Question: Dear Luise: My two sisters and I lost our precious mother five weeks and four days ago. I think I am still in shock. I am 26 years old and had such an amazing relationship with my Mum. I loved every inch of her, she was my everything and now she is gone. It is so hard to take in, she went out one day and died suddenly so never came home. I have no regrets or feel any guilt. I loved her and told her this everyday, the only regret I feel is for my Mum who had the best years ahead of her. She had just retired and had been a grandmother for one year something she adored. I feel like her happy life has been taken away from her, a life she built and created was a life she was taken from too early. That makes me so cross. The pain I feel is so deep I don’t know where to begin, my biggest fear was losing my Mother and now she is gone it doesn’t ring true. My father has been fantastic, but he has lost the love of his life and I hear him crying sometimes or letting out a scream. We constantly seem to be sighing also. I don’t know what to do, I feel like I am ten years old again. I have been keeping a diary for my thoughts. I just want my Mum back, I hate that all our hearts our broken. I feel I took it for granted how happy I was, how happy we all were, but I know for my mother I have to continue to be happy, but it is so hard to do that without her. Any words of comfort would be much appreciated, thank you, A.
Answer: Dear A.: Your loss was so sudden and so recent that the truth is the way you feel is probably how you need to feel. My take is that we are never prepared for such a loss, emotionally. We all know we are mortal and have an unknown time frame to live our lives to the best of our ability, but it is a mind-knowing…not a heart-knowing. In our hearts, we don’t understand it, can’t imagine it and when it happens, most of us can’t accept it.
I lost my son when he was 52 that way…one day he was healthy and here and then that night he died in his sleep of a sleep apnea induced stroke. The shock is something we simply can’t describe…and the way back can be long and hard.
Mom’s are moms. They took care of us for nine months before we even saw the light of day. When I lost my own…at age 27, I felt like my whole world went from vivid color to black and white…for lack of a better description. What I did may work for you or it may not. It saved me. I started writing to her. Not a journal…letters. I poured out my rage at the injustice that she didn’t make it past 63, and my “little person inside” loss. I wrote her of my despair and my sense that I would never recover. Little by little (yes, it took time) my letters became less intense and more a kind of sharing. Then, one day I wrote an answer back to me from her. I knew I was writing it and it wasn’t “automatic writing from the other side.” But I also knew what she would say to me. That was in 1954 and we still occasionally “correspond.” Not as often…but staying connected heart to heart has meant the world to me. It may work for you, too. As I have said, I have no way of knowing. Blessings, Luise