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xmcll

After Mom's Death... Delayed Grief? Unhealthy Relationships?

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Hi everyone ūüôā¬†I hope I'm posting this in the right place.¬†

I've posted around in different topics so you may have seen me already. But a little backstory on my loss: My mom died of a sudden heart attack back in November of 2017. I was the one who tried to give her CPR while the paramedics were on the way. She was taken to the hospital. The doctor invited my sister and I into the room where the ER team was performing CPR on her. They tried for a good hour. Her heartbeat just wouldn't stay. It was my sister and I who had to tell the ER team not to resuscitate if her heartbeat faded again. (I rail that off like bullet points to a presentation now. It surprises me how swiftly I can tell someone about how the light of my life was distinguished.) 

My mother was my best friend. She was my rock, my strength, my inspiration. The reason I did anything. She gave up her life in the Philippines and came to America with almost nothing to give my sister and I better lives. My father was (and still is) abusive, emotionally manipulative, emotionally unavailable. Just... not a great person all around. I still live with him because there's nobody else out there to take care of him, but our relationship is strained. Or, tbh, almost non-existent. I'm trying to convince him to move back to the Philippines so both of us can live with more freedom. 

I entered a relationship with a guy about two weeks after my mom died even though, deep down, I knew my emotions were a mess and I wasn't ready for it. But I felt like I just really needed someone there to fill the void that was threatening to swallow up my life. He was a good distraction. He said all the right things, made promises that I realize now were all empty. He kept in contact during my entire trip to the Philippines for my mother's funeral and burial. He gave me the support I thought I needed. It was a short relationship but I fell deep and really felt like he was the one to stick around. (At a point he swore on my mom's grave that he'd always be there to take care of me now that she was gone. We also talked about how, maybe, she sent him down just for me because he came into my life at just the right time... It makes me scoff now thinking about it. Hah.)

He ended up slowly distancing himself and stringing me along until I was the one that had to end it. He barely said a word. I posted about it on a thread in Loss of Love Relationship. 

It's been about seven months since my mom died and a couple months since my ex and I broke up. I still find myself completely heartbroken over it all, but moreso over my ex. It feels like it's been harder to get over that heartbreak than my mother's death. Which I don't think is true. I think I'm using my failed relationship as an emotional distraction for the grief I really need to face head on. But it all hurts just the same. 

My question in terms of behaviors in bereavement...

(1) Has anyone who suddenly lost a close loved one felt like the depression really settled in more than six months after the actual loss? Directly after my mom's death, I was just numb. Now that's worn off and feelings of devastation seem to wash over me throughout the day. I can't control it. It feels like a mixture of panic, and grief, and heartbreak. 

(2) For anyone who has lost a parent while in their 20s: has anyone found that they suddenly have the urge to be in a relationship? I never cared about being in a relationship before. I enjoyed dating and being in relationships, but I never had the deep guttural need to have someone there before. I can chance a guess that it's related to the abandonment I feel now that my mother is gone, but I'm wondering if anyone else can directly relate. I never wanted to get married or have children before, but now they're both at the forefront of my mind. 

(3) Has anyone else in grief felt that they really wanted to have a connection with someone, but also felt that they are too broken to really develop anything real? It's a strange contradiction. I'm very careful about the guys I let into my life now. I tell people honestly that I'm still trying to heal from a lot of loss and I'm not ready for a relationship. But, deep down, I really feel like I need a connection with someone. But I also feel like I'm so confused about my emotions most days that nobody should have to deal with the mess that's swirling inside my head. I want to make connections but I also feel like I'm not worthy of anything real. 

I've read a lot of articles about how losing a parent in your 20s, on the cusp of adulthood, is different from grieving a parent while in your adolescence or later in life. It's been difficult and I find that it feels even more difficult now, about seven months since she's been gone. 

Anyway, I feel like I've rambled a bit but I hope I got it all out. I'd love to hear people's insight. Thanks for taking the time to read through all this! 

