I'm in hiding. Anybody else?

i lost my Mum suddenly 8 weeks ago today. I’d been living with her for the last 22 years, as her carer/companion. I’m avoiding just about everybody, socially, by phone and some emails don’t get replies. There are some distant friends who still have not been told, as I just don’t want to deal with it. The funeral was just over a week and a half ago and the ashes were brought home yesterday.
I have a partner, but no children or close family. A friend I’m avoiding because we are in completely different places emotionally. She’s not exactly the most diplomatic.
Some people have written to me, suggesting the fact that the future is a new chapter for me! That it is a positive change.
People mean well, but i don’t think they have a clue about how raw and painful everything is.
I should really find work, but I’m not certain that starting a new job whilst coping with grief is the best idea. Perhaps, I’d be better cutting into savings for a while, until it’s less raw.
There is no quality sleep. I feel damaged, by sadness, upset, trauma and the shock of it all.
Is everyone else in hiding? Or avoiding certain people and situations?

Hi Daffy, yes I can certainly say that I have gone through what you are going through at the moment. I have always mixed easily and certainly not a shy person but after dealing with all the paperwork/funeral/sorting/selling things I started to notice that I preferred my own company more and more and would shy away from group activities, struggle to go into town shopping, didn’t want phone calls, ignored some e-mails. I was unable to go back to the social events with people that I knew. I had been on a committee and fundraising but I found myself preferring to be unnoticed and even leaving group gatherings as soon as possible. I have even unplugged my phone and only just managing to put the answer machine on again. I didn’t want messages because I didn’t want to be bothered with them.
Your friends might well be correct about your future but you have to do it in your own time and when you feel comfortable and ready. I am a year on now and just beginning to come out of my enforced reclusion. I am smiling more and even laughing with people. I have joined a dance class which is a start for me although I have been involved with such things before and never had a problem. I have become a ditherer, constantly changing my mind and being uncertain which way to go, now this has certainly never been me. Just before Brian died he was mostly unconscious but he said. “You know that Pat, she goes at everything like a bull in a china shop”. He certainly knew me. I’m just not that person anymore. It’s like learning to walk again.
For me I felt so weighed down with sadness I couldn’t imagine that I would be good company. I never knew when I would cry. I still cry, mostly when I get up in the morning but I go out for a walk with the dogs and this snaps me out of it. I make myself say good morning to people that I don’t know. If I will ever be me again I have no idea. But my advice is just take your time and cope with what you want to.
Good luck
Pat

Hi daffy,
I’m still in hiding 5 months down the line.
I just met my sister for lunch and cried all the way through. I said to her, now you see why I dont meet you very often.
I have been to one friends house and out for a pizza twice with a close friend. Other than this I havent socialised at all unless I’m with my partner or daughter and that’s only to a pub for dinner. Nothing exciting!
I’m avoiding any social events and am so pleased that there have been no family events as I would have to say no.
I used to be such an outgoing, social person and am completely changed.
Whether I cant face crying in front if people or whether I just am not emotionally ready for groups, I dont know. I will not be going to festive events or parties. I wont even be going for drinks.
I am ok at work now and ok in the safety of my home and that is all I can handle.
So, daffy, you are completely normal. We have just lost our beloved mums. I wasnt a carer for my mum, she was very capable but she was my companion, my very best friend. The loss is impossible to even begin to describe to people…so I dont.
Cheryl x

Thank you for replying Pat,
Your words are a comfort. You’ve made me realise that at the best of times I’m not the most sociable, so it’s not surprising that I’ve become even more withdrawn. Of course most carers, get out of the habit of socializing. When I was younger I was very sociable. My brain is operating in a fog.
Clearly, it’s going to be a slow process, before I begin to embrace life again. My tears come out of nowhere and there’s not a lot of control.
I can comprehend how something so upsetting and traumatic could change a persons personality.
My own guilty feelings have changed me.
Perhaps, grief is a learning process. I’ve lost my Dad twenty years ago.
If i were at retirement age I’d get a dog, as I’d know it would help lift my mood up. I’ve had two rescue dogs in the past.
Pat, I hope you find the dancing uplifting. x

Your words are a comfort too Cheryl. The loss is impossible to even begin to describe to people…so I don’t". A big yes to this.
You’ve both helped me understand that it’s OK to opt out for now. Mum’s death has been a huge shock. I shouldn’t be worrying about people, who are not truly close to me.
I emotionally and physically feel very damaged, so I think it’s baby steps for me. It is crazy to worry about things that are not really that important, compared with ones own health.
I remember my doctor saying years ago “listen to your own body”. “know when to stop”.

I haven’t even told one of the neighours yet! Maybe, when I eventually do “i’ll have to say I wasn’t coping.” It’s just very painful. It is too much.
I’m on my own in the house most days, but if i do go out my mood is pretty flat too.
Maybe, in the short term I’ll aim to get out more.
One thing I do love is gardening, however it’s tipping down!

Also daffy,you say that you dont remember your mum grieving the way you are and I agree. However my mum lost her mum when she was 52 and her mum was 91. Her mum had a long lovely life and was ready to go. It was sad but a relief when she passed. My mum was kept so busy when my dad died when she was 53 and I was 27 that she always seemed ok. She had a new grandchild to look after and i took her here,there and everywhere with me. Mum may have grieved in private but she seemed ok whenever I was with her.
Apart from that mum lost 2 brothers, one in 2018 and one in 2017. The one in 2018 was 87 and in poor health. Again it was a relief when he died. However, the brother who died in 2017 affected my mum greatly and I can actually pinpoint mums decline to his death. She was definitely affected greatly.
Like you I accept that mums death has changed me forever, but I always knew it would.
One day at a time daffy, one day at a time.
Cheryl x

Yes,Daffy people probably say things and regret it after.My neighbour said to me"Why don’t you do voluntary work?" 3 days after my husband died!I know she meant well but even now,my head is all over the place.

