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Hi, I’m new here so if I've done something wrong please tell me. I would very much appreciate that.

About a month ago my mother died and my life has seemed to take a completely unexpected and drastic turn for the worst.

For starters: my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in October of last year and was immediately treated and eventually "cured" about a few months after. However, we were told that to be completely sure of the eradication of the cancer, Chemo would be a wise and solid decision. This is where the trouble started.

Taking the regulated medication in concurrence with her chemotherapy, ma started to become extremely inebriated and as a result, had to miss a lot of work. My sister and I had to miss a lot of school to stay home and take care of her, making sure that she didn’t hurt herself.

One day, after not eating anything for a long time, she finally asked for some milkshakes. My sister and I made her about three or four and she seemed to take to them quite well. She lay down and went to sleep. Over the next few hours we would check up on her and she would only respond with a low moan of "OK". But when we went in to check on her for the fourth time she wouldn’t answer and could only moan. Immediately I called my grandfather asking him to come over to help thinking she had overdosed on her medication. After a few more vain attempts of waking her we called an ambulance and took her to the hospital where we were told she was in a diabetic coma.

I didn’t (and still don’t) know how to receive his information. I put my own mother into a diabetic coma with all of those milkshakes that she drank. We later learned that she had (as a result of the intoxicating meds) stopped taking her insulin on a regular basis.

She died the morning after.

The hardest thing to live with is the knowledge that I basically killed my own mother. I can’t go to sleep at night without having horrible nightmares of what her face looked like that morning in the hospital.

The week after that nightmare in the hospital my sister and I took our senior exit exams in high school and graduated. It was hard not having her there.

Right after that our grandfather thought it best to move out of the house. I personally had no problem with this as I didn’t want to be near those memories anymore.

We moved to an apartment complex about twenty minutes away from our home and have been here ever since.

It was also the idea of our grandfather that we start college right away. This I and my sister were extremely opposed to. We feel trapped and overburdened, and everyone I tell that to has said the same thing; “suck it up.” I know I’m supposed to be strong but I can’t help feeling tired and lonely. I’m thinking about dropping out for the semester and going sometime after Christmas, getting a job in the meantime.

I need your help because I’m lost. My only friend and only mother has died and I have to live with the fact that it is my fault. I’m in a really shity apartment with my sister starting college nearby which I’m not yet ready for and I’m getting nowhere.

Please help someone.

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Northern Duke,

You are not to blame for your mothers death. You did not know she wasn't taking her insulin. When someone won't eat, you are thrilled when they want something, so you gave her what she wanted. You were helping her and the fact that she went into a diabetic coma is not your fault. I can't stress this enough. Under such difficult circumstances, we do the best we can, and I want to applaud you for taking care of your mom. There are many kids who won't and especially at your age. You are a son that any mom would be proud to have and I'm sure your mom was proud of you.

As far as starting college so soon, I agree with you. You need some time to heal. I hope you can make your grandfather understand this. But I'm also glad you have a grandfather that seems to be looking out for the two of you. After the death of someone so close to you, who you love so much, it takes time to come to grips with it, so do what you think you can and don't push yourself. It's time now for you to take care of your emotions.

Again, I want to commend you for the care you gave your mom. And believe me, all of us who have taken care of a loved one have made mistakes, so don't feel guilty. And in your case you had no idea it was the wrong thing to do, so you have absolutely nothing to feel guilty about. Hang in there, welcome to the board, and come back and share your feelings.

Hugs to you and your sister,


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Thank you so much.

It's been so long since I've spoken to someone, and I've never mentioned to anyone what I've written. I can’t tell you how much this means to me.

However there is something that I neglected to mention that I am very puzzled about.

Ever since that morning in the hospital I have been curiously bereft of feeling. Initially I didn’t know what to feel and then I just didn’t feel at all. I have yet to cry about my mother, although it's been about four months since her death, and I feel so evil for what I did (even though I didn’t mean to do it). And now I can’t even cry for her. My Grandfather recently lost his sister and ever since this whole episode of death in our small family, I've been concentrating all of my energy on trying not to upset him or my sister.

Why don’t I feel?

What's happening?

Edited by northern duke
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Northern Duke

I am so sorry about your mom. I agree with the other posts here, you are in no way to blame for your mom's death. You had no idea, and were only trying to help her. I remember during my mom's illness I would have done anything to get her to eat, I would make anything or drive anywhere to get her something. So, I am sure you were glad she was drinking the shakes. Do not blame yourself.

I know right after my mom died, I was completely numb, and in shock. You have so much to deal with I would imagine you too are in shock and that's why you aren't feeling anything right now. You will.

Take care of yourself and keep posting here, this site has helped me so much.

There are wonderful people here.

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My dear Duke,

As I read your heartbreaking story, several thoughts come to mind. First, I join with all the other members of our Grief Healing family in expressing my deepest sympathy to you and your sister for the death of your mother, and I cannot imagine the depth of your loss. I’m so very sorry.

