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Just Lost My Mom


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I'd like to start by saying that I appreciate anyone who may take the time to read or respond to this. I never imagined that I could feel this much pain and a place like this seems to be something that helps many people. It's a needed distraction and we all need to vent. I'm not really sure how to write this post out. It will be bits about my relationship with my mom, a big chunk about her last days, and I think I'll talk about my feelings with things at the end. I hope that it's coherent and not too much of a chore to read despite its length.

 

In the early morning of April 8th, 2022 I lost the smartest, the most reliable and most resourceful person I've ever known. I lost my roommate, my fellow Blue Jays baseball fan, my Jeopardy! opponent and my (relatively new) TV bingo partner. I lost my favourite person to talk to. I lost my rock. I lost my best friend. I lost my mom. She was the person I loved to take care of (her knees were terrible, she suffered from arthritis and getting up and down or even walking was a constant struggle,) cooked all of her meals for her, made her work lunches, did the shopping and cared for the house. I'd like to think that she'd also call me her best friend too. I would be honoured, truly, if she did. I wanted nothing more in the world than to keep this relationship up for many years to come, to be there as her loving son, as her friend. As I write this, I'll be 30 later this year and my mother passed away at 70. Her mind was as strong and as sharp as anyone half her age.

 

It happened quickly and seemingly out of the blue. She became sick around the end of February of this year but nothing seemed serious. There was a bit of time in the beginning of March where she was fatigued and dragging a little, but was pretty much okay. By mid-April she had to be admitted to the hospital for about a week due to being constantly short of breath, sometimes even when just sitting. She was diagnosed with pneumonia (something she had a few times in her life) and a blood clot in one of her lungs. She seemed like she was pretty well while she received care and then she returned home looking like she was on the road to recovery for a few days. Things then deteriorated and I had to call an ambulance one morning before sunrise to rush her to the hospital; this was the last time my mom would grace our home. I hate that the last time she was in the house she had to be taken out on a stretcher by a couple of strangers on a chilly morning. I was able to visit her at the hospital later that same day. She was in critical condition but she could speak to me as best as she could; I thought and hoped that maybe she had just come home too soon the first time and that if she had to stay a week or so and get professional care that it would simply be a little speed bump in regards to having her back to normal. This sadly wasn't the case as about a day and a half later I found myself only being allowed to visit and talk to her for half an hour while clad with a face shield, gloves and a gown before the doctors sedated her and put her on a ventilator.

 

I would never get to speak with her again as things never got better while she was in that state for about a week and a half. On the 7th of April, in the early afternoon I went to visit my mom, just as I did every other day. I sat and talked to her and she seemed pretty stable. As I left after about 90 minutes of visiting I knew that the attending nurse was doing some things to help stabilize her blood pressure which had dropped a little too low a minute or two prior to my leave. It wasn't terribly uncommon for these things to arise so I thought little of it. About two hours later at home I received a call. As I looked at the phone and saw that the caller ID showed that it was the hospital my heart sank. They told me that things were rapidly declining and that I should come back as soon as possible, which I did. Her poor lungs couldn't take much else. The pneumonia she was dealing with hadn't been helped much by any of the various medications and the blood clots couldn't really clear up because they had to stop giving her blood thinners due to her having a bleed in her stomach a few days prior.

 

We (my aunt and grandmother who live a few hours away but were able to be there with us) were told at around 9pm that at this point she really had no hope. We could do one of two things: we could choose to keep her in her current state (which wasn't sustainable) and things could drag on for a few days, or we could choose for her to be taken off of the ventilator until her body could no longer do things on its own. We chose the latter because suffering is the last thing she deserved. They told us it would probably be anywhere from a few minutes to a couple of hours until she'd be gone. The one thing I personally asked for was for her to make it to midnight/April 8th. As stated early in my post, we're massive Blue Jays fans and the 8th was their Opening Day game. We knew that should couldn't and she didn't make it to the start of the game (which she would have loved as at least one miracle happened for us that day) but I fully believe that she'd have understood why I asked for just a few more hours out of her even if it may seem silly to some.

 

They started the process of letting her body do all of the work on its own at around 1am. We all cried, talked to her and kissed her as she breathed with increasing difficulty and less frequency on her own. I put a phone to her ear a few times and played her the audio of a movie clip that we both love and couple of songs I know she loved. I went to her many times and talked to her in a whisper. I told her how proud I am of her, how I couldn't have asked for anything more from her than more time together. I told her not to be scared and that I understood she always did what she could do for me (which was honestly more than I should have asked from her). I told her that she was a great mom and a great friend. I told her how she was amazing at her job and that she's responsible for so many people being where they are. These were the easiest truths anyone has ever had to tell. I held her, my right arm draped across her stomach and my head on her chest telling her that it was okay to go. In that moment I did my best to comfort her like she did so often for me. I felt her last breath, I felt her leave. When they allowed us to come back in the room later to see her I asked to be the last one to leave. I've always been protective and territorial of her in a way and I needed to one last time, for better or worse. I could barely stop myself from going, finding any excuse to keep giving her kisses on the forehead accompanied by "I love you."

