Sunday, 5 May 2019

A Final Goodbye

We returned to the crematorium on Friday to scatter my mum's ashes, we have a natural rock stone there with a memorial to my sister and we're in the process of having a memorial added for my mum. It's a beautiful place, tranquil and so well kept, and though it's on the other side of Leeds to where we live and therefore takes us about forty minutes by car, it's somewhere we regularly go to take flowers and remember my sister, now we'll be remembering my mum there too.


It would have been nice to have Daniel and Eleanor with us but, both of them having just been home, they were unable to make it this time. There were just four of us, me, Mick, my dad and my brother. The weather wasn't as good as we've had it just lately and though it had been raining all morning, at least it held off whilst we were there.


In my Up Days And Down Days post I touched on the fact that I'd received such wonderful comments, cards and emails from my friends here in Blogland, I've been totally overwhelmed to know that many of you have been touched by what I'm going through right now. Not only have I had such lovely comments here on my blog but also replies to comments I've left on many of your own blogs too. I just can't thank you all enough as the kindness and understanding has helped me in a way you'll never know.


My grief continues to escalate. I felt that I coped very well immediately after my mum's death and right up to her funeral, obviously it wasn't all sunshine and roses but I had a grip on things. Even the week after the funeral wasn't too bad, Daniel and Jasmine and Eleanor were still here and my mind was occupied somewhat with them, but once they'd all left and Mick was back to work, that's when it really hit me. I feel as though I have a knot permanently in my chest and it's so hard to keep my emotions in check. Allowing my mind to wander to my mum invariably results in tears, it's just so hard to keep a lid on them.


Looking back, my mum suffered from dementia during the last years of her life and my relationship with her changed dramatically. We were very good friends as well as mother and daughter and we spent a lot of time together, if we didn't see each other for a day we'd be on the phone for an hour catching up. That wasn't so once the dementia took hold, it was very hard to lose the connection we'd once had but it happened slowly and though I missed my mum, even though she was still here, I think it's only now that I'm not only mourning her death but I'm also grieving for the closeness that was missing over this time.


I've been through grief before, my sister died twenty years ago this coming July, and though all those years have now passed I still miss her every single day. I know it will be the same with my mum, I'll never get over losing her, I know the grief will be with me for the rest of my life, I know this heart-wrenching feeling will last for a long time and I know that many more tears will be shed, but I also know that I will eventually be able to look back on all the happy memories I have, memories which are too painful to recall at the moment, and I'll be able to remember the wonderful person she was and all the good times we shared, and those memories will make me smile.

59 comments:

  1. Oh Jo, I'm so sorry, there's nothing I can think of to say that will make you feel any better. I only hope that, with time, your pain will ease and you can think of those lovely memories. xx

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    1. Thank you. The only thing getting me through is knowing that how I'm feeling at the moment is normal and that I will feel better in time.

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  2. Don't bottle it up, cry when you want too, you were too busy helping your mum to face her illness and the loss of closeness, so you have alot of feelings to sort. Everyone understands how you feel, and if they have lost their mum, they will be sending you loads of hugs and love. I always remember my mum as the strong woman from my childhood, 20s and 30s, thinking of you xxx

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    1. Thank you. I don't think I could bottle it up if I wanted to at the moment, the tears come whatever. You're right, most people have experienced grief and know exactly what I'm going through.

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  3. I so understand the disconnect that dementia brings. It is like you already lost the person you knew even whilst they are among the living. In a way you are constantly saying goodbye to the person you knew.
    I know all about that delayed mourning, too. I don't think I properly mourned my dad until almost 5 years after he died. Because I lived so far away it was easy to just think of him as being still there. xo Diana

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    1. I think that my mum having dementia has added to the grief in a way as I'm mourning my mum from a few years ago really, as you say, you're constantly saying goodbye and they slip further and further into the grip of the disease, it's such a horrible thing.

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  4. Oh Jo. I think you are very self-aware and this is a perceptive post, all that will stand you in good stead. I once heard somebody say that you never get over the grief, the wound doesn't heal but you learn how to live with it. The fact that you are coping at all shows how strong you are. I continue to keep you in my prayers and send virtual hugs. x

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    1. Thank you. Having gone through the grief after my sister died, I'm somewhat prepared for the different stages and how long everything takes to start feeling anything like normal again. However, even knowing all this, it doesn't prepare you really and it doesn't make anything any easier, you just have to go with it.

