After 12 Years my Mother is Still Everywhere

My mother died twelve years ago on October 23rd and though my actual memories of the days and weeks that led up to her death have faded, my feelings of sorrow are bone deep. I don’t need to remember with any amount of clarity in order to feel overwhelmingly sad. There was a point, years ago, when I believed I would someday be beyond the bewilderment of grief, but twelve years later, as the arrival of autumn has once again knocked me off kilter, I am reminded how foolish it is to have any assumptions about grief.

As I approach this October 23rd, I find it hard to parse my feelings. I feel good, bad, grateful, deprived, strong, vulnerable, and a hundred other things. My memories, thoughts, beliefs, and assumptions about life and loss have gotten all mixed up. I am a paradox of opposite emotions, which is confusing but fine. Life after a loss is simply perplexing and if I didn’t know that it was normal to experience grief years after a loss, I think I’d be feeling pretty crazy right about now.

As the years roll by, my feelings of loss change shape and I’ve noticed that lately they’re fixated on the passage of time. I’ve actually found that the more time I place between me and my mother, the more acutely I ache for the past. My mother was “home” – it existed within her – and now that she’s gone I’ll never be able to truly return. I’m untethered, yet I’m supposed to moor my own children to the world. It’s baffling to think that I’m their stability when so many days I feel like a crumbling pile of sand. I wonder if my mother ever felt this way – washed away by the tide and rebuilt again by the children the next day. There are so many things I wish I could ask her.

“Time heals all wounds” is a particularly laughable phrase among people who are grieving. Time doesn’t really heal all wounds, it just rolls in like a slow-motion tsunami and carries you off down the shore. Yes, you may find yourself removed from the extreme intensity of grief, but you’re also further from the physical reality of your loved one and a past where they could be heard, seen, and embraced. Time doesn’t heal, it simply creates a distance. And realistically, who wants to put distance between themselves and someone they love?

The distance is a loss that needs to be grieved, but on the other side of the paradox is the reality that so many roads still lead back to her. Over time she has become a part of me, my children, and my family on a cellular level. Physically she is very gone, but psychologically she is everywhere. While both truths have the ability to make me sad, the latter brings me immense comfort.

It’s been a while since I’ve written an emotional essay about my mother, but this time of year just gets to me. If you relate to nothing else that I’ve said here, I’m sure you can empathize with the annual grief-funk that so many of us experience. Some years just hit me worse than others, and I have no doubt that my grief is exacerbated by whatever head space or stage of life I’m currently in. Twelve years after my mother’s death I understand that the vulnerability to experience grief is always with me. Some days it lies dormant and some days it becomes inflamed like emotional rheumatism.  Certain experiences, like a particular time of year, flip a switch and I am flooded with feelings of grief, nostalgia, yearning, and whatever else bubbles up to the surface.

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October 12, 2018

79 responses on "After 12 Years my Mother is Still Everywhere"

  1. Mom died on May 24th, at home, with me holding her hand.

    I was very lucky to be her son.

    The personal experiences I’m reading are helpful.

    It’s a rough trail and there’s not much sun.

  2. i wish there is any way i may talk to my mother who died 3 years ago, i wish at least i may see her talk to her in my dream, she was my strength my power my motivation. I hope she hears me when i call for her when i miss her. i wish i may talk to her ,is there anyway … 🙁 🙁 🙁 i wish i can see you whenever i want at least in my dream

  3. i wish there is any way i may talk to my mother who died 3 years ago, i wish at least i may see her talk to her in my dream, she was my strength my power my motivation. I hope she hears me when i call for her when i miss her. i wish i may talk to her ,is there anyway … 🙁 🙁 🙁

  4. I feel this full with mother’s day approaching. I feel this disconnect from so much time passing and I wish I could feel close again.

    • If you ever seen the movie it’s a wonderful life and George Bailey is sitting in martinis bar having a drink and praying for God to show him the way and then he gets a punch in the face from his daughters teacher. That’s the best way I can describe losing my mother I never expected it I never saw it coming it happened so fast . She was conscious up to the end and surrounded by myself my sister my father and my husband we were there till the very end singing you are my sunshine. It was the most agonizing experience of my life Her last words to me were honey don’t be afraid I’m not afraid when death comes to you you were accept it and you’re not afraid anymore and a little while later she was gone but the truth is I have an excepted it I still feel it I have my good days but When the grief comes back it’s that same punch in the face all over again it’s nice to say this to people who understand thank you

  5. The pain is deep and my heart broke the day she died. I ran across this the other day and some good points are made about life after a loss.

    https://youtu.be/SA05kD_53yg

  6. Whenever your dear is in the serius level of cancer or heart attack and doctors have dishoped her it maybe ignite a little hope in you search and read about “cryonics”(cryonics means freezing body and tessues exactly after death by special method that tessues dont rot in the hope of revive human in the future by that times science and technology) plz for humanity put this message in anywhere helpful

  7. Yes this is me….it’s 5 months and her first posthumous birthday wa s2 weeks ago and I’ve been floored. Yet what’s floored me more that people feel I should be letting go of the grief or aren’t getting it … I’m fact my sister in law has muted my messenger messages after I was honey and told her that starting a what’s ap group a few days after my obvious pain at my mothers birthday for what to get my mother in law for her bday and asking us to chip in was insensitive … to which I got how her life is stressed faith work right now, she has things on, she is sorry I feel that way but she’s at a loss as to why I’m like this…. so I got more honest and was eventually shut down. This was hard … hard realising some, even family, aren’t comfortable and frankly don’t want to know about your pain when it rains on their parade. I’m glad your honest how the pain is still always there as I feel it’s getting harder rather than easier and I think more of what could be especially as I watch my 22 month old stop asking to see her pictures and I think of what he will miss from her side. Are you on Instagram or do you have a blog? I started one just for this grief life as I felt so many are sick of hearing about me … I’m on Instagram as Jada Johnson-Dutfield if you would like to connect …. and my podcast is https://anchor.fm/jada-johnson-dutfield connecting really helps me as does talking and writing. Thank you for sharing x

