Question: Dear Luise: I am literally the most sad I have been in my entire life. My mom went into the hospital for back pain on August 13th, was diagnosed with esophageal cancer and died 3 weeks later. She was always afraid to go into a hospital and never come out. She always hated the month of Sept. as this is the month she lost both of her parents and her grandparents. Now she lost her own life in Sept. Exactly what she always feared. She was only 58 and after a long life of sadness and disappointment, she had finally found peace and happiness. She was not ready to go and appeared sad and scared right up until the end. I am 7 months pregnant with my first child and she was the closest person in my life. I have a surviving father that I have no relationship with, he didn’t even call me to extend his condolences when my mother passed. And though I have an extremely supportive husband, he does not replace my mother. I miss her more than words can express and can’t stop thinking about the sadness and fear I saw in her eyes when she realized she was not going to make it. She was not ready to go and I was definitely not ready for her to go. I tried to remain strong for her while she was in the hospital, but have fallen apart since her passing and can’t seem to find any peace. I loved her more than anything now nothing else seems to matter to include my pregnancy which had previously been something that brought excitement and happiness to all of us including my mom. What can I do? I just want to believe she is happier now and okay, that she is No longer in pain even if I am. I’m just not able to make any sense of anything in my life anymore. Help PLEASE! M.
Answer: Dear M.: We can’t make sense of death. I think those who say they do are more afraid of it than we are. Death is the only thing we are assured of when we are born. We’re perishable by nature. All life is. That said, we are going down a futile road when we see it as unfair. My eldest son died at age 52 of a sleep apnea induced stroke. He wasn’t ready. None of us were. He wasn’t even ill. Conversely, my husband will be 100 years old on October 4th and none of us are willing to let him go. Life is all we know.
What I did when I lost my mom was to write letters to her. I just couldn’t let the relationship end and I didn’t know how to go on. I was 28 years old and, like you, pregnant. In those letters, I poured my heart out and then little by little I started sharing with her about my daily life. Eventually, and I know this is really off the wall, I started writing answers to me from her. No, I didn’t hear voices, I just knew what she would say and I comforted myself by writing it to myself. The strange thing is I began to heal. What I came to know, in my own heart, is that she never left…I just couldn’t see her. Love is not visible or tangible but it never dies. Blessings, Luise