Don't grieve alone; 13,000 members and growing
Ever since the loss of my mom (12/242015) I have felt very much alone. It didn't start out that way. After mom died, as sad as I was, I had friends and family calling me each day to see if I was okay. It was particularly comforting for me to talk to my mom's sisters. I sort of thought that they would be motherly towards me. And they were for a little while, but they have their own kids and grandchildren. There is a degree of separation there.
A year and a half later I think they maybe a little tired of hearing about it. I actually had not talked to them that frequently. Both of my mom's sisters live far away. I wish that people would understand that everyone grieves in a different way. They each told me what it was like for them when their mom died. It is sort of hard for me to relate to them however. My set of circumstances were very different. I was my mom's caretaker (sole caretaker for four years. My mom had struggled with cancer for 12 years, but when there came a point where she needed assisted living, I just could not accept that. I had learned a lot about caregiving over the years. I knew how to take care of mom. I just did not have the availability to do it 24 hours a day. So... I quit my job. I had been with American Airlines for 27 years. I had enough time with the company to retire. Problem was that I was still way too young to collect my pension.
Love won out in the end. My mom wanted to die in her home. There were times when stays at the hospital were critical, but my mom hated the rehab centers that they would send her to afterwards. So did I. Mostly (rehab) was just her sitting around watching television. Also, they did not seem to show much empathy towards her or anyone there. I couldn't take that. not when I was healthy and mom had a comfortable home to live in.
I was her caretaker for four years. It was the greatest blessing of my life. I was able to love on my mom every day. My mom would joke to her sisters, "If I so much as cough, he comes running." I did not have a dad. Mom did it all on her own. She worked extremely hard and raised four of us without help. I can only imagine the anxiety that she must have experienced when money got tight. Truth is, it was always tight. But I never went hungry. Always had clothes and a home. I adored my mother for all of that. I so much wanted to give back. I'm not sure that we can ever give back to our moms all that they gave us. It's just not possible.
My mom began to look at me in a different way. I was the youngest of the family. There came a time when mom was at her sickest when she looked at me with so much love that it broke my heart. My two brothers and sister came by occasionally. They loved mom but being a caretaker isn't for everyone. I remember once when my sister was visiting. I had to put mom on a bed pan. My sister hid in moms bedroom until it was over. Afterwards my sister said, "I don't see how you can do that." I kind of snipped back at her, "I guess you don't."
My mom loved all of her children equally but I do believe that there came a time when I was the only one she trusted. One of my brothers once visited when mom was on Hospice care at our home. My mom asked my brother if he would help me move her to her hospital bed in the sunroom. Another brother would be visiting a few hours later. he suggested till we wait until then. I will never forget the look of hurt on my mom's face. After he left, I was able to get her to her hospital bed without his help.
While on Hospice, my mom would often need help through the night. I slept in a bed close to her hospital bed. We were only separated by a pair of open French doors. Once when my sister visited she decided that she wanted to sleep in that bed, close to mom. Full disclosure... that was my mom's bed. It was very comfortable. I guess that was what my sister was looking for. I was completely against it because she did not know how to tend to my mom's needs. My mom was against it as well. Mom slept with a Bi-Pap machine. She had COPD. It was very important that the facemask stay on snug throughout the night. The machine helped mom release Co2. If there the mask became unsecure, it would make a noise. It was so important to keep it on snuggly. Mom had developed a real issue with releasing Co2. Twice the levels became so high that she lost consciousness.
My sister had a temper tantrum and said that she would just go home if she could not sleep in that bed. That would have been fine by me but mom did not want to hurt her feelings. So mom relented.
I woke up in the night and went to check on mom. I noticed that the French doors had been closed. My sister was asleep in mom's bed wearing and eye mask and ear plugs. I couldn't believe it. I stayed with mom until morning.
Please believe me. I am not trying to pat myself on the back here. I just want people to understand that I was very much alone. It was just me and my mom.
I was her caretaker for four years. When my mom died on Christmas Eve, I tell you, she took the best part of me with her.
After my mom had passed my brothers and sister just wanted to know how quickly I could move out out so that they could sell mom's house. This had been a huge fear of my mom. She had talked to them about this before her death. She told them that I had given up my job to be with her. She wanted me to be able to stay here until I was ready to move, until I was working again and could afford to move. They told her, No. My mom was working with a social worker through Hospice. She was trying to help my mom change the wording of her will. Mom died before this could happen. My family gave me two months to get out.
All of this hurts greatly. I cannot have my mom back but I was hoping for some family. I was hoping that my brothers and sister would become closer. That we would be there for each other. That was my mom's wish, too. It did not happen.
So here I am a year and a half later. My best friends are my mom's two little dogs. They were my best friends during my four years with mom. Having those furry little girls under my feet was and remains a blessing from God. It's just me and two little dogs. That and a lot of memories of my wonderful mom.
When I realized that I would not have a family for support, I looked where I have always looked. I looked to God. I pray every single day. I pray repeatedly. What I have been hoping for and praying for is a sense of peace. Just to know that God hears me and that he loves me. I am not doing a very good job finding that peace.
