Encouragement in your Sorrow

by Ron (Veronica)
(Cape Town, South Africa)

To everyone who has come to share your story and to find solace.... I hope you are doing okay. You have helped me to realize that I am not alone with this pain, and I hope you will be able to find comfort in the knowledge that you were the child of that one unique person in this world. Not all of us had the privilege of sharing in our mothers' lives - in their daily activities, their joys, and their tribulations - especially when we grew older and left them, yet we were connected to them with a bond which cannot be severed by space or time, whether that bond was created at birth or during the noble act of adoption. It is just short of four weeks since my Mum left me on 28 September 2012, and I am completely devastated. Every day, I struggle with guilt, with remorse, and with incidents and episodes which I did not even know I remembered. Yet, somewhere in my confusion, I am trying to remember (though even this is a painful exercise) that it is a process - a sorting of the unimportant stuff from the good stuff. It is extremely hard, when the guilt and the loneliness overwhelm us, to understand how they could have loved us the way they did in spite of our faults. Yet, I believe it is important to realise that the measure of the love which we had and continue to feel for them in return is also the measure of our sadness and our devastation when they leave us: the deeper the love, the deeper the pain.. Whatever we are dealing with, we have to remember that such love cannot be extinguished. I know that my mother is near me and that the love she had for me will never-ever-ever be lost. In small moments, I find her in myself... in a gesture or an expression in the mirror when I least expect it, or in a word or a sentence from my mouth which reminds me of her. I see her in her respect for nature, in the small things which she used to love and the things which she taught me to love: flowers; shrubs; frogs; things that creep and crawl or flutter on the air; stray dogs; stray cats; and, particularly, in the wild birds which are flying free, like she is now. We are our mothers' children and we will always be their babies, no matter how sick or how weak they were, until the day we meet them again in a different reality. To conclude this message, if it will bring you solace or encouragement in your sorrow, I would like to add a suggestion: Make a promise to your Mum and do your best to fulfill that promise when the time is right. I made a promise this morning and I am determined, if it is within my power, that I will honour that promise some day. I know she trusts me and I will not disappoint her. In the meantime, please know that the love which you are longing for are in those private memories which only you have access to, and try to understand that the land of memory is only a thought away... Strength and Peace to you and your Mum xxx.

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Oct 28, 2012
To "Heartbroken daughter"
by: Ron

Hello, again.

Thank you for your response to my comments. I completely empathise with your feelings about Sunday, and I hope you are doing okay. Sunday is just ending here as I write this, and I admit I am pleased. It was never my favourite day and it has been particularly hard for the last few weeks. However, today was a special Sunday. The date is 28 October which commemorates the one-month anniversary of my Mum's departure. I cannot believe how I miss her.

Today, I wanted to remember my Mum in a special way, so I decided to cook my favourite dish of all the meals which she prepared for us when we were young. It was nothing special, just good home-cooking, but, in all my life, I had never succeeded in making this dish the way she could. Do you know what? Today, the dish turned out perfectly. The whole process, from start to finish, was almost effortless... I felt as though she was guiding me and I tried to listen quietly. Sometimes, I found myself smiling and once or twice I even laughed out loud when I realised I had almost made a mistake.

My Mum had a great sense of humour. Even when the "dementia" from Alzheimer's robbed her of her faculties, she would unexpectedly find humour in un-funny situations and she would laugh like a happy child. For some reason, I remembered that today, but, at moments when it mattered, I felt her wisdom and her strength as I bumbled along. I do not need to say... there were a lot of tears too.

I am not sure if anything I've said has any value to you, but I hope it will help to bring you to a place where you can begin to remember the happy times with your Mum. They are there, in your memories, waiting to be found. Keep trying... Ron.

Oct 28, 2012
With appreciation for your response
by: Heartbroken Daughter

Dear Ron, Thank you for your response.

This journey seems so lonely and painful.

The grief group I attendeded was mostly widows who did not consider losing a mum is as traumatic as their experiences. They were so mean to me I left in tears.

The fact that you a stranger took the time and trouble to care was in its self a comfort. Your words of wisdom will be my strengh as Sunday is my worst day.

With appreciation

Heartbroken daughter
Heartbroken Daughter.

Oct 27, 2012
Dear "Heartbroken daughter"
by: Ron

Dear "Heartbroken daughter"

Thank you for sharing your story with me.

Life is complicated, is it not? For many years, I did not share in my Mum's daily life. By the time I was twenty, she had a new family and a new life, and she seemed happy. I thought it was okay to leave home and to seek my own destiny and that decision took me very far away from her. I knew that she wanted me to stay but she accepted that I had to find my way in the world. Now, even though we remained connected, mainly by telephone, I am wondering.. was I right to leave her? My heart says one thing and my head says another. There were time times when I visited, of course, but the intervals lengthened as the years went by. Thankfully, three years ago, when my Mum needed me most, I was able in a way to re-establish our relationship in a more physical sense. However, her illness had already manifested by then, and the situation was further complicated when I realised that, in addition to her illness, she was in the mid-stages of Alzheimer's disease. I believe, though, that she knew I was beside her and that I was doing my best to help and support her. I will always, always be grateful for the grace which made me respond to that intuition or that instinct which told me that she needed me. Although I was still not able to be with her all the time, I took the time out to fly "home" to her whenever I could, and so our bond was renewed.

The reason I have responded with this long narrative is that I gather from your comments that you lived with your Mum. You were beside her everyday, not only during her illness, but when she was strong and healthy. If you can do so, let that be your strength. Remember, too, that you can talk to your Mum. I imagine your daily routine is a little different now and it may help to acknowledge that in a practical sense. You might decide to take a different route to work [or to school], or you may decide to change some small aspect of your day by trying a new activity which does not require special skills, like knitting a woolie scarf in her favourite colours. Whatever you choose to do, remember that there is nothing which stops you from inviting your Mum's spirit to be a part of your new experience. It is possible that in that new experience you will find the sign that you hope for. It is possible that you will see something along your new route, or that you will find something in your new activity which will remind you of her. Your right arm is still there and it is waiting to direct you in whatever you choose to do on this new path. Ron.

Oct 27, 2012
Heartbroken daughter
by: Anonymous

Thanks Ron
by: Heartbroken daughter SO APPRECIATE A RESPONSE RON AS YOU SHARE SUCH COMFORTING ADVICE

I was an only daughter with no immediate family. So when I lost mum weeks ago it was devastating.

People on this site talk about the death rattle. Mum had that for four days and I worry that she was in pain though I was with her all the time.

Ron, your comforting message that love transcends death was such a joy to read. I wish she would give me a sign she is OK as I cared for her 24/7 since dad died and I do miss seeing her beautiful face. Now I come into an empty house, life is grim.

People think I am coping well, but feels like I have lost my right arm.

Oct 26, 2012
Dear Don
by: Ron

Thank you for your comments. I am happy to hear that your Mum is still with you and I sense that you have a good relationship. That is a treasure. I am certain that you cherish your Mum and that she is aware that she is very special to you. I am sorry about your Dad's passing, but, as you said, he is with you in spirit and I imagine that he is very proud of you. I had a very special step-dad by the name of Donald (My Mum used to call him 'Don'), so I was touched to find your comments on my page. I hope you will continue to keep your Dad in your heart and to know that your Mum has a kindred spirit waiting to greet her in that 'other reality' where we all have to journey to someday. Peace to you and your family. Ron.

Oct 26, 2012
Dear "Lost"
by: Ron

Thank you for responding to my page. I do not know if I can ease the burden which you have been carrying for so many months. However, you have shared something which indicates that you are ready to take a small step towards recovery. You said that your Mum would "hate to see you like this", and that you hate to see yourself like this... You also mention that you will be moving to a new house soon. That sounds to me like a positive step. Can I suggest that when you enter your new house, when you take up residence on the first day, that you open all your windows and all your doors too, and that you invite in the spirits of your Mum and your Dad. Remember, you can talk to them... Tell them, with your thoughts and in your quietness, that you would be honoured to have them near you as you settle into your new home. I suggest too that you make the promise... make a promise which will be possible to fulfill, and work towards your goal, always bearing in mind that your Mum would like you to find the peace that she wishes for you. You might be uneasy with the strangeness of your new environment at first, but perhaps you could give yourself a reason to come home at the end of the day. I do not know how you feel about animals..? It might help you to get a pet, a small, needy creature which will love you unconditionally, and on whom you will be able to lavish some of the love and the caring which you have in your heart. Whatever you choose to do, remember that you are not lost. I wish you hope and peace as you journey towards that 'new reality' where you will meet your loved ones again. Ron.

Oct 26, 2012
Thanks Ron
by: Heartbroken daughter

I was an only daughter with no immediate family. So when I lost mum weeks ago it was devastating.

People on this site talk about the death rattle. Mum had that for four days and I worry that she was in pain though I was with her all the time.

Ron, your comforting message that love transcends death was such a joy to read. I wish she would give me a sign she is OK as I cared for her 24/7 since dad died and I do miss seeing her beautiful face. Now I come into an empty house, life is grim.

People think I am coping well, but feels like I have lost my right arm.


Oct 25, 2012
lost
by: Anonymous

As I read this beautiful tribute and your life story tears are just rolling down my face. My mother my best friend my advocate, cheering team....died on April 7, 2011 of ovarian cancer 13 days after being diagnosed with it. She was a wonderful, caring spiritual woman who never harmed a soul, never daid a bad word to anyone and would give the shirt off her back to anyone in need. We went to the hospital for a D and C and was expected to come home that night. That was not to be she never left the hospital and died 13 days later suffering the pains of hell and having the DEATH RATTlE for 72 hours. I literally stayed at the hospital in her room for the 13 days i was not going to have her die without me. She held my hand most of the time until her dieing second. My father has been gone for exactly ten years next Friday. My mother lived with me since his death she in my view died of a broken heart she just could not live without him. They were just so connected that she was lost without him. She became a complete recluse only leaving our house to go to church the cemetary and her doctor. She never entered a store, went to a family function.....now here I am a 47 year old never married only child orphan.
She could not wait for me to get home each day such inconditional love and care. She existed for me. Now I come home each day after work to an empty house I am on several anti anxiety and depression medication. Me who never took anything stronger than an asprin. I am just miss her so much. Her biggest fear was that when she died I would be left alone. I have a large loving extended family and a large circle of close friends but I just want her. I fake it when people ask me how I am I say wonderful. I don't want to hear how I am supposed to feel, act..... She was part of my everyday life how can she be gone. I can't stand this pain it is gut wrenching. I have just sold my house and am moving to a new house because staying here is making it worse. I expect to see her when I walk in the door, I see her in every room I could not stand it anymore.
My mother would hate to see me like this, I hate to see me like this. This is existing and not living. Her final days are replayed in my head over and over. I have such guilt maybe her illness is my fault. Maybe I am being punished for something I did wrong. I have always tried to be a good person maybe that was not enough. Maybe i should have noticed earlier that she was not well. She hated going to doctors it was a fight to get her to go maybe i should have forced her to go earlier.
when my couragous father was dieing he promised me not to leave my mother alone because he knew she could not handle it. I kept that promise. She had just turned 73 she had many more years of life. How do people cope what is wrong with me. I cry so much of the time, when I least expect it. I avoid functions....I prefer to just be left alone. I never dreamed in a million years that it was going to be this hard.

Oct 25, 2012
Beautiful words!
by: Don

Ron,
Thank you for posting your feelings so eloquently and beautifully. Fortunately, my Mom is still with me. But, in Feb 2012, I lost my Dad to lung cancer. He fought a brave and valiant fight for 8 months, never once complaining! You are correct in saying that our loved one is always with us, if only in spirit and memory. Sometimes, I think my Dad speaks to me more now than he did when he was living! Although he never had to say much, because he showed his life and beliefs through his living example. Neither one of us ever doubted the love we felt for one another. His spirit guides me daily! Thank you again!

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