My Lovely Mum

by Christine
(Lincolnshire, United Kingdom)

Lost and alone, that's how I feel. I'm 63, lost my Lovely Mum to cancer in November 1986, nearly 28 years ago now. Have been almost reliving all of this for over a year now, initially having had a major breakdown (or major depressive illness) which began around April 2013. Seemed to bring back memories of my Mum as, having looked at a picture of her on a particular morning, I remember saying out loud to her that I loved and missed her and - WHAM - the upshot was that I've suffered endless and uncontrollable feelings of guilt and grief this last year. I hadn't realised my Mum was ill, and definitely not so ill as to have been diagnosed with cancer. Mum had come over to mine and my husband's house as she hadn't been feeling well, had seen her own doctor and was taking medication due to some breathing problems. I had an idea she wasn't well, seemed not to be herself though she assured me she was okay, and when I asked what her doctor had said, she had told me "nothing". I prodded her to try to get more information as to what was actually wrong with her as I felt something wasn't right. I won't go into all the details as I'm sure no-one would want to read all of this. I hadn't seen my Mum for about three weeks or more, usually stayed with her during the week and would always ring her and keep in touch. This I feel so very guilty about - the three week gap(s) in seeing her as, after a few days of staying with me, I called my own doctor out to my Mum, who admitted her to hospital. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, with secondaries on her lungs and within less than a month she had died. I felt total shock and disbelief after she died, guilt absolutely, but was in such shock I think I functioned without it day to day. Took long time to come to terms with it, but then at some stage carried on and began to maybe accept it. This last year (and several years previously) have suffered from anxiety and stress but still worked until a few years ago. As I say, one year ago looked at my Mum's photo and since then all the grief, particulary guilt has haunted me day and night, I have felt (and still do) that I don't deserve to live, am being punished for not inviting my Mum to live me with, though she stayed with me much of the week taking care of my daughter whilst I worked. I feel now I took advantage of my Mum in this way, though she loved looking after my daughter when she was a baby. I feel overwhelming guilt at not bringing my Mum over to stay when I first suspected she wasn't well, though she'd said she was all right - I knew something wasn't right. I felt that had she been living with us, she would have at least had the comfort of people around her, because she had hidden from me, and everyone else, the amount of weight she had lost, and how unwell she was. She was very reluctant to let me help her out of bed for instance, because I thought that her breathing problems were perhaps stopping her from moving around as quickly as she normally did, just little things, but she was reluctant to let me see her get out or into bed, and I think now it must have been because she was worried about me seeing her thinness, which I did see when, at last, she asked for me to help her. Her legs were so thin I was in total shock and almost cried to her that she should have told me about this and said to her I hadn't had a clue she'd lost all this weight, she said then to me that she knew I hadn't known as if to pacify me. All of this and more of that time, memories etc., are still haunting and torturing me and I want to just die and be with her. I cannot change what I did, or didn't do, and know I should have been more perceptive and welcoming when my husband picked her up and brought her over to us. Can't remember why but I wasn't my usual self, and know I wasn't thoughtful as I normally would be, and so wish I'd brought her home the day I went to her a few days earlier. I can't change this now but want her back so desperately to look after her and just be with her. Have thought about "not being here" but cannot do this because of my daughter and husband, it would be so awful for them, but don't know how I can go on living with all of this as feel so unworthy of being here right now, so very guilty. Her cancer was very aggressive, and even if she had lived with us all the time, know the outcome would have been the same, with more or less similar time span, but I cannot believe I behaved so appallingly or selfishly in not having my Mum to live with us full time, or being neglectful and not visiting her when I should have done, during the few weeks she was living on her own. She had good neighbours and friends, and I rang her 2/3 times a week or more, but this can't replace her being with me. I can't believe I'm now going through all of this, am started counselling again, as GP says nothing much more he can do for me, that this "depression" is about me and not my Mum, but I just want my Mum and sob uncontrollably for her asking her to forgive me if she can. I can't believe I behaved so badly, I loved my Mum and have never done anything in the past to harm and disrespect her, so why did I act like this. I don't know. Just thought it might help to share my story and feel so desperately for others going through this. Mums are so very precious, and mine was lovely, kind and would help anyone, and as for me, she would have done absolutely anything for me, more than I did for her, and I hope that if there is a God or True Being out there that they make sure she is looked after gently and beautifully, along with my Lovely Dad who died at 61 after a long and awful illness. I will love them always. Chris Deal

