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natalie

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okay, you all gave me the go ahead to be candid...

Just recently when I think of being without my mom I'm scared. I feel fear. It's in the pit of my stomach. I feel like now I'm officially an adult and don't have my mom there to pick up the pieces and that scares me so much. Not like I needed someone to pick up the pieces but it's so nice when you have a mom to call when you need advice or comfort. I'll never have that again and that makes me so scared and alone. Even though I have my Dad, we don't have the relationship or understanding that I had with my mom. My Dad, although I know he loves me, can be so cold and removed. I'm also getting more angry and cynical. I don't understand this. I don't want to be this way. Regular anger and cynicism have never been part of my personality trait and now I'm just so bitter.

I think the shock is wearing off and now my emotions are really raw. I'm okay most of the time, but usually when I'm driving home or in the shower, that's all I think about and it really starts sinking in.

Can anyone else relate?

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Natalie,

I can so relate and understand what your saying. I am the same way. I lost my mom last august. I was so close to my mom, we were like most mom/daughters in that we were best friends. I never could imagine me living without a mom, especially my mom. God I loved her so much. I am turning/turned too. I am not as nice, carefree, joyful, playful, happy, relaxed. Its gone, I am harder, more untrusting, less helpfull for unselfish reasons. I think we have been to hell and came back and that is now a part of life for us.

I have lost so many family members in the last 7 months that I am truly different. Mostly to cancer but one nephew to an auto accident. I see life as meaner now, not living but rather existing now.

gosh its so hard to say it in words because its more feelings than I can describe. I too am ok most of the time and then BAM it hits me that I cant' call mom to go shopping with me anymore or to go break our diets with ice cream and stopping at a bake sale and eating it all so we didn't have to share with anyone else.

i so understand nat.

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Guest bessb

Natalie and Shellie

I know its not much help but you have all of us to vent to anytime you need us, we can't replace your mom's but we love you and are here for you always. I do understand your pain, I felt the same way when my mom passed, just lost and scared and lonely. She used to call me every morning to get me up and God how I missed that phone call. I knew it would never ring again at 7:00 a.m. with her on the other end telling me to get out of bed sleepyhead!

Bess B

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It's really hard. There will be phases, and it comes in waves.

For me- I was numb first- then completely devestated- (but in the car or in the shower- God Forbid anyone see my pain :roll: )

- that phase is called denial :wink: -

Everyone is different. I know I felt more lost and more grief at the 6 month mark 3 weeks ago. My life is settled a bit- the adoption was over- life was "normal" and it was like BOOM- "where's my dad?" I just ached all over. I mean, really- WHERE IS MY DAD? I felt like I had just lost him--all those raw emotions and missing him so incredibly much.

I know I'm supposed to be making you feel better here (didn't work- huh? sorry.) but aside from letting me "vent" alittle (thank you for that) I want you to know that you are not alone- there isn't a thing wrong with you- and you always have us here when you need to talk.

We move on because we have no choice- life happens all around us and we get swept up in it and before we know it a day has passed that we weren't in SO much pain- maybe a day passed that we did not cry- or maybe, just maybe, we thought of our loved one and instead of pain, it made us smile. (?) Just what I think.

((HUGS sweetie))

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Natalie,

I totally understand how you feel. My father just passed away on March 21, 2004. We lived together for the past 13 months. While I am very close to my mother also (they are divorced), and she only lives one house away, my mother and father are two totally different people. My father was my rock. He was my calming. He was the only person in this entire world that made me feel safe. Just knowing I had my Daddy in this world always kept me from going off the deep end with some things I had been through in life. He would do anything for me and I knew it. He was the only man in this world who ever really loved me and now he is gone and I am lost and scared. I have had terrible anxiety all day today, when I get that scared feeling. I've suffered from anxiety attacks for the past 10 years and trying to deal with them. This is a big setback for me. Especially, this time at night, when I'm in the house alone and my daughter is asleep. He's not here to talk with. We had breakfast and coffee together every morning, spent most of our days together and watched TV together at night. He was my father and also my daughter's father. Now both of us have no father and it's just heartwrenching. While I am very close to my mother, she doesn't have that same calming effect on my like my Dad did. We handle things differently, my mother and I and she seems to think that everyone should act and react as she does. I'm not like her at all in that sense, so it's hard to find comfort from her. But I love her dearly and she does everything for me too, but that safe feeling is gone and I'm scared. Now all I can imagine is what and how am I going to feel when it's my Mom's time. I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone, Natalie, and sharing these feelings helps all of us.

