Feeling traumatised by mum's illness

My mum passed away 3 months ago. I miss her so very very much. She had a short illness and died of ovarian cancer.
I feel like I can’t even begin to get over her death before getting over the trauma of her short illness. I took her to the GP early January and we were sent straight to hospital for a scan. It was seen that she had an abdominal mass. 2 weeks later we were at the hospital for her to get exploratory surgery but she was deemed too ill. She was admitted to hospital with the intention of getting her well enough for exploratory surgery…but they discovered she had had a stroke, possibly in December. Three weeks I left her there…three weeks she was unhappy, hoping to move on to another stage that would help her recover. No one would give me a straight answer, every consultant said a different thing, no one seemed to see how she was falling and just kept nagging at her to eat…she couldn’t eat! The mass in her abdomen was preventing her! She withered away day by day and not one of them could see it…I don’t understand how.
Then I knew she was dying. I knew they weren’t going to do the op, I knew she wasn’t going to get better. My poor mum still hoped she would. She wasn’t ready to die. The staff in the hospital seemed oblivious to her pain. I took her home to her house and the GP who was the most honest, arranged the palliative care team within 24 hours. She died 3 weeks later, after considerable pain, discomfort, frustration, unhappiness. That is what I find hardest…she didn’t deserve that, she deserved so much more. I know I tried to do my best for her but my best was just not enough to prevent her distress.
I keep having flashbacks to when she was ill and my heart starts to hammer. I feel sick and frightened of the memory. I can’t cope with the memory of her distress. I find getting over her dying is harder than her actually being dead.

I’m so so sorry for your loss. What you both went through is so distressing. I really think counselling would help you. I have had to have counselling witnessing what my mum went through with her illness. We were told she had broken a rib. Then she had a chest infection. She went into hospital they said actually she has metastasised cancer. She is dying. They told her and I wished they hadn’t. She was so frightened she just thought she had a virus. Then two days later she was gone. I find this the most shocking and painful thing to relive It comes to me inflashbacks at night. My heart hammers too and I have to force the memories away. But counselling has helped me a lot.

I try and not let the end define her life. That they are now at peace and safe and not frightened or in pain.

Thank you for your reply. I am sorry for your loss too, it sounds traumatic. :frowning:
I think I could do with counselling…but have to wait until lockdown is over.

I’m so sorry to hear about the death of your mum and that the memories of her death are so traumatic. I hope that you find being part of this community helps even a little - it’s important to have outlets for your emotions, and you are among people who understand here.

As you’ve mentioned being interested in counselling, I just wanted to let you know about Sue Ryder’s Online Bereavement Counselling Service, which allows you to talk to a counsellor over video chat, and so is running as normal during lockdown. We do have a short waiting list at the moment due to the pandemic, but people are still getting seen within a few weeks. www.sueryder.org/counselling

With counselling I found even going over and talking out loud about what happened helped me. It hurts and it’s painful but it does help get those thoughts and images out of your head. I always felt after counselling a weight had been lifted. They also give you ways to manage those distressing images and memories. It’s been nearly 10 months. You do think of it less. But I still have triggers. But they are less intense. I’ll always feel pain at the way she died but you do manage it better as time goes on and counselling definitely helped me.

Priscilla, thank you for that. I shall check it out.
Jooles45 …yes, I think saying the stuff out loud might help.
Yesterday I wrote a letter of…not quite complaint, but discontent, to the people involved in her hospital stay. I will never send the letter but it helped to offload some of my anger.

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