Next, I agree completely with Annie’s observation that the reason you’re “curiously bereft of feeling” is because you’re still in that initial state of shock and numbness that most of us feel in the aftermath of an unexpected and catastrophic loss. It’s a defense mechanism, and it is normal and healthy, because it is Nature’s way of protecting you from the full force of a reality that everything in you does not want to accept. Think of it this way: There is no denying that your mother is dead, and certainly you are not denying that fact ~ but it is a reality that you must take in and swallow gradually, in smaller bites, to prevent yourself from choking on it, and it is something you must digest over time, as your mind and body gradually adjust to it. Grief is not a single event in time, it is a process that takes place over time, and this loss of your mother will take days and months and even years for you to process. Eventually you will discover that grief happens on its own time frame, too ~ We cannot force it, we cannot skip it or avoid it, and we cannot hurry our way through it. It takes as long as it takes, and it is different for everybody.

The guilt that you are feeling for whatever part you think you played in your mother’s death is real, and none of us here will try to take it away from you or try to talk you out of it. The simple fact is that guilt is a feeling, and you simply cannot control how you feel. You can, however, take a look at the guilt you are feeling and ask yourself whether it is justified. You say you’ve never mentioned to anyone what you’ve written here, Duke, and I suppose that means you’ve been carrying around this deep, dark secret that, if anyone found out the truth, they would know that you’re some sort of murderer. One of the advantages of sharing your secret here is that now you’ve acknowledged it, expressed it, and exposed it to the light of day, where others of us can help you look at it more objectively. This can help to relieve you of an enormous burden. Let me assure you that you are not a murderer, you did not kill your mother, and just because you are feeling guilty about the circumstances surrounding your mother’s death, it does not mean that you are, in fact, guilty as charged. There simply was no way for you to know that your mother had not been taking her insulin regularly; that was discovered after the fact. Her death was caused by her disease, not by you.

Nevertheless, you are left with all this guilt, and what are you supposed to do with it? I think it helps to know that feelings are not always rational, and they’re not always justified ~ they just are, and one of the best ways to figure out what they mean is to discuss them openly with others ~ others who will listen objectively and not pass judgment on you. Sometimes when we are mourning the death of a loved one, it’s hard to know exactly what we are feeling, because grief is so foreign and confusing and frightening, especially if we’ve had no prior experience with it – and so it helps tremendously to talk with someone who will help us identify and sort through all of our reactions. It also helps to know something about normal grief, because so many of a human being’s reactions to loss are typical and therefore predictable, which means we can anticipate many of those reactions and learn from others how to manage them, at least to some extent.

How do you learn about normal grief? By reading articles and books about grief, by participating in an online discussion group like this one (which exposes you to others who automatically understand what you’re going through because they’re in mourning, too, and their reactions are similar to yours), by being with other young adults your age who’ve suffered the death of a parent (such as in an “in person” support group), and by talking with a grief counselor.

I also agree with Shell and Annie that dealing with your grief at the death of your mother should be your number one priority now. We often say here that grief work is some of the hardest work you’ll ever have to do, and it requires an enormous amount of energy ~ which leaves precious little left over for something as major as your first semester as a college student. Your thinking about dropping out for a semester makes sense to me under the circumstances, and I encourage you to find someone you trust with whom you can talk this over. Your grandfather may not be the most objective person to discuss this with right now. Keep in mind that, much as you love your grandfather, he is in mourning too, and each of you has suffered a different loss. You have lost your mother (and your aunt), but he is mourning the death of his adult daughter (and his sister, too) and he may be feeling overly responsible for you and your sister’s future. You in turn are feeling ovely responsible for and protective toward your sister and your grandfather. As you say, you’ve been concentrating all your energy on not upsetting either one of them ~ but the best way you can help them with their grief, Duke, is to take care of your own grief, first. You’ve taken the first step by coming to this site and sharing your story with us. That took a tremendous amount of courage, and it tells me that you are a good, decent, honest young man ~ and you have everything you need inside of you to survive this. You are not alone. You will make it through this, and we will be here to walk beside you as you do.

Wishing you peace and healing,

Marty T

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Dear everyone,

I thank you all from the bottom of my heart and wish you all the best.

It simply can’t be conveyed enough just how deeply I appreciate your help. I have never been an open person and have always been very reserved and lonely, which is why I am so overcome by this caring community. It means so much to me to have you all, since I have been without you all most of my life.

What would make me feel even better would be to share and to help in all of this community's issues (as you have done for me).

I have been reading many things on this wonderful forum and just don’t know where to begin or how to help. When any of you need help, please ask me.

It would mean the world to me.

Thank you all so much

The Duke.

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Our friend Duke.....My heart goes out to you. As everyone says, it's not your fault, what happened, but your feelings are real and hard to deal with. You didn't know and were doing everything you could to help your mother. You do have a such a wonderful life ahead of you and with the compassion you have it will turn out to be a very good life. You could be my grandson and it is great that your grandfather is watching out for you. I am so very sorry what you two are going through. It's extremely tough, especially for someone so young. I sure don't know what your solution about college is but sometimes it helps to be busy and keeping your mind active. You will feel these feelings, they'll come and go, but you do need to take care of yourself and, again, I'm so sorry. I do hope you'll keep in touch with us. We do understand and know what you're going through...each in our own ways. Take care of yourself, Duke, and your sister. Just give her a big hug.

