Am I Normal?

Question: Dear Luise: I am having a lot of issues with my mother’s death. She passed recently, 4/15/10, from a rare disease called MSA (Multiple System Atrophy). My father and I cared for her fulltime, until we couldn’t any longer. She went to the hospital and then to hospice (her choice). Since she has passed, i have become extremely attached to my father. I don’t seem to ever want to be away from him, but I am about to be 30 and I am worried this may turn into something just awful if I can’t control my feelings of being without him. I know it is so early, and I am still grieving an extreme amount, but I just am so scared I am falling into a rut that may be hard to get out of. I am seeking help from a professional, but I do not think i am getting very far. I constantly email him during the day while we both work, with silly questions, but to make sure he is ok, without him knowing this is what I am doing. I go to work, to just get through the day, to go directly back home to him at 5 PM. I moved home with him and my mother while she was so sick, and I can’t leave, any time soon. Can you please help me to understand if I am normal? G.

Answer: Dear G. I doubt if there is a “normal”; the death of a loved one hits different people in different ways and it’s always awful. I have a friend who lost his wife of 57 years three months ago and he has already proposed to two totally inappropriate women.

Counseling is needed for most of us to get back on track…and we need patience, as well. I would find a new counselor…you really need to feel that you have a strong resource and advocate.

When I lost my Mom, almost 60 years ago, I told myself that I was glad it felt like the world had come to an end. I didn’t want to dishonor her by having life be “business as usual.” She had been a constant in my life for decades and a world without her was not OK with me!

It’s early-on…for you so your fixation onyour dad is probably well founded. He’s all you have left and acute anxiety is not uncommon at first. What you want to do is get through it, out the other side and on with your life but your heart says it can’t accept it.

By writing to me, I think you are facing the fact that you need help and you’re not getting it to your satisfaction. Good for you for seeing that and good for you seeing your behavior as off the wall. Of course it is. Give it time and know that your Mom gave you life and wants you to enjoy it again. One day you will. Blessings, Luise

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