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Really struggling

(31 Posts)
Poppy2005 Sun 07-Nov-21 21:32:07

My mum died from advanced bowel cancer on Wednesday night. She was only just 70. I am really struggling with the loss and would like any advice/suggestions on coping strategies.

I am 41 but have never had a partner or children. I live with my dad, who is 83 and has MS. He gets angry when I cry, telling me I am letting mum down and appears to be bottling everything up himself.

I have a full time job but am on compassionate leave until January as I could not cope with work at the moment.

I regret not making an effort to meet someone/leave home. My mum and I were so close and did everything together, which I am sure is making the loss even harder and I know her main worry right up to the end was how I would cope without her. I have assured her repeatedly since her diagnosis that I would be ok, but now it has actually happened I don’t know how to even begin to move forward and just can’t bear the thought of decades ahead without her.

I have considered counselling (which dad says I shouldn’t need) but I don’t know if this would help.

Any advice would be welcome.

MissAdventure Sun 07-Nov-21 21:47:17

I'm no expert, but you are still reeling from the loss of your mum.
You won't be moving forward for some time yet, and that moving won't be in a straight line.
There will be good and bad days and weeks, and some days the grief will feel too much to bear.
You will bear it though, and will realise that the only way is to go through it - not around it, or past it, but through it, in all it's ugliness. flowers
It's such early days yet, and for your dad too.

MayBee70 Sun 07-Nov-21 21:51:38

You need to speak to your doctor. When I went through a very painful divorce mine put me on anti depressants, something I never wanted to take but really did help me. There’s always someone on here to talk to. And there’s no harm in crying. It’s part of the healing process. I’m so sorry for your loss x

Urmstongran Sun 07-Nov-21 21:56:25

Oh Poppy I really feel for you sweetheart. You’re broken hearted. Time will eventually heal. But right now you are bereft. Howl away. It will exhaust you and then calm you. Sadly, grief is the price we pay for loving someone.

Marydoll Sun 07-Nov-21 21:58:38

I cant imagine how you are feeling just now, but I couldn't pass by, without offering my condolences. What a sad situation you are in. Its very early days yet and it will be a difficult journey, as MissA has said. However, you have those special memories of your mum to hold on to💐

By the way, it's not too late to meet someone, so don't lose hope. My dad, was forty four when he met my mum. He too had thought he would never meet that special someone.
I hope you can eventually find peace.

Santana Sun 07-Nov-21 22:04:09

Please accept my condolences for the loss of your mum. It has happened so recently, and it must feel very raw. Crying is not something you should hold in. Let yourself grieve for however long it takes. It just feels too much to cope with at the moment.
41 is still young, and you have plenty of time to make new friends when you feel ready.
Be gentle with yourself.

V3ra Sun 07-Nov-21 22:19:31

These people will help you I'm sure.
I'm so sorry you are hurting so badly at the moment.

Esspee Sun 07-Nov-21 22:28:33

You are only 41. Once you have had time to grieve you will start a new era of your life. It can be whatever you want it to be.

I am so sorry for your loss. 💐

NotTooOld Sun 07-Nov-21 22:35:19

Poor you, so sorry for your loss. Sounds like you are having an awful time at the moment but you and your dad will be able to comfort each other as time goes on. I don't suppose he means to be harsh, he is grieving for his wife just as you are for your mother. Do bear in mind that 41 is still young. You have the rest of your life before you. It's never too late to meet someone, if that is what you want, and to make friends.

Smileless2012 Sun 07-Nov-21 22:38:22

I am very sorry for your loss Poppy it will take time for you to work through your grief and crying is part of that processflowers.

silverlining48 Sun 07-Nov-21 22:40:05

Poppy I feel Your pain and send my condolences. As MissA says it’s so early, just a few days,
Her advice is good, and I would say take things a Day at a time, whatever you feel is ok. Cry as much as you need and laugh too if you want. There is no wrong way of coping with this sort of sorrow,

I am so sorry Poppy flowers sending a hug x

Luckygirl Sun 07-Nov-21 22:42:31

I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I am sure that your Dad is grieving too, but it must be very hard for you when he says things that make your grief seem something to feel bad about. You are not letting your Mum down - you are expressing your sadness in a very normal way.

