Delayed and complicated grief

I lost my dad in March he was only 65 and within 3 weeks of finding out that he had lung cancer he was gone. Alot of people say at least he didn’t suffer and I should think of the good memories which there are so many of but I just can’t bring myself to look at pictures or videos as the pain is too much still and I guess I still think it’s not real.

I find myself getting really angry alot of the time and so stressed I feel like I can explode. I’ve got a wonderful family who are so supportive but I literally feel like I’ve lost my bestest friend, role model and father at the same time.

I feel like a completely different person now and I don’t know how to get my old self back.

Hi Ady,

I’m sorry to hear about your shocking loss. Even though it was back in March, I don’t think that is a long time in the grand scheme. I’ve no idea how someone is supposed to feel after that length of time as I’m only 11 weeks in to losing my mum suddenly while we were all on holiday together having a great time.
Like you, I do feel like a different person now, with a different outlook on life. I’m not just mourning my mum but also my former self. It’s like looking back through a window where I can see myself being happy and doing what I’ve always done. I think I’m still changing and I’m not really sure where I’m going to end up in this process. All I know is that it is tough.
I have at times been short tempered and regret feeling the way I do along with the guilt and other 100 odd emotions all mixing around in my head. I do hate it if people tell me my mum didn’t suffer. I was there, they weren’t and I’m not about to go into all the gory details as to why I think they are wrong.
I too have a wonderful family but I come here to discuss things that I don’t really want to or can’t discuss with them. The people here really get it but the person who would really understand my thoughts and feelings better than any one else is the person I’ve known my whole life and she isn’t here anymore. It doesn’t make sense to me.
Please keep talking here. Wishing you peace.

Thanks shaun. I’m sorry to hear of your loss also and it being so sudden on holiday must be such a shock. My thoughts are with you. I guess I still feel like he was here with me yesterday. I find myself having different dreams of him so happy some sad but all leave me feeling awful when I wake. I can’t seem to get it into my head that he’s gone and feel like I’m the only one this has ever happened to (which I know isnt the case). As you say I find comfort on here as you and others are going through the same. I talk to my wife but feel as though she just doesn’t get it as much as I know it hurts her too. Life will definitely never be the same with him. Good luck with your journey through grief and I offer you my best wishes.



Hi Ady. Completely understand how you feel. Everything you said resonates with me. My mum has a bad back. They finally diagnosed lung cancer and she died two days after the diagnosis. I don’t think it’s hit me properly yet either. I have no idea how to even start. Sorry for your loss. It’s a dreadful time. I’ll never be the same person again.

Hey, I’m also so sorry for your loss. All sounds too familiar. End of February my dad and I went to watch the rugby in Wales and he was complaining of a bad back and couldnt settle. Went to the Gp on the Monday scans that week followed by a very quick diagnosis and no time for treatment etc and within 3 weeks he was gone. He was active right until the last minute cutting the grass on the Friday, went into hospital on the Saturday and then passed on the tuesday the day before his 66th birthday. Like you I can’t process it still. I was on auto pilot for the first few weeks sorting the funeral out etc and taking care of my mum and it didn’t feel real at all just felt like he was away somewhere. And I’m still in that stage now.

Hi Ady

I’m sorry for your loss. I think it’s very hard for us when our parents have been so highly functioning, living normal life one minute and dead the next.
The week before my mum died she had been putting cotswold stones in my front garden along the border. We had done all the bedding plants and settled in for a nice glass of wine as a reward. Later that weekend she took my daughter for a walk around town and to McDonalds. She did so much and always seemed so happy to do so. She had a few quiet days indoors in preparation for a routine operation which she hated. She couldn’t sit still and I told her off after finding her in the kitchen making herself some cheese and biscuits late one night. She was supposed to be resting because tests had revealed a blocked carotid artery which could lead to a stroke if not operated on. My mum was so full of energy going in for that operation and couldn’t wait to come home, recuperate and get back in that garden.
Unfortunately she suffered a severe bleed on the brain whilst in the recovery room and died soon after. The shock of losing someone so capable and so active has been horrendous. I always imagined she would slow down over a number of years and just sit in an armchair with a blanket over her legs well into her 90s.
It wasnt to be. Mum would be 75 in 2 weeks time
Even writing this doesnt seem real.
Cheryl x

