My Mother passed away recently. The pain is worse than I expected

daniel1234August 18, 2011

I lost my 82 year old Mother at the end of July this year and feel much worse than I imagined it would be. I'm a 56 year old man that set myself up for heartbreak, I guess. I became her best friend since her divorce from my father 20 years ago. I was the son that helped her the most regarding personal and practical matters- chatting every day on the phone about her VFW singles dance nights or fixing her furnace, taking her grocery shopping, etc. She started staying at my house more and more to recover from 2 hip surgeries, for example. As I was caring for her my social life started to suffer and didn't care. I was more than happy to give that up and more to help her. Last year she started feeling weaker, with what turned out to be congenital heart failure, so she moved into my house again. The stays would last a month or so, then in the hospital to rehap back the my house. The cycle ended in July when she went back to the hospital and suffered a dramatic setback- confusion, Copd symptoms, high and irregular heart rate. I visited once or twice a day til the Sunday morning when my brothers stood by her as she passed away. We went through the funeral planning, attendance and necessary immediate business in kind of a state of shock like everyone must feel. What's left now is a big space in the half of the house she stayed in, her belongings and her 18 and a half (!) year old Yorkie that I now care for. I'm single, uninterested in old buddies or old flames, no sisters, a detached relationship with my Dad & no longer able to continue doing what I loved best- being my Mom's caretaker. The depression, sadness, anxiety, racing thoughts and memories of a Mother and a companion are still very painful. One tip for right now- try to stay up as late as you can to avoid insomnia and wake up later, instead of 4:00 AM every day- pretty sickening. The mornings are tough because you have energy (or anxiety) and have to face the day. The later it gets in the day the more relaxed and tired you seem to get. I'll pass on some tricks to feeling better later. I also appreciate reading ideas people with our feelings pass on to help each other get through it.

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Hi Daniel,

My deepest condolences on the loss of your mother. August 9th made three years since I lost my mother and it has been the hardest thing for me to recover from so I feel for you.

Please do not feel that you set yourself up for heartache. My mother was my best friend and lived with me and now that some time has passed, I have become extremely grateful for the time we had together that my siblings did not have. I feel that I grieved much harder for her than they did but I would not trade that time for anything.

The thing that helped me the most was allowing myself to grieve, no matter how hard it was for me or how long it took. I spent a lot of time in her room just talking to her and crying. May sound funny to some people but I absolutely HAD to get it out because it felt like I was suffocating. I also started a journal to her. I wrote down all of the things I knew she liked, things she enjoyed doing, etc. I wrote my feelings to her and how hard it was for me.

It has been a long road but I am finally getting to a place that I do not cry every time I think of her and that was my goal :) I just wanted to get to a point that I was able to enjoy my memories of her and not break down into a watery heap of tears. I thought of her and what she would want for me and I knew that she would not want me to waste a lot of my time mourning her.....although I did anyway.

I hope the best for you. Come back here often and read the archived posts as it helped me to know that I was not alone and others were greiving too.

Keep your chin will get better (((Hugs)))


    Bookmark   August 19, 2011 at 12:22PM
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Your response gave me great comfort and hope. I don't expect to feel "good" yet, but am looking forward to not feeling terrible. It sounds like we share the same situation- being the caretaker makes grieving rougher compared to our siblings, but also more rewarding someday when there is more clarity. I have a hard time going into her area at my house, also. Going to the supermarkets I used to take her shopping in is turning into an emotional trigger I didn't expect. It feels strange choking up in the soup aisle. Thanks again for reading my story Lisa- caring people like you make life much more meaningful!

    Bookmark   August 19, 2011 at 10:27PM
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Hi Daniel,

You won't really feel "good" for quite awhile and that is perfectly "okay". I was alone at home during the day for the first six months after my mom passed and I really think that was the roughest time for me. I saw her everywhere and in one way it was a good thing and in another way it was extremely gut wrenching.

It was tough going into her room at first because I could smell her essence and was surrounded by all of her things. I would lay on her bed and cry the hardest I have ever cried im my entire life and I really thought those feeling and days would never end. It was through a lot of faith and prayers that I began to see that I was crying for me and not for her. I really did not want her here in the shape she was in but damn....I so wanted her with me! She was the first person to ever fall in love with me and she really, truly never stopped loving me just for who I was and to loose that from my life was devastating.

