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Here Is My Tragedy


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To start I will introduce myself - My name is Novi and I have just discovered this forum today, which is unfortunate.

This is unfortunate for the obvious reason; we are all here to mourn the loss of a loved one.

This is also unfortunate because for the past three months I've dealt with something called "anticipatory grief" without realizing it.

It was only a few days ago that I was made aware of this type of grief, so I searched and found this place.

In mid- July I discovered a forum while searching for the 5 stages of grief, so this is my story from last summer:

I have a picture of my mother and I, taken on July 1st at the Canada Day celebrations. We both looked happy and healthy, full of energy and smiling from ear to ear as we watched the beautiful fireworks explode in the sky.

There is a good chance that this photo will be the last one taken. I really hope it is not.

By July 15th my mother, my angel, had become so sick she could hardly get out of bed. By July 25th, renal cell cancer was confirmed, prognosis not good. It was on August 8th that a death sentence was announced - stage 4 renal cell cancer that had metastasized to her lungs; 1 year to live, up to 5 years if the "pills" work. It is now August 17th and she still has not received these "pills". She struggles for every breath. It's destroying me inside watching her suffer but I want to be there for her for both moral and every day support.

Our family is small, just my mother, brother and I. My dad passed away years ago and my sister has moved away and quit talking to us. Last I heard she was expecting a baby girl for October 1st. A grand-daughter my mother will never have the pleasure of meeting.

What is really upsetting is how friends react. I experienced this 13 years ago when my father died by suicide - people recoiled and I was left to mourn very much alone. All this time I thought it was the manner of his death that pushed people away, but now with this new tragedy I realize that the best way to cope is alone. People (even those who have experienced loss) do not know how to react in these situations or perhaps they simply don't care. I've already quit talking to a few people, sadly.

I hope I would do better if a friend needed a shoulder to cry on.

In this past month my outlook of life has changed drastically. I don't think I am quite the same person anymore, I don't see things the same way. My sense of humour is gone. I used to work out, now I don't see the point. I treat each day as though it were the last, and I never used to do that. I've also become angry to the point where I am scaring myself.

I supposed I just really needed to get this out, and I've found that it is easier for me to talk about it in 'type', rather than 'verbal'. I tend to get less emotional this way.

I did not want to post this in the "lost mom's" section, because she has not become an Angel yet. But to me this could be considered a grievous loss; with only a year left to live she will probably never be able to have a great day like we did on July 1st. Her quality of life has been taken from her and this is a tremendous loss for her, and everyone close to her that love her very much.

I would also like to say thank-you for this site. In such trying times, it is a place to find comfort and support.

~Novi

I was still in the "anger" stage then, I think. This has improved a great deal since then, my mom even made a comment last week on how calm I appeared. So I am ready to write part two of my anticipatory grief letter:

Books and doctors promised her good days and bad days. The good days never came, but somehow mom remained pleasant. She is so strong.

The pamphlets told lies of how exercising, such as taking a short walk when feeling mellon collie over one's sickness can help the cancer patient feel better...

But the cancer has moved to her spine and paralyzed her. I am still amazed that my mom walked with the help of a walker until October 14th. She is so stubborn.

That was the day she was rushed to the hospital for an emergency MRI. I'll never forget the ambulance ride, how she took my hand and asked me if I was okay. I think she knew I was holding back tears, she saw right through my brave face.

They found a tumor in the t9 vertebrae. Radiation treatment started that day. She's been in palliative care since.

The doctors started to suspect that the cancer has metastasized to her brain and wanted to do more tests. Mom didn't want more tests, she just wanted to be comfortable until she died. She is now in a drug induced coma and has been since November 6th. My brother and I had to make this difficult decision for mom. She hadn't slept in two and a half days, and none of the sedatives were having any effect at all anymore. She was getting delirious. I feel somehow that I have betrayed her, because beneath the hallucinations and impaired speech I know my mom was still aware. I could see it in her eyes, but she was trapped inside.

So now she lies in a coma in palliative care, while we wait for her to take her last breath. The doctors say she has about a week left, but I'm not sure how many days ago it was since they told me that.

Thank-you for listening,

~Novi

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Bless you for being there for your mother. I know exactly what you mean about friends. And I know exactly what you mean about anger, though you've moved past that now.

Please don't feel you've betrayed your mother--she had said she wanted to be comfortable, you've done what you could to assure that. You're looking out for her. You're doing the right thing.

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This morning my mother passed away. I thought I would feel relief, but somehow I only feel numb. I hope this is only temporary, because I want to feel something.

R.I.P mom

FEB 1952 - NOV 2011

I love you forever!

Pam,

Thank-you for your kind response, I will do my best to stay in touch. It's nice to have found a place where people can relate to my situation.

nobodys sweetie,

I was so glad and relieved to read your post, I'm slowly starting to accept the fact that I did not betray my mom. I was looking out for her, as you said. Thank you.

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Novi,

Almost all of us here know the grief of losing a family member. And it's natural that you feel 'numb' now. But in time you will be able to gather your thoughts and feelings. We are here for you in the weeks and months ahead.