Karen

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Hello,

It has been 1 1/2 years since my Dad passed away but the pain is still there. I do not think that it got less but it's more tempered. My Mom and Dad were living with me at the time of their diagnosis. Mom with breast cancer and Dad with lung cancer.

Now everytime a board member passes away, it's like my Dad passing away all over again. I experience that empty, hollow feeling again, although less intense but it is sill the same.

Anyway, these days my focus is in taking care of my Mom. I am as close to my Mom as I was to my Dad and I treasure every single day with her. I am doing this for me and for my Dad.

Theresa

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Ah, Ladies --

You are all exactly right. We all react differently and yet so much the same. I lost my Dad 35 years ago and my reaction was to cry a little one day because I regretted that we were not close and I felt bad that his passing affected me so little, and I wished I were there to support my Mom -- and then I went on with my life 3,000 miles away.

Almost 20 years later (Labor Day weekend 1989) I found out what grief really is -- I lost my 21 year-old son -- my first-born child, my pride and joy -- my baby who had just grown into a man and my friend -- to a motorcycle accident. My husband, my daughter and I spent 3 days in a critical care unit, talking to him and holding his hand and trying to will him to live. He looked perfect and beautiful, only a small cut on his forehead, but his lungs were crushed -- yes, damaged lungs from hitting the windscreen on the bike, took him from me -- and he was not in a coma -- he could squeeze our hand for yes or no and I love you. But he had staples from breastbone to groin from his operations and he was hooked to a ventilator and most every piece of machinery known to man and he was able to smile when his best friends came to see him and we just knew the doctors HAD to be able to save him. But they couldn't -- his breathing worsened until they had to do a cut-down trach operation at his bedside and we sat through 3 code blue responses where they restarted his heart until finally the doctor came and told us that he was gone. By that time I wanted it to stop because I knew he had been without oxygen much too long.

Even at 14 my daughter was a rock. She was the one who could talk to him and make him respond. I watched her grow up in three days, and I was so proud of her and have been for all of the 15 years since.

I cannot begin to tell you how long it took for the grief to become bearable. I remember endless days and nights of zombieism. My husband never criticized -- merely took over most of the things I had usually done, although he was devastated too -- I went to work, came home, went to bed, got up -- all with very little emotion. I remember being at a back- to- school night for my daughter at her first year of high school and feeling so sick to my stomach and so shaky and scared inside and finding it hard to realize that all these people around me didn't know my world had stopped. I knew my daughter deserved more from me, but I didn't know how to pull out of it.

And yes, Natalie, the shower -- I think more tears than water went down my shower drain for a long, long time -- I think because it's such a private spot and you don't have to be afraid your loved ones will see you and feel sorry for you -- which often makes it worse because now you've added your pain to theirs.

And guilt and regrets -- which has been discussed here many times -- believe me, it's a part of the trauma. There was absolutely nothing I could have done to change the situation in any way. There was no way I could have been at fault -- we just got that call that every parent dreads, and he was already in surgery when we got to the hospital -- and I believe the doctors and nurses performed above and beyond the expected -- most victims of blunt force trauma to the chest die immediately and they kept him alive three days but still my brain persisted in playing and replaying in endless loops the tape of every minute from the call to his death. I think our brain is trying to rearrange it into an outcome we can accept.

Very slowly the grief and pain incorporated themselves into my life and became a part of me and somewhere along the line I began to remember his life and the good memories much more than reliving that awful time in the hospital.