  8. It was beautiful (Sad but beautiful ) to read all the love that was felt for the ones we have lost. I too have lost much and lost very deeply. This may sound odd to some, maybe give you peace or maybe you wont believe it but this is my take on the loss. My dad passed 2 years ago on the 7th of March. He was in a nursing home and just passing his time. I had great visits several times aweek and on Tuesdays with my brother as well for the past few years. During our last few visits he would go somewhere else , I could see his face soften and his eyes would turn a beeautiful icy blue s he drifted. I’d ask him “Dad where did you go” He would smile and say “Oh, They’re just waithing for me” He had a large family and he was the last to pass away. The several days before his passing I got a bad cold and couldn’t go in so my husband went in and had a great visit. Dads voice became weak and he whisperd to my huband that he was going home in 3 day and 24 hours, which put it on Tueaday morning. Monday I was pretty sick and a bit concerned but Tuesday morning I felt perfect and headed to pick up my brother and visit dad which usually was around noon. Driving up I-5 (Washington) all of a sudden the cab of my truck became (so difficult to describe the feeling) it became the most beautiful loving bright warmth your heart and soul could imagine. It filled my heart with such unconditional love and joy I burst in to tears at the purest form of love that I was feeling. I looked up and my dad was a younger man and smiling the most content smile and reached his hand out and waved goodbye. It had been 3 days and 24 hours, he passed at 11;38. He was home. In the background I could see shadows of figures and I assumed it was his family waiting for him. I regained my thoughts and a few moments later the nursing home called to say dad had passed and I quietly replyed that I already knew. There was no sadness or fear of what came next for him. Nothing but beautiful true pure love awaited him. He showed me or GOD let him show me, which ever you believe that yes it is very very difficult to move forward in our lives, some days nearly impossible. We hopefully can take comfort that they have found peace and are pain free. My mom passed when I was 6 and my dad when I was 56. I hold that love so tight and I take that core love they gave me and the strength of my faith and I move forward each day. He too was my anchor of love and strenght all my life. I wish all could experience what I did. I feel very honored to be shown that. While his passing is incredable difficult to manuver past I still feel his love. I tap my heart twice when I thnk of him, I feel if I’m thinkging of him he’s thinking of me. I know he is alright and maybe when my time is up someday I will be ok too, ones passing has a different understanding and meaning to me now. doesn’t mean it easier because it is not, I was given the idea of what might come next for all of us. Just thought I’d share and its the first time I’ve really spoke of it. I hope you all can find peace and joy in the memories and most of all heal with love, that is what they would want. You all are very loved.

  9. I lost my mom 03.04.2108. I can’t get over it. Not at all. She was my best friend, my rock , my everything.. i have got 2 daughters, one of them is disabled .. needs me. I have to b for her. To stay alive, and it is so hard. Nobody understans. I also have cluster headaches which i had for years. My life is a struggle, i am a wreck , i don’t like waking up.

    • I feel the same way about my mother. She died 3 years ago and I am still a mess. If it were not for my husband, I would not want to be alive. Thank you for your description of what your mother was to you: your best friend, your rock, and (especially) your everything. I am in the 4th year without her, and still cry every day and cannot imagine going on so many more years without her. Good luck to you.

  10. I can relate to the posts. My mom died on the 16th Jan 2019 at 2:20 in ICU. It huts hurts this strange reality called death. Getting on in a world in which I finally join those who have to accept: my mom, best friend, haven, is gone.

  11. Correction September 28,2018. October idk where that came from. Unless it was due to previous comments

  12. Well here I sit reading as tears drip my my chin as they have for the past two or three, hell maybe four days now.
    I lost my beloved mother October 28,2018. The absolute worse day of my life. It was a Friday. I found out at work that I needed to leave and go straight to my mothers. I knew in my heart why I was needed. My husband with me hand and hand. I’ve always found such comfort with him but not on this day nor the days to come. Not because of something he did or didn’t do, it’s all within me. See there is no comfort for me anymore. I long to feel my mothers arms embrace me, kiss my cheek and say I love you, Cha. But that’s a phase of my old life, one I’ll forever crave to feel just once more. Some days I feel okay others I’m like a tiny little boat out in the roaring ocean waves taking on water pleading for my mother just one more. Would it be just once more to satisfy me till my turn comes, I think not but it sounds convincing.
    I’ve thought about suicide several times these past few months. I wouldn’t, I just couldn’t do that though. Oh how that would break my mothers heart. I hear her say Cha you are strong, you can do this and everything will be okay. See my mother and I have struggled all my life and she struggled all of hers. We were always hit with difficult tasks it was just our way of life. My mother would face everything head on with smile and a courage’s heart. A force to be reckon with and love as fierce as blue embers of fire. She taught me everything. She was my mother and my father, my best friend, she was my rock. If ever I felt down I’d straighten my crown and remember who’s daughter I am. She was the strongest most loving caring woman I’ve ever known. No matter what life threw at her it couldn’t break her spirit. Aside from her mother dying, my grandmother. See my mother was very young when she had me so all three of us women had a special bond. At times when I look back I can see my mother May of thought I looked at my grandmother as a mother and probably so when I was a child. It was the comfort that my grandmother could give to both my mom and I. When my grandmother passed a light went out in my mothers eyes. It never came back. I looked and looked for it but it was gone. My mother was very much alone in her mind. Oh how I wish I could of filled some of her emptiness but she was consumed by griefs ugliness.
    Slowly I watched my mother decline. I didn’t know what to do or to say. I never knew her pain as I know it today. With that said, I couldn’t fill anything for my mother. It was just an emptiness that I suppose is always going to be present as far as I can tell.
    My mother was in pain meds and heart meds. Lots and lots of meds. The pain meds brought the landslide down. I knew when I started to see my mother take more than prescribed and nod off there was a big problem. When I would try to talk to her about it, she would get angry and irritated at me. Then some days she would see they were a huge problem. She got herself in this pill circle if you will. It’s where people who get pain meds and nerve meds swap, trade out, buy and borrow from each other. She started taking things that weren’t prescribed to her and had bad adverse reactions. It was terrible and heart breaking to see my mother like this. The Monday before my mother passed, she called me early early morning. As she spoke, she spoke about being with my step father all weekend. That couldn’t possibly be for he has been passed since May of 2015. Alarmed I jumped from bed, jerked on my clothes, called my oldest daughter to keep my mother on the phone till I could get there. I arrived and called for an ambulance. My mother was very mad at me. I knew she was over medicated but I also knew there was something else going on with her. She wouldn’t listen to me in fact she was livid. Feeling helpless and hopeless I made my way over to the two women’s apartment that was supplying my mother. I told them to stop or I would do whatever I had to do to make sure they were stopped. These women were talking out of their heads. I left and spent that afternoon calling every doctor and pain clinic within a 60 mile radius. It was exhausting but I was able to stop some of the pills from reaching my mother. I was then faced with what to do with her doctor and meds. I was scared now of what it may end up doing. Would I be pushing my mother to get her pills from the streets. Idk. So with that I did nothing else. Even though I was haunted by the fact I knew something bad was going to happen to my mother.
    My mother called me one last time. It’s weird but I somehow knew that would be the last time I spoke to her. She was still not in her right mind. I kept telling her something was wrong. She kept saying she didn’t feel well and wanted to rest. I was so scared and I told her so. I said, I love you momma and with her sweet voice I heard her say, I love you too Cha, everything’s going to be okay. All my life I always believed 💯 when I would hear her say that but not on this day. This day was different. A few days later that dreadful Friday came. I’ll never be the same. My whole world as I knew it changed. I’m trying to adapt but idk if I’m doing a good job. My days and weeks and months are all crossed with lots and lots of time I can’t recall.
    The holidays were the worse. I constantly thought about my mother and what she would be doing if infact she were here. I had a sadness that just wouldn’t lift. I can’t be what I need to be for my children and husband I do have here with me, in the present, waiting patiently for their mother, his wife to return to the person I was before my mothers passing. Idk if I can ever be that person again. I’m not so sure who I am so with certainty I can say idk if I’ll ever be back to the one I was before. I can tell you I will strife to be but in case I can not please love me anyways. Know what made me jaded not that I’ve always been as I am before you now.
    I will continue to pray and forge forward the best I can and I’ll get stuck from time to time, please during that time lend me a hand and encourage me to grow. As I straighten my crown and remember who’s daughter that I am.