Comments for My Lovely Mum

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Jul 06, 2014
My lovely Mum
by: Jane

Dear Christine,, maybe you think that I am crazzy, but than I have had feeling so guilty, my hand wrote a letter by ist self. Well, I will try to write this letter for you in english. It helped me a lot. Maybe it helps you too.
"Do you know my child, you are not guilty of my death. Your words didn´t make me sick. I did not all eat in myself and had got this cancer. You have read this in your books. But listen Jane, all the little children, who died of cancer. Jane you don´t have this power to give me this sickness. It would have come anyway. It was my determination. Look all the little Kids which die on cancer, which did not eat all inside there selfs, they have to die, too. Even your words don´t have this Determination to let me die. My time on earth was over. That has nothing to do with you. It is exactly contrary (opposite). All the time you were here for me. That´s makes it easier for me. Thank you. I have to thank you so much. More can a human being not give as you have given. You made my dying so much easier. Be patient with your self. Your soul needs time to get it ready to understand it. That´s why she cannot accept my death. In the moment it would be to much for your soul. Give her time. So much time as she Needs. Our love is and was great. But I will be all the time with you.

Jun 21, 2014
your lovely mum loved you
by: Anonymous

Oh Christine, from what you have written your mum knew and was trying to spare you. She sounds just like my Mum who died recently, also a lovely mum. You gave her joy in the form of your children and gave her the chance to do what she liked doing-being a Mum to small children again. Don't worry Christine-we all feel like we could have done more but we cant see into the future. Your Mum sounds very brave and actually so do you. Perhaps you are just feeling bad now because you now have the time to actually grieve. Keep your chin up.

Jun 18, 2014
My Lovely Mum
by: Doreen UK

Christine I am so glad you are starting counselling. You have repressed your grief and it has come back with a vengeance and is assaulting you with guilt. Often even self talk is of no use. COUNSELLING IS. I have done the counselling years ago in my 40's when I left it too late to deal with my losses. By the time I dealt with it the pain was so bad.
My husband of 44yrs. had a terminal cancer and I nursed him for over 3yrs. He died 2yrs. ago. I lost my mother 11yrs. ago. I came up from Northampton U.K. to live 2 doors away from her to look after her in her old age. She and my dad were divorced and so she finally up and left and moved to Scotland and then the loneliness hit her and she came back to England. She then lived in Bracknell Berkshire near my youngest sister. I can remember my mother running to the bus station to get a timetable for me to come up and visit her. I never managed this. I feel sadness for not having done this, but I don't assault myself with guilt. If my mother stayed 2 doors away I would have cared for her. My Father has now had to live in a care home in Berkshire and I can't get down to visit him much due to arthritis and not being able to move much. Had my dad still been living next door life would have been easier and I would have cared for him.
There is nothing much we can do with guilt but in time to LET IT GO. We all have boundaries even from our parents and children. If we carry too much responsibility we can cause ourselves a boundary injury and it is very painful to overcome. WE can live with the 2 extremes. Guilt for feeling we did too little for our loved one's or either we did too much and carried too much responsibility that can cause us a breakdown. I have done both. I ended 40yrs. of depression by doing 4yrs in counselling/therapy. Best Decision I made in my life. I am able to handle life and grief easier. But I will still go through the normal process of grief, and feel what everyone else goes through. Grief is a process. My sister's husband is like you. His parent's died over 30yrs. ago and he never dealt with his grief. He faces illness and it triggered off his grief of losing his parents. He is in his early 60's and now doing counselling. You won't always feel this bad if you get the RIGHT counsellor/counselling. But it does work and you should get your life back in ways you couldn't think possible. Just don't leave counselling too early or you may miss the healing and closure which happens suddenly. See it through no matter how painful it can be. This pain won't last. You will heal and feel amazing. You owe it to yourself and also to your family. To be a happier and emotionally healthier wife/mother. It will happen. Don't ever give up HOPE.

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