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Six months on

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It's been a little over six months since my mom passed. (As I was reminded by a letter from the hospice...not sure if that was appreciated or not.)

If anything I think I've actually been feeling worse as the shock has worn off. Also, a lot of the offers to spend time with me from friends have dried up seeing as the "need" has passed. I've been dealing with depression a lot, feeling empty, not wanting to do anything, and low energy. Some days I do feel good. Today I had a really nice day, and felt actually happy, but in the back of the mind it was "how long will this last...I'm just waiting to come down again." I'm really disengaged at work and don't feel like putting full effort into my job most days. I've been having a lot of physical symptoms too, phantom pains almost. (Which is something I've dealt with before since I have hypochondria but it's worse now.) I spoke to my doctor about that and she referred me to therapy. However, I can't get an appointment until November.

Sometimes I think..."it was just your mom, not a spouse, everyone deals with this." But then sometimes I get SO ANGRY that I have to deal with this at a younger age than most of my friends. Including friends who have terrible relationships with their parents, when I was so close with my mom.

I'm also still dealing with being an emotional sounding board for my dad, at times I feel like I can't express my feelings to him because I have to be strong. We don't have much extended family, just the two of us. He's coming for a week at Thanksgiving and I'm not sure how that will be. I am dreading the holidays, I actually wish I could just stay home and act normal, not take any time off and distract myself with work, but there are social obligations.

I just wanted to vent. I read the posts on here periodically and it's helpful to see what others are going through. Hopefully I will get a therapy appointment soon to talk about this in person.

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They say six months is one of the hardest places in your timeline, it is that time when shock has worn off, support has waned, and you're left alone to deal with your new reality, it can be tough.  It might be good for you and your dad if you could talk about your feelings with each other, I know it was a comfort to my mom when I would talk with her about missing my dad.  She said everyone else avoided talking about him, and she appreciated that I did, it made her feel like she wasn't alone in her grief.

To say it's "just your mom" is to devalue your feelings and it's not appropriate.  Your feelings are yours and they are very valid.  In my opinion, those who lose their mom at a younger age, it's all the harder.

I hope you are able to see a professional grief counselor.  Not all are equal and the same, so don't be afraid to ask if they have a degree in Thanatology (the scientific study of death and the practices associated with it, including the study of the needs of the terminally ill and their families).   



Let me just say, I am very sorry for your loss.  No age is a good time to lose someone, my mom was 92 when she died just three years ago, but my dad passed when I was just 29.

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Hello, I am sorry to hear about all of this. I extend my condolences on the death of your beloved mother. It’s understandable that this is difficult for you. I know during this time you want to be alone and this is the grief as you experience other feelings as well. I’m also sorry to hear about your conditions of hypochondriasis and depression and although this is tough, please remember you are tough too. I truly admire your strength through all of this. I encourage you to talk to friends and try to be open with your dad. Support from others is imperative for you at this time. I know therapy is needed and try to make this appointment asap even though the date is in November. I appreciate you venting, and I would like for you to continue to do this. I would like for you if you need someone to talk to call; the Samaritans it’s a 24-hour confidential hotline at (212) 673-3000. They help through anything. These coping techniques may also help you in the future until you can get your therapy appointment. Hugs! 1. Take a time-out- Practice yoga, listen to music, meditate, get a massage, learn relaxation techniques. Stepping back from problems helps clear your head.

2. Exercise daily- makes you feel good and maintains your health.

3.Slowly count to 10- Repeat and count to 20 if necessary.

4.Eat well-balanced meals- Do not skip meals and eat energy boosting snacks.

5.Take deep breathes- Inhale and exhale slowing throughout the day when you are feeling stressed.

6. Write in a journal



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  • 1 month later...

Dear Firedragon,

I'm so sorry for your loss and very much relate to your situation.

When I reached the 6 month mark I thought I had turned a little corner in the relentless never ending grief.  That lasted a week!  By 8 months I spiralled downward into a deep depression.  No one knew, no one asked how you are at a certain point anyway, its more of a general how are you, like when you walk into a store!  I haven't told anyone how bad things are.  I am forgetful, distracted and binge watch tv series to take me away from my mind.  Its a very dark hole and I have lost interest in everything.  I am changed.  I think I am changed forever and I am trying to determine if I can rebuild myself and adapt to being changed or try to get a bit of my old self back?  I go back and forth.  I too was extremely close to my mother.  She had dementia.  It was devastating to witness the loss of my relationship with her.  Slow gradual loss was like a lesser death.  She died of something else so at least she still knew me until the end.  i'm grateful that she didn't have it for years and years and I'd have to watch loose her mind completely.  She passed at the right time but it was unexpected and still devastating.  So 11 months on its still very hard.  2 weeks ago I started therapy.  I was diagnosed with depression and post traumatic stress.  I feel like I had to take a step to getting help.  it is hard talking about it all but I think its the only way.  I'm worried about the cost but more worried what will happen to me if I don't do it.  So I understand how you feel.  Losing a mother is very very significant.  She's been there your whole life.  Its a different kind of love than any other.       I keep a journal as writing your feelings down helps to process and also monitor your emotions.

I am sorry for your loss.  

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  • 2 weeks later...

I always appreciate the responses here and have returned to them during the difficult holiday period. I still haven't worked up the courage to go to a grief counselor but would like to soon. I don't know why I keep putting it off, I guess part of it just my normal shyness. I have been exercising and working on my writing project, and that helps.

Mathilde, thanks for your response and I'm sorry for your loss too. It's been more like 8 months for me too now and I know what you mean. I feel more of a dull depression than despair now. You're right that people usually don't ask how we're feeling this far on, I think a lot of people who haven't experienced it don't realize how long grief can last.