It will sound crazy to you right now but as time passes it will help you to heal and knowing that how you are feeling is completely natural and expected.

She is looking down on you and is still a part of you so she has not really left you at all, she is only gone from your sight :)

    Bookmark   August 21, 2011 at 12:31PM
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Probably the most beautiful words of comfort I've read during my grieving came from Lisa- "She is looking down on you and is still a part of you so she has not really left you at all, she is only gone from your sight :) "
She also reminded me that you can start feeling sorry for yourself because you are lonely and hurt and want Mom alive for that reason, even if she was in poor health at the end. I feel sadder when I think of my Mom in pretty good condition a year ago. If I think of her dying in the intensive care unit with iv's and oxygen masks, etc 3 weeks ago, I feel better that she doesn't have to live like that anymore. Bless you Lisa, I wish I knew you a month ago.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2011 at 4:10PM
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Here is my original thread I posted on here right after I lost my momma -

This forum and the wonderful people here helped me more than they will ever know so I am honored that I could pass on some kind words to help you in your journey :)

Bless you will get better (((hugs)))

    Bookmark   August 21, 2011 at 5:38PM
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I started to read these posts and they were dated 2007. I kept reading and reading. As you all have lost your mother, the same as I have. My mom passed unexpectedly on June 28, 2011. She would have been 78 today.

She was everything to her family. I've been crying all day today and I don't think there is any other way to be but just sad, especially today. So I am going to give myself a break and just let the tears come.

I agree with all you...that she was a best friend, always kind, always generous and giving. The FIRST person you want to tell when something good or bad happened. And I am a Catholic, I try to believe that she is Heaven and in good company. That's the only thing that keeps me going.

