Saturday, 28 September 2019

Six Months Without My Mum

Six months have now passed since my mum died. I received such wonderful support at that time from friends here in Blogland, comments, emails and cards, so I thought I'd let you know how I'm getting on without my mum.


I've been very close to my mum all my life. My brother and sister flew the nest at early ages, one going off for army training at sixteen and one leaving home to live in at the nurses home as she was training to be a nurse. I lived at home until I was twenty when I left to live with Mick, and ever since then I've only ever lived less than a couple of miles away from my parents so we always saw each other regularly, and used to talk on the phone for hours too.

I knew it would be very hard for me when my mum died but I think I've coped with it quite well. Yes, I've gone through the grieving process, and I'm still going through it, I don't think I'll ever get over losing her, but I think in some ways I'd already done some of the grieving as I lost my mum years before she died to dementia. I also feel that I've had to get on with things to some extent as my dad hasn't coped with my mum's death very well at all and we're having to be there for him. In fact, he's gone downhill so fast in the past six months that it's quite worrying but there's really nothing more we can do for him than we're already doing. It must be so hard to have been married to someone for sixty three years and then suddenly, they're no longer there. I find myself not talking about my mum at all in front of my dad and not wanting him to talk about her either as it just makes him too upset.

The weeks following my mum's death were taken up with practicalities, such as organising the funeral. Everything was left to me and Mick and looking back, I think this helped in one way. Having something to do took up my time and gave me less time to sit and dwell on things. Daniel and Jasmine were already coming home the week leading up to Easter so we arranged to have the funeral then. It took place on the Monday and they were here for the rest of that week, so having all my family around me at this time again took my mind off things. It was really only the following week when Eleanor went back to university and Mick and I had the house back to ourselves and the funeral was all over that I really went to pieces.

Mick has been brilliant. He's allowed me to talk about the things which are upsetting me, the guilt I feel about certain things which happened and obviously, not having my mum here. He's let me cry, but not for too long. There have been plenty of times when I've been sinking into a pit of depression but he's scooped me up and taken me out, even if it's just for a drive. Believe me, you don't feel any happier sat in a car than you do in the house, but a change of scenery really can be a bit of a pick me up.

I miss my mum so much, especially as things have happened and she hasn't been here to share in the celebrations: Eleanor's 21st, her graduation and her starting her first 'proper' job. She would have been thrilled to know how well she's done. It was sad to receive my first birthday card signed from my dad without my mum's name being on there. It was just three days before Mother's Day that she died and the card I'd bought for her is still sitting in the drawer, it was a sad day without her. Her birthday is in November and we've got Christmas to get through yet too.

I'm still having my moments, they come and go without warning, a little reminder of something can set me off, but in the main I'm coping. What else can you do?

57 comments:

  1. I understand, though I'll never know exactly how another actually feels. I miss my Dad a lot too & like you I'd really lost him long before, also due to dementia. My Mum was difficult, but there are times when I'd like to show her somthing or tell her about the children & grandchildren. We never forget them, no matter what has happened. You are one special person too, in many peoples lives. Take care & big huggles.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the hardest thing is her not being here any more. I often see something I know she'd like or think I'd like to tell her something, but then realise that I'll never be able to show her or tell her anything ever again. I think it must be hard to have had a difficult relationship with a parent, but I doubt that makes you miss them any the less, a parent is a parent whatever. I was very lucky having such a brilliant relationship with my mum.

      Delete
  2. Sadly you will never stop missing your mum, mine passed 14 years ago. I have just started complying a post about my mum, she was an inspiration to me as a child and adult, we should all celebrate our mum's.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know I'll miss my mum for as long as I live, it's sad, isn't it? I do know that grief gets easier to bear though, it just takes time. Mum's are very special people and sadly, most of us will have to endure their loss at some point in our lives.

      Delete
  3. Time passes, but the memories never fade. It's been over 8 years since I lost my mum and not a day goes by that I don't miss her. Keep those happy memories always in your mind and your family and friends always near. Love and best, Jane x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's very true that memories stay with us, even when our loved ones have been gone for a long time. There's such a lot said about 'making memories' but my best memories are those which weren't contrived, times which were just spent together doing nothing in particular, but we had lots of laughs. Treasured memories now.

