I just lost my mom this past week (Aug. 23). She was 52 and died from heart failure and pneumonia caused by an autoimmune disease called Scleroderma. While we knew she was going downhill, we still thought she had a few years left.
How do you cope with this? I'm only 22 and never imagined having to go through this at such a young age. When you're a kid you always think of your parents as invincible and immortal. When you get older you realize they're only human but you don't expect to face their mortality at this age.
My mom was my very best friend. She was the one who nurtured my love of horses and got me to where I am today. She was at every lesson from the time I started at 3 until I got my license at 15. She was at every horse show until I went off to college. She never complained about waking up at 5am, dealing with 112 or 18 degree weather, torrential rain, or even sleet. She signed all of those checks with multiple zeros with a smile on her face.
When I moved away a year and a half ago to fulfill my dream of becoming a trainer, my mom was beyond overjoyed and beaming with pride. Even though I live 6 hours away, I still talked to her every day. I will miss that.
I am an only child and while I have a great relationship with my dad, we're not as close as mom and I were. I worry about him being alone. My parents had been together for 38 years.
For those who have lost parents, how long does it take to feel "normal" again??
Last edited by dani0303; Sep. 1, 2010 at 05:39 PM.
Reason: Spelling; sorry I'm emotional
**Friend of bar.ka**
Fils Du Reverdy (Revy)- 1993 Selle Francais Gelding
My equine soulmate
I am so sorry for your loss. It's never easy, but your mom was particularly young, and so it's harder. No doubt there will be many times when the missing her will be particularly acute.
I lost my dad last fall. He was 85. I had the opportunity to get ready for his passing, as if we can ever be ready.
Things will never be the same. But after the "firsts" cycle by - first Christmas, first Mother's Day, first ...... you'll develop a new normal.
Take time to grieve her passing and if you need help, get it.
I lost my dad coming up on 4 years ago when I was 22 as well. He died suddenly in a plane crash. I still think about and miss my dad every day. That part doesn't go away. The raw pain goes away, but there's always an ache. The best thing that I did was get myself into some counseling. It helped me to sort out my feelings and then, when I was ready, I went into group therapy. Hearing that I wasn't the only one with those feelings was comforting. I know it's not for everyone, but you may want to check it out.
If you ever want to chat please feel free to PM me.
My husband lost his father unexpectadly last summer. It is still tough for him, but it's his mom that makes it worse and tries to make him feel bad. Really once all the "firsts" were done my husband really started to move on. His dad was only 61, so still much younger then one would expect. There will be some tough days, so reach out to those around you. Counseling really did wonders for my husband as he has some major hung ups regarding death and for some reason felt guilty about his fathers passing even though it was natural causes. Condolensces to you and your father.
Hugs and condolences to you on the loss of your mom. I know what it's like to lose your mom unexpectedly. The hurt and the pain is indescribable. As stryder wrote, the firsts will be really tough to get through. Allow yourself to grieve and don't be surprised when many of your friends don't understand what you are going through. Shortly after my mom passed, one of my friends said, "How long will it be before the 'old Jennifer' comes back?" I knew she would never understand.
You will now have a new sense of "normal" as stryder also mentioned. (I like following stryder's posts, she sets me up nicely). Don't be afraid to seek therapy and don't be afraid to cry. You will find that you may tear up at random times or when something comes up that you wish you could share with your mom. I lost my mom 12 years ago and still miss her like crazy but am comforted when I have dreams with her in them. Seeing a therapist helped me a lot, especially since none of my friends had lost a parent at that time.
Your dad will probably need you more than you realize. My dad spun into a deep depression and it was tough to see. I spent many nights with him while he just cried and cried. It was heartbreaking. With the help of my siblings, we were able to convince him to seek help and at least get on anti-depressants for a while. They helped quite a bit, but my dad never really was the same. Spend time with your dad when you can. You will both really need each other this first year. If you aren't up for celebrating during the holidays, don't. The first Thanksgiving w/out my mom, we went out to dinner for the first time ever instead of making our traditional meal. None of us could deal with even trying to pull it together and that was okay, it's what we needed at the time.
