Processing – Death (Remembering Mum)

I found myself remembering my mother today.  She died six years ago from Pancreatic Cancer at the age of 67.  She had retired three years earlier after having spent her whole working life in nursing (she was a theatre nurse/OR nurse).  Along with my dad, she set up a bed and breakfast establishment in their home and had continual business.

Then she became ill.  At first we didn’t know.  She had wanted to lose a bit of weight and so started to eat smaller meals but when that moved out of her control and to a point where she didn’t want to eat anything, we knew something was wrong.  I think she knew immediately, but always gave us hope.

She was diagnosed with aggressive Pancreatic Cancer and within 4 months she had died.

I know we all deal with death, loss and grief in different ways.  There is no right or wrong way of dealing with it.  No-one can prepare you for how you are going to feel, and for how long you are going to feel the intensity of the grief.  This is how I remember processing some things.

  • I cried – but I cried before she died too, anticipating the loss.  I remember telling a group of friends one evening about the diagnosis and crying so hard that snot was rolling from my nose, and people were almost embarrassed.  However, I did not care.  I needed this time to grieve among friends whom I trusted.
  • I was angry – she had only been retired for three years and was beginning to enjoy her life in a new way.  Now it had all been taken.  My father hadn’t had a lot of time with my mum since retiring and they had plans.  Now they would not happen – together.
  • I ached – deep in the very pit of my stomach.  My mum had instilled in me a real sense of being.  She had loved me, cuddled me, fed me, nurtured me, been there for me and in that, I knew who I was as a person.  Now she was gone, and I ached.  Looking back on it now, I see that she had given me everything I needed to be the woman I now am.

Time is a healer, but it doesn’t ever completely close the wound.  You never get over it.  I still get emotional about my mother, and I miss her.  There are things that are happening in my life now that I know she would want to share with me, and I miss not being able to do so.

It is not all negative and sombre though.  I am so grateful for my mother.  She had given me all that I needed to be able to live life.  There are so many happy memories which I am now able to hang onto and enjoy.  As a family, we can remember and laugh whereas, in the early days, we would remember and cry.  She enters into our conversations – “Mum would have said….” “I remember when Mum….” so she is still with me in many ways.

So in conclusion:

  • No-one can tell you how to grieve, it will be unique to you.
  • The world cannot dictate how long you should grieve.  Do it your way.
  • There were bad days, but good days did come
  • I found it best for me to grieve with others and not to be alone
  • Anger was part of my grief.  It’s OK.
  • There are times when it felt as if the pain would never leave.  Feelings, as I’ve said before, are not the full reality.
  • Remember the good times too.

About katehobbs

Mother to two who are now independant and living away from home. Wife to Steve, for the last 26yrs and looking forward to many more years. I have enjoyed 18 months in the Okanagan, something that I have longed to have the opportunity to do for a while. Living a dream, you could say. Now, I am interning with Living Waters Canada based in Vancouver until end of April 2013. I love to grow my own food - it tastes so much better. I also build up, train and encourage others to achieve more than they thought possible.
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26 Responses to Processing – Death (Remembering Mum)

  1. Jude says:

    For me the process depends on who had died. I cried buckets for my ex-hubby when he died, but not a tear for my father. It must depend entirely on the relationship and the degree of loss. Anger is definitely a factor and sometimes forgiveness is necessary. And sometimes it seems to take a very long time to really process. Maybe it’s easier if one has strong religious beliefs?

    • katehobbs says:

      I think you have a very good point. If we have had good, strong, healthy and meaningful relationships then we will feel that loss more acutely. If the relationship has been harmful and negative, then we may feel a sense of relief and certainly there may be no grief at all.
      I don’t think strong religious beliefs compensate for anything in this area. I do have a strong faith, but the feelings and emotions are still the same. I think that there is a misconception that those with faith find things to be easier. That’s a lie. We are human after all.
      Thanks for your comments as always. I love hearing from you, Jude, and what you have to say.

  2. buckwheatsrisk says:

    Good point about Kate with faith and feelings! I grieve now for the death of my mother and she is still alive. i grieve her death as i come to the realization that she was never the mother i needed and more sad, will never be. that grief is just as real…same goes for my father. i don’t think i will cry when i lose them, there will be relief. i will cry for what i wished i had with them.

    • katehobbs says:

      Grieving for things that could have been…. an intersting point BuckWheat. Thanks for joining the conversation. Sorry that your relationship with your parents was not what it should have been.

  3. Inga says:

    Thanks for sharing this, Kate. My father died of lung cancer almost two years ago and I experienced much of the same feelings and thoughts. your last point about remembering the good times too is so, so important. I think the people we loss would want us to remember them with lots of happy memories.

  4. In 2008, I flew home to be with my father in his dying. It lasted a painfully long week. I touched his arm and hands constantly, letting him know someone was there. I sang to him. It was hard to lose the hero of my life, the person who loved us kids and was our biggest fan! But I was glad when the suffering was over. It still seems hard to believe he’s gone, but it was time.

  5. Hugs to you, and to all who have lost a loved one. Cancer has touched our home too. My father-in-law succumbed to leukemia 12 years ago this July. My heart still aches.

    • katehobbs says:

      Death affects us all. It is inevitable as we will all die, and there will be those left behind who are forced to deal with their emotions, whatever they may be. For those who love dearly, there will be that ache that just doesn’t seem to go away, and in someways that’s a good thing. For those who have been hurt or where there is hate, there may be other emotions. Death gets us all and affects us all.
      Thanks for commenting here. As always, I appreciate your input.

  6. Freedomborn says:

    Hi Kate, thank you for sharing so honestly there so much good heart food in your message, Christians as you said in one of your comments, may not grieve like those who have no Hope grieve, but we still grieve.

