Author Topic: Struggling with Loss of Mum and Dad  (Read 49 times)

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Offline SarahB

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Struggling with Loss of Mum and Dad
« on: January 14, 2020, 05:47:53 PM »

Hi my name is Sarah and I'm from Northern Ireland. I lost my Mum on 7 December last year and have already lost my Dad 20 years previously. I'm 43 and struggling very badly as I didn't know this was meant to happen (losing both parents) at my age.

I don't have a huge support network - a few close friends and one younger brother. My Mum was my best friend, we were very close and I'm struggling to fill the void she has left in my life. I didn't think this would ever happen for some strange reason at least not yet. She was taken ill with pneumonia in early November which she recovered from, but about a week later it was found she had a hernia and needed emergency surgery for that - and her body got another infection which she couldn't fight. That infection lasted a week and my brother and I watched her just slip into what looked like a deep sleep and she eventually passed very peacefully.

I feel like my heart is broken into a million bits and today for some reason I'm struggling terribly with a lot of tears, questions about WHY ME WHY did I have to have both my parents taken from me and struggling to find the point in my own existence. I'm not really sure why I have to continue on without my Mum and to be honest all I really want is to be with her and my Dad.

To make it worse, people I have told keep looking at me with pity as if to say 'she was too young' - she was 69 and lived up until that point a very active life and was still working. She was so popular and well loved within our community. I really have no idea how or why this has happened and because I haven't married or had kids of my own I am also feeling like her life wasn't complete (although she did say things like that didn't bother her).

I am also struggling with the fact that I don't know ANYONE in my circle who has lost both their parents at this age. Does that mean it doesn't happen? As selfish as it may sound, I feel very singled out, as though God is doing this to me for some bizarre reason (I'm not overly religious either). It doesn't seem fair to have had both parents taken when my friends still have both theirs including some grandparents.

When my Dad died I still had my Mum and was younger so it felt different, even though I adored him. With Mum it is just so PAINFUL that it feels I will never recover from it, or find any happiness again.

I'd really appreciate anyone talking to me who has experienced anything similar or can help me make sense of these horrible feelings.

Thank you so much

Sarah  :cray:

Offline Emz2014

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Re: Struggling with Loss of Mum and Dad
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2020, 08:23:33 PM »
I found it so hard after I lost my dad - seeing others with their dads really hurt, even now the feeling of why did it happen to me comes over me now and again

I think also losing both parents does add an extra fear/emotions to work through - all the foundation ever known has suddenly gone.

You will find people here who understand. Its a rollercoaster journey, it will not feel like it now but the journey will become easier. You're not alone here. :hug:


Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise. 
Hold on in there xx

Offline Charlotte

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Re: Struggling with Loss of Mum and Dad
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2020, 08:35:07 PM »
Sarah, I’m just reaching out to you because you seem to be in so much pain. My dad died some years ago, but he was in his 80s and so for me, it seemed to be very sad but part of life. We must all die some time. Then in June, my husband died very suddenly and, like you, the pain I felt (and still feel) was almost unbearable. I have no children, and my family lives far away, and although I have many good friends, sometimes the feeling that I am not special to anyone is overwhelming. But we do go on, because we know that the people we loved would never want the alternative for us. It is very, very early days for you - the raw pain of those first months will subside, you will find some joy in small pleasures. You won’t ‘get over it’ but you will learn to live with it. If you choose to, you may find that your life takes unexpected turns - after 6 months I have started new activities and have looked up old friends from my past. It is very hard, but we shouldn’t look for explanations - my husband was also too young to die, but so are many people. I am 59 and feel that I shouldn’t be a widow at this age (none of my friends are), but it happens - and it happens to people who are a lot younger. Treasure the memories of the lovely relationship you had with your mum (many people don’t have that) and try to live your life as your mum and dad would have wanted. I wish you lots of courage - you are young and there are many experiences still to come - please be open to them. Charlotte xx

Offline Karena

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Re: Struggling with Loss of Mum and Dad
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2020, 10:43:30 AM »
Hi Sarah. My mum died when i was 40 also leaving me an orphan - i think we think of orphans as children but as adults that is also the way we feel - sure we are better equiped in a lot of ways to cope with this as adults and of course we are expected too by others around us but in other ways we are not - as a child perhaps we are more ready to believe in heaven or whatever the adults tell us about where they have gone but as adults we are far more likely to question that and also as children it is very much easier to distract ourselves - not all the time of course but we dont forget how to play and as adults most of us have already forgotten how to play so dont have that release from grief.My husband died when i was 49 and it was the second time i have been widowed but the first time i had my mum around to help - ihad children who needed me to be strong and to support them financially - the second time i had none of that - children left home and moved away and  no mum it felt like my life was totally pointless - no one needed me  but it also brought back a resurgence of grief for her too and  a kind of fear - because now i am the elder - the buck stops with me - and of course i made my own decisions and we didnt always agree but she was always there.

