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I feel empty without mom


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I lost my mom about a month ago. It was very sudden. In February she was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, already stage IV. From there it turned out that they were unable to do anything to treat it. She was gone within a week of being told that. I stayed with my dad in New York for two weeks, but then went back to my home in Maryland. It's been hard being away from my dad, but at the same time I like being in my own space because it helps me cope and not be confronted with grief all the time.

I'm surprised at how I'm processing this. I was super close with my mom and always thought I would be a wreck when she passed. Of course I'm only 27 and never thought I would deal with it this soon. Instead I mostly feel in shock. While my mom was in the hospital I was a mess, crying constantly, and could barely be in the room or speak to her because it was so hard. I regret that a lot now since I wasted my last few days with her out of fear and sorrow. As soon as she passed, it was like a numbness settled over me. I barely even cried at the funeral. I wondered if there was something wrong with me.

But then I realized that my grief was manifesting in other, hidden ways. I have nightmares about my mom every night--like night terrors, waking up screaming, sleep paralysis, etc. I actually found this site because I googled how to deal with nightmares from grief. I think I'm burying my feelings so much and it comes out at night.

Since I got back, I have only interacted with a couple of close, trusted friends. The idea of large social gatherings is overwhelming. When I'm home alone, I feel tired and uninterested in everything. It's hard to motivate myself to do anything besides the basics go to work, make dinner, go to bed. Also I have been disconnecting from anyone else who knew my mom because I don't want to talk about it. I told my aunt and some friends from my hometown I would call them, but I can't bring myself to do it. I don't want to talk about the pain and grief. With the exception of my dad, since he still calls me. I don't know what to do about this, I just want to be alone but I know I shouldn't shut people out.

I already feel a little better after reading some posts on this forum. I don't know many others who have lost their mother at this age, so it helps to realize I'm not the only one who has experienced these crazy feelings.

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I am sorry you lost your mom, it's a major relationship in our life and one we will always miss.  You are undoubtedly still in shock/numb stage.  The amount of tears are not an indicator of how much we love them or miss them.  A friend of mine lost her husband a year ago and she still hasn't cried...they were married over 50 years, she misses him and even had a breakdown...but she hasn't cried. 

http://www.griefhealingblog.com/2014/07/in-grief-when-tears-wont-come_14.html 

I read an article on "The Science of Crying" (listed at the bottom of above link) and what I drew from that is they don't know everything yet.  Some people are cried out before the death occurs.  Some try to stay in control for other's benefit so as not to upset them.  Some are afraid if they start crying, they'll never stop.  Some feel numb, it can take a while for loss to fully sink in.

What's important is not to purposefully keep yourself from grieving, however it may manifest.  

The things you are describing, lack of interest, etc. is normal in grief.  It's common to withdraw and that's okay for a time, but then we need to force ourselves to get out a bit, little by little so we don't become reclusive and isolated.  There's a balance between recognizing what you need and pushing past your comfort zone a bit, and striking that balance for you is what you want to maintain, but it probably won't come at first, grief takes a while to process and it's unique to everyone.  Listen to your inner voice and give it power to speak to you.

 

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17 hours ago, Firedragon said:

I already feel a little better after reading some posts on this forum. I don't know many others who have lost their mother at this age, so it helps to realize I'm not the only one who has experienced these crazy feelings.

My dear, I think that is one of the greatest benefits of coming to this forum. You come to realize that you are not alone in grief; that your thoughts and feelings are not at all unusual; that there are many things you can do to help yourself; that if others have found ways to survive their own devastating losses, then there is every reason to expect that you will find your own ways, too. Reading about what is normal (and therefore to be expected) in grief can go a long way toward furthering your own healing. As you browse your way through so many of these threads, be sure to click on the links you'll find here and there that will lead you to helpful readings and resources.

You say that even though you don't like to talk about the pain and grief, your dad is calling you, presumably to do just that ~ and I'm hoping this article may help you both: Helping A Grieving Parent 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just wanted to say thanks for stopping by and sharing the articles. They were helpful.

It's been a couple more weeks and I'm about the same, but my dad has plans to come visit me in June and I think that will be a good step for both of us.

I'm thinking of going to grief counseling. I have never done something like that before but it seems like it would help.