I don't think I was ever consciously aware of the changes, but after a few years -- sorry, folks -- yes, I said years, I became aware that the anniversary of his death or his birthday still brought sadness and pain, but no longer unbearable pain. And it probably took 10 years before Labor Day actually passed without my thinking of it at all. I had finally come to remembering him always but now with seldom a thought of his death but only to smile about his life.

And now another round with grief. After being treated for COPD for three years my husband, Chuck, began having bad pain in his upper back and left shoulder blade. After suffering several months and being misdiagnosed, he finally had a CT scan on July 18, 2003 which showed a tumor at the upper tip of his lung which had eaten into the rib cage and the shoulder blade.

To make a long story short -- I've told some of it somewhere on this board earlier on -- an orthopedic surgeon operated and stabilized his spine and shoulder. And the operation was successful and he was doing ok in a rehab unit, although it was very hard on him.

But then the surgery site became infected and had to be opened and washed -- twice. The last time just took too much out of him. His heart rate became elevated and he caught pneumonia. He had gone in the hospital on Aug. 8, so he had spent nearly a month being moved from oncology to rehab and back again. He spent the last three days of his life (Labor Day weekend) in the same critical care unit in the same hospital where our son had died on Labor Day in 1989. It was ironic, because he would have been placed in the Medical ICU but the only empty bed was in the Surgical ICU.

This time my daughter and I spent three days with him, at the end of which time his condition had worsened and he was no longer responding to us. They removed the ventilator because he had specified that he would accept it only temporarily. He died peacefully within one minute of removing the ventilor, without ever opening his eyes. And I do have regrets over some of the things before and during the hospital time, but that is for another post.

I've gone into all this detail because I want you to know that I can tell you from experience that in spite of how awful grief is, you can bear it. You do not get over it, but it does become a part of your life, and so perhaps I have a little edge over some of you in that I KNOW I can do this. But it is without a doubt the worst thing I've ever felt. I'm 61 years old, but I'm just a scared little girl. I can keep going mainly because much of the time it doesn't seem real. It's the times when the reality that he will never be back creeps in that are so hard to get through.

And although it seems that the circumstances of dying the same weekend in the same hospital as my son must mean they are together, I have had no signs and no dreams to make me feel close to him.

And Natalie and Shellie and Katie, please not to worry about feeling changed by this and bitter and maybe more self-focused. It is all very normal. We've been through a period of intense focus on one thing -- and then, zap, without warning it's gone and we're left very disoriented. The things we did before don't seem important now. And the small things that people around us complain of are irritating. It's hard to be sympathetic about everyday stuff like bills and deadlines when we have so much more on our minds.

The compassion you all have for others shows through very well in all your posts. You will feel more like your selves again in time -- it just takes a long time -- and none of us will ever forget.

And from the perspective of the surviving parent to the child, yes

there are times when Wendy and I don't seem able to help each other. Sometimes when she's here, we both are quiet and non-communicative -- she watches something on TV and I mess with the computer, or vise versa, and we don't feel close. Other times we're able to slip back into our old routine of talking about our jobs, friends we have in common, plan a trip or go shopping. Your parents are probably not shutting you out, they just are trying hard not to burden you. I don't think there's much that can be done about that, other than to see each other often. Which I know you are already doing.

Gloria

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Gloria,

WOW...thank you for sharing this. I feel like you were talking to me about just what I am going through. Thank you for saying what you have said. I know I am not alone anymore in what I am feeling. I have just felt so lost in the last few weeks and I just didn't know how to put it into words. What you have written says it all.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for you words and wisdom.

Much love to you and your daughter.

You are all in my prayers.

Shirley

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Thank you all,

every word I read helps me go through life as it is now.

A friend told me, that when we face the death of a love

one we are facing a big puddle and we can't let it go dry

to keep going on with life we have to wade through it day

in day out, till we are on dryer land.

The puddle for me, seems to get bigger everyday and I do

not see yet any dry land.

xoxo

J.C.

