Lost both my parents to terminal illness.

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  • #20823
    childatheart
    Participant

    Hi everybody,

    I hope this is okay but I am a member on beyond blue as well and they actually told me about Griefline as I was not aware you actually existed but I am going to copy and past what I wrote there about my story as I don’t think I have the energy to write it all again.

    In roughly 2011 I resigned (technically quit) my job of almost 10 years and I was living with my parents. During this time my mother got diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and later, a blood disease. My father who owned his own business found it helpful that I was there with her during the day while he was at work as she declined rather quickly. Before I could decide what to do about getting another job, my father got diagnosed with cancer. I became an at-home carer for the next six years until they passed away a month from each other six years ago.

    I have a sibling who has lived overseas for many years now and who was not there for 99% of that time that I was there helping them and trying to find a way to stay in control of my own life as depression was already starting to become a part of my life (again) as well as anxiety. My sibling came down at the tail end (just after our mother passed away) and as my father was in his last weeks. We hadn’t gotten to process my mother’s passing by the time we were told by the doctors that my father was in his last days. So when my father passed away I felt completely lost at the time and although my sibling had a life to get back to, I had nothing. I had no choice but to let the feelings wash over me and to face it all head-on.

    As I had spent all my life up to that point living with my parents, I hadn’t experienced being on my own in the outside world i.e had never applied for a place to live and therefore didn’t have any rental history and i hadn’t worked at the time in six years and its been another six and i still don’t have a job like I feel pressured to have (I have my own projects I am trying to get out there slowly but my family seems to want me in a 9-5) and my brother didn’t really understand all I had been through and doesn’t realise how what he sees as small things are big things to me like how I am now in my own accommodation for the first time in my life (took a long time to get here).

    When my mother and father passed a month from each other roughly, my brother helped clean out the house of most things and left only major bits of furniture here and there and then went back to the country he currently resides and I was left alone in what was my parents house and this caused me a great deal of extra pain. While we were still dealing with legal issues with the house (transfers and what not) I wasn’t in a good frame of mind and I didn’t do a lot of things I should have in the upkeep of the house. When my brother came back to visit he was mad and upset at how the house was and came up with the solution at the time to put me in a long stay hotel. That did get me out of the house but he told me I had a small window of time to get myself sorted e.g job and a place of my own but I wasn’t ready for the job everything was still a fresh wound and I was having issues with the I will admit very small number of places I put in for that I didn’t get most likely because I didn’t have the rental history or any references that weren’t family. I had to then hotel hop because my long stay wasn’t able to keep me and this went on for some time making me feel like stranger to my own home town. I eventually reached out to an old friend who said I could come stay with them in another state (I had never live out of state) and I said okay thinking the change of scene would do me good. I was thrown out of my friends place leaving me homeless to where my brother had to put me in another hotel putting the pressure on me to immediately find a place and I have one now but it still seems no matter what I do its not enough and nobody seems to understand that I am still grieving plus dealing with depression and anxiety. Everybody wants me to be full steam ahead when all that does is make me more anxious when I still have a lot of guilt, pain and other feelings from my parents passing to deal with.

    I’m sorry this was long. Thank you for reading and listening anybody who feels the same or has been through something similar I would love to say hello.

Viewing 7 replies - 1 through 7 (of 7 total)
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  • #20936
    Moon
    Participant

