Losing both my parents

Hello there.
I am really struggling with my emotions and feeling utterly numb and alone, my mum passed away suddenly in March just before the lockdown so I wasnt able to grieve for my mum properly as after I found out my dad had terminal cancer after he had various tests so as I was off work due to lockdown, I found the covid was a blessing as I was able to spend precious time with dad in his end of life days as I was unsure how many months he had so every day was precious. I sat with him, done little videos of us laughing when he was bright and just lots of lovely memories but as I was so close to both my mum and dad, now that I have lost both of them within 4 months of each other, I just feel so alone and numb and every morning I wake up feeling empty and heartbroken thinking it’s all a bad dream. Please give me advice as I am also struggling with the visions of seeing my dad in so much pain and awful symptoms towards the end which he was trying to protect me from and now my heart hurts when I think of those things as I am trying to get them out of my head but is a struggle. The comfort I do hold in my heart though is that I was right beside him holding his hand when he passed.

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I am very sorry to hear of your losses, and I am glad you got to spend some time with your lovely dad before he died. Being haunted by images of your loved one suffering can happen to many people, it can be very distressing, it might help you to sign up to free bereavement counselling online with Sue Ryder or over the phone with Cruse, there is a waiting list, so in the meantime it will probably help you if you continue posting here and talking about your grief.

Dear @Karen1978, I’m so sorry for you tragic loss and so close together. I’m in a similar position although my Dad died last May in pretty awful circumstances and mum this January. It’s the terrible hole they leave in your life. Yesterday hit home when there were no cards from either for our wedding anniversary. I can’t make the loss, pain or loneliness go away. But, I can offer help in terms of I’m here to listen, share our worries and sadness, and our coping strategies. You’re not alone x

Thankyou so much Abdullah for your comforting words. It is so very difficult and the constant emptiness feeling doesnt get any easier. I have heard of Cruse counselling… how do I get in touch with them?. It does somehow ease the pain alittle by talking about these feelings on here too.

Dear Scarlet.
Thankyou so much for your reply and I am so sorry to hear about your losses too. It’s so upsetting and it definitely has left a massive hole in my heart. I just feel utterly alone although I have friends, there is nothing like your parents to make things better and just be there for you when you are having bad days. I was so close to my parents and had a strong bond with them and would see them most days so now they are both gone, I literally feel as though a part of me is missing. Any coping strategies you have, I would really appreciate as I find it very hard even getting out of bed most mornings. X

Hello Karen,

I’m so sorry to hear about your parents. It sounds as though things are very tough at the moment and you are feeling overwhelmed.

I’m glad that you’ve been able to share how you are feeling here, and I hope that you find the community a good source of support. Everyone here has experienced the loss of a loved one and will understand some of what you are going through.

Sue Ryder offers an online bereavement counselling service. This is a free service and sessions are held via video chat so you can attend from home. There’s more information about this service here: www.sueryder.org/counselling

As mentioned above, another good place to get support is Cruze, who offer a helpline, email support, and counselling and support groups through their local services: 0808 808 1677, helpline@cruse.org.uk, http://www.cruse.org.uk/bereavement-services

Take care,

Online Community team

Dear Mick.
Thankyou so much for your lovely reply and also for sending me those links for counselling. The pain I feel on a daily basis is so unbearable and losing my mum was so heartbreaking as was so sudden but then losing my dad too and witnessing horrendous symptoms and seeing someone you love in so much pain, I have bad dreams alot and upsetting ones. Whenever I wake up, my mind tells me they are still here and it was a bad dream but then it just hits me and realise it wasnt a bad dream and I feel an indescribable numbness.
I cant begin to say how much I appreciate those numbers and will make a note of them as I need all the help and support I can get to help me through this.
Take care.

Hi @Karen1978

I hope you are grabbing a reasonable day. We’ve got incredible thunder and lightening it’s quite frightening but the rain is so desperately needed.

This could be a long post so you don’t have to read in one go!
I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve been doing…

I’ve been reading When Parents Die by Rebecca Abrams. I find it helpful, it doesn’t tell me how to make myself feel better, nothing will, but it explains some of the thinking behind my feelings, gives examples of how others have dealt with loss and offers ideas. I like that it doesn’t preach but explains things.