    Love you my dear sweet mother. I’ll see you again until then stay close with me in heart. I carry you with me always. Your there for ever goal made or medal awarded to your grand babies and every tear shed out of joy or sadness. Your still very much apart of me. That I can never be stripped of. It’s mine forever and for that little window I have solace

    • Hello Chastity

      Your post reminded me so much of my mum, especially about when your mum used to always encourage you and seemed so strong and able to face any problem and so gave you strength, too.

      My mum passed away in April of 2006. I have thought of her every day since then, perhaps for a moment or two or sometimes longer. She was my rock in life! Nothing seemed quite as bad when I shared it with her. She had so much common sense and she seemed so strong. I was not able to tell her how much I loved her when she was dying. I wanted to but there were people there and I should have said, could I have a moment, please, on my own but I didn’t. I was frozen with fear. I managed to tell her that I would look after Pinky for her (Pinky was her little pet bird who she loved). She had hardly spoken for hours before I said that but when I told her about Pinky, she suddenly spoke, so strongly, “I know you will.” Those four words were so heartfelt that I believed she was trying to tell me that she loved me and didn’t want to leave me – people have told me so, anyway – they were extraordinarily loud, strong words and yet she was slipping away even then. I hope she knew that I felt the same. I am lost without her. She, like you, was my mother and my father rolled into one. I miss her oh, so much. Thank you for reading.

      • Dear Delyse,
        I entirely agree with you about what you wrote about the pain and emotions. My Mum died on April 4, 2015, the day of Easter. I can feel the sadness, the pain and the sorrow invade my body and my soul. Emotions are so deep and strong that I’m getting confused and lost when the anniversary of her death is approaching. This morning, I woke up suddenly because I had a nightmare. I saw her inanimated and I do not understand why I’m not dreaming about her smiling at me and telling me that she is truly happy where she is now. This nightmare was destabilizing..She was my rock in life, my best friend, my beloved Mum. To my eyes, she was the most wonderful Mum in the world. She was here when I was crying, she was here when I was happy…. It may sound childish. I’m 49 years old but when the pain is getting overwhelming, I can feel this little girl inside me who lost her Mum. She passed away 4 years ago. I was there when she was dying at the hospital. I was in shock for months… I miss her so much.
        I can feel your pain.
        Thank you.
        Sarah

      • Beautifully written. Your mother knew how much you loved her.

    • Hi Chastity,

      Firstly, I’m so sorry about the loss of your Mom. I read what you wrote with tears in my eyes because I so related to so many things you said. I’m an only child and my Mom and I went through so much together, lots wonderful and some terrible. My dear mom passed on Feb. 27, 2019. I’ve been numb every day. I just want to sleep, but wake up crying every morning realizing I will never see my best friend again. Friends and family say all the right things, but it all feels so empty. They all tell me that I’ll get through this because I’m a strong woman. I am because my Mom made me that way. She was my rock and anchor. I don’t know if I can keep that strength now that she’s gone. I hope so. I’ve also thought of suicide just to end the incredible pain, but I know that’s the last thing my Mom would want me to do. So I have to honor her wish to go on and live a full, happy life. You are so blessed to have a husband and children. I never married. I wanted to, but for whatever reason it didn’t work out for me. My family doesn’t live nearby either. They love me from afar, but its not the same. Hug and kiss your kids everyday because your Mom lives on in them as well. Please email if you get a chance.

  13. Dear Mother,

    On 15 March 2018
    You departed this world.

    Watching you take the last breath
    Cremating your body thereafter
    Collecting your ashes and
    Scattering them into the sea
    Have broken me…totally!

    Having nurtured me with love and care
    Unconditionally…
    For more than half a century
    Your absence makes me drown
    In an ocean of tears…

    You mattered most to me
    But now nothing matters…as much!
    Waiting patiently
    To complete my sojurn on Earth
    Embrace eternal sleep
    To return home to you, Mama!

    Grief comes in waves!!!
    Your loving daughter

  14. You will live on, even though you can’t feel it now. You are stronger than you think, even though you don’t feel it, as at present you’re very fragile. It’s been over a year since my mum died and I’m still a zombie with daily anxiety….only existing to eat, a little exercise and sleep. I lived with mum for 59yrs, I was her soul buddy. Now in her house I’m haunted by her daily, all her belongings kick me in the guts with sorrows. But how can I throw them out, they once gave her life meaning and joy, they were part of her? I talk out loud to her, and she tells me to carry on, and do all those sensible things we ought to for our health and joy. So I honour her by trying to do so. It’s all we can do – honour our departed loved ones who would want us to continue a good life – until our time comes. But our time has not yet come, so we must struggle on, and we will find some joy again. Surely we owe them that. Our mums, dads, sons, daughters all loved us – and would WANT us to carry on, as we would them if died. So the best thing to do is honour them by carrying on – and being healthy, doing the right thing, and being an example to others who will also experience shocking losses.

    • Hi Bryan, Thank you for all your heartfelt posts. I so relate to your experience. I lived with my Mom for 50 years. Everyone keeps telling me to move out of our apartment, which I will eventually, but for now I need the familiarity of the life we had together. Yes, it is so painful at times to see her things, but also a comfort. I will however with the help of a dear family member purge her things a few months from now. I will of course save the favorite, sentimental and special things. I encourage you to do the same. I do think that it will help foster the feeling of moving on. I will be giving a lot of my Mom’s clothes to women in need charities and I think that my Mom would be happy knowing that someone else will enjoy them. Besides, my Mom was a bit of a “fashionista” and I can hear her saying “why are you holding onto that ugly thing”? (insert a little smile here). If you get a chance email me and let me know how you’re doing.

  15. My darling Irish mother died of cancer 21 Sept 2017. I thought I’d be on the mend by now that it’s over a year. My problem is that I lived with her for for 59 yrs, I had a great life with her, she allowed me unlimited freedom to date women, travel, study, work where ever I wanted it to. My father died when I was 16, so I kind of just slipped into the role of her breadwinner, even though she had a small pension. The depth of our love for each other was bottomless, so now the depth of my grief is acute. She left me her home, as I was the primary carer for two painful years, even washing her when the time was near. She was a proud Irish woman, only trusting me, her son, to take care of all her needs. Although, living in her home, now my home, was comforting at first, so many of her things cripple me with sad memories, all her belongings. I talk to her over breakfast and during the day and night. I know what she’d want for me, to carry on, colour my life with new experiences. Keep fit and healthy. I’ve been to many therapists, all more or less saying the same thing; eat well, sleep, and exercise, and avoid quick solutions like drugs and alcohol. Which I’m avoiding, yet the acute anxiety of trying to just forge a new life without her seems impossible. Each day is consumed by just existing and eating something healthy. The only respite is sleep, then the nightmare begins when I wake to a new day. I just hope the pain eases over this year, feeding myself with positive thoughts that I can go on. I believe I can, and know I can….I must – for her. She saw me take my first breath, I saw her take her last. The pain is acute, but we’ll all get over it when the reality seeps in that this is the price we pay for being alive, that we all lose precious loved ones we never dreamed we would.