 

I don't know what to do without her. She was my world. She was so consistent. I have no siblings and very little in terms of immediate family (my aforementioned aunt and grandmother who I've never been particularly close with). We live somewhere kind of small and quiet and I have no friends; I can't say that I've had one in many years (which really hasn't bothered me much) outside of her and I'm not an outgoing person. I'm inheriting what my mother had and I'll be relatively secure in regards to a home and funds thanks to her. We're certainly nowhere approaching rich, but my mother was good with her money, responsible and was always looking out for me. I haven't worked in a very long time and I never finished college since it wasn't for me. I've long felt very guilty about not contributing financially. She was always my feeling of security and even in death she's acting dutifully. I don't know what to do. I have no direction. I'm not really an ambitious person. My life was dedicated to being there with and for her. I have so much to figure out and my rock is gone. It's lonely now, the silence is deafening, the thoughts in my mind are swirling and her absence is palpable. For so long, and she'd say the same, all we had was each other. Now I find myself without her. I feel good about my relationship with her; I regret that I didn't hug her more, that I didn't tell her how much I love her as often, that I didn't call her at her office a little more often just to ask about her day. It didn't need to be said and done, I know that she knew, but I do wish it had been said and done more. I'm not sure that I've gone more than a waking hour without breaking down. For close to a week before she died I began sleeping with this sweater/blanket (I'm not sure how to explain what it is) in my bed next to me and I don't know when I'll stop. On top of it all I feel incredible guilt because it feels like I'm making it all about myself.

 

People will say that it gets better. I'm sure that it will hurt less over time. Death isn't unique to my mom or I, but it hurts just as much. All I want is to be with her. If she could see me now I know that she'd be as heartbroken as I am. I have no idea what to do, where to begin or how to go on. It's crushing to think that I may have another 40-60 years to go without her.

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I understand, I just lost my sister & best friend, I'm turning 70 in a few months, she's been there my whole life, I don't know how to do life without her.  I keep thinking of things I want to tell her (we were in each other's lives on a daily basis), she was disabled and had dementia.  April 16 would be her 78th bdy, instead of celebrating with her, there's a memorial for a friend I've known 45 years. :( He died two days after Peggy.

This was all unexpected, I thought we had years left.  I've been looking after Peggy since her husband of 50 years passed.  It was a lot of work and stress but even so I'm going to miss doing things for her, if that makes any sense.  

I'm so sorry for your loss, and your request for her to live that one last day makes total sense, not silly at all.  Your way of honoring her.  You're a good son, it says a lot about her that she raised you!
Grief Process

I lost my sweet husband nearly 17 years ago, he was barely 51...ten years later I wrote this of what I'd gleaned not only from my own journey but others here as well...

This is not a one-size-fits-all, what strikes us one day will be different a few months/years from now, so please save/print this for reference!

I want to share an article I wrote of the things I've found helpful over the years, in the hopes something will be of help to you either now or on down the road.

TIPS TO MAKE YOUR WAY THROUGH GRIEF

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 its 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 or www.crisis textline.org or US and Canada: text 741741 UK: text 85258 | Ireland: text 50808
  • 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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Thank you for the reply, kayc. It's a strange coincidence that you're right around the same age as my mom AND you had the same job title (although she was still working at it, perhaps too hard.) I'm very sorry to hear about your sister, best friend and husband. He passed far, far too young. It was just about a decade ago when I was in college that I lost my best friend growing up; it makes it all that much worse that my mother has passed around the same time. Everyone close seems to die too young. I just had this expectation that I'd see them make it into their 80s.

 

My mother and I weren't really religious people. My mom would probably describe herself as Christian (she went to church and everything when she was a kid, but not as an adult) and I'd describe myself as someone who is hoping but not confident that God exists and hoping that we'll be with Him one day if we're good people. I want to believe that my mom is watching over me, her body no longer sore and her mind at east. It's just hard, she was my everything in this world. I break down constantly. I just want to be alone, but I'm so lonely without her. I miss just walking over to her to have little chats, talks about what I should make up for dinner, everything.

 

Part of the fear and uncertainty is that my life isn't at all in order. Needless to say, I put my focus into being with her. She did so much for me, maybe too much so that I was stunted by her unintentionally. There's so much to do, so much change and it's overwhelming. I don't do very well with change and this is by far the biggest one I've ever had to go through and it hasn't even been three days yet. It's like the ground has given way beneath me.

 

I have my grandmother and aunt wanting to get rid of so much of her clothes and have a series of yard sales and I'm not ready. I say that I want to keep a few items (like the top and pair of pants she planned to wear to her office the day before she left the house forever in the ambulance, her favourite nightgown, her glasses and set of contact lens, etc.) and I'm looked at as if I'm about to keep every sock that she ever wore or used tissue that might have fallen behind the headboard of her bed. I want to keep the blanket that she'd always throw over herself in her favourite recliner when she was cold. I just want to buy two or three plastic totes to keep some of her things in simply to have and maybe to visit down the line from time to time. Again, I'm looked at like I'm crazy. I just want some of my mom around. Is that so dumb? When I die one day, something will happen to all of it, I know I can't protect it forever and it'll one day meet a landfill. But I don't think it's unreasonable to carry a small amount of things with me in this house or to wherever I may wind up down the line. My mom does have a fair amount of junk, I told her that myself on a few occasions, I once again say that I'm not planning on keeping every little thing.

