Still sad three years later

My mum died November 2020. I don’t have a partner or children and we always lived together so I knew it would be hard.

In the main it’s been ok in the last couple of years even though I miss mum everyday and think about her everyday but recently it’s been hitting me hard again. I’m 64 years old and my mum was 93 and I feel I should be ok and ‘over it’.

Some of this is partly because though mum died peacefully at home I wasn’t there (and mum had been on end of life care for several weeks so it wasn’t as if I didn’t know it was coming). I can honestly say that I will never forgive myself for letting her down at the end.


Hi Caro1959,

I am new here too since this week.

Not sure really what to say or where to start to be honest. My counsellor recommended this for me to try and open up more and share, but also for me to see if anyone else is experiencing the same thing as me.

It is 3 years now since my mum no longer here. I can’t say certain words or certain phases i just can’t the words are not there. Even hard to write it down - although I have not tried but writing this i feel as if i can’t type the words.

I hadn’t seen my mum for over a year Sept 2019 until Nov 2020 when I saw her in hospital unwell. It was only so long because i had my 2nd miscarriage in the Oct 2019. Then of course it was COVID and lockdown. My mum had her accident 7th Nov 2020 was in hospital for 2 weeks and of course never got to see her until Nov 19th at 11pm when the matron gave me permission to visit. I travelled up on train to see her not really know what to expect. The doctors said she is stable be fine to come see her after the weekend. But my gut told me to up that same night.
I was with my mum for 30 mins, and was so shocked when i saw her didn’t look like my mum. So small and frail in the hospital bed with oxygen mask on. I helped to hold her head up to help her have a cup of tea from the spouted lid beaker. I was so shocked this was not like my mum despite all her medical issues she was independent and stubborn. But even just this act to help her have a cup of tea and seeing her made me realise she was really unwell. I didn’t realise how unwell she was, the doctors said she is stable over the phone.
What is so upsetting is the image i still have of mum is when i saw her at 11pm at night not when i went back at 2pm to see mum afterwards.

When i was with mum she appeared to fluctuate with confusion, she would ask me where my husband was, then the next minute she be asking to get her out of the cupboard and why is she in the cupboard, she appeared distressed and kept asking my white am i in the cupboard i found this so upsetting. Then next minute asking for some M&S toasted teacakes which i promised i would buy the next morning for her.
Despite the face mask and all the other PPE I had to wear (luckily mum didn’t have COVID) I removed it all so I could kiss mum on the cheek.
I know i should be lucky I has that opportunity and to tell her I loved her but does not make the experience and images i have in my head still 3 years on any better.

I was rushed into sorting mums things out and dad selling the house and rushed into collecting the ashes and going up to the Lake District.
I had 3 burning questions for ages afterwards so much so i managed to obtain copies of mums medical notes. I went through these slowly and making my own notes but felt like i was looking at another patient not my mums notes. Only recently have i been able to say the questions to my counsellor and a friend:

  1. Did mum really think she was in the cupboard?
  2. Was mum scared?
  3. Did mum know she was going?
    I did look back at the medical a year ago and realised that they did do everything for her but mum kidneys were failing with all the meds given to remove to fluid around mums heart and lungs. Not that she had fractured her spine and pelvis from the fall .

My counsellor says am stuck and suffering from complicated grief because its 3 years on and can’t say certain words or phases and i have a dissociation and problems dealing with no longer having mum.

Previous to this i had my 2nd miscarriage and husband left me for 9 months because of his own mental well being. These past 3 years yes been living in the past and only recently been made aware of that from other recent Counselling due to all the negativity from my dad and sister over this time.
I know i have kept myself so busy that this has hindered me and as my counsellor says anything to do with mum emotional i have in a box. I went down the practicality side of things immediately after.
But now I wrote a list as advised by mu counsellor of still outstanding things to sort out and do that left because now the automatic pilot is no longer there. Part of the list is this reaching out.
Part of me knows i need to deal with this now or I never will. but also part of me doesn’t because its true what my counsellor said i have to move forward and that means accepting reality. I am scared.
The only real emotion shown was of course when the ward sister rang me at 1am when i got back to hotel room to tell me and noise that came from me frightened me and the immense feelings that hit me in one big go. Somehow i sorted myself out and waited to be picked up to go back to the hospital but no emotion then. That weekend when i returned home i did not speak and only tears rolled down my face. Then the following week i went down my to do list for the funeral. Until a year or so later when listening to some music and suddenly not really a sad song but one of mums favourite played and found myself sat on kitchen floor screaming but no sound coming out and tears rolling down my face.