    • Your words really touched me, thank you. I lost my darling Irish Mum on 30th October 2017. Still devastated and so lonely without her. She was my best friend x

    • Hello Bryan, i read your post, thank you for sharing, i instantly related to your words. I too was there for my mum at the end and felt her last breath blown onto the left side of.my cheek. I dont live in her home and miss not having her home to visit. Mum was my rock, such a selfless person and struggled for years with her illness which was agony to watch. I always said if she can bare it then so must i. I nursed others over 30 years but nothing prepared me for the pain i have inside at witnessing not only mums struggle and awful circumstances but also her painful passing which nobody should have to endure in this day and age. You sound a good honourble son and supported your mother, be proud of yourself. Please feel free to messge me.

  16. My mother passed away on Nov. 1, 2018. I feel a loss so deep that I ache for somehow to find a way to cope with the loss. I can’t describe the feel except for my heart was riped out of my chest and I’m just walking around without a heart. People that haven’t gone through this just don’t understand. I have recently start attending a grief support group. This has helped just to talk to other who have experienced the same type of loss. Grief will eat you alive and you have to grieve. My best advice is: Don’t let others tell you how to grieve and how long. Each of us have to grieve at our own pace and how we choose to grieve. Just as long as it comes out and your dealing with it.

  17. My mom died 10/15/2018.. She was my best friend, confidant, tv watcher, eating together, joking & laughing.. One thing I will never forget was how much she loved me. She would tell me all the time. I think that’s one thing I miss so much. I know no one will ever love me like my mom did with all my faults. She would always tell me how pretty I was or I had nice legs and face.. you know only things your mother would say to you. Everyday is a struggle cause I miss her so much. I just wish I could go back in time and re-do so many things. The grief I’m told has many forms and one of them is time travel, and what if I had done this or that instead. I’ve lived with my mom for so long and now the house is empty. I know I will never find anyone that loves me more than her and who would have gave her life for me, no questions asked. My dad was an absent type of verbally abusive male, it was my MOM that loved me.. I miss her so much.

    • My darling Irish mother died of cancer 21 Sept 2017. I thought I’d be on the mend by now that it’s over a year. My problem is that I lived with her for for 59 yrs, I had a great life with her, she allowed me unlimited freedom to date women, travel, study, work where ever I wanted it to. My father died when I was 16, so I kind of just slipped into the role of her breadwinner, even though she had a small pension. The depth of our love for each other was bottomless, so now the depth of my grief is acute. She left me her home, as I was the primary carer for two painful years, even washing her when the time was near. She was a proud Irish woman, only trusting me, her son, to take care of all her needs. Although, living in her home, now my home, was comforting at first, so many of her things cripple me with sad memories, all her belongings. I talk to her over breakfast and during the day and night. I know what she’d want for me, to carry on, colour my life with new experiences. Keep fit and healthy. I’ve been to many therapists, all more or less saying the same thing; eat well, sleep, and exercise, and avoid quick solutions like drugs and alcohol. Which I’m doing, yet the acute anxiety of trying to just forge a new life without her seems impossible. Each day is consumed by just existing and eating something healthy. The only respite is sleep, then the nightmare begins when I wake to a new day. I just hope the pain eases over this year, feeding myself with positive thoughts that I can go on. I believe I can, and know I can….I must – for her. She saw me take my first breath, I saw her take her last.

  18. My mum died when i was 17 years old..

    16th december will be 17 years since she passed and i can honestly say i still have not come to terms with the fact she is gone…

    I still rememner every detail about the day she got sick and the day tht she died, my whole life fell apart, she was my best friend, i cry myself to sleep pretty much every night still now even though all the years have passed, i never recieved any councelling, i never had anyone i could talk to, 17 years of bottled up emotions have really got to me this year… my dad died a year after my mum too so i had to deal with losing my dad while grieving for my mum, how do you even get over something like that at such a young age??? At any age!

    Still now i feel i have nobody i can talk to about how i feel because people just assume im “over it”

    • You never just ‘get over it,’ you integrate it in your new life, and it’s hard to believe, you’ll be richer for it. But it will take time, as your new experiences will slowly help fade the pain of the crippling sorrows. The acute pain you feel now will prompt you to take a new path, it will be very difficult to take those small steps, eating well, a little exercise and trying to get some sleep without meds. And then exploring new hobbies, writing, like here on this forum is healthy, maybe some painting and playing music. Take somekind of comfort knowing everyone will one day experience crippling loss, it’s part of the human condition, deep sorrows comes with joyful times. No one can live a full life without these two experiences. In a way losing my Mum, after living with her for 59 years, has being the biggest shock and turning point in my life. I don’t believe anything can ever pain me as much from now on. In a bizarre way, that’s comforting. I’m numb to all sorrows, but sadly to almost all joys. I am, and believe I will, begin to increasingly thaw out to experience some joys in life again. I hear my mum inside of me, she speaks to me, encourages me to get on with my life, eat, sleep and be healthy…do all those little chores around the house that need doing….

  19. Hi
    My mum died October 13 2015.
    Her funeral was the 22nd Oct
    We had to pick a day between my sister’s birthday 20th and my daughter’s 24th.
    The October time is so painful.
    Death isn’t just one traumatic event most of the time. Death and losing a best friend went on for a period of time therefore I think that is why we lose weeks and months
    She is home so I feel homeless
    My father/abuser died January 27 2016.
    I was so angry that his death now could morph into overshadowing the grief for my mum the strongest most admirable woman I know.
    Then on 3 March 2016 my best friend rang for me to get to her house as Conner her 7year old son had been hit and killed by a car at 100km per hour.
    I remember standing on the road looking into the swaying canola fields whilst trying to digest the police markings blood and realising that soon there won’t be any time left soon that hasn’t been tainted by these losses.
    I was confused and didn’t even know who I was crying for in the end.
    I stayed for 3 months to help my friend but I do know that you have to be able to grieve for everyone individually.
    For me it didn’t work.
    I had 2 more losses shortly after and couldn’t even attend their funerals.
    I’ve spent all night crying again and found this site.
    I have never spoken to anyone about my experience with losing my mum.
    I related to so much others have shared I guess I’m just not as optimistic about living year after year with these memories.
    If anyone has any ideas I would really appreciate it.

    Thank you
    vanessa

    • You will live on, even though you can’t feel it now. You are stronger than you think, even though you don’t feel it, as at present you’re very fragile. It’s been over a year since my mum died and I’m still a zombie with daily anxiety….only existing to eat, a little exercise and sleep. I lived with mum for 59yrs, I was her soul buddy. Now in her house I’m haunted by her daily, all her belongings kick me in the guts with sorrows. But how can I throw them out, they once gave her life meaning and joy, they were part of her? I talk out loud to her, and she tells me to carry on, and do all those sensible things we ought to for our health and joy. So I honour her by trying to do so. It’s all we can do – honour our departed loved ones who would want us to continue a good life – until our time comes. But our time has not yet come, so we must struggle on, and we will find some joy again. Surely we owe them that.

