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Problems with my mom now that my dad is gone...


bronbear

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I have a big problem that I am finding myself unable to deal with. My dad died on October 4, 2005 so everything is very fresh and recent. My mom was not an easy person by any means before my dad's illness, but now she is almost impossible. She is mad at the world and she lets everyone know it. She blames the rehabilitation place he was in for not taking good care of him and leading to the septic infection that he died from. I am angry with this place too, but I don't take it out on other people. She came down to my house for Thanksgiving to spend it with me and my family. I knocked myself out for her to have as nice of a Thanksgiving as possible, but she was just miserable to everyone. It wasn't sadness either - it was like she was mad and didn't really want to be there. An old friend of hers called to talk to her and she didn't want to take the phone because she is mad at her that she hasn't called her much since my dad died. She finally took the phone and told her she was busy and hung up on her. I was mortified. This lady is a friend of mine as well and I feel terrible that my mom treated her that way. The entire time my mom was at our house she hardly talked to anyone. My kids kept wondering if they did something to make her mad. Then, out of the blue on Saturday morning, I cheerfully asked her what she wanted to do that day and she told me "I'm heading home." She got her stuff together and was going to leave without even telling the kids goodbye (they were still asleep). She lives 180 miles away. I had to go rush and wake them up so they could say goodbye to her. She left and I felt just horrible. I must have cried for a couple of hours. Part of it was grieving for my dad and part of it was because it's like I have lost my mom too. When she got home, I talked to her and she was nice as could be and told me how much she enjoyed her visit. I told her that it sure didn't seem like it and I let her know (nicely) that the kids were upset by how she treated them when she was down there. She got very defensive and told me that it was hard. I told her I know it is hard - because it is very hard for me too. She told me that she had lost her dad a few years ago and it wasn't the same thing. I feel like she thinks she has a monopoly on the grief here. I am hurting too - I helped take care of my dad throughout his illness too and I watched him waste away to 120 pounds. I was holding his hand when he died. I can't even explain the depths of my grief and I know that she is hurting too, but is it so hard to acknowledge that my family is feeling a great loss as well? We have done nothing but try to help her out throughout this ordeal. Long story short, she hung up on me on Saturday and I haven't heard from her since. I know that I am going to have to be the one to call her because she is very stubborn but I am having a difficult time thinking of what to say. I don't feel like I should apologize, because I didn't do anything hurtful to her. Please give me some advice, because this is tearing me up. I know my mom needs all the support she can get right now. She is already on bad terms with my sister, she does not talk to her brother and she is even mad at my grandmother. I don't want her to be alone, but I feel like she is pushing me away when I am only trying to be there for her.

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god, how painful. I hurt for you, I really do. I have never been in the situation, so I can really only offer support. I'm so sorry, honey. you just keep looking after your kiddos and yourself. as much as you love her, it sounds like her anger has her in her own world right now. you'll get through when she's ready to hear it.

I just feel horrible for you, what a way to spend the holiday. :cry:

xoxo

bunny

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Do you think your mom would go to some sort of counseling? Or do you have a minister that could talk to her?

I do know that since my moms death dad does not seem to like to be around the family gatherings for to long, although he is pleasant he just heads home early. I guess some people prefer to greive alone. I think my dad worries about breaking down in front of us.

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I think your moms behaviour is not too much out of the ordinary, considering she just lost her husband in October. If you remember, I posted a message about anger and how people deal with it. I can tell you that I was very angry. I was hard to deal with and really didn't want to be around people for a while. After being home so much while Dennis was ill, I hated to leave home. I think I always felt that he was there. When I did have to go out, I would always rush home, almost as if I expected to find him there waiting for me. I know that you are in pain from losing your father but the loss of a spouse is very different. Please don't be too tough on your mom right now. I'm sure she will come around. right now, she probably feels very angry that her husband has been taken from her. She is probably very afraid and feels very alone, yet is not quite sure how to reach out. I'm sure, given some time, she will be fine. Saying prayers for both of you!

