cherish the fact that I had her well into my adult life and the many memories we shared and the time we had together. You are so right that our loved ones and family get us through all of the tough times in this life. Thank you for sharing Simone.
You asked how we cope with our loss. For me it has been a mix of many things. One day I am strong and I go about my life and have hope and a sense of moving beyond my grief. The next day I may feel totally the opposite and fight the depression that has come upon me from time to time since my Mom passed. I am depressed and just want to wallow in my self-pity. Those days don’t come as frequently as they used to.
My Mom died 11 months ago and I go back and forth on the continum of the stages of grief. What I can tell you Terri is that it has gotten easier for me to face each day by remembering that death is part of our life her on earth. I believe in God and I try to remind myself that when we die we go back to God from where we came. That is a comfort to me to known that Mom is happy and has no worries with God. I also have all of the wonderful memories we shared.
Life has its up and downs and losing our loved ones is a lot to process. I am patient with myself and happy that I am at a point in my grief where I can look towards the future and know that I will be o.k. and eventually learn to adapt to not having my Mom here with me.
Hang in there Terri. It will get better. Maybe just in bits and pieces, but more bearable. I ask God every day to give me the strength and courage that my Mom had. She never let anything hold her down or prevent her from moving forward in this life. I will pray that you find that strength. Go to God and he will help you. All you have to do is ask. I hope this helps.
I was surfing the net looking for info to help me deal with losing my mom. My beautiful wonderful mother died on April 22, 2008 at 2:00 a.m. She was dx with lung liver rectum and bone cancer on feb 9, 2008. We buried her on April 25th, 2008. I didn’t think we would lose her so quick. I miss her so very much. I love her so very much. I honestly don’t know what I am going to do without her. She truly was the one person in this whole world who loved me for me. I don’t know how to keep on living without her. Life is hard anyway and she was the only one I could talk to about life and its many problems. I have no one now. This pain is so raw and i honestly don’t think it will ever go away. I just want my mommy back. I wish I had more time to talk to her. To see her smile, to hear her laugh. I am glad I found this site. I believe in God and know that I will see her again someday. Its just that I want her with me now…..but I will never have her with me again on this earth. And that is something that I just can’t deal with right now.
Losing my mother has brough me the worst pain I have ever felt. She passed away on march 27th 2008 due to brain cancer. I just can not learn how to live, eating, laughing without her. I can’t take her out of mind, I wish to find the way to carry on.
What do you do with all this love , where can I keep all this love after she is gone?
I just can not find the answer anyhwere.
thanks for having this space where to post my feelings.
my best wishes for everyone specially for you john.
I couldn’t stay in class because am stressed, can’t stop thinking about Mum so while googling i stumbled on this site. It’s been three months and the pain is still so raw. My heart aches. I remember her last days, not knowing she’d be gone so fast,dealing with the fact that she was sick for so long and she did not tell us. I want her back so bad, there’s still so much to do like am about to graduate n she won’t be there. It’s comforting to read about all your experiences but it just doesn’t make it better. Dad passed away 11 years ago n Mum was the only person i had. I don’t want to go on, there’s nothing to live for.So many things i wanted to do for her, for all the sacrifices she made for me and my siblings…….How do i face each day without her?
It’s very tough and it doesn’t get a whole lot easier. But just ask yourself what your mother would have wanted you to do – I’m sure she would have wanted you to make the most of your life and let her live on through you.
A lot of people who know me may never have met my mother, but so much of my personality and attitude to life came from her so in a way they are meeting her. I find some comfort in that.
John is so right! I too have taken on my mom’s personality & attitude. I had some before, but more so now. I find that i do a lot of what she used to do that i used to get mad at her for. And now i laugh at myself and say Simone you are doing the exact thing your mom did. But it makes me feel good and gives me comfort in knowing that. You have plenty to live for, just because they are not here physically doesn’t mean they are not here. All that they are is within you. Like i said before, when i start getting depressed, i started talking to myself like my mother would and say wait you have to stop this i raised you to be strong. You have alot to do and accomplish Juliet. You can still show them what a strong young lady they raised, and with everything you do in life do in their memory and do it with passion! And know in your heart they are looking down on you and smiling with pride.
Juliet, my mother passed on April 11th 2008. I am only 22 years old and I am in college as well. You must take comfort in knowing that life does not begin nor end in the physical world and that your mother is with you in spirit. She is closer to you now than she has ever been. Talk to her as if she was right beside you. If your mother was sick, you should rejoice knowing that she has no more pains and sleepless nights. Like any mother, whether they are still on earth or passed into the next world, your mother would want you to go on and fulfill your highest life purpose and to build a family so that you can leave a legacy when it is your time to move on. Our loved ones who have passed on NEVER leaves us. Wherever your mother is, she is still watching over you and praying for you. Take comfort in knowing that when it’s your time to pass on she will be the first to say “Welcome Home”
Haven’t heard from you…how are you doing? Write and let me know. Spring is finally here. It is so nice to be outside and smell the fresh rain and hear the birds singing. Hope you are well. You are in my prayers Maryl.
I wanted to thank you again for creating this website. It has helped me to go through the pain and loss of my Mother and also enabled me to try to help others deal with their pain. You are a blessing John. Your Mother would be so proud of the legacy that you have created through her loss.
I know that you are not a spiritual person, but never forget John that just because we cannot see something does not mean it is not there.
I believe that God is working through you to provide a venue for those seeking comfort due to the loss of their loved ones. God is mysterious in some ways, and always there to comfort us when the world does not care.
My prayer for you John is that you one day recognize that God is with you, working through you and ever present in your life and all of mankind. Your website is testement to this fact.
My intent is not to convert you to a spiritual realm, but only to convey to you that you are in the midst of a spiritual being, no matter what you may want to call him, God is real, alive and ever present in our world. No matter what the religion or cause. That is my two cents, for what it may be worth. It is of course only my personal belief and I do not expect others to believe as I do. I only know that God, through the holy spirit he has left on earth for us, instructs us to bring others into his fold. God bless your work and many thanks to you and your beautiful Mother.
Michelle, you’re most welcome! 🙂
Amen! Michelle, you are so right.