  20. Wow – Thank you all for sharing so honestly how you are working through and struggling with your grief. My mom passed on September 25th 2018. So yes, it’s only been 44 days… My Dad passed 22 years ago, so I believed I possessed a bit of knowledge of what I would be facing. Having said that, losing Mom knocked me very hard and is VERY tough! Nothing prepares you for the loss of deeply intimate relationships such as a parent(s).

    I do, however, take comfort in a conversation I had with my dad when I was 7 or 8 years old. I was just coming in to understanding what death was and I came to him in tears asking him what will I do if something were to happen to him and mom? He paused and simply said ‘ You’ll do what I did when I lost my parents — you’ll go on and LIVE!’

    The days leading to mom’s passing were overwhelmingly tough and extremely difficult. One day, while sitting bedside with her in August I thought back to last Christmas. I had sent Mom a heart felt letter telling her all the wonderful things I’d experienced because of her, all the things I appreciated she did, and all the things for which I was proud of her. When we spoke on Christmas day she asked me ‘if I was alright?” She was worried I was sick or something! The innocence of her comment then still makes me SMILE (albeit it’s a somewhat sad smile). I realize their will be plenty of emotions within the upcoming holiday season. But, I also know I can pull on my dad’s simple advice every time I need it – “go on”…

    So the truth is that life really is short and clearly our own time will pass. The question remains each day: How shall that time be utilized? I will always treasure my trove of moments with my parents and through that I will manage the grief. I know my parents want me to smile, laugh, and have happiness in however I define it. That’s what dad meant when he said “…and LIVE!”

  21. I am 15 years old. I lost my mum when I was 8 on the 10th of November so in 9 days. It will be 7 years. I now deal with severe grief, depression, death anxiety, and social anxiety. It literally causes me pain to think about her no matter how hard I try to think of it in a positive way. I just feel so tired and helpless and like no one around me can relate. I am so intrigued with death yet so fearful. I have suicidal thoughts almost every day and I just feel a severe amount of guilt if I’m ever happy and I don’t know why. I genuinely am so confused and just tired. I want her to come back. to see her smile or even just to have one last conversation, one I would never forget and would cherish… but of course the only way I can do that is by possibly dying. but here’s a couple of dilemmas within that. I love my dad and family and don’t want them to be sad if I died and stuff but also I don’t have a religion and I don’t believe in god and what not, so the afterlife, heaven and hell things of that I don’t believe in so when people tell me she would be proud and is looking down on me I don’t believe it even though I want to. I just want her to come back you know?

    • Oh my poor sweet child, I’m a just turned 54 year old woman who lost her mum 13 years ago and was feeling sad, missing her so looked up ‘I miss my mum’. I have a 12 year old girl – that my mum never got to see – see died when I was 3 months pregnant. I’m so, so, so sorry for your loss. I grieved my mum badly and I was a 40 year old adult – I can’t imagine how you must have felt or still feel. When my mum died I lost my rock, I had my marriage breakdown and have been at the depths of depression and despair. I too did/do not believe in heaven or afterlife. So do not have that crutch to lean on. I did discover however, that there are teachings out there that can provide some perspective on the illusion or story of life we call ‘reality’. For example adyashanti, rupert spira, jed mckenna to name a few. I still miss her with all my heart – I have my beautiful daughter to pour my love into and who loves me with the intensity I love my mum. We are complex, biological creatures – this biology and evolution leads to sometimes overwhelming emotional pain when our loved ones leave us. I wish you all the best in life, as I know you mother would have too. Please think of what she would have wanted for you to be able to find some joy in life and feel and live after she left. yes to shed tears of sadness whenever you need too, but she would not want you to not find a way to live without constant sadness and hopelessness. The fact that you love her so much means that she would want your amazing deep love to go on into yourself and to others. I’m in tears writing this, I wish I could give you a hug and make it all better for you. x

    • I hurt for you! I lost my dad when I was 11, and it was so hard! I was angry and sad and closed down for a long time. I am 43 now, and my mom just passed away, and the grief is deeper than words can express. You are not alone! I encourage you to call out to Jesus. Give it a chance. You might think you are talking to the air, but He is real and He loves you. He knows your pain, and he wants to walk with you through it. With him, you are never alone. Your life has a purpose because He created you. He gives comfort to broken hearts. Even if you’ve never believed before, it’s okay, He’s always waiting for you to cry out to Him in your time of sadness. If you have a Holy Bible, start reading the book of John to learn more about Jesus and how you can get to know Him personally as your Savior. It seems too good to be true, but if you give it a chance, you’ll see that it is true! I will pray for you, Cody Day.

      “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13

    • But you don’t have to believe in heaven or God. You mum lives in your heart now. And she is at peace, where ever she is. You were, and are, still very, very close to her. You and your mum must have loved each other deeply. That’s why your grief is so deep. But, as hard as it is now, you must honour your mum by carrying on with your life – bit by bit. You will begin to feel better, sobbing and crying a lot helps for now. And your anxiety will fade over time, even though you can’t see it now. Dark thoughts of suicide will only, as you said hurt your dad and others, but also your lovely mum. She wouldn’t want that. She wants you to live your life here now, on Earth, as she did. we all have suicidal thoughts at times, but I just say to myself, ‘what’s the point?’ I still have a bit of living to do – even though it’s hard, but I remind myself, ‘well I’ve had some good times, so there must some good times ahead.’ You suffered a huge painful loss, but you’ll be a stronger and richer person for it in time, to comfort others who can learn from how you survived, and that will give you pleasure in knowing how you have and will help others. You seem a remarkably young and intelligent and sensitive person. You wrote on this forum. You have a lot to give. Maybe you’ll become a brilliant grief counselor one day. For now though, take small steps, eating well, a little exercise, and sleeping well. And chat more on this and other forums, it helps. You feel a little better knowing you’re not alone. And you’re not.

      • Bryan
        What a beautiful response. I did agree with the part of God though. I hope you continue to advise people on this site.

      • Bryan
        What a beautiful response. I did not agree with the part of God though. I hope you continue to advise people on this site.
        Correction on the God part

  22. My mother died eight years ago this past August. And now, I have been told I will lose my husband within the next few years. I am 67 years old, but I find myself saying to myself, over and over again, “I want my mother. I want my mother. I want my mother.” I grieved deeply for my mother when I lost her, but I went on, as we all do. But now, facing the loss of my husband, my grief at not having her with me almost overpowers me, at times. Years after my grandmother died, when we talked of her, my mother’s eyes would fill with tears. I always thought they were tears of sweet happiness at her memory. Now, I know they were still tears of deepest grief.

  23. Your post has so deeply resonated in me. My mum who was only 65 passed away last year on the 23rd October. I am dreading that day and the 1st Anniversary. Since autumn started creeping in I find myself in a bit of an emotional mess. I miss her so deeply every day and heart just feels sore and sad most of the time. She meant the world to me. No amount of time will ever change that as my love for her will never lessen.

  24. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for this! Tomorrow is the ninth anniversary of my mom’s death. October 24th will be the 3rd anniversary of my dad’s death. I am ok. I don’t sit with grief every day anymore. But October…oh October…I FEEL it in my bones, in my soul. It helps immensely to know I’m not the only one who feels this way. Thank you for your beautiful words.

