Only child coping with mum’s death

My mum died 6 weeks ago. I am an only child and had to do everything for her funeral and am still doing all the admin that comes with a death. My father is 88 (who I look after most of the time) and tells me to stop crying when I am upset.
I have shouldered all the burden on my own and got everything done that needed to be done, but now I am crumbling to pieces and need looking after and there is no one to help.
Friends were supportive initially but I noticed that as the weeks went by their texts of support became less frequent. I feel totally and utterly alone. I wish I was dead.
Any only children out there who have been in similar circumstances??

You have done absolutely brilliantly and your mum would be so proud of you. It’s such a long drawn out task but you did it, and by yourself. You’re stronger than you think.

Is there any other family that could maybe give you some help with your Dad? Don’t be shy to ask them. You’re not totally alone, please remember that, and give yourself some credit for your inner strength as you have lots of it.

My brother lives abroad so I had to do most of the paperwork myself but I relied heavily on friends for emotional support and they were happy to give it, even though I felt guilty for bothering them. Try and speak to someone.

Don’t give up, you’re an absolute star.

Hi, only child lost Mum in Dec, I do have my dad still but he too isn’t very emotional. Can totally relate to friends dropping off. Pre funeral - very supportive- post funeral well pretty much non existent…it’s very tough having to deal with everything and you’re two weeks ahead of me and I worry that I seem to cope at the moment but it’s going to hit me I know.

Keep chatting on here, it helps and you’re not alone I have a very similar situation the lack of understanding as had arguments with mine, and I just need and want a hug and to be told all will be ok.

Hello Lucy,
Thanks for replying. My dad is also emotionally distant - he is of the ‘stiff upper lip’ generation and doesn’t believe in showing any grief.
Sounds like you are in a very similar situation to me. The loneliness hit me the week of the funeral and is definitely the result of not having any support network.
Exactly, what I want is a hug and to be told it will be ok. Not having this hurts so much.
It’s very very very hard. I send you strength and love to get you through this dreadfully difficult time.
So glad i discovered this community!! just reading the posts and responses has helped me.

Hi JP,
Thanks for replying.
Unfortunately, I don’t have family to ask for practical help. I wish I did. My friends were brilliant when it was all happening, but have gone quiet now and yes, I suppose I am reluctant to ask them for help as I don’t want to bother them. Maybe I should just ask them, as you suggest.
I am exhausted and just want someone to help me for a bit.
But I am going to be starting counselling sessions soon and am really looking forward to that as for the first time I will be able to open up properly to another person and hopefully begin to grieve properly and work through it.


Hi Rainey,
Yes very similar situation sadly. I’m facing the one month anniversary of mums death tomorrow but will be on my own. Dad won’t recognise it. Just another day to him. I’m even thinking now of what I was going through this time last month. Breaks my heart. I just have my cat who keeps me going. I doubt I’ll get many messages tomo. Most friends have forgotten now. Got a couple that have been great but I just feel I want more support. Support like Mum would have given me- I so miss talking to her.

Anyway, hope you’re doing as ok as you can be. So tough. X

I’m thinking of you today, Lucy. Try and do little things that you like - even if it’s just having a particular meal you enjoy or watching a favourite film.
That’s something I have been trying to do. And your cat will be bringing you comfort I bet.
Have you thought about applying for bereavement counselling? It may help. I have put my name down for Cruse counselling and am also getting some sessions through work.
Go easy on yourself x

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Hi Rainey & Lucy999.

So sorry we have to meet here. I’m an only child and have an only child. In 2016 I lost my son’s only chance of having a brother or sister at 12 weeks pregnant which hit me hard.

Life then got harder when I lost my hero and my Dad in May 2017. I somehow kept it together but 6 weeks following his funeral, my mum was unexpectedly given 6 weeks to live with a diagnosis of terminal cancer. I am her main care giver now which is exhausing but she has defied the doctors by still being with us now but the rollercoaster I have been on is awful and I see the people on this thread have got tickets for a similar ride.

When faced with the diagnosis, I asked my mum selfishly how I would cope. She simply asked if I could get through that day. When I said Yes, she said that is how I will cope. One day at a time. I hope you are using this advice too. It does help to see there are other people on a similar journey and I hope we can help each other.

I’m terrified of how I will cope when my mum finally dies but I have no control of it so guess I have to keep taking her one day at a time advice too.

Love and hugs.

Hi Rainey, I have just joined this forum and read your post as I too am an only child and lost my mum on 9th December. It was expected but the end was quick, too quick after all we had been through. Mums funeral was on 21st December then came christmas and now that every thing is over I feel like I’ve been hit by a train. I coped until all the Christmas decorations came down (my youngest daughter is 11) and since then I’ve struggled.
Please don’t feel alone let’s help each other for our mums xxxx Rachel

Hello AnnAnnie,
Oh you have been through such a lot and have such a burden on you now. You must be so strong to be keeping it together day by day.
Yes,that’s exactly how I am taking it. Day by day. Today has been absolutely awful. Yesterday was better. Tomorrow may be awful too,but there is another day after that that could be ok. That’s all I can do.
Starting bereavement counselling tomorrow. Have you got any chance of getting away for a break and to get some sessions where you can talk to someone independent bout what you are going through?
I have no one in my family to talk because my father is emotionally unavailable. I am pinning all my hopes on counselling, as part of my recovery.
Please take care of yourself. Please take it by day. See if you can find those last ounces of strength you have left in you to get you through the week.
Love from Rainey

Hi all,
Thanks Rainey for your message on my one month anniversary. Felt a bit let down by friends as only one asked how I was. So that didn’t help an already dreaded day. Sorry I’m so negative tonight but just struggling having found a voicemail from Mum still saved on my phone which I’m pleased about but it’s also brought me right back down again as 14 days later she was dead and yet was so full of life then.

