Death of a Parent

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by thatoneguy82, Sep 12, 2013.

  1. thatoneguy82 macrumors 68000


    Jul 23, 2008
    Beach Cities, CA
    My mom unexpectedly passed away about a month and a half ago. On July 19, she was going home from the mall, then an undiagnosed brain aneurysm burst. She had a hemorrhagic stroke brought on by a subarachnoid hemorrhage. I got a call an hour later she was brought in to the hospital (where she worked) by one of her co-workers. My siblings were out of town and my dad was at work, so I rushed to the ER with a friend who I was hanging out with that night. When we we got there, she was barely conscious. She was just staring at me and then she started to vomit so they had to intubate her. She never regained consciousness; she was brain-dead. We pulled the plug 5 days later on 7/24. She was 57.

    I had just talked to her a couple hours before and I rushed her off the phone as usual, since she usually asked the same questions over and over. Our last conversation lasted 59 seconds. I even had the opportunity to pass by her house earlier in the day, but I just drove past since I wasn't in the mood.

    To this day, I'm still in shock. I honestly believe that she's not dead. I feel like she's just away some where and she'll be back soon. I find myself just crying or getting severely depressed out of nowhere. From time to time, I go by my dad's and spend the night there to keep him company since he still can't be alone right now. They were together for 40 years.

    My question is this: how do I get over this? I can't even go to her grave. My brother, sister, in-laws, and dad go all the time but I don't. It still feels surreal. I was closer to my mom than any of my family, so I feel alone. I feel like they don't get me. Sure, I have my friends, but it isn't the same. A lot of what-if's come to my mind about that day/night, or if we never decided to pull the plug.

    I guess I'm just lost, confused and a bit depressed about this. Anyone here go through what I am? What has helped you?
  2. Shrink macrumors G3


    Feb 26, 2011
    New England, USA
    First, my deepest condolences on the death of your mom. It's an irreplaceable and intensely painful loss.

    What's going on now is grieving, and it will go on for a while. The depression, confusion, crying are all part of the process. If you can, don't be afraid of's a necessary, if terrible, process. Cry when you need to, and don't worry about feeling out of it and confused.

    I know this won't mean anything right now, but the pain will soften as time passes. Time is the ultimate healing factor.

    You will get a lot of attention, sympathy and support from friends and family...that will begin to stop after about a month, and that is a very hard time. They will tire of trying to deal with your ongoing pain. And it will go on beyond that immediate period of support. Friends may even tell you it's time to get past the loss...they are well intentioned, but wrong. You will get through it at your own pace...which is different for everybody.

    And a caveat...on holidays (e.g. christmas, if you celebrated it), her birthday, and the anniversary of her may find the feelings arise in strength again for several years.

    Seek help if you wish, but I would only consider the situation problematic if the intensity of the pain and the depression have not softened some after a year or so.

    Hang will get better, but it will take TIME.
  3. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    Everyone is a bit different but hope this helps here -

    You really don't get over her. What you learn to do is accept it and its truly okay to feel a loss or void. The cliche is true about giving it time or time heals all wounds. The latter is true because as time passes, more things enter your life and you can put the memory of your Mom in a special place in your heart and thoughts.

    Last - if you were very close to your Mom, ask yourself if she would like you to suffer as you do about her. Then consider perhaps doing some really good things in your life to make her proud. After all you will *always* be her child.

    Be well and sorry for your loss and your feeling of sorrow.
  4. Thraun macrumors regular


    Dec 18, 2008
    Abbotsford, BC
    Fortunately I haven't had many close family members pass yet, though my grandpa on my dad's side, my closest grandparent, passed away almost 10 years ago now. I still miss him of course, but time does take the pain away.

    The strange thing about my case is that I think I did most of my grieving before he died. He had stomach/pancreatic/who knows what else cancer, and we knew that his time was come soon. Him and my grandma live about 5 hours away, so about 2 weeks before he passed, our family went up to visit for what we knew might be the last time. At that point, he was still there mentally, but was so frail and fragile he definitely wasn't the grandpa I remember. During that visit I cried a bunch, and we all talked, and basically said goodbye.

    2 weeks later we went up there again, because he was almost done. The evening we got there he died, in his own bed with his whole family around him. While I was done crying and grieving by that point, I actually saw the life leave him, which has affected me since. Not in necessarily a positive or negative way, but it sort of changes you, you know?

    Anyway, I don't even know if that will help, but I guess I wanted to share the story of my loss as well, and how everyone deals with it differently, but you will be OK. Hopefully just talking about it, even on a forum like this, will help. Though I hope you're close enough with the rest of your family that you can talk about it with them as well, eventually.

