Jump to content
Grief Healing Discussion Groups

Forgetting Things And Loss Of Focus

Laura Wish

Recommended Posts

This is my first post. My mom died quite suddenly in early February. We've got a lot of work to do, estate, furniture, car, clothes, household goods etc. I don't really know how to grieve about this. I only know that I can't seem to think through tasks. I can only focus on one thing at a time. I sometimes can't think of simple words to put in a sentence, like "control" or "decision" I just get to that word in the sentence and I have to stop and think of the word before I can continue.

I've got a really busy and stressful job. Sometimes I think it helps because I can only think about work issues when I'm at work, but I know I'm not working at tip top capacity.

When I started to write about this to a friend, I just cried and cried and couldn't even write it. Now, I'm just writing and it is as if I'm writing a narrative of going to the grocery store. There are just no emotions. Just a big void inside without any idea if there are thoughts in there, or just emptiness.

I guess I'm just operating like a robot. Is this normal?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dear Laura,

I think what you are descibing are the effects of shock. You have been through a terrible shock, emotionally, physically and spiritually. Everything you have described is entirely normal. I became really obsessive compulsive and fortunately, it was short term. I couldn't do anything other than straighten the same stool in the kitchen over and over. Or I'd be looking out a window and when asked, tell the person I was "looking out the sink." Everything in my brain got twisted. It sort of matched my heart in that respect. Lists helped. I thought work would keep me occupied and normal, though, like you, it was highly stressful and I wasn't doing well. Give yourself time to adjust. I know it is different losing a parent because of the estate and all the work that needs to be attended to pretty quickly. (I lost my husband less than two years ago and it took me over a year before I could even begin to finish the paperwork.)

I am really sorry for your loss. It is so hard. Don't worry about the robot stage. It's the body's way of getting you through this. The feelings can come barelling down on us pretty heavily and the numbness is just one way to handle that intensity. Keep posting. It helps to see how normal you are even when nothing feels like it is.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Maybe soon I'll be able to talk about some of the things I'm feeling inside. Some of them seem so wrong, like " I don't really care that she is gone." How horrible is that? Sometimes I wish she was back just so we could talk more. That seems to be the thing I miss. I keep thinking of things I need to ask her, like for a certain recepie, or what she thinks about Obama's speech. But I can't ask her. She's gone, and I can't figure out if I care or not.

That's got to be wrong.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Be gentle with yourself right now. There is no wrong way to grieve. It is as confusing an upheaval as you will ever go through. Keep talking. The beauty of this site is that there is always someone that understands and can relate. Add in the fact that is safe, and you can be free to share whatever you need to.

Obama has us all wishing we could talk to our loved ones! With all the change going on in our own lives, the world doesn't stop. That can be hard to take at times. I'm guessing if you didn't care, you wouldn't be here.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Whoever "Kath" is, thank you for at least responding in some way. You do realize that you are the only one who responded.

I'm not sure about this site. Are we supposed to evoke responses by saying something dramatic? Are we supposed to respond to everything we read. How in the world are we supposed to learn to open up?

I don't know when I've ever felt so much at a loss for words. I don't even feeling like screaming at all of you. I just don't seem to care, and I know that nobody has time to care that I don't care. And besides that, I don't know what I want anyone to say. If I knew what I wanted them to tell me, I'd say it to myself and save everyone the trouble.

I'm not crying (at least not most of the time). I'm not caring about things, but I'm working really hard at work. I'm making dinners and keeping up with the laundry. I'm helping my family members with tasks and chores in their daily lives. But........I just seem to have more and more on my plate. Sure, "take time for yourself..." everyone says. Well. you tell me, where is that time. No one lets you take a break from life to "have some time for yourself."

If I tell you (any of you or all of you) anything specific, then someone might know who I am. I certainly don't want that, because it's too obvious to me right now that if anyone (anyone in the workplace) thinks you are vulnerable, they'll just go at you harder. And besides just the petty office stuff, there's others who want to actually make a legal case out of the least little thing.

I know most of this won't make a bit of sense to any of you. And that's just the thing. I don't care. I don't care that you don't know me, and I don't care that you won't even write back to say that you don't care.

