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The Day I Broke Down

Updated on February 1, 2012



The Day I Broke Down

It has almost been nine months since my Mother had died of cancer. I haven’t cried. After nine months I thought I was immune from crying. After all in nine months you can make another human being. I didn’t know why I didn’t cry. I was trying to be strong for my son and I told myself crying wouldn’t help.

After all it was cancer. I couldn’t have prevented my Mother’s death and I had done everything I could for her in her life time. And during her cancer I was with her 24/7.

I did everything I knew how to do. I feed her and organized her diet so she would get the 3,200 calories a day she needed. I organized her chemo and her stomach medicines. I had done research into her cancer. I had advocated with her oncologist when Mom didn’t understand. No stone was left unturned.

No matter how ugly or unpleasant the job for caring for my Mother I embraced it so when I didn’t cry I thought it was because my conscious was clean.

My family thought I didn’t love my Mother because I didn’t break down. They were so angry I didn’t cry they didn’t invite me to the funeral. I told myself it didn’t matter. My Mother was gone and disposing of the remains was just a formality.

So for the better part of nine months I have been okay and not shed a tear. I really didn’t understand why but I didn’t.

Tonight at the Grocery Store

So tonight I took my son shopping. He is a growing boy and is fond of food. A blonde woman came up to me and asked me if I remembered her. I told her that I did and she was my Mom’s nurse. She looked at my son and was surprised how big he had grown. I informed her I have been informed my son will be well over 6 feet.

I mentioned my Mom died and then the tears came. The nurse started to well up so we both turned off the water works as my son was close enough to notice.

I thanked the nurse for helping me with my Mom and being there for us while my Mom had cancer. She told me she was sorry for my loss. And then I realized I could cry with her because she had been apart of my Mother’s care and my family had not. For the better part of the 11/2 years of cancer care I was alone with my Mom and her cancer with the exception of this kind hearted nurse. And I realized just how grateful I had been for the help.

I explained to her we never got hospice services and that my Mother was only given hospice the last three days of her life. She found that so hard to believe since my son and I had been the closest people to my Mother. She knew how alone we had been in my Mother’s care with the exception of her. And I was so grateful she was there and when I was with her I could finally break down and cry.

So I would suggest that if you have a family member with cancer don’t leave them alone to do all the work because they will not be able to cry with you as you did not endure anything but the lose and by then it is too late. I feel like my Mother died with only the love of my son and I which I guess is better then dying completely alone.

I believe my Mother’s nurse was an angel and I was so grateful she gave me a moment to cry. I probably kept her way to long and came across way to needy but it was the first time I had contact with anyone who was actually caring for my Mother besides me. To this day Hospice has continued to deny myself and my son services.


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    • JT Walters profile imageAUTHOR

      JT Walters 

      6 years ago from Florida

      So sorry to hear about your Mom Ubani. Yes, I am aware of the extraordinary expenses associated with Cancer care. It is unfathomable to a person who hasn't provided for someone with cancer. Stay positive Ubani!! It is the only thing that gives me peace in my Mother's passing is knowing I did absolutley everything I could for her in her life time even when others did not.

      I understand all of it my friend and it certainly is not easy. I hope your Mother recovers!! And for peace to be with both of you my friend.

      Thanks for reading. I have to read all your work and catch up to you now. I will try not to write anymore naughty poems to you but I make no promises!!



    • ubanichijioke profile image

      Alexander Thandi Ubani 

      6 years ago from Lagos

      Just go ahead and have a good time. When the time comes, God will reward and bless you.

      I see myself in your shoes cos my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. It ain't easy, i must confess. The expenses involved is extraordinary, dieting regimen etc really ain't a joke.

      But am optimistic that all will be well.

      Peace to you and cry no more

    • JT Walters profile imageAUTHOR

      JT Walters 

      7 years ago from Florida

      Thanks Secrets,

      Your words of kindness help.


    • Moms-Secret profile image


      7 years ago from Central Florida

      I am glad that the tears came. I am not a cryer, or at least I wasn't. I don't think tears mean love or weakness. I think they are a necessary release. They should not be held in or forced out. They will show up when they are needed and as much as needed.

      As far as your family is concerned. You can't choose them. I am against any person being left out of a funeral especially of their own parents or children. Everyone should be given the opportunity to pay their respect with the understanding that they will be kicked out if inappropriate behavior is presented. Luckily the ceremony is a step and not a requirement for the grief journey. Your actions in life are more important than any other's actions in death.

      Many Blessings...Secrets

    • JT Walters profile imageAUTHOR

      JT Walters 

      7 years ago from Florida

      Hello SimpleGiftsofLove,

      It is people like you who inspire me to go on. I think writing is my way of grieving.