I’ve been writing to mum too. Sometimes just news others the way I feel. It also gives me a chance to share my ideas, plans etc something I always used to do. I’m often crying and sad when I write but I’ve found it unburdens me in a way.

I’ve begun to recognise when I need to potter, have a day off, do a few tasks, but have no plans. I can feel really down but quiet contemplative time just pottering is good for me. Last time I did some tidying and polished mums silver tea set.

I think I’m realising some important stuff that people say is so true… be kind to yourself, have good days and bad, don’t be afraid to cry, and don’t expect everyone to know how to behave or what to say.

This will change us forever but as I said in an old post my mum lost her mum, she still smiled, laughed and enjoyed life. We have to do the same in celebration of them.

Always here to chat

Dear Karen1978,
I’m sorry to hear of your loss. I too have lost both of my parents and I am an only child. It’s coming up to a year since I lost my Mum very suddenly.
I too am feeling very emotional, numb, angry and sad that my parents are not here. I can only say that you really need to be kind to yourself and listen to how you feel.
Grief changes like the wind! Everyone here knows how you are feeling (sadly) and some days really are a write off. I was quite nervous about posting online, but it is cathartic to get those feelings out. I have had some counselling with Cruse, they were really good but the wait list was quite long.
Take care
Claire x


Dear Scarlet.
Thankyou ever so much for sharing your feelings with me and for also telling me how you are coping as best you can. I think I will look into that book as I do often love to read and find that books help us alot too and it somehow helps to relax me and just take my mind somewhere else for a while.
It has been a very warm day, I think the thunderstorm is looming so will be good to freshen the air up abit.
I had to drag myself up this morning as I often have days when I dont want to get up but the positives was that I got up and went to work although only 2 hours so better when it’s hot. I keep breaking down in front of my clients though which they are very understanding of my heartache I have had to endure over the last 5 months.
That’s lovely that you often write to your mum, I believe it gives great comfort and also that they do hear us when we talk to them and are watching over us and will always be with us.
I often send both my mum and dad messages as we always used to message each other daily, it was our way of just having laughs and would always know how to cheer me up.
I do suffer from bad dreams at the moment though which I know will fade in time and I can overcome it with all the good memories.
I definitely do need to be kind to myself and not pressurise myself to feel I have to act a certain way or be a certain way, one of my friends told me that this will change me forever and make me look at my life differently which I do believe.
I do find comfort too having their personal belongings around me and also have made a little memory box that holds very special items, letters and rings from them both and when I am feeling low, I look through that box and makes me feel closer to them.
Always here for you to chat too.

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Hi Claure.
Thankyou so much for your lovely reply and I am so sorry to hear of your loss too. It is very upsetting and most days I dont want to get up, I have to force myself to get out of bed and go to work but friends say it’s a positive thing I am getting up and trying to just take it day by day.
I often had very sad dreams which when I wake up thinking it was a dream but then realising it wasnt which breaks my heart. I have never felt so much heartache, not even like this when I got divorced, nothing compares to the hurt and emotional pain felt when you lose your parents, they always completed me and now I feel utterly lost and just emptiness like a hole in my heart which I know will mend in time. I am dreading Christmas and my birthday as they always made it so special for me.
I too am very glad I joined this site as I was abit anxious too about posting but I have already found more comfort knowing I am not alone.
I will definitely try the Cruse counselling too as someone else suggested them and apparently they are very good.
Take care too.
Karen. X

Dear Karen,
It is brutal losing both parents, no matter how old you are or what your relationship was like with them. Are you able to take some time off work or even work flexible hours? I lost my Dad in 2016 and my Mum last August. Losing the pair of them is so hard. As one of my friends said ‘they have known you all your life’, that’s why it hurts so much. I took time off work when my Mum died. She died very suddenly and I also found her, so I too have distressing images that pop into my mind. Counselling has helped with that. I would get on the waiting list for Cruse, as I waited a few months. Also talk to your GP. Mine was really supportive. I have had a recent wobble and she has been really helpful. There is no quick fix and grief is very personal. I also read a blog by Flora Baker, which was helpful to me. She has just written a book called the Adult Orphan Club.
Take care and don’t be too hard on yourself.
Claire x

