Losing both parents before I'm 25

I am 24 and lost my mum 4 weeks ago due to a brain tumour. We lived the last 11 months coping with changes to her personality and mobility that we never got to cope with the thought of losing her. My dad passed away when when I was 4 and she had been the rock of the family. I just dont know when it stops hurting or when I stop crying. I spend all my time at work because it is the only place that hasnt changed in my life and everyone thinks I’m doing ok. My partner is very supportive which is great but she doesn’t know what I’m going through. I just dont know what to do with myself because everything reminds me of her. I was there when she passed as she wanted her family there so it was me and my uncle but now I find myself having nightmares hearing the rattle in her breathing and the fear in her eyes.

Hi mags,

I’m so sorry for the recent loss of your mum and also for the fact you have lost your dad. You will find lots of us in the same boat on this site and it has been a source of great comfort to me.
I am also an adult orphan although older than you, I can at least go some way to understand how you are feeling.
My dad died when I was 27 from a sudden heart attack in bed. He was 53. I was in complete shock but my relationship and closeness to mum helped me through. 9 years later I had my daughter who is now 12 and my mum has brought her up with me.
21 weeks agony mum a fit and healthy looking 74 year old suffered a major brain haemorrhage 15 minutes after a routine operation in hospital.
It’s fair to say I am still in shock and I miss her so much it physically hurts. Mu health has been affected I’m in such grief.
For you it’s such early days. My advice would be to take each day as it comes and let the tears come when they need to. Dont question how long it will take until it feels better because this just placed pressure on you. I had my first day of not frying yesterday although I felt awful. Just numb and disinterested in everything.
In the early weeks I avoided alcohol and did lots of walking.
I can’t do anything without it reminding me of mum and I just have to battle through the pain. Mum lived with me and I have to cope with her empty bedroom, living room and the quiet in our house. I can see that myself, my daughter and partner are completely changed and I find it so hard.
Sending love to you.

Cheryl x

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I’m sorry you are going through this. That must be so hard especially given the prominent role your mum has played in your life for so long. Being a sudden orphan myself, I am only too aware of how difficult it is to process this new phase of life and to accept what we will be missing.

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Hi Mags,

I feel like I could of wrote this myself! My dad died when I was young, even though I “miss” him I don’t really have any proper memories of him and as you have said, my mum became the rock that held us together.

She died 8 months ago, suddenly and unexpected. She was only 54 and died just before my 30th birthday. Like you, I spend a lot of time at work - everyone tells me (annoyingly) I am so brave so strong blah blah blah because I am always laughing and joking but inside…deep down…I’m lost, I’m lonely and I’m confused. I’m actually the most dizziest person ever lol and I miss the little things like txting my mum for help, for random questions and just for the sake of it and for her to txt back telling me what a idiot I am :slight_smile: It’s alsnost as I’m 2 different people…to the outside world I’m fine but when i get home, I go bed and I have terrible nightmares of sitting with her when she died and hearing the “death rattle” as you have said and how she changed so quickly in hopsital…then the next day I get up and act fine again…crazy!

It’s good you have a supportive partner…but as you have said, she doesn’t truly feel what you feel but i hope she is some sort of distraction for you. Would you consider counselling? So you can truly talk about how you feel?? It’s not for me but I have seen lots of posts on here from people that benefit from it. It’s still early days for you and so your emotions must be so raw, keep posting on here there are lots of lovely people who will always respond and have similar feelings to you and I’m always around if you want to private message me. Big hugs xxxxx

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Thank you all so much for the replies, I’ve had a much better week and slowly feeling like I might get somewhere. I know its early days still and that it can get harder before it gets better but I managed a whole nights sleep so it’s the small steps.

Tasha, I’ve thought about counselling but like you said everyone thinks I’m so strong and all the usual comments that I dont even think I’d be able to open up to a stranger.

I am so sorry to hear of all of the losses you’ve all dealt with but selfishly it makes me feel better that I’m not alone in the world (if that makes sense without sounding harsh)

Thank you again for your kind words :heart:


After the end of your last message I had to reply and say me too!!! Lost my mum a fortnight ago. Although my father isn’t technically dead he disappeared over 10 years ago and is certainty dead to me.
What do we call ourselves now? Is orphan actually the correct word?

I find myself just staring off into space wondering how all this happened. I’m glad to hear you have a partner to keep you company, I’m on my own and it’s very lonely- so keep them close.