 

Edited by xmcll
Grammar.

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16 hours ago, xmcll said:

Has anyone who suddenly lost a close loved one felt like the depression really settled in more than six months after the actual loss?

It's not surprising to me at all.  About six months after the loss reality sets in.  Before that you're in shock, yes even numbness can set in.  Now you're getting hit full force.

16 hours ago, xmcll said:

I think I'm using my failed relationship as an emotional distraction for the grief I really need to face head on.

Insightful!  So now you know what you need to do next is deal with your grief before jumping back into another relationship.  

16 hours ago, xmcll said:

For anyone who has lost a parent while in their 20s: has anyone found that they suddenly have the urge to be in a relationship?

This isn't surprising to me either.  You've just lost a very valuable connection that you've had all of your life, is it any wonder you'd want to replace it?  Not with a parent figure but with an important connection, someone to care about you, someone who will be there for you.

16 hours ago, xmcll said:

Has anyone else in grief felt that they really wanted to have a connection with someone, but also felt that they are too broken to really develop anything real?

I hope you're seeing a grief counselor so you can work on your grief, dealing with that so you'll be more whole and ready instead of bringing "stuff" into a new relationship.

You've shown great insight.  You're realizing it's not 100% just your XBF opting out, that there's things you can do to ensure the next relationship works out better.

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I am so sorry about your mom. I lost my mom a few years ago and I still miss her every day. It's easier, but I do miss her. Because you and your mom were so close, you will probably always miss her, too. I personally think that everything you described is absolutely normal. When it first happens, you have to process it and there is a lot to do...decisions to make and changes. It takes a while for it all to sink in and really feel it. Of course, you would reach out for another relationship. Your mom occupied a huge place in your heart and you want to fill it. And of course you feel broken. You are heartbroken. You have a lot to deal with. More than most your age. I can really relate and I believe that it will make you a stronger person. You might feel like other people your age can't relate or that they focus on unimportant things sometimes because you have had to face serious life issues that they don't understand yet. It will be okay. Is there a counselor or minister that you could talk to? Sometimes it helps to have someone to help you walk through times like this. 

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Hello, I wish I had seen this sooner, I hope you're still checking the thread. I'm sorry about your mom. I lost my mom relatively suddenly (although we had a few weeks) about a year ago. I'm 27 and have not found many other people who relate to losing a parent in their 20s. 

To answer your questions:

YES, the depression started to hit me a lot more right around the 6-8 month mark, actually. After the one year anniversary, it really sank in that this is reality now, and I've definitely been experiencing some more depression lately. I went to grief counseling intermittently and thought I was fine but now I think I have to go back. It's affecting all areas of my life, and sometimes I don't realize that my upset feelings probably tie back to grief. 

No, I didn't really want to enter a relationship right away, but that's more because my grief exacerbated some other problems I have around that (social anxiety...) However, I totally agree with your last point. I already struggled with relationships, but after my mom's passing, I feel even more broken. Like I'm too destroyed emotionally to be there for another person, while craving the connection more at the same time. So I get where you are coming from. 

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12 hours ago, Firedragon said:

Hello, I wish I had seen this sooner, I hope you're still checking the thread. I'm sorry about your mom. I lost my mom relatively suddenly (although we had a few weeks) about a year ago. I'm 27 and have not found many other people who relate to losing a parent in their 20s. 

To answer your questions:

YES, the depression started to hit me a lot more right around the 6-8 month mark, actually. After the one year anniversary, it really sank in that this is reality now, and I've definitely been experiencing some more depression lately. I went to grief counseling intermittently and thought I was fine but now I think I have to go back. It's affecting all areas of my life, and sometimes I don't realize that my upset feelings probably tie back to grief. 

No, I didn't really want to enter a relationship right away, but that's more because my grief exacerbated some other problems I have around that (social anxiety...) However, I totally agree with your last point. I already struggled with relationships, but after my mom's passing, I feel even more broken. Like I'm too destroyed emotionally to be there for another person, while craving the connection more at the same time. So I get where you are coming from. 

