Trying to process it all

I’m at a point now where the reality of my mom’s situation has really sunk in.  After hearing that her cancer was terminal last week, I’ve really just been going through each day like a zombie…going through the motions and telling myself that I’ve come to terms with everything.

In reality, though, I hadn’t.  It has hit me like a ton of bricks over the past couple of days, though…the reality of knowing my mom is dying is an extremely uncomfortable situation to go through. I feel like I want the waiting and the suffering to be over with.

But that’s the thing…I don’t know how to feel or if what I’m currently feeling is normal for someone just entering the grieving process.  I don’t know if I should enjoy moments of laughter and happiness or if I should be able to go more than thirty minutes at work without constantly thinking about mom and her situation.

If I smile or laugh, I immediately feel guilty afterwards. Is that a normal feeling to have in this kind of situation?

So I guess I’m wondering  where to turn in order to find out how others have felt going through the same thing.  I mean, Sunshine has been an amazing support system for me (and yes…I realize that I should just “be” and there isn’t a set way I should be feeling…I love you, baby), but I want to take the next step in trying to make sure I’m mentally ready to handle all of this.

The last thing I want to do is withdraw from the woman I love and the only one I can trust.

I was given this link through work, but if anybody has other resources they’d like to share I’m all ears.

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19 thoughts on “Trying to process it all

  1. Check your local churches and or community centers as well. I have a friend that attends a group at our township center. I know it’s not easy. I really hope you find some support.

    Does your company do EAP? (Employee Assistance Program)- we have one here and they will refer you to a ‘specialist’ for at least one session for free. If you can get one of them, they can also refer you to support links or groups.

    I am keeping you & your family in my prayers and good thoughts for peace.

    1. Actually, I got a number from my EAP and found a monthly support group here in the city. Their first meeting is March 15th…a little longer away than I’d like to wait.

      I’m also going to talk to a counsellor on Monday thru the EAP to discuss how to tell my kids.

  2. Oh Dear One, you’ve touched me today. I remember so vividly the battle of cancer first with my brother and then with my mother. Both died at home. We were all so wonderfully supported with the help of Hospice.

    And right now I am reminded of those moments that stand out to me most. The smell of olive oil lingers still now, my brother really loved having his feet massaged, he really loved being read too. My mother really loved the sound of Kenny G and appreciated having photos of loved ones nearby. She worried about the house being clean and she worried about leaving us behind. She rested better knowing everything and everyone around her was cared for.

    These sacred moments are scared moments too. Relish them. Reach out to others and invite them to share it with you.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

    1. The monthly meeting I’ll begin going to next month for peer support is actually run by the local hospice, so I’m glad I was able to find them.

      I’m sorry that you also had to go through such a rough time with two family members. I appreciate your comments.

  3. I agree with Bubblewench — your company’s HR department probably has something set up through an EAP where they’ll pay for you to speak with someone. I’ve done it before and found it helpful.

    And I don’t think you should have to worry about how you “should” be feeling right now. The whole experience must be so overwhelming, the last thing you need to worry about is how you’re supposed to be reacting as it unfolds.

    Best of luck to you, bro.

  4. The hospital that your Mom is in has EXCELLENT Social Work Support. You should make an appointment to see them. Talk to them, it will make all the difference in understanding this. It was my life-line when my husband was there…(today would have been his birthday).

    1. That’s something my dad has actually turned down, and now as we enter this uncharted territory I think it’s something that I may take advantage of.

      I’m sorry you had to go through that with your husband. I appreciate the suggestion, though. Thank you.

  5. I agree with what everyone has written here. Many do turn to their faith and/or a grief counselor. I know that many churches have recovery groups for people going through any sort of major change in their lives.

    And this is major.

    I felt a lot of guilt too, when my father was dying. I think it is normal. Try to remember, though, that your mom wants to know that you’ll be ok, that you will still smile, that you’ll live your life. When you laugh, think of the joy it will bring her to know that you are laughing.

