Posted by: Kathy | June 22, 2011

Mom Is Gone…Accepting Reality

It’s been a little while since I last blogged. Lately, my focus has been on my daughter, as her 5th birthday is approaching and she is having her first friends-only birthday party on Saturday. This is an exciting time for my daughter – graduating from preschool and celebrating her 5th birthday. Both are occasions my mom would have loved to celebrate with my daughter and with her family.

Accepting that my mom is really gone has been hard for me. My mind knows it, but my heart is having trouble accepting this fact. More than two and a half years have passed since I lost my mom to pancreatic cancer. Nothing that has happened to me in the past 42 years has changed my life more than this. Her diagnosis of pancreatic cancer filled me with fear and uncertainty, although I tried to hold on to hope. Even though I knew her chances of beating pancreatic cancer were slim, I was still completely unprepared for my mom’s death and the range of emotions that followed. I often fear that I will face the same fate as my mom, something I’ve never shared before. I have spent the last few years sorting through grief, sadness, anger, guilt, fear, and loneliness. But what I feel the most is emptiness, as no one can fill the place my mom held in my life.

Everyone grieves in their own way and on their own timeline. “Getting over” my mom’s death has been a slow process and, honestly, I don’t think I’ll ever completely get over her loss. Although dying was the only way to bring my mom relief from the pain of pancreatic cancer, her death left a huge hole in my life. I miss talking to my mom, hearing her voice, and spending time with her. I’m sad because of all she is missing in the kids’ lives, and I know they miss her too. Although my daughter doesn’t quite understand what she is missing without my mom in her life, my son knows and I’m sure feels the loss, but he won’t talk about it.

Changes happen every day, and I have to keep moving forward in life to survive. It’s what my mom would have wanted. But sometimes changes are hard. In previous posts, I’ve written about how I’d stand in my mom’s closet because it smelled like her, and that had been a strong reminder for me. But as I wrote in a more recent post, this reminder is now gone for me. I’m writing a book about my mom and about healing after her death, so the memories of her are strong right now, as sometimes the littlest of things that meant so much pop into my mind.

I hold many memories of my mom in my heart and mind, and I share these memories with my children. They are really the only ones I can talk to about my mom. I feel that at this point there may not be many people who want to talk about my mom for different reasons. Mostly, they have moved on from her death and don’t want to feel the pain, deal with the loss all over again, or remember what pancreatic cancer had reduced her to at the end. But I made a promise to my mom that I would keep her memory alive for my kids and it is a promise I intend to keep…always.

I don’t know where I am going with this post, except that I still miss my mom and I don’t think any amount of time will change this fact. I believe there are people out there who feel the same way I do. I understand that I have to accept that fact that she is gone and continue to move forward with my life, as others around me have done. I realize that this post may be a “re-hash” of points from many other posts thrown together. For those of you who read my blog regularly, I apologize. It’s what I’m feeling at the moment, maybe because working on this book is bringing back so many memories and feelings.

I still think about my mom every day and wish that she was still with us. I hold tight to the quote that I’ve used in several of my posts by Thomas Campbell, “To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.” I believe my mom was at my daughter’s graduation, watching her dance and sharing in her happiness. I believe my mom will also be celebrating with her granddaughter this weekend during her birthday party and when she turns 5 years old next Monday. I so wish my mom could really participate in these events and share in the excitement of this time, and that my daughter could touch my mom, hug her, tell her grandmom how much she loves her, and ramble on to my mom about everything.

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Responses

  1. I just lost my mom a little over a month ago. I was wondering when too much grief is too much? At first it didn’t come, well, I guess the way I thought it should’ve. I was numb to it, crying at times, then going on with my day. Nine days after her death I went through knee surgery, and with both of those variables, the fact I can’t keep up on my house, bills, and much of anything really, I’m a big mess!! Any advice? ?

    • Hi Sarah. I am so sorry you lost your mom. When my mom first died, I was in shock. I felt lost and like you – it seems – life became overwhelming. In the first 6 months after my mom died, my husband had major surgery, my dad underwent a fairly serious medical procedure, and I was in the hospital myself. During those times, all I could think of was how much I wished my mom were here. She would have been right beside me. I was a walking disaster, although I didn’t let it show, at least I tried not to. I didn’t want my kids to see how much pain I was in. When the grief hit, it was like a landslide. I cried all the time in my office (I work from home). I was a zombie, just going through the motions of life without really living. Shortly before the 1 year anniversary of my mom’s death, I went to talk to my pastor. I needed someone outside the family to talk to. He had never met my mom, but he understood grief and helped me start my journey to healing. That was 4 years ago, as we are coming up to the 5 year anniversary of my mom’s death. I don’t believe you ever fully heal from the loss of a parent. But things are better now. Yes, I still miss my mom. Yes, I still wish she were here with us. But I’ve accepted her death.

      I am sharing my experience with you to let you know that you are not alone in the way you feel. I started this blog as a way of pouring out my feelings, but in the long run I helped myself and others. I also met a lot of other people who felt the same way I did/do.

