I Can’t Cope With My Mother’s Death

Question: Dear Luise: I’m having a terrible time over my mother’s death. She passed very recently and I thought I was ready. She was almost 96, and really wanted to go. She was terribly weak, couldn’t think clearly or talk well, and was generally pretty much out of it and miserable. She wanted to stay home, so we got a caretaker to stay with her. The three of us that lived nearby took turns on the weekends, while the caregiver had some much-needed time off. I’m a nurse and I thought I was pretty well-informed and realistic about where Mom was and what she was going through. I told her we were ready to let her go and I really hoped and prayed for it on a daily basis. Then, when it happened just the way we’d hoped, in her sleep, I fell apart. I’m still not doing well. I carry a tissue everywhere because I just keep spilling over. What’s wrong with me that I’m not able to cope with this? Saundra

Answer: Dear Saundra: Nothing is wrong with you. This has probably been a long, and very difficult time and you’re worn out both physically and emotionally. At the moment, you don’t have the resilience and energy you wish you did. Those weekends at your Mom’s were probably harder on you than you realized and the weeks in between, while you were waiting in dread for the phone call that eventually came, took their tool as well.

It doesn’t seem like a blessing right now, but your ability to feel awful and have your feelings right up on the surface will get you through this much faster than if you were able to produce a smooth cover-up and look good. If you haven’t had a memorial service for your mother yet, know that that may give you some relief as well. Your nursing background, along with your willingness to see your mother’s life as complete, will stand you in good stead in the months to come, so mentally you sound like you are on solid footing The part of you that has you feeling like you are down for the count at the moment is a combination of fatigue, overwhelm and the very obvious loss of someone who has been a constant in your life, always. You can’t anticipate how that is going to feel. Knowing she was going to leave, and experiencing her leaving are two different things. Be extra kind to yourself while the parts of you that can cope help the parts that can’t. Work less, if possible, eat carefully and keep you fluids high. Rest more and if you can’t sleep for longer periods of time, at least give yourself more quiet, alone time. Concentrate on an exquisite level of self-care. You’ve been through the mill and it’s not over yet, for you. You have just entered the healing process, so be aware of that fact and compensate wherever you can. Blessings, Luise

112 Responses to I Can’t Cope With My Mother’s Death

  1. HF October 13, 2012 at 6:59 pm #

    Thank u so much sorry for the late reply. It’s been a month and we r coping the best we can. We will. See a therapist to help us threw. HF

  2. E. December 3, 2012 at 2:45 am #

    I just lost my mom on the 26 of august, and i feel so lost. I feel as if no one understands my pain. There are times i wake up so angry at everyone/everything. I am 42 and a mother of 6. I dont feel
    as i did before. I have a deep pain in my chest that seems to get worse instead of better. I feel im losing touch with reality. Im also having a hard time going to the cemetary. When is it going to get easier? E.

    • Luise Volta December 8, 2012 at 2:18 pm #

      E. Go to my Home Page and on the far right side, scroll down to the category “Death and Afterlife.” If you are willing to read th eposts there, I think you will find comfort and perhaps even the beginning of healing there. Blessings, Luise

    • M. January 8, 2013 at 9:57 pm #

      E. – I understand how you feel my mom died June 12 2012 6 months ago. I am 51 with 4 grown children. I feel lost and lonely and I am angry because it seems my family don’t understand. I have times when I cry and my husband tells me that know one can deal with this for me. He accepts death. He tells me its part of life and that is true. My mom was my closet friend and now I have a empty feeling. My siblings are not close so I really have no one. I’m sorry about your mom but I just wanted to let you know that I know how you feel. M.

      • L. May 6, 2013 at 5:12 pm #

        my mom passed june 5th 2011 and it is hard and i havent got over it. i have lost all touch of reality and i am angry all the time. my mom was my world and i have half brothers and sister. i am not close to them and i only have one kid and i feel alone all the time. sometimes i feel like i am going crazy. i try to push people away from me. because of the pain. i have pushed my husband of 18yrs away and dont know what to do. i am so sorry about all your mom’s i know what u are going thru. for me it isnt any better. L.

  3. C. April 10, 2013 at 8:55 am #

    My 92 year old mother passed away almost 2 weeks ago. She was living on her own in a Sr. apt. up until 3 months ago. Because of a series of falls she ended up in a nursing home and her health deteriorated very fast after that. We only had 3 months to realize how sick she was and then she was gone. Thank you for your response to Saundra. I feel like you are talking to me. Life isn’t as joyful with my mother gone. I wake up several times a night – I loved my mother for 55 years. It does comfort me knowing her pain and misery are gone and she is now living with her Lord on Streets of Gold and I will see her again one day. However, right now, in the present, I miss her terribly and it hurts. I am trying to take care of myself – I have a large family and I’m holding them close. C.

  4. T. April 16, 2013 at 7:51 pm #

    Just lost my mom… My best friend… 3/37/13 …. I keep telling myself she is still in the hospital….. I refuse to go back home …. Don’t think I will ever accept this. I’m so lost, I feel like a zombie. T.

