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Feeling Lost

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I lost my mother one month ago very suddenly and unexpectedly. She had "routine" hernia surgery and was supposed to go home by the end of that week. Then I got a call early one morning that she had a blood clot that went to her heart and she died instantly. She was only 63. My family is all devastated. I talked to her several times a week and she was always the first person I called with any news, or if I was just bored and wanted to talk to someone. I'm 32 and in law school, and I can't believe she's not going to see me graduate or get married or have children. I've been in complete shock for the past month and it's seemed like she was just away somewhere and would be back soon. The reality is now sinking in that she is not coming back and it’s so hard to accept this new reality. My feelings change quickly – from total numbness to disbelief to overwhelming sadness to anger. I have always been the caretaker in the family and the problem solver, and I feel like I’m going crazy because I don’t know what to do. I get these feelings and sometimes I don’t even know what they are and I just don’t know how to deal with them. So far, I’ve been coping mostly by focusing on my father and helping him get through this. But it sneaks up on me at work or in class, and I just don’t know how to deal with it in those moments. I also sometimes feel a panic that I can’t feel my mother around me, and I want to so badly. I know my family will get through this together, and we’ve been a great support to each other. But it’s just so painful right now. And I’m getting so tired of people at work or people who don’t really know me asking me how I’m doing. How do they think I’m doing?! That just brings another wave of emotion over me. I just started seeing a grief counselor through Hospice, which has been a huge help already. But my biggest challenge is taking care of myself instead of worrying about everyone else, and I really don’t know how to do that. I’m sure many people here have experienced what I’m experiencing, so any tips on things to do to get through the really tough moments would be appreciated.

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Hi jg2010. I also lost my Mother some 10 months ago, but the circumstances were better. My Mother had leukemia, and we had almost two years notice to prepare. I and my siblings became her caregivers, and we got in all the quality time that we could. Having your Mom pass unexpectedly, without having the chance to even say a 'good-bye' seems so brutal and undeserved. I'm sorry it happened that way. Some of us question God over these things, and if you have to do that you are not alone. Many of us here have walked that path.

That you can articulate your emotions is definitely going to help you through the grieving process. 'Lost'? That one word best describes my own initial grief. In the course of months I have gradually been able to find my bearings, as have most others here. Somehow we reconcile ourselves and rechart our lives. But the grief is such a colossal struggle. Pasting up mere words about it doesn't begin to capture its gravity. The wild swings of emotion have been likened to roller-coaster rides, where we have to hang on for dear life and just ride it through. The consensus here is that there is no getting around the grief, rather we/you have to pass through it. Open expression of emotion seems to help, if you can do that. The cultural expectation that men shouldn't cry is hogwash; it's probably one of the most healthy things you can do. I still cry most every day over the loss of my mother, and I am glad for it. Many of us have regular 'meltdowns', by which I mean there are times when emotion overcomes us and we lose all composure. That is normal when grieving, and almost completely out of our control. It also happens at times and in places that can be awkward. At work and with friends I just started becoming honest and a bit blunt; I'd ditch the polite conversational rituals. A number of friends have caught me in tears, but I've become ok with that. To some extent we can choose where, when, and with whom we grieve. Maybe there are places and times and people that are special to you. Line up whatever makes you feel better in the course of your day or week or month. That'll help you corral some of your grief. For me it was nighttime bike rides, often in the rain, that got me through the first two months. Nothing felt so good as the cold rain washing away my tears. Everybody here has different ways of coping. Find those things that fit you well. Some examples - Take walks, keep a journal, meet with friends, find a quiet time each day, just do whatever helps. As you think through and feel so many things, it might help if you cut yourself a bit of slack. There is a lot of pressure on us as we go through grief; so treat yourself kindly if you possibly can.

Glad you found us,

Ron B.

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I'm sorry jg,

I lost my mother gradually with cancer at 23. I cant imagine how difficult it must have been for you to lose your mother so suddenly.

I was working pretty much full time when mum died and I was doing a journalism degree whilst on placement with a company also. I also felt and still sometimes feel lost and sad that my mother will never meet my future wife or kids. She was a wonderful mentor and mother to me and I had some regret for a long time that she would not be able to help raise my own children. But now I realize that she has raised me well and that I am proud of that and her legacy will inherently be passed onto my children through me one day :) I feel that this will also be true for you. I also had numbness and I tried to stay strong until something would just breach at unexpected times at work or school. In the end I actually deferred school for a while so that I could take time with things and be gentle to myself. You may find that school will help you through things though. I remember too how awkward it was people asking me always 'how are you doing?' etc. I tended to be blunt with them also like Ron B. opting to open up more to people who had experienced bereavement. I felt vulnerable and therefore only safe to open up with others who were vulnerable. It is great you're seeing someone about your experience and it's great that you're on here with us also. I hope this helps a little.. Thinking of you


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I’m sure it’s always difficult to lose one’s mother no matter how it happens, but I do feel totally blindsided. Just over a month ago I had an energetic, healthy mother. But she was very spiritual and believed that God has a plan for everything, so I’m trying to accept that out of respect for her. I am just so grateful that she and I had resolved difficulties we had in the past and had established a great relationship. She had an inner strength and grace that was so remarkable and inspiring. I am very much like her and look a lot like her – when friends see pictures of her at my age, they actually think it’s me. So I’m trying to focus on the parts of her that are within me that I will always have.

I am trying to express my feelings and find ways to take care of myself. Journaling is a good idea, and the grief counselor is helping. Ive always coped with stress by drowning myself in work (just like my dad). I'm also so worried about my father and grandfather that I feel like I need to stay strong for them. I’m a rather private and reclusive person, and it's really easy for me to just shut down emotionally. In fact, I often have a panic attack when I try to focus on what I'm actually feeling. But I’m afraid that if I keep on going like that, things will just snowball. I’m really afraid of getting stuck and I really want to figure out how to keep moving forward with the strength my mother gave me.

Anyway, there’s nothing anyone can say that will make this easier, but it does help to be able to express my thoughts here, where I know that no one will criticize me or think I’m crazy. It’s a huge comfort to know that everyone here has gone through this, though I’m sorry that we’ve all had to.

Big thanks and hugs to everyone,


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