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Is this normal?

Posted by


I lost my mother to lung cancer 10 weeks ago, I was extremely close to my mother and loved her very much she was my best friend.  I would see her pretty much every day and if I didn't I would phone her I think the longest I have gone without seeing her was when going on holidays and even then I would ring her every day. We all cared for her during her illness and we were with her all the way. I would say I was pretty much in denial during my mother's illness and even though I knew deep down she was seriously ill and I heard people say she was dying I always had hope that some miracle would happen and we would go back to how things were before she was ill.

I seem to be in denial about the whole thing I just cannot comprehend accepting the sheer, dark, bleak finality that she has gone and I will never see her again or hear her voice when I think of this I feel I just cannot get my head around it so I try to stop thinking about it and try to keep myself occupied with other things, be it work, housework, exercise or my family. I just cannot or do not want to accept it.

I have cried but nothing of what I would have expected having had the worst thing that could possibly happen to me I seem to be in a sense coping 'well'. I have siblings who were also close to my mother (we all were) and they are grieving in a different way for instance crying a lot, unable to sleep, not eating which is what I would have expected myself to be doing. I put a brave face on at work and in other situations so I assume people think I'm alright even though I have lost the person who meant the most to me. 

I'm not really sure what I'm asking really, is this a normal why of dealing with my mother's passing? How can I be acting so normal?

Thank you for reading.

Wendy- Macmillan
Posted by

Hi Lou12

I am so sorry to hear that your mother died of lung cancer 10 weeks ago, please accept my sincere condolences.  It sounds like a very difficult time for you all, especially as nothing could prepare you physically or emotionally. This will not lessen the pain now or your denial about her illness even though you knew she was seriously ill.

Grief is a challenging journey endured after the loss of a loved one, especially your mother. It's easy to become overwhelmed as you work through the phases and tasks of grief we all grieve in our own unique way, and the intense and overwhelming emotions, that are common for most people in the early stages of grief may feel constant but vary from person to person, with no time limits (weeks, months, years). The feelings of you and your siblings may change from day to day, one day you may feel you are coping and the next be overwhelmed by feelings of anger, guilt, sadness, and unable to eat or sleep. It is quite normal to have ups and downs and ‘be in intense agony’ with your heart broken. Adjusting to the loss of your mother will take time, and it is important not to put too much pressure on yourself.

Sadness, guilt and loneliness are the hardest part of grief, but you are not alone in coping with your feelings, it is normal and understandable. We have a group on the online community called bereaved family and friends which you might find helpful. The support and heartfelt words from others who truly know how you feel at this time are invaluable.

The following resources may help: Helping-Yourself-Through-Grief and The Loss Foundation - understanding-bereavement website has a lot of in depth information about all types of grief and may help you, with information about the psychological factors that influence the grieving process, as well as common reactions after a bereavement.

The Grief Works Pillars-of-Strength by Julia Samuels – may help - The Pillars of Strength are a system of support, that can help every single day. Grief affects every aspect of our life and our sense of self, which can mean even getting through a day, can seem insurmountably difficult.

Sometimes it can help to talk to one of our Macmillan Information Nurse Specialists, available on our free helpline number 0808 808 0000 on Monday to Friday from 8:00am to 8:00 pm or by direct e-mail

If you and your sibling’s emotional grief continues it may help to discuss it with the GP, who will ensure you all receive the right professional support

I hope you find the resources and my suggestions helpful, please get back in touch if you would like further information.

Kind regards


Remember you can also speak with the Macmillan Support Line team of experts. Phone free on 0808 808 0000 (7 days a week, 8am-8pm) or by email.