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I am so sorry for the loss of your mom.  I can only imagine the grief process that you are going through.  I think it is best to remember that no two people grieve alike.  It is going to take some time for you to find your normal after great loss.  I think grief counseling would be excellent, and I'm also glad you joined this group.  I also like how you have something to look forward to (your dad visiting next month).  

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It's good to have something to look forward to.  Make sure to ask if it's a professional grief counselor, as not all counselors are the same or qualified in grief.  I wish you well and hope you and your dad enjoy the visit.

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  • 1 month later...

I start off saying, I am so sorry to all who have had loses. :(  I too have lost my Mom, she was my very best friend in the whole world. (she was almost 81)  We were super close!!!

We were always together doing something, all she ever wanted was to come live with me...

Its been 1 year and 5 days since she's been gone and I have such a heart ache .  I also have guilt due to being her health care proxy I had to make some real tuff decisions that I would not wish on anyone.

She had ALZ and began falling a lot very confused and scared all the time (was in Nursing Home)she was only in Nursing Home for about a year. 

She began walking with her head leaning with ear on shoulder, almost as if she forgot how to hold her head up. She also began loosing a lot of weight.  She started to not eat or drink and that kind of began a downward slide, morphine was suggested for pain in 5mg doses just to help alleviate any pain from her falls.  Well before I knew it she was practically incoherent, 9 days later she passed.

She always told me never let anyone give her morphine...I feel as though I let her down, and if I had not allowed it she would still be here.  I even considered taking her home...I wish I did!  

We had soo much fun when I would go visit (sometimes she thought I was her Mom, or her sister other times she knew who I really was) I didn't care I flowed with it and enjoyed every visit I had with her.  I put myself in her world rather than try to bring her back to mine, I accepted who she had become.  I will always remember her holding my hand 4 days before she passed and leaning to me and asking me if I was alright?  I told her yes, and I asked her the same and she replied yes!  That was pretty much the last time we spoke before she passed...EVERY day I kick myself for not taking her home and also for allowing morphine, very tuff to come to terms with!

I try real hard not to blame myself but cannot get over the fact that if I had done more, or done things differently she would still be her! 

And yes, if I had it to do again...I would not have done things the way I did!  But in real life there are no do overs!!!

At the time I felt my decisions were the best ones for my Mom...now I am not so sure?!?

Any advise?

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Monica, my dear, please remember that hindsight is always 20/20. You love your mom, so it's not surprising that you look back and wish with all your heart that you could have a do-over. Still, at the time you were making decisions about her care, I've no doubt that you were placing her best interests ahead of your own. No doctor would've prescribed morphine for your mom if she did not need it for pain. If you had brought her home, you're assuming you could've provided her with 24-hour care, including keeping her safe from falling and from wandering. No way could you have provided that kind of care all by yourself. The fact that she was losing weight, and refusing to eat or drink, indicates that her body had begun shutting down, which is part of the natural dying process. You might request a meeting with your mother's nursing home caregivers and her physician, just to get some answers to your questions and to put your mind at ease.

It has always been my experience that only the good people feel guilty, and clearly you loved your mother dearly and did your best to take good care of her. My wish for you is that the day will come when you will let that be enough, and when you remember your mom, it is love that you will remember most. 

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Hi Marty,

Thank you so much for your kind helpful words!  I have had many, many  meetings with a all my Mom's caregivers and nurses while she was in there care...They are WONDERFUL and took great care of her, I always said that if I could not take care of her I was very lucky and grateful that they did. Truly amazing group! 

They too said many things to me that you have mentioned ...I sure hope the day comes for me when I don't have the guilt.  I always remember love now when I think of my Mom...   All I can do is try harder, to believe and trust that I did make the right decisions for my Mom!!!

It is still soooo hard to not feel guilty and that I somehow failed my Mom... 

Thank you again for taking the time and responding :)

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Monica,

I am so sorry about your mom.  My mother had Lewy Bodies Dementia, which involved falling.  She was Stage 4 and the courts with medical advice, ordered her to 24/7 lockdown at dementia care facility.  When she started falling a lot, they took her walker away, and made her be in a wheelchair, which limited her mobility and independence completely, it is then that she lost her spirit.  I could no longer take her out because they said two had to be in attendance, even though she was only about 60 lbs at the time.  She'd stopped eating but she would drink whatever you put in front of her.