    Of course, your thoughts will stray. This is a huge loss to you. Your mom has been the only consistent female in your life to this day. All of us tend to build relationship habits from our primary opposite gender parent.

    I agree with Sunshine. Allow your feelings. Allow yourself to mourn or laugh, without guilt. Allow yourself to treasure moments with or without your mom. As a mom, quite honestly, I’d like to know that my children will cherish life, loved ones and their own children, even more if I couldn’t be there. I’d like to know that I did a great job instilling values and the ability to bounce back from loss.

    Also, hold Sunshine close to you. You NEED the feminine in your life, at this time.

    Thinking of you…

    1. How did you deal with the guilt, Tonya? When your father was in that hospital bed and you were somewhere else smiling or laughing at something…how did you tell yourself it was okay? I mean, I’m sure my mom would want me to be happy and all, but it’s hard to tell that to myself so that I believe it when my thoughts drift off to her…y’know?

      1. Here’s the thing, though, baby. It’s not like you’re out vacationing, living it up, having a grand old time with life, without a care in the world, while your mom is in the hospital.

        Your mind is on her, you are with her in spirit, almost every moment of every day. Taking a break from that – even if it’s for one minute, two, five, or ten, to laugh at something or briefly enjoy life isn’t disrespectful to her or anything worth feeling guilty about. When you experience the guilt, allow that feeling (knowing that it’s perfectly natural and normal), but don’t let it stop you from continuing to enjoy the happy little moments that pop up every now and then.

        1. Cannot agree more with Sunshine’s thoughts here…you need to feel what you feel and it doesn’t mean you can’t smile or laugh. I felt this way too when my Nonna was dying. She would want you to still live your life, so try and do that as much as you can. She knows you love her.

      2. That’s the thing. As others have mentioned, my dad wanted to see that my life continued to have normal everyday moments. He LOVED to hear regular ordinary stories of what I did that day, what the kids latest silliness was… He couldn’t really get out and play along but he loved to hear that life was going on. He loved to hear that things were going to be OK, without him. Parents don’t want to feel that their death will make their children miserable. The biggest concern he had, in his last days, was making sure everyone would be OK. We actually had to tell him that he did great setting up his will and everything. We had to tell him that we were going on with our lives because he didn’t want us doting on him.

        It was awfully difficult. I’ll admit.

        But I’ll never forget the last time I saw him… I sat at his bedside and he couldn’t speak. He was extremely doped up on morphine. But he knew I was there. I was telling him about my daughter’s birthday and he kept making hand motions as if to say, “Go on… tell me more.” So I’d tell him a little more. Another hand motion. Then I’d say more. Another hand motion…. He wanted to know every stinkin’ detail about her birthday party. It made him smile. It gave him such peace to know that we were happy.

        That’s what a parent wants, right? For their children to be happy.

        Wish I was there to give you a giant hug.

  6. I hope that you take advantage of all the advice here, CaNook. I hope that you find some peace.

    I think Sunshine is making an excellent point here too … Life will go on … around you, even when you don’t want it to. It’s hard not to feel the guilt, but it’s hard not to feel the happiness either.

  7. Yesterday I saw someone who looked like just like Sunshine, and thought to come visit your blog. I’m so sorry to hear about your mom. Cancer is awful, and the process of watching someone you love fade away is completely heartbreaking. Your family will be in my thoughts.

  8. I have to agree with everyone on here, don’t beat yourself up because you aren’t feeling guilty or sad 100% of the time, that in itself will hurt your mother. The last thing she wants to see is you suffering. One of my greatest and last memories of my dad before he passed (20 yrs now) was I used his gun and went out claybird shooting with a guy I was dating at the time. My dad was pretty close to the end, but he got out of bed to make sure the gun was safe before I left with it, and double checked to make sure it was clean and empty when I got home. That was his way of feeling normal. It gave him one last time to take care of his “little girl” (mind you I was over 30 at that time). Try and give your mom as much normal as you can. Ask her advise, tell jokes, laugh with her…. you will cherish these memories later down the road, and she will fill better knowing you are doing OK – whether you really are or not. Big hugs to all of you.

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