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Losing yourself....


KatieB

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I read another post were Rochelle wrote about reinventing yourself to the outside world....who are you after someone you loves dies?

For alot of folks, (my brothers and sisters for example) they are the same people outwardly...same jobs same every day routine. Sure I believe they felt a loss when my mom passed away, but their lives didn't change. I was the one with my parents each and every day. I went from daughter to caregiver to best friend without hesitation or pause. They didn't "lose themselves" when my mom died, they lost their mom. I lost myself.

When someone loses a spouse, they lose one-half of a unit....who are you and what do you do next? There's a great thread started by Teri that addresses those huge issues and feelings..

For me, I am in an altogether different boat.

I liked who I was before my mom passed away- I REALLY liked who I was before my dad got lung cancer...in 14 months, my life is unrecognizable.....I've had to learn how to do so many things alone...things I did effortlessly before all by myself, but without my "saftey net" it all feels intensely lonely....

who am I without them?

I'm starting to find out..and it's been a hard process...many steps forward and rebounding back again...

How do you do it? I am literally creating a new life for myself, new relationships with my husband and people on the "outside"- trying to fill up the emotional position my mom used to fill in my life. And when that isn't successful, I fill my days and nights with work and projects and chores.

It's daunting. It's exhausting. Sometimes better not to put in the energy...but then life throws you something to deal with and you just keep going...and poof! 14 months have passed since my mom passed, 4 years since my dad, and here I am still trying to find the me that I lost.

Is it even possible? I just don't think so.

Thoughts?

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Katie,

You'll never find the "me" you lost. You truly can never go back home again. Were both of your parents still alive, you still would not be the same person you were five years ago. LIFE has happened to you, and life has changed you. If your parents hadn't passed, you would STILL have had LIFE happen to you and you would have changed.

I can't seem to put myself back to where I was before cancer, and I've realized that I never will. I do know, however, that life is not a guarantee and I'd better start working on that "Bucket List" before the sand in my hour glass runs out.

You are a new person, a sadder person, perhaps, but new. You just have to get used to the new skin you are in and wear it until it's as comfortable as the old one that no longer fits.

Hang in there, you're a tough girl.

xxoo,

Becky

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My heart to yours Katie...

My mom has been gone 3 years now and feel I'm doing okay.

Then I find myself in this new (have no choice) job position that scares the heck out of me as this was something I never expected at my age. I just don't if I can do all this responsibility which will be coming my way soon. Iam scared that if I can't cut it and lose my employment, I lose everything as I am the bread winner here and the one with the medical.

I bring this up because I know my mom would comfort me and give me the love, encourgement and support I desparately need in her loving and tender arms amd she would tell me everything will be okay.

I miss my mommy and I really need her now. I need her to make me feel better and know I can do this.

Maryanne :cry:

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I am only at the beginning of this journey, but oh*my*god* Katie....this sounds just like me.

I am so afraid of who I will be without my Mommy, she is such an intertwined part of me.

Like you, I am also the child who will naturally take all of this on...because I WANT to, and because it makes sense. None of my other siblings are so deeply attached like I am.

I am so terrified of how this is already changing me.

I am so sorry :cry:

I only hope that we can emerge stronger, more compassionate people, with richer lives, because of all of this.

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Katie,

The old Nick died 18 months ago when Mom did.

There's a new one; similar, but not spot on.

I don't know that I dislike the new Nick...I dislike having to be the new Nick. I think you'll find you do REALLY like this Katie too...I think its probably just harder to BE her.

Understandable.

I definitely have a tendency to go back to a place of comfort when mom was still around...but instead, and what I have found real comfort in, is finding and latching onto those things in me that ARE my mother.

I'm more into simple things, I tap into the enjoyment she got from her hobbies, I'm more of a bulldog at work (I actually find myself immitating her in meetings and exchanges I have, she was not to be messed with at work).

Most of all I try to be the parent she was. I could never be...too much of my father hardwired into me I suppose. But I try to have the energy anmd enthusiam mom had for babies with my baby.

All this makes the new me. And it is exhausting, and being the old me was easier. But the new me is more like mom...so maybe I do like this me.

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Katie,

Your post intrigues me and I'll be curious to see how the responses read. For me, I love the new me. As Nick put it, I'm not happy to have to be the new me, but I love my new self. My experience in losing my husband has made me a much stronger person. I no longer think too long and hard to make a decision. I'm much more compassionate. I take those "leaps of faith" much more frequently. Most of all, I am no longer afraid of death. I don't want to die, but if I am one of the ones that know that their death is coming, I won't fear it or fight it. I will look forward to being with Bill again and I will KNOW that I will be with him again. I learned so much thru my exposure to Bill's lung cancer and his fight...I like my new self.

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Yes, there are parts of this new me that I certainly like. I am def. more compassionate and dedicated than I was 5 years ago. I am def. sure where my career path lies and am grateful for the path this entire journey has put me on.. I am grateful I have the patience and care towards my children and that I have them and Rickey in my life.....

I just don't know about ME yet....

Kind of like a baby giraffe- tall enough to see all the good things, and can reach up and grab some of the good things...but my feet are still unsteady and unsure.

Some days I can be a dynamo, and other days I am counting all that I've lost.

It's a process. Thank you ALL for your replies!

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Hi Katie,

You have been so kind in answering some of my questions and I feel so bad about they way you are feeling. The thing that is helping me through dealing with my moms lung cancer is my working out. I run, bike or swim just about everyday, even if I have to do it at 430am. I highly recommmend some sort of excercise to help with making you feel better. Even if you just go for a brisk walk.

I am sorry, but this is all I have to offer you.

