Helpline 1300 845 745

8am to 8pm: 7 days (AEST)

Request a callback

Available Mon-Fri

My mother died in my arms 2 weeks ago

Resize text-+=

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


  • This topic has 12 replies, 9 voices, and was last updated 8 months, 1 week ago by VM-The Old Oak Tree.
  • Creator
  • #26217

    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.

Viewing 10 replies - 1 through 10 (of 12 total)
  • Author
  • #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.


    We got through the two months of constant family events. It feels like both a mere day has passed since mum died, and also like an eternity. Internally I’ve settled down, the worst of the volatility in the waves of grief having receded – for the moment at least. I’ve been seeing a counsellor one or two times a week. I wish my Dad would see someone but he doesn’t think he needs to. I disagree given the way he has acted several times when his emptions are heightened. I find that I have great difficulty being alone since Mum died. I never had much trouble being alone before, but now I have what feels like a growing hole in my centre without someone to talk to. I woke up this morning with an eagerness to tell mum all about something that happened to me last night. But she isn’t here. I find this sucks all the fun out of life and I cant spark interest at anything I did before. I am constantly drawn to worry about the future or thinking about the past. I cant remain in the present with myself. It feels empty.


    Hi Aaron,
    Everything you have talked about is a normal experience of grief and loss however the roller coaster of emotions does not make this experience any easier. The reality of grief is that it stays the same for people who are experiencing grief but it slowly changes as your life grows around the pain and grief experienced. Your love for your mum, the experiences, and the memories remain with you. At the same time, your life grows around that grief. It all takes time and it can be a painful and emotional roller coaster for you. It is good that you have a counsellor and that you reach out to griefline. Continue to take the small steps you need to take during this grieving period. Take care of yourself by remembering to engage in self-care activities like a walk, it is important to participate in these activities during this time. Remember, you are not alone, there are people to support you.


    Hey Aaron. I feel for your situation. I lost my mum to cancer August 10, she was diagnosed August 1. The descriptions of how you are feeling is very similar to what I’m experiencing. I have all the same worries about work, the future, the past surfacing as traumatic memories of my time in hospital with her during those final days. I’m scared I won’t be able to fix myself because I have no energy, joy or motivation to draw upon. It feels like it happened so suddenly and change has been forced upon me and I have no anchor or rock anymore. My dad died when I was 8 years old, I’m 43 now, and this loss feels immeasurably worse as an adult and as mum’s only child. I am experiencing similar feelings of emptiness. I wish I could offer something of some use but I’m just letting you know there’s someone else here going through something similar. Best wishes


    Hi Aaron and also jdunlop,

    Thank you so much for sharing with us and with each other.

    The loss of one’s mother, whatever the relationship, is up there with the greatest of grief experiences, aside from the loss of a child. Although we cannot measure grief, we experience it uniquely, individually and universally.

    It is clear from both of your postings that you were blessed to have beautiful mothers who nurtured and loved you both deeply. You have inherited this compassion and love that you feel from them and are passing that gift onto others.

    Aaron, it is heart wrenching and tragic that your mother died in your arms. But she chose your arms to pass in although others were present. That is a testament to your enduring love and continuing bond.

    For you and jdundalop I send this poem.

    Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep
    Do not stand at my grave and weep;
    I am not there. I do not sleep.
    I am a thousand winds that blow.
    I am the diamond glints on snow.
    I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
    I am the gentle autumn rain.
    When you awaken in the morning’s hush
    I am the swift uplifting rush
    Of quiet birds in circled flight.
    I am the soft stars that shine at night.
    Do not stand at my grave and cry;
    I am not there.
    I did not die.

Viewing 10 replies - 1 through 10 (of 12 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Enter your details to stay up to date with our news and programs. You can unsubscribe at any time.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.