Where do I go from here ?

My dad passed away from sepsis, not his actual cancer on Father’s Day 2016. Since then my mum has moved back up to the town but it’s a daily battle to get her to even exist. She hates every Sunday as that was the day he died, she knows the weeks days and hours since he passed. She will tell me several days a week she just wants to be with him and will potentially end her life to do so. She sits on the sofa all day every day looking at his photos and everything he has touched and cries. She has no thoughts of her own or opinions it’s always your father liked this he said that he wanted this and so on. When I ask her what she thinks she says she doesn’t know she doesn’t have her own thoughts. I have tried to get her to reach out and leave the house. She just won’t. She attended a couple of sessions suggested by the psychologist at the Maggie centre just to get everyone off her back. The psychologist feels she is at risk. I am there 5 days a week as I can’t get there two days. What can I do? I can’t live like this for the next 30 years or so.

This is a really sad, difficult and delicate situation. You are grieving for your Father and carrying the weight of worry about your Mum.
I lost my Husband in October and act and think pretty much in the same way as your Mother. I have not been out alone since it happened and look at my Husband’s photos every day. I am disappointed to find I have awoken each day. I am alone with my thoughts of him because in my case no-one speaks of him. Your Mother has lost her soulmate, confidante and protector as well as part of herself and she may feel she has lost her future, definitely the future as she imagined it. She may also be struggling with other thoughts that cause her a lot of anguish. You are doing such a lot by ensuring she receives professional support and supporting her by being there yourself, you are obviously a caring person.
There will be members that have more experience than me, and may be able to suggest ideas. I can only see things from your Mum’s point of view rather than my familys point of view that worry about me in the same way as you worry about your Mum. Kindest regards.

Hello Tina …so sorry for your loss… when I speak of my mum and dad to anyone I tell them theirs was a love story you could only hope to have yourself. They met and married within a month and until dad was ill spent every day of 45 years together. We speak about dad a lot and while he’s not physically here he’s still my guiding light. If I am in a difficult situation I think about my dad and his strength and dignity and then I tough it out, just like he would. Some days I feel sad that myself and sister are not enough for her to want her to stay here. She can’t see beyond herself and has totally immersed herself in the role of a wringing handed widow. That sounds harsh I know but she will not see any of the positives she has in her life. It makes it hard to be with her most days to be honest but she’s my mum and I love her, she needs help and l will help her every way I can. I hope you get in a place where you can find someone to listen about your husband and be allowed to grieve how you need too. Love and light to you x

Hi Misschat,

I’m so sorry to hear about your dad passing away and how worried you are for your mum.

The fact that she has talked about ending her life is a concern, especially as the psychologist feels she is at risk. I believe if someone is at risk, mental health professionals can help draw up a crisis plan - perhaps this is something the psychologist can help with, and include a plan for the times that you aren’t around? Mind have some more information about crisis plans. You can find out more by ringing their information line: 0300 123 3393

The Samaritans also have some advice on what to do if someone you know is feeling suicidal.

Mind also have some information on ways you can support someone.

As Tina has said, your mum has lost her life partner, and it is understandable that this has had a huge impact on her, and affected her sense of identity. Grief is a long process and it is still fairly early days for your mum - there is evidence it can take an average of more than two years to feel better after a bereavement, but everyone is different and this can vary a lot. Feeling better doesn’t mean that the loss goes away, or that everything goes back to normal, but most people do find ways to live alongside their grief.

Remember that you are grieving too, so try to take some time for yourself in all this if at all possible.

So sorry for your loss and how badly your mum is taking it. It is difficult to add to Tina’s heartfelt words but what I would say is that you need support yourself whilst everything takes its time to work through. I would suggest some form of counselling for yuourself either through your GP or the palliative team your dad was under, they may be able to give some ways of supporting your mum directly or indirectly through something you can do. Contact Priscilla too for some links. I am currently going to a bereavement group which has helped me realise I am not alone in all this. Are there any local groups (local church might help) - if your mum can go just once she might make a connection with someone else in very similar circumstances and go again. Take care of yourself.

Thanks Alan… I’m sorry you have had such a horrible time but glad to see you have reached out for support. Dads treatment took place about 5 hours from here so I don’t have that access sadly. The consultant that treated dad has written to mum twice now tho to express her sadness at having lost dad too. In the hospital they believe he had a chance. It’s a comfort to know that the consultant thought so much of dad she took time out to write to mum as I believe it’s not something they do often. I’ve started another thread. The replies have got me wondering if I’m doing too well as I feel I am doing ok. I get through every day in mind of dad and just try and make him proud.
Many kind regards to you

Thanks Priscilla… the links will be useful. I have spoken to mum and told her how I feel about her saying she doesn’t want to be here and she doesn’t talk too much about it to me but I am keeping an eye on it. I’ve asked her to give the new house and town a chance and to get out and go to a group so she can speak about how she is feeling to people going through the same situation. They can support and won’t judge her so I am trying to find somewhere for her to go too.

Thank you for your kindness it’s very much appreciated.

You’re welcome. It’s good that you’ve addressed the suicidal thoughts directly, if you can try and let her know that you are there to listen then she may open up more in time.

A support group sounds like a really good idea. You could try looking for her nearest branch of Cruse Bereavement and see if they run one nearby: http://www.cruse.org.uk/cruse-areas-and-branches

Hi misschat. It was good of the consultant to write to your mum and there’s no such thing as doing too well - it’s making your dad proud of you that’s no doubt doing it. All the best.

Just want to echo your thoughts Tina, just lost my husband 6 weeks ago. I too hate waking every morning to be reminded that I am alone. He had cancer but died from sepsis long before the cancer became a threat. Such a surprise, sudden death, before we had time to prepare. I dream about him being alive again. I look for him, wish he would speak to me, I know he won’t but I wish for him every minute of every day and the pain is exhausting. He’s the one I used to talk to whenever I was upset and it feels so ironic that now when I’ve never felt pain like this before, I don’t have him to talk to! People are thoughtful and kind but the grief just stands next to me and follows me around like a mist. I know that I will get used to it, because thousands of people do, and knowing that I am one of thousands of women in the world experiencing the same thing is something keeps me going even though I am totally alone.

Hello Moz. Thanks for the reply.
Sorry for your loss, 6 weeks is no time at all is it. Your words are so true. You have had a double blow like me, the pressure of a serious illness and the suddenness of an acute condition so there is trauma and shock as well. The emotional pain is the equivalent of an exposed tooth nerve, horrific with additional stabs of searing pain but in your mind, soul and heart. I truly empathise with you and send kindest wishes.

Thank you for those words Tina, it helps. I hope you are having an ok day so far. Sending kind thoughts.