Coping with the loss of my mum

My my died a few months ago after a battle with cancer.

She was doing well at first (although it was terminal) with chemo shrinking the cancer and not having bad effects from it, but over a few weeks she became in increasingly bad pain and the day after finding out her cancer spread, she died.

I just can’t help feel I let her down as before she found out she had cancer, she was in lots of pain and kept being told it was just back pain (even though it was so extreme). I wish we had fought with the doctors and hospitals more because she knew there was more to it.

I can’t explain what a wonderful women she was and I wish she was still here or I could have taken her place and her pain away.

My sister is getting married and when she booked it, my mum was still here and it was booked to be sooner so she could come.

I don’t really know what to do, I feel so lost and like I am going through the motions. Whenever my mind wanders I get an overwhelming feeling and the pain is so fresh, I miss her so much.

Hi Amy,

I’m so sorry you mum passed away. My mum went in May of this year, so I know all too well how you’re feeling.

There’s no miracle advice anyone can give you to ease the pain, it is one of the most painful and horrendous times of your life and there will always be a void of where your mum was.

I know it’s all terrible at the moment, but you will get stronger as time goes on. The loss will always be there, and you will miss her always but I promise you it is not always going to be this painful for you. Your mum sounds like she was a wonderful lady and so was my mum, and they would want us to carry on in their memory, living the best life we can using the tools they gave us growing up :).

Guilt is a common occurrence in grief, I wish I had done and said more and I would wind myself up silly over it to the point of hating myself. As humans we can’t help it, but please try not to beat yourself up, at that point in time you did all you could for your dear mum, it’s easy to think I would of done this and that instead but that’s just torturing yourself, which I’m sure your mum would not want you doing.

Let yourself feel whatever you need to feel, they say time is a healer but the wound of loss never heals completely, we just get better at dealing with it, and one day you will be able to look back on memories of your lovely mum and smile.

Please keep in touch if you ever need to talk,

xx

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Thank you for your reply. In a strange way it is nice knowing other people go through the same things and hearing it gets easier, but t the same time it isn’t because I don’t like the idea of other people feeling this way.

I’m an sorry for your loss also, around the same time as me.

One of the things that goes round in my mind to is the fact she was so young (53) and had already gone through an serious illness. She had liver failure and nearly died until she got the amazing gift of a donor liver. She worked so hard getting her strength back and avoiding the things she wasn’t allowed anymore such as bottled water, rice, cream, ham etc and pushing her self with her exercise which just made it all the more painful.

I also know how scared she was and she tried not to show it, but sometimes she couldn’t help it. I can’t inagine what she was thinking. The night she found out her cancer had spread, I went to see her and she was crying and just saying she was sorry which was heartbreaking.

I knew he time would come eventually but it just happened l over night night in the endZ

She was so positive at some points for example saying she’d read about people who had her type of cancer who lived years and that that meant she might be here for Xmas.

Another thing I think about a lot is before she knew she had cancer, she wa in lots of pain. Writhing around, being sick etc to the point we had to call our ambulances and she night she was crying and said something like “I’m dying, I can feel the life leaving me” and I just told her she wasn’t and that she was due to have a pain injection procedure soon and the doctors would sort it.

The day she found out she had cancer we went to see her in hospital. She wants at her bed as she had gone to the toilet so we waited for her and the image o have stuck in my mind was my small petite lovely mum, walking back to her bed, pulling along her IV drip with tears in her eyes saying “I told you I was dying” I will never forgive myself

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It does help knowing other people are going through the same thing, not because you’re happy others are grieving but because you don’t feel so alone. Grief feels very isolating and it can feel so bad you think how can anybody else possibly feel like this. That’s why forums like this are a God send.

What you’ve been through sounds very traumatic, and I’m so sorry you have to endure all of it, how awful for you and your dear mum. You couldn’t of possibly known what it was that was causing your mum pain, and like most people you probably didn’t want to think about it. My mum went into cardiac arrest when she came home from work one day (she had COPD for quite a few years) but as far as I was concerned it could be managed. She was put in an induced coma for a week and I was full of hope that she would pull through, anyone who said otherwise I dismissed because my mum was strong and she was coming back no matter what, I’m only 25 I’m far too young to lose her (my frame of mind at the time). You are so desperate for everything to be OK you completely shut down the alternatives.

Now is the time to be gentle with yourself, when you’re at your lowest. Try to replace the bad memories with good ones by writing down all the good times you had with your mum and look at happy photos if you have any. Keep a diary of how you’re feeling, and if you feel you need to, go and see the counsellor or someone who can help you deal with your feeling of grief and guilt.