Ady about 20 times a day I must say out loud. I don’t understand how that happened. Mum had a bad back for 4 months during that time 4 visits to a dr. Two to a physio. Xrays were clear So physio and dr said it’s just muscular. Then around beginning of August she developed a terrible cough. Felt fluey and run down. She went out for my brothers 40th on the 1st August. 19 the August she collapsed. On the 24th August they said she has lung cancer only a week left. Maybe a few weeks if she is lucky. She died two days later. I just can’t fathom how people can die so suddenly from cancer. How do they go from having a bad back and cutting the grass . To not bring here. Shaun Cheryl and myself and others are part of the sudden death club I’m afraid and I’m so sad that you are part of it too. It’s flipping hideous however our parents die. But the shock I have no idea when it wears off. And I’m a bit afraid of when it does how bad it’s going to hit

Hello friends,

I lost my mum in June to mesothelioma, three weeks after the diagnosis. Her passing was unexpected and brutal.

Nothing prepares you for something like this. After mum passed I went through a practical phase, then I became quite numb. I now look back to those times and think “how did I do all of that?”

Like others I am angry a lot of the time, and don’t feel that it’s something that people can understand unless they’ve been through it themselves. I can’t deal with platitudes, even if they’re given with the best of intentions. My heart aches most of the time too, and I keep reliving what happened. I do wonder if, in addition to complicated grief, there’s PTSD too. I’m doing some therapy to deal with this, and may try some hypnotherapy too. There’s no let up with grief at the moment. I miss her so much.

Hi sazzalou,

Sorry to hear about your mum. June sounds such a long time ago to my friends but it feels 5 minutes ago doesnt it?
It feels like yesterday I last saw mum and was full of the joys of life. Is it the same for you?
I feel exactly the same as you, so grief stricken.
My daughter just brought her school skirt to me with a button missing and I had a complete meltdown. Mum used to sew all the buttons on in our house!
I miss mum so much and it really isnt helping that xmas is nearly here.
You arent alone in feeling angry. I’m so angry. Angry that she left us,angry that she died, angry that other peoples mums are doing fine, angry that she was only 74.
I agree with you about wondering how I got through the early days. But I also wonder how I’m getting through each and every day.
Thinking of you x

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Hi Sazzalou, sorry to hear about your mum. I always had an appreciation for life and now I do more than ever. Losing someone so close and dear is horrible. I now try and put to the back of my mind the events of the past but every now and then those thoughts escape and and hit me hard all over again. Most of the time I can function like this morning with work and my internet problems, all normal day to day stuff.
I just went out into the back garden for some fresh air as I work at home. My mum was a keen helper at a preschool club in the hall next door to our house every Tuesday and Friday. She loved kids and holding the latest babies and generally socialising with all the mums. Well, I was greeted by the noise of kids having a great time next door, it was lovely to hear and I like listening. Trouble is, I always think of mum and think that she should be there now, next door. I can almost imagine it and think everything is normal again and that I can pop in and see her there. I suddenly got so desperate to see, touch, smell, talk to my mum while I was standing there. The sheer frustration is overwhelming and then I lost it. My normal day is now not normal again.
None of this makes sense, none of it. I do feel some of your pain. I can understand the utter confusion of emotions. Nobody else can see this, I don’t walk around with a label stuck on all day. The lengthening gap between now and the last normal life is no comfort at all.

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Shaun, everything you just said makes sense. Total sense. I can hear my mum in her living room watching This Morning.
She isnt there if course but it feels like she could be. It’s over 5 months since my life was normal and I too am desperate to see her and just chat rubbish. What do we need from tesco? Can we get away without going? Did she watch I’m a celebrity last night?
The world is just carrying on but my mum isnt in it. Where is she? The pain is overwhelming and it creeps up on me so often.
In off work today and I’m definitely worse on these days. When I’m in work I can be normal.