Your friend....Karen

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Duke, I am so sorry about the loss of your mother. It was absolutely NOT your fault that she passed when she did. It was just the way it went...and I'm sure that it is hard for you to understand that.

As far as "not feeling", I cried during the time when we know that mom was dying and I cried after for a little while. Here and there I would cry, but it wasn't until about 6 weeks later that the world crashed around me and I was experiencing real grief. It's all a process and we all have different ways and times of goint through. Don't be so hard on yourself. You are grieving even if you aren't crying about it.

And I was so suprised to see how a couple readers in the "spouse" grieving community took your post. They probably hadn't seen your posts in this community about "losing a parent" and assumed something different. I'm sorry about that for you.

Take care...Lori

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As I mentioned in the other forum, our pastor said something that really stuck with me. "Listen quickly, speak slowly. We have two ears that were made "open" and one mouth that was made "shut." It's a good thing for us all to remember.

.....Your friend, Karen :rolleyes:;)

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Dear Duke:

I had read your post when I first joined the group - guess there was little I could say to ease your feelings. Until today.

My Mom was on a feeding tube since last year, and I became even her nurse learning about feeding, medicating and hydrating through the tube...She could swallow but refused. Mom passed away less than two weeks ago with pneumonia listed as the cause. There was alot of congestion in her the last day of her life.

Ironically, last week my father required a feeding tube. Today, at nursing home, I discussed his hydration and based on what he's getting, I'm getting the impression that Mom may have gotten a tad too much water in later weeks - on doc's orders - but upping the cc's of hydration plus added water following meds as prescribed, I now wonder did we cause the congestion? I know we followed orders, and Mom had serious other problesm, but can't help but sympathize with you now - and I just had to post.

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  • 1 month later...

Dear Christian,

It was sad to read about your current situation, as it hit me close to home. I know exactly how you feel, it's almost as if the world just turned around and kicked you in the ass. Not to say it lightly but that's how it works, these things unfortunately hit us hard when we are least ready for them. One thing you must remember none of this is your fault, so get the thoughts of " i killed my own mother" out of your head as those thoughts will bring you nothing but more pain. Their were definitely times where i would think, i wish i had said that or did that with my dad. This thinking lead myself on a path for destruction, dont let people tell you to "suck it up" as we all heal differently. Especially if this comment is coming from someone who has not been exposed to death, because they cannot relate, your body will let you know when it is ready, however i do believe your grandfather is right, that you should probably be in college right away, yes it will be tough but it will help you to perservere and become stronger. When i lost my father, i was 19 i was in my first semester of college i had, like yourself missed some class to help him out around the house i dont regret missing school but i can say i am glad i stuck with it for i feel stronger than most others now and more mature. The loss of a parent is a very hard thing but try taking a different approach to your days, like what would my mother of wanted me to do?, or how can i help out and be strong for my sister?

And believe me Christian, their were tough times at first but i got intouch with some similar people who had been around disease and death, and it opened my eyes. In all honesty i couldnt tell you a week goes by without thinking of my father, but i like to remember the good times.

School can be a form of healing, When the world gets tough i like to think get tough and smile back at the world.

The toughts about killing your mother, well she as you said took aliking to those milkshakes, well would you have really told her no you cant have one if she had asked. Dont dwell in the past try to shed light on the future and be there for the ones around you. I know it is a tough thing to do especially at your age but I promise you Christian, the sooner you look past the negative aspects of your life the sooner you will be back on your feet and ready to start healing. In some last words i can only say i hope for you to have some positive light in the near future and i am deeply sorry to hear of you loss.

Also if you wish to talk, i would be more than willing to hear what you have to say (480) 634-0951



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Dear Christian,

I am very sorry for your loss.

Fifteen years ago, i lost my father through a very terrible way of dying. He was murdered brutally. Reading your post now brought back a lot of emotions. I remember those early months, i felt so numb, and very angry with the man who killed him. At a young age of 14, i saw the ugliness and brutality of the world. It was very traumatic for me.

But as months pass by, my relationship with God grew, and I was able to forgive and pray for the man who murdered him. It was hard at first, but by letting go of the anger, i found peace again.

I miss my father so much. How i wish he is with me now to comfort me during my darkest moments, how i wish i can feel his hugs again. Life can really be pretty cruel, but we have to go on.

Hang in there Christian. Whenever i feel guilty, whenever i find myself thinking of 'should haves', i just have to think that our loved ones will never want us to feel guilty in any way. You have showned your mother how much u love her. When my mother got sick and wont eat, i got really scared and will do everything to make her eat. You have done the best thing that you could at that time.

I will keep you in my prayers Christian.

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