      Delete
  4. Isn't life tricky? I often wonder how my son and daughter will cope when we depart the world. We are all close and when we start to talk about the future I can see it upsets them. I just hope they will look at the good times we've all had and not dwell too much on the end part as I'm sure your Mum would have you do.
    Lots of hugs
    Briony
    x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the last thing any parent wants is for their children to be so sad after they die. Grief can hold you back in so many ways and I know my mum would want me to get on with my life, so that's what I've tried to do, though it's very tricky at times.

      Delete
  5. Oh Jo this so mirrors my life too. Sending lots of love xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think we're lucky to know grief as it's a consequence of love. How lucky we've been to have wonderful mums.

      Delete
  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Such a beautiful post Jo, written from the heart. I am so glad to hear that Mick is supporting you and listening to you, you need people to be able to do that with. I watched an amazing TED talk about grief, it suggested that you don't move on with grief you move forward with it, it becomes part of you. I hope that as you come to each of those milestones this year and in years to come you will find a way to move forward with your grief and your love for your mum which shines through in this truly beautiful and heartfelt post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think it's very true that grief becomes a part of you, it definitely evolves over time, very raw at first but I know it does get better as time passes by. Mick's been brilliant both dealing with practical things and helping with my grief. I know my mum's birthday and Christmas will be hard milestones to deal with but I've got such a lovely family, we'll get through them together.

      Delete
  8. I'm so glad to hear that you are coping well & you have had a wonderful support system to see you through. Until you go through such a big loss, there's really no telling how well any of us will handle it. I can completely empathize with the situation with your dad. I'm not sure what it is, but is seems as if women have an easier (but by no means "easy") time adjusting then men do. While my mum, who was almost completely dependent on my dad when it came to her social life, etc., seems to have adjusted very well, my father-in-law had a very rough time and did not recover from his loss. I'm keeping you and your dad in my thoughts XO XO

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was so close to my mum that I'd often wondered how I'd cope when she died, I've actually surprised myself with how well I've handled it, but as I say, I think I'd dealt with some of the loss during her time with dementia. I agree, I do think that women, on the whole, deal with loss better than men do. Though my dad's now 86 and has health issues, he doesn't want to relinquish his independence and still tries to do as much as he can for himself, but emotionally he's not coping very well at all. I do hope that he can come to terms with things a bit better than he has in time, we'll see.

      Delete
  9. A beautiful and heartfelt post, Jo. X

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm always a bit reluctant to write posts like this but I was helped so much by all the lovely gestures from friends here when my mum died, plus it's rather cathartic to write things down.

      Delete
  10. Jo, I so understand. It's been 10 years now for me; but my time was filled afterwards looking after Dad and helping him cope. He continued to sign cards Mom and Dad for years, until his own health declined and now he's in an assisted living center and just really doesn't remember birthdays or have the ability to send cards. Everyone deals differently with grief...even in the short term. Dad liked to talk about Mom a lot to me, I think that helped him; but my older brother wasn't able to talk about things so it seemed it took him a bit longer to get back to whatever normal is. ((HUGS)), continue doing what you're doing, take one day at a time. I think your wise to talk about, blog about...sometimes just putting words down is cathartic.
    Sandy's Space

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think it does help when there's someone you need to look after and care for, your own grief gets put to one side somewhat. I'd known grief before when my sister died so I decided right from the start that I'd take one day at a time. I think you just have to go with it and do whatever you feel you need to do to get through it.

      Delete
  11. Well done Jo, you have done an amazing job in such sad circumstances and by talking about your grief, I'm sure you will have helped many others. Your poor Dad, it is so hard for him and it is so difficult for you too to keep him independent but safe. x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My dad was always busy looking after my mum before she died so her death was always bound to hit him hard. I'm glad he hasn't just given up completely, he still wants to be independent, even if his body won't allow that completely, but his decline in six months is quite shocking.

      Delete
  12. Dear Jo. Thinking of you. I was the same way with my mom, I grieved for her loss for years before she passed because her dementia robbed me of her many years ago. I took time to take care of my Dad after she died, and it finally hit me when he passed. I felt like I was grieving for both of them at the same time. Wishing you peace my friend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can understand that feeling of grieving for both your parents after your dad died as I think that part of our grief is put to one side when you're considering someone else and taking care of them. I do feel that myself.

