Complicated parent grief

Hi, I lost my mum in November. The relationship with my mum for the past 15 years was a little one way. She had difficulties with her own mental health and was quite wrapped up in her own world. I could not tell you the last time I received a card, present or message on my birthday or Christmas. She has never sent my son a card or present. However I still loved my mum and this is just how she was. She found life difficult. I know she loved me in her own way. But I am finding the grieving process quite difficult because I still loved her, I miss the relationship we could of had and the limited one we had. I still miss her regardless. I can’t write a letter recalling all the good times becauae it just wasn’t like that it was complex. I am experiancing all the grief feelings, anger, abandonment, loneliness, sadness and wanting my mum. I can’t write about all the good times because there hadn’t been many for a long long time, I am not sure how to get beyond her death, if I at least had some good memories maybe it could make me smile but I dont want to make the relationship to be something it wasn’t but I still loved her, miss her and life feels very different. Can anyone relate to this, or suggest alternative ways of getting through this.

Tigger, you sound full of love for your mum and I can understand how she was, my own mum had big faults. On of us are prefect. You said she went last November and I just wondered if you had thought of some counselling, it may help. We love our mums and when they go there’s a big hole in the family tree and as daughters with children, that hole is left for us to fill. Sometimes it’s not clear cut in our minds that we have a new role, it’s never planned to be like that in our minds. Non of this is simply so being able to discuss all the possibilities may be the best way forward, just ideas. Sue Ryder have counsellors and there’s Cruse, always a waiting time but may be worth the thought. See what others come up with, in the meantime take care of yourself. S xxx

1 Like


Thank you for your kind words. I am seeing a counsellor once a week now but its still so hard. and we are just at a point of discussing the mixed feelings of both love, sadness and resentment and the vulnerability it brings up for me. Complicated grief I think they call it. I am grateful to have this forum and have people like yourself who take the time to share and care. I think about my mum every day it drives me bonkers. I want to cry everyday, sometimes from the minute I wake up she’s in my thoughts and I grief for the relationship we did have and currently more about the one we didnt. Sometimes I question whether thinking about her so much and wanting to still cry daily 8 months on normal. I know everyone’s journey through it is there own, but It’s reassuring to hear if other people have the same feelings of wanting to cry daily months on and struggling to get on with life? The irony is in my relationship with mum she was absent at times when I needed her emotional support and I always vowed I would not repeat with my son but becauae I am so weepy and in the middle of my grief it intensifies my fears of not being there for him, even though I have every day of his life. x

1 Like

Hi, I am very pleased that you have counselling and yes it is complicated grief and unfortunately you will have to work at overcoming it but talk to your counsellor abut how you can help yourself. Your son knows he’s loved and again you will need to keep reassuring him. Always remember keeping yourself busy, no matter what you have to work at, will help you overcome the worst of your emotions. I hope this helps, just a little but you will get through this, you are strong and you have your life ahead of you and you need to feel happy. God bless you and your son. S xxx

Hi, your post really made me think. Although I had a really different relationship my my Mum to how you’ve described yours, it was definitely complicated. My counsellor used that phrase ‘complicated grief’ too. I suppose I find those aspects of our relationship and my grief after she died that are less easy to talk and write about are kind of hanging around in my general state, often affecting the way I treat myself. I find it not too difficult to talk and write about the good things. It is definitely harder to find ways to connect to the more painful parts of our relationship, even if I’m only writing for myself. And I’m learning as the months go by, that’s what complicates the grief. I feel like I can only describe the good things and then I feel like a fraud for not telling the whole truth! But it’s incredibly hard to know how much to share with others about the complexity. I suspect this is a common issue with grief as people often seem to find it hard to recognise how extremely complex relationships can be. I have yet to find ways to deal with this, other than counselling. Sorry I can’t suggest anything, just wanted to say I can relate a bit.

Hi, we love our mums no matter what and I found I didnt want to dis respect her by talking about the negatives. But I think if we can accept we all have our flaws we should be able to freely talk about the negative parts, our anger, resentment or what ever applies to the situation. Negative feelings are as valid as the positive and to express them is important for our own healing, otherwise we are ignoring reality, but very importantly it does not take away the love for our mums. Grief is complex. I am so grateful fir the chance to express myself and hear from others on here xx

I felt a lot of responsibility towards her as she was so vulnerable towards the end of her life. So that doesn’t make it easier to express the negative stuff. And yeah it just naturally feels disrespectful once someone’s died. But I do understand that I deserve time and healing too, hence the counselling. It’s early days. It is amazing to have experiences chime with others on here, totally agree xx

I am so sorry to read what you are going through, though I can relate to a certain degree. My father died 7 months ago and we didn’t have the best of relationships. I definitely have complicated grief as well as there is a lot of sadness, resentment and guilt entwined. I am lucky that my sister is going through the same thing so we are able to talk about that guilt and having it shared with someone else makes me feel better and less like a horrible person. What I found that helps me is to well… talk about it, even if just to myself. I don’t shy away from the negative stuff as it was real and I can’t pretend. I may not tell others about it as it can seem harsh. I have a box where I write things and I put them in there, all my feelings and thoughts. I can admit that I had that horrible thought, only last year: ‘Life would be easier if he was dead as I wouldn’t feel this guilt and obligation.’ Its horrible. But… it was how I felt and as much as I wish I can take that back, I can’t. So my only advice is to perhaps take it all in, the good and the bad, and get it all out. It may seem disrespectful but I have felt some release in admitting it and realising that it doesn’t make me a horrible person. Life and love are complicated, grief is complicated and saying this does not take away from the ocean of love I have for my Dad.

Oh and I still cry, a lot. And it has been months! I think I may cry for him for years to come, but hopefully less.