Take care of yourself xx

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Wow, our experiences are so similar, myself not being much older than you. I’m am so sorry for what you went through too. Coming on all of a sudden really.

Thank you for your kind words, you have spoken a lot of sense and it’s been really helpful.

I was seeing a counsellor at the hospice she stayed at but they had to stop them for some reason (resources)

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Life is cruel and unfair at times, so much so it feels unbearable, but we are strong and we will continue getting stronger and pushing through it :slight_smile: if you haven’t already try and plan a few things to look forward to in the future, something to look forward to, I know happiness seems impossible at the moment but it will get better xx

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Hello,
I’m knew to this but felt I needed to speak to someone who had been through the same! My mum died after a 6 month battle with cancer, she was in hospital for 6 weeks, doctors thought she may of had a tropical disease as she had just come back from holiday with my dad and young sister. Months previous to this gps thought she just had infections and I never ever thought it would be anything but, I even told her to stop being soft (!!) in a sense haha I’m a palliative nurse and never in my dreams imagined she would die, I literally ignored every sign even when in hospital because I was so sure my mum would always be here and things like this don’t happen!
It’s very hard but you need to try and understand that the outcome most probably would have been the same, it’s time that you probably feel was wasted. I’m sure your mum knew how much you loved her and sometimes things like this just happen. Your not psychic, you and your mum could neve are have known, unfortunately it’s just life and we have to be grateful for the amazing years we’ve had instead of what we’ve lost
Xxxxx

Hello,
I’m knew to this but felt I needed to speak to someone who had been through the same! My mum died after a 6 month battle with cancer, she was in hospital for 6 weeks, doctors thought she may of had a tropical disease as she had just come back from holiday with my dad and young sister. Months previous to this gps thought she just had infections and I never ever thought it would be anything but, I even told her to stop being soft (!!) in a sense haha I’m a palliative nurse and never in my dreams imagined she would die, I literally ignored every sign even when in hospital because I was so sure my mum would always be here and things like this don’t happen!
It’s very hard but you need to try and understand that the outcome most probably would have been the same, it’s time that you probably feel was wasted. I’m sure your mum knew how much you loved her and sometimes things like this just happen. Your not psychic, you and your mum could never have known, unfortunately it’s just life and we have to be grateful for the amazing years we’ve had instead of what we’ve lost
Xxxxx

Sorry for your loss, you have come to the right place. It’s sad to say, but you’d be surprised how many on here’s stories will replicate yours.

I am sure you did everything for your mum. Sometimes the confidence the doctors have makes it so you don’t even consider it could be anything else, so don’t ever think you didn’t do enough, which is what I’m always thinking.

Also, thank you for the work you do as a palliative nurse. Everyone I met where amazing and couldn’t have asked for more.

Hi, I’m knew to this forum too and I thought I’d say a few words. All our stories sound similar and for me that’s reassuring because I don’t feel so alone.

I lost my lovely mum 3 months ago now. She was only 63 and she died from a brain tumour. From diagnosis to her death, we only had 16 weeks with her. Looking back, and knowing what I know now, the signs were there but you never expect anything like this to happen so you don’t give it much thought. They said she would have had the tumour about 6 months before she was diagnosed. It’s unbelievable how somebody you love so much can be taken away from you so quickly.

Her illness and death was the most traumatic thing I have ever experienced but at the time it’s amazing how you cope. I had to be strong for my mum, stay positive and be as near ‘normal’ as possible because I felt that if I fell apart then so would she and I didn’t want her to experience that in the last few weeks of her life. I spent every day with her, looking after her, talking, taking her shopping when she was well enough, watching TV and listening to her favourite music. Those are bittersweet times for me but I would never take them back and I know she loved that time too so I don’t feel guilty.

But it is in the aftermath of her death where the pain has really intensified. I’ve read about grief and bereavement and I know that you don’t really ‘get over it’, you just learn to live with it and accept it. I read that depression is a necessary and normal part of bereavement because it enables you to accept what has happened, which of course adds to our feelings of sadness. I find this oddly reassuring because even though it is so painful, and depression is so debilitating, it seems it is part of the journey to recovery.

Life will never be the same without my mum as I’m sure it won’t be for any of us who have lost a parent or a loved one. I am dreading Christmas and her birthday (which is next week). I’ve become quite fixated on the fact she was too young to die when she did whereas my brother struggles with the fact she died from a brain tumour. I try not to think about life being cruel or unfair because that makes me feel worse for some reason. I accept that life deals you heavy and burdensome blows occasionally but as people we can be remarkably resilient.