Anyway just wanted to reach and and say it might feel like your the only one but it’s nice to know we aren’t


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Hi Kerry,
Sorry to hear about your mum as well.
I dont think the term orphan is strictly correct as it refers to someone under 18 that has lost one or both parents I believe. However it’s common for people to refer to themselves as an adult orphan if they gave lost both parents.
What happened to your mum and do you have support?
Cheryl x

Hi Cheryl.
Thanks for your reply. Yes I didn’t think it was correct but it sounds better than well here’s the story…
Bowel cancer. Had already spread to liver which they only found in her emergency surgery. She had 15 months. Absolute whirlwind of treatments and changes. She was incredibly strong throughout.
She was cared for at Sue Ryder and they were brilliant and I’m still in touch with them. My Gramps is also terminally ill so still in it


I’m sorry to hear that. My uncle died of bowel cancer 2 years ago, it’s a horrible existence.
Sorry too about your gramps. If it helps, you will always find a listening ear on this website. It’s been a lifesaver for me when I’ve been at my lowest. I’m not sure how I would manage without this bereavement site to share stories with others and to feel better because there is always someone whose loved one suffered more than my mum and it reminds me to be grateful when all I want to do us feel sorry for myself x

Hi Kerry
So sorry to hear about your mum! I hope you are handling it okay!
Some days are tougher than others but I know what you mean about staring off, I just hope it all gets easier.
After I lost my dad my mum said “you never get over the death of a loved one, you just learn to live without them” and I think that’s very true. Some days you’ll find yourself staring off more than others and sometimes the days will be unbearable without them but eventually you will learn to carry on without them although it’s never easy.

I’m currently in a phase of wanting to pick up the phone and call her and tell her about my day so that is very tough but I know eventually those urges will lessen and finally I’ll learn to live without her I guess :woman_shrugging:t2:

Mags x

I hope it gets better, her funeral is Monday so I think that will help in a way, to get to the next stage.
I said the same thing to someone, about wanting to call her and let her know whats happening and how I feel. She suggested writing her letters and I’ve done a few now. I felt really stupid when I started but now I quite like it. I feel like I know exactly what she would have said back to me when I read it through again. Might help you too :slight_smile:

Hi so sorry for all you have lost, I lost my dad when I was 15 I’m 27next week and lost my mum 5weeks ago to lung cancer I feel so lost and lonley wish I could shout at everyone how I’m really feeling but like you guys I’m weirdly ‘fine’ day to day do what needs to be done but can’t stop thinking about her death and what she said in the weeks she was in the hospice I cared for her for 17months and watching the person i loved most in the world other than my children was so devestating I felt relieved she isn’t suffering anymore but as the weeks go on I feel like I would do anything to see or speak to her even if it was a bad day I miss them both so much can’t belive I have no parents it’s only me and my 24year old sister and we are strong but as you say when people are telling you how strong you are all you want to say is I just don’t want to be trying to be positive and look foward but how I really dont know wish I would wake up and it all just be a dream bless you all

Hi iona,

I’m so sorry that you have also lost both parents. Its horrible being an adult orphan isnt it?
Life is so unfair at times. I cant really give any advice other than to take things one day at a time and lean on your sister for support. My sister and I have never been close but since my mum died 5 months ago (our dad died 21 years ago) we are making an effort to regularly meet for lunch, a coffee or a glass of wine.
It feels weird sometimes but we are doing our mum proud by sticking together my mum hated that we weren’t close.
Our family is so small now that it feels important.
It does feel like a dream that my mum has gone. Unfortunately with each passing day, I’m realising it’s not.
Take care of yourself x

It’s a surreal feeling feel like I’m in the world on my own my husband dosent get it either thinks I’m silly joining an online forum but he doesn’t understand how I feel in don’t want him to feel what I’m feeling but it’s so hard to explain how your feeling isn’t it not sure there is even a way to describe any kind off loss is there thank you for your kind words

And it sounds like what your doing with your sister is a lovely thing not only for you guys but your dear mum as well I’m sure she’s so proud of watching you to be there for one another I will do the same and hold my sister close x

Dont underestimate the power of this forum. I was in a very dark place before I joined and didnt know how I was going to get through. By chatting to several online friends who have lost their mums recently I have had something to focus on. There have been nights I couldnt sleep and I have spent hours reading posts. To know that so many people are in my position has really helped me x

Hi Kerry

I love the idea of writing her letters instead, I’m going to try and give this ago.

This week has been a bit tough but for no reason exactly, maybe just because christmas is creeping up to us and it will be the first one without her.

I was thinking of writing her a christmas card so I might pop a letter in it too.


Hi Mags

I totally understand. Oh gosh I have no idea what I’m doing for Christmas yet!

I hope it works for you