      Grief is a tricky thing, as it is different for everyone. My advice, don’t isolate yourself. Talk to people – friends, family, or maybe a grief counselor if you feel you can’t handle this alone. You can always talk to me. My email address is peace4me521@yahoo.com. Also, let yourself cry or scream and accept what you’re feeling. You’ve experienced a big loss in your life and sometimes you need to take things minute by minute. Let yourself feel and try to process what you are feeling. My biggest mistake was isolating myself and pretending to everyone around me that I was fine, when inside I felt like I was dying.

      I wish you all the best. You are not alone. Please reach out if you need someone. Take care, HUGS.

    • Hi, I understand about overwhelmed after the loss of your mother. I lost my mother to GI Cancer on October 13, 2013. The 3 months from her diagnosis to her death, I spent dealing with her health insurance, her house, her dogs, her daily care and pain management. I am a single mom who works and goes to school, with a young child. By the time my mother passed my water got shut off (I forgot to pay the bill), my son had no clean clothes to wear to school, then I found out I had pulps in my colon. The GI cancer was not my moms first go around with cancer…in fact she had colon cancer twice before, in 1985 and again in 2004. Now the fate of getting colon cancer, like my mother weighs on top the loss of the my mom like a heavy blanket. I am since kicked into high gear and my fear, loneliness and emptiness is magnified. You really need to take care of you and make your life whole again…you are in my prayers.

      • Hi Kris: I’m so sorry about the loss of your mom. I’m also sorry you are now living in fear that you will go through cancer like your mom did. I pray this doesn’t happen to you. In the 2 and a half years since I wrote this post, I have been taking care of myself more. Living instead of just existing. It’s made a difference in my life and the life of my family. I can say that I have truly healed. It took awhile, but things are better. I will always miss my mom, but she’d want me to live life to the fullest. You and your son are in my prayers. Take care.

  2. I can’t even find any words that would explain how much I miss my mom
    ) ;

  3. Hi. I am so sorry about your mom. I can relate to a lot of what you said. Although my dad is thankfully alive and well, my mom is the one who raised my brother and I. She was the one who was always there, ready to listen to anything I wanted to talk about. I miss her, as you can probably tell by my posts.

    That was nice of your mom to leave to you money to buy yourself a gift. To me, it shows how much she loved you and cared, and was thinking of you. I hope you bought yourself something nice with the money she left you.

    I tried, without success, to never cry around my mom or my kids. I think my mom was the strongest of us all, as I only saw her cry once in the 349 days from her diagnosis until death. I don’t know how she stayed so strong, except that she was determined to beat her cancer.

    I spent the last night with my mom, a night that still haunts me at times, even now. When my mom died, I was glad that her suffering was over, but to this day, I still wish she was here, not only for me but for my family. It’s so hard at times. I spent almost a year making sure everyone else was ok, and never dealt with my feelings of loss and grief. I was in a bad place, and I am still healing. My 2 cents, let yourself grieve, let yourself feel the loss, and let the feelings come out. I still cry. There are times when I feel like I can’t stop crying over her loss. I know it will get better, as I have gotten better one step at a time over the past two plus years.

    I’m sure your mom is looking over you with love. I know mine is, and I believe she only wants me to be happy. I’m trying, one step at a time. I’m here to talk if you ever need anything. Thanks for your comment on my blog site.

    Take care,

    Kathy

  4. Last May, i lost my mum to the pancreatic cancer too.. I’m the youngest of her kids, the only unmarried one at age 20.. i turned 20 just four days after she died.. i missed her alot on that day.. specially when i found the money she left for me in my bag, asking me to buy myself a present..
    She was my rock. She brought me up without a father who died when i was of age 4. My whole world revolved around her. I would go to complain about my brother or my sisters to her. I would go on telling about my day at school to her. From complaining about the teachers, to fighting with her for not letting me go out with friends. I miss all that..
    I was there with her when she died. From the moment one year ago when i realized she had cancer to that moment of her last breathe.. i never openly cried for her.. but when i saw her breathe that last time, i just couldn’t hold it in. I looked at her, hoping she would breathe again.. For the nine hours before she died, she was gasping for air, on oxygen mask, her eyes wide open, never blinking, her hands and feet cold with faint pulse. So i guess i was a bit glad that her suffering was over.. just selfishly wishing she didnt go.
    I guess i’d always have her memories with me. Holding all the feelings in for the past few months have been a mistake. I explode.. spend the whole day in bed with puffy eyes. But, now im trying to move on as she’d expect me to. Being alone is scary.. but now im sure she’d be looking over me… 🙂

  5. I found your blog shortly after losing my Mom in February of last year. I was hurting and searching for voices that spoke of loss and people who understood. Your blog has been a beautiful gift and I come here often to see what you have posted. Like you, the emptiness persists and the loneliness goes on. The goal is not to “get over” these extraordinary women, but to honor them by carrying their dreams in our hearts. We tell their stories, share our memories and bear witness that they LIVED! Doing that helps and our Moms would be proud! I hope you don’t stop blogging here…take care.

  6. The pain has eased somewhat for me, but I don’t believe it will ever disappear. Said one of my girlfriends (who lost her mom seven years ago), you wouldn’t want that feeling to totally fade because that would almost indicate they hadn’t been that important to you. That little bit of bite is a reminder to love what you have left, and to think of how much greater than that was the love. That was my girlfriend’s take, anyway, and it made lots of sense for me.


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