  25. My Mom passed on March 6, 2015 (and my dad passed the spring before). I thought Spring would be toughest, but I was so wrong. It’s October, my birth month and the start to the holidays that they loved. As soon as the calendar page rolls over I’m smacked with a wave of grief that encompasses every aspect of my life. I feel like I’m walking through sludge so thick it threatens to drown me. My friends have said that it will get easier each year, and I’m finding it to be the opposite. I was so numb the first year after she died. Each year after gets harder and harder. I can’t recall her voice, her smell, or the texture of her hand on mine. I can’t remember what her hugs felt like. I can’t hear her stories or eat a meal with her.

    And what makes it particularly painful for me is my younger brother. He’s passed my stage of grief, and is firmly in the “get over it” phase. He doesn’t want to go over memories of childhood, or do any of the family traditions we grew up with. He’s making new ones with his fiancee. It’s really difficult doing the grief mess by myself, but it’s especially hard when the world has moved on and I’m still sitting in the bedroom with her while she takes her last breath.

    • Oh, Dee, I can really understand your grief. Mine is similar, my darling Irish mum died of cancer Sept 21 2017. I thought I’d be beginning to thaw out by now, but not so. I’m 59, and lived with her all my life. We were soul buddies, and loved each other deeply, hence the grief is painfully deep. I was her primary carer for two painful years watching her slowly die. She saw me take my first breath, and I saw her take her last breath on her bed. I now write from the same bed she died on. Surrounded by her belongings in the house she left me. And my brothers and sisters did nothing to support me when she was dying. And now they just get on with their lives without a sad thought which baffles me. And now when I shop, I’m puzzled at people smiling and laughing. But not for me, I feel dead inside, only existing to eat, sleep, trying to keep myself decent, and a little exercise. All joys in life seem pointless. So what can I do? The pain is immense, but I remind myself that this excruciating pain will force me to be creative in some way, writing, painting, playing music. But not a present. One day, yes. I’ve been to many therapists, but they talk about CBT, and talking to family and friends. But my family don’t want to talk to me, someone who is still suffering, and friends and can only offer good advice….and then I’m on my own again – facing the darkness, the days and nights. Looking forward to sleep. All I can do at the moment is try and eat well, little exercise, some sleep without meds or booze, and try to keep the house tidy, and read or watch a funny dvd when I can. I’ve even travelled to Vienna for a holiday with a good friend to see if that helped. It didn’t, I brought the sad memory of mum with me. She was there all the time, sitting beside me in all Vienna’s lovely cafes. I drink plenty of herbal teas, quietly write about my grief, and read these forums. So it was nice to read yours for me, you made me feel less alone. I hope you feel less alone by reading this. I will recover, and I know you will, too. Please just take care, and keep writing and about it, and maybe talking to someone who knows the agonizing pain.

  26. I shared my birthday with my mother, October 1. My mom passed in March 2011, and I find there is an ebb and flow to grief, time does not really heal all wounds, the grief just seems to change. Tonight I was able to listen to a few of my mom’s favorite songs and smile, other times they make me cry. When my mom died I felt an emptiness that I cannot describe, like a hole in my soul. I knew my life would never be the same, I was 37. I will be 45 tomorrow and I miss my mom. My birthday has never been the same. My life is forever changed. I just accept the good days with the bad and talk to my mom daily. It’s not the same and it can’t be because no one and nothing can replace my mom. But all our moms would want us to live our lives and be happy. I try my best, but life is not the same. Tomorrow I will celebrate my 45th birthday and remember my mom, she would have been 73. And no matter how much time passes, I still can’t believe she’s gone.

  27. My mum died suddenly on 14th May 1999, she was 30 years old. I was 4 years old. She died 5 days before my 5th birthday. I’m 24 years old and I have a disease called Hydrocephalus. My mum passed away of a brain haemorrhage. Because I was so young, I don’t know if I ever grieved properly. I don’t remember anything after the day she died. I’m on a lot of strong pain killers (tramadol and Pregabalin), I’m on antidepressants, daily diazepam for anxiety, and a few other meds. The painkillers is for my head and body pain that I get daily. I have recently started having visions of my mum, particularly at night when I’m in my bed. This has never happened before and I don’t know why it’s happening. Is this part of my hydrocephalus as it affects me mentally as well as physically, or is this some kind of grieving thing? I really don’t know what to think, what to do or who to speak to.

  28. My mom died 8 years ago unexpectedly and I was surprised at how efficiently and neatly I got through it all — handling many of the details with focus and grace and then focusing on taking care of my baby in ways that I believe would have made my mother proud. My first child was four months old at the time of her death and I had my second child two years later so I guess I just focused on them at the time. I remember imagining her saying to me — “oh for pete’s sake, you are the mother now so you get your act together and take care of those babies! Don’t worry about me— I’m fine! I’m more than fine!” But the passage of time definitely does not make it easier as you express — every year it gets harder as I guess I’m allowing myself to grieve bit by bit as I can’t block
    It all out with handling tasks efficiently and the emotions roll in from nowhere from time to time like unannounced, unmanagable title waves. Tonight I found myself unable to sleep and googling her manner and cause of death and wondering why her pain medication for serious disease was so mishandled (she died from a prescribed fentalyn patch) which is a really dumb use of time because what does any of that matter now? I finally got my act together (as she would have said) and focused on dealing with my grief (a way more productive endeavor) and I found your article. It helped a lot. So thank you.

  29. My sister died on 27th oct, 2013 while she was just 16yrs old. Even though this article is about grief for mother, I felt that this is the same feelings I wanted to write for my sister.
    I miss her like crazy and time does not help. More than that no one can help you cope up with the grief except the immediate concerned family and not friends, not even close relatives. NOBODY!!! After some time they start saying that it happens, you should move forward only because they no more feel like talking about the grief.

  30. It will be three years October 7th that my mom died unexpectedly. I think we all deal with it differently. I was very,very close with my mom. I am very grateful that I had so many wonderful years with her. But I think of her every day. And when I wake up at night I think of her then too. I feel so sorry she had to leave so suddenly. There is a painful/ empty void in my life and in my heart that will never go away, I am so sure of this. I do have a lot to be thankful for though. But every October 7th will be a replay of how I suddenly lost my mom.

  31. It will be three years October 7th that I lost my mom unexpectedly. I think of her every day. I still wake up at night thinking of her. It breaks my heart that she had to leave and I can’t believe it has been almost been three years. People keep telling my mom would not want me to be unhappy. Just remember the good times.I’m not unhappy and I do have a lot of good memories, but feel a big deep loss. Does time heal the pain? No. I just miss her so much.

  32. Thank you. My Mom’s 12th is coming up and I felt every bit of this article.

  33. I miss my mom. Now I know I never felt sad and loss before her death. Because losing her is really the reality of the definition that no matter what I do, I cannot have her back. Sometimes I wish I could move on and forget a bit about it.. like how you forgive and forget past traumas, hurt, or people who wronged you. But this is different. You really cannot forget because the loss is very much in the present.

  34. My mother died 5 years ago last Monday 5-14-13 , shortly after Mothers Day 2013 The loss was devastating. It was hard for me to watch her suffer before her death, I still miss her everyday and every mothers day it brings a sharpened ache of loss to my heart . The loss of my loving mother leaves a hole in the tapestry of my life.

