Loss and caring for mum during a lockdown

My mum was diagnosed with cancer at the end of 2020 and passed away mid 2021. In all that time, I haven’t really sought out specific bereavement help. Just before her diagnosis I experienced a couple of major life changing situations that meant I was already rock bottom when her diagnosis happened. I also became her carer along with my sister as she needed 24 hour support from 2 months into her diagnosis. I know that the NHS probably did the best it could under the circumstances but it honestly felt like we were left alone to work it out. I feel now, that my mum’s care was poor and she suffered because we didn’t know basic things like how to move her without hurting her. Eventually we worked out what to do through youtube. We were not given the information we needed for end of life care in the last couple of weeks and given the situation in the pandemic, she did not go into hospital and there were no hospice spaces. We did not even know we could call for additional pain relief and I feel guilt everyday about this. Felt like 4 30 somethings left to guess how to look after a dying parent and witness things I am not sure we would have done if we had the appropriate support. They haunt me. These things are not things you can really talk about with people as it’s too upsetting for them to know what happened. So again I still feel as alone as we did then.

I have anger about the lack of clarity on family visits when terminally ill during that time. We went ahead with deathbed visits and I had a lot of anxiety about not knowing what the rule really was. Mum and my brother and his children missed out on precious moments while she was still well enough to enjoy time with people. Even the last Christmas with a couple of days notice. And of course, then finding out members of the government did not follow their own guidance here even though they were in the area that it was not allowed. But we did and that was something lost forever to us and of course it has never been the same since. Then of course anger that she was too young and that there was so much she had left to do. She had finally got to a good place in life just before diagnosis and was making plans for when the pandemic subsided.

I have spent the last couple of years rebuilding my life from the things that happened just prior to mum’s diagnosis, even having therapy. We did touch on mum though it wasn’t what the therapy was for specifically or what their specialism was but to me for a good while, all the bad things that happened were all tied together. After rebuilding and some support, they have started to separate and now I feel this huge hole that I guess comes from losing a parent. I didn’t have a relationship with my father and he passed when I was a teen. My stepfather badly hurt my mum a few years before mum died and hasn’t been a great parent so I feel so alone in the world without a parent at all.

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we did have a small amount of palliative support in the last month or so but it felt like they were in and out as quick as possible and for a good while we didn’t know how to make contact or what to do in certain situations. When speaking to others who have experience this, at a different time, they told me their experiences were different to mine. Hard to know without comparison. I wish you strength and love for the coming months.