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10 Years..


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First let me introduce myself, my name is Lucia and I'm 16.

My mom passed when I was 6 almost 10 years ago, in December 27, 1998. Sometimes I feel like she died yesterday, my brother, dad and I haven't been over it yet. And it has been almost 10 years, 10 years in which I have to go through life without a mom, 10 years of confusion.

Sometimes I blame myself for it, she was diagnosed with Adult Neuroblastoma, which is VERY rare in adults as only 10% of Neuroblastoma cases occurs in adults. My mom had to be one of the 10%. I blame myself becuase she was diagnosed when I was 3 months old. Sometimes I wonder if I hadn't been born she wouldn't have gotten this rare cancer. And I'm not saying this because other people have told me, I just don't know. My dad says I'm being silly, that what happened to mom is not my fault. That it just happened.

Well, she fought with this beast for 6 years, Going in very short remissions and relapses during those years. I grew up in a hospital, most of my baby pictures with my mom are when she was recieving treatments. But she was wonderful anyways, I remember that she had the most calming voice ever, I remember her smile, I remember the last time we spoke, it was Christmas day 1998, she fell into a coma hours later and died 2 days later. Her last words to me where "Baby, please promise me you'll never forget me, please promise that you'll keep me close to your heart". I was just 6 years old, and I was just upset, I knew that she was going, but at the same time I couldn't understand. But I'll always keep my promise. And to this day I haven't failed. I think about her everyday. I try to remember the good times, but also the sad times come to my mind.

That Christmas she gave my dad, brother and I a special present, she called it "memory present", she gave me a beautiful scrapbook, that she filled through the years with pictures and poems she wrote to me. In the end she left me a beautiful but haunting message. I couldnt understand when I was younger, but now I just love to see the scrapbook to read all those beautiful words.

I remember the day she died with great sadness, everything in the house was just strange that day. The morning of Decmber 27 was full of emotions, my brother and I where watching everything from the doorway, my dad was there beside my mom, crying over her body. I didn't knew what was going on but I was crying. I was standing there crying, just that, crying.

I knew that my mom had "gone to heaven" when my brother ran into the room crying and yelling, my mom to wake up, but she didn't she wasn't even moving, she was dead. I was afraid, very afraid.

10 years later, I feel the same. I don't have my mom and I need her. I see my friends with their moms and I just hate them, becuase I don't have mine. Becuase mine died 10 years ago and I'm still not over it. My brother became this cold young person that doesnt care that much about things, he doesnt talk to dad that much anymore, he only talks to me. I'm close to my dad and grandparents, they're the only persons I have left.

My mom was the youngest of 3 siblings, she was 28 years old, she had a life ahead of her. She was supposed to be the one to bury her parents, not the other way around, we were supposed to bury her, yes, but no that soon.

My mom taught me a lot of things, she taught me to be nice and honest, she taught me to be respectful, she taught me to love myself, she taught me to love my herritage and she loved to follow traditions, she was American of Dutch/Mexican ancestry, she mixed the 3 of them. She loved traveling when she was healthy. We had the chance to go to Spain(my dad is Spainiard), a month before her final relapse, we had a great time.

Still, I find myself yelling "Mom", when I get home from school, and yelling again just to find out that she's not there, and she hasn't been for 10 years. Everything smells like her still, everything. Sometimes I look over at the places she loved around the house and I see her, and I blink and she's gone.

10 years and I fill that I need to get over it before this destroys me, before it destroys all of us.

My dad dated 2 women years after my mom died, but no, none can replace my mom, she was one of a kind, and my dad doesnt seem to want another woman in his life.

I like to stare at the big picture of her at her wedding, and it scares me when I look in the mirror, it saddens everyone. I look just like her.

I remember her in her better self, she was tall, pale, thin, with wavy light brown hair and green eyes,. My uncle says that they used to tease her becuase of her "chinese eyes", and that they tease her telling that she was adopted. Also, he told me how much she hated her ears, and that when I was born she said that I was cursed with the big ear syndrome .