This is such a hard disease!  No one can understand what you're up against unless they've been down that road.  I've had some condemn me for not bringing her home to live with me, saying it was my responsibility.  I was still working at that time and had no other means of support, and no one to help me even though I have four sisters and a brother.  One is quadriplegic, one is blind, one falls all the time, and two are still working.  There is no doubt in my mind that we made the right decision, even though it was taken out of our hands and ordered by the court.  The court had to be involved because she was living alone, in danger, and refusing to go to the doctor and not taking her medicines as prescribed.  It took a year for them to do anything, meanwhile we were all worried to death about her.  It was $5,400/month for her care and used up everything from the sale of her house, but at least we knew she was safe and cared for.  I visited her after work, even though it cost me an extra couple of hours in the winter with snow and ice, and I had a long commute.  

We do the best we can at the time, the decisions we have to make are extremely difficult.  Please don't be hard on yourself, you did the best you could, try not to go back and analyze it.  Our best has to be enough, it's all we have.

Feeling guilt is part of grief.  Nearly all of us go back and come up with "what ifs" as if we're trying to rewrite the outcome.  But we can't.  I hope you can let that go and know that your mom understands how much you love her and wanted for her.  Maybe try writing to her what you want to say to her, and then release it.

 

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Hi Kay,

I am so very sorry to hear about your Mom, that had to be extremely hard on you to watch her decline day by day :(  You too did the very best you could, it sounds like your support group (family) was not very supportive. It is easy for family members to stand back and dictate, but doing actually means something...  Yes, it is so hard to understand unless you walk the road yourself as you did.  

You knowing she was safe and not alone had to have been a HUGE comfort!!!  I was also so thankful that my Mom was safe and  had wonderful people caring for her and she wasn't walking around the streets not knowing where she was, and sometimes not knowing who family members were. 

The more people that I hear from as yourself the more I feel that yes, I did do the right things for her well being...But it is still a hard pill to swallow! ( As you also know).

And it is so true, we can't rewrite the outcome! Thank you for that statement, as simple as it sounds it has a big impact :) 

Your Mom was very lucky to have you, I am sure you know that, sounds like you are a very strong loving person.

I will take you advise and write my Mom, that just might help!!!  Thank you so very much, I appreciate it!!!

Monica

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My family all pulled together and supported each other in what we went through with her, but some were only able to be moral support, we live all over the state, I was 2 hours from her facility.  We do what we can at the time, and it was a huge breath of relief when an opening finally materialized in the dementia care facility and we could see her properly cared for.  It is a hard time but also a special time, if that makes any sense.

I hope writing to her brings some relief to you, you don't deserve to feel bad.  You're a good daughter.

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Hi Kay,

I agree, yes we do what we can at the time...my family was very supportive as well 2 brothers and 1 sister. 

I always took care of my Mom even before she got sick...She was my very best friend in the world!!!  It was a great sigh of relief when she was placed, knowing she was safe meant the world to us and that she would be cared for.  It is hard, she did not understand why she was there and why she wasn't coming home with me :( she cried, broke my heart!!! But as time went by she did really well and adjusted.  I seen her every day 2-3 times a day... always tried to take her out when she was able to go.  

It was extremely hard and yes I do understand, special at the same time...

We both looked forward to our visits so much, she was like a child so giddy when I got there.  Had a lot of fun with her, we held hands sang, I did her hair, went out to eat and so on...Boy I miss her as I am sure you miss your Mom.

Have a great weekend and thanks for listening:) and your kind words!

Monica

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My mom fought like hell to stay in the house her and daddy built 59 years before.  But she couldn't, it was a safety issue.  I honestly thought about moving in with her but I have a dog and cat that aren't city-savvy and didn't have the $ to rebuild the fence and she had plumbing issues as well.  She was resistant to help.  When she was taken to the dementia care facility, I was very surprised at her acceptance and she didn't seem to mourn the loss of her home.  We had never been able to get her to "downsize" or move to an assisted care facility, yet she actually seemed to thrive in the dementia care facility...at first.  She had people to talk to and visit for the first time in her life.  But when she started falling a lot and had to have her walker taken care of, that's when she went downhill emotionally. :(  It felt to her like her very independence had been stripped from her, and everything good was gone.  That was hard to watch, my heart broke for her.

