The sudden loss of my beautiful Mom

by Shawna
(Winchester, VA USA)

I just lost my mother a week and a half ago to sudden cardiac arrest and knowing that I put off calling her the night she died has just traumatized me! I can't begin to sit here and tell you I spent everyday with her or talked to her everyday like everyone else because the truth is I didn't! She was in the beginning stages of vascular dementia and she ruminated over the same issues when I did talk to her. I resolved to call her once a week and how could I have limited myself to that? How could I ever look at it being a "chore" to call my Mom and listen to her repeat herself over and over about the same things? It shouldn't have mattered and when I talked to her on the phone, it didn't....I let her talk and I listened. But it wasn't enough!! I had resolved to visit her twice a month as she didn't live that far from me and I did not get the chance to even begin! I am a nurse and I couldn't take care of her because I was always so busy and she was always so stubborn..I should have insisted. I should have called the day of her death when I told myself to, but decided to put it off for another day. I am so ashamed of my actions and I just can't get it off my mind! Everyone is talking how their mom's have died of cancer (she was actually a breast cancer survivor and her healthy attitude made her beat it!) and I keep thinking that would have allowed me to tell her how much I loved her instead of her suddenly passing and I didn't get to tell her nearly enough!! I believe in God and I know she did too, although she wasn't religious and I worry if she made into heaven....silly, I know, but I can't help it! I have never felt such enormous grief and hollowness in my life! I am in utter shock! She could have had another 5-10 years (she was 78) if she had just taken her pills, if I'd just been a little more active in taking her to the doctors, if she'd had stayed in California (where she didn't want to be) and stayed thin and healthy thanks to my sister. I let her do what she wanted and live how she wanted cause she suffered so much in all other areas of her life and now I realize too late that was such a mistake! I only pray she forgives me for letting her down! I don't know how to move forward! I am totally lost! I mean everyone knows death is imminent, but I just never dreamed!! I didn't get to speak to her on her last day and I just can't get that out of my head! She lived with her boyfriend, but she was alone in their bedroom when she died. I just cannot believe it..the finality is so overwhelming. I don't know what to do!?!?

Comments for The sudden loss of my beautiful Mom

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May 31, 2013
I wish you peace
by: Anonymous

Dearest Shawna

I am responding to your reply. Firstly, thanks for letting us know how you're getting on. It helps to feel that we have made a difference, even a small one. Please do understand that even though you believe you're in the loneliest place in the world right now, you are not. On any given day there is someone else on this planet who knows and understands your pain because it is natural that our mothers should depart from this earth before we do. It is the order of things.

Since my Mum passed away in September last year, there is one thing which I regret along with everything else. It is the fact that I did not realise how much she was hurting when her own Mum passed away. I was nineteen at the time, absorbed in my social life, and even though Mum did not object to me seeking out my friends for comfort, I wish now that she had confided in me. I would have put my own selfish activities aside to support her if only I had known how much she was hurting.

I do not have children but I believe it would benefit your boys, and ultimately yourself, if you could try to explain to them the devastation you are feeling. Be as honest as you can be with your children. I know that you are feeling extremely protective of them right now but, in my opinion, your own need for support and protection is bigger. Young people have built-in shock absorbers which can blind them to anything except their own needs but they will move on while you may not. It is up to you to show them how vulnerable you feel and how much you are hurting. Ask them, if you are able, to help and support you through this time. If you can do that, and if they can respond, your boys will have at least this one memory to alleviate the remorse which will inevitably come to them when you yourself have to leave this world.

I wish you strength and peace.