I just want to listen to her voice again, telling me that she's fine, I wish she can take all my pain away. My brother's and my dad's pain also. I want her to know how much I miss and need her.

I just want to tell her I love her.

But also I just want to let her rest, I feel that I haven't, I feel that my brother and I haven't let my mom go in peace. We cry daily for her, we just cant help it, we were so young. We love to look at pictures of us when we where kids becuase she was there, and even though she was sick, she showed us a smile.

I hope she's happy with us, but I doubt it. I bet she's sad, I bet she wouldn't have liked to see me destroyed and depressed. My friends tell me to get over it but I can't and they don't understand. They don't understand how hard it was for me witness my mom fading away slowly. To see her getting weaker and weaker each day. They don't understand what it is, to be living with only one part of your heart, while the other was buried ten years ago.

They didn't had to wake up to listen to their mom crying, and kneeling by their beds, begging to god not to let her go, begging to god for a miracle. They don't know.

So in a couple of days, it will her death aniversary and we're having a "Remembering day" for her in her hometown. Boulder, CO. This will be a hell of a Christmas, again.

Thanks for listening, and im sorry that this was way too long.

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Oh Lucia (((((((Hugs))))))

I'm so very sorry about your Mom honey. No.. of course you aren't "over it". What your friends may not understand is that there really is NO 'getting over it'. I have found there is only learning to live our own life journey here without them physically present. Missing them?? I think that will be always be.

And for you.. being just a wee lil gal of 6 when you lost her... your grief is even more unique. I think kids process losses in increments that they can handle. Little by little. And as a child grows their understanding of loss obviously changes. So for you... each new milestone you reach... each new goal you accomplish.. each bitter disappointment that weighs on your heart... you are missing her. And at each age the missing itself even changes... so sometimes it feels even deeper than it did earlier in your life. I think that would be normal hon. So I'm not surprised that you hurt so very much right now.

And of course... Christmas will be bittersweet for you. It's her anniversary and "the most wonderful time of the year" by the world's standards. So that alone is tough to handle and balance.

Do you talk to Mom at all? I talk to my Mom all of the time and I'm old enough to be your Mom and then some. I listen with my heart. It's hard for all of us when they pass... we must learn a different language to communicate with them.

Your Mom loves you still because I'm sure you have heard before.. Love Never Dies. I believe that the bodies of those we have lost, exists no more... but everything else that was the "essence" of them.. is alive. I invite my Mom along with me all of the time. I still need my Mom too.

I ask her to come with me to things that are important to me or to our kids. I ask her to be with us on special occasions and yes... even holidays.

No.. it isn't the same.. and yes I still cry and probably will always cry sometimes with missing her. But that only means she loved me well and I her.

What I have is a relationship that has changed.... not ended. That's how I put feet to the floor in the morning and go on. I keep working on that relationship and that new communication. And.. I have a long way to go yet to be good at it.

I don't doubt your Mom is very proud of you ... still. No I don't think she would be upset at all with you. Hon if you are sad... that's normal. Mom knows that too. If you feel sad and are missing her that's all normal... yes even now.

Now if you are feeling bad about you??? That might be something else other than grief. And you might want to consider going to a grief group or some counselling. There is no shame in that. We ALL need help from time to time. I doubt your Mom would want you feeling bad about yourself. But I bet she understands that you just miss her awful.

Your post wasn't way too long and perhaps coming here and posting more may lighten your burden a bit. We are all here for ya and "get it". The fact that it has been ten years... and you still miss her?? Probably not surpising to anyone here.

So if you feel better talking to us.. please come on back and share some more.

And don't forget.. your sharing helps Us too.

I'll be keeping you and your brother and dear Dad in my thoughts as we go through the next lil bit. And I'm so glad that you and your brother have the close type of relationship that you can talk to each other.. I can't imagine how much your Mom LOVES that. xo

leeann

PS Your tribute to Mom is lovely Lucia.... and she was a beautiful woman... so you must be beautiful outside as well as inside too.

