I’m so sorry for your loss. I haven’t been through this yet with my own mentally ill mother but I know it is inevitable. My husband and I ‘‘joke’’ about the mental implosion that will likely occur on my part the day she dies. I think there is an assumption when relations are strained that the death won’t hurt as much. For example, when my uncle died, my grandpa said, in essence, ‘‘You never got along with him anyway. Why are you so upset?’’ He didn’t understand our failure to get along was part of the reason I was so upset. Death is complicated stuff.
It’s doubly complicated when you add this into the mix. I didn’t have a relationship with my bio. father for 10 years, and he missed my entire adolescence and much of my early adulthood. I feel guilty for how little he feels like my father.
If there’s any advice I believe is helpful for any painful situation at all, it’s this: let yourself feel what you feel. Don’t castigate yourself for your feelings or lack thereof. Be 100% committed to and compassionate toward yourself. Guilt, anger, grief, disgust, apathy, whatever – it’s yours and it’s healthy. Own it. Give yourself time and space and take care of you, always.
I have decided to, after some consideration, start a blog. I don’t see how else I can get out everything I am feeling, and if reading helps me, writing helps me even more. I’ll link to it - I’m going to keep it open to the public as that feels like the right thing to do.
I got in touch with hospice too late for them to help with my wife’s terminal illness, but they did hook me up with a weekly grief support group in my area, which was very beneficial – and most of the attendees were there for loss of a parent.
So look up your local hospice, and ask them what they’ve got.
I found through grief groups that the hardest deaths to recover from are those where the relationship was difficult.
A woman in one of the grief groups I attended had been bitterly deceived by her husband. It had already been a couple of years and I, at a couple of months, was at a better place than she was. She was the first really good illustration I had of how difficult it is to process a loss when there is so much unfinished business.
ETA: Seconding the idea of looking up hospice. Kind, wonderful people. You don’t need to have had previous “business” with them to use their groups.
I know this isn’t as interactive as a forum, but I found the book “When Parents Die” very helpful.
It’s written by a journalist, not a typical self-help author. What was interesting for me were the many first-person accounts he included, where people with a wide variety of parent relationships (in terms of quality and closeness) described their experiences in coping with the loss.
Sometimes emotions can seem “out of line” with the relationship one had with the parent while living. Very normal, apparently. And reassuring, IMHO, to hear other people express things I was feeling.
My mom died 8 years ago, my dad died 2 months ago, and my younger sister died yesterday. I’m only 37, and my brother is the only other blood related family I have left.
Maybe it’s weird that I haven’t tried to find a support group or forum yet, I’m actually at peace with it all. Then again, I feel that I may be teetering on the edge of losing it. Probably at my sisters memorial service next Wednesday. Especially if my brother doesn’t show up, which he is hinting at.
We all had a perfectly normal family life, no issues. Maybe that has helped me.
That’s a lot of loss to deal with. I would never say that you won’t remain fine and at peace with it, but I would encourage you to spend some time thinking about and exploring your losses just so you don’t get smacked with “losing it” at some point when you least expect it.
We all deal with losses in our own ways. I was in a good place with widowhood long before I expected to be, for example.
OMG. All that loss like that must really suck. I’ve lost both my parents, but 13 years apart, which probably helps to some degree (you get used to the loss of one before you have to deal with the next), and I haven’t lost a sibling yet. But one of my sisters is currently struggling with cancer, and being the youngest of five sisters, odds say I’m going to lose at least a couple of them, sooner or later.
Anaamika, is there an India/Asian version of Amazon that might help you locate more suitable books? I know there’s a UK version, and German version.
I’m very sorry for your loss. Your relationship with your mom always seemed very complex. I hope the blog helps you sort it all out.