It seems like everyone writes platitudes. But the thing is, my mom died. I wasn't ready for it. I don't know how to deal with it emotionally and I certainly don't know how to deal with the magnitude of work.......things like going through her things and dispursing them. Big deal, just get busy and do it. Well, if there was any time I would, but I happen to have a few other things on my plate right now.

Bottom line. I need to quit whining and get busy. I need to call some charity and say, "come take it all." If there was some other way I take more time, but there just isn't.

Too bad.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dear Laura

We are out here, just sometimes you need to give us time to respond, we are all in different stages of our own grief. I do understand about the forgetting and loss of focus...I call it fogginess. Words don't come and thoughts are incomplete. I have to write everything down and hope I do not lose the piece of paper. My mother passed away 5 years ago, I have not yet gotten rid of her things. I think I am finally at the point where I can...but in my particular case I am going through the fog of losing my husband. (I am sentimental) But I would suggest you keep some of her things that are meaningful. My father passed away...going on 41 years (Wow!) but I would love to have the sweater he always wore. It was given away long ago. As for my mom's things, I plan on making two quilts from her clothes, for me to use now and then to pass on to my children later. I am going to do the same for my hubby's clothes....someday..

I also understand about the worry someone will recognize your posts.....I worry about that too. I try not to give specific names or places where someone could be sure it was me. Remember there are many in the world going through the same type of losses............. the chance of someone actually finding this site and figuring out who we are is probably very small. Posting is a great way to vent, get suggestions, and speak your mind, I do not advertise to others the specific sites I go to. Hopefully it keeps me anonymous. The suggestion to keep coming back is great! Whether you are reading or posting...it has helped me so much, especially the lonely nights and weekends. Lovingly....Bdzack

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Laura I'm so sorry about the loss of your Mom.

These are very early days for you yet and I SO can indentify with what you have posted.

How you feel is about how I felt right after the loss of my Mom. I was just so focused on getting things done and taken care of. I couldn't even go into "feelings" at that time. I decided.. I would just deal with what was in front of me and deal with the feelings and emotions later on after I got what I had to get done.... done.

I knew I wouldn't have been able to do a decent job of going through her things, getting the house ready for the market & on the market and care for her house... plus everything that was normally required for me to do in my own home & family if I tried to "do" the emotionally aspect of grieving all at once.

I also knew I wouldn't be able to do a decent & healthy job of grieving if I was too busy trying to get loads of stuff done. So I just kinda went at the "To Do" list and whenever I felt tears (which was rare in the first months)... I let them fall.. blew my nose and kept on going. But I must tell you... I didn't cry very much at ALL in the beginning and really didn't cry hard til I was months out from her death.

I couldn't open up the 'emotional box' because I was too busy filling up real boxes with real stuff in them. So only after the house was sold did I even really have a decent cry over Mom. And then only for a bit because I had other emegencies that had popped up that I had to deal with in my immediate family.

So not til ALL of that calmed down did I begin to grieve in earnest... and.. sorry to say.. that was almost a year after she had passed. BUT.. that was my reality and what I could handle.

And even WITH doing that.. oh boy.. my mind was a sieve... SO frustrating not to be able to come up with words... or even THOUGHTS! But that was all just part of it. ANd I learned to write nearly everything down. LOL I still have this legal pad I started on the day after we found Mom dead and it is literally a diary of what I did and lists of what I had left to do. Notes scribbled in margins for follow-ups .. it's a mess. BUT I would have been doomed without that legal pad. Absolutely DOOMED.

(I'm convinced.. having kids kills brain cells and losing people also kills brain cells... lol)

So "opening up" Maybe doesn't come for a bit. As you say you have quite a bit to do. So.. maybe just focus on what is right in front of you and deal with whatever you can and leave the rest for another time.

I know one thing that helped me tremendously was NOT judging me or my grief process. I decided it was my grief and I would do it in my own way. And that is true for all of us... it is our own grief and we do it in our own way and in our own time. There is NO wrong way to do this. Whatever works for each of us is what we need to do.

