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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.

Coping with Mums grief

Meg Mac
Posted by

Hi, it’s been a while since I’ve looked at these pages and I’ve revisited the journey I’ve been on.

while I’m feeling ok and grieving the loss of my Dad at 81 yrs, I try to take some positives - I had him for over 57 years and he was able to enjoy his grand children growing up, he had a very good quality of life up until quite near the end.

Mum, however is a different story. She is not ready to let him go at all and still has most of his clothes, she maintains his garden like her life depends on it, she finds every time something of Dads is disposed of very upsetting like he is going bit by bit.

I am encouraging her to talk to me although I find it hard to hear. I Think she cries most days but we are approaching a significant anniversary and she is fragile and almost overwhelmed by grief.

Does anyone have any tips on how I can help her? Fortunately she is happy to be at home where ‘she feels closest to him’ and doesnt seem affected by the lockdown - apart from seeing family.

I break the rules every week to go and see her and do her shopping but I consider her vulnerable and I keep my distance by staying in the garden. She needs that face to face chat and I need to see she’s ok. We don’t take any chances, no hugs (she has had no human contact since the lockdown and we always hugged).

Its 6 months since Dad passed and 13 months since his diagnosis, but Mum doesn’t seem to be processing her grief although she knows she has to, she just can’t seem to, move on is the wrong phrase, accept his passing I think is better.

What are your experiences and how can I help her?

Posted by

Hi MegMac welcome to the forum.

I think everyone deals differently with grief and there are no time limits on when someone feels able to accept that their loved one is gone. 

Having his clothes around may be of some comfort to her I know when my dad died last year and we were clearing the house we found clothes of my mums and she died over 20 years ago. Maybe tending the garden means that she can hang onto something which was special to them and especially to him.

She will be ok in her own time and she will come out the other end for now though she  needs to do what she feels makes her feel better and as long as she is not  bothering anyone that's ok. Maybe just leave her with what makes her happy for now and as you say she is being well cared for by yourself and some day soon she will ask you to maybe help clear things with her but until then she needs to be left to deal with her grief in the only way she seems to know how.  6 months since your Dad died is not a long time it may seem like it and feel like it but it is but a short time in relation to grief and we all handle that differently.

Hope thats of some use and best wishes with all this none of which is easy for either of you. xxxx

Posted by

Hi,  I'm sorry to hear of the death of your Dad.

It's not quite the same but when my Grandmother died some 20 years ago, my mother couldn't come to terms with her death at all.

I found this really hard to deal with as my grandmother had had a happy healthy life until she died at 96 years old.  It was as if my mum expected her to live forever and just couldn't grasp she had gone.

I think all you can do is let your mum carry on doing the things she finds help her and listen if she wants to talk.  Eventually I'm sure she will get some "normality" back in her life.  It is so sad and hard to see though.

Having said all this, I still feel mum has never really come to terms with her mum's passing and she herself is now 90 years old!

Not sure if this helps or not!

Love x x

Meg Mac
Posted by

Hi Erica, I think this is what I’m worrying about.

I just don’t see any signs she is beginning to deal with it at all.  When Dad was ill, she has said herself she was in denial and I think that has continued.

I worry that she has been traumatised, she was used to getting her own way about things and being in control which obviously she can’t anymore, either that or getting depressed but as you say, perhaps I’m expecting too much, too soon. 

Ive decided not to take it so personally, it’s difficult to see her suffer but I simply cannot do anymore than I am now, especially in the current climate.  It’s beginning to impact on my relationship with my husband and I can’t allow that to happen. 
thanks for your thoughts