The pain is overwhelming. And such longing deep longing to see them, touch them, talk, hug. It’s a frustration like no other. It cannot be changed. It can’t be reversed. Normally when something makes me unhappy I take steps to fix it. This cant and Will never be fixed. There will be no happy ending to this. Apart from one day the pain being slightly less

Exactly joules. I’m so in control of my life, my work life, my childs life. But this is one thing I cannot control.
I cant bring mum back just like I couldn’t stop her leaving. I look back now and wonder how i even breathed in those first days and weeks. The shock and adrenaline helps you to cope I think x

I’ve booked some counselling on Thursday. I can’t take it anymore. I can’t take the pain and no one to talk to no one understandS. This site is a godsend. But I need a person in front of me to listen to understand, all my friends and my husband are sympathetic and lovely but they don’t get it.

I hope you get on with it joules. I’ve had 5 sessions and have felt it rather a waste of time. I just talk and she sits there and when I have nothing more to say, she wraps up the session!
At least i tried x

I haven’t had any counselling but I have talked a lot to people who are willing to listen. I think I’ve just found that communicating my feelings both verbally and here has helped me a bit. I’m not expecting a quick fix though and I’m not sure there is an easy answer to make everything ok apart from the obvious that I cannot have.
I’ve just walked to pick up my car from the garage, it was good to get some fresh air but of course I could have done with some company to pass the time. My mum put a fleecy rug on my passenger seat a while ago cos it made it more comfy for her. Now I’ve got my car back, I hope I don’t sound a bit crazy but I’m going to put it back in. I really don’t know if what I do is good or bad but I tend to do what I perceive good for my soul.
I hope the counselling really helps you Joules.

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Thank you, C1971. You’re right, there’s no let up when it comes to grief. I might have the odd moment when I’m not thinking about it, but then the grief wave crashes down again and takes over. Similar to your situation with the button…I came across a packet of my mum’s favourite tea in my kitchen. Just seeing it reminded me that she loved the tea so much, but in the final weeks of her life was unable to eat or drink, and that those cups of that tea that used to make her so happy instead went cold and left undrunk, that we would encourage her to drink through straws, and how, towards the end, we could only moisten her mouth with a small sponge dipped in water. All those memories in the space of seconds…overwhelming, and happened just because I saw that packet of tea. I broke down too, and gave my partner the packet to take to work, as I couldn’t have it in the kitchen anymore…

I’m trying to channel my anger, but it’s hard. They shouldn’t have left us.

Totally agree x

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I totally get that gap between now and the last normal life. I went to a support group a few weeks ago where they talked about primary and secondary grief. As I understand it, primary grief is the loss of your loved one, and the secondary grief is to do with the loss of the life you had when they were still around. According to this group, the secondary grief can cover so many things; having a laugh with them because you both had the same sense of humour, doing the gardening together, family events and other special times together. With secondary grief, it’s about the loss of those things, and how life will never be the same again. But I think you do just make space for the loss, and the different life. I don’t think any one of us would want to forget our loved ones, but that does mean accommodating the pain, and in time having fond memories.

I’m all over the place at the moment, to be honest. I remember how wonderful and special my mum was. Yes, she could be annoying, but can’t we all?! I remember cherishing the time we spent together in the past few years, watching shows like the Crown with her because she loves the Queen. Even that is a source of sadness, with the new season now available. I remember us saying that we couldn’t wait for the new season to start. Now it is here, and she is gone. I can’t watch it.

I’m finding it hard watching I’m a celebrity. We have watched this every year without fail.
Also I have to mute the tv if coronation street or emmerdale come on. They were my mums favourites. The primary and secondary grief make sense that’s the first time I’ve heard of that and its totally true.
I’m over the shock of losing mum, even used to not seeing her or speaking to her. Buts it’s the life we shared together that I’m mourning and it’s so bloody hard.

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