Cape Town

May 30, 2013
Thank you all!!
by: Shawna

Thank you each and everyone for your words. You each put a different perspective on the way I'm feeling and it does bring comfort. I am at the guilt stage in a weird way in that I feel guilty if I laugh or have a decent day - minus when I'm crying over my Mom! By the end of my Mom's life, she was paranoid by her increasingly worsening dementia and I found a note the other day that she had written where she felt her kids hated her for being "a country girl." That nearly broke me...we all loved our Mom and I feel so bad she was in that amount of heartbreak. Her life was not an easy one. I am trying to remember the good times and I am so glad that I told her I loved her each and every time I did speak to her. My nursing side does still get the better of me in which I really do get the guilt of the "should haves." I had told my sisters I would take care of her medically and I failed!! I have not really had a moment alone to really grieve and I feel I need that. My poor boys have lost their grandmother and I can't even be there for them in their grief. They weren't as close to her as they should have been...she always said she didn't want to meddle in our lives, that we had our own lives now to live and she didn't want to be "the meddling mother-in-law or grandmother." She always felt like she was a burden to everyone and I hope she realizes now she never was!! I miss her so much!!!! Thank you again for your very kind words!

May 29, 2013
Love is All Shawna
by: Joanna

I am so sorry for the loss of your wonderful mom Shawna. I just lost my beautiful soul mate, my mom Krystyna, on Valentine's Day to breast cancer. She suffered much and fought a long time; to the last moment I dealt with some sort of denial 'that she would start making a turn around any moment now', but they say it's a normal part of grief and protecting yourself from the horrible separation. Please don't beat yourself up for anything. Your mom knows how much you love her and yes, she is in and happy. She blames you for nothing and neither does the Creator. This sort of guilt is very common in our situation and I am dealing with my own share of it. I pretty much spent everyday with my mom during her illness, except for a month or so when she was in a home for 'rehab'. She was supposed to get a little stronger and come home; she did not get stronger but did come home where she died peacefully surrounded by her family. The guilt and regrets are horrible and irrational at times. I know mom wants me to be happy and does YOUR mom. I feel guilty for the 'rehab' home, ask whether I gave her meds correctly, whether she should have taken that pill on her own for a few weeks when she promised she was taking it, maybe I should have controlled everything myself? Maybe if I did this or didn't do that, she may have lived still? What if I this, what if I that? You see where I am going with this? It is pointless. It was our mothers' time to go home and nothing could have stopped that Shawna. No change in diet, or residence, or anything would have stopped their journey; we will be with them one day soon enough and they will watch over us until then. We have to find forgiveness for ourselves now, as our mom's and God forgive us for both real and imagined things. Our mamas love us so much, beyond imagination, as we love them. They don't want this for us. Only love and peace, and a happy fulfilling life here on earth until we meet again. Prayers, peace and love to you friend. God Bless.

May 28, 2013
sudden loss of my beautiful mom
by: silver

I feel like you do.I lived about 20 miles from my mom and dad.My dad died in Dec.2009 after a 13 yr fight w/cancer.They had been married for 64 yrs.My mom gave up and,medically,died from a blood clot to her heart causing heart failure.One minute alive and the next dead.I felt guilty for many months because,even though I lived so close I didn't go see her as often as I should have.I didn't even call her everyday.My youngest son had been living with them for 2 yrs to help with my dad so I guess I figured I didn't need to go as often.It's funny how we think we have so much time and it can be done tomorrow.Then tomorrow comes and it's too late.I often tell people now to make sure you tell your loved one how much you love them as often as you can because it might be the last time you can.In 17 months I sent my mother,my father,my dearest friend and my husband on ahead of me.You need to realize,as I finally did,that my mom knew I loved and respected her.The change I made in my life is that I now tell my children as often as I can.GOD send you strength and peace.I keep you in my prayers.

May 28, 2013
Keep looking for the light
by: Anonymous

Hello Shawna

Sometimes I wish people who still have their Mums would come to visit this site. It would save so much heartbreak and devastation to know before they leave us just how precious and irreplaceable our mothers are. But, it is not meant to be that way, is it? Whatever we do, we would not even begin to understand the enormity of the debt we owe them until they are gone. Perhaps there is a reason? Could it be that no matter what we try to do for them, we simply are not able to do enough, because we are human? I do not believe there is even one person on this earth who honestly believes after losing a mother that they have done enough for her in her lifetime. Our aspirations and our sudden understanding of the things they suffered for us become so crystal clear when they are gone that it leaves us in wonderment that we had not realised these things before. The only advice I can give after eight months (exactly today) on this path, is to try to accept that your Mum's life was not in your hands. It was in her hands and in God's, whomever you perceive God to be.