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  5. Hello...I have never commented on your blog posts upto now though I have been reading it for sometime. I live in Bangalore, India and am a little younger than you are (48). I am very close to my mother as well, exactly as you said, we are friends as much as mother and daughter. So, this post really touched a chord inside me. I hope in time you will feel better about everything and that you will find the strength to deal with this loss. I wish you the best.

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    1. Thank you so much for commenting, it means such a lot to me. I'm so pleased that you've got a very close relationship with your mum too, it's very special and something that not everyone has so we're very lucky. I do hope you'll comment again.

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  6. A lovely heartfelt post, and one I empathise with in many ways. My mum died over forty years ago and although my fond memories have faded there isn't a day passes when I don't think of her.
    Take care, xx

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    1. I think this demonstrates what special people mums are. To continue to think of the lovely memories you have of your mum after forty years shows the bond is still there and I know that's exactly how it will be for me too.

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  7. Don't hold back the tears.Let them come.Did you make a memory jar like I suggested?

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    1. I haven't made a memory jar yet, it's just too painful at the moment. It's something I will definitely keep in mind for a later date though.

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  8. Maybe you could make something with your Mum in mind like a book or a cross stitch or a special blanket to help you through these difficult days. That looks a nice peaceful place to visit.

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    1. That's a lovely idea but too soon at the moment, something to think about a little further down the line though. I enjoy visiting the crematorium, it's such a peaceful place and it brings me comfort when I go.

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  9. No words can heal your grief and hurt, little by little and you will be able to revisit those lovely memories, I even used the help line to SANDS in moments of despair, who were so supportive and helpful, perhaps it is something you may wish to think about talking to someone outside of the family. Take care of yourself too, sending huge hugs xcx

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    1. Thank you. You're right, it's only time which will heal. Speaking to someone outside the family has been suggested to me but I feel that's too soon just now. I don't really want to think or talk about my mum too much as it's just too painful but I know that time will help with that.

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  10. Thinking of you and wishing you sweet memories to go along with the sadness. Your mom sounds like a wonderful person.

    You found a lovely place for her ashes to be scattered.

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    1. Thank you. My mum was the best. Listening to other people's memories of her has made me so proud to know that she was my mum, she was so loving and kind to everyone.

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  11. I wish there was something I could say to take away your pain, Jo. I always believe grief hits harder once the funeral has been and gone and life returns to normal. Except it isn't normal for you anymore and you are missing your lovely mum.
    Allow yourself the time to grieve and, once you are ready, you will be able smile at those wonderful memories. Xx

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    1. Thank you. You've hit the nail on the head, as you say, life returns to normal after the funeral but it will never be normal again without my mum, it's just a case now of adjusting to my new normal and that's hard and will take time.

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  12. I lost my Dad when I was 25 and it took a long time to come to terms with his death. The way I always see it is. the one's we have lost would hate to see us crying over them, they would want us to remember them in the good times and be happy. Not easy but it helps to think this way.
    Hugs
    Briony
    x

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    1. That's exactly what I keep telling myself but there's no rhyme nor reason to grief, the tears continue to fall. It will take some time.

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  13. Oh Jo, how I empathize with everything you have said. You have my heartfelt sympathies, it's such a difficult time. It's hard losing a friend, especially one that is a mother too. Huge hugs, you are in my thoughts.xxx

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    1. Thank you. It's the worst of times, the only thing keeping me going at the moment is knowing that it will pass in time.

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  14. Except for not being able to give you a big hug, I'm not sure what else I can say or do. I understand some of what it is like after loosing a parent with dementia & I still miss my Dad who lived with it for many years. It's hard as we all deal with grief differently, so we'll be able to chat soon over coffee/water(giggle). Hang in there, keep busy, cuddle Archie, make the most of your Spring weather in the great outdoors & maybe learn something new. Hold onto all those memories, take care & huggles.

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    1. I think keeping busy is key at the moment, allowing my mind to wander isn't good for me as I've found out. Of course, having my lovely Archie for cuddles helps too.

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  15. Dear Jo, Im sorry. Hugs to you. It takes so much time. Every time I grieved my moms passing I thought I was through it. Ha. It found me time and time again. Im hoping mothers day will be better this year. Last year I just wanted it overwtih

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    1. Thank you. I can understand what you mean having been through grief before with my sister, you think you're doing well and then it comes again like a bolt out of the blue. Hoping that Mother's Day will be better for you this year. Our Mother's Day is earlier in the year than yours and was only three days after my mum died so it was very hard.