      Delete
  13. Just take one day at a time.We are having a tough family time at the moment and having a change of scene does help.It passes the time.Sending you a hug.
    Barbara

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's definitely good to get out of the house, or be in other people's company. It doesn't take the grief away but it can certainly lift the mood. I'm sorry to hear that you're having a tough time as a family at the moment, we're all dealt trying times through our lives.

      Delete
  14. Oh I love that you acknowledge this mark. It is a big deal. The first card without mom's name on it is shocking isn't it? Everyone grieves so individually. You are loved! I talk to my mom all the time. I feel her closeness

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think all the 'firsts' are very hard. When it was Eleanor's 21st birthday, my dad added some kisses 'From You Know Who' and Eleanor was devastated. I suppose she was just missing my mum on the day, but I didn't tell my dad how upset she'd been, he thought he was doing a good thing. It's lovely that you feel your mom's closeness.

      Delete
  15. Losing either parent is always hard, especially when you've been close to them, but I think the grief can be hardest when it's your mum as mums are so special in many ways. It's good to know that Mick is supporting you whichever way you need him to as many people, especially men, don't really know what to say or do in times of grief.

    In two months time it will be 14 years since I lost my mum, she died exactly a month after my dad. My dad's death was expected as he'd been in ill health and in a nursing home for a few years and towards the end it was just a matter of 'when', so the grief was easier to cope with when it happened. My mum's death was totally unexpected though, and while I coped well with all the following practicalities the grief hit me like a ton of bricks once the funeral was over. Christmas three weeks later was particularly hard. My parents had been married for 60 years, together for three years before that, and apart from the early days when my dad was away with the army they never spent a night apart until he went into the home, and even then mum would visit him every day. I thought she'd coped quite well after his death but with hindsight I don't think she coped well at all, though she obviously hid it from me. The grief I felt back then has faded over the years until it's no longer really there but there are times when, like you, I wish I could tell my mum something, or buy her a silly little present just to make her laugh, and just for a little while it makes me sad that I can't do that. There are more happy memories than sad ones though and you'll find the same thing too - take care, and big hugs x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you're right about mums, they are special so it's especially difficult when anything happens to them. I know of so many people who have lost both their parents within such a short space of time, that must be so very hard. Also losing someone so unexpectedly, you're not just left with the grief but shock too. I know that grief fades in time but even years later it can take you off guard, it's such a difficult thing to deal with.

      Delete
  16. People always say it gets easier. It DOESN'T get easier, you just learn to cope better.

    I totally understand about your dad. We are going through a similar situation. Steve's dad lost his THIRD wife last year. In April he told Steve that everyone he ever loved is gone. (Didn't make US feel so great, but understand his point of view.) In April we noticed a little bit of "confusion" and now he is in full stage Anxious Alzheimer's meaning not only is his memory gone, but he is aggressive and angry much of the time.

    While I get so FRUSTRATED taking care of him, I also feel bad for him. In those minor lucid moments he still has, he knows what he can no longer do ... he is confined to a wheelchair and feels like no one loves him or cares for him. Not a fair assessment, but his feelings are his feelings.

    I hope time brings more happy memories of your mom and some comfort to your Dad. Hugs from the other side of the pond.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with you about learning to cope and I think that's why grief is so different for everyone. It must be so hard looking after Steve's dad, Alzheimer's is such a cruel thing, especially when it takes on a form where the person is angry and aggressive. I know how hard it is to hear a loved one say something so sad too, my dad now tells us that he just wants to die, there's nothing to live for anymore. I don't take it personally, I know it's just the grief talking, but it is hard to hear.

      Delete
  17. I've been thinking of you . . . grief is the price we pay for love. 💚

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's very true. It's something we all go through at some point in our lives.

      Delete
  18. A heartfelt post, and one I can relate to in many ways. Take care. xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think we've all been there at one time or another. Death is a part of life and with that comes grief.

      Delete
  19. You've been through a lot Jo, not just recently but over the years with the illness and loss of your sister then caring for your dear Mum with the onset of dementia and her loss. It's very hard to see your Dad's grief and ill health too. The days
    that are special to your family such as a birthday and Christmas I know will be difficult. Thinking of you as you continue to go through the grieving and caring for your Dad. So glad that you have the support of a loving family. Take care Jo. Linda x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know that I'm not the only one to have gone through these things, we all have sad times and it's difficult for us all. I'm so lucky to have my family though, I do appreciate them, especially at times like these.