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I'd like to add something to my post. I posted it late last night. In reading it this morning, I realize someone could read the post as implying that the death of a parent is unimportant in relation to the death of a child or spouse. I didn't mean that at all. It's just that my experience with my father's death had not prepared me at all for what grief can be. My father was an alcoholic and I left home right after high school because it had been a rather chaotic childhood. However, my mom and I are really close and if she dies before I do, which is likely because she's about to turn 90 this September, I will be right back in this swamp of pain as are all of you who have lost parents.

Of course, common sense tells us that the closer the relationship, the deeper the pain of its loss.

I usually am not so open -- have composed many long posts here, only to delete them without posting, because mostly I'm a private person. But this board has truly become a family to most of us and I identify strongly with many of you who are on similar paths to mine.

On a brighter note, yes after six months I'm not in as much agony every day -- there are still tears every day and fears every day, but there are occasional smiles too.

I grew up in Maryland and all of my family still live there in my hometown or the surrounding areas. I have four sisters and two brothers. I couldn't be prouder of my sisters. For years now they have all been taking turns caring for my mom and her sister, who is 97 this year and only went in a nursing home two years ago. By caring for, I mean one of them went to my aunt's apartment each day to be sure she had her meds, ate at least one cooked meal, left other prepared foods for her, did her grocery shopping, paid her bills, cleaned her house, etc. They do many of these things for my mom, but because she is in better health, they don't go everyday -- they allow her to continue doing as much for herself as she is up to -- but they call everyday and they do whatever they feel she finds difficult. One sister pays her bills, another sister cleans for her weekly, one takes her to doctor appointments and they all cook and bring food whenever they feel like it.

Well, I'm really excited today because tomorrow ALL FOUR of those sisters are arriving here to stay with me until April 9. WOW -- hard to believe they all managed it at one time. The youngest and I are very close and she has been here more than any of the others. She told me she was coming and was hoping one sister would come with her, but of course she invited them all and they surprised us. One sister hasn't been here for 22 years and one has never been here.

So poor Mom will have to struggle on her own for a while. Just kidding. Wish I could say the two brothers will step in and fill the void -- not! They don't get it, because the girls are so diligent they never feel the need to do much. BUT the husbands of these girls -- I keep saying girls -- the youngest is 50 for gosh sakes -- will fill the void. One will even take her to bingo, which she loves. Thankfully he does too. And of course we'll all be on the phone to her telling her what we're up to. I wish she could have come too -- she has made the trip many times in the past, but she uses a walker now and her legs hurt her a lot of the time and her hearing is just bad enough that a group of noisy people all talking at the same time is hard on her, so she didn't really want to come.

My daughter and I went to see Mom last October and will go again this September to celebrate her 90th birthday. So we don't feel too bad that she can't be on this trip -- we'd wear her out!

And my mom's sister will be well cared for of course because she's in a nursing home. She just won't have as many visitors for a week. But we'll be on the phone to her too.

When they go home and my house is again empty and echoing, the grief will probably rush in again, and of course it won't be gone while they're here -- only pushed deeper down. But it will be SO worth it.

BTW the picture is me and my husband Carl Dean (Chuck) McCormac in September of 2002 at a wedding. Perhaps the fact that a man named DeanCarl showed up on the board to post such profound and helpful insight is a sign in itself that I should continue on this message board to get help and give it wherever I can. I think Dean Carl and Carl Dean would have liked each other.

Gloria

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Nat,

I have no right to reply to your posting b/c I have not yet gone through what you are going through. But I want to tell you that I think you are amazing and doing so well.

Oftentimes now I talk to my mom, call her for anything, I think to myself what am I going to do when she is gone. Who will I confide to? Who will I gossip with? Who can I share "mean" or "bitchy" thoughts with that are not nice? Brian said I can share them with him. So I gave it a test. I was like "can you believe what ____ was wearing? it was so inapprorpiate" and just going on about general gossip of the evening events. Well guys don't care about that, they think it is mean to be critical and I was really just sharing private thoughts that I would normally only share with my mom. There are so many things I would only tell my mom and the thought of her leaving me brings me to the point of hysterics.

