I don't feel the same- lost my mum to oesophagus cancer

My mum died of stage IV oesophagus cancer in May 2023. Mum was my world, we were very close. I gave up my job to be her full-time carer. I am 27, I have no siblings and my father is not in my life. I’m struggling with finding a new normality. Doing things people would expect me to do. I tried my hardest to prepare myself for mum leaving this world, research, reading academic articles, cancer research/macmillan websites, but nothing could have prepared me for living in a world without my mum. I have returned to work now, and I’m trying to focus on positives to keep me afloat, going to bereavement counselling/talking to family members. Inside I feel empty and numb, I’ve changed and I’m still dealing with legal fees, changing bills into my name. I joined this community because I know there are others grieving and I just needed someone to understand what I’m going through. The grief is overwhelming, no day is the same, I get angry, lash out, cry, sob, feel extreme lows, I don’t enjoy the things I used to, don’t even socialise anymore. Thank you all for reading this, if anyone is reading this and is grieving, please shed some light on your coping mechanisms.

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Hi, sorry for the loss of your Mum and the pain of your grief. I’m also so very sorry that you’ve suffered this loss at only aged 27. I lost my Mum in January but at least I had her in my life for over 57 years. Much of what you’ve said resonates with me. I’m going through the motions of everyday life but have lost my appetite for making plans and enjoying living. Yet I know my Mum would want me to be living a happy life… it’s so hard. I have floral tributes in my garden and a special framed photo in my house. Just little tributes that keep my Mum present. I make sure I get outside in nature everyday as this is very grounding, it focuses my mind on the constant change of life. Really there are no answers as I think time needs to pass so that we can move on. I’m also the Executor of my Mum’s estate so until all the admin is resolved I am constantly reminded. Sending you best wishes xx

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Hi Brinaxk,

I’m sorry for your loss.

I relate to the emotions that you describe in your post.

My Dad died in November 2022, which is nearly 9 months ago. My Dad was unexpectedly diagnosed with advanced cancer and he died 8 weeks later. Similar to yourself, I put my job on hold to care for my Dad and also to provide support to my mum.

I experienced anticipatory grief when Dad was diagnosed. My Dad and I were very close (mum too) and I saw him everyday. He was my favourite person, my greatest support and the person I loved spending time with the most. When I found out that Dad was sick I knew what the outcome would be, but I thought we would at least get more time. Despite the anticipatory grief nothing can prepare you for the emptiness and searing sadness that you feel as the person left behind.

At nearly 9 months since my Dad died, I still experience the emotions that you describe, sometimes all in the same day. I also feel that much of the joy has gone out of life. In all honesty, it has changed me to the very core and led me to question everything that I previously thought and enjoyed. I do however, get days where the pain isn’t quite as intense and it feels almost manageable, but missing my Dad is always there in the background.

I spoke to a bereavement councellor shortly after dad’s death and I have very much gone back to basics in terms of how I am coping. For me this is keeping busy, exercise, spending time with my dog and cat, eating well and drinking water. It might sound simple but if I don’t do these things I feel much worse.

I think for me, the grief is going to be a journey of self discovery too. I am not the same person anymore and think it is a case of trying to find new interests and like minded people who I relate to.

I am used to being able to apply certain techniques or methods to be able to get through life’s challenges but I have found grief isn’t like that at all. Initially i thought I should feel a certain way by a certain time and I found I was putting too much pressure on myself. My Dad is no longer here and I will never be ok with that. I just hope in time it hurts less.

People have said to lean in to whatever you are feeling and I find this helpful. If I feel particularly sad it will pass and I will feel ok again. It’s just difficult to remember that when the grief feels so raw.

I have found this site very helpful. If you ever want to talk there are people here who will reply.

Take care,
Xx

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Hi, I’m so sorry for your loss. It is still very raw for you and the fact that you cared for your mum when she was poorly will bring with it a whole range of extra emotions too.

I lost my mum to cancer in March and I also cared for her at home, so I do understand some of how you’re feeling. I can identify with all of the emotions you are going through as I have been through them all too. I have also lost all enthusiasm for socialising or doing anything ‘fun’ anymore.

I’m afraid I don’t have the answers to make to feel better but the things that have helped me is writing a journal and connecting with others on this site who truly understand what I’m going through. I have found that, unless someone has personally experienced the same, they cannot begin to understand what you are feeling.

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