    • Luise Volta April 16, 2013 at 8:21 pm #

      T. I think most of us feel that way at first. I just lost my husband on 2/21/13. We aren’t taught that death is inevitable, natural and normal. And we have no idea how to cope with the empty place our loved ones leave. But the truth is that we all come and we all go and life is temporary. I’m so sorry for your los. I think one of the hardest parts of life is facing death. Blessings, Luise

    • L. May 6, 2013 at 5:16 pm #

      T. I am so sorry u lost your mom. and i know u get so sick of hearing that. from people because i did. i know what u are going thru. i am still there it feels like. L.

  5. P. May 6, 2013 at 4:57 pm #

    I too just lost my mom 4/19/13. I am taking it very very hard. I haven’t been able to eat or sleep. My mom was my best friend and I still to this day cant believe she is gone. I sleep with any and everything that belonged to her just to make me feel her close at all times. I am so heartbroken that often times I wonder will I ever be able to cope with her being gone especially since she passed away here at home with me and my family. The image of her in her last day remains with me being that I found her the next morning. I feel like I could have done so many things different that she would still be here. I am crying now just writing this. I am happy that she is hurting no more but God knows I miss her terribly.
    more but my heart hurts from missing her so much.
    many things different that she would still be here. P.

    • Luise Volta May 9, 2013 at 7:01 pm #

      p. I just published a response here today under the title, “Mom’s Passing.” It may help. Blessings, Luise

    • A. May 9, 2013 at 7:17 pm #

      Dear P,

      I know your pain. I lost my mother on 9/11 and buried her on the day she birth us. 9/16. Her birthday was April 27 very hard for us to celebrate with out her. Not a day, minute, or hour goes by and I not think of her. Then with mothers day coming I will not be able to cope with that either. We. Do have our days when I can. Deal with it and then there is some days we can’t. I miss her so much but I am glad she is not in anymore pain I enjoy her for 31 years and 360 days.(Tears) We shall meet again. Again I know your grief and pain. A.

  6. Bob July 10, 2013 at 10:32 pm #

    My mom made 97 I March. We discovered that she had congestive heart failure 2 years ago . Because of her age, she is not a candidate for heart valve replacement surgery. She is a fiercely independent person and she lived by herself ever since my dad died in 1993. She has always done very well for her age. She lives 25 miles away but I always made it a point to drop in on her at least 3 times a week. This past Febuary, things suddenly got worse for her and now she gets tired quickly, needs a walker to get around, needs help going to the bathroom and has dementia-like symptoms. The Dr. has given her 6 months. She is at home being cared for my older brother and his wife and I go over daily to help mom do things. It has been very depressing to watch her health slowly decline. I’ve always been very close to her and the thought that she may soon be leaving often sets me into tears. I just don’t know how I’ll handle her death when the time comes. I just can’t imagine not having her around and I know that I’m in for a difficult time when her time comes. B.

    • Luise Volta July 14, 2013 at 4:01 pm #

      B – I can relate to what you have written. My husband died 4 months ago at 101 and going on is a huge assignment for most of us. I know he’d had a good life and was ready to go but that doesn’t begin to touch the emptiness for most of us. What wonderful sons she raised. Blessings, Luise

      • B. August 19, 2013 at 12:42 am #

        Luise, thanks so much for your kind thoughts. I’ve noticed within the last 3 days she does not seem to recognize me or acknowledge my name anymore. Up until the beginning of last week she would always say “Hi Bob” when I would greet her in the morning. I guess her dementia is getting worse. She continues to slowly weaken and we are taking her to the bathroom on a wheel chair now. B.

        • Luise Volta September 3, 2013 at 4:30 pm #

          Holding all of you in my heart. Blessings, Luise

          • B. October 8, 2013 at 12:18 am #

            My mom passed away on Friday, Oct. 4th. She lost the ability to chew about a week before she passed. We spoon fed her pureed food and ensure until she found it difficult to drink through a straw.. She lost a lot of weight and it was so sad to see her that way. She finally passed away very quietly Friday morning. I miss her very much but so far am able to cope with It although I do have those sad periods throughout the day… I dread going to her funeral but I know I must. B.

          • A. October 17, 2013 at 4:45 pm #

            Dear B
            I understand your pain. I know that she went threw some things. Just like me mom she lost a lot of weight. Being that she was already a petite lady 95 pounds. I struggle each day ….the past two weeks have been so hard that…..I understand. A.

  7. B. October 22, 2013 at 2:22 am #

    A few days before she passed away, in a weak voice she said “thanks for taking care of me”. I will never forget that. B

  8. E. November 24, 2013 at 11:58 am #

    Me too! Mom just left us 11/31/2013 ( Halloween ) it was 23yrs. to the day of my last drink! Her name was Ruth + dad ( Tom ) left us 11/26/1992 ( Thanksgiving Day ) ! I want to tell everyone of you thanks for being here + I feel really lucky your getting it out here instead of keeping it inside there’s more room outside! I’ve been taught + still learning about forgiveness, gratitude, + yes living in the moment ………… Life is for the Living, …………. I know I need help too! E.

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