If I have a moment as i call it when i suddenly feel something inside then i push it away. I have been advised that i need to tay with this feeling the next time i feel it. I have to feel the pain to grief and heal. And yes i am stopping myself because i don’t want to face the reality. I was so close to my mum she was my rock and would go to her first to share things of any news and for advice. But this you don’t get any instructions and the one person i want to talk to about this i can’t.

There is so much more i can say but aware what i wrote is so long. sorry . I hope all this makes sense and someone out there can relate and still finding things so hard to get their head around how your mum here and then not.


Hi! I’m so sorry for your loss. I understand that you regret not being there, but even if you knew if was coming, you couldn’t know it would happen just that exact moment. :heart:

And please don’t feel that you should be “over” it. When you think about it, how can you ever get over losing someone you love so much? Believing that only puts so much pressure on ourselves to get “better” at a set schedule. In truth, there are ups and downs and the time it takes is different for everyone.

I’m here now because I just lost my dad. We lived together and I’m single too, so I can relate to the loneliness. Sending you hugs. :people_hugging:

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Thank you Poppies for your reply. I am so sorry for what you have gone through/are going through. Sending hugs.

Thank you for your reply Ulma. You are right of course about grief not keeping to a schedule.

Sending hugs to you too. The loneliness is just awful isn’t it.


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Your life changes forever when you lose a loved one, especially if you lived with them. I don’t think it’s something you can get over really, just try and come to terms with everything. It’s been 29 years since my mum passed away and I lost my dad in June last year. I lived with Dad, just the two of us. It’s lonely and difficult. Sending you all hugs

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Thanks Jayjay. Hugs to you too.

Hi all, I also lived with my parents who have both passed away, and I’m single with no children. This has made the grief very difficult for me too; my mum’s 90th birthday would’ve been last November and my dad’s 90th this May. I know very few people get to have both their parents around into their 90’s, but I still miss them and if I’m still around myself in 10 years, 20 years time I believe I’ll still miss them. Take care all.

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It’s so hard isn’t it. Dad would have been 90 this year. I feel blessed to have had Dad with us so long, especially losing my mum when I was really young. Not having a partner to share your grief is lonely. Sending a hug

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You’re absolutely right Mikeville. You take care too.

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Hi @Caro1959. I wanted to say hello because what you say resonates with me. I’m 53, my Mum was 91 and she died two years ago, but at the moment it feels as if it were yesterday.It is said that ‘time heals’ but it sometimes doesn’t seem to, does it?
Regarding not being there when your mum actually died, well, you know all the stuff about not blaming yourself, don’t you, but I don’t imagine it helps much. One thing I have learned from talking to people and also a lot of reading is how often it happens that a person dies when their loved ones are not with them, even after days or weeks of constant vigilance. It almost seems as if the dying person makes an effort to stay alive while their loved one is with them, and then when they go, they take the opportunity to relax and let go. I wondered if this might offer a bit of comfort?
Even if it doesn’t, please know that I am thinking about you, and I know how hard it is. I looked after my mum for years and right up to her death and I, too, thought that things would be easier by now. Sending you love and best wishes. x


Thank you so much for your kind reply.

I’ve read that too but still feel I let mum down even though I know she wouldn’t want me to feel that way.

Love and best wishes to you too. It does help to know that other people feel similarly/have had similar experiences.

They say time heals… Maybe we just gradually accept and come to terms with everything. My mum passed away 29 years ago and I still miss her so much. My dad passed away in June last year. I feel I’m coping a bit better than I did at the time, but it’s still raw. I cared for dad for several years right up until he passed away in hospital. I have heard that our loved ones often pass when we are not with them. I think you are right, it’s possibly that they try and stay with us when we are with them and then that odd moment when we aren’t there, they relax and slip away. I have guilt because I wasn’t with Dad when he passed away. I think it’s a common part of grieving. Sending you all a hug. You aren’t alone, reach out on the forum :purple_heart:

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