If you think of it in work terms you maybe have a team you maybe make decisions but the owner is always the one with ultimate responsability then you walk in one day and some-one says youre in charge now - you re responsible for keeping the company going - the lives of the workers - everything is down to you  its a massive shock and its going to take a while to be able to take up the role and the person you would have asked to tell you how has vanished so grief is mixed with fear.

I am not particularly religious either  i dont dismiss it because if you believe something is possible then any of the religions are possible - i am not a member of a religion  because i dont believe in the straight edges or that one is better than another, but i do believe we have a spirit - we are more than just a body and if our spirit is our energy then science cannot dispute but instead proves that energy is not lost - it can take a different form but it cant be lost.
I was talking too a lady who had also been widowed twice as well and she said what have we done do bad in a former life that this happens too us twice and we are getting punished so much - and i had been thinking the same, but what came out of my mouth wasnt the same.
What came out of my mouth was that perhaps we are not being punished but have been rewarded because we are so lucky to have had such special people in our lives and if there is chosing to be had by a deity fate or whatever. perhaps how we cared for the first meant we were chosen to care for the second -  I have no idea where it came from maybe subconscious hidden behind the negative of its my fault  but it stuck and it helped to turn my thinking into something i could build on in a more positive way.

Before she died my mum moved in with us and she used to love watching the birds in the garden so we put feeders where she could see them from the window. After she died my husband created a space in the garden - made a water feature and a bench and planted her favourites and that became my space to remember her - i would nip out before work and have my coffee and chat to her - not the same i know but it was my time to think about her and think about what she would have said in situations and there was always an answer because we do know them so well - what they would have said - what they would have laughed about too it wasnt always a cry for help but just sharing something with her as i would have done in the past.Grief gets in the way of us seeing it but we do take them with us just not in the same way. 

When he died i had to move house but i took the things from that corner in the garden with me and created another in the new one which is now a place i can spend tme with them both.
Having a place to grieve is important - For some this can be an official place a gravestone or cemetry for others they are more painful because they are associated with their death rather than their life - and not everyone has a garden, not every one loves the natural world - but they both did, so did i but in recreating that corner, that love has been passed on to me much more stongly and the natural world became my solace. - it cannot be a place of sorrow when all around new life springs up every year and is filled with birdsong, and over time that love has pointed me in a new direction so my life is no longer pointless. I miss them of course i do, but i also  live my life for them and work to keep what they loved around us all.
The point of me telling you this is that it worked for me, it brought new friendships and new incentive but at the bottom of that was me taking what they loved and carrying that forward it could be anything - work to go somewhere your mum dreamed of going - do something she dreamed of doing - go back to somewhere she loved to be. That probably sounds counter intuitive - how can we do that without them how painful it will be - and i wont lie it mens slaying some dragons and getting over that fear and it isnt easy, but nothing will be more painful than the day they died, and forgetting them and running away from what they loved and the people they were, for me anyway, just wasnt possible - so i could stay where i was, which was stuck and sinking in a very dark place, or grab a branch and start pulling myself out of it  and that takes time - sometimes the branch breaks and you fall back in - but after a while you find you dont fall as far and you there are more branches to grab.
Being here on this forum was one of those branches - just writing here helped, but also the lovely people here all grieveing, many lonely as well,it became like an extended familly.We will be here as long as you need us to be.  :hug:



Offline SarahB

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Re: Struggling with Loss of Mum and Dad
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2020, 04:54:44 PM »
Thank you both so much @Karena and @Charlotte for reaching out to me. I'm so sorry to hear of both your own personal losses and thanks for sharing those with me. I hope it isn't selfish but it's good to know I'm not alone.

At the minute aside from her loss I'm really struggling with the amount of people telling me my case is RARE and that I am UNIQUE and that my Mum was too young. I know my Dad was too young (52) but my Mum was 69. I know it's not ancient but it's a good age right??? And I don't have to watch while, like some people I know, she goes downhill or can't remember me. Like a girl in work today just sat and said to me 'Oh that's not old Sarah' - but then went on to tell me her mother has dementia and is being really aggressive to her. I wouldn't want that for my Mum and neither would she have wanted it!!!

So why do people have to make out I'm a freak because this has happened to me twice??? Does it not happen to other people too???

Both my parents smoked as well, and no matter how many times I begged them to stop, they didn't. So now I think was I not worth sticking around for???

I also feel like you say responsible for everything now - and it's overwhelming. I have the responsibility (I feel) of my brother who is 41 but has struggled with alcohol addiction. Thankfully he's sober at the moment. I feel responsible for the dogs (they lived with Mum and I adore them - they're with my brother now) but what if I now have to make health related decisions for them too? I love them so much that at times I'm afraid to even walk through the door at the vets - plus my Mum worked for the vets so it's a struggle to even walk in at all! I'm scared to death of something going wrong for one of my pets and the panic of that added with going to the place she worked in - it's overwhelming for me. Does that make sense?

