Struggling with loss of Mum

I lost my Mum in May during lockdown, she died suddenly and without warning to a heart attack at home. I received a call from my Dad which changed my life forever and had to drive to their house, still hopeful it was all unreal, to find she had already gone. The suddenness of it has been extremely difficult.
I have challenges with anxiety and depression which precede the loss, and that is exacerbating the situation and making me feel like I cannot cope. My elderly father is coping better than me, and my brother returned to his young family and is moving on.
I was asked back to work from furlough in August and this didn’t go well. It felt so much like I was being expected to be the person I was before I lost my mother, alongside the challenge of returning to work after almost 5mths off. My colleagues made a couple of generic platitudes and then that was it. Crack on. I managed three weeks and was then signed off. I don’t sleep properly at all, I cry unexpected, I have bursts of terrible anger. I just want to run away - although I know my pain would follow me.
There’s something about british culture which seems to expect you to get over loss as quickly as possible to go back to normal life. People show sympathy for a very set period of time and then stop asking how you are. I can’t fit into that timescale, I can’t imagine never feeling this loss. My Mum was there one minute and gone the next, there was no time, no opportunity to talk or hug.
I feel crushed, like I’m carrying an extra weight on my chest. I feel this loss might be too much for me to bear.

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Hi Jmp, I am so sorry for your loss. Like you, I suffered from depression and anxiety before my dear dad passed, and that makes grief very challenging. The suddenness of a death can also make the death extremely challenging, and I am so sorry that you did not have the chance to say goodbye to your mum the way you would have liked to.

You are absolutely correct about how poorly we as a society respond to grief. People either don’t care, or if they do, they don’t know what to say, and so we are so often left to suffer on our own. It seems that your work colleagues were not at all helpful, so no wonder you have had to sign off sick. Is there pressure on you to go back to work? How is your work situation affecting you?

As you are struggling so much, have you considered going to see your GP, or to have free online bereavement counselling? Do you think they might help, or is it too early for you at the moment? I am sorry you are having difficulty sleeping, how is your diet? That can really affect how we sleep, there was a BBC documentary on sleep, called The Truth About Sleep, that had quite a few tips on how to try and get a better night’s sleep. Do let us know how you’re coping because you seem to be in a really bad place and probably need people to talk to to help you cope just that little bit better.

Hi jmp
I lost my mum to a sudden bleed on the brain last June when I was 48. It’s the suddenness of it that I struggle most with. As you say, there one minute, gone the next
My mum was happy, funny, and able. She was only 74.
We were laughing and joking one day talking about our upcoming holiday. Then a phone call to tell me she was in a coma. She died the following day.
No opportunity to say goodbye or prepare.
I had already lost my 53 year old dad to a sudden heart attack when I was 27 so I understand well the feeling of anger with the world.
Sometimes I think could I have handled mum being diagnosed with a terminal illness? Watching her die over weeks or months? No I couldn’t so occasionally I feel relieved things happened this way. But most of the time I feel cheated and robbed. Esoecuallh when I have friends in the 50s and 60s who still have their parents.
Cheryl x

Hi jmp, I’m abit of a lurker on this site, but find it extremely comforting reading other people’s posts. Firstly I’m so deeply sorry about your mum. Like you, my dad, my hero, passed away suddenly from a heart attack in January, he was 64, thought he was fit and healthy and looking to retire literally this year. I still haven’t really come to terms with it. I read something somewhere that grief is like waves in the sea. At the beginning they’re huge and you feel like you’re drowning but over time you can just about float above them, but sometimes the huge ones can come at any moment and drown you again when you least expect it. I definitely feel like that at the moment. I do a lot of reading of forums which I find helps just to know I’m not on my own and read quite a good book called ‘it’s ok that you’re not ok’. Like you, I had quite abit of time off work when my dad passed then was furloughed and then when I returned to work it was like it was old news even though it felt like it could have happened yesterday to me. It’s been 8 months now and I don’t actually know how I’ve gotten through that time, but I have somehow. I’ve also just been made redundant just to add to the difficulty of this year. I’ve rambled abit there but I just want you to know that you’re not on your own and never has this been more relevant but just taking each day, each minute at a time really helps and being kind to your self, trying not to have too high expectations of how you should be ‘coping’, everyone is so different. Take care of yourself. Louise x

With regard to your comment on timescales of grief; I feel that people are bored and fed up of my grief now - it’s 12 weeks since my mom passed away. Only 12 Fridays without her. And I feel guilty when I want to speak about it. And I go through lists of friends/family I think might be willing to listen. The thing is, everyone has their own burden, and very few have space for mine too. I don’t know if its cultural, British or otherwise, I think it’s just modern life. We are not used to showing emotion - genuine, good or bad.

I am sorry for your loss and really hope your anxiety eases up over time. I find it overwhelming and very exhausting. I think it’s good that you’ve been booked off work for a bit too - be kind to yourself.

So sorry for your loss. Please know you are not alone. I lost my Mum in March literally just before lockdown to cancer, so it wasn’t sudden as such, but we were expecting her to be around longer as she was due another round of chemo etc and they believe she had a minor heart attack caused by the cancer. I wasn’t with her when she died as it was so sudden. Some of your post really resonated with me. I feel the same that people show so much sympathy at first and say they will be there, but then they get on with their lives and no longer ask. I don’t have any friends that have lost their parents and even those that said they would be there for me don’t ask how I am now, as if I should be fine. I don’t think they necessarily mean it intentionally, but unless you have experienced a close loss, I don’t think it’s possible to really understand.
You have had some great replies above, but it might be worth speaking to your GP or seeking some bereavement counselling through this website or another if you feel it might help. Or even just chatting to other people on here if it helps you. It is important to talk I think, I bottled it all up at first but then decided it was causing me to be very anxious and have been talking to people in a similar situation to me, which I feel is helping me. I struggle to talk to those close to me but chatting on somewhere else can really help I think. Do be kind to yourself and take one day at a time. Take care x

I lost my Mum 3 years ago,as well as my Dad last year. Everyday i am filled with sadness,due to anxiety and depression i cannot work,but have to go on for my 14 year old son. Here if you’d like to message me,Take Care,Lucy,xxx

Thank you all for your words of compassion, honesty and support. I am making it through each day, and I suspect outwardly appear to be coping, but I am tired in a way I have never been before. I don’t know how I move forward, I find I want nothing of my life before this, like it is tainted and can’t be recreated. But I have no energy to make a fresh start.
I tried some telephone support with the charity Cruse but it didn’t work for me, it was too prescriptive - like the helper was going through a booklet of exercises and couldn’t stray from that path. I think I will try to Sue Ryder counselling and turn to my GP.
Thank you again, I will keep looking at the other posts on here that resonate with me and seek to find clarity in that.

Dear @Jmp, it is so good to hear from you. I was worried how you were doing. It isn’t good to hear that you haven’t been doing well, but as they say, we just have to take each day as it comes. Yes, grief is so tiring, and I feel for you. I hope they are being kinder to you at work.

I am sorry to hear the counselling did not work out for you, but hopefully with Sue Ryder you might have a better experience, and it is definitely a good idea to also visit your GP. Do look after yourself.