 

My greatest wish was for her to see me as a good son. I think she did, I'm very confident in that. I hope and think that she knew how great of a mom and friend I view her as. I wish I had have told her that more though. I wish I had have taken pictures with her and recorded her voice; we were never the types to do those things, the last picture I can find of her is from six years ago for a relative's milestone birthday celebration. I've never been all that concerned with making friends (although I had plenty in the past) or dating (I did that too,) I was just happy with my simple quiet life and enjoying the years I had with mom. Honestly, and she'd agree, we only really had each other.

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I had just turned 31 when my mom passed away. Like you, she was my world too. The day she passed I was stopped at a red light and watching traffic, people... the world was just normal, it was just another day. I selfishly wondered how the world could just keep on turning when the person that meant the world to me was gone. My grief was so fresh and I wasn't thinking logically. Although I felt selfish, I also feel that it was okay to make it about myself at that time. I don't think you should feel any guilt in that. I'm sorry for your loss. 

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8 hours ago, aluckyson said:

I just want some of my mom around. Is that so dumb?

I still have my husband's robe hanging on the door and wrap myself in it sometimes.  My Arlie's (soulmate in a dog) coat is hanging on my chair, I can't imagine letting it go.  I hold/stroke it sometimes.  I kept my dad's robe until my son was old enough to wear it.  My MIL's hand crocheted "coat" that I didn't like...I couldn't get rid of it, it reminded me of her.  It seems to be the intimate things we want to keep, not fancy clothes.  I thought about keeping my sister's glasses as she loved her last pair.

8 hours ago, aluckyson said:

I know I can't protect it forever

I have the big pictures of my sister's dog that were up on her wall, she loved that dog, Polly, but she's been gone for years now.  I couldn't bear the thought of someone buying it for the frame and just throwing the pictures away!  I'll find a place for it.  She meant so much to them (still grieving my BIL too).

7 hours ago, Novi said:

I selfishly wondered how the world could just keep on turning when the person that meant the world to me was gone.

That is not selfish at all!  It's hard to comprehend how they can be here and then just not!  I think we all go through this when someone who means so much to us is gone.  I wondered the same when my husband died, I didn't see how the sun could go on shining with him not in it!

@aluckysonDo keep some things that remind you of her the most.  

And knowing you'll be with God and her is easy...just trust the sacrifice God made in His Son.  It's not about what we do, it's about what He did. ;)  Sending you much love and comfort today...you too, Novi!

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11 hours ago, kayc said:

I still have my husband's robe hanging on the door and wrap myself in it sometimes.  My Arlie's (soulmate in a dog) coat is hanging on my chair, I can't imagine letting it go.  I hold/stroke it sometimes.  I kept my dad's robe until my son was old enough to wear it.  My MIL's hand crocheted "coat" that I didn't like...I couldn't get rid of it, it reminded me of her.  It seems to be the intimate things we want to keep, not fancy clothes.  I thought about keeping my sister's glasses as she loved her last pair.

I have the big pictures of my sister's dog that were up on her wall, she loved that dog, Polly, but she's been gone for years now.  I couldn't bear the thought of someone buying it for the frame and just throwing the pictures away!  I'll find a place for it.  She meant so much to them (still grieving my BIL too).

@aluckysonDo keep some things that remind you of her the most.  

And knowing you'll be with God and her is easy...just trust the sacrifice God made in His Son.  It's not about what we do, it's about what He did. ;)  Sending you much love and comfort today...you too, Novi!

Yeah kayc, it's the little things I really want to keep. I think it's reasonable and good that you keep things like that. There's nothing wrong with it. For me too it's nothing fancy really that I want to hold on to, just things she'd wear often. I think in one of my posts I mentioned how I've been keeping a sort of sweater type thing she'd wear beside me in bed for the last while. I want the pair of pants and the shirt that were laid out for work for the day that she had to be rushed out by the ambulance. Her glasses, her pair of contact lens, a hair brush, , a blanket and a few other things like that. I don't think it's unreasonable but my aunt and grandma think I'm trying to keep everything. It's not like I want anything intimate like a bra, underwear or even something like socks.

 

I know that there needs to be some changes to the inside of the house - my mom would admit it herself that she, and we, should have kept it less cluttered and put more things away (like her china which mostly remained packed in boxes for years instead of going in her nice cabinet for them). I want it to still be HER house at the end of the day. She had it built, she worked very hard for it and a lot of things, and she managed to pay off the mortgage (fairly quickly, I might add) for it shortly before her death. I can't help but to think that if I get a girlfriend or get married... it's still my mom's house in my eyes, it's mine now but it's still hers and I like it like that.

 

I'm not a religious person myself, my mom wasn't really either at least outwardly. I think she was like me in that we both really hope for an afterlife where you'll get to go to Heaven or something if you're a good person. I've no doubt that my mom is in a good place if it exists, she was a good person for sure.