    And hey, if you want to talk with an understanding stranger, feel free to PM me. I don't mind listening.
  5. jbachandouris macrumors 601


    Aug 18, 2009
    Upstate NY
    My father passed away unexpectedly over 20 years ago. He was preparing for a valve replacement for his heart. As a child, he had rheumatic fever that damaged one of the valves in his heart. They replaced it with a pigs valve. Organic valves do not last forever, so it was time for a synthetic replacement. They did a cauterization. I am convinced that they cut him inside. He told my mom he was in pain, but never told the doctor. He died the very next day in his sleep.

    The thing was, as he was getting ready for surgery, I commented on how mean (not sure the right word) he was being and said that if he kept it up, he would die alone. He did. No one was in the house, not even the dog.

    It didn't feel real for a VERY long time. I don't do the grave thing much either because he's NOT there; just his body. Many times I had dreams that he came back and wanted things (around the house,etc) to be like they were before and I had to remind him that he no longer had a say in that.

    Because of my inability to grieve properly, I failed Marine boot camp. He had died a month and a day before I shipped and not sure I had even cried once.

    Everybody is different, so I don't know how long it will be until you feel better.

    To top it off, my 73 year old mom fell and dislocated her shoulder. Now I'm worried that she's going to do the downhill slide. I really need to fix my tear glands by then...
  6. firedept macrumors 603


    Jul 8, 2011
    My condolences on the death of your mom. Always a terrible loss.

    I lost my father-in-law 10 years ago to cancer. We were extremely good friends and enjoyed doing things together. Especially projects in the work shop we had.

    I had time to prepare for his death, but it still was a great loss and one I dearly miss. He was a great adviser and confident. It took me quite some time to get over his death.

    But the thing that helped me the most whenever I was feeling bad about the loss, was to remember the things that made him and I laugh. Most times it seemed to bring me out of my funk. There were many times where him and I were laughing our heads off about something.

    Do not get me wrong, there are still times 10 years later that still get me about it. Do not ever let it fully go away, just let it change into something better. That has helped me cope with it over the years.
  7. senseless macrumors 68000


    Apr 23, 2008
    Pennsylvania, USA
    Seeing a loved one's obituary in the paper is surreal and shocking, as is the memorial stone. Losing a Mother really makes you feel like an orphan. It's a matter of acceptance, not getting over it.

    The dismissed small talk phone calls; yeah, we've all done that. I think they just want to hear our voices from time to time. Sorry she had to go so young and best to you.
  8. thatoneguy82 thread starter macrumors 68000


    Jul 23, 2008
    Beach Cities, CA
    Thanks everyone for the posts and good thoughts. Good to know that what I'm doing/feeling is perfectly okay. Still miss her dearly, I think about her everyday and watch this picture slideshow that we had playing at her service. I've dreamt about her several times already and I "feel" her presence every so often. Still wish she was her, but trite as it may be, time will be the only thing that can give me peace and acceptance.
  9. Macman45 macrumors G5


    Jul 29, 2011
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    I'm really sorry for your loss. Where you are right now is perfectly normal...Feelings of guilt, anger are all part of the grieving process. Over time, you will recover and come to remember the good times. Don't beat yourself up over things...this was unexpected and not your fault. Hang in there, and our condolences again for your loss.

    Jeff and Rachel.
  10. eawmp1 macrumors 601


    Feb 19, 2008
    My condolences for your loss.

    I'll echo what the others have said. Grieving is a process, and while there are patterns of grieving, everyone has an individual experience. Right now your wound is fresh, and painful. Eventually over time, if tended to, wounds heal. You will always carry a scar, but scars do not hurt...they are memories of life experiences.

    Do not shy away from whatever feelings you have. They are yours and they are real. And don't second guess the decision to withdraw the ventilator. What made her your mom died that first day. That you were closest to her makes it fitting you were with her in her last moments.

    Should your grief begin to interfere with your functioning or still be intense after 6 months or so, seek help to heal your loss.
  11. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I'm sorry to hear about your loss. Losing a parent may be part of life, but that part sucks. Grieving is a process as mentioned and it takes time to get through it :(
  12. satcomer macrumors 603


    Feb 19, 2008
    The Finger Lakes Region
    I remember loosing myMother at the age of 15 so my heart goes out to you for your loss. I know it's hard and only time can soften the hurt. Just keep up your great memories of your Mother.
  13. Mr. McMac Suspended

    Mr. McMac

    Dec 21, 2009
    Far away from liberals
    Sorry for you loss :( I went through it with both my parents. Mom in 1997, and dad in 2001. My mom's death hit me unbelievably hard even though it was expected. She was only 70 when she died of lung cancer. I'd say it took me 3 or 4 months before I felt sort of normal again. My dad and I weren't very close so his death didn't hit me nearly as hard. He was 12 years older than my mom and died of old age (86). Losing a parent sucks big time, especially if you're young. it's part of life unfortunately. :(

    Feel better my friend. It does get easier as time goes by.
  14. Huntn, Sep 14, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2013

    Huntn macrumors P6


    May 5, 2008
    The Misty Mountains
    Condolences. I lost my Mom last year, however she was 87. I believe that losing a parent at 57 is much more of a shocker and hard to deal with, but I imagine given time, you will deal with it and come to accept it. Although it was too young of an age to go, and I don't expect this to make you feel any better, but IMO if you are going to go, basically dropping is the ideal way versus a long drawn out illness.