I'm  glad you're going to get some help, it can be pretty hard to figure our way through grief by ourselves.  xmcll was here June 15 so I think they must get notifications when someone posts here.  Around six months is when reality often sets in, so it can feel harder...I think we're in shock or a grief fog before then that kind of protects us, and when that begins to lift, it can be hard before it gets better.  It begins to sink in to us that they're really gone.  :(  You are wise to recognize that you feel too broken for a relationship right now, give yourself time to work through some things.  I believe there's a season for everything, it's good to realize that, right now you're focusing on your grief and healing...both of which this site was named for!

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20 hours ago, Firedragon said:

Hello, I wish I had seen this sooner, I hope you're still checking the thread. I'm sorry about your mom. I lost my mom relatively suddenly (although we had a few weeks) about a year ago. I'm 27 and have not found many other people who relate to losing a parent in their 20s. 

To answer your questions:

YES, the depression started to hit me a lot more right around the 6-8 month mark, actually. After the one year anniversary, it really sank in that this is reality now, and I've definitely been experiencing some more depression lately. I went to grief counseling intermittently and thought I was fine but now I think I have to go back. It's affecting all areas of my life, and sometimes I don't realize that my upset feelings probably tie back to grief. 

No, I didn't really want to enter a relationship right away, but that's more because my grief exacerbated some other problems I have around that (social anxiety...) However, I totally agree with your last point. I already struggled with relationships, but after my mom's passing, I feel even more broken. Like I'm too destroyed emotionally to be there for another person, while craving the connection more at the same time. So I get where you are coming from. 

 

Hi FireDragon, 

Thanks for the response. It's always comforting to hear from someone else that lost a parent at this stage in their life because it's... different. I haven't found anyone else in real life that relates so I'm happy to hear from you. 

I really feel the depression, separation anxiety, and abandonment issues kicking in now. I've been acting really recklessly and I can barely focus on much else but this new relationship I just started. Even though I know I should be taking time by myself to heal, it almost feels like I really can't emotionally deal without having someone else there as a crutch right now. I have my sister and I have my best friend, but there's an emotional connection missing with them. That, I don't know, I somehow think I can fill with a boy. I know I can't. Yet I still jumped into another relationship. 

I recognize the unhealthy behavior though. I was always pretty level-headed before my mom died but now that we're in that 8 month mark, I feel myself losing touch with the values I had when she was alive. It's almost like I'm a different person? Hard to describe. I've read that people act out of character when they're dealing with grief but actually being in that spot is different. It's like I'm self-aware enough to see the difference, but I don't have the emotional will to pull myself out of whatever rut I'm in. 

I'm caught between allowing myself to ride this through and feeling whatever it is I need to feel, making whatever mistakes I need to make. Or... I don't know. What is the alternative? 

If anyone who reads this is worried, I have gone back to grief counseling and I've disclosed all this to my counselor. We're working through it. 

Grief really does ebb and flow. It's hitting me hard these days and in ways nobody really knows how to understand or empathize with. I welcome anybody's insights. I'm just a little lost right now. 

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1 hour ago, xmcll said:

If anyone who reads this is worried, I have gone back to grief counseling and I've disclosed all this to my counselor. We're working through it. 

This is the best thing you can do for yourself, my dear, and I'm relieved to read that you're doing it. The other thing that may be helpful is for you to find and meet up with others in your age group who've also experienced the death of a parent. Those are the folks who really can relate to what you're going through. Most people your age (unless they've experienced the death of a parent) haven't got a clue what you are going through. Ask your grief counselor if he or she knows of anyone else your age who may be interested in starting an in-person parent loss support group. And read as much as you can about the effects of parent loss in young adulthood. See this article for some really good suggestions: Mother Loss: A List of Suggested Resources. Gaining a clearer understanding of your own grief reactions will go a long way in helping you navigate your way through this significant loss in healthy ways.‚̧ԳŹ

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