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  16. I haven't been around for a while Jo so have just heard about your Mum passing I'm so very sorry for your loss. You have chosen a very special place to scatter her ashes it's beautiful. I believe that she and your sister are still with you and you will meet again. I talk to my Mum and Dad all the time even though they died many years ago I feel that they are still with me. Be gentle with yourself, sending lots of hugs. xx

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    1. Thank you. The crematorium has beautiful, well-kept grounds and it's so peaceful there. It's a place I've enjoyed visiting to take flowers for my sister and it's somewhere we'll be able to take flowers for my mum now too.

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  17. Dear Jo. I am just catching up with blog reading (it has been a while) and I am so very sorry to read that your mum has passed away. I remember from when my dad died that the most difficult time was after all the formalities had been completed and there was nothing to keep me distracted from the terrible pain that his death caused. I see you are experiencing this also. Not having experienced dementia, I can only imagine how painful it must be to lose a little bit of a beloved person gradually, as dementia changes the person you love so much. I am glad that you and your mum had a loving and caring relationship with one another and that you have many created many happy memories together. One day when you feel a bit less raw, those happy memories will put a smile on your face. I am sending you love xx

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    1. Thank you. I was so lucky to have such a wonderful relationship with my mum, as you say, I have so many happy memories and I know that in time they'll help with the loss. It's just a matter of time.

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  18. The realisation that what has happened is real is the worst thing, especially when you are alone :( Crying is a great healer for grief, so cry all you need to. It's hard to feel you must be the one who remains strong for everyone else, but please make sure you take care of yourself. Love and best, Jane x

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    1. Thank you. One of the hardest things is seeing my dad go through the same grief. I know he went through it when my sister died but there was my mum and dad helping each other through it. This time I know it's up to me to give him the support he needs and that does take it out on me somewhat. I'm very lucky to have Mick though, he's always there to take the pressure off and give me the support I need.

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  19. Arh Jo, you are so brave to share your feelings, your memories and goodbyes. Like others have said, we wish we could ease your pain. I'm sure you remember that verse about a time to ... in Ecclesiastes 3, I suppose the comfort is that what we experience 'in the moment' is normal and necessary. We'd not be human if we didn't experience the highs and the lows.
    Take comfort that the people you love care for you and stand with you. Sending love Cx

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    1. Thank you. I do know that verse and it's very true, we have so many different experiences in life, some definitely better than others but all very necessary. Only time will help at the moment and I'll get there in the end.

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  20. Oh Jo, it's so hard, isn't it. My dad and I had a good relationship, although I wouldn't really call it that close. Even so, I think of certain things he did, especially during the months leading up to his death (such as insisting on paying for a meal when he, I and my mum went out once, even though he could barely move) & it just brings me to tears, even now as I'm writing this. I can only imagine what you are going through, having had such a close relationship with your mum in the past. As you say, it will take a long time for at least some of the tears to turn to a smile when memories surface, but it will come, eventually. Sending you lots of love & healing thoughts...XOXO

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    1. Thank you. Yes, it's very hard. I know it's still very new since your dad passed away too so it will still be hard to recall certain events for you. It's the memories of the last few days of my mum's life which are playing over and over again at the moment so it's very painful but I know that in time I'll be able to get past that and much happier memories will float to the surface.

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  21. Oh Jo, this was such a lovely heartfelt post.
    There are no words that can heal your grief but time will and does help, and it is important to give yourself time.
    Little by little I'm sure you will be able to revisit those wonderful, lovely memories, the good times you shared, and they will make you smile … just as your dear mum would want you to.

    Sending you a big virtual hug, and my good wishes to all the family too.
    God bless.

    All the best Jan

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    1. Thank you. I know my mum wouldn't want me to be so upset, grief is so irrational. I keep telling myself this over and over but it just doesn't help. I know that it will pass though and the happy memories will outweigh the sad ones.

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  22. Don’t even try to keep a lid on it, let the tears come. Even 30 years after my mum died and 20+ since dad died I can feel teary at times. Losing them changed me as a person. I find I worry more as before their deaths I always felt things would always turn out just fine.

