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When Does It Start To Get Better?


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I lost my mom/my best friend/my whole life to cancer 7 months ago at the age of 56. The year she was sick, I decided to quit my job and move back home to take care of her. At the end of her brave fight, she was in the hospital for almost two months and I spent day and night there. I only came home to shower (if I couldn't shower at the hospital).

After my mom passed away, I remember everyone telling me "it gets better", but I'm still waiting and it's not better at all. If someone could die of grief, I would be gone by now. I'm 30 years old and feel like I still need my mommy to get through the day. I spoke to her every single day, she was a regular part of my daily life and I find it so difficult to keep on going. Sometimes I catch myself thinking "oh I have to tell mom what happened". I'm an only child and sometimes I wish I had siblings to help me get through this. I feel very much alone in this process. I'm not married and have no children and although my step-father is a great man, we never had a chance to develop the father-daughter relationship. He has other kids, which is actually nice and I hope that helps him keep going. I feel utterly alone. I feel like nobody understands the pain I'm going through and at times, I have a hard time finding motivation to "keep going". Who am I staying strong for? I'm totally alone in this world now.

I couldn't bear to spend Christmas with my family this year. This is the first Christmas without my mom and I felt that I was too emotional to get through the day and didn't have enough energy to pretent that I was ok. Christmas was my mom's most favorite holiday, it was "our" holiday. I spent my first Christmas without my mom locked up in my apartment with her robe on and crying the entire time. My eyes are so swollen and I have a huge headache from crying the last 2 days. It feels like she passed away yesterday.

I just can't bear to go through this. I think about my future and I just see darkness. I see nothing happy and I don't think I can handle that. I've always been a strong person but it doesn't look like I'm surviving this and I have no idea what to do.

I'm so desperate and I am begging anyone for any advice. What are you all doing and is it helping? Does it eventually get better?

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Elle,

None of us can tell you when it will get better and I don't know if that is the right word. Maybe easier is a better word. I don't mean to bring you down even more, but it probably took me almost 10 years before things got a lot better after my dad died. For one thing I had some resentment issues with my brother but it took me that long to realize we each grieve in our own way and the things he did were his problem not mine and he had to live with that.

I don't know how many articles you have read about the "caregiver" but most will tell you to take care of yourself. Well that may be the perfect thing to do but not usually very practical. We are so intent about our loved one, that our well being other than staying well so they don't get something from us, is the furthest thing from our minds. The longer it goes on the more physically and emotionally spent we are. Then when it is all over we not only have the grief hole in our hearts, but we have a physical vacancy too. We don't know what to do with ourselves and wander aimlessly. My work has helped fill part of this latter void, but when I come home at night there are sometime weeks that I just wander aimlessly from task to task and don't finish any of them. My house has been cluttered before but not dirty but it got pretty bad, but I didn't really care. Nobody was coming to see me any way.

I have a pillow that still smells like my husband and I still sit for hours smelling it and crying. My eldest grandson still picks it up when he's over here to smell it. So sitting in your mom's robe is fine. I'm sure you felt like she was holding you while you had it on.

Just take care of yourself and take it a breath, a step, an hour, week, month at a time. Try not to look to far in the future right now.

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Hi Elle,

I'm sorry for your loss, it is raw right now.

I'm not sure if I can lend much advice. I can tell you about my journey and how it has progressed for me.

I'm an only child also and lost my best friend (my mom) June of 2007. I took it terribly, my world just spun to a crash. The first holiday is a numbing (well it was for me). I keep thinking she will be back any day and then I still have those days when I need to ask or tell her something. It is an empty feeling.

There is no set time for what we are going through. Day by day, it will change. sometimes it gets better and some days worse. It's a roller coaster. You will need to cry, laugh and curse memories. After a year and few months, I'm trying to find a new life, to change the routine I had with my mom. It's a slow change. Is it getting better ? I don't cry as often as I did everyday driving home from work. So, that is progression.

I wish I could be more of a help and give you a time when the pain passes.

Holly

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Hi Elle,

I just wanted to add this to what everyone else has said, It was four years ago that I lost my parents and even after four years there is hard times that I face but it really does not get better but I have learned to deal with the pains differently and I advance on my grief journey knowing that soon it will hurt even less... I think that you understand and learn to deal with the pains as time goes by and you really never really just get over it... I hope I helped you and I will keep you in my prayers and ask God to help you on your grief journey...Shelley

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  • 2 weeks later...

Dear Elle,

I'm so sorry for your loss. I lost my mom in March, and my dad died the day after Christmas. It is a staggering event, to say the least ... the process of grieving ... dealing with the very depths of loss. Lately I've been reading books about Heaven as a sort of antidote for grief. You might like, "Embraced by the Light" by Betty J. Eadie. Eadie also has a web site (google her) in which people talk about their spiritual experiences around love and loss. It is now 2 weeks that my dad has been gone, and I'm still shuffling along. I have to be back in the classroom on Monday, and don't feel I've had nearly enough time to come to peace with my situation. Still -- we must eat, live, work, etc. (and keep shuffling) until things get better, and I've found Eadie's books to be helpful. Hang in there. I wish I could help better than this. I'm sure your mom wouldn't want to see you suffering so ... try to open your heart to the possibility of there being a spiritual dimension ... and loving energies and companion "helpers" on hand to assist you in this journey. Wishing you love and care!

Keep writing ... Temmie

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  • 2 weeks later...

Elle,

At this time I can only tell you about my experience. It's been a little over two years since my father died. It's still a shock, and even though he lived to almost 83 years, it still wasn't enough time.

Overall, I have gotten better as the pain has lessened, however the grieving process is still there, and whatever sense of security I had is now gone; that could explain the stress and feelings of uncertainty I experience almost every day. Sometimes I think about a moment in time during the 36 years I had my dad on this earth; some moments give me comfort, some give me moments of sadness. When I go home to check up on my mom, I still see many of my dad's belongings and the waves of sadness come over me. While my mom is still generally in good health, you can't help but wonder if something bad can happen. Like you, I'm an only child. My parents had me late in life, and that can be hard because for years I looked around me and felt I saw most in my age group enjoy life and not have to worry about certain things such as dealing with aging parents as early as I had to. As others have already pointed out it's a learning process and a journey that you will slowly go through.

Will it eventually get better? Yes it will, but there is no exact amount of time as to when it gets better, and do not let anyone tell you that there's an exact timetable to get through this. Your loss is still very raw right now and what you are experiencing is absolutely normal. You will go through all the firsts as you said in going through the first Christmas without your mom. It will be hard, but you will make it through. Be easy on yourself, and take things slowly.

Jeff

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Feb. 21 will be one year since I lost my dad. He was 96 and yes he had a great life and I got to spend much time with him.But when he died my whole world came crashing down. I was not functioning, not going to work. I started taking alcohol and any pills I could find to make the pain go away. This never helped.

I went to my doctor one day and asked for help. I could not think, I could not remember things I was in pretty bad shape emotionally.

He took the time to help me understand the grief process and he prescribed me some medications because I was so angry and I was not sleeping. My nerves were also shot.

And he put me in touch with a counsellor who I have been seeing since June. This therapist has helped me so much to understand what I was going through. I really thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown. Yes it was so bad.

Now I am feeling so much better. If you have problems functioning or sleeping or just gettting out of bed sometimes, go to your doctor. And if you need to speak to a therapist who will help you.

My doctor and my therapist honestly saved my life.

Good luck to you in your healing

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