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Lucia,

Your post brought lots of tears to my eyes. I too, lost my mom to a very rare form of uterine cancer that accounts for only 2% of all gynecological cancers. I ask myself all the time too, why her?? I am not sure I know how to comfort you at this time as I lost my mom just 3 short weeks ago. But I just wanted to tell you that I believe your feelings are completely normal, you were just a child when you lost her and you sound like a wonderful person. Have faith that your mom is near you, as I am sure she is. I will pray for you and your family at this difficult time and I am glad you have found this website. I believe it will help you through this. Take good care.

Amy

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Thanks for replying leeann.

I feel like I'm grieving backwards. The older I become, I miss her more and more, the older I become it gets harder.

The magic of Christmas died when my mom died, you know this year my dad and I put the Christmas tree in our house for the first time since she died. We couldnt stop crying during the whole thing. She loved to make ornaments, looking at them makes me cry because I remember when she was doing them. She was really creative.

I talk to her everyday, its weird sometimes I feel that she's beside me and I turn around and she's not there. Bit her prescence is so strong, not only in our house but everywhere. I take her with me everywhere I go and it hurts A LOT.

I know she loves me I know, but I'll love to listen to her voice telling me that. I'll love to feel her embrace again. I'll love to listen to her laughter. She had a very peculiar laughter you know.

I catched my brother watching a home video of Christmas Day 1997, the best Christmas if you ask me. She was healthy and dazzling. My dad used to videotape EVERYTHING lol. So we where having breakfast I think, yes I think we were becuase I was in my pyjamas. So, I was telling my bro that he should share his toys with me so I said "Remember Leon(my brother's name) everything of yours is mine and everything of mine is.." my mom interrupted and said "Yours, everything of mine is yours" I giggled and said "Mommy dont be silly! Everything of mine IS mine!" And she laughed.

I just miss her laughter, I would give everything just to listen to her laughter again.

But still she's always in my heart and will always be.

I've tried counseling but it didnt worked, I guess no one can help us with this pain. You know she lasted so long with this disease. When she was diagnosed they gave her 15% chance of survival to 1 to 2 years max. She survived six. Why? I didnt knew why before, she suffered so much, especially during the first two years, she had complications during surgery, and her chemo. But she lingered.

I found her diaries when I was 12 and it was to tempting. I read them like a beautiful piece of literature. I couldnt stop crying when I read that unleast she wanted to see me start first grade and she did. She died 3 months later.

She was stronger than any of us.

I feel that my mom wouldnt like me to be this sad. I mean I see that some people move on, but me?. There's this girl in school that lost her mom too and she's different or maybe she doesnt make her sadness as obvious as me.

My bro and I have always been close, I love that guy even though he can be a little immature and I have to keep him under control. He's agreat guy I dont know what I'll do without my big bro. But I envy him becuase he had more time with my mom. He was 9 when she died.

THankyou, actually that was one of her last pictures, it was taken November 28, 1998 days before she died. Yes, my mom was a beauitful woman but nah, she had her special beauty that I dont have.

Thankyou again leeann

Thanks Amy and hugs to you.

Yes, sometimes I wonder why my mom had to be one of that 10% of adults with Neuroblastoma, it's just so unfair.

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Oh Lucia this being the 1st time you all were able to put up your Christmas tree makes this an especially hard time for missing and remembering.

Again that's to be expected hon.

I'm so glad you feel Mom strongly around at times. No.. it isn't the same as hearing her voice... but then again because your Dad was SO good at videotaping everything.. at least you can always view those if you are feeling up to that.

I hear you saying that you feel you haven't moved on... but maybe you are not seeing all the ways you have lived your life well despite having lost your Mom at such a young age. Have you looked at everything you have accomplished? Have you seen where you have been successful either in school or at home? Do you see how well and how close you are with your brother??? All of these things are you, living your life well, even though you are doing it it all without Mom physically here. You have gone on. Just because you are feeling your grief especially hard right now doesn't mean you haven't moved on. No.. not at all.

