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Forums / Grief and loss / Grief and anxiety following death of mother

Topic: Grief and anxiety following death of mother

8 posts, 0 answered
  1. PaganGirl
    PaganGirl avatar
    3 posts
    21 November 2018

    Hi everyone

    My mum (56yo) died suddenly 3 weeks ago. She was extremely depressed, and took her own life.

    She’d had a breakdown and been diagnosed 2 years earlier, which quickly led to her first attempt on her life. Myself and my two brothers (ages 25-31) found her (after a long search) very close to dying. Other family were involved too.

    Over the following year or so she spent a lot of time in psychiatric wards, had ECT, had numerous medication changes. We attended various mental health meetings with her and her team.

    She began a pattern of recovering, return to her own home, stop taking her pills, becoming unwell again, and disappearing. We’d find out she was missing, go looking for her, and find her near death after another attempt at taking her life.

    this happened 4-5 times

    Finally she returned home after some more ECT and seemed to have improved. She was still very flat in mood, and couldn’t seem to get motivated for anything, even her old hobbies. But she returned to work part-time, which had been a very important step for her in her recovery, and we were all hopeful she was finally recovering for good. We tried to get her involved in social groups and hobbies, would take her out for dinners and nice events. She seemed to be on the mend.

    Until 3 weeks ago. We had no warning, none of us noticed she was getting worse. A welfare check was done when she didn’t go to work.

    She was found dead at home, having taken her own life. Without going into detail, it is certain that she planned this very carefully to ensure it would happen.

    Obviously, her family is devastated. We loved her and we had all tried so hard to get her well.

    In the the immediate aftermath, we were in shock. My family is very supportive and close, so we have all been there for each other as the grief set in, as her children (including me) planned her funeral, had her last viewing, and said goodbye.

    As time goes on, I still find myself crying at unexpected times, especially at night. My partner has been VERY supportive but I feel guilty for my sudden tears.

    Also, Im having panic attacks- over me and my partners life insurance, over my fear other loved ones might die, over if my mum suffered at the end, and even over where her spirit/ soul is now (I’m not religious).

    my worst panic attacks are over her personal possessions i have inherited. I’m terrified of them getting damaged or lost, as they are all I have left of my mum.

    ive booked a counsellor, but wanted to post here. Thankyou

    3 people found this helpful
  2. Peppermintbach
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    4566 posts
    22 November 2018 in reply to PaganGirl

    Hi PaganGirl,

    I’m deeply sorry for your loss. Your post made me feel a little teary, so I can only imagine how you must be feeling...I can hear your shock, devastation, confusion, heartbreak and incredible grief....

    I think to lose your mum in those circumstances brings about a unique kind of grief. While all loss is generally painful and difficult, this particular kind of loss can evoke such a huge range of emotions and raise so many questions. I’m so sorry that you and your family are going through this...

    Your partner sounds truly wonderful, and I’m so glad for his/her presence and support. Please don’t feel guilty for your tears. You’re allowed to cry when grieving. In fact, you’re allowed to cope however you need to...grief defies all “rules”...

    I’m not surprised that you’re feeling so scared and fearful of losing others. I feel losing your mum has perhaps shaken your sense of security and safety...no wonder you’re feeling so anxious and frightened...

    Good on you for booking a counsellor though. I feel that’s a very brave step to take...

    Also, you’re most welcome to post here any time. That being said, there’s no pressure to post or reply, but please know the option is always open to you. We are here to gently support you...

    Kind and comforting thoughts,

    Pepper

    1 person found this helpful
  3. quirkywords
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    quirkywords avatar
    13023 posts
    22 November 2018 in reply to PaganGirl

    PaganGirl,

    What an incredibly sad, moving and honest post. Like Pepper I was moved to tears as I read every word.

    As you can see this is a friendly , caring and supportive place and a good place to write what you want and to express feelings you may find hard to communicate to others.

    It is only 3 weeks since you have had this awful shock that has disrupted your life and your emotions. Of course you will be grieving and feeling so many different emotions.

    My mum died over 17 years and I still cherish her possessions and photographs. I miss her every day .

    It must be so very difficult to have one's loved one take her own life, the suddeness and the finality of it all would be so intense to cope with.

    I am glad you will see a counsellor, and I am wondering if it is a grief counsellor or one who has expertice in dealing with people experiencing grief.

    The best advice I ever got was to take time, don't make any big decisions and don't rush anything.

    Everyone experiences grief in their own way and there're is no right way, as we all grieve differently.

    I am not sure if you keep a journal or if you like writing down your thoughts. Sometimes it can help to jot down thoughts, memories both sad and happy and date your writing so you can see how things may change or not over the months.

    You are not alone and we are here to support you.

    Quirky

    1 person found this helpful
  4. White Rose
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    White Rose avatar
    6325 posts
    25 November 2018 in reply to PaganGirl

    Dear PaganGirl

    A warm welcome to you and thank you for your courage to share your story. When a parent dies it is always sad and hurts like hell because of the place he/she has held in your life. Suicide makes it that much harder I believe. I am so sorry this has happened.

    Crying is perfectly fine. If you did not cry I would be worried. Keep your family close and support each other as you say above. Each person's emotions will go up and down and be different to others, so when you are down use someone's up. Don't be afraid to talk about your mom. Try to celebrate the good things in her life, her accomplishments. Make a list and put it up somewhere you will see it.

