Author Topic: Introducing myself after losing my Mum  (Read 73 times)

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Offline MrsRL

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Introducing myself after losing my Mum
« on: September 11, 2020, 01:34:18 PM »
Hi all, I sadly lost my Mum to lung cancer in March. I still can't believe she has gone. We spoke everyday and were close, she was a friend as well as a Mum. She was always very fit and healthy up until she was ill, she never smoked so it was a shock for her to get lung cancer. She was young too at 63 when she died. Cancer took away the person that she was and she went from a very fit and independent person to one that had to rely on others to help her. Although she had been ill, she went very suddenly at the end and they believe it was her heart that took her as even the doctors weren't expecting her to go so soon as she was due to start another round of chemo. She was always very positive throughout it all as well, which made it even more of a shock when she was gone. I think we sometimes believe our parents will go on forever. I still don't feel like I have grieved properly and covid19 also made it very hard to do so as we couldn't see anyone when it first happened. She also  couldn't have the funeral she deserved because of it. My son is too young to fully understand it all, which is also hard. I find it difficult to speak to people I know about how I'm feeling so wanted to post on here and talk to people in an unfortunately similar situation. I feel like no one asks how I am anymore and has an idea of me being very strong and dealing with it all so well, even when I'm not. No one my age has been through similar in my life either so it will hopefully help to talk to others with a similar situation.

Offline Sandra61

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Re: Introducing myself after losing my Mum
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2020, 11:43:28 AM »
Hello, so sorry to hear about your mum.  :hug: 

I came here after losing my mum too in 2017. I think it is a terrible blow to lose your mum. There's no one else like your mum. It's a shock to lose anyone close, no matter how old they may be or what the circumstances are and it does knock the foundations out from under your feet and change your world, your future and indeed, changes you too forever. I know I will  never be the person I was before I lost my mum anymore. My whole world changed in a moment and I changed too and both are taking very long time to get used to and adjust to. You just work at it from day to day and I mean 'work at it'. I found when I first lost mum, I became a wreck and struggled to do even simple things like getting up and dressed and often forgot to eat or drink enough, so that's the first thing you have to work at doing and if you even make a cup of tea for yourself, that is one little achievement! Finding your way forward into a future without your mum in it is a harder process and that too takes time and effort.

In the early days, I found little things helped, like having flowers around and walking in the park. The flowers lifted my spirits a bit and the park was a calming environment where I could sit and think and try to recover from the shock of it all. It is harder currently to do, but I found it helped enormously to get out of the house a couple of times a week, so I joined a class and that helped because it forced me to think about something else and to talk to new people for a while and that gave me a break from the relentless, overwhelming grief I was feeling. It was a much needed distraction and also made me engage with life again. It is so easy to let grief drag you down and if it gets a hold on you, it is hard to escape from its clutches. I reached a point about six months after mum died, where I was in such a state, I knew I had to do something to help myself of go into depression, so I made a plan for the future, both to help shape a new future for myself and to help me recover on a personal basis and the class was a major part of that. You can do on-line things, so that might be helpful, but also face-time calls with friends also help and even texting and chatting that way.

You need to make an effort not to just sit with your grief on your own, so I do encourage you to talk to someone about it, even if it is just us. The other thing that helped me quite a lot was to write about how I felt about what happened to mum and to write about what happened when I lost her with all the disappointments and upset and pain included in that account. I then kept a diary writing about how I was feeling every day and still do. It helped somehow to express all of this by writing about it and relieved some of the pent up pressure that grief puts onto you.

It takes a long time to come to terms with a close loss and there will be good and bad days and then good and bad weeks as time goes on, but I cannot subscribe to the popular expectation that you ever 'get over it'. You learn to live with it, but don't really get over it. The pain of that loss becomes a part of you and is never really gone, but it does improve and, over time, the painful memory of those last days fade and some of the better memories resurface and your mum will never really be gone from you. She made you who you are in part and you will always be able to hear her voice in your head when you are wondering what advice she may give you when you need it, so you will be carrying her with you in your heart and mind for the rest of your life. She is part of you, so how can she ever really be gone from you?

Be patient with yourself and make an effort to take care of yourself, but just take it one day at a time. It's the hardest thing you will ever go through and it's a struggle to make it from one day to the next, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. Others here describe it at as a rollercoaster ride and it can be like that, but it does get very slowly better as acceptance comes and the shock subsides.