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Morning Claire.
Did you see the lightening last night?. It woke me up, didn’t hear any thunder though.
As I lay awake, I was hit by a memory of last year when I phoned my mum and dad on a night of a thunderstorm and was just chatting to them and just hearing their voices helped to calm me down as I do get frightened with thunderstorms, I even remember mum saying that I should go and stay with them the night. I felt very low and upset last night when I was thinking about that as I just wanted to be back there in that time when they were here and healthy. I am so sorry to hear about your mum, finding her I can imagine must of been very distressing and my heart goes out to you. Parents are your comfort blankets and they do know us inside out and know our little quirky ways so when you have any problems, they always know how to make it right. There are days when I just want to fill my days and nights with people so I don’t feel alone in my heart but then there are other days when I just want to lock myself in a room. I think the other trauma was that I had to end the tenancy on our family home, the home that has been my childhood home for 48 years, it was my grandparents then passed down to my parents so I remember having Christmases there and spent alot of my time there, lots of happy memories but also recently very sad and upsetting memories too. I tried to see if I could take on the tenancy but I was refused so I had to clear the bungalow in 2 weeks after dads passing which was absolutely heartbreaking, they asked that the carpets be taken up too so it was like putting a knife in an already open wound and was so painful. Now knowing that someone else will be living in my childhood home and trying to cope with that too breaks my heart and I struggle to even drive past the road now as I only live down the road.
I had 3 weeks off after my dad passed away which my clients were all very supportive of that and because I havent got full hours back at the moment anyway because of the covid, it works ok. I do just struggle really day by day and look never know how I will be from one day to the next. I will definitely get my name down for the Cruse counselling as it will help me.
You take care too and have a lovely day. Karen. X

I just found your post and although I am signing off just now I will get back to you next time I am on here because our story is very similar in some ways. I know exactly how you feel. I lost my dad a few years ago to cancer and my mum in may after a long struggle in which I nursed her. COVID has made things much harder and also in some ways easier to bear. I feel for you. Thinking of you.

Dear Meebee.
Thankyou so much for your reply and I look forward to chatting to you some more. Its such a hard battle isnt it when you lose both your parents and when they are close together, it is even more unbearable as you feel so alone.
Thinking of you too and chat soon. Karen. X

Dear Karen,

I didn’t hear the thunder three days ago, but it certainly woke me up last night! In reply to your post about packing up your childhood home, it is heartbreaking. I had to pack up my parents home after my Dad died and my Mum downsized into a flat, so I had to pack the flat up too. I remember walking around an empty house for the last time, remembering all the happy and sad times we had there. My parents moved to the house when I was a baby, so it had over 40 years of memories. Another young family were moving in, so I told my Mum at the time they were just like you and Dad starting out and hopefully they will have 40 years there. When my Mum died suddenly, I drove past our old house again and I was so emotional. My Dad’s roses were still flowering in the garden and everything felt out of place. The new family have kept those roses, so I like to think a bit of my parents are still there. Maybe in time, you will be able to drive past your old home and feel that.
I live four hours from where I grew up, so can imagine if you are nearby it hurts even more.

It’s coming up to a year since I lost my Mum very suddenly. It doesn’t take much to put you back there again. I have so many regrets about not visiting my Mum earlier as she was slightly unwell. I was going to go on the Sunday, but decided to go on the Monday. I found her on the floor, she had died sometime in the night. Even now her death feels preventable. I know things can’t be changed, but your brain doesn’t allow you to think like that. Grief is so cruel and we are all just trying to muddle through in the best way we can.