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    1. I know just what you mean about being changed as a person. I think our parents make us feel safe and though it's all still very new, I feel somewhat on my own without my mum here. Losing our parents is something which most of us will experience, it's a horrible thing.

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  23. I always like to think whatever ails us in life leaves us in death. You've had the twenty years since loosing your sister to spend time with your lovely mum and so you could look at it that your mum and sister are now back together having a good catch up and making up for lost time. That won't stop you missing her and grieving for the mum you had before dementia took a hold but may help to think that they will be having lots of girly chats over a nice cup of tea.

    Mitzi

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    1. Wouldn't that be lovely. I so hope that's how it is when we die, and I know what you mean, thinking that's how things are would certainly put my mind at rest.

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    2. I also plant roses for everyone I’ve lost in each house we live in that way wherever I have been there’s a rose left in their memory. In fact we were only talking about it at the weekend as i’ve not planted any yet.

      Mx

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    3. What a lovely thing to do. We always take yellow roses to the crematorium for my sister, they were her favourite.

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  24. Dear Jo, the place where you have a memorial for your sister and will add a memorial there for your Mum looks a peaceful one. It's a comfort for your family to have somewhere special like this. Yesterday, on the tenth anniversary of his death, our daughter D went to the special place where she scattered her second husband's ashes and she often goes to the cemetery to tend my parents'grave as we can't get down there very often. Our thoughts are always with our loved ones who are no longer with us. The loss is hard and grief can be overwhelming at times. I continue to think of you as you grieve the loss of your sister and your Mum and continue to look after your Dad.

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    1. Thank you. The crematorium is a lovely place to have our memorials, it's very peaceful and a beautiful place, so well kept. There's a memorial for my paternal grandparents just to the side of my sister's memorial, we leave flowers for them too, it's thirty five years now since they died. It's nice to have a special place to visit to remember our loved ones, though they're always in our thoughts anyway. I'm sorry to hear that your daughter lost her husband, he must have been young, which adds to the sorrow.

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  25. Beautiful words Jo. I know only too well just how incredible our 'blogging family' can be at a time like this, I am so glad it has helped you.

    I read somewhere recently you never 'finish' with grief, it never completely goes away, but that over time we develop strategies and coping skills and we learn to live with it.

    You are blessed to have had such a wonderful Mum and such an amazing relationship with her, something that many take for granted but no everyone has had the privilege to enjoy.

    Take care, xx

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    1. I suppose it's my sister's legacy that I now understand how grief works. We can't control it, there's no standard format and I know it will be with me forever, but I also know that we do learn to live with it and in time, we can control our emotions. Everyone who was fortunate to know my mum was blessed, she was the most kind and caring woman you could wish to meet, and I was the luckiest girl in the world to have her as my mum.

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    2. sorry, that was mean to be "not everyone"

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  26. Can see, how this is double form of grief. Both for her passing, and for what you lost, while she was still here... Sees it is good, that you realize this.

    But.... None of the realization, really helps you get through it...

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    1. I think having gone through grief before I can recognise what I'm going through, but you're right, it doesn't really help me through it in any way. I know it's just a case of time really.

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  27. Jo, my thoughts and prayers have been with you my friend. I could have written this post and frankly think I wrote one very similar a few years back. My mother was in a care facility for the last three years of her life. She had dementia but changed far before this. I mourned the loss of her for years, years before she passed anyway. I still miss her and it has been five years now, but I have been missing her for a long time if that makes sense. It think it hits me harder as the years go by as I miss her seeing her grandchildren and getting to know Little Buddy. Stay strong,but cry and feel sad when you need to. Look around at all the beauty and love that surrounds you, and feel blessed that your Mother, a very special woman helped to shape you into who you are today.

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    1. Dementia is a horrible illness and robs us of our loved ones many years before they die. I think I was so busy looking after my parents that I never really mourned that loss until now so my grief has been doubled in a way. I understand what you mean about it hitting you harder as the years go by, I'm already thinking about all the things my mum is going to miss, it's so sad.

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  28. I'm catching up after a restful last minute week at the coast.
    Bless you dear Jo, such a heartfelt post, sending love and blessings to you. It does look such a pretty and peaceful place for your memorial to your sister and mum.

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    1. I hope you had a good week away. We went back to the crematorium again last week, it's such a lovely place to be alone with your thoughts, so peaceful. It's nice to have a place to go and remember our loved ones.

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