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Forums / Grief and loss / How do I deal with this unbearable grief?

Topic: How do I deal with this unbearable grief?

4 posts, 0 answered
  1. appoggiatura
    appoggiatura avatar
    4 posts
    6 March 2018


    My mum died of cancer almost six weeks ago, and I am not coping at all. I was living and working in another city and as soon as I found out I dropped everything and came to be her full-time carer. She was diagnosed at the beginning of December and died at the end of January. I never left her side and slept every night in the hospital for three weeks. I called an ambulance after New Year's because I felt I wasn't coping at home, and I feel tremendous guilt about that because I felt it made things happen faster. I am still beside myself with grief every day. I miss her so much.

    I don't really have anyone here that I can talk to either. My dad (who has never been reliable) has stopped talking to me, which hurts a lot as well. My friends are all in other cities. I don't know the rest of my family that well and even so, they all live overseas. I feel completely alone.

    I am still paying rent on an apartment in Sydney as I haven't had the capacity to make any decisions about my life yet. I am going back to work in Sydney on the 19th of March. They're letting me come back part-time, which is nice. But I don't know how I'm going to do it. I have to be at my Mum's house, in another city, to look after her three animals and to sort out the house, which she still has a mortgage on. So at this stage I will be commuting, but it's a 6-hour commute every day by train, and it will be very exhausting. I need to get out of my lease, but I feel unable to do anything. There are bills piling up and I need to call various places to explain what's happened, but I don't know what's wrong with me, I can't do anything. I feel triggered by every little thing. I see a bill and it makes me cry, I hear an ambulance and it makes me cry, I feel like making a cup of tea and it reminds me of her and makes me cry. I'm paralyzed.

    All I can think about all the time is my Mum and what she went through and what happened. Every time I close my eyes I see her last moment or I hear her struggling to breathe or I remember every little detail of the hospital and the cancer. I feel like I'm going to be sick. It's unbearable. I feel like I can't do it anymore and I really need help and I don't know how to get it, so here I am.

    1 person found this helpful
  2. Croix
    Community Champion
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    Croix avatar
    10546 posts
    6 March 2018 in reply to appoggiatura

    Dear Appoggiatura~

    It realy is a terrible thing to lose someone you love so much, it seems like the world has ended and you are sort of left there - in limbo alone. I remember looking after my wife, and living in a seat by her bed in hospital, and remaining there for a long time until she passed away, so I guess I can understand a little of what you are going though.

    I learned some things. Looking after someone who is very ill and relies upon you is one thing. Doing everything right, seeing what needs doing, raising their spirits, managing their treatments. All of that is important and one tries as hard as one can to get it all right, even mundane things like their laundry

    By the sound of things you did get it right, and when you knew you were not going to be able to give her the support she needed you called that ambulance. Having nothing left to give and seeing your mum in the correct place was exactly right, nobody is an inexhaustible fund, no matter how much we would like to be. I relied upon the nurses and hospital staff to care for my wife and I cared alongside them, it was all I could do.

    Now things are different. The things you talk about, houses, rents, even jobs are not in the same league. If you do not act efficiently, if you take time to simply grieve and do little then that is OK, your mum is no longer relying on you. It will all sort out in time.

    The pets are important, and perhaps you should be looking at temporary accommodation for them to stop the need for the extra long commute (I hope I've not misunderstood what you are saying). Many animal welfare organizations do have respite and emergency accommodation facilities.

    I rushed to do everything when my wife died and looking back it was an extra burden I need not have gone though.

    Crying is natural, to be expected, it is a mark of grief and loss. It is also exhausting. I know your friends are elsewhere, is there one of them that you could simply talk to on the phone, not for any real reason, just to hear a voice?

    I found my employment at that time was a refuge, and welcomed the work. Nothing makes it better but the occupation and change of environment did help.

    You are very welcome here to talk as much as you would like


    1 person found this helpful
  3. Guest_161
    Guest_161 avatar
    38 posts
    15 March 2018 in reply to appoggiatura

    Hi appoggiatura

    Firstly im sorry you have lost your mum, cancer is a horrible thing i lost my brother to it last year.

    Im sorry i dont have much advice as im also still coping with grief and its 14 months since he passed today , but i can say slowly day by day the crying will ease. I dont cry everyday like i used too but i think i try and block out some thoughts as its too hurtfull.

    Still to this day if i see the hospital he passed in or see clips of melbourne city on tv ( he went there for treatment) it triggers it off and i start to cry. I still cant go to some family members home as it hurts too much knowing i dont have him there it was somewhere my brother and i would take the same car too to.

    There will be stages you will go through, i went from always looking at photos to now scared to look at them because the thought of spending the rest of my life with out my brother is extremely painful, im also carrying a lot of guilt and i was his donor for his first transplant that failed so although i know my self its no ones fault i still feel guilt and sad i couldn't save him.

    I hope you start to feel better , just know there is no time limit when you have too xx

  4. dymond
    dymond avatar
    1 posts
    19 March 2018 in reply to appoggiatura

    I lost a son and brother . This is what grieve taught me. First and foremost Grief is survivable.I had felt grieve before I lost my mother to cancer aged 14. BUT, I never understood grieve and what it meant.Grieve is a process you need to allow yourself to feel all the emotions but only as much as your able to in a given time. And work your way through them.Don’t expect to do it on you own share with one or two closest family or friends and a grief counsel or psychologists, this was very helpful. Don’t expect your family or friends to understand , even though they may have lost the same person. Don’t use other people to measure you own grief or dictate how you should grieve. even though we (my husband and our son] were grieving the same person, we are grieving from different perspectives Grieve can be very selfish and lonely time. Selfish because you are so lost in your own grieve and your just surviving you have nothing to give to someone else who may need it.Lonely because you can be surrounded by love and people who care but your too numb to feel it.This is something that no one can fix and for me personally, meaningful family and friends who tried only made me feel worse. You just need to speak up. None of us are mind readers; help those who want to help by sharing with them what you need.Although meaningful and unintentional family and friends can say something hurtful. This is where a psychologist was very helpful for me. My older brother shared with me a comment made by a mother who lost a son in the Vietnam war 'To not have the pain would be worse’I thought about this and she was right. Because not to have the pain, would mean my son and brother meant nothing to me, a this is not a pain; you go to the Dr for them to fix, like a pain from hurting your back. This pain is a natural response to loss. There is nothing wrong with me. From that moment the pain changed. It wasn't so sharp and in front of me, it wasn’t all encompassing. It was what it was, nothing more, and nothing less. Just a mum missing a much loved son and brother. It will never leave me but it is a pain I can live with.The last revelation was I can choose to both cry and mourn their death or I could choose to smile and celebrate their life. I chose to smile, be patient and kind with yourself. Jay

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