Loss of mother


I lost my Mum today. We travelled to Switzerland for an assisted suicide as her breast cancer had metastisised to her brain and she only had a few weeks left to live. She wanted to exit with dignity and on her own terms, still recognising her family. She did this today with her family around her. I have not had to deal with bereavement in my life until now, so I am lucky in that regard, but I was very close to my Mum and the realisation of losing one of the two people in my life who loved me unconditionally is truly awful. I have been caring for her the last two weeks which has been very intense given how unwell she was, but this brought us even closer. We came back to the hotel we had been staying in together the last 2 days, back to her room with her clothes, toiletries and perfume etc. I feel numb and can’t believe she is gone. She was such a bright life. It astounds me that people are going through this type of grief all round the world every day, as it feels like the world should stop moving.

Dear S.A.G. I am so terribly sorry, it must have been absolutely frightening going through what you have all been through. The planning of something like this takes over your life. Not only have you lost your mum but you have all had to endure travelling to a place where she wanted to spend her final hours.

There is nothing worse than losing someone you have loved with all your heart and you have all been so brave giving her what she wanted, a peaceful exit with dignity and all her loved ones around her. There is no greater love than that.

Now you have to pick up the pieces and it is going to be hard, nothing about the death of a loved one is easy, it is soul destroying, heartbreaking and an absolute living nightmare but you gave your mum something that many of us will never get the chance of, and that is choosing how you leave this world.

We are all here for you if you need to talk.

Sheila x

Dear Mentor, thank you for your eloquent message that sums up all we have been through and are going through. It was indeed a logistical nightmare and a very harrowing experience. Now she is gone and we can’t quite believe it. After initially being incredibly upset with my brother and father when we were all together last week overseas, I now feel numb and have returned home to my wife and 3 children who continue to lead their own lives. The crazy busyness of the household means that I am getting little to no time to grieve my mother as the days are so full of tasks. I am starting to resent having no headspace to deal with this and it almost feels disrespectful to my mother to be back in the daily routine so quickly. My wife had shown me sympathy initially but appears to be moving on. This is starting to make me feel bitter towards my wife and children. Do you have any words of advice on this?

Dear S.A.G. I totally understand what you are saying. No-one else will ever feel the same way as you do, because When my husband of 47 years died our sons grieved but then went back to work and started to live their lives again and kept telling me how proud they were of me that I had moved on. Moved on I would say, I will never move on, the one person I had known for most of my life had gone and I will never be the same again as I now have a future without him, so then you learn to grieve in silence, put a smile on your face until it hurts.

I never saw our three grandchildren cry because their granddad had died and within a matter of days they had also moved on, laughing and joking when they came to see me as if their granddad never existed and it broke my heart. It does not affect others like it does us. We are the one’s that carry the grief for the rest of our lives, so don’t be hard on your wife and children they have no idea what you are going through, no-one does until it happens to them.

After my husband died and everything went back to ‘normal’ for everyone else I was left with my memories, no-one to talk to about our past lives together it was as if he had been born, lived his life and then died and no-one cared at all but me.

When my dad died I was 25 years old and newly married. Yes, I did cry for him but I had to go back to work and carry on with our lives and do you know, it became normal again, I missed my dad but he was now gone, I thought of him often but the hurt had gone and I was left with happy memories of a wonderful child-hood which did bring tears to my eyes that I would never see him again but as long as I had my husband everything was okay.

Your wife will not understand what you are feeling unless she has lost her parents and if she has lost them perhaps she feels the way to get through each day is to just carry on as there is nothing else you can do. Your children, like I have said, are different, they don’t understand about life and death like we adults do so take it in their stride, they are much tougher than we are, also they have their friends to laugh and joke with.

We, the ones that have lost our loved one, have to move on more quickly than we would have liked, especially when we have to support our family and go to work and you feel guilty for doing so because you are not spending 24 hours a day grieving for them.

Your mum knew you loved her and she loved you so be happy with your family, show your children photos of your mum, their grandma. I made a memory book of my mum and dad, grandmas, great grandmas and told them about my life when I was young and what it was like living in the era you were born in, I found they were very interested, our grandchildren loved for me to tell them about our outside toilets in the 1940’s.

Don’t be bitter about your family moving on, no-one will understand like you do what losing your mum means, but at the end of the day you have a wife and children that love you and many people don’t have that after they lose a loved one so live your life to the full and be grateful for it.

Families are funny creatures, I have yet to meet one where they all get on. The old saying ‘you can chose your friends but not your family’ is so very true.

If ever you need to talk, we are always here for you.

I hope you and your family have a wonderful happy life together.