I might not be much help to you in my response, but it’s been helpful for me at least to read your stories and gain some strength from them. It’s very early days for me and I have a long way to go but I hope I get there.

Hi Tarn

I am sorry to here about your loss. I feel so much connection with your story.

My mum was also young (53) and had symptoms for around 6 months (progressively worsening). We got 5 months after finding out.

I started slowly feeling better over the weeks following but recently I have started feeling worse. I think it’s because it becomes more real?

I was not prepared for her actual death. I knew she was dying from day one of finding out, but the actual passing away happened so quickly. She had been in hospice due to bad pains and pain management but that was all. She had her routine pre chemo scan on then she was told it had spread (all scans before than had shown it either shrinking or staying the same) within 24 hours of finding out, she passed away.

My mums birthday is coming up in December and Christmas are going to be hard just as it will be for you.

I also fixate on things like her being too young or the fact she had just had an amazing recovery from a liver transplant and she worked really hard at it. It was only a few days after her first year anniversary she found out she had cancer. I also fixate on what more I could have done especially because my mum said she thought something really bad was wrong with her. Her first words to be when I went to see her in hospital following her original diagnosis was “I told you I was dying” which she said through tears. The image of her walking towards me, pulling along her drop, looking so small and fragile abd devastated haunts me every day.

I have recently started having dreams she is in them all and always has been but recently she is really poorly and suffering in them all so that’s quite stressful.

As you said my response might not help you but I’m hoping that at least by hearing how we are all coping in a similar situation, it’ll put your mind at ease in the knowledge your not unusual or not coping as well as a ‘normal’ person woulda

Hi Amy

Your response has been really helpful, definitely. Thank you for responding so soon too. I am so sorry to hear your mum’s story and even though it is different to mine, it is still similar in many ways, and I can relate to you totally.

Like how your mum had recovered from her liver transplant at the time of her diagnosis. She knew she was poorly, as did my mum. The fact your mum was so young and had the rest of her life ahead of her. That’s how I feel about my mum. My mum also knew she was poorly as she’d had headaches and loss of vision for months, and she kept bumping into things. She visited the optician and the doctors twice, but they all missed it. That bothers me, but I know that it wouldn’t have changed the outcome because her condition was terminal. She had the most aggressive brain tumour you can get. Although I try not to think about the injustice of it all because it’s too painful, I do think ‘why my mum? She didn’t deserve this’, but again, if I go down that path it’ll just make me even more sad.

I also have lasting memories of things like you do and I replay them over and over in my head. One day towards the end of her life, when she grew more and more confused, she woke from her sleep and said ‘is this it? Am I dead?’ I reassured her she was still with us, but I look back on that moment and realise how hard it must have been for her, knowing that she was dying and that she would be leaving us forever.

And like you Amy, I also knew she was dying from day one, but nothing could have prepared me for her actual death. It was so sudden and traumatic and my life is so much emptier without her. She also died on her wedding anniversary which broke my dad’s heart and she died just 2 days before my birthday. It is now 3 months on and I miss her more than ever. I think you’re right, it’s perhaps more painful now because the reality of it all has hit us. Sometimes the actual realisation that she’s gone is overwhelming. I think back to this time last year when everything was normal (although it wasn’t, I know now) and cannot believe how my life has changed.

I think these feelings and thoughts are normal though, just like the dreams we experience and the fixations we have. I’ve just started to dream about her now. I go for many days feeling okayish and then it hits me in massive waves. I’ve just come out of hospital because I was poorly - the trauma of losing my mum has had a huge physical impact on my health - and that has made me feel more depressed and vulnerable than ever. It reminded me of her being in hospital, the same bed, the same food, the nurses and the same check-ups. And I know that she would have visited me, brought me 10 magazines and loads of chocolate and texted me, rang me and fussed over me. I felt so alone in the hospital without her and I really missed her.

It is so hard, isn’t it? That’s why for the first time ever I have joined a forum, to listen to others and to share our experiences. It all helps in the long run I hope. We are not alone and it is okay to feel like we do. I do know that we need to look after ourselves and keep a rain check on our health, for our own sake and our families.

I shall keep reading the forum and taking strength from you all.

Take care of yourself.

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I am sorry to hear you have had to go into hospital after all you’ve been through, that must have been traumatic.

I get notifications for this post so if you ever need to talk or get anything off your chest, just write or Pm :slight_smile:

Sometimes its easier to talk to strangers than those who know you/your mum who you may not want to talk to out of fear of upsetting them.

Your my would want you to live your life and be happy and one day you will be. Life’s too short, as well we unfortunately know <3

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