    by Dr. Joanne Cacciatore
    I am a mother. I am a bereaved mother. My child died, and this is my reluctant path. It is not a path of my choice, but it is a path I must walk mindfully and with intention. It is a journey through the darkest night of my soul and it will take time to wind through the places that scare me.
    Every cell in my body aches and longs to be with my beloved child. On days when grief is loud, I may be impatient, distracted, frustrated, and unfocused. I may get angry more easily, or I may seem hopeless. I will shed many, many, many tears. I won’t smile as often as my old self. Smiling hurts now. Most everything hurts some days, even breathing.
    But please, just sit beside me.
    Say nothing.
    Do not offer a cure.
    Or a pill, or a word, or a potion.
    Witness my suffering and don’t turn away from me.
    Please be gentle with me.
    And I will try to be gentle with me too.
    I will not ever “get over” my child’s death so please don’t urge me down that path.
    Even on days when grief is quiescent, when it isn’t standing loudly in the foreground, even on days when I am even able to smile again, the pain is just beneath the surface.
    There are days when I still feel paralyzed. My chest feels the sinking weight of my child’s absence and, sometimes, I feel as if I will explode from the grief.
    Losing my child affects me in so many ways: as a woman, a mother, a human being. It affects every aspect of me: spiritually, physically, mentally, and emotionally. There are days when I barely recognize myself in the mirror anymore.
    Grief is as personal to me as my fingerprint. Don’t tell me how I should or shouldn’t be grieving or that I should or shouldn’t “feel better by now.” Don’t tell me what’s right or wrong. I’m doing it my way, in my time. If I am to survive this, I must do what is best for me.
    My understanding of life will change and a different meaning of life will slowly evolve. What I knew to be true or absolute or real or fair about the world has been challenged so I’m finding my way, moment-to-moment in this new place. Things that once seemed important to me are barely thoughts any longer. I notice life’s suffering more- hungry children, the homeless and the destitute, a mother’s harsh voice toward her young child- or an elderly person struggling with the door. There are so many things about the world which I now struggle to understand: Why do children die? There are some questions, I’ve learned, which are simply unanswerable.
    So please don’t tell me that “ God has a plan ” for me. This, my friend, is between me and my God. Those platitudes slip far too easily from the mouths of those who tuck their own child into a safe, warm bed at night: Can you begin to imagine your own child, flesh of your flesh, lying lifeless in a casket, when “goodbye” means you’ll never see them on this Earth again? Grieving mothers- and fathers- and grandparents- and siblings won’t wake up one day with everything ’okay’ and life back to normal. I have a new normal now.
    As time passes, I may gain gifts, and treasures, and insights but anything gained was too high a cost when compared to what was lost. Perhaps, one day, when I am very, very old, I will say that time has truly helped to heal my broken heart. But always remember that not a second of any minute of any hour of any day passes when I am not aware of the presence of my child’s absence, no matter how many years lurk over my shoulder, don’t forget that I have another one, another child, whose absence, like the sky, is spread over everything as C.S. Lewis said.
    My child may have died; but my love – and my motherhood – never will.

    #20935
    Moon
    Participant

    Hey childatheart, I hear you. I think my brother was in denial it was happening so quickly, couldn’t deal, left it all up to me. Haven’t spoken since his funeral.
    Guess my blessing, as a mum, knew how to care for my dad at home, without him being shy, I was his daughter. Yes, I bathed my father, whilst listening to Neil Diamond together.
    Do you have a special song of your mums, I wonder?. Best way to remember your parents wonderful years together.
    I’m only just realising how exhausted my mind and body is, after 10 years being on constant alert – hospital bag ready to go. Don’t have the heart to unpack it, sob xx

    #20838
    childatheart
    Participant

    Debsage,

    You are welcome and I know I’m not a mum yet, but I can only imagine what it must feel like to lose a child. Thank you once again for the kind words, I certainly appreciate that we can come to places like these and be in support of others as well as receiving support. I also like your line about grief is the love with nowhere to go. I feel that. <3 <3

    Moon, I am sorry to hear of your father and equally sorry for the difficult times you have been through. I of course don’t want to press you about anything that happened or the details of your situation but from what you have said about your brother I am wondering how our situations besides the denial might be similar. I have depression and anxiety as well so it’s hard get others (especially my brother) to understand that this isn’t just grief and that depression and anxiety makes it hard to move on also as these can be debilitating at times. I suspect from other scenarios in my youth that I had depression and anxiety for some time, but they seemed to take a backseat for some years until my parents got sick and then as they declined quickly I became housebound because my parents couldn’t be left alone and so I stayed in the house for the majority of that six years. I wasn’t even engaging in conversation in the latter years because my mother wasn’t able to speak much and no longer knew who I was nor who she was and my father was always in pain and exhausted from the treatments and I remember stuttering in conversation with my first social situation after they passed because I hadn’t really had that interaction in some time and I found people asking me simple questions like how are you or how is your day going would give me anxiety. I wouldn’t sleep until my body basically decided to pass out because I knew I needed to be awake and alert if my parents needed help because my mother had become immobile and my father had lots of doctors conditions where it was urgent to call the hospital if he went over a certain temperature. Of course since they passed, the grief the depression, the anxiety hasn’t let me sleep much either and I am very exhausted mentally, emotionally and physically. I wish I could just sleep for like a whole month in all honesty.