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Responding to dear Nick --

I see from another angle how much of Tony is in my children and I'm glad that you are embracing the part of you that IS your Mom. It is that spirit and legacy that keeps them alive forever in our hearts.

Good for you for being savvy enough to recognize her qualities in you! I find it brings me much comfort and honestly enough, some angst, to see my hard-headed Italian husband's traits in my kids. LOL

Hugs,

Welthy

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Oh wow Katie, I so understand. I said in my other post that I'm no one's little girl, no one's punkin', no one's caregiver and I lost my best friend. What am I? Just a sad about-to-be 35 year old running around without my saftey net. What's my purpose now?

I have been doing projects and community things that I have never done before and I can't say that I'm glad about it. I know it's a good thing, but it doesn't take away the pain.

And yeah, what about my brother? He has never asked me really how I'm doing. I'm sure that he misses her and misses his sounding board, but I don't think that he gets how much I miss her (them). He will call and if I say it was a bad day, he asks "how?". Where do I start with that?

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"Nick C"]I don't know that I dislike the new Nick...I dislike having to be the new Nick. I think you'll find you do REALLY like this Katie too...I think its probably just harder to BE her.

True gems of wisdom, Nick. You've put something I've been unable to express in the simplist terms.

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All--

I can't believe this post is here...I have literally been struggling with similar feelings for several weeks.

I am terrified because I am starting a new job next week...This will be the first time that people will only know me as someone without a dad. The job is very high stress (politics)...and I find myself wondering how I am going to handle this without my dad to center me and to remind me that I am special.

As everyone has said, it is tough to be the new me. While the new me is holding it together (barely), she is a lot less funny and a lot more insecure...I miss the old me.

Having a hard time making peace with all of this.

Thank you for sharing this post.

Leslie

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This has been on my mind all day, trying to bridge what I call the "great divide." I so desperately want to get from the place I am now to the place where everybody else seems to be, where the old me was. As it stands now, I'm on one side of the Grand Canyon, and everybody else is on the other.

In many ways, I'm not the same as I used to be. I'm an only child who lost her only parent, how can I possibly be the same? And,how can I explain this "new" self to my friends. Scream it across the great divide? Nobody else has lost a parent yet. It's just me, and this isn't a feeling that's easily explainable.

I've found my way to the book Motherless Daughters and I'm so glad that I did. The young ladies in this book feel the way I do. It's like reading about myself, and that has really helped. I've been highlighting passages and writing things down in preparation for the girlie pow wow I'm holding in a few weeks. I'm sitting everyone down and we're discussing this great divide thing.

I have no idea if the old me is out there floating around in "lost old me space" or what. I hope she is, but the new me isn't so bad. I guess I can learn to live with myself! :)

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Katie,

I can't dare to say I know how you feel b/c I have yet to be in your shoes. But I can only imagine and I am so proud of you and how you are doing.

I lost the old me the day my mom got diagnosed, so I can understand how you are a totally different person now.

Love to you and so glad you have Mr Rick and those darling little people. Well Hunter is getting tall and Kennedy is growing up so fast, so you have darling medium people I g uess ;)

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Katie,

The reinvention is hard. And Nick was spot on when he said that we just don't want to have to be this new person.

One of the things I struggled most with was just wondering where in the heck the life that I knew went. Things changed so fast... And I reference it over and over again, but I remember this one particular day standing at my mother's grave and going, "What the hell happened to my life?! I want it back!"

I don't like that I have to find my own internal resources to navigate life without my Mom. I realized even more after losing her how close I really was to her. Some days, I still feel like I don't know how to operate without her. I have so missed her lately. I've so needed her lately.

I'm off into rambling land and I don't think I really even said anything... but I understand. The reinvention is crazy hard. And I like who I am... but I wish I could be back on the other side of that "great divide" L and C mentioned.

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Katie - let me just say in the midst of you struggling to find your new self...look at how many lost souls you have helped to find peace and comfort in their own lives. It's terrible that your dad had to get lung cancer...but look at how many people have benefitted from the results of this tragedy! I guess what I am trying to say is even if you still feel like you are trying to find yourself, look at how many people here have found you (and this forum) and are better because of that. And I hope that lessens the pain a bit. Kind of like being a mother, we sacrifice our own comfort to ensure the comfort of our children.

I'm lucky in the fact that I have not lost my parents yet (nor my spouse), but I've faced some difficulties in my life that have changed me as a person. And there are things I don't like about this new person, but I have to admit the adversity has brought out some good qualities too. Nick is right, this is mostly about us not wanting to have to BE this new person.

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Thank you everyone. I've loved and learned from all your replies. There are many that hit it right on, you guys certainly do know how I feel.

It's 15 months today that I lost my mom. (4yrs. 7months since my dad)

Many days I am ok and working hard at being this "new" mew....other days it still feels like I lost them yesterday. I guess, depending on the circumstances, it will always be that way.

(((hugs)))

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  • 2 weeks later...

I totally relate. I don't know who I am with out my mom. All the things I did with her, because she would do anything, I do alone now. All the silly questions I wouldn't know the answer to, I'd just ask mom. I always considered myself to be such a happy bubbly person... Sure, I can fake it really good sometimes, but I just want "me" back. I'm scared that I'll never see her again..

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Katie...My heart aches to be able to give you some gem of wisdom...or even just a glimmer of hope but all I have to offer is that I know what you're going through.

My existance was so wrapped up in my mom's that I'm not sure where I ended and she began. I was blessed with that relationship with her, to be that close but now I think it makes it harder to "reinvent" myself because I don't really know which part was "me".

Sending all my love (and some bath salts :wink: )

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