Difficulty grieving

I lost my mum in January at the age of 62 after a short battle with lung cancer- she was diagnosed in Nov 2015 but only told us a few days before xmas as it was thought to be treatable at first. Although it was so quick and such a shock for my family, I feel grateful in a way that my Mums decline was quite quick & relatively peaceful in the end as I know being immobile scared her.

The thing I am struggling with at the moment is a sort of lack of grief which I have read from others on here. I was with my mum when she passed but I don’t think I’ve really cried or broken down since that moment, not even at the funeral. I feel like I need to grieve but can’t really seem to start the process, I don’t know if anyone has any tips that have helped? I seem to find it hard to remember my mum properly at the moment as I just don’t seem to be able to recall a lot of memories from my youth which I find upsetting.

Work is a struggle, so many people ask how you are that I’m just used to saying I’m fine as saying you feel awful every time people ask is a bit of a convo ender! I think people assume once your back to work you are fine, in reality it is a struggle to get up for work at all.

My uncle (mums side) also died a week after her so I feel bad that I haven’t been able to process that in any way yet.

I’m glad I found this site though, reading everyone’s threads has already helped gain some perspective on what lies ahead.

Paul x

Hello Paul, I am really glad that you have joined our Online Community in this difficult time of your life. I am so sorry that your dear mother died a few weeks ago - and I’m not surprised that you are finding it hard to grieve. As you will probably realise from reading other posts on here, there is no ‘normal’ way to react when someone close to you dies. It may be that you are used to putting on a brave face to others, even when you’re feeling very low. Perhaps if you can talk to someone at work about your Mum, and about the lovely relationship you shared, you may find it helps you to face the reality that she has gone. But it’s very early in your bereavement, so just take it steady. In time you will also be able to think about your uncle’s death as well - you have got a tough path ahead of you Paul - I’ll be thinking of you. Kind regards, Jackie

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Hi Paul,

I’m the community manager here and I just wanted to say welcome to the site and I’m very sorry to hear about the death of your mother. I hope that Jackie’s reply and other posts here have given you some reassurance that the grieving process doesn’t follow any set rules.

I just wanted to let you know about this post from a member called Hazel a little while back: https://support.sueryder.org/community/coping-death-loved-one/dealing-idk-blankness-weird-lack-grief

Hazel seems to have been dealing with some of the same feelings as you, so I thought you might find it helpful to have a look.

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It is not uncommon not to feel grief immediately and completely. You are still working on “auto pilot”, being practical and sorting things out and probably not having time to grieve. Do not overdo things - I lost my husband and have worked 12 and 13 hour days in our home and garden, dealt with my elderly father, ditched cruel friends, for over five years and am exhausted as a consequence of that I have not properly grieved. Take it one day at a time and it will come in dribs and drabs probably. Do not feel guilty about not grieving “as others do”. There is no definitive pattern or way to grieve and everyone is grieving even if they are not weeping and wailing. Your emotions are doing what is right for you each moment so do not feel concerned about how you are reacting, or not, as the case may be. You are grieving in your way. I hope this helps. I did not cry when my husband died and I was with him in our home and I delivered a eulogy at his funeral and did not cry. I was numb but I cry from time to time and at the most unexpected times, once whilst reaching for a tin in a supermarket which was just out of reach. Unconnected things to outsiders, but very real and significant to us. Do not castigate yourself, you are grieving in your way.

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Hi Paul,

I just wanted to say hello.
I’m so sorry that you have lost your mum and uncle in a short space of time.

You may not feel like your getting the ‘grieving thing’ right, but our brains are amazing at doing so in so many ways, just because your not crying or your grief doesn’t look like anyone else’s doesn’t make anything or anyone’s grief right or wrong it just ‘is’. No two people have the same responses.
I was shocked at how un tearful I was at my mums funeral, had a period of deep loss, got back work and thought ‘ok I’ve done it, I’ve got this’ and then boom, I fell apart.

