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Losing my mother

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So we moved to Colorado from indiana and everything was good I talked to my mom everyday and I mean everyday and sometimes about nothing. We then had a baby girl and my mom was able to visit us just once when she was like 4 weeks old.  Then just before my daughter turned two I got a call from my mom's work saying they haven't heard from her and she missed her doctors appointment which is totally not like her.   So with me being so far away I called my dad, my brother and finally told her work to send the police thinking she might have fallen but is okay and while doing that I called my mom every 2 minutes.  My brother called me to say she was gone.  Everyday at 9:00am I relive it.  It has been 2 years so I can't figure out why I feel like it's my fault like if I was there I would have made her go I would have taken her.  When does the guilt go away.  I also partilly blame my husband because if we never moved it would have been there.  I have kept this all inside and never talked about it even right after she was gone.

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First let me say I am very sorry for your loss.  I lost my own mother nearly four years ago but it was different, it was time for her to go, for her to have stayed any longer would have prolonged her suffering.  With your mom, it's different, you were caught off guard by this, and felt she still had many more years left.  That is how my husband went also, he'd just turned 51.

When we go through grief where we feel we can't accept their death, partly because we're blindsided, partly because we felt it was premature, guilt is part of our grief.  It need not be earned or rational, and you can know that with your brain, but your heart feels it all the same.  And it's not so much because we ARE guilty but it's like we have all of these "what ifs" as a way of coming up with a different outcome.  But the reality is, there is only one outcome, and that is what happened.  Even if you had not moved, even if you had been there, you mom likely would have still died.  It's not your fault.  It's not your husband's fault.  It's not anyone's fault.  Death is part of life's cycle and sometimes it comes soon and sometimes later in life, we don't have a lot of control over it.  We can eat healthy and exercise and not smoke or drink, we can do yoga, and pray and meditate, and eat organic food...and get hit by a bus and die.  We only have so much control.  And it seems if it's not one thing it's another.  We don't know when our death will come, but one thing we can be certain of and that is that it will come to us all.

The real issue isn't that they died so much as what do we do with it?  How do we live without them in our life?  How do we assimilate the changes this means for us?  It has taken me years to process my husband's death, years more to build a life I can live, and more years yet to find purpose.  His death affected every aspect of my life.  

I wrote this article based on what I've learned in my grief journey...you may not relate to all of them or they may not seem relevant to you right now, but if even one tip helps you, than that is worthwhile.


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.  Suicide Hotline - Call 1-800-273-8255
  • Give yourself permission to smile.  It is not our grief that binds us to them, but our love, and that continues still.
  • 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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