My condolences dani0303
I lost my father unexpectedly when I was about your age.
How each person handles something like this varies drastically. One thing I can promise you is that it will get better and it will get easier but that will take time. For me, it took a couple of months before going out and functioning like a "normal" person did not take an extra level of effort (I don't mean everything was hunky dory and I was fine, but that whole functioning in society thing and interacting with people without bursting into tears or being able to focus and reliably follow a conversation or being able to feign interest in something someone was telling me- that kind of thing).
I agree with stryder that the year of "firsts" can be tough.
The one thing I regret is that I did not seek grief counseling. I had wonderful and supportive friends, but I should have sought the help of a professional (well, I did but I was so put off by the first guy I met with that I never went back- bad decision- I should have looked for someone who worked better for me (when I told him my father had died he actually said "and how does that make you feel?" )
Lean on your friends- odds are they do not know what you want in terms of help/support so do not hesitate to tell them. Some will think you won't want to talk about it and so will avoid the topic and some will want to talk it to death - only you know what you want or need at any particular point and if you tell you friends, I bet they will be more than happy to oblige or at least most of them will.
I am so sorry for your loss.
Last edited by bambam; Sep. 1, 2010 at 06:44 PM.
There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.(Churchill)
Well, it's been five months, and I'm not there yet. And I'm 53. For me, it's the guilt about what I didn't do for my mom when she started feeling unwell. If I had gone with her to the dr and demanded a thorough examination, she might still be alive. She had ovarian cancer, and for four months the dr told her she was just old and constipated. I'm so sorry that I didn't spend more time with her. Now I can never go back and make it up to her.
Some days seem pretty normal, but it's laying in bed waiting to go to sleep that it's harder to keep the lump out of my throat.
I'm so sorry for your loss. PM me if you'd like to talk.
.For those who have lost parents, how long does it take to feel "normal" again??
I don't know. Maybe never.
My dad died of cancer when I was 16. I'm 26 now. It was beyond hard. I was at school (was a junior in high school) when he passed away, and my aunt and my brother had to come get me. I don't remember parts of the funeral, or of the time leading up to it. Like I've blocked it out. After the funeral I locked myself in my room for a week.
It is very hard to describe how I felt for years after that. I went through a period of being totally ok - denial, I guess. Followed by anger and sadness, and they came in extremes. Crazy irrational anger and deep deep sadness.
My mom and my brother and I have always been close. That helped immensely.
I think it has taken me 'till these past couple years to really REALLY be ok. I dealt with a lot of guilt. My dad had been very very sick (his cancer was melanoma) and towards the end it was hard. Afterwards I felt like I didn't spend enough time with him, and like I hadn't been a good enough daughter. The morning he died I was running late for school and ran out of the house without saying good-bye to my mom - or my dad. I beat myself up over the guilt of not saying good-bye for years.
I still miss him so much it literally hurts my insides sometimes. I get sad when I look at my nephews and that my dad never got to meet them. Or that he never met my SO. (And they would have gotten along amazingly!) I think about how I'll get married and have kids someday and he won't be there for any of it, and it hurts.
I hate that I was a teenager when he died. I was a pretty good kid, but teenagers are, well, teenagers. My mom and I are best friends, and I wish I'd been able to have an adult relationship with my dad instead of losing him while I was still an attitudenal teenager.
It DOES get easier. But it takes time.
I'm so sorry for your loss. If you ever want to PM me, please do. I'd be happy to listen.
I am so sorry for your loss, Dani. I lost my dad to cancer at 26. He was 55. The three year anniversary is next month, and I still feel the ache, though the acute pain has faded. Most of my friends didn't understand, and consequently, I am no longer friends with most of the people that knew me beforehand. Like jenm, they wanted the "old Kelly" back.
My dad and I were very close, and I still find myself tearing up at sometimes inappropriate times. His death spurred me to go back to school, and as I started vet school last week, I couldn't help but cry a few times because he wasn't there with me for parents day during orientation week. He was there with me in spirit, though, and I know he would be SO proud of me!