Hope you are doing ok.
Claire x

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Dear Hotspur,
My mum did this on the first anniversary after my dad died she did a tour of a couple of places they had lived that they were very fond of. My dad was a shepherd so when I was a child we moved a lot but some places they loved. She visited his childhood home. It had become a herbal center so we were looking forward to that but unfortunately the business had closed down and it had been abandoned and left in a state of disrepair. It was hard for her. However she had a lovely talk with the man and woman that owned one of the houses she and dad had loved and they invited us in but we couldn’t bear to see the changes. However my mum was overjoyed to find that they (like your roses) had one white duck and one brown duck just like they had when they lived there. I found it wonderful that the outhouse was still there where my dad kept his working dogs and the guy had goats in it but the lovely feeling was still there.
Its best to make a little plan for anniversaries as they can be so very difficult ( i have mentioned this on another thread so sorry for repeating myself) 1 make sure you have a holiday from work on these days because there is no way you can cope with that believe me I tried once. Next decide what to do whether it is something memorable in your mums name or whether you want to spend it with supportive friends or if you want to have a duvet day and wallowing in your grief or watching movies and stuff you and your mum would have shared. Or if you have kids sharing memories with them about your mum. Make it into your own version of a special day and it wont be so hard but it can be a good memory like a continuation of her life.
i totally understand your feelings of guilt we all have them on here from time to time about things we wish we could change it is perfectly natural. I am so sorry that it was you that found her, that must be a very difficult and painful memory for you but there is nothing you could have done to change what happened but you did look after her body afterwards and make sure that she was taken care of so you have nothing to feel guilty for but it is natural to feel that way. There is counselling available if you need it either on here or on the cruz website. Another person on here suggested it to me and I am on a waiting list.
Take care thinking of you.

Hi Claire.
Thankyou so much for your reply, I am ever so sorry to hear that you found your mum and I can imagine how traumatic that must od been, its heartbreaking losing a parent. Did she have anyone with her at the time?.
Its lovely though that the new people that live in your old childhood home have kept the Rose’s as can be a little sentiment to your parents and almost keeping their essence alive, it’s funny as my old childhood home also has a yellow rose Bush out the front which was planted in memory of my gran and grandad as they lived there before my parents and every year, it flowered into some really pretty vibrant yellow roses, when I was having to clear everything out, I took a cutting of the rose to try and grow some of my own in memory of the home but it isnt doing so well so am feeling quite upset about that as for me, it’s the last shred of the home I have to cling onto in a way although I have the happy memories with me, I wanted to take something part of the home and the memories from when I was small.
It is so painful driving past even the road down to the bungalow and havent been able to bring myself to go past the home, because I only live a few minutes from there, it is tearing me apart at the moment as I am trying to deal with losing both my parents but having to battle the constant upset too of thinking about the home down the road from me and wondering who will move in and I even ask the next door neighbor’s on the phone if the council have been in and what have they been doing, it just feels like they are invading my home which probably sounds silly. It was always my comfort blanket and mum and dad were the family all wrapped around the home.
I have been to work today but feeling very low in the pit of my stomach, some days I feel like talking to my clients but other days is a real struggle so have to try to explain so they dont think I am being rude lol.
How has your day been?.
Hope you are doing ok too.
Thinking of you.
Karen. X

Dear Karen,

It is absolutely criminal that you had just two weeks to clear the home - the bereavement laws in this country are awful, driven by money and not how people feel, it must have been so difficult to have to do that when you had only just lost your parents.

I hope you’re doing better today, it’s wonderful that you managed to find such kind people who are now helping you here.

All the best.

Dear Karen
Sorry its taken me so long to get back to you had problems with the site over thur, fri and sat last week and am just beginning to catch up with all my messages and threads on here. I am sorry I just left a wee message but it was so that I could find you again. This site is wonderful but it is rather hard to navigate at times.

Like you i was the one sitting with my dad and holding his hand when he passed. I am sure that it will give you comfort to know he wasn’t alone at the end and had you there beside him and I am sure that it gave him comfort as he passed to know that he wasn’t alone and he was loved. It does make a difference. I know exactly how you feel when you say you feel alone and numb. Do you have any friends or other family members or work colleagues who can give you a bit of support in real life. if you do have anyone please do reach out to them and let them know that you need them.
It is hard when you become an adult orphan (that is a book online and it does look a good book if you like reading someone else on here recommended it and from the part I read it looks helpful written by a girl who has been through the same things.) to begin to wonder who is now your ICE (in case of emergency contact)
You say you are struggling with visions of seeing your dad in pain etc. i know that my dad was also a very strong man who liked to protect everyone else but was in a lot of pain too

I wrote this message to you thought I had posted it and then found it was lost after that I had problems with site again and after logging back in have just found a small portion of this message is left here. Its very strange but in the meantiime I have lost track and again it is my time to leave the house. Sorry I will try to regain my thread later because it ended up being a pretty long and heartfelt post so i hope I will be able to find it again somewhere in my brain. Sorry for this just been having a lot of probs with the site lately.
But please know I am thinking of you

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