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Thank you Bunny for the kind words - I really do appreciate it. Millie, my mom will not even consider counseling. Several of her friends have suggested it and so did her doctor, but she would not hear of it. She does not attend church so I don't think a minister would be an option either. Ann, I appreciate your reply and your candor. I do understand that the loss of a spouse is very different from a parent. However, there are other things at play here. When my dad was in the rehabilitation center recovering from his pnewmonia, I had to practically force my mom to go over there and be with my dad. She didn't like being there. I kept telling her that after two weeks I had to go back to work but that she could be there as much as she wanted. She was staying with me and I told her I would take care of all of her laundry and the meals so she could be there all the time. She snapped at me that she couldn't be there 24/7. She has never been a very nurturing person and she almost seemed to resent my dad's illness. She kept complaining about how she was having to do all the driving and all of the yard work. I helped her out a lot and she would still complain. My poor dad was unable to do much especially after he was on oxygen and couldn't even walk across the room without having trouble catching his breath. I guess what I am getting at is I am not sure my mom was really there enough for my dad especially at the end when it was really important. He even confided in me when he was in ICU that she hadn't spent more than 10 minutes in his room since he had been there. It just breaks my heart that he felt that way. Believe me, I love my mom and I would never tell her any of this but I have to wonder if she might be dealing with a great deal of guilt for how she handled things. I would appreciate anyone's insight.

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You know, I think that all of us seem to second guess if we really did enough for our loved ones. Maybe your mom is thinking the same. I know that some people have a very hard time dealing with illness and loss. My youngest son had a very hard time being around his dad when he was very sick. This would blow my mind, as Dennis was definitely bigger than life to all three of the boys. Finally, one night the truth came out. Dennis was having a very painful night and was in tears. Chris just ran out of the room and when I followed him out he just told me he couldn't handle seeing his dad like this. Maybe you are justified in feeling that your mom didn't "give" enough while your dad was so very ill. But, remember that these feelings won't help anything at this point and will only furhter the distance between you. I feel so very bad all the pain you and your mom are dealing with. I'll be saying prayers for both of you.

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Here I go again, but I think your Mom has clinical depression. I know when I had it I was mad at the world and acted out like that.

Don't know what to tell you to do about it, though, it's not like you can force her to get help.

In the five years before Dave died, I lost three first cousins within 18 months of each other. At ages 38, 43 and 48. The 38 and 43 year olds were brother and sister. That aunt is very religious and her faith has really carried her. The 48 year old's parents are not really acting out, but his older brother who is now 56 I think told me recently that his father told him that losing a brother was not like losing a child. That aunt and uncle are also horrified at my deceased cousin's wife for remarrying 2.5 years after he died! I don't think anyone should think they have the monopoly on grief. I don't get it but I think this aunt and uncle are a bit depressed themselves.

I hope your Mom gets better because she's going to miss out on alot of joy there is in life, such as your children. God doesn't want those of us left behind to be miserable, that's an insult to the gift of life He has given us. He wants us to enjoy this life and be good to others.

Hang in there.

Karen

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My mom was angry after my dad died too.

These are normal feelings. Every grieves differently. Now if she were feeling this way and acting this way a year or two after he died, I would recommend professional help/ counselling too.

My mom was mad at the world and didn't want anything to do with friends and certain family members (always for one reason or another having to do with how they acted when my dad was sick or shortly after he died) Her grief came across as anger or meanness.

It was a slow process, but she worked (keeps working) thru her grief. Realized that those that loved her weren't going anywhere and were there for her. She also began to realize that no matter how miserable or sad she felt, the world kept turning, things needed to be done, other things needed her attention, life began to move her into the land of the living again.

You must remember that not only is your mom grieving, she's adjusting to how she must now live her life in this "new normal". And that just sucks.

(((hugs)))

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I second everything that Ann and Katie said. One of the other ladies here said something one time and it is so true. No matter how much you feel the loss you have others to who you are the most important person in their life. Your mom no longer has that.

The anger is very normal. I can say that because at times the anger still tears at me and it will be three years tomorrow. Later you will see that the anger will come at times and often it will fade and something else will takes it's place for a while. Right now the anger is keeping her going. Once she lets go of the anger she will have to face her loss. She will no longer be able to tell herself that she is having a nightmare that will end soon.

I know it is terribly hard for you right now, especially with the holidays. You just have to remember that as hard as it is for you it has to be 10 times as hard for her. She has a whole life time ahead of her and doesn't know any other way to face it right now. She wants to be alone but at the same time she is lonely. Give her time and try to forgive her behavior. The sooner you can do that the sooner your relationship with her will improve.