You'll probably find that your perception of normal will change, but it will take a while to adjust. In the meantime, talk to a counselor, and cling to the things that you consider "normal." Horses were my lifeline, and gave me a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Keep riding - the exercise will help enormously. Also, make sure you are really taking care of yourself. Make sure you're eating (and eating WELL), and getting enough sleep (but not too much). It's easy to let these things slide, but it's a slippery slope into severe depression if you're not taking care of yourself.
I'm also around if you need an ear. PM me if you like. Hang in there; it's a terrible reality to face at 22, but I promise, it will get easier.
The knowledge of the nature of a horse is one of the first foundations of the art if riding it, and every horseman must make it his principal study.
~Francois Robichon de la Gueriniere
It sucks. My mom died last year, about 3 weeks before her 60th birthday (and 2 weeks before my 30somethingish birthday). She had ALS, and she had been going downhill. With the nature of ALS, we thought she had a lot longer to go, so the call from my step-dad at 2:22am was a shocker.
I miss her. A lot. All the time. I want to go shopping and out to lunch and laugh and chat. I feel cheated that she died so young. And if I'm honest, I get jealous of and sometimes mad at all those people who still have their moms (and I know that's not logical or reasonable).
My step-dad has gotten her photo included in a photo memorial being done during the MDA telethon this weekend. It is a very sweet gesture and I am proud of him/thankful for him for it. But in many ways, it makes her death all the more 'real'.
A few months after she died, I thought I might be pregnant. I panicked, thinking how could I have a child without my MOM here? I have those moments.
A friend lost her mom when her mom was in her 50s to cancer. She told me she read somewhere that you never really get over losing people who die young/before their time. And I can believe that.
I lost my dad almost 7 years ago...I guess that means I would have been 22. It isn't easy. And while I have a happy, wonderful life, I still miss him dearly. My family was lucky in that we had 10 months to say good bye to him (he had a very aggressive form of cancer that we knew was terminal from the diagnosis). It may have been easier for us because he was comfortable with what lay before him...knowing he wasn't afraid helped us to be strong, too. We all got to be with him when he passed (including his dogs!). And my family has a wicked sense of humor...while we cried A LOT, we also laughed A LOT (bare in mind that 12 hours after he passed away, Hurricane Isabel blew a HUGE tree into my parents house, leaving my mother a "homeless, penniless widow." Her words, said in good humor).
So, surround yourself with people you love and who loved your mom. Cry, cry, cry...don't be embarrassed. Don't be afraid to laugh and smile and think happy things...that's how she would want it to be. Emotions are very raw and very sharp and quite a bit chaotic after something like this, and the only thing you can do is roll with it.
I don't know if you ever feel normal. There is no normal after losing a parent. I find myself reading a friend's blog and her stories about her adventures with her dad, and I bawl like a baby. I'll hear a poem on the NPR in the morning, and it reminds me of Dad, and I cry. I think of him a lot and think about things he would love (or hate). I wish he was with me to celebrate a lot of the important things that have happened in my riding career. I wonder what he'd have thought of my dog. There really is no normal, but eventually you learn to live with the hole and live with the moments that you miss them even more.
I will say that kinda "getting on" with things helped me. By returning to my life and going back to my routines I managed. About 6 weeks after he passed, I rode at an event at the VA Horse Trials...his favorite...I cried like a big baby every night. But I loved every minute of it and knew he was happy I was still riding and thinking of him.
So, I guess I don't have anything super useful. Grieve...it's ok. Everyone grieves differently. Don't be afraid to have happy moments (she wouldn't want that). And remember there's a difference between grief and depression. If you're having a hard time sleeping, eating, doing your normal things and your more than just sad, you should consider some couseling.
Time does heal,BUT things will never be the "normal" that you've been used to.Things have changed and you will learn to live your life a bit differently.You will heal in time.I'm so sorry for your loss.I'm 47 and only have my Mom and brother.Mom is a cancer survivor,stage four.I treasure every day with her.You will probably grow closer to your Dad through this awful loss.I'm so sorry.
I'm so sorry for your loss. My dad died 15 yrs ago, and sometimes it seems like yesterday, and sometimes it seems like ages ago.
