Question: Dear Luise: I will try to keep this short because I could type forever on this. I am a 33 year old nurse and my mom became I’ll with stomach cancer that invaded her body and took her life in 9 short months. Ever since my mom and dad divorced when I was 12, I have been the adult and the more level headed one. Besides me, her only other child was my brother, who took his life in 2005. She never recovered from this. We lived many miles away from each other. Me in Atlanta, her in Ohio. I visited her in November and she was very ill. It was hard to see her becoming so skinny and losing her hair. But more than anything, being unable to cure her of her physical pain was rough. I flew back to Ohio in December of last year when her prognosis was very grim and she was only expected to live a few weeks. She was on home hospice and ended up in hospital hospice after a few severe delerious events. Every day seemed like THE day she was going to pass. I didn’t want her to go but I knew she was exhausted. Finally it came time for me to fly back to Georgia to get my 2 sons back in school. I planned to fly back to be with her that next weekend. The day after I left she slipped into a coma and died a day later. I feel I abandoned my mom just before she passed. Being her only child, I left her, and although she was not alone (I have a huge family) I still feel like my grandmother and I were the two people she needed at her time of passing. My family is very vindictive and will hurt each other in the worst ways. The things they said to me afterwards were terrible. They said I abandonded her. They tried to have the “next of kin” power taken from me so I couldn’t have a part in her final decisions. But I am competent, took care of everything from many miles away, and paid all of her final expenses. A friend of the family claims that one night she had a dream where my mom told her “Quit Viking”. She didn’t know what it meant. My mom kept saying it. When this friend contacted one of my aunts, she learned my mom had died and that there was alot of fighting going on. My mom wasn’t saying “Quit Viking” she was saying “Quit fighting”. A few days later I was laying in bed with my fan running next to me and I heard my mom say “Hi. It’s me.” I was frozen in fear and couldn’t move. Didn’t hear it again. If those who passed are able to contact us I have no doubt she was looking to say hi. But nothing like that has ever happened. Never heard my mom. Never felt her presense. Nothing. I sort of wish I knew she is near and ok. But other than that I’m concerned that I’m not dealing with her loss too well. It’s hard for me to call and talk to my grandmother who I love dearly, and the rest of my family. I don’t want to feel any grief. Same thing with my brother. I never allowed myself to grieve. Is it all going to hit me at once? What do I do? A.
Answer: Dear A.: My take on what you have gone through is that “Hi, it’s me” was your mom’s way to letting you know that she’s just fine. It wasn’t. “Why did you abandon me?”
When my son died at age 52 of a sleep apnea induced stroke, I got a Voicemail saying to call my grown grandson because “something terrible has happened.” Before placing the call, I turned to my husband and said, “Dwight is dead.” He hadn’t even been ill but the tone on my grandson’s voice somehow told me Dwight was gone. The minute I got the thought…I heard my son say, “I’m fine, Mom.” And when I called my grandson and got the news that he had indeed passed, I was calm and centered. If Dwight was fine, that’s what mattered the most to me.
We usually can’t be by the side of a loved one at the exact moment of death. We have lives to lead and families to take care of and we just do our best. That’s all our loved ones want…our best. Your mom knew you loved her and she knew you were connected Heart to Heart. Now, my point of view is that you are connected Soul to Soul.
You may want to do what I did when I lost my mom…and yes she was also home alone when she died from a stroke. I wrote to her. Whatever was on my mind…I just shared it. After a while (and I know this sounds nuts) I started writing answers back to me from her. I knew they weren’t from her but I also knew what she would have said to me, if she could, and I gave myself that gift. It may not be for everyone but it was a great comfort to me.
My guess is that if you try that and it works for you, you won’t get hit all at once…you will heal. Blessings, Luise