Ron. B.

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Novi, dear, I'm so very sorry to learn of the death of your beloved mother ~ Please accept our deepest sympathy. The numbness you're feeling now is normal. You might think of it as nature's way of cushioning the blow, so you'll be able to get through whatever needs to be done over the next few days. Try not to judge whatever you are feeling at any given time, and just experience it, let it happen, and find a way to express it. Please know that you are being held in gentle thought and prayer at this sad time ~ and I hope it brings you comfort to know that we will continue to walk beside you in the weeks and months ahead.

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Novi,

I am so sorry about the death of your mother. I know this is just about the hardest day of your life and I know you are in a fog. I lost my husband and everyone here has lost someone and we will all hold you through this forum. I am glad you came here and I know you will feel love and support. Just listen to your own heart and be as present as you can to the moments....no judgments...no shoulds...just be. Peace, Mary mfh

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Novi:

I am so sorry for the loss of your mother. Numb is normal for awhile... I thought I would feel relief when my spouse passed after 18months of cancer, but there was no word to explain the pain that began to emerge after the numbness had gone. Please know that you are in my prayers and that this is a wonderful place for support. I am alone and could not of got through the past 7 months without this site.

Peace and Hugs

Becky

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I'm sorry to hear that she's gone. The numbness will wear off, as others have noted, so no worries there. Be gentle with yourself, you're apt to find yourself doing odd things for awhile. You may find your shoes in the refrigerator and a sandwich in the closet.

Your mother wasn't much older than I am. You're young to have to bear this. I hope your brother and you can be comforts to one another.

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Ron. B.,

It's not easy... I'm glad "numb" is normal. Thanks for the welcome, I will certainly need to express myself in the next little while.

MartyT,

Thank you. Everything you say makes a lot of sense, and I'm even starting to see it a bit now.

And thanks for your quick response when I wanted to join... I felt so alone and confused no matter where I looked, then I found this place. Even though it was just one day, I got to share my feelings about the anticipation of death. It brings me some relief. Most people don't seem to want to talk their loved once until they are dead... it's strange.

dave s,

Thank you.

Mary,

I'm sorry to hear of the loss of your husband. I hope you are coping well and have the support you need. Thank you for your condolences. It was a hard day, for sure. Even a few days later I still can't see it without the fog. I am so happy to have found this place as well and appreciate your advice.

Pam,

Thank-you for your kind words, and I will rest as much as I can. I know I will need the energy to carry on...

Becky,

My condolences for your loss, it's so hard to watch someone you love deteriorate in health... I am afraid of the pain that I will soon face, I've started to feel it a bit. I will take your words to heart and come back here when I need to. Thank you.

nobodys sweetie,

Thank you for your advice and thank you for making me smile. You have a great sense of humour. I will let you know if I leave any shoes in the fridge, or use salt instead of sugar in my cereal... :blink:

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I'm doing okay, I think... Many emotions, very up and down right now, thanks for asking.

It helps to know someone cares enough to ask. :)

Although I haven't felt strong enough to respond to other posts submitted on this forum, I have been reading and did read your post too.

I must say that you are an amazing person to be a caregiver to two loved ones... and although I've never had to deter the truth to my mother about her fate, I understand to some extent what it is to deflect the topic...

My mom often forgot as the cancer grew worse, that this was not something she could fight off. Luckily she loved hugs!

I hope you are coping well enough and that you and Joe still manage to have memories worth cherishing despite this overwhelming situation you are both trapped in.

~ Novi

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I'm doing okay, I think... Many emotions, very up and down right now, thanks for asking.

It helps to know someone cares enough to ask. :)

I've no doubt at all your emotions are up and down. You'll probably feel like a kicked anthill for some time yet.

Although I haven't felt strong enough to respond to other posts submitted on this forum, I have been reading and did read your post too.

Yes. That seems to be common to most here. People care, but grief is debilitating. Sometimes it's hard to muster up a meaningful reply. The energy's just not there. I know with me, too, reading this forum makes me cry, and I never was much of a bawl-baby, so that's kind of disturbing.

I must say that you are an amazing person to be a caregiver to two loved ones... and although I've never had to deter the truth to my mother about her fate, I understand to some extent what it is to deflect the topic...

My mom often forgot as the cancer grew worse, that this was not something she could fight off. Luckily she loved hugs!

I hope you are coping well enough and that you and Joe still manage to have memories worth cherishing despite this overwhelming situation you are both trapped in.

~ Novi

Thank you. The past few days have been good, and we've shared some laughs, so hey. Hang in there.

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  • 2 months later...

Novi,

I'm sorry for what you are going through! Sometimes people don't know what to say or how to act in these situations. I experienced the same when my mother was diagnosed with stage 4 cervical cancer and stage 3 ovarian cancer. And then there are those who don't want to face the realities of life, and that we all will die someday. I agree with you, that I hope I am a better friend to someone going through something as we are going through. My partner is dying of cancer and his best friend of almost 30 years rarely even calls any more, and won't even come to see him for a visit. This breaks my heart that people act this way, I try to make every effort to not be like that. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.

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