Believe me when I say that she may not show it but she loves you and needs you. She is already feeling guilty. We all do. When she called you and all seemed normal she was trying to make up to you for her behavior but when you reminded her of how much it hurt all of you it just added to her feelings of guilt. It probably made her more angry at herself than anyone else.

This road we are on is the hardest that anyone can ever travel. It takes time and patience to get us through. Everyone grieves differently. There is no right way and no wrong way. The grief and the pain and the anger take turns with us. It is never easy but more than anything we need our loved ones to give us time and understanding. Without that we are really alone in a world that has become hostile to us.

You will have my thoughts and my prayers. Your mom will be in my thoughts as I wish you both a place of peace and love. Lillian

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I may be going out on a limb here but there is one thing more I want to say.

I think that you may be dealing with some anger issues of your own. Your mom was not there for your dad as much as you were or as much as you think she should have been. That hurt him and you saw it and that makes you angry with her. Like Ann said some people just can't take it no matter how much they love someone. The problem is that you love him too and you had to take it or he would have been alone. You had no choice and it tore you apart. It just makes you so angry that he had to suffer in the first place. Add your mom's behavior hurting him and you having to watch him suffer and you have a pain and an anger that runs very deep.

I can say these things because I know. I was the only one there for Johnny. His kids kept their distance and it caused him so much pain. That made me so angry. How could they worry about what it did to them when he needed them so much? What did they think it was doing to me? Didn't they know? Didn't they care?

If those thoughts are going through your mind you have every right to feel them, but you have to know that sometimes that is just the way things are. Some people are strong because they have no choice. Love makes some of us stronger and others weaker at the most crucial of times. Maybe your mom senses your anger and it adds to her guilt and she can only handle it by striking out.

Please try to come to some kind of understanding with your mom for both your sakes. You really need eachother right now.

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Ditto what Katie said. The same thing happened with my mother, and although it came out differently, with me too at the time my dad died. We were both angry that he "left us." We were angry that he worked so hard and didn't stop to take care of his own health because he was so busy taking care of everyone else (he was a small town doctor). We were angry about so many things.

Now, my mother is 92 and has just moved into an assisted living facility. As wonderful as it is, I think she still has times when that anger surfaces and she wants him to be there with her, and for them to have a "home" rather her being stuck somewhere with strangers.

She was hard on me about some things, but I've moved on and have forgiven her, and I just let her call the shots for the most part. She's 92 -- not 6, and is still capable of making her own choices.

My best wishes to you. I'm sure this is difficult to go through.

Di

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Lillian, thank you so much for your posts. Believe me, you are not going out on a limb - I am angry at my mom. I felt so bad for my dad when he was in that awful place and she was not there for him. He needed his nails clipped one day and asked her to do it and she said she couldn't do things like that. So I did it for him. He was so mad about that! He even told my mom "Well, what can you do then?" He would tell me that he would sure like to have a PB&J sandwich and I would go make it for him and bring it to him. I wanted to do absolutely anything I could do to make him happy. I think that deep down even though I didn't want to admit it, I knew I didn't have that much time left with him. I guess I just thought my mom should be doing the same thing. I do understand that people handle things differently - I am a nurturing person and a people pleaser. I worry more about helping other people and making them happy than I do my own needs. That is why, trust me on this, I have never let my mom know that I am angry at her about how she handled things with my dad. I would not hurt her that way. I love her very much and I would not want her to know that I felt like this. I have called her and we are on good terms again and I feel so much better about things. I know that the holidays make things extra hard and the empty place at the table was hard on Thanksgiving so I know Christmas will not be any easier, but I will be there for her. Something happened to me the other day that made me feel really good. I got home from work and had a small package and it was one of those "Merry Christmas from Heaven" ornaments. It made me cry. There was no return address so I have no idea who sent it. I called my mom and she had also received one. Same story - no return address. I guess what I am trying to say is it really warmed my heart that someone was thinking about us and did something so thoughtful and wanted no recognition for it. That made me realize that I need to do the same thing for my mom now. I did everything humanly possible to help my dad and be there for him and I have no regrets about anything. I know he would want me to take care of my mom and that is what I will do. Thanks again for the great advice and insight.

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