  35. My mother died 39 years ago, shortly before Christmas. I was 19. The loss was devastating. It was hard to watch her suffer before her death, but it was harder learning to live without her. I still miss her everyday and every December brings a sharpened ache of loss. The loss of a loving mother leaves a hole in the tapestry of life. We don’t stop loving. We have to adjust to a new normal without their loving, physical presence. My sister and I often speak of the fact that we feel cheated. We never got to know our mother as a woman, only as “Mama”. She will never know my husband or my children. I will always wonder if she would be proud of the woman I have become. I like to think so. This site has such wonderful, insightful articles. Thank you.

  36. Thank you for your words, they perfectly describe the paradox emotions one feels when faced with grief. I lost my mother not even a year ago, and even though waves of sorrow still wash over me quite frequently I am somehow also comforted by the fact that I still remember so much so clearly; her smell, her voice, things she said towards the end of her life. Although some of those memories are deeply painful, they give me something to hold onto while feeling so untethered. I am terrified of that distance you speak of, and the thought that time passing by means losing her just a little more every single day.

  37. Eleanor,
    My mom died too on October 23rd, my sister’s birthday- 10 years ago. Thank you for your words -they could be mine.
    (we met at NAGC this past Summer)

  38. I cried while reading your entire blog. November 5th marks the fifth anniversary of my mom’s passing and I have begun to feel the waves of emotions already start to build up. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing this with all of us.

  39. Thank you so much for writing and sharing this piece.
    It resonates to my core. Monday will be 5 years for
    my mom. I still can’t make sense of the time and believe it’s been 5 years. “It’s baffling to think that I’m their stability when so many days I feel like a crumbling pile of sand. I wonder if my mother ever felt this way – washed away by the tide and rebuilt again by the children the next day. There are so many things I wish I could ask her.” These sentences you wrote, describes how I feel, trying my best for my kids……With so much gratitude , thank you again for writing this piece.

  40. Amen to everything you said. Sept 17 2004 is my mom s day, and still miss her like crazy.

  41. If you experience your mother everywhere and in everything…is it possible that she is there with you, in every breath you take?

  42. This post was so timely for me as I pass the second anniversary of losing my dear mom. It was especially validating by noting that “time does not heal” – the grief just moves into new places in our hearts and minds. I ache for her and miss sharing the raising of my own children and her beloved grandchildren with her. The passage of time hurts in a different way than the acuteness of the initial loss – as her laugh and beautiful smile is not as imprinted in my mind as sharply as it once was and that hurts. I am adapting but only because one has too.

  43. This is such a beautifully written essay; it’s so vivid and relatable and I love the imagery. However, I feel really nervous reading people’s experiences from years down the road, to hear the intensity of grief that remains. I hear that grief doesn’t really diminish, it just evolves, ebbs and flows. I can’t imagine feeling like this for 11 more years to get to year 12, being knocked off my feet by overwhelming sadness, just grappling to function in my everyday life. It just doesn’t feel survivable.

  44. A few weeks ago, I “celebrated” the 10-year anniversary of the death of someone very close to me. The grief still hits me so hard some days that I can’t breathe. I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with him, and far too many roads lead me down the “What if…” path. There’s relief and comfort in knowing that I’m not alone in sometimes feeling the pain and sense of searching and loss as though it had happened yesterday.

  45. true true thats why am staying in mothers home at least feel a bit tethered

  46. I feel as though I am the one who wrote this post. It is ME. My mother passed away just 3 days after your mother, 3 years ago and I still feel as though I am a crumbling mess come September and October. I want to hide under the covers until November, except that I love the beauty of autumn and so did my mother. My mother believed in the beauty of this world even when she was sick and knew she would not be okay, she just rejoiced in the healing nature of the sun and sky. I feel so untethered I also wonder how to raise my kids feeling safe the way I did growing up with so much family around. They don’t have that and I feel so sad for them.

  47. I have felt sadder as fall approached. During the summer I had the interest to do activities outdoors that lifted my spirits. I wondered if my better mood would continue into the fall. I really hoped it would. I started to feel sad in mid-August as it was back to school time and the hint of fall, then when we turned the calendar to September I felt sad and apprehensive. I experienced a grief trigger mid-month and the grief felt heavy. It just lasted three days but felt much longer. Now, with the calendar at October, the month of my brother-in-law’s birthday, I find I don’t even want to look at the calendar page. November will be the two year deathversary of his passing and the beginning of the 6 month period of multiple losses. I am grateful for the Whats Your Grief Site. I find comfort here and am glad its available whenever I need it.

  48. My father joined the host of ancestors 7 years ago, 27 days after his mother. I am still learning to navigate this world where he is not a physical anchor, and I work on my relationship with my father in spirit on the daily. Last June my only brother was murdered. My mother and I grew closer than we had ever been, and we were always close. I could not imagine her torment and pain at losing her first born in such a brutal and gruesome way. When she would visit me she would cry out his name in her sleep. Seeing her traumatic grief I never fully made her aware of the depth of mine. And then less than six months after his murder my mother died in her sleep the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
    Grief has settled into a cavernous depression bordering on apathy that I must battle daily so that my son’s childhood is not permanently destroyed by death and the grief that is its longest shadow. This site, these articles have reminded me of my humanity when I am at my lowest.
    Untethered, indeed. And I am clinging to the faith others have in their God and in the me I used to be that I will get through this with some modicum of sanity that will allow me to reach for joy again, at some point.
    Breath by breath a moment becomes tomorrow.

    Thank you for helping me breathe again.

  49. My mother died also died on Oct. 23. My sisters and I are coming on 15 years. It seems like such a long time. Yet somedays it feels like yesterday.
    “Time doesn’t really heal all wounds, it just rolls in like a slow-motion tsunami and carries you off down the shore.” Great sentence. Spot on.

  50. Wow, this resonated so deeply with me, I feel like I could have written parts of it myself. First of all, my mother also died on October 23rd, however I am only just coming up on 3 years since losing her in 2014. Secondly, last year, and now this year, I’ve felt an ache and a tension building inside me as summer turns to fall – my grief and my longing for her dials up intensely. I was telling my boyfriend that it feels like this time of year a switch goes on inside of me before my mind even catches up. It’s like it has been imprinted on my soul that this is the time of year that I lost her, and my subconscious feels the impact before I realize what is happening .

    Also, from the moment she died I came close to having panic attacks at the thought of time marching on and distancing me from her. I can still feel a rising dread if I allow myself to focus on this. I remember a few months after she died, I was walking with a friend who had lost her mother many, many years ago and this friend made the comment that she couldn’t even begin to imagine her mother being here beside her any longer. Her mom had been gone so long that she couldn’t even conjure her presence through imagination. And that thought set my blood running cold. She is still so incredibly real to me and I honestly would not feel shocked if she somehow walked right into the room right now – that’s how present she still feels. But the idea that someday, she may seem so distant breaks my heart in a million pieces.