Really, a hug to all you and thank you for posting about your special Moms. Daniel and Lisa thank you for posting about you Moms. People like us have a lot in common and that is a comfort in itself.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2011 at 3:39PM
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I lost my mom on June 29, 2011...she was my best friend and I didn't think I could live without her. We have been together all of my 42 years, and she was diagnosed with cancer almost seven years ago. I had an unexpected miracle in my life--I had a beautiful baby boy on December 18, 2009. He is the reason that I am still here. This is the hardest thing that I have ever had to do in my life. My son was so close to her, and he does not realize why she is not here. He is better now than he was a couple of months ago, but I am not. I miss her so much...yesterday was her birthday. I cannot even go outside to the backyard, because she had the most wonderful gardens and they remind me so much of her that I can't stand it. I am hoping by next year I will have healed enough that I will be able to take care of them the way she did. I live in the house I grew up in, and sometimes I wish I didn't. Everywhere I look my mom is there, and she passed away here as well. I feel so alone most days, even though I have the most beautiful little boy here with me. I also have an older son, who will be 23 next week, and a husband whom I love, but I don't think he really understands how hard this is for me. My mom's birthday was yesterday, exactly nine weeks since she passed. I just want to feel better, and I don't know if I ever will. Actually, some days I DON'T want to feel better, because how can I ever feel better without her here? I know she is in a better place, I do truly believe that, but I miss her so much. She was really the only person who understood me, and who I could talk to about anything, or nothing, as the mood took us. We finished each others sentences, and said things at the exact same time...our bond was so strong, and I feel so completely alone.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2011 at 6:33PM
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I haven't lost either of my parents yet, but the time is coming and seems to be advancing faster and faster. My father has had several close calls with death since November of last year and my mother's health is going downhill rapidly. Both have different health issues but the one thing they have in common is that we lost my sister to cancer this February at the age of 47, and then lost my son suddenly July 18 at the age of 30. My son lived with them and helped me take care of them. I have been their cook, errand runner, doctor visit taker, medicine getter, everything for years. I do not live in the house with them but saw them twice a day everyday until my son passed. I have been trying to heal myself so I can begin taking care of them again. Since my son's death both have been in the hospital for at least a few days each. We've had high points and low points in our lives and relationships but now we are closer than we have ever been. I know it's inevitable that they are going to pass, the question is when and will I be able to handle it?
Having gone through the death of my sister who suffered horribly for several months before her death and then when I felt like I was beginning to process her death, my son choked to death. That threw me into a tailspin and I am learning to get through each day, one day at a time. I have learned that everybody grieves differently and at a different pace. If I feel the need to cry, I cry. If I feel that I can't get up and go, I don't. I do try to get some exercise everyday, walking the dogs is a good excuse for me to do it. I find that when I don't excercise I feel worse. Even stretches and yoga are enough to release endorphines to make you feel better.
I want my son's pictures and things around me. I wear his sunglasses and have his pillow so I can smell him. My parents have my sister's ashes in their living room and Daddy puts his glasses on the box they are in every night. I do believe that when my parents pass, I will have the tools I need to cope. I will miss them more than anything but it won't be a new experience for me, other than it will be my parents passing instead of my sister and son.
I spoke with my doctor and she gave me anti-anxiety meds to try for a month to see if I can get through the day without a breakdown, they seem to help but if they stop working I will consider antidepressants to help me cope.
My thoughts are with you all who have lost your parents and I know I will be in your shoes way too soon. I just know that as bad as I will miss them, they are not happy being unable to care for themselves and be independent like they were their entire lives. It has to be hard for them to turn to their children to do all the things they used to do for us, even though we try to give them all the dignity we can. I will soothe myself by knowing they were not happy or healthy in their last few years and they will no longer be in pain or struggling to breathe.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2011 at 1:28AM
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Hi, my mum past away new years eve, 1 week ago, mum had lung cancer, she was doing really well but suddernly fell ill with phuemonia she never recovered, we did have her home for christmas which i will cherish for ever, I read cuppacoffee711 and it has made me realise that i am not alone, i thought i was the only one who was that close to my mum, my mum was 62 i am 35, i have 2 daughters 11 & 16 my mum was like a 2nd mum to them, they were both there as mum took her last breath, they could not have done that for anyone else it was the pure love they had for her that kept them by her side, as anyone who has lost a loved one to cancer knows the last days of a cancer sufferer are traumatic and horrific for the loved ones watching, how my girls did it i will never know, i too feel very alone, i do not want to go to work, go out or smile at the moment, i hope with time this will pass and i will begin to enjoy life again. My mum said to me Grieve by all means but make it short do not waste tears life is too short, i know she would not want to look down on me crying and destraught with a broken heart so i will do all i can to be strong. x

    Bookmark   January 8, 2012 at 10:36PM
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My mother died in 1999 so quite a while ago now.

If I think of the conforting things that helped me through a sad time, there are a couple of things.

I was greatly conforted by people who said kind words and gave me a hug. That really meant a lot to me. That people did acknowledge that this was a difficult time for me and they where with me.

I found great confort in doing fun things with my children, going to the park etc. Seeing the joy on their faces made me realize that life goes on, and that there is joy. At the time I was under that crushing grief of a broken heart.

I also seemed to really accept that she was happy that she didnt have to suffer anymore. She had health issues. I thought of what she would think. She died a good death - in her sleep and she would have been so glad, that she didn't end up on some horrible hospital etc.

Life does get better, you do find happiness and joy again. Your mother is always with you, and I talk to mine all the time. I know she would be happy that I am happy.

I am an optimist and I do beleive that my going through that difficult time has allowed me to become a compassionate person and I always pass on that compassion when I can. So that does bring you joy.

I hope this helps some people.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 10:55PM
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I meant to say "comfort" silly me !

    Bookmark   February 11, 2012 at 2:06AM
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I am so glad to read this my mother passed feb 1 2012 she fell just before Christmas and broke both legs she was already in a wheel chair she has been in a lot pain for the last3 years from another fall and fibro.She hurt all the time and in the end she was so ready to go .We put her on Hopis she did not last long but I know she is no longer in pain .She is in a better place but it hurts me so bad .I to cry a lot .I finished cleaning her apt out to day .I thought I would break when I walk out for the last time but I did not got a lot of friends praying for me .I miss her so much.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2012 at 9:32PM
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nanatricia, I'm praying for you right now, grief is a very painfull emotion, I know. God Bless you and love you.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2012 at 10:11AM
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