As others have said - you have a lot of life ahead of you and meeting and making new friends will be part of that.

CRUSE is a very good organisation and they helped me enormously when my OH died. There is also WAYUP which is for those who have been bereaved.

Help is out there and you must avail yourself of it - your Dad is much older and of the stiff-upper-lip generation, but you are allowed to seek counselling and any other help you might need - and able to do so without feeling it is a sign of weakness.

Please take care of yourself, as well as looking after your Dad. flowers

Smiley4 Sun 14-Nov-21 22:56:49

Hi poppy,
My mum died Thursday morning. I’m telling you so you know you’re not alone in your grief. Nothing will be clear for you or I, for a while yet. We need time to heal and think straight. Xxx

silverlining48 Mon 15-Nov-21 08:12:06

Smiley flowers

OnwardandUpward Mon 15-Nov-21 08:41:27

I'm so sorry for the loss of your Mum. flowers

Has your Dad always been uncomfortable with crying and showing feelings? If he has always been this way, he won't change now. My Dad got angry with me for crying when I was a kid , so much so that I bottled it all up and cannot cry as an adult if I wanted to.

Could you move out for a bit and take space to grieve the way you need to? You're not letting your Mum down. Tears are healing and your Dad's behaviour is damaging. What lets us down is not being allowed to cry. Your Mum would be ok with your crying. flowers You need time to grieve and if he's not letting you do that, I think move out and live your own way, if you can. It's not too late to start anew.

Hetty58 Mon 15-Nov-21 09:51:05

Poppy2005, we all grieve in our own, individual way. There is no right or wrong way to do it, so don't be upset by your father's comments.

I'm sure he's struggling too, and just can't deal with your visible grief. What he's really saying is 'Don't cry when you're with me, I can't cope with it'.

When my husband died, I never cried with the children, I cried in the shower (I had so many showers, I was squeaky clean).

Years later, my son said the worst thing was losing me too - as I just went into my shell and seemed 'like a robot'. So, it seems, in my efforts to not upset them further - I got it wrong.

But then, there's no right or wrong way to grieve either, and no prizes for doing it well. We just take it one day at a time, try to comfort each other and manage however we can.

Be extra kind to yourself, and others, and battle on. Get that counselling, accept offers of help and support. The pain does subside and life becomes more normal as time goes on.

luluaugust Mon 15-Nov-21 14:14:22

My condolences, take one day at a time flowers

Shandy57 Mon 15-Nov-21 14:24:07

So very sorry for your loss, they say grief is love turned inside out. Ignore your Dad, he can show his stiff upper lip if he wants, but at your age he should not be telling you not to show your emotions.

Remember to be kind to yourself, accept all offers of help and invitations, and as luluaugust has said, take one day at a time.

mrsgreenfingers56 Mon 15-Nov-21 14:30:35

I am very sorry for your loss. It is one part of our lives which is the hardest losing our parents and I often wonder why we aren't better prepared. It happens and not nice at all but the Tide of Life as they say. Please go and see your Doctor and be kind on yourself and accept any help offered.
Would you be able to return to work on a part time basis? It really could take your mind off it a bit and give you some social contact with your collegues. I was going through a very difficult time when I thought about my problem every minute of every day but once back at work (part time) I thought on about the 3rd day wow I haven't thought about my problem for 10 mins today and it got better. I wish you well.

Poppy2005 Thu 18-Nov-21 20:19:43

Thank you for your kind replies.

I will look into counselling after the funeral and am planning to go back to work in the New Year. I also hope to buy a house at some point (should have done it years ago), although I’m not sure how it will work with dad’s care.

I’m just feeling overwhelmed with everything at the moment. I have always suffered from social anxiety and lack of confidence, which is the main reason I am stuck in this situation now. My dad says it is because my mum smothered me, but I know she always wanted me to have my own house and be independent. The years just ticked by and I just always found a reason not to, but I know she didn’t want me living with my dad after she had gone, as she knew what he would be like. I feel guilty that she was so worried about me until the end.