I know that looking at things that remind you of her might really upset you right now, but just don't throw anything out. Eventually they will bring you comfort and happy memories.
OP, I am right there with you. I am 24 and lost my Dad April 24 of this year. Today would have been my parent's 26th anniversary. My Dad was one of my best friends, I am not sure if I would say I am closer to my husband, even. We had the same sense of humor, and he never made fun of me or made me feel bad about myself like some "friends" sometimes do. My Dad was 49 years old, he died of a heat attack. We learned through the autopsy that he had had 3 other heart attack, 2 big ones and one just a week before he died.
I always thought of him as being invincible too. He could do anything. Anything. I am not just saying that because I love him so much. He built their house, re-modeled mine, built 3 barns and was working on the last when he passed. It was to be our barn, on his property but next to my house and I would run it. Every time I look out the window I think of him. We were doing it together.
I don't know if there is a normal anymore. Someone else said they miss their parent so much it pysically hurts. That is how I feel sometimes, too. My chest hurts. My mom is having a really hard time, since he is the only man she has ever been with, since childhood. For me, I do think about him every day, and it makes me sad, but I can think about good times or a funny thing he said or an inside joke and just smile instead of sob hysterically. I found a pic of us on the log flume ride at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg near our house. That was "our" ride. I hope this will not happen to you, but my mom got really argumentative and mean and really like a differant person. It really pisses my DH off, she actually accused him of stealing my Dad's tools. We just had to try to placate her and just keep our distance when she got "crazy".
A lot of things are different now, in a bad way. Our new barn will not be "right" because he is not building it. He got my shavings and hauled in my hay for me (he was a trucker too). He is the one who pushed me to start my business. We depended on him for a lot, I never realized how much until now.
For me, HE was always the one at my shows. If I got second, he would say, oh, good job, you got first looser! It sounds really mean typed out but I always always knew that was his joking way to say both good job and get out there and win it next time. But he was never the "I will disown you if you do not get a blue in every class you enter!" types. I always knew he loved me and was proud of me, even if he really didn't "get" the horse obsession.
Sometimes when I am driving around in his pickup (the one thing willed to me), I imagine he is sitting next to me, humming along with the oldies station and looking out the window. Or I imagine what we would talk about and I know what he would say back. I hope that does not mean I am crazy. It just makes me feel closer to him.
Someone else said their friend asked them when the "old" them would be back. My DH and a few others got like that on me. I was out of it and pretty crappy company. I got on some happy pills for the first time ever and they have helped some.
It sucks ass. Thats just the way it it and I would not wish this on my worst enemy. I am so so sorry for your loss. I know how you feel. Hang in there.
I am amazed at the number of people on here who have such similar stories.
OP, I don't know what to tell you...I hope it gets easier for you. I do. I can't imagine what you're feeling, partly because I am trying to not feel it myself.
My dad has Stage 4 TCC. He's going through round 2 of chemo right now. I just moved to Tampa to start my life as a vet, and my internship is so demanding that I can't get any time or money to go home and visit.
Thank you to everyone who's shared their story. It helps me, and I'm sure it helps each other to hear what's worked for you. We all deal with things in our own way, but it does help to know that others have gone through it.
I am so incredibly sorry and feel so much for everyone who has lost a parent. I think it's the ultimate loss.
There is a book called "We are not forgotten" by an author named George Anderson. It was written by a reporter assigned to do a story to expose him as a fake psychic. He communicates with dead people. The reporter ended up being his biggest supporter after following him around and seeing what he did. I read the book after having strange experiences about my dad, that couldn't be explained (Like dreaming of him in front of a cabin on a hill, telling me he was ok, and I kept saying "but you're dead". He finally told me to verify the information, and ask my mom about the cabin and Sunny Villa" It turned out that it is where my mom and dad would vacation before I was born. I'd never heard of it. Then My mom and I sat across the room from each other and drew pictures of the cabin...what I saw in my dream and what she remembered. They were mirror images of each other, right down to the hill, driveway, door, windows, porch). Then I gave it to my mom. We both found it really comforting.