Sorry to hear what you’ve been through Ann and now with your Mum too. It must be so difficult I cannot bear to imagine. Although you’ve been through this before and I hadn’t until Dec 2017 I would imagine myself with it my mum and it terrified me even though I knew her time was gradually running out I just couldn’t imagine existing but I am - it’s now one month and 2 days and today’s voicemail has hit me hard as I didn’t realise I still had it on my ‘visual voicemail’ so I’ve forwarded it to my email, I cloud everywhere! Somehow your mum is right you will cope. Being an only child is hard I feel. Mum had written me a note I found after she’d passed and she said ‘it will be painful but you will manage with time’ . I’m trying to use her make sure I ‘follow her guidance’ but more than anything I miss just picking up the phone and talking to her. It breaks my heart that I can’t. I miss her physically too obviously but as each day goes on it’s another day further away from her.

Aww Rachel you’ve been through it too with loosing your mum only 3 days before me. On the 9th mine was starting to become unresponsive and shakey and the 10th she also had a mini stroke in the afternoon but she still managed to kiss me goodbye - I couldn’t believe it. I will treasure that forever. I had the funeral in between Christmas and new year. It’s so so hard as it’s just me and my cat.

Thinking of you all xx

Hi Rachel,
So sorry to hear what you have been through. I completely understand.
You must have been in shock through Christmas,but as that wears off the reality sets in - that’s what is happening to me now.
How are you managing day to day?? I am back at work part time as not strong enough,mentally,to go back full time. But still don’t have anyone to talk to IRL about my grief so start bereavement counselling tomorrow. I am pinning all my hopes on that.
My dad is emotionally unavailable so although I have supported him and made sure he has food,clean clothes etc etc, he is unable to emotionally support me at all. I don’t have a partner or any kids or close family who I can’t talk to, it’s very very hard.
The only bit of advice I can give from inside the storm of grief is take it day by day. Don’t think of next week or next month. Just get through 24hrs and then get through the next.
Sending you love and strength. xx

So sorry to meet in these circumstances. I lost my mum 3 months ago and my only sibling many years ago. I do thankfully have my dad. Sending supportive thoughts to you

Dear All.

I don’t know about you all but I already feel a little comfort that there are other people out there who understand. It is so hard talking openly to friends who simply have no clue what we are going through.

I have had some counceling sessions and they do help as they allow you to just pour out your emotions without censoring what you are thinking so I would recommend councelling to anyone. I also try to go to yoga once a week as it is a chance to focus just on the current moment which is hard to do usually. Anything you can do that helps you focus just on the present moment is useful.

Today has been a hard day for me with my mum very weak, sleeping a lot and carers letting me down but even so, I just about got through it, just as you have all got through today too :heart:

My concellor explained grief as being getting through a storm at sea. There is no quick way out, you just have to ride the waves. That made sense to me and now I allow myself to feel whatever I am feeling day by day.

I hope you all have a peaceful night. Thank you for being there for each other and much love to you all. X

Hi AnnAnnie,

I’m so sorry to hear about your losses and your mum’s diagnosis. I’m glad to see you are getting some supportive replies in this conversation and I hope you find it helpful. I just wanted to let you know that, if you would find it helpful, you can also start a new conversation in the Terminal Illness section of the community to get more support with your feelings about your mum’s illness, or being her carer.

If there’s anything I can help with, or you have any questions about the Online Community, you can contact me on

Community Manager

Hi everyone, just wondering how everyone has been today? Just to let you know I am thinking of you all. We are going to have good days and bad days and neither are wrong! Xx big hugs Rachel

I lost my mum 3 months ago, I do thankfully have my dad. I have no surviving sibling or other family.

Hi Rachel
I’ve been a combination of numb and normal today. No tears for once. Such a roller coaster all this! Someone I know who lost her mum 10 years ago says that’s just what it is, a roller coaster that you just have to ride out. Hope you and everyone else on this thread got through today ok. Xx

Hi JayDee,
You are in a very similar situation to me. It’s horrendouslu hard,isn’t it.
We just have to try and take it day by day don’t we.
Sending you strength.

Hello everyone,
It is indeed comforting to know that I’m alone In all this.
Today I had my first counselling session - I cried for an hour. The first fine since my mum died that I cried in front of another person.
Next week i’m Taking in some photos of my mum so I can talk about her, which I don’t get to do with my dad.
Sending you all strength to you through the week.

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