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Lost my mum – complicated

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Home Forums Loss of a loved one Lost my mum – complicated

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  • #22519

    About 3 weeks ago I lost my mum
    She died in hospital after a few weeks of illness
    I’m one of so many in my family (there are 12 of us kids, 6 of us who are over 18) and I’m the only one doing anything
    Today I went to the house alone to start clearing out a few things sorting some stuff out. none of my siblings (who I have little to do with ordinarily) are doing anything.

    I am miserable and I’m exhausted

    Losing my mum has an added layer of complexity as we had a turbulent relationship. I was removed from her often as a child as she was quite neglectful and struggled to give us the bare minimum. I spent my whole 27 years thinking she neglected us on purpose and that she was happy to have us removed. She never once told me she loved me and would often tell us we were in the way. But it only became apparent to me this year that she did her best and had good intentions but she just lacked the ability to care for us, my dad was also very abusive to us all and that affected mums ability to care for us. I only started having these realisations about my upbringing a few months ago. I’ve had little to do with her over the last few years. She was very mentally unwell and when I tried to contact her I was met with abusive yet in coherent messages.

    I feel all sorts of complex feelings around mum.

    Going to her house today was hard. I went not long after her death, to check up on a few things. I found out that she had pictures of me, my kids and my partner on the fridge that she has found on my social media (that I didn’t have her on), and then today I found a box of things she kept of mine from when I was a kid, certificates etc things she told me were rubbish and that dad would throw in the bin if I didn’t shut up

    I feel sick

Viewing 6 replies - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)
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  • #22520

    I can’t brleive I spent so long thinking she hated me she will never get to meet the love of my life and my 2 kids her first grandkids

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 10 months ago by justme.

    @justme, I am so sorry for your loss, thank you so much for showing so much courage in sharing how you feel. It is totally understandable that you are feeling exhausted and miserable, especially when dealing with the clean-up of your mother’s house on your own. You sound like a very caring and giving person to be taking on such a task on your own and have shown a lot of courage in reaching out on the online forums for help.
    Griefline also has a Helpline if you ever want to talk to someone over the phone which operates 8 am-8 pm Monday-Friday (AEST). As part of grief, and coping with this loss, navigating your turbulent relationship with your mother and reflecting on the past is totally normal but nevertheless never easy, to help you through this, Griefline has some great recourses such as this link about how to cope with grief and loss:

    Grief is different for everybody and unfortunately is not quick and easy to get through, It sounds like you are feeling very overwhelmed with processing your feelings around your mum, so, please continue to write on the forum as talking to others, especially those who are going through similar situations can be incredibly healing and can help you get through this.

    I hope you found this post useful, and please reach out again and let us know how you are going


    I’m so sorry for your loss. I lost my Mum on the 28th May. I am feeling your pain with you. You are a very caring person and your actions speak a thousand words. Saying I love you seems so simple to you and I, I guess others find those words have a different meaning and block them out. Your Mum did love you and that is the memory you hold onto. Overlay the feelings of regret with self realisation that you were and are loved. Bless your children with those words each day and remind yourself how loved you are. You are blessed to have a loving family to support you through these difficult times. Your siblings may have their own doubts about love..? I hope you are okay.


    @justme, I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. I lost my Mum six months ago so feel your pain and isolation, especially if you’re the one organising things, needing to be strong for everyone. It can be so hard not only being in her home but also going through her belongings, many of which bring up more memories.
    It’s important to be gentle with yourself through this and take one step at a time, especially with such a complicated history. Reaching out and asking for help is a great start. Support groups such as Motherless Daughters – may help for female members of your family.
    It sounds like you have a number of siblings under 18 and am wondering whether you’ve heard of the National Centre for Childhood Grief. They provide free counselling for those under 18 and can be contacted on 1300 654 556. You might like to check out their website.
    I hope this helps in some small way. Please do reach out via this post again if you need, or call Griefline on 1300 845 745 as talking with someone can help ease the burden when things get tough.


    Hi all
    Thanks for your responses, it’s really kind. I am doing ok. I feel a huge weight lifted off now that the house is done, I got some help from some friends which was really nice.
    Thanks for all the links, my siblings who are < 18 are in the care system and always have been and are being looked after with all the right services that they need.

    I just feel a bit sad


    Hello @justme,

    I found your post really inspirational, and thank you for writing it – your strength and courage for taking over and doing what was needed at this time is something you should be proud of.

    What particularly resonated for me was your insights into your mum and her love for you. When I was young I thought my dad hated me – he only ever seemed to either be telling me off or sending me away, he seemed so distant and cold. I never recall ever hearing him say he loved me or was proud of me, and I left home as soon as I could and went to the other side of the world. I would ring home, but if he answered he would simply say “Oh, it’s you – here’s your mother” and pass the phone right over. I thought to myself “he can’t even bear to hear my voice.”

    And then, one day, he was gone. A sudden heart attack and he was gone for good. I travelled home to the funeral, and then life continued.

    It was only after that I learned, bit by bit. I learned that he had been told that he was the ‘man of the house’ at aged 9, when his father died. His mother took him out of school and sent him to work and told him never to act like a child again as she needed him to run the family now. I learned that he was never given time or the tools to learn how to cope for himself, let alone others – and that he understood being a boy/man only in very narrow terms. I was outside those terms, and he thought he was doing the right thing by trying to cajole me back into them.

    Most of all, I learned how proud he was of me. How proud he was of the person I became, how close he’d sit to my mum whilst she’d talk to me, so he could hear everything – and why he would get off the phone within seconds or else he’d burst into uncontrollable tears. Uncontrollable, because he loved me and missed me, but lacked the words and the ability to tell me. I learned that he was desperate for me to come home, for us to be closer. And that his study was plastered in my photos.

    I do regret that I learned all this too late to share better times with him; but I am grateful that I did learn, and I’m grateful for my dad and his love. I am thankful for the few good times we did share, and I feel sorrow for what stopped him from being able to share more.

    I am sharing this today only because your message, justme, really hit home just how powerful it can be to discover we are loved and held close – even when we don’t see it, in their lifetime.

    I hope you take comfort from what you found, and find ways to maintain a relationship with your mum going forward.

    And thank you once more, for sharing.

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