My mom couldn't anticipate my visits because she couldn't remember anything I told her.  When I did visit, it was out of her memory right away.  I think she felt abandoned there, but I was coming on a regular basis, so was my brother and his wife.  My mom had never been a "frilly" person, but I remember doing her nails while she was there, and she loved it!  She carefully held them out while they dried and she was proud of them.  She'd never worn nail polish in her life!  

I do miss my mom, even with dementia, I wish I still had her to visit.  It was hard watching things taken away, like her ability to use the phone.  But I could always go see her.  Now that I can't, that's hard.

You have a good weekend too!

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Hi Kay!

Your Mom sounded like a very "Feisty" and quite independent...Same as my Mom she was very strong willed and extremely independent, but at the same time she has always very dependent on me. It was very difficult as you mentioned, watching it get stripped away...I totally understand that for sure!  My Mom did not remember anything I told her either, but when I was there she was so very excited!!!  I could visit her and get home and within 15 minutes the facility (also a dementia care unit) would call me because my Mom wanted to talk to me...She would ask me where are you? Are you coming to see me? When I would tell her I just left she did not believe me...So I would go back to see her! :) Ha,ha...I was a sap when it came to my Mom!

My Mom did not even know she had a house either, she totally forgot! She even forgot her husband (my Dad, he passed 20 years ago this year) she was afraid of his picture because she did not know him .  Most of the time she knew me, there were a couple times she was afraid of me...but after about a half hour she knew me again, she'd grab me and hug me and say  "when did you get here sweetheart"?  Boy I MISS those hugs:(  

I seen a lot of things my Mom would do or things she would eat etc,  that she NEVER in a million years would in her right state of mind...You nail polish story is CUTE!!! and very familiar,  My Mom would also be ever so careful and proud , she would go show everyone and of course at the same time volunteer me to polish their nails too..Ha, Ha!!!

Soooooo many wonderful stories we could tell huh Kay?!?  As I sit here typing of course I'm crying...Its part of it I guess!

What a truly horrible disease....very devastating!!!

Your past don' t exist... the present is confusing... and your future has no meaning!  Well that really stinks!!!

Again,Kay it has been nice talking with you!  Thanks again for listening and sharing!  

I hope I haven't babbled too much:)

Have a great day 

Monica

 

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I'm sorry about your mom.. I lost my mom when I was 20.. Its close to 2 years now.. I was always terrified with the thought of losing her and just like you I thought I'd be devastated if anything like that ever happened.. It was sudden.. And during the time when she was in hospital i never had the courage to stay with her longer.. I wasn't there when she died. The guilt of not being there still haunts me..  I was not crying a lot.. It was like I was denying the fact. I still cannot believe it.. And still I have nightmares (sleep paralysis too) and dreams.. And when I wake up it hits me like the first time. I  guess I'm accepting it slowly idk because its getting harder with the passing time.  We all react differently. Talking to someone helps.. But to let it out and express your emotions is hard.. You can take your time also most of the people who have not experienced such loss don't understand and sometimes they even say the wrong things unintentionally  but some people do understand.

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Monica,

Your sharing brings back memories of that time with my mom.  How I wish I could visit her still!  Before she went into the facility, I remember her calling me and telling me she didn't have a penny to her name and no food!  So I gathered up food and drove the two hours to her house.  As I'm getting out of the car and unloading the groceries, she's making me put them back, saying, "Oh no!  I don't need these!  I just got back from the store, I have plenty!"  Such is dementia. 

When she was in the dementia care facility they had to remove my dad's picture because she always cried when she saw it.  ???  She told me, "I used to have a husband.  I don't know what happened to him.  I must have divorced him or something."  She was trying to make the fragments of her memory fit.  I assured her that they'd never divorced, that they loved each other, that he'd been gone for 32 years...she said, "I'm glad YOU know so much!"  She often made me smile with some of the funny things she came out with.  But it's also heartbreaking that she couldn't remember how much they'd loved each other.  She couldn't understand why her parents didn't visit, as if she was back in time, but her parents had been dead for years too!  That's what was hard, her feeling people didn't care to come see her when they'd just left five minutes ago, or they were dead and couldn't. 

Mom's angel,

I hope you've read this link, if not, that you can get some comfort from it now...
http://www.griefhealingblog.com/2016/03/in-grief-coping-with-moment-of-death.html

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