The way I am trying to stay close to my Mum is to keep her with me wherever and whenever I can. I am fortunate that I am the same size as my Mum so I can wear some of her clothes. On those occasions, I can truly say I feel protected. When I arrive at work in the morning, I thank my Mum for helping me across the busy highway, just like when she used to take my hand to guide me across the road when I was little. Yesterday was my birthday, the first without Mum, and, even though I did not feel like celebrating, I did, because that was the one experience, the day she gave birth to me, which belongs only to us. It shattered me, but I celebrated anyway.

Please be gentle with yourself. If you do not know what to do, just do what you would have done everyday when she was still here. I imagine that is what they would expect, because what else is there? They have done what they needed to do for us, and, until we are reunited with them, our lives are in our own hands and in the God in whom we believe. You may not realise it just yet, but your Mum is no longer the helpless creature weakened by nature and illness. She is forever young and strong, as you will no doubt remember her. She is in the sunlight which shines on you and in the air which you breathe. Keep looking for the light and keep on breathing. You will find her again someday.

Cape Town

May 28, 2013
To Shawna--loss of beautiful mom
by: Anonymous

Shawna---I am sorry for the grief that you are feeling. I lost my husband of 43 yrs from SCA --it is the worst thing that has happened in mine and my children's lives.---I want to say to you that we are not perfect people--in this life we have so many things that come into our lives that we must deal with daily--jobs, homes, families, etc. We do the best we can. When a loss occurs we look back with regret that we were not more attentive, more loving, more Superhuman!! We are just normal people trying to live day to day. Try to remember the happy good times with your Mom; she would want you to do this. I have posted on this site before and I have to say this is again----When we are born we are given a certain amount of days to live on this earth. We will not live a minute more or a minute less than God has allowed. When He calls our name; no matter what we are doing or have done we will pass on to heaven (those who have given their lives to Jesus Christ our Savior) Try to know that now you and I and others who have lost a dear loved one must go on trying to live a life that Jesus has called us to live and one glad day we will see our loved ones in heaven and we all will know pure happiness and joy.

May 28, 2013
The sudden loss of my beautiful Mom
by: Doreen U.K.

Shawna don't beat yourself up by all the If's. There will always be times in our lives when we all feel we didn't do enough. We wished we had phoned more. We wished we had spent more time with that loved one.
Life is busy, life is complex. WE do what we can. It can work the other way. We can smother a person with too much care when many need their own space. We seldom find the balance. Because when we do plan to do something you can bet that something else crops up and takes our time and we never get to fulfil our plans. As a Mom I can tell you that your Mom would have forgiven you anything. This is what mom's do.
Because your mother had an illness that made life difficult for you would be another reason to see less of her. I had a stubborn mother and this problem of hers got in the way of me doing more for her. There were times I had to stay away if only to not suffer a depression coming on. So you see it can actually be detrimental to one's own emotional health to be in an unhealthy environment. You have to process all aspects of why we feel we have failed someone. If we have failed in our duty then we have to FORGIVE OURSELVES for our shortcomings. We live with a human nature that lets us down continually. Your mother cannot be hurt anymore. She is at Peace. You have to find a way to develop your own Peace. You can't go through life beating yourself up for everything. In a strange way this is what grief does to us. It should pass in time. If it doesn't then go and see a counsellor there may be other underlying issues that when they come out will never bother you again. Death Hurts. Don't let Life hurt you. Live it well and spend time with those you love so you don't ever have to feel this way again. You will get through this loss one day at a time. Don't look too far ahead. It is so easy to feel insecure when one loses a mother. But you will start to feel secure again in time.

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