 

Today we got around to doing much of the funeral related things: the funeral is prepared, her casket picked out, my mother and I have our double plot at the cemetery and I have our headstone picked out along with what will be carved into it. We also know when we'll be taking her to the cemetery, etc. It all still doesn't feel possible. How can she be gone? She was supposed to outlive her mother, she was supposed to outlive her sister (who actually has had some serious health issues for a few years now). But now instead it's mom who is gone.

 

I've said it before, and I apologize for these long posts, but I'm so lost without her. Not solely in some spiritual sense, but in a literal one, too. She really did do everything. I had never had to pay a credit card or water bill before she she had to go into sedation for instance. I don't think I've even had to prepare to mail a letter, come to think of it. I haven't worked in years because I focused (gladly) on her. All of these things are stuff I would've talked to her about. She would've helped me through them with ease, but now here I am worried sick about it only because she's gone. Very, very rarely do I find myself to be upset to the point of tears, but every day now I'm like that and I don't expect it to end soon. Mom would've been there to talk with me and make things feel okay. Right now her and I should be having a talk while the Blue Jays game played on the TV in the living room in the background. Now she's not here to do that. I know I'm not a kid anymore, I haven't been in some time, but I need my mom all the same.

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12 hours ago, aluckyson said:

I don't think it's unreasonable but my aunt and grandma think I'm trying to keep everything.

No, THEY are unreasonable in their lack of understanding!

You don't have to be religious, religiosity doesn't get us anywhere anyone as nothing's based on what we DO, yet we can believe in afterlife...I like the definition of faith, "faith is the substance of things HOPED for, the evidence of things UNSEEN."  It doesn't say we have to have it all figured out and understand...some things are beyond us as our minds are very finite.  I BELIEVE I will be with my husband, my animals, my sisters and BIL gone before me, as well as my parents.  (Gosh, you live as old as I do and there's not many left!)

I wouldn't worry about the house right now or packing/unpacking stuff, that can wait until YOU are ready, this is YOUR house now, not theirs.  Their opinions are worth what they're printed on, that's about it. ;)  Right now focus on today, get through the funeral, the things that need to be done (bank, insurance, soc.. sec. office, etc.) that's enough!!

I know what you mean with missing her being there with you to talk over the game...I'm feeling it not having my sister to talk to anymore.  I'm glad you had such a good mom, we didn't all.  A memory you can cherish in your heart forever.

 

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I didn't break down as much today. Had a couple moments of hard crying, but mostly I've just felt a general malaise. It's hitting me more and more too how hard this will be financially. After funeral costs and the looming bills I'll have to pay, I'm going to have to be careful with my money (fortunately I'm not much of a spender, but still). I still too have to go have my own will made so there will be some more money to dish out soon on top of this. As someone who hasn't been working in a long time and has no sort of degree, things are limited (and I'm not in that big of an area). I'm going to have some money left over, but needless to say that the job hunt will need to begin shortly after I'm home and this is all (mostly) settled. I'm the benefactor for some life insurance policy that she has through work (and possibly a different one she has), but we've yet to find out the details on it/them. My aunt guesses (I don't put a ton of stock in her surmising but she's probably not far off here) it's maybe around $5000-$10000 (Canadian) which will help a bit.

 

I'll also be selling her vehicle (which I hate to do but it makes no sense nor is it tenable for me to keep and pay to maintain and pay insurance on) and I might get around $5000 for it as it's over a decade old now. I have so many memories of being in it as a passenger (and occasional driver in the last few years) and I even partially learned to drive in it a few years back with her. So many trips, long and short, and so many long talks on our way to see relatives. It's the car that she dropped me off at my college dorm in, it's the same one she picked me up and moved me back home in. I'm going to see if I can save her plates as something to remember both the car and her by. She had them across multiple vehicles and I was always able to remember the number as it's kind of distinctive. For the reasons stated at the start of the paragraph, I know my mom would want it sold now. She was very practical and logical and she'd tell me to do it if she could.

 

I've talked to my mom a lot since she passed, especially today. I don't expect that she hears me, but I've been telling her how much I miss her, how much I need her, how she always knew what to do, etc. I've always been someone who has felt a little bit lonely by default, but with mom gone... it's just something else entirely. Normally I'd pop into the living room about two dozen times a day just to have little chats, even if it was as simple as me going to the fridge to grab a drink and to ask her if she'd like anything while I was up. Just by being there she made life better, more comfortable. I do hope that she hears me though, just as I hope she'll be my guardian angel and just as I hope we'll be together again when it's my time. Believe me, I want to be wrong in my beliefs as I definitely don't want our time to be over.

 

It's roughly only a day and a half away from her funeral service. It's a place I've been to before for a family member's service. They're very good, very nice. After that I'm going to be a pall bearer for her too. I'm told that this is kind of unorthodox to do, but I helped my mom around for so long, I refuse to not help her one last time. I plan to be right in the middle of the three of us on her side just like if I was holding onto her arm. I still can't believe that on her last day of work it was me who drove her there and back (it was in her car though). I think that I'd only ever done that once before and that was only because she was having her vehicle professionally cleaned one day last summer. We're Canadian so the weather is still pretty hit or miss here this time of year. There's a good chance of rain for Thursday and I'm just really hoping that it waits until after we're finished at the cemetery. I want there to be as many people there as possible and my mom would hate it to be a cold, rainy day.

