Mixed up


I feel so mixed up. My mum died suddenly and unexpectedly on 30th November. It was quite traumatic as me and my sister found her lying dead on her bedroom floor. I had only spoken to her on the phone the night before and she seemed fine, her usual self.
When we found her it was a horrid sight, the evening we found her is one I am unlikely to ever be able to forget.

There was a postmortem so we were not able to hold her funeral until 22nd December then it was straight into Christmas/New Year which was strange but not awful which I thought it would be. I didn’t really feel a lot. My Dad died many years ago so it was up to me and my sisters to plan Mum’s funeral. I thought I would start grieving more once we held the funeral as it would then feel more real but I still don’t feel much and I don’t know why. I had a good relationship with my mum, I loved her so much and before she died I used to utterly dread the thought of anything happening to her so I’m surprised that I have not felt any overwhelming feelings.

All I am feeling is anxious/panicky, my appetite is off, I’m tired and everything just feels off. It’s hard to explain it.
I did try to talk to my GP but I don’t think he understands. I just got prescribed antidepressants and he gave me links to some local mental health services but they’re all for people in mental health crisis which I’m not. I haven’t taken the antidepressants as I don’t feel that’s what I need.

I haven’t gone back to work yet and I’m due to return next Monday as I’ve been off with my two children for the school holidays. I think it will help to have the focus of work but I’m also concerned that I haven’t felt a lot yet.

I just feel so confused. My older sister went back to work today and says she is feeling fine.


I am sharing some of your feelings.
We found my Dad collapsed and unresponsive on 30th November. He was still breathing but brain dead and there was nothing they could do.

He had a post-mortem which was inconclusive so we have a further 20 odd weeks to hear from histology and then an inquest on 1st November so it’ll be a long way off for a death certificate.

To be honest, I still feel like I’m in shock. Do you think that you possibly are too? I just want to sleep all the time and my husband makes me eat at meal times. I already take medication (Citalopram) but I lowered it as I felt like it was stopping me from crying. I don’t know if it’s made a difference. I cry but sometimes I feel a bit detached.

We lost my Mum when we were all really young and Dad was a widower to (us) three children when he was 45. So he’s been our world for so long.

I’m the oldest of the three, now in my thirties, and I have arranged the funeral. It’s coming up on Friday. (This could proceed as we have an interim certificate).

It’s bizaare as I sometimes feel a range of emotions and sometimes none at all. Just tiredness (which isn’t like me).

I went back to work today. I managed alright. I was distracted at times (call from the funeral director/ fleeting thoughts). Guess my mind will wonder for a long time yet.
I am wondering if it will hit me even harder at some point. I’m not sure if the pain can get worse but maybe I’m still in denial. I’d imagine the inquest may cause my mental health to spiral. (We’ve had an admission from my dad’s work- occupational health- he worked at the hospital for the NHS. The clinician was on a video call with Dad when he collapsed and she left him for dead. She says in the email that she ‘deeply regrets not calling an ambulance’.) I have so many unanswered questions. It’s all just really hard.

So I do empathise with a lot that you wrote. Here any time you want to offload. Maria x

Thank you for your response and I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your Dad. It sounds like a very traumatic experience especially because you have the inquest to get through as well. I hope the funeral goes as well as it can on Friday and this will start to allow you to grieve although I realise that it may also be difficult to fully accept his death without knowing the cause.

You could be right it may be shock, I know following mum’s death I didn’t stop shaking for about 3 weeks. I have cried but not a lot when I consider how big this loss is.
I am also in my thirties and it feels unsettling to know that both of my parents are gone and that’s it for the rest of my life now. When Dad died I was a teenager. His death was also a shock but there was some lead up (he had a very short battle with cancer, we didn’t think it was terminal but he went downhill very very quickly and then took a sudden turn for the worse).
I remember I went back to school 2 weeks after my dad died then about 6 weeks later it hit me like a tonne of bricks. I don’t know if the same thing is happening here and its a delayed reaction or something.

Sleeping is a bit and miss. I feel drained. I don’t feel like me and I am constantly overthinking everything. I already feel like everyone is expecting me to move on as we’ve had the funeral now and we’re in a new year but I just feel stuck in limbo like I can’t grieve but I also can’t move on.

All of this resonates. My Mum had a very short battle with cancer; so short in fact that she had not been diagnosed until she was already unconscious. So although WE were told she had terminal cancer, she was already in a coma and never woke to hear the news. She was being tested for things but being fobbed off and she only had a scan once she rapidly deteriorated after Dad took her to A&E and refused to leave. She fell into a coma in hospital the following night as it was metastatic and affecting all of her organs. We were never told the primary site and that troubles me as I get older as I don’t know what to look out for. I have always guessed that it was ovarian but I can’t be sure.

I don’t think I ever really dealt with her passing and now losing Dad has made me think about those feelings all over again. I don’t want Dad to become a memory in the same way that Mum has. I feel guilt that the pain of losing her has lessened with time. I still miss her. I feel sick that the pain I am feeling for Dad will some day be less. How ridiculous is that? That I want to keep this pain? I can’t really put it into words but once this ache dissipates, it means acceptance and that he’s really gone; that he’s moving into memories rather than my day to day life. I’m probably not expressing how I feel very well. It’s turned into a ramble, but I just feel like I’m not ready for him to be gone. I need him.

I’m also having stupidly crazy worries about the children and panicking/ being irrational. I just can’t shake the fact that mortality can be so quick and unexpected. It’s consuming me. Do you feel like that?
By the way, although the autopsy was inconclusive we already know from the hospital scans that Dad had a bleed on his brain, so I’m not sure why it was inconclusive but maybe they just need to establish what caused the bleed.
Do you feel ready to go back to work? I feel like I’m maybe teetering on the edge. Whilst it was ok today, I’m fully expecting a bit of a breakdown at some point where I may need time off sick. Hopefully it won’t happen, but I can’t shake the feeling that it will. Can you be signed off or do you want to try going back to see how you cope?

Hi @LilMia
I’m sorry for your loss.
I can totally relate to your story because mine is similar.
I too found my mum who had collapsed in her bedroom in our house in October. It was sudden and unexpected even though she had heart failure.
That image will never leave me. It was so traumatic. I think you are right to not take the antidepressants at this stage of your grief. I’ve started therapy for the trauma as I can’t bring myself to go back into her bedroom.
It’s such a difficult time. Christmas and New Year weren’t too bad as we spent them in a totally different setting with some friends. Today however has been a bad day. I have zero energy and feel very tearful.
Sending love and strength.