Also new here: Lost my mom on 2/26

Avatar for jenhybr
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Also new here: Lost my mom on 2/26
Tue, 03-22-2005 - 2:38pm

Hi, I'm Jen. I'm 30 years old. My mom was a young 52 when she died last month after a nearly 2 year battle with stage 4 lung cancer (a non smoker, so this was out of the blue for us...) I have a brother, 29, and a sister, 22, and my parents were married for 31 years. We all live near one another.

We lost quite a bit of my mom back in the fall of 2003, after she had been diagnosed for 3 months. She underwent massive brain radiation and was overmedicated on steroids and anti-seizure meds. It's hard to say if it was the radiation or the overmedication that left her, mentally, not the same, but coupled with the chemotherapy and her poor prognosis (less than 1% of stage IV lung cancer patients are cured), Mom never really had a "good" period during her treatment--there were never any chances for her to drive again, or to go out to lunch again just with me and the kids (something we always enjoyed doing before she was sick), or go shopping, or even to have a conversation where she didn't become confused. I really believed that period was the hardest and I had a very difficult time adjusting to her being here, but not being here, as some of you may understand. But, when she eventually died, I realized that it was nothing: now, I simply miss her. We spoke every day, even if there was nothing new to talk about; when she was first diagnosed, I cared for her every day for 3 months in my home and made dinner for her and my dad every day. I shaved her head when her hair started to fall out. And we were candid with one another about her death, and we had some good talks before the radiation and medications robbed me of her before the cancer actually stole her. I suppose I'm lucky in that I had time to prepare for her death, but cancer is so evil and started taking my mom bit by bit from the moment we found out--it was very difficult to watch her wither away...

Coupled with my mom's death, I lost my mother in law (MIL) in September to breast cancer after a 4 year battle. I was also close with her, and she was amazing with my children (2 and nearly 4), and she spent several days a week here visiting my children and spending time with us. To say the least, it's been a very difficult 6 months. Sometimes I am suprised that I'm doing as well as I am and haven't been committed, haven't felt the need for therapy or antidepressants. I think I can thank my husband and kids for that: my husband's been so supportive, and my kids give me little choice but to get up each day and play and smile, you know? It so sucks that they're so little and have no grandmothers. I grieve for myself, but I think that I doubly grieve for them...

So, 3½ weeks later, I am visibly doing by far the worst in my family dealing with my mother's death. If I spend any time whatsoever thinking about it, I cry. I had hoped that my sister would be supportive and we'd be feeling the same way and we could cry on each other's shoulders, but she's tossed around words like, "positive," "not pitying yourself," "dwelling on it," etc., which have only hurt me: I cannot understand how she--at 22, unmarried and without children--the things I'd want my mom to be there most for me!--can be so "over" this less than a month afterwards. My dad is worried about me, and as such, I am not sure if he's hiding his own emotions in an effort to keep me feeling OK about him, or if he is, really, just doing that well. I know that in many ways, my mom's death was a bit of a relief for him: she needed anywhere from 100% to 50% care during her disease, and most of that fell on his shoulders. But they were really close to one another, and I have to admit that I am a little upset that he seems to be so OK. I suppose I shouldn't be putting expectations on how they should grieve, just as they shouldn't be putting their own on me, either, right?

My mom was my best friend. I talked to her about everything. She and I grew so close when my daughter was born, and I adored spending time with her, no matter what it was: grabbing lunch, buying a dress for my daughter, going to nurseries to pick out flowers, or simply talking on the phone for 2 hours (which, even though we live 35 minutes from one another, we did quite often--at least once or twice a week, outside of our normal daily phone call to each other). Yes, we butted heads on lots of things, but our love for each other was very intense, and I just can't imagine going forward without her.

So many of the cards I got I tossed aside to read later: They said things that that alluded to the old cliche that time heals all wounds. I simply can't believe that I'll ever be "healed." There will always be a permanent hole in my heart and I will always miss her, even if the crying starts to subside. I just don't know when the healing is supposed to begin, and I wish she were here to guide me along this journey because she, too, lost her own mom at 52 when she was a year younger than I am now: I know she'd be able to help me through this. God, I miss her.




iVillage Member
Registered: 12-27-2004
Tue, 03-22-2005 - 6:52pm

My sympathies on your loss, and it's still so recent that the grief and pain is still understandably raw. Not sure I can add any words of advice except that every single person deals with it differently and what consoles one just doesn't work for another.

I look back to when my father died, I was 17 and I don't remember seeing my mother cry although I'm sure she did and did her grieving in private. Thinking about it, I handled my own husband's passing the same way - I don't think I've ever let my children see my many crying fits in the past two years, save for at the viewing (we had no services). I grieve in private in the dark and don't know if that's good or healthy but the way I chose to handle it. I wanted to be strong for them but in hindsight that might not have been the best example to set for them.

Although it wasn't as severe, my husband's health detiorated over a number of years, although not as drastically as with cancer but someone did point out to me that perhaps we had all done our grieving slowly over that time instead of having it thrust on us all at once.

My point? Everyone handles their grief differently but it surely doesn't reflect any less love and I'm sure you are all feeling the same loss, just handling it in your own ways.

The passing of time does help and I do think there's a healing but it doesn't mean there isn't an empty part of you forever. I hope you find some comfort very soon.

A man's got to do what a man's got to do.
A woman must do what he can't.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-27-2004
Wed, 03-23-2005 - 9:52am
So sorry for your loss. I lost my mom almost two years ago from complications from open heart surgery. I know how you feel. We were best friends. She, my sister and I were the best of friends but my dad was her best and closest confidant. When my mom was ill and in the hospital, he was there before visiting hours every single day and she'd be so happy to see him.
I was there every day and so was my sister and my aunt. It was hard.
I can tell you that it's been two years since I lost her, but not a day goes by when I do not think about her. Not one single day when I do not think about her smile and our laughs and conversations.
Some days I feel fine and then there are others when I just feel like I still need to talk to someone.
My sister thinks that we're the only two who are having a rough time still dealing with it all. I don't think so. I just think that others deal with grief differently.
My dad doesn't say much. He's quiet but he has his sisters and brothers and his church to keep him going. My sister and I are also there to help him as well as we live very close to him.
Try not to be to hard on your sister as I'm sure she's having a tough time as well. She's probably just grieving in her own way.
I get angry with my brother and I try not to be to hard on him but he's one of those that chooses to ignore you because your grief will only bring him down. So he alienates himself from us and chooses to forget and be with his friends. Atleast that's how I see it.
For the most, I lean on my sister and we help each other. When I cry, she helps me and when she cries, I help her. One is usually strong for the other.
It's a very weird feeling but sometimes I feel as though my mom is still with me. I'll have dreams about her and I even talk to her.
Death is hard and particularly the love of a wonderful mother. It's something I will never forget.
Also, don't let anyone tell you when you should be "over it" or how long you should be grieving. This is mommy and mommies are so special that a loss is tremendous and grief is understandable. Even a great amount of grief.
I frequent the boards regularly and it helps me.
I wish you lots of peace and your family prayers and love. You'll get through this and know that you aren't alone.