ALL of us are different. Yes even that gal at school. Yes we have all lost our parents but we all grieve in our own ways and at our own pace. I have found it is really unproductive for me to compare my grief with someone else's. No one else had the relationship with my Mom that I had. No one... not even my sister. So my grief will be different and entirely unique from everyone else's grief. And so yours will be that unique as well.

Do you see what I mean?

Plus the gal at school probably has similiar pain but may not show it etc. Ya never know what is going on inside of someone else... unless they tell you.

I also have found that it is really important for me to not to judge my own grief (or anyone else's for that matter!).

If I start thinking I'm doing this "grief thing" wrong ..... oh boy.. I'm in trouble. I then can easily fall into the self recrimination trap... negative thinking....thinking there is something wrong with me...

When the reality is, all that is wrong with me is that I had a wonderful mother who loved me so well and I miss her being here. And that is .. "Normal" is it not? Why wouldn't I feel pain at this loss? So I try really hard not to criticize or find fault with my own grief. It is what it is, it's mine and I won't apologize for it.

The truth I have discovered is.... there is NO wrong way for me to do this and it's gonna hurt (sometimes.. really badly hurt) and some part of me will always hurt with the missing.

Your Mom sure was strong... and I can see that she indeed has given some of that to you as well.

You are a very special daughter Lucia.

((((hugs))))

leeann

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It was sad to put the tree up. It was my dad's idea, we both cried and remembered stuff and all. Sad.

My dad lived witha videocamera and I'm thankful for that really. But also I have avery good memory of my childhood with my mom which is good, like if everything happened yesterday.

Well life has been good overall, I have my friends, I do well at school I have a scholarship in a private highschool here which is good, I have a boyfriend that I love very much, again my brother is my best friend, I have a great relationship with my dad, we're close but there are things that I can't tell him, you know, girl stuff.

Thanks for your words of support, and higs and kisses to you,

Lucia.

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My dear Lucia,

I'm so sorry to learn of the death of your mother when you were so very young, but I want to assure you that the sadness you are feeling still today is both understandable and normal.

It may interest you to learn that research indicates that the loss of a parent in early childhood does indeed have an ongoing effect on the life of a person through the teen years and on into adulthood. Grief expert J. William Worden, who served as Co-director of the Child Bereavement Study at Harvard Medical School, states that:

It may be that the most important long-term consequence of parental death during childhood is neither depression nor anxiety disorder, as important as these are, because these only affect a small percentage of adults with childhood parental loss. Rather, the most important long-term impact may be their continuing sense of emptiness and an ongoing need to rethink who this parent would have been in their lives had he or she remained alive. This ongoing presence of the lost parent is strong for most people, even though they may have had adequate parenting by the surviving parent or parent surrogate (J. William Worden, in Children and Grief When a Parent Dies, The Guilford Press, New York, 1996, ISBN 1572301481, p. 110).

One of the greatest myths about grief is that the day will come when we "get over it". Grief is a normal reaction to a significant loss, and it's something we all get through and learn to carry with us as we go on to live our lives, but we never, ever get over it. And there is no time frame for grief. The bond you have with your mother will continue as long as you hold the memory of her – or at least the memory of who you’d like to think she was – alive in your heart. Even though the two of you never got to know each other very well because she died at such an early age and when you yourself were so young, you still may find yourself grieving the loss of what never was and will never be.

Judging by your most recent post, it sounds as if you're a pretty normal (and quite wonderful) young lady (doing well in school, establishing solid friendships, having a boyfriend you love, enjoying good family relationships with your dad and your brother, etc.) I think it’s important to recognize that the fact that you're still feeling sorrow over the loss of your mother now doesn't necessarily mean that you haven't made any progress in your grief journey. As we grow and develop through the years, our grief changes right along with us. This grief will change you as well, influencing who you are in the present and affecting who you'll become in the future. This death of this very significant and important person – your mother – must be worked through, adapted to, and integrated into your life repeatedly, as different situations and developmental milestones (graduation day, your wedding day, the birth of your first child, etc.) will require you to accommodate this loss of her again and again. You will re-visit your mom's death continually as you grapple with its meaning – emotionally, socially, economically and spiritually – and as you struggle to find a place for her in your present and future life.