 

I still can't believe that we reached a point where I'm here writing this. If you had told me a month ago that all of this would take place I don't think I'd have believed you.

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I'm glad you had such a close relationship with your mom, it's how it was with my son and I before he moved away and had a family of his own, we always had an easy going relationship, lived well together, used to always sit down and talk at the end of the day, interspersed with a little tv (we'd talk off/on throughout it).  I miss that, don't see/hear from him much anymore.  But the down side is when you have that in your life and they're just GONE, it's such a stark contrast, it just makes missing them all the harder.  Those that hit us the hardest are when we lose someone that's part of our integral everyday existence (those we live/interact with).

You can definitely keep the plate, whoever buys it just needs to buy another plate when they register it in their name.  At least that's how it is in the US.  I didn't realize you were from Canada until you mentioned the $.

I have two ft. of snow, never had it this time of year before!  I hope with you that the rain holds off during your mom's funeral/burial.  You'll be in my thoughts...and for what it's worth, I think it's great that you'll be her pall bearer, and I love your reasoning behind it.  Who dictates what's orthodox anyway!  No such thing as "rules" in matters of grief.

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It keeps hitting me harder and harder how much I needed her around. She was the sole person that I could be myself around and feel comfortable around. In terms of close family all I have left are my aunt and grandmother (my mom's sister and mother). They're not bad people, but I don't like being around them. I haven't in a long time. My aunt is rude, loud, obnoxious, doesn't listen, and to put it bluntly: my mom had the brains out of the two of them and it's not even close. My grandmother is kind of self-involved and takes everything too personally and no amount of trying to explain things to her will change it. Between the two of them you hear the same thing 20 times in a row, and I know that with each passing year my mom was getting sick of it but she had far more patience than I could ever hope to possess. Neither one of them appreciates and respects that I'm someone who needs space and on top of that they're kind of nosy; this has always been the case, not just recently. They're so overbearing and with my grandmother you can't even refuse to have an extra helping at the dinner table without her acting like you're doing it maliciously or without being asked if you want more/something else about a half dozen more times. I don't mean to whine so much but it's all so exhausting.

 

It's like I'm expected to babysit and entertain them otherwise it's interpreted that I don't care about their existence. My mom and I would talk about that a lot because she felt like she was in the same situation. I know that it might sound horrible, but I was always praying that my mom would be the last of the three of them to die. Not just because she's my mom and I wanted her around forever, but because now I'm going to be stuck in this weird spot for who knows long.

 

I'm stuck where they're living for at least the next few days and I'll have to make the trip to where they live at least a few times a year for things like Christmas and other holidays otherwise I'll never hear the end of things. I know that if my mom can see me now and read my thoughts she feels so bad that she left me alone haha. She understood. When we'd leave my grandma's house (it's about a 4 hour drive between there and where mom and I live) after staying even for a long weekend you could bet by the time that we drove to the end of the street I, and usually mom too, would be saying how we're glad "that's" over. If we were staying there for a week it felt like getting out of there was freedom, at least to me.

 

The point is that mom got me, and this is just one of those examples. As I've said, she was my friend. Mom was my confidant and she was the one who understood. She was better at being able to manage these things and at least my aunt and grandma would listen to her a bit because, frankly, they knew she was sharper than them and didn't need them for anything. Now they're (mostly my aunt) already acting more controlling as if now I'm expected to "do as they say" and do things their way as if at 29 I'm not my own person.

 

Part of me is afraid to go home because I think that then is when it'll completely hit me that I'm alone, but at the same time I just want to be back where I belong. It's about just over half a day until the funeral starts, less time for when I need to be out of the house to start heading there. Tomorrow is going to suck, it's going to be the last time that I see my mom's kind face in person, the last time I get to give her a kiss and touch her hand. I'll be extremely sad and broken up about it (not to imply for a moment that it isn't already the case) but part of me just wants things to be over with. I loathe the process of having to arrange things for her funeral. Even more than that I hate that she's gone. This shouldn't have had to happen for at least another decade. 70 isn't young but it's too young to die.

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12 hours ago, aluckyson said:

It keeps hitting me harder and harder how much I needed her around. She was the sole person that I could be myself around and feel comfortable around.

This is how I'm feeling, the fact is, there's no one else that CARES, no one else that fully KNOWS me and all my history, where we came from, etc.!

I miss her each and every day.  In spite of the stress of the dementia, being solely responsible for her, and with her disabilities, I'd do it all again and wish I had her back with me. :(

 

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13 hours ago, aluckyson said:

Part of me is afraid to go home

So if you're not home, where are you staying?

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7 hours ago, kayc said:

This is how I'm feeling, the fact is, there's no one else that CARES, no one else that fully KNOWS me and all my history, where we came from, etc.!