My mum lost her own mum when she was in her 90’s. It is easier perhaps to cope with when you know a loved one has had a full life.
Mum was also in her 50’s when she lost my father. We pulled together and got through it. Likewise, I knew that I’d miss mum forever the day she went, but I never truly understood how devastating grief could be.
When my Dad passed it took me 18 months to truly stop focusing on it. To mentally move on.
I always missed him. x

Me as well daffy, but the pain of losing my mum cannot be compared to my dad. I lost him 21 years ago and as much as I loved him, he was a difficult character. I’ve had mum 48 years and she was just the best, in every way xx

My Dad was a different character too. He was loved, but not quite the same way.
Today, I have a heavy heart. It feels like I’ve got a brick tied to it.
Tomorrow, I’m going to aim for a more healthy day. x

Jill, of course we are also very sensitive, due to our loss. I hate it when people say “she’s in a better place”. She might be, but it’s mind blowing.

Also I fully understand being in a better place when someone has suffered from something like cancer for months and they have been in pain and knowing the end is coming.
My mum was carrying home bottles of wine the day before her stroke for our forthcoming holiday. She was happy and highly functioning. She was landscaping my garden the week before. She went into her operation thinking she would live a long life. Maybe 15 or 20 more years
There is no way my mum is in a ‘better place’

Oh Daffy, give yourself time. 8 weeks is no time at all. I can only recall vaguely how I felt after 8 weeks. Raw and very down.
‘New chapter’, ‘Positive change’ ? Oh no!!! Just don’t think about anything other than your day to day needs. Be as kind to yourself as you can. Get help from those who understand not those who don’t. Yes, you are so right, it is a life trauma but a process that is natural. Like Pat I am just over a year on. Any better? Yes, moderately. I’m doing things now that couldn’t do in the beginning. I still have a weep now and then but that’s alright.
People said to me ‘give it a year and you will be over it’. Oh Yeah??? Anyone that says that avoid, they will set you back. Take your time. Go slowly. The pain will be great at first and will seem unbearable at times.
On here we are all survivors. We do survive because we are together and know how each other feels. But any sort of peace takes time. Even a tiny bit at a time adds up. Now please keep in touch with us all. You haven’t been ‘damaged’ as you say, just knocked about emotionally, which is so often more difficult to bear than physical pain.
So often we do want to hide away. To be alone and just be. There is no way we can fully share the pain. No one can take that burden from us, but it can be helped a bit by talking to those who understand.
Blessings. XX

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Jonathan, Thank you for your words of comfort. It will, as you say take time.

There will be good days and bad days.It happens to all of us.I’m hoping that one day,the good will outweigh the bad but it’s early days yet and still so very raw.

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Yes yes yes

It’s been almost 9 months since my mum died and I literally cannot be bothered with anything or anyone. Normally…I will organise the work secret Santa, Christmas party, Christmas drinks but this year I have declined them all! People can’t understand why as at work I guess I am so happy and people think I am ok.

I have a young son who I do activities with at the weekend but I have deactivated all my social media accounts so people don’t know where I am or what I’m doing…I’ve literally turned into such a weirdo haha.

I think it’s because our lives have changed and so has our perspective on life and things that brought us enjoyment no longer do as we don’t have our best friends to enjoy it/talk to about it. Just take each day as it comes and don’t do anything you don’t want too xx

A yes from me too.
I went out for a drive and walk at lunch time to see the spring tide. It was pouring with rain and I got soaked. Ordinarily I would mind that a lot but today I didn’t at all. You could call that, hiding in plain sight! The rain did connect me with normality but also enhanced the feeling of disbelief over what has happened.
I don’t talk about myself much with other people anymore, not even my partner. I don’t get asked how I am and I get the impression that people just assume that I’m alright cos I’m acting normal. I even got a comment from a work colleague this week who told me that he thought I was ‘on the mend’. Not sure what that was supposed to mean but it was well intentioned. If only they knew like anyone else what is actually going on in the secret world of my head on a daily basis. It’s no fun.
I do have a very different perspective on life now and it’s a struggle to get to grips with the whole concept of gone forever. What’s that about? 3 months ago today we were all sat on a beach enjoying ourselves blissfully unaware that forever would come in less than 2 days time. I’ve been trying various things to wrap my head around it but still I remain confused by it all. If I do things to take my mind of all this, even to the point of actually enjoying myself, it normally results in crashing down with a thump again at the end.

I know how you feel.At the moment there’s nothing out there for me anymore.We did everything as a couple,we didn’t need anyone else.All I see is couples and families excitedly looking forward to Christmas,but that’s not on my agenda this year.Maybe get into January and I can look forward.We couldn’t have known that forever would come so quickly after our holiday.At the time,he said I think this might be the last time we come here.Did he know he would die 4 weeks later?I’ll never know.

Hi jill
Its funny you say that. My mum was in apparently good health and her death was a massive shock, but I discussed moving with her to the coast when i retired and she replied that she didnt think she would ever move house again. She also got my daughter to promise that we would still go on holiday in August without her should she not be around. At this point there was nothing wrong with her apart from arthritis and aches and pains of a 74 year old.
I have wondered whether people know they are going to die as well x

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