    #20837
    Moon
    Participant

    Hi there, hugs and thank you for starting this conversation. There’s so many things you spoke about that I can directly relate, sadly.
    I hear everything you are saying, and will listen. Your words echo mine in many ways I cared for my father at home, my brother was in denial.
    I reckon the dreams mean you should get yourself one of those weighted blankets,

    #20836
    debsayge
    Participant

    Dearchidatheart,
    Thank you also for your kindness to me, and this is what I mean, your kindness and goodness are your strengths, having said that I do know what you mean as I am the same way when people have said that also to me……no one but a loving daughter could have given as you have, for all those years!!!and your many trials, you keep trying.
    I’ve read somewhere in my travels that the grief is the love with nowhere to go, all your overwhelming feelings are just that, and here you are caring toward this broken Mumma…
    Keep sharing friend, we are all here broken and trying to bare the pain, giving our love to one another.
    So I thank you
    XxDeb

    #20835
    childatheart
    Participant

    Hi there Debsayge,

    Thank you for taking the time to read my post as well as share some of your situation. I am so sorry for your loss. I’m so sorry that she passed at such a young age and perhaps this something we can both understand..I keep thinking about how my parents will never get to meet their grandchildren (if I have any one day) and how I will never get my father walking me down the aisle or having that first dance with him. I know it must be hard thinking of the moments you didn’t get to have with your daughter and I’m sure just like me perhaps you feel robbed in some way.

    Thank you for saying I am strong but I want to keep repeating why does everybody keep saying that? I don’t see that in myself I just see a failure. I also didn’t do enough for my mother and father I should have done more and I have a lot of guilt over that. My father was about to retire himself and he had worked so hard all his life to provide the best of what he could for our family. I can never understand why that happened to them when they were due some good karma, they were good honest people.

    I hope nobody minds me sharing this but when my father was in hospital he asked me for one of those blankets they keep in the little heating cupboards so they are warm as he was cold, and I couldn’t find any and the nurses were all busy (he was in a small ward with other patients sadly fighting time as well so there weren’t many nurses around) and had to go back to his room watching him shiver and apologise that I couldn’t find them and we would have to wait for a nurse. After he passed I kept having the same repeating dream where I was in the hospital with him and he asks me for the blanket and by the time I come back to apologise the nurses are there and they turned to me and would say “you didn’t get the blanket in time, so he died” and all I can hear is the beeeeep. I would have that almost every night. It’s like I just can’t forgive myself for the little things let alone any big ones. I mean it wasn’t little I had to watch him shiver and be in pain until the nurse finally came. These dreams would repeat over and over and then they stopped and I thought things were getting better but just recently I have started having them again. They feel so real and it scares me.

    Thank you once again and my condolences to you. I am sending a virtual hug to you. xx

    #20834
    debsayge
    Participant

    Dear child at heart
    My heart opens for you for all your troubles, I’ve been struggling desperately with the tragic loss of my beautiful child Sayge who is barely 19, the birth of Sayge was the first time in my life which I felt I belonged and losing her, closeness caring tender heart has broken me completely….( I do have a younger son n my partner who I love so much) being so shattered is tormenting and I’ve found the lack of everyone around me to just be loving, understanding, oh no supportive it’s just not there….it’s been a shock….I completely understand your limbo and that the people around you have not been supportive ….there is a strength in you that you may not see, though just look at all you’ve been able to deal with and keeping on trying….you are amazing….im sure others here will respond soon, there are many supportive people here and we are all holding you….thanks for sharing and keep doing so…
    Love to you
    Debxx

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