But comparing my grief to others' I found to be totally unproductive & actually harmful. Each relationship is different so each grief will be different.

Thinking that I wasn't crying enough or crying too much???.... Forget about it.. that thinking (should could would) only made me feel worse. So I quit that thinking and just accepted me as I was at any given moment in time. And I continue to do this and I think it has made my grieving ALOT easier.

So if you are asking is it normal to feel like a robot somewhat... I don't know.. but I think so. I sure did. I just couldn't go into the expression of emotions til I had gotten done all of the house & estate stuff. I was akin to the lil energizer bunny... I just kept going and going and going... til that was all finished.

And then I began to feel.... and any prior concerns I had about not "feeling" quickly evaporated. I was feeling alright.. right down to my toes and into my heart & soul. Painful... as in... very.

So Laura... don't worry... from all you have told us... what you are experiencing is all to familiar and I would say totally normal. The feelings will come when you can deal with them.

Just concern yourself with what is important to you right this moment. Deal with the estate and household items as best you can. The feelings will come....

You are NOT whining and this is a BIG DEAL. So if I were you I wouldn't minimize this one iota. Realize this is HUGE and you are doing the very best you can. Try to just continue to focus on one minute at a time. Disburse the household in the best way you can... and try to give yourself some breaks... as in physical ones and also emotional ones. Go easy with you... because this is hard.

We are here for you. We may not jump right onto a post & immediately respond for many reasons. But know we will get to it eventually.. we are all at different points in our own grief journeys too.

I'm so happy that you found us here but very sorry you had to. I know being here in this community has made my own grief journey much easier. It is so nice to just come here and vent or ask questions... etc And also in time it is good to lean back & lend a hand to someone else too. That always makes me feel a bit better. So thanks for posting and keep us updated on how you are doing.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Laura I am so sorry for the loss of your Mom and I am also sorry you feel nobody but Kath was here for you. Alot of people don't look in this section I have found in the past, I know if you had posted in in Loss of Parent or Grandparent you without a doubt would have gotten immediate responses. I do not post in that section but just wanted to give you that information and send you a big (((HUG))) and tell you this is a very special and caring group and please post in that section and give us another try okay? We are a very special family here and welcome you with open arms and I myself understood everything you said and have been there myself.

Love Always,

Wendy :wub:

Link to comment
Share on other sites


None of us needs to know who you are to feel part of your pain. Although every story here is unique we all have one thing in common and that is the hurt of a loss. Some of the posts aren't even about a death because that is not the only thing that causes grief.

Do you have to get rid of your mom's things right now? If you have to get them out of the house do you have room where you live or can you afford a storage shed? The one thing you don't want to do is hurry through things and then wonder what and why you did what you did. It's hard to make the decisions when you can't think straight and that is how some people here have gotten in "trouble" later.

As far as taking care of yourself, if you don't have to hurry through things that will help leave the time for YOU. No matter what anyone tells you this journey takes more than a week or two.

The website is to be a help whether it is to just read, post or both. I hope that eventually you will feel that someone here has helped you. We have all had to learn the best places to post within the site and you too will figure out what is best for you.

Good luck.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you to everyone for responding. I really read and re-read each post. I do see that posting in another spot might also be helpful.

I'm also taking some of the pieces of advice. I think we will try to get rid of most of Mom's furniture and then put the more personal effects in some type of storage for a more thorough distribution. We (my sister and I) just need time to go through those things. The generic furniture can go, the special pieces will stay in the family, and the personal items will take a while to get through.


I'm still afraid people will know who I am when I post something here. I don't know why that bothers me. I guess that if I get tothe point of really sharing personal stuff, way deep inside stuff, angry stuff, that someone will know it is me and be shocked that I would say something like that. Maybe I'll move on from here, but right now, I'm still a closed box.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think your plan is very good. Go through your mothers personal things later, when the grief is not so fresh. By way of experience...my father passed away when I was age 10, within 3 months my mom had sold our home and gotten rid of his things, we then moved to another town where her sister lived. My mom said later, she took action too quick, when her grief was still very fresh, she wish she had waited awhile...like the gold sweater I wish she would have kept. She was listening to those who had never gone through a lost like she was experiencing. So I now do not take action quickly, I give myself time to think it through. Since my brain is still very foggy, I wait until I am ready. Anyone that wants to hurry me--just causes me to go slower. I will take action in my time, when I am ready. I do not want any regrets down the road because I acted on someone else's timetable.