      Delete
  20. I lost my mum 31 years ago and dad 25 years ago and it still feels raw. Mum was after am illness and dad suddenly. Neither way is easier.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know I still miss my sister so much after twenty years so I expect it to be the same with my mum. I don't think it would be easy to lose anyone you love but there's shock attached to a sudden death. Knowing that someone is going to die doesn't make their death any easier though.

      Delete
  21. Hi Jo, The first Christmas without Mum was hard. We were lucky in one sense that the Christmas before was strange as she was in hospital til the last minute (we broke her out at 10.30 Christmas morning), so everything that we normally did didn't happen. This made the following year easier as we had already broken traditions- if that makes sense. I still struggled. Then last Christmas I was ill so that was another weird one. However, I have learnt that I find it better if I do something for Mum. So I will have a glass of champagne (& make the men join me)for her and maybe I will buy a new candle or a bunch of flowers and know that is to represent her. The first Mother's Day I tried to ignore it and it nearly broke me, last year I bought a rose bush and all year, I have gotten comfort from it. It's helped me decide that every year she will get a plant and eventually I will have a garden full of Mum.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, what lovely traditions you have started in honour of your mum, reading your comment has brought tears to my eyes. I shall definitely think of a little tradition I shall start myself, I think things like this can definitely bring a little bit of comfort, especially on days when it's only natural that we'll miss our loved ones being around us.

      Delete
  22. It's been almost 15 years since my mom died and I still catch myself reaching for the phone every now and then when something special happens. It's funny, when I feel the need to talk to my dad, I can go outside, stare into the tree tops and 'talk' to him - and I feel like he hears me. I don't have that sense of communication with my mom though. Getting through the first year of celebrations is pretty rough but it does get better. Eventually you'll remember more of the good times and while you'll never stop missing her, you won't feel that deep, depressive sadness. Hugs to you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think we all deal with our loved ones passing in different ways and each death is totally different too. I don't feel I can 'talk' to my mum, I wish I could as I think you could get a lot of comfort from that. She'd probably say that we'd done enough talking through life with the cost of the phone bills though. I do miss her very much.

      Delete
  23. My Mum is my best friend, so I can't image what it'd be like to lose her. I hope you're OK. Take care.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I always felt the same about my mum. We were so close and it's horrible to think that she'll never be here again, but we do cope, we have to.

      Delete
  24. As you say, death is a part of life - you've coped remarkably well - I'm sure your mum would be proud of you. I can't even imagine how it feels, my parents are still here in their 70's but I dread the day when the inevitable happens. Sending best wishes. xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've found it very hard watching my parents age and waiting for the inevitable, especially when my mum got dementia and went downhill with that, it was as though I'd lost her gradually at that time, but then it hit me again when she actually died. Losing our parents happens to most of us but it's something you can never really prepare for.

      Delete
  25. Ahhhh, how I feel for you. Time does help, and it's good to know you're coping. I hope things keep on getting better and that your dad improves, it must be hard seeing him suffer so. Hugs.xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think in the early days, coping is the best you can hope for, but I do know that things get better in time. It's very hard seeing my dad the way he is, I don't think he'll ever get any better now.

      Delete
  26. A beautiful post, written from the heart.
    Many thanks for sharing it here, because I'm sure so many of us can relate to what you have been, and are going, through.
    My good wishes.

    All the best Jan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know we will all go through grief at some time or another in our lives, I think that's why we can all relate when each of us are going through this. It's a horrible thing, but part of life.

      Delete
  27. I don't think we get over losing someone special, I think we just learn to live in the new reality. You're doing incredibly well, talking about your Mum and how you feel is so important, so are the tears.
    Sending you warm wishes for the things you still need to 'get through', her birthday, Christmas. They say the firsts are the worst.
    xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think one of the hardest things is watching my dad go through it all too, there's just nothing that anyone can say or do which can ease the pain.

      Delete
  28. Thinking of you Jo and wishing you continued strength and comfort from your family and friends and in the loving memories of your Mum. x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know I'm not the only one going through bereavement, it's a long hard road but we all get through it in the end, hopefully with lots of happy memories of our loved ones.

      Delete