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My mom died Christmas day. My daughter, her partner and I were with her, holding her. She waited for us - she knew our routines and she chose us to be with her. It has been almost 3 weeks since she died, and I feel worse than before. I suppose it is reality setting in - that I won't see her or talk to her again. My mom died from complications of diabetes, congestive heart failure, renal failure. She was a double amputee. It was in her brain as well. She became more childlike as the disease spread. I lost her little by little over the last 8 years. I felt horrible about the feelings I had over that time - I wanted her to die, it was terrible what her body was going thru. Then she went into hospice and went into a steady decline that lasted only 5 weeks - and I wanted time to stop. Please, I can't keep up. It took so long to get to her time to die, and then there was no more time. I am still reeling, a mess of emotions. I love my mom, and I miss her, I am so thankful we took the time to talk, to tell each other how much we loved each other. I was her primary emotional support/caregiver for most of this last year. I keep thinking of her, who she was, her life, what legacies she left us - its like a continuous tape in my mind. There is an enormous emptiness now. She is still very much with me, and I need to talk about her. I am scared to let anything go, I am so afraid that as memories and feelings lessen, she will disapear. It is the little things that blind side me - I took some of the things she had in hospice to the thrift store, and it felt like I lost her again. My siblings are grieving in their own way - one by working, and the other by withdrawing. I am so afraid we will continue to be separate. I am the eldest, and I know how important it was for my mom that we have time together as a family - I will try later to keep up some of those traditions. I remember the last dinner we had as a family, my mom was already very weak, and couldn't understand everything we said, but she was happy crying just to see us all together. IT was important thing to her. I am just rambling, I hope I am making some sense. Thanks to whoever reads this, I hope you reply. IT would help.

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My dear friend,

No, you are not rambling, and everything you say makes perfect sense to me. I cannot imagine what it must have been like for you to watch your mother’s health decline so horribly over such a long period of time. As you say, you’ve been losing her “little by little over the last 8 years,” and I can certainly understand why you wanted so badly for her agony (and yours) to come to an end. Wanting the agony of her illness to end is not the same as wanting your mother to die. When you’ve been carrying such a heavy load for such a very long time, it is only human to wish that it would end soon, and it is only natural now for you to feel relieved that such a heavy burden has been lifted from your shoulders. I hope that you will take some comfort in knowing that you did the best you could in caring for your mother, and surely she knew how very much you loved her.

You say you’re afraid to let go of your mother’s things, for fear that “as memories and feelings lessen, she will disappear.” And when you did take some of her things to the thrift store, it felt as if you had lost your mother all over again. These feelings are normal, too, and you’re certainly not alone in experiencing them. I’m reminded of some of the posts that appeared in this forum a year ago, under the topic entitled “Life Without My Mother.” See this one especially, which contains the piece, “Sorting:”


I understand, too, the special responsibility you feel as the eldest child to preserve your family traditions and maintain family togetherness. You may find this article helpful, too:

Creating Personal Grief Rituals: The Healing Power of Remembrance

Please know that you have our deepest sympathy, my dear. Here you are among friends who care and understand, and whenever you need to talk about your mother, we are listening.

Wishing you peace and healing,

Marty T

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