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My mother died in my arms 2 weeks ago

Home Forums Loss of a loved one My mother died in my arms 2 weeks ago


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    Mum had a sudden worsening of her breathing and went straight into ICU. She was there 20 days trying to recover enough to get out and back home with us. On Monday 7th August at 3:26pm she stopped breathing and died in my arms in the ICU. Both my sister and father were there too.

    I have never experienced this sort of grief even with other deaths in the family. It is all encompassing and even 2 weeks later I still am unable to think or concentrate on anything for more than a few minutes before thoughts of mum intrude and I feel my heart breaking all over again. I haven’t slept properly for over a month now. Even though I have started to see a counsellor once a week and have found it very helpful, I find it so hard to be alone and want to be able to talk about mum all the time. The house where I live now with dad we used to live there with mum as well. Dad is not coping very well either, and that adds to my concern as I fear for him as well. He is now a widower and says he feels there is no reason to keep living life. I could not bear to lose dad as well.

    I have had to go back to work and I am finding that so difficult as I am always on hyper alert and stressed while being unable to think and much to slow at my job. I fear I will lose my job if I cannot begin to go back to normal. But nothing will go back to normal. Mum is gone and with that so is my anchor and rock. Dad doesnt talk and I need to. Mum and I used to talk all the time. Now there is an empty chair an a dark house.

    I just dont know what to do or how to survive this nightmare.

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  • #26219

    Hi Aaron, I am so, so sorry about your loss. I am also going through similar feelings re: returning to work, being slow at my job and unable to think properly is making me feel like I need to quit. Even though my work have been so supportive, I feel like I put the pressure on myself that they are thinking that I can’t do my job anymore.
    Do you feel comfortable in communicating your thoughts to your manager? Or is there anyone else at work that you can confide in for some support? I feel like this is going to be my next step…I just need the confidence to communicate.


    After the speed of my work today, I expect I will have to have that conversation with my manager at a catch up scheduled tomorrow whether I want to or not. Seems everyone at work got told about mum. Every conversation starts with “Hi, how are you, oh, umm….(silence)” now that the steady stream of condolences trailed off. I feel like I cant leave my camera on because I just cant seem to manage a smile at the moment. Everyone is being very nice, but its clear they don’t know what to say so I am avoided (compared to before she went into hospital).

    I hope your experience isn’t as forced as mine seems to be. I could swear I completed more work than my tally suggests, but apparently not. I must have glazed over. Hopefully tomorrow is better?


    Hello @aaron, I just saw your post and was wondering how you are travelling. It is natural that you are experiencing immense pain following the loss of your much loved mother. I also wanted to encourage you to call our helpline on 1300 845 745 ( Mon to Fri 8am to 8pm) if you want to talk with one of the Griefline volunteers. You can also book a call time if you prefer that by going to the “Book a Call” button on the the top left side of the Griefline webpage


    There is also some good reading material on the webpage under the resources tab about coping with grief and loss.

    We are here to support you so please stay in touch. You can also let other members of your family know about the support Griefline can offer them help.


    Thank you @VMLyncha, others in my family are aware of this website. I think my sister may have looked at it, but my father isn’t very good with computers and doesn’t feel the need to talk to anyone – he is a solitary person and deals with grief very differently to me. This makes things difficult for me (I live with my dad) as he doesn’t tolerate my way of grieving. I’ve been reaching out for support, and have a few friends who have been keeping in touch, giving me a way to relieve the pressure.

    The start of the week was mum and dad’s wedding anniversary, and this weekend is the first fathers day without her. There are also family birthdays soon and I don’t know how that will go. There are several family traditions which are likely to stop because mum wont be around to do her part in them. That will accentuate the loss more I fear. Everything at home, and so much of daily life reminds of mum. I can’t predict how I will be a day ahead, or even an hour ahead some times. I find it hard to concentrate on work and fear it will impact the chance of having my contract renewed when it comes due soon. I also fear friends will stop talking to me because I keep struggling with mum dying. So much makes me feel so inadequate because I cant deal with grief the way everyone else seems to want me to, that is to shut up and forget about her and move on. And I cant do that.


    Dear @Aaron, I’m so deeply sorry for the loss of your mum. Living with grief is lifelong, and these are still very early days in your grief journey. You have endured a very significant loss, and no, contrary to popular belief, we don’t just bounce back; neither is it healthy or realistic to shut up and forget about our loved ones and just move on. We learn, slowly and over time, how to carry the weight of our grief. And it’s rarely possible to do this all by ourselves; so reaching out and seeking support is essential as you’re doing over here.

    I understand the difficulties you mention with your dad. We often say that there is no right or wrong way to grieve, and that each person grieves in their own way. But yes, it makes it more challenging when family members grieve in opposing styles.

    Please know that everything you’re describing – the impact on your work, the daily reminders of your mum, fearing the loss of traditions and facing special days without her – these are all natural responses to grief. Grief takes a toll on all aspects of our life; the greater the loss, the harder the challenge to adapt to a life without that loved one. Please also know you are not alone in this, and that there are many options for support, like:
    – the Resources section of the Griefline website.
    – as VMLyncha has suggested, speaking to a volunteer who gets what it’s like and gives you that non-judgmental safe space to just be yourself can be very helpful;
    – registering for Griefline’s online support groups.
    – perhaps seeking counselling, either face to face or online.
    – reading books on grief, like those by David Kessler.
    – journalling.

    I hope you find something useful in this list. Please let us know how you are getting on. Meanwhile, wishing you strength and comfort, Sal.


    Aaron, I can only imagine how intense your grief must feel, especially given the different coping mechanisms within your family. It sounds like talking has always been a comfort to you, and since that’s the case, have you considered journaling your feelings? Sometimes, writing can be therapeutic, and might even be useful for discussion in your counselling sessions.

    It seems family traditions and upcoming events are painful reminders of your mum’s absence. Maybe it’s worth trying to integrate her memory into these occasions? Something like lighting a candle for her during family birthdays or even keeping a chair for her at the dinner table could not only honour her but also serve as a bridge between your and your dad’s different grieving styles.
    We’d love to hear how you’re holding up, Aaron. Take it step by step.

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