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Bereaved family and friends

For anyone who has lost a family member or friend to cancer to share their feelings and support one another.

Grieving process

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My Mum passed away the day after her birthday January 12th. She was only diagnosed with Cancer on 30th October. On 29th October our first granddaughter was born. It was a very bitter sweet couple ofdays. All the family were round her when she passed. Her dog had been sent for rehoming 3 hours before she passed away. When she passed, she looked amazing, pain free and was smiling. My father (who hadn't always been there), has done nothing since passing. I dealt with everything, arranging the funeral, death certificate and all her personal affairs. He tried tapping me up for money and since thhadn't been in touch. I am very lucky to have amazing grandparents (90 & 89) who have coped with losing their youngest daughter really well. My uncle has also  been great support.  I got a plaque at the Crematorium for people to still go to see her. I had mums ashes split into 3. One each for me, grandparents and my uncle. I then bought us each a rose bush in mum's name, which we have all planted with the ashes underneath. That way we can chat with her and still look after her. I also got us all a colour changing angel to look over her. As mum is the first person to die close to me, I'm not sure how to deal with grieving. I have random moments when I'm teary. Then other moments when all I want to do is see her, mother's day was particularly difficult. Please can anyone let me know what the grieving process is like. 

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I lost my mother in November of 2018. Grieving is exactly what you described and varies from person to person. I still think about my mother every single day and sometimes get choked up over the littlest thing that reminds me of her not being here. It has gotten better with time but it hasn't gone away. For me, the thing that helped was living to honor my mother. I have taken on several things that were important to her and continue to do them in her honor. I also have a journal that I write down memories of her as they come to me, happy and sad, that I hope to someday gift to my daughters who won't have a lot of memories of her when they are grown up. This way they will get to know the person I knew so well.

My father on the other hand is grieving in a much different way. He literally left home and spent much of a year away as much as possible. I ended up handling a lot of the affairs while he was gone. He is now in the process of setting up a home in a different state that isn't close to either my family or my brother's family. He says he just can't be alone anymore in the house where my mother and him lived for decades. His grieving process has been to just keep running and never giving himself a chance to pause and think of his loss. 

I still like going home and sitting in the house my mother lived and died in. It brings me great peace to be someplace where her memories are everywhere. Obviously we all process grief differently. 

I think your grief is normal and it will get better with time. Best wishes.

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Hi Julie,

My dad died on the 15th January just after your mum. So I’m no authority on grieving but I can say how it’s been for me and we can compare notes.

I felt very numb for the first month after dad died. I didn’t cry the day he died or even at his funeral. I managed to support my mum and basically arrange the funeral and coordinate the family and all kinds of admin. I then moved back abroad and went straight back to work. Grief has definetly caught up with me now though and shows up in weird ways. Now I can cry on demand anytime of day or night but especially cry at any happy news (eg clap for our carer coverage has me bawling every Thursday) I also think about my dads illness and death a lot and keep going over the unanswered questions I have. It also just hits me the finality of it when I call my mum’s house and know that my dad won’t ever answer. Or I’ll never get to ask him what he thinks about the Corona Virus. 

Anyway I think we are both grieving ok as I don’t think there is a right or wrong way to experience it. What I will say is that the corona lockdown has definetly forced me to sit with the grief without distracting myself (which has been both good and bad)

What you did with your mum’s ashes and the roses sounds like lovely way to remember her. I hope the roses grow big and strong and you get comfort from them for many years.