I like the idea about the garden - my Mum loved being in the garden and she was helping me do mine as I never really had green fingers but I was starting to enjoy it. Her favourite character in the world is Peter Pan so I bought a little Disney statue of him and am getting a small tattoo on Saturday.

It's my birthday on the 27th and I'm dreading it without her.  :cray:

I just wish I could get past the emptiness and if anyone has any idea of how to help me cope with the sadness I feel when people say 'it's not old' I'd appreciate it. I think everyone is expected people to live to their 80's.  :cray:

Offline Karena

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Re: Struggling with Loss of Mum and Dad
« Reply #5 on: Today at 12:55:56 PM »
I think people who make that assumption are making it in some way based on either the age their own parents or grandparents died or national statistics - after all according to the government we are all living longer so cant have a pension when we used too - and thats what we hear over and over again.

But this really isnt unique and there is no such thing as typical unless you are looking at millions of people its just down to maths, The more people in the figure the more statistics show trends - in fact it was on the news last night that currently more people in the UK die from sepsis than cancer.

My gran on my mums side lived to be 97 she never smoked,her brothers didnt smoke either one died aged 12 in a mill accident one died working on the railways aged 18, two in the first world war. My dads sister died on titanic - My stepfather was 86 he did smoke but gave up when he met my mum 30 years before he died. - My biological father died at 62 of cancer  he didnt smoke , my mum at 68 of cancer she didnt smoke . Mark was 30, he died of cancer he didnt smoke.
Two of my school friends were killed at 17 they did smoke ,but they died after being mowed down by a drunk driver.
and of course smoking isnt healthy and can shorten lives but so can alcahol and a myriad of other things - young people living perfectly healthy lives die playing sport.
so please dont think it was because you were not worth hanging round for. We look for blame then we find guilt and that means finding any way we can blame ourselves.Most people here will tell you guilt plays a big part in grief yet that guilt is not justified, everyone makes decisions which turn out to be the wrong ones 

your parents smoking wasnt your decision and from their point of view  we all in some way take our chances with our lives.
My friends knew that road was unlit and they were taking a chance -i know they knew because we told them but they decided too anyway and we blamed ourselves for not insisting enough.Others blamed themselves too, the landlord who served the drunk driver, the bus driver who didnt wait another couple of minutes , the parents for telling them they would have to walk home if they missed the last bus yet again - of course they would have picked them up in reality but because they said that the kids didnt ring them.

I walked up a mountain in Africa ill equiped with clothing and water and unfit, and when i was halfway up i realised that, but i carried on walking - that was me taking my chances i wasnt thinking sensibly  i looked at the here and now and thought better to die here and now than in a care home in gloomy rainy England.  Obviousely i survived - but i didnt at any point think i would take the chance because my children were not good enough for me to want to stay alive i can promise you that,  and if it had gone wrong, i would hate for them to think that i had ever felt that way.  :hug:

You are jumping ahead with the dogs - take out pet insurance and love them let them be part of your healing take them out for walks even if they are with your brother even better take them together so you can be closer too him and recognise when he is struggling, and support him any way you can,and when you are having a bad day he can support you - sometimes a hug is what we need to make a difference, but know that you are not responsible for his alcahol issues any more than you were for your parents smoking.
 You will know when a decision has to be made about the dogs and you will make it when you need too purely with their welfare in mind. :hug:

Offline SarahB

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Re: Struggling with Loss of Mum and Dad
« Reply #6 on: Today at 02:16:12 PM »

Thank you Karena. It's so weird of me to be asking about ages etc - it's just how I feel in light of what people are saying to me. Like last week, a friend of mine lost her 11 year old son to suicide. She found him hanging in his bedroom. A popular DJ from where I am from also hanged himself leaving behind 2 children aged 5 and 8.

I think its because I am comparing myself to my immediate group of friends - it hasn't happened to any of them.

And I don't understand the PAIN. It's actually physical - I can feel it in my chest - does that make sense? Often crying is the only relief. It takes the pain away temporarily. And I've been physically sick a few times - like vomited up my food. Has that happened to anyone else?

It sounds so stupid in light of what you've said Karena but I just feel like THIS WASN'T SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN TO MY FAMILY - both my parents were such special, kind, lovely people. I'm sure yours were too - but you somehow (or at least I do!) think that this will spare them in a strange sort of way. I never ever expected to lose my Mum especially when only weeks previously she had been up and at work and doing all her normal stuff.

I am scared. I'm scared to be without her and I'm scared my feelings aren't normal. I'm scared the pain will never ease. I can't bear it.  Does that make sense at all?