    This is how your mom was. The attempts to self harm and finally die are not your fault so please do not blame yourself. I don't know if you blame yourself or not. Just a thought. Perhaps a bit later down the track the family can get together and bring photos etc spending the time talking about mom and her life. Remember the family jokes, the way she cared for you and I am sure she did care, plus all the little things that made her your mom. I have a number of my mom's possessions and would not lose them for the world. She died 18 years ago and there still times when I have a bit of a weep.

    Another way to heal and honour mom is to plant a flower/shrub/tree in her memory, or make a garden for her. Perhaps you can do this as a family. Put it in the garden or ask for permission to plant it in your local park. These things are ways to let go the sadness and possibly anger, to remember the essential woman and rejoice. It will also help you to let her passing really sink into your consciousness. Painful maybe but again healing.

    Mary

  5. Beltane
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    Beltane avatar
    292 posts
    26 November 2018 in reply to White Rose

    Thankyou Pepper, Quirky, and Mary for your lovely replies. I'm sorry it has taken me so long to respond- but i did read them and take them to heart.

    I'm doing ok mostly, i still get a bit teary here and then. While I'd LIKE to see a psychologist that specialises in this area, i only have so much money, so have booked in a bulk billing psychologist to talk it out. I used to have a psychologist, but she couldn't get me in until January, and honestly I didn't really "click" with her.

    I'm worried about three suspicious lumps on my neck, the biopsies were inconclusive, and i'm currently awaiting surgery. i wish my mum was here... she was always here when i was unwell... But I'm grateful to have other close relatives, and a wonderful boyfriend

    My best friend gave me a lovely little box- a "memory box" for writing memories of my mum in. I bought some beautiful paper notepads to write them on... and then loved the whole thing so much I am now buying a box and paper for my aunt (mums sister).

    the whole thing honestly has rocked my belief system... i didn't have much of a belief system to be honest- you'd call me agnostic i suppose. But i long for answers.... Life, in all it's beauty, complexity, in all it's experience- surely just can't vanish. Whats the point of it all if we just vanish?
    i find myself hoping beyond all hope that there is some kind of heaven, where mum is with beloved relatives who died before her... and that i (many years from now) will see her again....

    My mum was a quilter and sewed and knitted other beautiful things. I gathered much of her scrap fabric collection when we packed up her house (thankyou to my partner, who ensured i did not accidentally throw it out). I too am a quilter, and am planning two small memorial quilts in her honour... one is a vase (which was hers and is now mine) filled with flowers.. the other is of a little cottage by a river, in the hills, under the shade of a big tree. There is a seat under the tree, and a dog and two cats sleeping in the shade. (The pets were my mums and died before her). There is smoke coming from the cottage's chimney, because inside the cottage my mum is having a cup of tea with her dad and gran, who died before her.

    The cottage is where, in my mind, my mum now lives. She's happy, loved, and is in no more pain. She's with her dad and gran.

    I don't know what happens after we die, but if there is any justice or loving god in the world, then that's where my mum is

  6. Tess2
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    Tess2 avatar
    458 posts
    26 November 2018 in reply to PaganGirl

    Dear pagan girl,

    as others have said this is one of the bravest and saddest posts I have read you are so honest and heartfelt.

    this is a very recent event with a long history to it, be gentle with yourself it will take time . Crying is ok You probably have a lot of crying to do yet. Yes you need to remember her and honour her as your mother and in her own right.

    She must have really struggled with her depression for such a long time and was blessed to have a daughter like you.

    Going to counselling is the right thing to do. My own mother died some 13 years ago, of natural causes, so it is not the same and I was much older than you when she died. But I still grieve her and treasure her possessions, even ones I don’t really like. I slept in her cardigan for a few weeks until it no longer smelled of her.

    I am so glad you have supportive partner. Let your unselfish grieve and give yourself the time to gosntraumatic loss

    tess

  7. Beltane
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    Beltane avatar
    292 posts
    26 November 2018 in reply to Beltane
    Just so every one knows, Beltane and pagangirl is the same person.
    Beltane is my old account- i couldn't remember the log in details so made a new account (pagangirl). Then i somehow accidentally logged back in to the old account!! So sorry for the confusion, i'll keep using the Beltane account now.

    (Btw some of you may know me- i used to be a Community Champion/ blueVoices member on here answering people's posts! those were the days :)
  8. White Rose
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    White Rose avatar
    6325 posts
    26 November 2018 in reply to Beltane

    Hello Beltane

    Nice to hear from you again even though the circumstances are sad. Those were the days indeed.

    I was given the idea of a box some years ago and I was supposed to put bad memories etc in the box. I like your idea better.

    I have a friend who is a quilter and I so much admire her work. I am an embroiderer and cross stitcher. I can lose myself for days. Thought of learning to quilt but decided I did not have that much time.

    It's great you can picture mom in the cottage and I am certain she is no longer in pain. She will be waiting to greet you when your time comes to leave here. I know my mom and dad are together again and my sister also.

    We do miss the people in our lives that provided comfort when we were hurting. It's not that they could change anything but being there and holding you is such a comfort. It will get better.

    Mary

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