I miss her each and every day.  In spite of the stress of the dementia, being solely responsible for her, and with her disabilities, I'd do it all again and wish I had her back with me. :(

 

Yeah, I understand that feeling. My mom was of sound mind and everything but she had pretty messed up knees so getting around was a struggle. We did a lot for one another and I wish that could have continued even though it would've become become harder over time. It's not as if my grandma and my aunt don't know our history or anything, but THEIR way is the right way even when it's not. Without getting into details, it's particularly frustrating/funny when my aunt acts like that. I'm sure that if they ever watched me go to the bathroom it would be somehow not the proper way. Mom, like myself, wasn't very outgoing but she was very nice and very smart. She was someone where if you couldn't get along with her, that really says something about you and less about her. Mom and I could disagree or even bicker a little bit but it was always fine and we knew where we were coming from. With my aunt though? At least with me she acts like everything is a big deal (if you go against her) and gets to be an aggressive idiot and dealing with her gives me a headache.

7 hours ago, kayc said:

So if you're not home, where are you staying?

I'm at my grandmother's. She lives close to my aunt. I'll be there probably until the middle of next week. Then they're coming to what's now my place and I don't have much say in the matter. God only knows how long they plan to stay there when we get back; they want to start packing up her clothes and they want to put my mom's china in her cabinet that she never bothered to getting around to doing among other things. Don't get me wrong, it needs to be done but I'm already in need from a break from them. Mom used to be such a great mediator and a good voice of reason which made things so much less annoying. She was very different from them in so many good ways. Even if I wasn't so heavily biased, being her son and all, I think I'd still be saying it's a shame that she was the first to go.

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Mom's funeral was today and it went pretty well. Lots of people showed up but many opted not to because of Covid concerns. The weather cooperated which was really nice. It was windy and a bit cool, but the rain held off and the sun was out at the cemetery. The service was nice. I have to say though that I didn't really like how mom looked. I've been to open casket funerals before so I know that the person never really looks quite like themselves, but mom just looked off to me. They put a light bit of makeup on her too which I hadn't even thought about them doing (but understand why). For me it was weird since she never really wore makeup. Maybe for a wedding or something, but even to work she didn't wear any. I put the keychain I made as a kid that she always carried with her and a copy of a picture of myself that she had always kept in her office ever since I was little in her jacket pocket so they'll always be with her.

 

Lots of people from her work showed up which was nice. I knew there would be some since a few of them had known her for around 20 years. I even asked one of them awhile back to be a pall bearer and he agreed without hesitation which I expected. As planned I was one of them too. I thought I'd be on the side of the casket but they had me take the end of it. After that we had a luncheon at a nice resort for about an hour. I spent most of it catching up with a cousin that I hadn't seen in a long time which was nice. I expected the food to be a little different than it was, but it was fine.

 

I guess that I'm relieved that it's over. I told mom again how much I loved her and missed her. I laid a white rose on her before they closed the casket. I still can't believe how different she looked though, it's not how I want to remember her. I didn't cry nearly as much as I thought I might, I kept it together pretty well. Once I get to finally go home I think it'll start a fresh new round of blubbering though. I certainly don't feel any better about her being gone. Everything feels wrong, and I still feel very lost and alone. It's never going to feel right not being able to just go over to her and start a conversation or to have her call me from the office to see if I'd like a drink on her way home or what I'm planning for dinner. I think it'll take me awhile to start watching baseball again but I will. I'm very confident that I'm finished with watching Jeopardy! since I just loved watching it to play with her; same goes for TV bingo. The latter was only something we'd been doing for around a year so that doesn't hit as hard at least. The others were practically institutions in our home.

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I would firmly tell them "NO!! I'm not ready yet."  They'll run rampant over you until you put your foot down.  Nothing I hate worse than people pushing grievers to do/be THEIR way!  It sends me into protective mode.  

I'm so glad the funeral went well and the weather cooperated too!  I don't think a dead person ever really looks like themselves.  I didn't get to see Peggy.  The sheriff had her hauled off to the most expensive crematory without consulting us where, it cost more than double what we paid for when Bert died 1 1/2 years ago.  

Remember your mom how she was, not the last sight of her dead.  When my husband died, it was so obvious he was gone from his body.  It's like, where did HE go???  He brought so much vibrance, he was so full of life.

I know what you mean, I have siblings that know where I came from, but not in the same way Peggy did, we talked about EVERYTHING, childhood and all.  I have one sister that gets upset easily and another that is more superficial, and my brother has pretty much become his wife's family, so no one else to talk to that gets me or cares, my kids have their own lives, rarely contact me, never come here.

Some rituals are just gone forever.  Like taking Kodie to see his aunt Peggy (my puppy), the loved each other!  It dawned on me, after everything is sold, I won't have that place to go back to, she lived there nearly 50 years.

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Been thinking about her lots today, not that I haven't been thinking about her every day. Early yesterday morning would have been 10 days since she died. The day after tomorrow will have been a whole week since her funeral. Across from me in a glass is a single white rose that I took from the display that was on top of her casket. I plan to preserve it as something to remember her by.

 

There's still so much that I have to have done regarding her affairs (which also affect me). The house needs to be re-appraised, I still need to have my own will made, her bank accounts haven't been resolved yet, etc. I still haven't been home in over a week and that's where I want (and kind of need) to be. Not that it was ever lost on me before, but it's crazy to think just how often I'd speak with her even if it was about nothing that important. There are so many times every day that I'll read/hear/see something and talk to her about it and now I can't. I'd do just about anything to be able to do it again.