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Dear Firedaragon,

I put off going to see someone for months and then I just picked a name from a list online.  I've been 4 times now.  I'm not sure if its the right therapy for me.  I know I definetly need to talk about it because there is no one else to talk to.  So I'm going to give it 6 sessions.  If I don't feel like its the right person for me I'll stop or try something else.  I think grief gets worse over time.  I know that dull empty feeling.  I  constantly look for something to distract me and fill up the time.   Honestly I never knew how long grief would last, what it would feel like and how it changes how you view everything.  Yourself, your place in the world, people in your life etc...

I am glad writing helps you.  

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Distractions can be good for meting out our grief so it's not 24/7, giving us breaks. However, it's important to let ourselves feel and experience our grief, in so doing it helps us process it.  We can't avoid it, it'll still be waiting for us!  As we process our grief it evolves.  In the early months/years the pain can feel unbearable, but we can get through it.  Grief evolves, it does not stay in this intensity, in time we can carry our grief and learn to coexist with it, it's not the same as in the beginning.  We learn to carry our loved one inside of us, and reach down inside for comfort and strength, and the memories change from pain to a smile.  Always we miss them, so our grief is never gone, but it does become more manageable, so long as we do our grief work.  I highly recommend seeing a professional grief counselor.  Not just any therapist or counselor will do, they should be someone who specializes in grief...not everyone is trained in grief.  Check their degree, do they have one in thanatology? It's okay to question their qualifications, after all, we wouldn't think twice about checking our doctor's qualifications, this is no different.  We want someone who knows what they're doing and can guide us through the maze of grief, that is, after all, the whole point of going to them!

I've posted this before but you may not have seen it...I wrote this from my 12 year journey following the death of my husband.  I've had many losses, husband, pets, friends, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousin, niece, nephew and three unborn babies.  Grief is grief although the relationship may differ and so may the way we are affected...normally, the closer you were, the harder the loss hits you.


There's no way to sum up how to go on in a simple easy answer, but I encourage you to read the other threads here, little by little you will learn how to make your way through this.  I do want to give you some pointers though, of some things I've learned on my journey.

  • Take one day at a time.  The Bible says each day has enough trouble of it's own, I've found that to be true, so don't bite off more than you can chew.  It can be challenging enough just to tackle today.  I tell myself, I only have to get through today.  Then I get up tomorrow and do it all over again.  To think about the "rest of my life" invites anxiety.
  • Don't be afraid, grief may not end but it evolves.  The intensity lessens eventually.
  • Visit your doctor.  Tell them about your loss, any troubles sleeping, suicidal thoughts, anxiety attacks.  They need to know these things in order to help you through it...this is all part of grief.
  • Suicidal thoughts are common in early grief.  If they're reoccurring, call a suicide hotline.  I felt that way early on, but then realized it wasn't that I wanted to die so much as I didn't want to go through what I'd have to face if I lived.  Back to taking a day at a time.
  • Try not to isolate too much.  
  • There's a balance to reach between taking time to process our grief, and avoiding it...it's good to find that balance for yourself.  We can't keep so busy as to avoid our grief, it has a way of haunting us, finding us, and demanding we pay attention to it!  Some people set aside time every day to grieve.  I didn't have to, it searched and found me!
  • Self-care is extremely important, more so than ever.  That person that would have cared for you is gone, now you're it...learn to be your own best friend, your own advocate, practice self-care.  You'll need it more than ever.
  • Recognize that your doctor isn't trained in grief, find a professional grief counselor that is.  We need help finding ourselves through this maze of grief, knowing where to start, etc.  They have not only the knowledge, but the resources.]
  • In time, consider a grief support group.  If your friends have not been through it themselves, they may not understand what you're going through, it helps to find someone somewhere who DOES "get it". 
  • Be patient, give yourself time.  There's no hurry or timetable about cleaning out belongings, etc.  They can wait, you can take a year, ten years, or never deal with it.  It's okay, it's what YOU are comfortable with that matters.  
  • Know that what we are comfortable with may change from time to time.  That first couple of years I put his pictures up, took them down, up, down, depending on whether it made me feel better or worse.  Finally, they were up to stay.
  • Consider a pet.  Not everyone is a pet fan, but I've found that my dog helps immensely.  It's someone to love, someone to come home to, someone happy to see me, someone that gives me a purpose...I have to come home and feed him.  Besides, they're known to relieve stress.  Well maybe not in the puppy stage when they're chewing up everything, but there's older ones to adopt if you don't relish that stage.
  • Make yourself get out now and then.  You may not feel interest in anything, things that interested you before seem to feel flat now.  That's normal.  Push yourself out of your comfort zone just a wee bit now and then.  Eating out alone, going to a movie alone or church alone, all of these things are hard to do at first.  You may feel you flunked at it, cried throughout, that's okay, you did it, you tried, and eventually you get a little better at it.  If I waited until I had someone to do things with I'd be stuck at home a lot.
  • Keep coming here.  We've been through it and we're all going through this together.
  • Look for joy in every day.  It will be hard to find at first, but in practicing this, it will change your focus so you can embrace what IS rather than merely focusing on what ISN'T.  It teaches you to live in the present and appreciate fully.  You have lost your big joy in life, and all other small joys may seem insignificant in comparison, but rather than compare what used to be to what is, learn the ability to appreciate each and every small thing that comes your way...a rainbow, a phone call from a friend, unexpected money, a stranger smiling at you, whatever the small joy, embrace it.  It's an art that takes practice and is life changing if you continue it.
  • Eventually consider volunteering.  It helps us when we're outward focused, it's a win/win.

(((hugs))) Praying for you today.


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