I wished you and I lived closer Nat, even though we both have lots of friends, there is something about being an only child who is close to your mom that you can relate to.

As for your dad, he is going through a lot too. My mom told me last nuight when I was really cranky with my dad about his concerns on the walk that I should not be so hard on him b/c he is dealing with this on a daily basis and it just is not easy. Your dad is probably grieving in his own way.

And I am sure you are angry. And I bet it might make you sad when you see happy families. This is all understandable.

Again, I KNOW how lucky I am and I feel guity about posting about something I have yet to experience, but I just wanted to say a few things.

Nat, you are my hero. I admire you. Please promise me that you will save at least two bracelets for me to buy so that my mom and I can proudly wear them daily and think of you.

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Thank you for making me feel "normal" everyone! Gloria, your input really is insightful and helpful. I just can't believe how many compassionate supporting people there are here. I don't know what I'd do if I didn't have you all to bounce my thoughts off of. I feel normal here. In my world outside of this board, I feel like people are just waiting for me to crack. It drives me crazy. When someone asks me how I'm doing, I want to say, well terrible, I lost my mom and want her back, how the hell do you think I feel?...but I say, "great!", "fine", "ok".

Today I feel much better...that's how this works...it's such and up and down thing. I can't imagine this up and down grief being a part of my life, but I guess that's how it's going to be.

The shower is the place I mostly grieve...how wierd, huh? I'm can't believe you all understand what I'm talking about!

I just can't find meaning in the things I do. Especially work. For example, right now I should be working instead of typing my response on this website, but my work ethic has gone out the window. I just can't find the drive I once had which is very hard because I make most of my money in sales and commissions which is counting on my hard work...but I don't care if I don't make money, I don't care if someone's mad at me, I don't care if someone's has a problem they want to gripe to me about that seems so minor. Then I start thinking, what if I get cancer? I know my Dad is next. I just know it...(this is how I talk to myself). What if my Dad starts dating someone I don't like and she starts using things that once belonged to my mom? What if my Dad gets married in the future?" "What if my Dad never finds another woman and he feels lonely for the rest of his life?"

Why does my mind have to think so far in advance? I keep having the remind myself to live in the present. Shelly, I think about you all the time and pray for you and your dad. I just can't imagine the double whammy you have been blown, but you handle it with such strength and dignity.

I just can't have normal everyday careless thoughts like I once had. I just want that back. I want to think about a shirt I want to buy or about landing a good deal at work and being excited about that. I'm glad I have clarity of what is important in life, but on the other hand, I wish I was naive to how anything bad thing can happen at anytime.

I imagine I'll get back to "normal" in time...but I'm just impatient I guess. It's only been 2 months and I guess I have to be a little more realistic. I'm just someone that's always been able to "fix" my problems. I always believe you have choices, but in this case, I didn't have a choice. God decided to take my mom from me and that's that. I guess my choice now is to keep her memory alive and make my mom proud.

I feel like you are all my family. Thanks for just being there and for opening up. When you all tell me what you are going through and how you feel, it truly, deeply helps and makes me feel closer to you. Thanks for sharing a part of you.

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Natalie,

Thank you for your honesty. I have anticipated many of your emotions while my mother fights her battle with lc. My girlfriend who just lost her mother to breast cancer recommended a book call "Motherless Daughters: The Legacy of Loss" by Hope Edelman. Bottom line is no matter what age we are, losing our mothers is a pivotal moment that forever shapes who we are. The bond is so bittersweet. As my own daughters worry about their grandmother, I keep reminding them that we hurt because we love someone so very much. It's so ironic that such a beautiful bond and love can carry so much pain. I, personally, haven't read this book, but it came recommended, by a loving daughter. I can't yet bring myself to read it.

Wishing you solace.

Soccermom

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Having lost my mother at age 9, the book Motherless Daughters was recommended to me several years ago. It is an excellent book and will help daughters no matter the age they lost their mothers understand their loss. I kept the book for my own daughter to read, when the time comes that she loses me.

Elaine

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