You mentioned not being able to recall childhood memories and its distressing you.
I’ve found looking through old photos really helpful for sparking old memories, could you visit a park, street or house you lived/played in as a child? Do you have siblings or family members who knew your mum as a younger person? I found this a deeply connecting experience, to my loss and actually found laughter as part if my grief very helpful-recalling elements of my mums quirkiness, can you recall personality traights of your mum, her nuances, behaviours? I’ve brought myself a lovely notebook,& write down every single memory I can recall of who she was, one sometimes sparks another. My mum passed away 11mths ago and I’m finding this deeply gratifying/painful/sad/humorous/connecting.

I hope this helps in some way, and that today is an easier day for you, maybe the next time someone asks if your ok, say something other than ‘I’m fine’?
Would you consider a group for the bereaved, I have found seeing/hearing & feeling others stories and pain & happiness really connecting to the process of grief.

Take care, wishing you well in this journey.
Julia

Hi Paul,

Sorry to hear about your mum and uncle. I just wanted to say that when I first went back to work after loosing my mum I always said I was fine. I found I put myself under more pressure though and ended up trying to be more honest especially when it was an awful day. I felt saying it was a bad day or I was emotional allowed me to deal a little more with my feelings. I also found that people who haven’t experienced a close loss don’t understand how you’re feeling. I’ve found it helpful being on here and being able to be totally open and have people in similar situations. Concentrate on you and take time x. I lost my mum 3 months ago and there are days where I struggle to get through a day still.

Take care

Tracy

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Hi Paul, my son, also Paul had the same problem and it was months before it just hit him and for a couple of weeks he feel apart. H kept saying he should have been around for us both but he lives abroad which made it difficult. His wife was a excellent surport and he came around. Now he seems to understand that grieving is different for every person and is a support to me. Just keep smiling and get through each day at a time. We are all different.

Hi Paul, it’s a little while since you posted and I was wondering how you are doing? Grief can hit us at different times or different things trigger it. As others have said everyone deals with grief in different ways. Take care Carolyn

Hi everyone,

I hope that you are all having an ok day today. If anyone is feeling up to it, we’ve had a post today from a member who could really do with some sympathy and understanding.

She’s struggling with knowing a secret about her late dad that the rest of the family don’t know about. You can read and reply to her post here: https://support.sueryder.org/community/life-after-bereavement/keeping-my-dads-secret

Thank you.

Hi all, sorry it’s been so long between posts, just been getting back into work etc I guess but I appreciate all your replies & advice which has been really helpful.

I honestly found writing the post very therapeutic and in a way helped ‘trigger’ a bit of the grieving process. Following some of your advice I also spent a lot of time putting together a photo album of my Mum which helped me a lot - to grieve but also to remember her and even learn new things about her. I’m planning to go through it with my Aunty soon which I’m sure will trigger some more stories!

The next thing I plan to do is write - about anything really, memories, feelings, plans etc. even though I love writing I keep putting off doing it for some reason so I just need to crack on and do it.

As one of the replies said, things definitely seem to come in dribs & drabs. I was on a train with some old Uni friends recently and having a great time, then suddenly I just didn’t want to speak to anyone for the next hour. Telling people how I’m actually feeling has helped though instead of just saying ‘fine’ all the time as my friends noticed when I was struggling and were great with it.

Thank you for all your advice, I’ve found this site a great outlet and I’m sure I will for a long time to come.

Paul

Hi Paul,

No need to apologise. It’s good to hear from you again and to know that you found it helpful both to write your post and read the replies.

Thanks for sharing all the things you’ve been doing that have helped you - I’m sure there may be others who will find them helpful to read. I love the idea of sharing stories with family and learning a few new stories about your mum!

Writing can be really cathartic for a lot of people. We had a discussion here on the site at the beginning of the year about things that people wanted to do in 2016, and several people mentioned writing blogs or journals, or doing other creative things: https://support.sueryder.org/community/general-chat/what-are-your-hopes-2016

Good to hear that you have some understanding friends and that you feel able to tell them how you are doing.

Keep checking in here if you find that it helps.