    Which brings up a good question, if anyone had a choice would they prefer a parent to suffer a long illness so they can say goodbye or make it quick and be done with it? The bad thing about "quick" is that it is a shock. The good thing is that it's over. The good thing about "slow" is that you have time to adjust, accept the outcome, and say goodbye. The bad thing is that you watch life ending deterioration and that image will stick with you.

    My Mom deteriorated over a period of about 3 years with basically old age and dementia. I lived about 1000 miles from her. In the last year, I visited her 4 times and the last time about 3 months before she passed, my wife and I went to basically say goodbye. At this point, she knew who we were so that made the trip worth it. Soon after that, she was out of it mentally. What I didn't want to watch was my parent lose all of their dignity, their ability to function as an adult. If I had a choice, I think quick is the way to go. After experiencing our Mother's passing, both of my brothers agree, quick is better.

    It's a matter of perspective. Consider it part of the package. And if you are spiritual, death is not the end.
  15. krazykleo macrumors regular

    Aug 17, 2013
    Everywhere and nowhere
    First of all my deepest and sincere condolences.

    I haven't lost my parents but I've lost grandma (I was really close to her and she was in another country when she passed away) and another very important person in my life, my best friend.

    It's been 4 years and I still think of the same things everyday day in day out. Sleeping, eating, school, whatever it is she's on the back of my mind. With time the pain and suffering has eased but definitely not gone away. I cried three straight days, didn't wanna be around anyone, just wanted to be left alone. To this day I feel extremely lonely without my best friend. It's an awkward state to be in, imo.

    Basically what I'm trying to get at is passing away of your beloved mother isn't an easy thing to deal with but I can promise you that over time (it's one heck of a lengthy process) will become much bearable. Cry when you need to. Don't hold back. Do whatever you can to help get your mind away from this even if for a little while.

    We're all here for you. Don't hesitate to PM me if you ever feel like sharing anything. It will make you feel a lot better, and this is coming from someone who keeps everything bottled up...I am here for you and so are many others.
  16. Mr. McMac Suspended

    Mr. McMac

    Dec 21, 2009
    Far away from liberals
    I hope you're right. It would be great to see my parents again after I'm gone. I have my doubts unfortunately..
  17. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    I'm sorry to hear about your mom. Losing people is never easy and losing a parent is incredibly unbearable when it happens. Somehow it does get slightly easier to accept. Take care of yourself.
  18. puma1552 macrumors 603

    Nov 20, 2008
    My mom died at 54 of brain/lung cancer, when I was 22.

    She had been healthy her whole life, no health problems whatsoever, but had a headache that she couldn't get to go away for three weeks. Decided to get dressed up for work that morning and swing by the doctor's to get it checked out, just expecting to get some sort of strong headache medicine and be on her way to work.

    Nope, you have a cancerous brain tumor.

    Did brain surgery the next day, four weeks later she had six new brain tumors. Non-operable.

    Within three months from the day she went in for the headache, she was dead. She died on 9/26/06.

    It didn't feel real for a long time, always thought my dad would go first given his alcoholism and poor diet, but there you go. Sometimes it just happens. Not a lot you can do but grieve and move on as the years go by. Can't believe it's now been nearly 7 years.
  19. LV426 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 22, 2013
    My deepest condolences on your loss. It's time that's the great healer.

    I wasn't particularly close to my mum in the years before her death, but a few short months after she'd died I received a direct marketing e-mail from Apple inviting me to buy her some gadget or the other on Mother's Day. That really hit me, and it was enough of a jolt that I wrote to Apple to complain. It's one thing to have impersonal adverts about Mother's Day on billboards, but the point was the direct mailing had my name on it, and my mother was dead. I hope for your sake you don't ever get an e-mail like that.
  20. APlotdevice macrumors 68040


    Sep 3, 2011
    Having lost my own mom in late June (cancer), I'm going through the exact same thing right now. All I can say is try not to dwell too much on the "what ifs". What's done is done. Treasure the moments you had with her, and the moments you will have with those who are still around.

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