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Lost mom to cancer 6 months ago


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Hi all. I have never posted in a forum before, but I'm hoping sharing the grief inside me will give me some peace. I am the type of person who bottles up all feelings and acts like everything's Ok, which is definitely not a good coping mechanism, especially when dealing with the loss of a parent. My mother was diagnosed with a very rare type of cancer and after many, many different and painful treatments, she was gone in less than 5 months. The worst day of my life was the day when the hospital told us there is nothing more they can do and they're sending my mother home (she refused to go to a Hospice). The last week of her life, my sister and I (and some nurses) took care of her and I literally watched her die and fight to the last breath. Those images haunt me every day and pop up at any time. My busy lifestyle and the suppressing of my feelings led me to believe that I'll be Ok for a little while. But what I'm discovering is that I'm becoming more and more depressed, anxious, and just unable to go on like this. I feel like I am numb and don't care about anything. I have a hard time concentrating at work, I have no interest in going out with friends, I have gained weight and stopped exercising, and I feel that I want to break up with my boyfriend of over 5 years who wants to get engaged soon. I pretend I'm Ok in front of everyone all day long and that is truly exhausting. I am reaching out to therapists and hope to be able to start therapy soon, but even this seems like a huge effort and another "choir" to add to my list, as anything outside of just laying in bed at home feels like a huge effort. I'm not sure what I'm asking for here, but any advice on how to cope better will be much appreciated...

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Ninna-  What you are feeling is very normal, yet unique to you.  Paricipating in this forum, visiting various groups (Hospice of the Valley has them), going to the annual  remembrance ceremony at Steele Park....all help.  But the journey is yours...there's no plan to follow.   Best to you.  And it does get better.  Terry

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Ninna,

What you think and feel is very common and natural. My mom passed away 9 years ago and I still remember her last gasps as if it was yesterday.  You are also dealing with the additional feelings of being a caregiver to your Mom. There is much to learn about this grief journey and this place has helped me and many others who are on here.My wife's sudden death two years is what brought me here.  This forum has helped me to realize that I'm not crazy, alone, depressed, etc..  Seek out a grief counselor that can help you and come here to write out your thoughts and feelings.  This is where I learned so much in how to cope with all of this.

Remember to take care of yourself as well as you took care of your mom.  Grief takes a lot of energy and our sleep, exercise, health, and food suffers.  MartyT, has some great resources and many others here will come and help.  I have learned that the FEELINGS are real but are not necessarily the facts.  If I bury them, ignore them, they will surface later.  Try not to push the people away who love you and just let them know you need time to work through this grief. We are here for you to listen, share, pray and support you and everyone in this group understands your deep loss and pain.  - Shalom, George   

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Ninna, my dear, you are wise to recognize that pretending to be okay and bottling up your feelings does nothing to heal your broken heart. I'm so sorry for your loss ~ but gratified that you've found your way to this warm and caring place. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and you have taken that first step by coming here. 

As George says, here you will find an abundance of useful and reliable information about what is normal in grief, which will help you to better understand and cope with your own reactions. (See my page entitled Marty's Articles. As stated there, when you click on any of the links listed, you'll find useful material written not only by me, but also a rich assortment of resources offered by other authors as well. My posts are being updated regularly with links to additional resources ~ all in an effort to provide my readers with a vast assortment of current, valid and reliable information about care giving, loss, grief and transition. ) And here in our Discussion Groups, you will find the compassionate support and understanding of others who are walking a path that is similar to your own and are willing to walk in solidarity beside you. That can give you hope and reassurance that if others can find their way through this challenging journey of grief, then you can find your own way, too.

You say you are reaching out to therapists, which is a good and healthy thing to do. As you do that, I hope you are looking for someone who is experienced and qualified in offering grief support, since not all therapists and counselors are specialized in this particular field. (See my article, Seeing a Specialist in Grief Counseling: Does It Matter?) In the meantime, do whatever you can to take good care of yourself. Grief is hard work, and because it takes its toll on you physically, emotionally, cognitively and every other way, it's important to make sure you're getting sufficient nutrition, hydration, rest and exercise. (See Voices of Experience: How Grief Can Affect Your Health, written by one of our own Discussion Groups members.) 

 

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Ninna,

I am so sorry for the loss of your mother.  My own mom passed away 2 1/2 years ago and I still find myself wanting to call her or go see her, my sisters feel the same way.  I wasn't hit as hard with my mom's death as my husband's.  She was 92 and had dementia and really was at the end of her life where death was a relief...I'd gone through anticipatory grief, yet I felt the finality hit in a way that you can't prepare for.  My husband's death was sudden and shocking, he was barely 51, and I'm still grappling with that nearly 12 years later.

I'm glad Marty pointed out that all counselors are not equal and the same when it comes to grief.  It's very important to get someone professionally trained in grief...to get someone who is not can do more harm than good.  A good grief counselor is worth their weight in gold!  Marty's article about seeing a specialist is very good. 

Grief has a beginning but not an ending.  It does not remain in the same intensity, however (thank God), but is ever evolving.  It is important to do our grief work so we can work out our grief.  It can be a lot of work and exhausting, but it has also been a rich journey with what I've learned and how it's changed me.  It's not something we'd ever ask for, but in looking back, I would not be the person I am today had I not been on this journey.  Watching my mom die bit by bit was very difficult but it was also a very special time too and I would not forego any moment I spent with her.  I felt the same way when I was taking care of my mother-in-law the last three years of her life when she was bedridden with cancer.  It's hard to put into words but I cherish that time I had with her.

It's always so hard to lose those that we love.  I have learned to adjust to my "life without" as I call it, but the missing them continues.  I look forward to the day we can be together again in afterlife.  I believe with all my heart that death is not the end but a transition. They say we are energy, energy doesn't die, it just changes form, so I continue with this hope.

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Hi all,

Thank you so much for the kind words and resources you have shared, I will definitely explore them. I am scheduled to meet with a therapist next Friday and will make sure she is a grief specialist. I suspect it will be difficult to bring all the memories back up and think and talk about them with someone, as like I mentioned, I always choose the road of suppressing and not thinking to avoid the pain, or try to anyways. But since this seems to be a long-life journey, I might as well start the real grieving process now, before I ruin my health and the relationships in my life. You all give me hope that it is possible to live a happy life, even with a grieving heart.

Truly appreciate your support and thank you,

Vanina

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I wish you well with your therapist, and hope you let us know how it's going.  While it may be hard to talk about, you will be on your path to learning to adjust and heal.

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