    Thank you for this beautiful piece. I am so sorry to share this awful date with you, sending lots of love. xo

  51. I agree with your statement that “My mother was home – it existed within her”. Thank you for sharing that. It is somewhat comforting to know that someone else feels the same and is nice to know I am not alone in that. My Mom passed away Dec 3, 2016 so it hasn’t been a year yet. I miss her terribly. I miss being able to take her to her doctor’s appointments and just simply be with her. She did not have an easy death and it was very hard to see her suffer. That haunts me at times. There are so many simple, seemingly mundane things that remind me of her – when I cook and remember her tips, setting a table like she used to when entertaining, cleaning the house or grocery shopping. So much of this was shared with my Mom over the years. I am thankful for the time I was able to spend with her but it also makes the ache that much deeper.

  52. My daughter died on February 4, 2017. We (our family) had time during hospice to sit and talk with her until she couldn’t anymore. We still held her and expressed our love. She passed with her family holding hands with her. Even though hospice lasted nearly 4 weeks, there still wasn’t enough time to really talk. I stayed overnight on the guest bed placed in her room as many times as I could, and her boyfriend stayed on the nights I was too exhausted. Her sister opened up her home to her and we set up her hospital bed in a beautiful sun room with windows all around and a view of the ravine. I have been overcome with grief, guilt, anger, you name it. But, I’ve come to the conclusion that she lived her life as she wanted. She was at the helm. She knew we all loved her, and she expressed her love to us. Alcohol took her life. So senseless. So crewel. She worked for a Fortune 200 HQ for 10 years, simultaneously completing classes for two masters degrees. She received many awards for her community service work, including the President’s Award! We had become good friends in the past few years. She would call me (or dad) first when she had accomplished something, and also when she was disappointed or angry about an event. I guess I seemed to have the right answers. I tried to, anyway, as far as my experience would allow. She tried to escape from her disease. She actually regained her health a few times, but this time was different. I miss her every day, and always will. I am thankful that I have so many good memories, and those are the ones that seem to stick. In the end, we all have an expiration date. Make all the good memories that you can, right now, right here, so you will have those to carry you through until you have to leave this Earth. Be grateful for having that person in your life; many people live in misery and poverty and terror, with no hope for it to get better. Be grateful for every person in your life; do not expect more than what that person has to give.

  53. I heard today that I was unsuccessful in applying for a job I was interviewed for yesterday – certainly not the end of the world, there will be other opportunities. However one of my first thoughts on hearing the news was that I could do with a visit home to my dad for a cheering up weekend, even though he has been dead for fourteen years now. It is this sorrow that has followed me round all day, combined with a feeling of not having an anchor described in the text above. Dad would still only have been the same age as Tom Petty was if he had still been alive. Sad sad sad.

  54. Wow. No one has ever put into words what I feel until now. Thank you for writing this. My mother died 8 years ago and I have never been the same. Thank you for this.

  55. My mother died in 1982. There was grief when she passed, however, I knew someday I would be home with her and my father and other relatives as well. It seem like the grief did not last that long and I can surely talk about her without being emotional. Maybe that is just me, I don’t know.
    I recall writing a song for her and typing in my journal thoughts I was having about her at the time. I believe that help me to so call move on.
    I go with the TS Eliot quote “Not farewell, but fare forward voyagers.”

  56. Although my husband died 2 years ago, which is a lot shorter period of time than the article, it spoke to me. Within approximately a year, I moved from the town that I had shared with my husband for over 35 years. This may have been an attempt to escape some of the grief and pain, I’m not sure. But now, I long to return to the place where the most ordinary things will remind me of him and our life together, even if it brings tears. I feel that I have lost some of the continuing bond by living away. I am fortunate since the move was a chance for me to think about these things, and so I will be moving back after the upcoming holidays. Hopefully, the return will bring me comfort and happiness.

  57. [email protected]
    My Mom & Dad died 45 days apart. Dad Dec 2015, Mom Jan 2016. I will simply never be the same. I’m an only-child and I have no children of my own. I’ve always been a daughter, but now I feel like an orphan. I became very ill March 2016; retired early due to my health; and even now I’m still recovering from the illness but not the pain of grief. From the first few weeks on…I grieved when I’d think of the distance between the present and the last time I spoke to them, hugged them, held their hands, looked into their eyes, heard their voice. Initially, I could say “it’s still single-digit weeks separating us; then single-digit months; and I’m still in single-digit years…in my case single year and months. Their house is still full of their belongings, due to my health. But I know nothing stops the hands of time and I, too, will face Old Man Time, as I move along further from them. Before the concept of passing time hit me, I was drowning in the pain from the realization that they were – no where. They weren’t at home; they weren’t at their winter home; they weren’t at the cemetery. There was no place I could go, for the first time in my 62 years, where I could find them, touch them, hear their voice. That first concept was so powerful and painful that it made me physically ill. As the rawness of that concept subsided slightly, the new concept of passing time began to sink-in. I know I’m not very far out yet, but I cannot foresee the time void ever going away. So, reading your thoughts about the time separating you from your Mom is to me very, very real. It is a comfort to know there are others out there experiencing the exact same emotional pain and anguish!

    • Dear, Patricia,
      I really know what that feeling ‘no where to go’ to talk, see, hug them again feels like. They’re just not here, there, or anywhere anymore. So permanent. My mum died in 21 Sept, 2017. I lived with her for 59 yrs, we were soul buddies, I never felt inclined to marry. So now I pay the price. Alone in her house, in her bedroom where I saw her take her last breath, where I arranged funeral, burial, and gravestone – without the help from siblings, who all now have ‘gotten over it.’ All these duties kept me going but now, a year after, the crippling void with the acute anxiety of knowing she’s ‘just not there’ anywhere. Just her memory and all her belongings I find it hard to sift through and toss. How can I? They were her life? When she died it was pure shock, even though I knew it was coming, as I was primary carer for two years. She died of cancer. For me it is a truism that the loss of a mother is devastating, but I hate to say, struggling to carry on is harder. Forging a completely to new life without them is nigh impossible at 59. Yet, my time has not come, and I must somehow, eat well, a little exercise, some sleep, and try, try to do something that has a modicum of meaning left. All I can say is that I’ll honour her memory, by carrying on, taking heed at her sensible advice on how to live a good life.

  58. My husband went to heaven on 11/10/2009. Less than 2 months later my mom joined him and then two months after that my dad followed. It will be 8 years soon and this time of year never fails to affect me greatly. I miss them all so much. It’s good to know from someone further down the road that it’s okay to feel the way that I do. Thank you.

  59. “My mother was “home” – it existed within her – and now that she’s gone I’ll never be able to truly return. I’m untethered…”

    So much about your post is how I’m feeling too, but this line is IT. This is exactly how it feels. My Mom died in Spring a few years ago, but it’s in the Fall when I really feel the pain. Fall was always family time and we had traditions. Now that she’s gone, those traditions haven’t ever felt right. Other people celebrate the holidays and I just want to crawl into a ball and cry. It’s been three weeks now of the seasons transitioning, and I am struggling harder this year than that first one without her.

    I agree with you about time. It’s not near the solace people pretend it is in that useless platitude. I find myself getting sadder as time goes by when I realize how much I will miss. Experiences with my Mom that I will never have as well as slowly forgetting some of the details about some of our experiences. Memory fades more as time goes on.

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