You will and have clearly already found that the help you might expect from others, does not necessarily come. I find that unless someone has experienced loss themselves, they just don't understand how hard it hits you and have no concept of how it feels or how very hard it is to recover from that. People who have no experience of loss are the ones who expect you to be able to 'get over it' and somehow go back to being who you were before it happened and for life to return to being what it was before you lost that person, because for them, it was sad, but was no more than that for them. For you, it is so much more and so much harder and they will not understand that, but everyone here does and we are here to help you through this for as long as you need us. Talk to us; request counselling from your GP if you think that might help; talk to your family and your friends, if you have people around you can talk to about it, but do talk and it will help, even if you just talk by writing it down, or perhaps talk to your mum herself - some people like to write how they feel in the form of a letter to the person they have lost. 

I hope some of this helps you. Wishing you well and sending strength and empathy.  :hearts:

Offline MrsRL

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Re: Introducing myself after losing my Mum
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2020, 06:58:31 AM »
Thank you for taking the time to reply to me with such good advice. I really appreciate it. I'm sorry you found yourself here after losing your Mum too.

It's nice to see a different viewpoint too, as so many people told me that it gets easier with time and in a way it may do, but I sometimes  feel like people think I should be fine now.

Thank you for the tips on what helped you. It is so hard in the current climate to do anything like join classes, which is a shame. Hopefully I will find something though. I do like crafts and they have always helped my mental health and well being so I think I need to take the time to do that again. I have never had green fingers, but my Mum was a keen gardener and I've actually found that being in the garden and growing flowers from seed etc has brought some comfort too.

It has been 6 months this month that I lost my Mum and I felt that as it's not getting any easier that I wanted to talk to others in the same situation. I like the idea of writing, and it is something I have been thinking of doing so I will definitely see if it helps.

You're right about others and them not being able to fully understand if they haven't experienced a close loss. It hurts when friends talk of their Mum being there for their child's birthday and how lovely it is, when my son who has a birthday shortly will never have my Mum there again. His upcoming birthday and the fact my Mum won't be there, who so wanted to be, makes the last few days even harder.

Thank you so much for your kind words and advice. I will definitely continue to post on here.

Offline Sandra61

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Re: Introducing myself after losing my Mum
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2020, 10:59:28 AM »
Hello again.

Yes, I think that expectation from others for you to be 'fine' again only six months later comes of people not understanding because they haven't been through a similar experience yet. Try not to be hurt. They just don't understand. Really, six months is very recent and there is no way you will be anywhere near 'fine' yet! The first eighteen months were very hard for me. The first year is horrible because you have all those anniversary 'firsts', as you say, your son's first birthday without your mum being there, your own birthday, her birthday, Christmas, Easter etc. It is pretty ghastly. At Christmas, I decided eventually to try to make things as cheerful as I could and put a tree up. I knew it would be very hard not to be depressed during Christmas without her, but I was glad I did it. I found that it was nice in the evenings to sit with just the tree lights on and remember her. She wouldn't have liked it if I had tried to pretend Christmas wasn't happening. She always enjoyed it so much.

I know I had several times when I felt I was doing well and starting to recover, but then some little thing would happen and it would knock me for six and I would realise I wasn't nearly as recovered as I thought. It will take much longer than most people think it will, I assure you. It is a long hard road, I'm afraid.

I have a nice photo of my mum in my living room, not the best one, but the one that most looks like I was used to seeing her look. I also have several of my dad and I talk to them and tell them about my day and can hear what they would say in my head, especially when I have some issue to deal with. Some people plant out an area of the garden with some of their lost loved one's favourite plants and put a bench there so that they can go and sit there to remember them, when they need to. I don't have green  fingers either, hence the trips to the park! I do often read the inscriptions on the benches there. Most have been placed there by those left behind in memory of those they have lost. I find that comforting. It reminds me that they are not forgotten and go on being loved and missed by those who are still here. Some have flowers left on them at Christmas or on special anniversaries. As long as others remember them, they live on and will always be loved. Perhaps you could think about doing something like that; putting something in a place special to your mum or to both of you as a tribute and a place to go and sit and think of her. Also, if you enjoy crafts, some people like to make cushions from some of the clothes belonging to the person they have lost, so that they can hug it when they are missing them. It wouldn't be for me, but might be right for you.

It's also worth putting together an album of photos of your mum and times you remember spending with her. You could also make a memory box of sentimental items that mean a lot to you and a memory book or jar with little recollections of her. People write down anecdotes and memories and personality traits that they remember and that made them smile either in a notebook or on scraps of paper they put in a jar, so that they can pull one out at random when they want to be reminded of better times. It would also be important for your young son, so that he can get to know her too as he gets older.

I found it helped to revisit places I had gone with mum and that helped bring back memories of the happy times we spent there together, even though it also brings a tear to the eye. That might be a good way of helping you get your son to know her too, if you tell him about the times you had together there too. Perhaps when he is a little older.