    I lost someone very close to me and went to a Church only a very short time after and having been there about a month, I shared with the Ministers wife the pain I was feeling, sadly I was rebuked by the Minister for overstepping his wife’s boundaries and reminded firmly…. didn’t I know I was to have the Joy of The Lord all the time, I assured Him I did as Jesus had when He cried, I was shown the door.

    We can have deep Joy in our heart and still have tears in our eyes, Jesus grieved for God’s lost Children and chose freely to die for them. No it was not God’s will that I was treated this way but all things work together for good and my sorrow for those in the Church who are lost in deception, causes me to want share God’s Truth.

    Thank you again – Christian Love Anne

    • katehobbs says:

      Sometimes, we can be our own worst enemy! I have met so many people hurt by some who attend church. I may have also hurt others and I am so sorry if that has been the case. I am a bit like Jabez – I don’t want to cause pain so I often ask for help in this area, but my human-ness gets in the way. Like Paul, I do things I don’t want to do, and don’t do things I should.
      Thank you for commenting on my blog. May we all continue to be real, honest, open and vulnerable about our stuff so that everyone can see that we still struggle but have an empowering Friend who is cheering us on.
      Every blessing

      • Freedomborn says:

        Hi again Kate, when Paul talked about his flesh it was before he was perfected in Love, we see this in his aserion that He had finished the race which was before he died, he tells us he had achived the crown of righteousness and so had others. In Romans 6 & 8 and other Scriptures He explains how to be perfected in Love, we like Jesus who was God but also had the outer flesh as we have with all it’s limitaions, showed us that in Him we are set free from the evil flesh Nature when we are Born again, as you can see below, we are no longer wreched as Paul called himself at that time, we are a Royal Pristhood, a People belonging to God, a Holy Nation, our old flesh nature is gone and we have God’s Nature, the New has come and we have been set free.

        1John 3 : 9 No one who is Born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been Born of God.

        John 8:34-36 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

        2Corinthians 13:11 Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in Peace; and the God of Love and Peace shall be with you.

        1 John 4:17-19 Herein is our Love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in Love; but perfect Love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in Love. We Love Him, because He first Loved us.

        Christian Love Anne.

  7. Pingback: A 7X7 Link Award! « The Writer in the Woods

  8. jakesprinter says:

    Tomorrow never dies Nice post my friend 🙂

  9. Madhu says:

    Losing a parent, especially your mother is hard, at any age. I lost my mom to uterine cancer in Dec 2004! She was 75. I was consumed with guilt for letting my career take precedence over spending more time with her, in her house, although we did see each other when she visited us and when we met up (midway) at my sisters place for short, rushed visits. I used to work insane schedules and her sudden passing is probably the reason i decided to slowdown! Now any milestone in my life is invariably tinged with sadness, knowing she would have been the one most pleased by it! I am surprised by how much her loss still hurts!

    • katehobbs says:

      Being surprised at feeling the loss years later is not uncommon, I’m told. For me, I don’t want to lose that feeling of grief because I think that, if I did, I would forget my mum entirely. Now I know that isn’t reality, because I have photographs, special clothes, items and jewellry that were hers that I see every day, but it’s a feeling that sometimes takes me from time to time.
      There are things that I do now that I know my mum would have loved joining in with, and I miss those sharing times.
      Thanks for sharing Madhu.

  10. Malou says:

    Thanks for sharing your grief with us, Kate. I feel the same way for a dear aunt that I lost last year. She was more than a mother to me and my siblings that we cared more for her than anyone else.

    • katehobbs says:

      Thanks for sharing too, Malou. In death, we all have a common ground, although it is sometimes too sad to talk about. People have been very brave sharing things here and I am grateful.

  11. Gilly Gee says:

    This is a wonderful post Kate, inspiring and emotional. Made my cry and that’s ok. Hugs G.

  12. Robyn says:

    I’m sorry about your mom. My nana passed away 3 years ago this month from cancer and I miss her everyday. I still have days where I become very upset just thinking about it. Death is something that is extremely difficult to deal with, but you are right. Nobody can tell us how to grieve, or how long we can grieve.

  13. What I didn’t know was when the grief would hit. Sometimes a song on the radio, a familiar smell or hearing someone laugh would be a trigger and t I would burst into tears. Like you said, it takes time and finally the sadness goes away and then …when the triggers appear, so does a smile at the memory of someone so special!

    • katehobbs says:

      Thank you for contributing to this conversation Marge. I’m no longer embarrassed by grieving physically i.e. crying. If people have a problem with it then that is their stuff, not mine. Thankfully, there are more smiling memories than tears now, but nevertheless, the tears still come from time to time.

  14. Thank you for sharing. Losing a parent is so hard. I lost my dad over 10 years ago, two weeks after he was diagnosed with cancer. One minute he was here, the next he was gone. My mom never fully recovered from the loss. She now suffers Alzheimer’s and while she can’t remember what she did yesterday she remembers her life with him in detail and enjoys telling us the same stories over and over. But that’s ok, I listen and acknowledge like I’ve never heard it before. Two wonderful people, one lost instantly (so it seemed) and the other disappearing slowly.

    • katehobbs says:

      Alzheimers is so hard to deal with. My grandmother had it, and I believe it was this stress to my mother that caused Mum to be susceptible to whatever started her cancer.
      You sum up the results of Alzheimers so well – the vicitim “Disappears slowly”. May you have the strength you need on a daily basis to help your mother in whatever way is needed.

  15. fgassette says:

    Hi Kate, Thank you for stopping by. Hope you visit again.


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