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I'm feeling you...I told my puppy "Aunt Peggy is gone!" and it suddenly hit him!  He looked stunned and put his paw on me firmly and looked intently into my eyes, he did it again, and again!  I knew he finally realized it.  I held him and told him we would see her again but it'd be a LONG time, when we're done here.  So hard.  He adored her, and her him.

This whole legal thing is a long drawn out complicated process, if it's settled in a year we'll be lucky.  Ugh.

Meanwhile going through other things, my daughter's divorce is getting dismissed because her (soon-to-not-be-after-all ex) didn't pick up his mail at the address they shared when they filed it, he made her leave and they kept thinking it'd go through but the courts stopped everything for two years because of Covid.  Sometimes lawyers are worth hiring.

Too much stress.  I hope you can get back home soon, where you'll feel familiar and comfortable, you can talk to her any time you want.

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I got back home on the 22nd. The last two days have been cleaning from around mid-morning to the later afternoon. It's been really hard. I hate it but truthfully the house does look better and my mom would agree. It still feels wrong though, getting rid of things even the old things feel a little like throwing away bits of her if that makes sense. My mom had many talents and was a super smart woman, but perhaps her most underrated quality was her ability to pack. Believe me, unpacking these boxes has convinced me that if you had put her to it she'd have been able to neatly pack an SUV into a shoebox. The problem is that she did move a lot of, frankly, junk, from our old house (we left in 2015) to the new one and then we got lazy about it. So much old computer stuff including manuals, old recipes (my mom probably hadn't made anything more than some cereal in over half a decade since I took over cooking duties,) and other stuff; not to mention old books and clothes. I occasionally semi-jokingly chided my mother about how when she died she was going to leave me with a lot of junk to have to deal with, and she rolled her eyes and told me no, she wouldn't because we'd get to it "soon." Unfortunately I was right about what would come to pass, and I know both mom and I thought we'd have more time to actually get to work on this stuff.

 

I've had some moments where I've kind of broken down, but I've mostly been holding it together. I think once I'm finally alone again and my family leaves that's when I can really let it out. Mom's still on my mind all of the time, virtually ever second. I've been doing some super sentimental (maybe a little weird lol) things like driving her car to some spots that have been important to us (like her office parking spot, the general spot at an arena where I practiced learning to drive with her, etc.) and taking pics.

 

The people at her office where she worked are pretty upset too about her passing. It's a small, very reputable business and my mom has dealt with tons of people over the years and knew her industry about as well as anyone could. My family member who owns it says that he's gotten so many calls and messages from people shocked and saddened to hear about my mom. I've been to her office a few times since she passed since everyone knows me and I would come in sometimes. I've say in her office and it makes me sad. It was like a second home to her and she loved being there (even on the days that she said she wanted to tear her hair out due to frustration lol).

 

I also went down the street today and told a neighbour who knew mom and I (through sports mostly) especially when I was a kid and he was stunned; he, like everyone else, almost at the start mentioned how smart my mom was. It makes me happy to hear that because I know more than anyone that it's not some filler comment, it's the truth. I told our closest neighbour's son (who we have never really met since he's mostly there helping his elderly father) and he had no idea either and said his condolences.

 

There's still a bunch of things left to do: my aunt and grandmother want to have a yard sale still which I'm fine with, but they're not really respecting my wishes about how I want stuff left; they're rearranging drawers and moving things and I'm going to just start making things my way again kind of once they're gone. Still need to make up my will, have mom's bank details/accounts dealt with, the house transferred to me officially, etc. Still need to have all the bills transferred to me too now (yay).

 

I talk to her every day still. I probably seem crazy but I often say under my breath or just in my head that I'm sorry and I hope I'm not throwing anything she really wanted kept out or putting it in the yard sale pile. Hopefully she'd be happy with things for the most part. I'm still dreading when I have to drive her vehicle for the last time. It not being in the garage ever again might hurt the most when the time comes.

 

Edit: got in a very heated argument after my grandmother (the executor of mom's will) kept calling what I wanted/didn't want to do "stupid". Got to the point where she made a thinly veiled threat that she can just sell mom's house on me. The minute that we're finished with all of the legal/financial things cannot come fast enough.

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I understand, I feel that way about Peggy, I just want her back.  Her place isn't in order now, everything in the middle of...tossing/readying to sell, etc, nothing where it should be.  Her place has always been full (as is mine) but even cluttered there was an order to it, you knew where everything was, now things pulled out, strewn about, I don't like it.  I may quit going there.  I asked my brother if he got the mail....he doesn't reply to my messages so I may just step back.  I have no control, I am used to taking care of her, being in charge, this is a new role for me.

It's different with you, you live there.  They were readying it for you to live there, not sure why, it's your place, YOU live there, not them!  Weird to me.

Peggy would be happy giving some of her special things to whom they held meaning.  I think she'd be pleased I rescued their framed photos of their dog Polly, she wouldn't want them disregarded, discarded like trash, she felt about Polly like I do Arlie.  I honor Polly for Peggy...and Bert.  And I miss Bert just as much as Peggy.  It's like the end of a legacy.  Oh God, the memories!