Hope all goes smoothly for you. Come back and post here or under a specific topic anytime. Bdzack

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi, Laura,

I'm glad that you were able to find a plan that works for you. I'm the one who will sort things through to send off then a minute later is digging through the box to retrieve it. Letting go is hard to do, even when we have no choice in the matter.

I want to respond to your earlier thread in this post. I started here a year after my husband died. I knew I should post in 'Loss of a Spouse', but didn't always go there. Some things felt different, and being confused and unable to organize a thought, I'd post in 'Poems' or 'Behaviors' or any of the other areas on this site. Now, after losing my dog and my nephew and worrying about what my kids are going through and some days thinking I may be ready for a new beginning, I still bounce around to 'Loss of a Child', a 'Pet', 'Parent' or 'New Beginning'. But the relationships I've made have come from those who regularly post where I ultimately felt like I belong...in the Spouse section. So, I encourage you to find your support where you are most comfortable.

You're busy with a family and a stressful job and it doesn't always allow time to do the grief work, especially when you have to fit it in between responsibilities. Being here, if only to read is taking time for yourself. It helps, but there are those times it can overwhelm, also. There are times when reading about the pain and loss become too much for where we are at in our own journeys. Then we need to step away for a while. There are other times where we need to get our story out there and by responding to every post, helps us to do that, too.

I found a song on this site that had me coming back several times a day to hear. I then sent it to my closest friends because it put into words how I felt and what was going on. It said the things I couldn't when asked "How are things going?" After that, I panicked that I gave away my secret place. I figured they could identify me and may even recognize their own selves in one of my posts. I don't worry anymore. This is a caring place that has no room for judgement. It has been a source of help and healing. It's been my home this past year. Some things I've talked about may seem bonkers to someone who hasn't been through it. (Not too surprising as when I found my way here, I thought I was going bonkers.) But for the most part, there has been understanding and support. The beauty thing is, it is here for everyone! We've already paid the price in tears and heartache.

Welcome home, Laura. I pray you will find the time to stay awhile. We don't need to know who you are to know what you are going through.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

This past week I found about 5 or 6 times that I would be in the middle of a sentence and realize that I had no idea where I was headed with that thought. I've just decided to tell people that I lost my train of thought because there's just too much going on in my head right now.

Thanks again for all of the replies. Just when you think you are unique in strange or unexplained behaviors you find that others have experienced similar issues. I don't know why that helps. Maybe because you don't feel like a freak, but just someone who is going through an uncharted journey.

I don't think I've visited the poetry or poem section yet. I simply don't want to. I love poem and poetry, but it seems like everything for me right now is very utilitarian. It's not pretty and I don't want someone to try to make it pretty. I guess I'll get there.

I think the other reason I won't go there is because I think it will start to touch the emotional side of this whole thing. If I touch that area, the floodgates just might open.

It's very strange to not seem to be able to be in touch with yourself. I've still got that robot feeling.

Laura W.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dear Laura,

I'm so sorry about the loss of your mother. That this site is helping you, that is wonderful, I am happy it can be so. We are in this dreary boat together, and we are here to put our arms around you. I am happy for you that you were able to discover a plan for what to with your mother's belongings. That is so important. I feel especially that keeping some extra personal, special items as you are doing, is a good step.

The robot phase can last for a while. I can relate to how you call it "robot phase"! I was in that for a few months, feeling like you - just moving through the motions, not telling others so much the meaning behind certain moments. It's tough to resist the urge to judge yourself and ask, "Why am I being this way?" But it sounds to me like you are understanding that this is just part of the process, the "robot phase."

Maybe poetry would be a good floodgate-opener when you are feeling like you want to open that gate.

take care, :wub:


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...