I just feel overwhelmed with everything that has happened recently. My mum had cancer for almost two years, but there was a dramatic deterioration over the last few weeks. On top of losing her I have had to battle my shyness to deal with numerous phone calls, people at the hospital, her care home and relatives I have not seen for years, including my cousin, who has given my mobile number to someone we were at school with years ago, who now wants to meet up. I feel a bit awkward about this. I think she thought she was being kind, but as said above I just feel overwhelmed with it all and a bit of a charity case.

I sometimes wish I could just disappear somewhere and not come back!

Shelflife Thu 18-Nov-21 21:02:54

Poppy , I am so sorry about the death of your mum. Loosing a Mum is a painful situation. Take one day at a time , you will begin to feel better in time ! Who knows having to deal with phone calls etc may help you grow in confidence. You are still young , lots of time to begin a social life. Counselling can be very helpful, it is not difficult to off load to a counsellor! Easier than confiding in a family member. Please consider this , you are a grown woman so go for it , if your father thinks you shouldn't need it then the answer is quite simple - make the appointment , go and don't tell him !! Be kind to yourself and take your time to recover. If you are not ready to meet up with your long lost school friend then be positive, take charge and say no . A counsellor can help you analyse your feelings , promote confidence and then encourage you to take charge and be yourself. It will take time , but it will eventually be beneficial- trust me ! I wish you good luck and happiness. In time the last thing you will want to do is disappear! Look after yourself , and be happy 😊

jeanie99 Fri 26-Nov-21 02:49:15

Poppy give yourself a break, your mother as just died. I can only speak for myself as I was very close to my mother like you.
My mother died in 1986 and I still cry when I think of the very hard times she had bringing me and my brother up on her own.
You can never replace a mother, remember all the wonderful times you had with her and it will carry you through.
You need to look to the future, you are a young women you have your life ahead of you perhaps with someone to love.
Buy a journal and start writing your feelings down and your hope for the future.

Poppy2005 Wed 01-Dec-21 19:01:50

Thank you for your replies.

I will look into counselling as soon as I can. We are still in the process of sorting mum’s estate at the moment and only had the funeral on Monday, so have not had a lot of chance. I have heard it can be very helpful though.

The other problem is that I am starting to feel pressured by my aunt, uncle and cousin (the relatives I mentioned earlier who I have not seen for years even though they live close by) into doing things with them. I think this is because my mum asked them to look after me after she had gone, but they have taken it a bit too literally and even at the funeral said “we are not going to leave you alone, you will be sick of the sight of us”. As said previously, my cousin gave my mobile number to someone we were at school with over 20 years ago and is wanting us all to meet up, now my cousin and aunt want me to go to a spa with them etc. I am struggling with this as I have hardly seen them since we left school (no fall out, we just moved in different directions) and have never been good socially. I was always happy in my own company or with mum. I know it is difficult to keep saying no without seeming rude, but I just feel I need to start my own life now. I resent my mum (unfairly I know) for leaving me in this position and asking them to look after me. I don’t want to be a charity case and should not need “looking after” at my age. It is another reason I regret not having had more of a life of my own. My life has been turned upside down in the last 6 weeks and I just want my mum back even though I know that can’t happen.

MissAdventure Wed 01-Dec-21 19:10:48

The first step to moving on with your own life, poppy, is to start saying "sorry, I don't feel up to it* when you're feeling pressurised by family to do things you don't want to.
It will be the truth, it's perfectly reasonable, and you will need time just to "be".

Poppy2005 Wed 01-Dec-21 19:19:54

Thank you. I’ve actually just sent my cousin a text re the spa saying that. I’m hoping they will get the hint and back off a bit, just don’t want to seem rude.

I also don’t want my aunt trying to replace my mother (they are very different anyway) and I also find them quite “full on”, which is difficult when you are a quiet type and one of the reasons I have avoided them over the years to some extent.