I'm glad the people at her job loved your mom.  I didn't get that at my last place I worked, no one appreciated you or showed respect, all young people, no baby boomer work ethic, drizzle into work at 10 instead of 8, when they're paid to be there.  I have to fault my boss, it starts at the top, if he'd given me the authority (as I had every other place I worked), I'd have changed that!  Some young folk have work ethic (my kids do!) but not these.  I liked the work I did, not the environment.

14 hours ago, aluckyson said:

she made a thinly veiled threat that she can just sell mom's house on me.

No, she cannot, she is legally bound to stick to your mom's will, and you could sue the hell out of her if she pulled that!  It's an empty threat, do not listen to her, in one ear, out the other!  These people are overbearing, and toxic, I am sorry, I know it's your family.  Family isn't always easy, especially when they don't show respect to you..  :(

I like that you talked to a neighbor, I've talked to many of Peggy's too, they all knew and loved her.

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Right now is probably the hardest part of the day. It's a Friday, three weeks (as of early this morning) that mom died. Usually she'd have come home from her office about 5 minutes ago; I would hear the garage door go up, the car would pull in about 10 seconds later, about 10 seconds after that I'd hear the door go down, and I'd go out to grab her purse and bag for her. Her car is still there in the garage, but there's just silence once again. No talk about our day or how busy work was.

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I passed one month for Peggy this week, it doesn't seem possible I've survived a month without her.  It all seems surreal.  I know it does for you with your mom too.  It's hard to grasp how they can be there all our lives and then just not?!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Mother's Day wasn't as difficult as I expected it to be. Not sure why really. One of the things that we (almost) always did on weekends for many years now would be to go to Tim Hortons, get breakfast/lunch and bring it back to the house to eat. With Mother's Day being on a Sunday this year I decided to go and do that, but I took her vehicle - I decided beforehand that it'll be the last time that I go there driving her vehicle before it's sold. I figured that not only was it good that it would be done during the weekend as tradition had it for us, but also on Mother's Day.

 

For whatever reason though I found the next day to be rough and then the following one too, but slightly lesser. I haven't really been breaking down much or anything lately, but those two evenings were exceptions. I can't believe that it's been over a month now that she's gone. I think right now it's worse with the days being longer and the weather being nicer. My mom always hated the cold and she always hated how it got dark so early in the winter. As I think I said in an earlier post, the last full "normal" day that she ever had (meaning, waking up at home, going to work, etc.) was near the end of March, and while the sun certainly was out more it was -9 Celsius that morning and probably around +5 when I brought her home. For the last week or so it's been consistently around +20 and nothing but sun everyday. Mom wasn't really one to sit outside or anything much, but she'd be so happy right now with that.

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I love your way of honoring her on Mother's Day.  Peggy wasn't my mom (sister) but her and sister Polly helped fill in the gaps my mom left in raising me (my mom was mentally ill, not a good mom), they were there all my life, esp. close to Peggy as she lived here, great listener, etc.  I credit how I turned out to my sisters!  They gave me my healthy self esteem.  Not having her here this last 1 1/2 months has been rough, I feel like you and I are walking this journey together.  I miss taking Kodiie down there.  I'd take him down there with me to just sit in her house but everything is in disarray as my brother has been through it assessing things, etc. so not everything in it's place as she had it.  Her place was cluttered (like mine) but she knew where everything was, just as I do.  It doesn't resemble her home anymore to me.

Wow, it's cold where you live, where are you, Canada?  You mention Celsius instead of Fahrenheit so I assume you're not in the US.

I think your mom would be pleased with how you "celebrated" Mother's Day with her.

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7 hours ago, kayc said:

I credit how I turned out to my sisters!  They gave me my healthy self esteem.  Not having her here this last 1 1/2 months has been rough

It's good that you had good sisters. I'm an only child, don't have much in the way of close family, never knew my dad much (he wasn't a good guy and wasn't really interested in being around anyway even for visitations after my mom left him). It's certainly very rough not having someone around that you're so used to having especially since my mom was basically all I've ever had.

7 hours ago, kayc said:

so not everything in it's place as she had it.  Her place was cluttered (like mine) but she knew where everything was, just as I do.  It doesn't resemble her home anymore to me.

Our house is similar in that there's clutter, but managed. Fortunately it's not a super big house so it's not like you have to search a dozen rooms if you're having problems finding something lol.

7 hours ago, kayc said:

Wow, it's cold where you live, where are you, Canada?  You mention Celsius instead of Fahrenheit so I assume you're not in the US.

Yep, Ontario. It's another warm day today (23 degrees Celsius/about 73 Fahrenheit). Give it about another 6 weeks and every day almost will be in the 30 degree range which I loathe lol.

7 hours ago, kayc said:

I think your mom would be pleased with how you "celebrated" Mother's Day with her.

I hope so. Since she's passed I still usually go and put her TV on during Blue Jays games most days when they're playing, too. Just little things like that.

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It's amazing how much effort it takes to raising a child to where they turn out right, kudos to her!

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