I don't blame God. I am not angry with God. I simply do not understand is will or how he works in our lives. Since mom died my life has been one unfortunate incident after another. I was not able to go back to American Airlines. I had to cash in my 401-K to be able to stay at home with mom for four years. Right now I work at a grocery store stocking shelves. One of my mom's dogs became very sick and just came home from the animal hospital. She was there a week in ICU. Thank God she pulled through. Those little dogs are all that I have left. I feel guilty about posting this but it cost a fortune and my anxiety is now through the roof. Between missing my mom and worrying about money, I am just a wreck. I just keep praying. Does God hear me? Will he help me? Is there a light at the end of the tunnel? People will say to me, "Go see a therapist." I can't even afford to go to a regular doctor now. I did go through grief counseling and I hear a lot of text book jargon. It was comforting to be around others who were also grieving the loss of a loved one. But the class didn't help very much. I miss my mom as much or more than ever.
I feel guilty now. My mom had always been my rock. I prayed to God but I realize now that it was my mom that I had always counted on to get me thru the bad times. She always did. But she is gone now. I am trying to put my focus squarely on God. I remember the line from Jesus, "I will not leave you orphans." I hope and pray that he will not. I am losing hope. Worse yet. I am losing faith.
Has anyone on this board experienced the hopelessness of feeling alone after your loved one died? When My aunts lost their mom but they had their husbands and children to lean on and focus on. I can't imagine what a blessing that would be. All I had was my mom, and she is gone now.
Where do YOU find strength? Is there a light at the end of the tunnel? Do we only see it when we die? Can it be found here on earth? Does God love me? Does he hear me? Does he love you? Is he helping you cope? Do you feel his spirit? Does he comfort you?
The last thing I want is to have issues with God. I have enough problems on my own. I realize that many people become angry with God after they lose their mom. I was never angry. I am just very sad. And I need his help. If anyone can help me find it, it would be greatly appreciated.
Brett, I just saw this post and I don't want to give you some pat answers to make you feel better. That said, I do want you to feel better and I do want God to meet all your needs. I have to believe that He will even though it may seems that He is nowhere to be found. Believe me, I feel the same way most of the time, but I keep going back to God because He's all I have.
God never left your mom and she raised you and your siblings without help from your Dad. You said yourself that you never went hungry and you always had shelter. If he helped your mom, he will help you. You have to believe that even when your mind tells you not to believe.
I know I said I'm having a faith crisis myself which is true, but if I stopped believing in God altogether what would be the point in carrying on. I might as well die right now. I'm just trying to offer you some encouragement to not stop believing in God's faithfulness. He'll come through for you in a number of ways if you continue to put your trust in Him. I'm telling myself this as much as you.
Thank you. I haven't stopped believing. There are just so many things that I do not understand. I just finished long prayer session. I am still trying.
I know what you mean. When I give people advice about the Lord, I am telling myself as much as the other person. Here's the thing about God. You can't fight him. You won't win. You cannot dictate his will. You can only hope that in his will is the help that you so desperately need. Sometimes life is going just fine. Other times we are driven to our knees in prayer. If we get through this it will be by his hand.
Having faith in God is all that I have. Take away God and where would we be? If God is Love and Love dictates the world than we are in the best possible hands. Without God, and without the hope of ever seeing my mother again, I don't know what I would do. There would be no point. We have to hold on to something. Faith in God is a good thing to hold on to. It's the only thing to hold on to. I pray that he blesses us both, Joy.
Brett -- I can relate. I spent nearly every day with my best friend. I do not have any other close friends. I still have my mother, and she is the only person who cares about me at all. I'm so blessed to have her, but it's not the same. She worries about me constantly, and I have to keep a lot of things from her, or she would worry herself to death. I can't talk about heavy subjects like, sex, depression, suicidal feelings and drug use. My best friend cannot be replaced. I can't imagine having that kind of intimacy and unconditional love with anyone else. So, now I feel completely alone. My mom would be devastated if something happened to me. The only reason I try to stay strong is her sake. I feel completely alone and socially isolated. Days pass without any human contact. I'm struggling with my faith. I'm just lost.
Liz, first of all I am very sorry that you lost such a great friend. I can also understand that it can be incredibly difficult to talk to your mom about some things. Not because they won't listen. It's because they love you so much that they cannot be objective. Or maybe we know that the things that we really want to get off of our chest would only hurt them. There were many times when my mom would ask me what was bothering me. What was I going to say? "Mom, you are about to die. You are all I have in this world. I don't want to live without you." That would have been horrible for her. Sometimes when I couldn't get mom to eat I would just start crying. Once in a while mom would gather the strength to put her hand on me. I felt terrible for letting her see my emotions, but they were sure real, and it was love expressing itself. My mom left this world knowing that I loved her. That's for sure. She also knew that there was not anything more that she could do for me. The rest is up to me.
I cannot give you a reason to live. I will say that I am glad that your mom makes you want to keep it together for her sake. That is a reason to go on right there. It's like the Lord presents us with a system of checks and balances. I think your mom plays that role in your life for a divine reason.