Keep looking for those little strategies that help you feel better and just keep taking it one day at a time and regardless of what others might expect, don't expect too much of yourself. It does get better in time, but lots more time than you or others might think. There is no set time limit on grief or recovery from it. It can be less time for some or many years for others. I think you have times when you are ok and times when it is hard to get through the day and you can be feeling like you are making progress and then something just reminds you, out of the blue, of your mum and you can suddenly find you are really upset and realise you are not as recovered as you thought yet. I don't think grief is a process that ever finishes. Once you are a grieving person, I think you will always remain one to some extent, because you won't stop loving or missing them or ever forget them, so there are bound to be bad times, so that's when you need to turn to the little things that help you.

I only started clearing out some of the drawers my mum's room last week and that was hard, but I came across some photos I had never seen from years ago, so that was  a treasure and I also found a list of things to do in her hand-writing and top of the list was 'clear out bedside table drawers'! That made me smile as here I was doing it instead only some several decades after she put it on a list of things to do!

Keep going. You will get there, but it will take a long time. We are here for as long as you need us.  :hug:

Offline Karena

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Re: Introducing myself after losing my Mum
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2020, 02:54:32 PM »
Hi and welcome to the forum - it is a long time simce my mum also died of cancer in 2004 but one thing that struck me about what you said was people assuming you are fine after a while. Time makes a difference to how you cope day to day of course, but your mum is the constant you have had all your life =and so the pain becomes less but you never stop missing them - my mum also loved gardening and i knew a bit but never was as passionate about it as her. She moved in with us during her illness and we put bird feeders out where she could see them visiting from her window - after she died my husband moved them but created a corner of the garden where he also planted her favorite plants and a water feature and a bench and that became my go too place - every morning before work i would have my fist coffee there and chat too her in my head and over time watch as the plants came up and the birds remained and brought their chicks back. Since then my husband also died and i had to move house but i took that stuff with me and re-created it in the new garden adding his favourite plants and a pond (he loved our pond) as well - i think gardening played a big part in getting me through the next few years and my love of doing it has grown with it - to me that is a gift from her - She wasn't able to  support me through losing him as she would have if she could have been here - but she left me this gift of her passion for growing and that helped so much almost as though she was. We miss our mums but we never really lose that bond - it changes direction but doesn't break.If you are not able to join classes etc  with covid still around - why not spend some time to chose what to grow next year and make it a starting point - bulbs for spring can be planted now and will give you reason to smile when spring comes around - even just a planter full of them can make a positive difference too your day in the future.

MY husband loved daffodils and i have a planter with whats called a bulb lasagne in - so there is always something from the first snowdrops through early and late daffodils hyacinths tulips some bedding plants over summer then a hellebore to get through winter. You plant the bulbs at different depths so they fit in that space and follow each other then just fill in the gaps if they arise.I have a plaque fixed on it as well not a memorial plaque specifically just  a verse that is to me but wouldn't obviously be to others.

Offline MrsRL

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Re: Introducing myself after losing my Mum
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2020, 08:33:28 PM »
Hi again, sorry for the delay in response, I had a busy few days with my son's birthday and haven't had chance to reply. Sorting his birthday was a distraction for some of the time, although it was hard not having my Mum there.

@Sandra61 - thank you for taking the time to reply again, I really appreciate it. Thank you for sharing your experience. I'm dreading some of the anniversaries. Tomorrow would have been my parent's 45th Wedding Anniversary so that will be difficult, particularly for my Dad. We bought him a blue plant for his garden as it would have been sapphire, to at least mark the date somehow. I'm not looking forward to Christmas and don't want to celebrate really, but I will have to as my son is so young so I will do it for him. Funnily enough my Mum found Christmas hard as well, as she lost her own Mum at Christmas time, now I understand why she felt that way.

I do like the idea of a bench and sitting in the garden to remember Mum. She loved nature and birds, flowers etc so it would hopefully help me to feel close to her. I have thought of having some clothes made into a bear or something, in particular for my son. He is too young to really understand but I want to keep her memory alive so I have been thinking of ways to do so. I do plan to put together an album of times my son and Mum spent together for him to look through as he grows. A memory box or book is a lovely idea too. My son does have some common interests with my Mum, both sharing a love of puzzles and trains. I hope this continues so that I can say he got it from Nanny as he didn't get those things from me or his Dad really.

I will continue to visit as it is helping to 'talk' so thank you so much  :smiley:

@Karena thank you so much for taking the time to reply to me. I love the sound of your garden and it is definitely something I will look into. I like what you said about never losing the bond with our Mums. What a great idea with choosing some bulbs to grow next year, it is exactly what my Mum would have done too so thank you for suggesting it. Spring was my Mum's favourite season too, so I think it's important to do something like that. Your planter sounds lovely and is definitely something I will look into as well. I love the idea of a plaque too with a verse that means something - thank you.  :smiley: