Mom and Laurie

by Cam
(Michigan)




Click on each photo to enlarge

My mother died February 16, 2010 from complications of Alzheimers. She had a horrible, painful death; it was a reaction to her medication.

3 months later, my sister, Laurie, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and left us all behind 3 months after being diagnosed. From the day she said she had pain until the day she passed, she never had a good day.

Watching the 2 women I loved most in my life die within 6 months (and a friend at the same time)has wreaked havoc on my life. I'm still stunned. I've dealt with Mom's loss for over a year now and feel like I'm passed the shocked phase, but I'm just beginning to even realize Laurie is gone. This has been a very long journey for me. And others have died in the past year too, so I feel like I can't get my head above water.

But I go on each day. I've only felt like joining them once. I must admit, it does cross my mind, but I couldn't leave my family behind through suicide. It just wouldn't be fair to them. And they have been such a support to me. With their continued love and support, we will all survive together. And Michael Buble's song, "Lost", helps.

Comments for Mom and Laurie

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Jul 11, 2011
Laurie's 1 Year Anniversary
by: Cam

Laurie's one year anniversary is quickly approaching. A year ago now I'd seen her for the first time since she was diagnosed. She didn't look too bad; tired mainly. She was in her nightgown and robe all the time; that wasn't like her. My sister, Robbie, was caring for her. My daughter and I visited her. We took some great pictures and talked a bit. But we never discussed why she asked Robbie to take care of her instead of me. Laurie and were 1 year and 3 weeks apart in age. We were raised like twins. She was my other half and I was her's. In the last letter she wrote to me, she told me I was the one she was closest to. Then why did she pick Robbie? I've never been able to figure that out, and those who know the reason, aren't saying. That is the part that hurts the most. If I knew the answer, I could deal with it and move on. I'm a straight shooter and appreciate it when others are straight with me. No matter how bad it is, I feel like I can't move on without knowing. Talk about accepting the things you cannot change. This is the hardest fact of life I've ever had to deal with. So as I go through the days leading to August 25 when Laurie left me, I struggle to go on. Sometimes I just want to die so I can get the answer. Then I think I could live again.

Well, I start counseling in another couple weeks. That should help. I'm just so tired of either being sad, depressed, angry. I used to be a happy person, and I'm not any more. I just want to be left alone to try to figure this whole thing out. I can't believe how painful it is to lose your mom and your sister. I've never known this kind of pain before. And it doesn't go away...ever.

Jul 11, 2011
Past Anger; onto Depression (again)
by: Cam

I got through the one year anniversary of Mom's death. It was very tough, but I made it. She was 82 when she died and had lived her life. Somewhat of a "normal" process. In that first year of grieving, I've realized I was the lucky one. My mother's life was not an easy one. The only one of her children that she was truly close to was Laurie (that may have been one of the reasons God took Laurie from us too. They belong together.) I struggled with my relationship with my mother until at 74 years old, she was diagnosed with a mental illness and got the help we children had sought for her for nearly 50 years...well, maybe more like 40. Anyway, it was a long struggle.

When I became my mother's caregiver (by default) I "had" to spend more time with her. It didn't take long to realize that even though being a caregiver has it's frustrations, more importantly, it gave me the opportunity to see what my mother was truly like. The medications she took allowed her real personality to flourish. She was such a loving, caring, supportive, fun, adventurous (how many 80 year olds do you see eating sushi?? She was always willing to try something new. I loved that about her.), happy, jovial person. Oh how I wished she'd gotten help earlier. But I took advantage of every minute I could for the 9 years I cared for her.

And now I miss her terribly. I find myself hardly able to get out of bed in the mornings. I don't really want to interact with people. I just want to hold my mom.

Jun 10, 2011
Still lost
by: Cam

The anniversary of Laurie's diagnosis was May 23. I couldn't stop thinking about it. This time last year, I was so worried about her, yet was not allowed to see her. Her caregivers pushed the rest of the family away saying, "She's too sick to see anyone. You can't come now." I couldn't understand that; I still struggle with it. Eventually, I was allowed to go see her when she could still walk around in her robe. I had very little time alone with her. At first I wasn't allowed to say anything. When I was finally given the chance to talk with her in August, it was too late. It was 2 days before she was to die. She laid in bed and couldn't get up, open her eyes, smile at me, and say, "It will be o.k." And I couldn't bring myself to say anything to her about how I was feeling. I sat by her bed and waited; waited to be told I had to leave. I never felt comfortable enough to say anything to her. So I say it now. DON'T LEAVE ME. PLEASE DON'T LEAVE ME. There. I said it out loud. I wanted to beg her to stay. It's so very hard for me to leg go. How do I let go of my most precious sister and friend. My ally. My hand holder. The one who knows me best. The one who was always there for me. How?

Apr 11, 2011
Death keeps coming
by: Cam

This is becoming very difficult. My mom, my sister in 2010. In just 8 days, I lost an uncle and a very close aunt. I feel like I can't keep up with the mourning. It's piling up on me. I feel like I'm drowning in grief. How does one survive all this? I know others have had it harder and they have survived, but how do they do it? I think I'll go for a walk and think about this. I'm lost.........

Mar 31, 2011
Thank you HH
by: Cam

Yes, one breath at a time is exactly how I feel. I have made a little bit of progress with my sister just recently. She came to me in a dream and said she would explain everything to me. I look forward to the day I understand some of her decisions.

Your kind words sooth the aching heart. I don't feel guilty for having fun; that's all I want to do. I find myself being very selfish with my time. I've always lived with the belief that laughter is the best medicine, so that comes easy for me ~ even in a crisis. I feel guilty only occasionally, but it only lasts a moment until I realize that my lost loved ones loved humor and I'm sure they're laughing with me too.

I've started to get back with God even a bit now. I didn't hate Him or question Him, I just moved on without Him. Talking again to Him is helping to calm me down.

Thank you again for taking the time to help. Cam

Mar 28, 2011
Thank you, PJ
by: Cam

Thank you, PJ, for your kind words. They help so much. I could actually post to the site about miscellaneous losses because amidst the turmoil preceding my mother's passing, I lost one of my best friends. Not through death, however, but rather to a family quarrel that never got resolved. I do have other supportive friends, but no like the one I lost. I find myself with no one to talk to often, and that was one of the times I just wanted my mom and sister so much. My family is there for me to hug and cry with which is very helpful, but I don't really have a close friend nearby to talk with. That makes it so much harder. My extended family is going through very rough times right now, and I'm not even talking with my other sister and brother. In our own ways we're trying to patch things up, but it is so slow going that I often wonder if we'll ever be the close-knit family we once were.

In the meantime, I'm wearing one of Laurie's scarves and gazing at both Mom and her together. The pictures help me remember they are still with me, but in another form.

Thanks again for your kind words.

Sincerely,
Cam

Mar 28, 2011
surviving grief
by:

My sister-in-law lost her brother (My husband) Dec of 09 on Oct of 2010 she last her other brother. Boths deaths were sudden and traumatic.
A year later she is just beginning to deal with My husbands death. She said that she will Deal with Larrys death (the other brother) in time.

I think that our minds only allow but so much grief at a time. Some type of survival skills. I had never heard it described that way but everyone deals with it differently.

I had gotten so use to grief that feeling happy was a completely alien sensation. When I first laughed I thought what was that? I did not feel guilty as some do, just realized how long it had been since I had a genuine belly laugh and the smile that goes with.

Take things one moment at a time. Grief is hard work and the hardest thing that you will ever go through. As we say...one breath one step.
HH

Mar 28, 2011
My Sister ~ My Friend
by: TrishJ

Cam~
I can't even find the proper words to express how sorry I am for your loss. You are wounded now and you need to treat yourself as such.
Death is not something we human beings get over in just a few months. My husband died 4 months ago and my mother is pretty much in the same place your mom was. I'm dreading the day she's no longer with us. Her dementia is getting so bad. I'm afraid I'm going to go to her room some morning and find her not breathing.
My sister is my best friend. She has been so supportive of me since the loss of Joe. She's been there through all of my dark days. She understands on the days I can barely drag myself out of bed and doesn't push me or ask questions. I can't imagine losing my mother or sister ~ let alone both. You have been through a lot of stress and turmoil and you can't expect to find light at the end of the tunnel too soon.
Hold on tight to those in your life who you love and make you feel good. Take one baby step at a time. Don't push yourself. You need time to heal from within. Be good to you and pamper yourself when you can. I went for a mani~pedi and full massage on Saturday. It felt so good ~ so relaxing and much needed. If you are a bath taker light some candles and take a loooooong bubble bath ~ I find that helps so much.
I lost my brother 24 years ago. He was only 30 at the time. I can tell you from my experience that the pain never goes away. We just learn to live with it the best we can. God's blessings to you. Love, hope, joy and peace will find you again with God's help. One step, one breath at a time.
PJ

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