As I have said elsewhere, grief produces all kinds of conflicting feelings, most commonly those of anger and guilt – which over time can become quite distorted, unless we share them with someone else (a trusted friend, a relative, a clergy person, fellow mourners in a support group, a grief counselor). Feelings exposed to the light of day can be acknowledged, examined, evaluated, worked through and resolved. Feelings that are stuffed just sit there and fester, making us feel miserable, crazy, sick and alone. You may have heard that "time will heal all wounds" but I'm sure you've learned by now that the passage of time doesn't do anything to heal your grief – time is neutral. It's what you do with the time that matters.

Grieving successfully requires the hard work of confronting, expressing and working through the pain of your loss. The good news is that it is never too late to do the work of mourning. That's because unresolved grief doesn't go anywhere - it just lies there waiting for us to deal with it - and when the pain of grief keeps coming up for us despite our efforts to ignore it, we are wise to pay it the attention it demands.

So I strongly encourage you to find someone to talk to about all of this, Lucia – someone who knows something about the normal grieving process and the pain of early parental death. Some organizations even offer special groups specifically for teens whose parents have died. You might call your local hospice, mortuary or church to see if there is a such a grief support group offered in your community. (You can search a national hospice data base at http://www.nhpco.org/custom/directory/main.cfm to find a hospice near you.)

In addition to the wonderful and compassionate folks you will find right here in our GH family, you can find a chat room, message board or discussion group on the Internet that brings together teens who’ve lost a parent. Check out some of the sites I have listed on the Child, Adolescent Grief page of my Grief Healing Web site, http://www.griefhealing.com/child-adolescent-grief-links.htm.

It's also helpful to read all you can about grief to learn what is normal and what you can do to manage your own reactions (for examples, see my Articles, Columns and Books page, at http://www.griefhealing.com/articles-columns-books.htm .) Take a look at the on-line email course I wrote for Self Healing Expressions. Find and read some of the wonderful stories written by others whose mothers have died; this will help you see that you are not alone, and will give you the hope that if others managed to get through such a devastating loss, then somehow you will find your own way, too. See, for example, the book reviews of Maxine Harris's book, The Loss That Is Forever: The Lifelong Impact of the Early Death of a Mother or Father. At www.alexandrakennedy.com , Alexandra Kennedy makes the point that relationships don’t have to end when a loved one dies. In her insightful writings, she describes many ways to reconnect with a deceased parent, including with dreams, letter-writing and guided imagery.

I sincerely hope this information proves helpful to you, my dear. Grieving is very hard work, but it is manageable and there are many resources "out there" that can help. Please know that we’re all thinking of you, and we hope you will continue to use this warm and caring place to share your story with us. We are here for you, and we’re willing to listen to whatever it is you need to say.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sorry that I wasnt able to reply, but I went to Colorado to spend the Holidays there...

MaryT, thankyou for your nice words of comfort and good resources, i'll check them out

I've been fine, on the 27th we had this special ceremony for my mom and it was nice. Sad but nice. My brother made this beaitiful memorial dvd with songs and video footage. Pretty emotional. My grandma gave us some pictures that i've never seen before of my mom, brother and I, apparently she lost them but she gave them to us in beautiful frames and she made them bigger. Nice present I got.

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Oh Lucia sounds like it was a wonderful remembrance of your Mom, a great DVD your brother put together and an awesome gift from your Grandma. Glad to hear you had a decent holiday then. I like the way you said it was "sad but nice". That's about how I felt too. Had a decent holiday but it was touched here & there with sadness and tears too. But.. it was what it was and I survived it. When the tears came.. I cried them. And when the funny memories came.. I laughed at those. So yeah.. it was indeed... "sad but nice".

:)

leeann

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