I am so sorry that you are lonely. Believe me. I am too and it is not fun. I think we all need human contact but it is not always easy to get. You could be the nicest person in the world and still not have friends. You can have a job and the people you work with can just be people you work with. It can be hard to find people that truly care. And that is not because of you or me. Sometimes people already have their own family to lean on, a spouse, kids, plenty of friends. They are very blessed. I wonder if they know how blessed they are. Hang in there as best you can. Know that you are not alone. I can promise you that I care. That may not seem like much but it's a start.
The thing about siblings and who steps up and who does not I think is normal? I am the one who took care of our mother and was the one who had to call the others when she passed. I am the youngest and there was resentment for a couple of years because I am left in charge. I can relate to how you feel sort of. We are all going to react differently. You are obviously the strongest one. The legal details are very important and as I write this I am reminding myself to go get it done now. Not when I am sick and getting ready to move on. It is hard to do but my grandmother planned her own funeral. She outlived 2 husbands. I have the utmost respect for her and am trying to channel her inner strength. Find something you can do to help those that are less fortunate. It might pick you up to give someone else a lift. Just keep going.
Jean, I can't say that I am the strong one exactly. I may be the most patient one. I was the natural choice to be my mom's caretaker. My sister is the oldest of the family. She wanted for mom to come stay with her. Mom wanted no part of that. My sister would have planned a daily itinerary for her. Mom didn't have the strength for that. She also didn't have the strength to fight her. My sister has no patience. Mom just wanted someone to sit with her, keep her company, listen to her, and most of all just love her unconditionally.
I'll be honest. I could not be more involved with the less fortunate. It has helped me remain a caretaker in some capacity, but... it cannot take away the pain of loss. I don't know what is going to help me there.
This is all new to you. It has been 4 1/2 years for me. It gets easier sort of. I still cannot go into her room at our house without breaking down. My husband asked me will it be another 5 years. Well I just don't know. I was on a different forum about packing up their things. I was at the 4 year mark and another person said it took them 8 years. It made me smile a little bit. I miss my mother each and everyday. We have lost so many friends and family that I have lost count. We miss them all. We remember them all and one day we will also just be a memory. I do hope that we reconnect again on some level. I pray more than I ever have in my life.
Jean, on my grandma's 90th birthday, it was a summers day. We were celebrating her big day at our family church. I was in the graveyard looking at grandpa's grave. I was also looking at the headstones of other family members who had passed. I could hear laughter coming from the educational building. There was an open window and that is where the party was being held. I could hear my mom, grandma, and a few others, laughing and talking. I thought to myself (sadly), "One day they will be out here, too."
They are. I have the last family plot. It's next to my mom's. I know that it will just be my body, but there is no place that I would rather be laid to rest. I miss her more than words can say. Before my mom died I asked her if she would come and get me when my time came. She said, "I will if they let me." I hope they let her, or I hope that I will meet Jesus first and he will say, "Now go be with your mom. She's waiting for you."
Never to say goodbye again.
Brett, one guy I figured had this worked out pretty well. "So! Where *is* this God you talk about all the time?" "God is Spirit". "Well, if he's spirit, then where you do say he is? Here? There? Where?!"
"He dwells within." [WITHIN]
Nature takes care of living and dying and the shootin' and the cryin' and the fellow with the switch-blade knife. God takes care of your soul, if you'll have him. Knock and the door will open. Ask, and you will receive. You won't receive the dead, but you will receive his peace, because he dwells within. If you have to, be silent for the rest of your life, and just listen. With respect, AnneJ.
Anne, the things you say are true, but I wish that it was as easy as all of that. It may be for some people. I may very well be my biggest enemy when it comes to finding peace. One size does not fit all. Sometimes you have to live through a war before you can have peace.
The silence part is a virtue that I am trying to learn. I can't hear God if I don't give him a chance to speak. I'm trying. I do think that people who follow this, "be silent and listen" to God line of thinking can sometimes delude themselves. Sometimes they are only hearing themselves. They are putting words in God's mouth and they do not even realize it. Not everyone, but some people do.
Brett you are spot on about some people hearing only what they want to hear. I am calmer now with time that has settled down the extreme sense of loss. My mother was my rock also and my best friend. She has been my most difficult loss in my life so far. I worry a lot but am trying to calm my mind by letting go of trying to control what others do and say. Just be happy and wait for the next storm because there always seems to be one. I cannot predict when or what so am learning to just give it to God and do the best that I can to get through it.
Peace is new to me and I hope to hang onto it for as long as possible.
I wish that for you, too. You deserve it. We all do. Today I was trying contemplative prayer. I just closed my eye and listened. I think it is so easy to put words in God's mouth. Sometimes without even realizing that we are doing it. Maybe that would be okay if that person is giving themselves great advice.
I took a class on contemplative prayer last summer. The minister who taught it told us that what we hear my be very slight. It may be just a word. It might be just a feeling. He painted a very calming scene and asked us to visualize the scene and just listen.
I have to admit that I didn't hear anything. That doesn't mean that God wasn't talking. Maybe I just couldn't let go enough to hear. We talk about laying our burdens at God's feet. I wonder how many people can actually do that for keeps? God Bless them if they can.