      I am so sorry for your loses. And I can tell your are a survivor as well. Thank you for your generosity. And I am following you as well.

      I look forward to reading your work in the future.

      All My Best,


    • SimpleGiftsofLove profile image


      7 years ago from Colorado

      What a touching, vulnerable hub. I have grieved as well, for my twin girls, and for my stepmom who was so instrumental in my life which was troubled. Don't ever feel guilty for the tears that erupt. The way we each grieve individually is our business. I deplore those who try to fix pain with meaningless words and solutions. It needs to be given an outlet, nurtured by just being there, most of the time without words. It is a difficult event, adjustment and requires great courage to go on. You are an amazing writer because you say it like it really is. I appreciate your honesty. Up, beautiful, amazing, and of course, following you for more! Bless you my fellow sojourner!

    • JT Walters profile imageAUTHOR

      JT Walters 

      7 years ago from Florida

      Hello Red,

      I just couldn't cry with anyone who hadn't been there. They were people all around me that hadn't walked the journey the closest thing to having someone there was that nurse that did the wound care. And she was very kind as you are.

      With great appreciation,


    • Ann Marie Dwyer profile image

      Red Dwyer 

      7 years ago from Crandall, TX

      I understand your anger. I needed the hospice care after my husband died. You are right to be grateful for the nurse and her relief-valve-release of your emotions. Crying does not compromise your strength. Venting leaves room for more positive emotions.

      Stay strong.


    • JT Walters profile imageAUTHOR

      JT Walters 

      7 years ago from Florida

      Hi debbie,

      I was denied grief counseling by Hospice and then when I attempted to access those services I was denied grief counseling as well because my son has Autism and the state of Florida refuses to fund the children with Autism under the medwaiver. So I literally can't get a minute off to access mental health services. I must be well!!!The Govenor of Florida Rick Scott, is being sued for denying children with Autism their funding.

      Thank you for your kind words. It is hard I will not lie to you. I watched my Mother wither away to death while caring for my autistic son because my Family was too weak to help her at all. And it may destroy me but it hasn't yet. But I am coming up on the first Holidays without her and that is going to be very difficult and then right sfterwards is the anniversary of her death. I am not ruling out being destroyed but I try to persist everyday for my son.

      Your words mean a great deal to me and thank you very much for reading and commenting.



    • debbie roberts profile image

      Debbie Roberts 

      7 years ago from Greece

      I really feel your sadness and anger in this hub. I am sorry for your loss and I hope that writing this hub has helped you to let out some more of the grief that is still deep inside you. I'm sorry you didn't get the help and support that you needed so much. It's important that you let your grief out, find someone to talk to if you feel you need to, don't think yourself weak for needing or wanting to. Carry the good times in your heart, try not to dwell on the systems failings or your familys criticisms and hopefully in time you'll feel stronger.

      I think that looking after our loved ones in their final days is the last and most selfless thing we can do for them, but not every one is strong enough to do it.

      What more can I say except be strong and be proud. Remember life experiences make us who we are and if they don't destroy us they do make us stronger in time.

    • JT Walters profile imageAUTHOR

      JT Walters 

      7 years ago from Florida

      Thank you for your kind words graceomally,

      And it is true those that can't handle blame the care giver for their failings in the death of their loved one. I am glad I was there for my Mom though. I wouldn't have had it any other way. The rest of them have to live with themselves and their failures and while I miss my Mom I couldn't cry with my family because I never believed they loved her else they would have been with her when she was dying.

      It took me nine months to finally cry and it was with the nurse that helped with my Mom's wound in the middle of a grocery store. I am usually not that weak but I had a moment and now I will just keep writing until my pain passes.

      Thank you so much for understanding. I would have never thought it was possible as I could have never done it to the other members of my family or my Mother so they did it to me. They think I was dumb to care for my Mom until her death. I thought it was my duty as her daughter and since no one else would.

      Thans for reading, commenting and providing feedback. It is very appreciated.


    • graceomalley profile image


      7 years ago

      I've seen this in my own family - the person who does the caregiving feels distant from the rest of the family who didn't go through it with them. These other family members want to be recognized after the death, but the caregiver has been through so much, and is exhausted physically and emotionally. Then the caregiver, of all things, comes in for blame, for not handling things the way the absentee family members would have wanted (though they stayed away during the dying process - so how would their wishes be known?) Some can't face the dying process. I think they don't realize it themselves. Blaming the caregiver can be a way to distance I think, to distract.

    • JT Walters profile imageAUTHOR

      JT Walters 

      7 years ago from Florida

      Thank you teacherjoe52.

      Thank you for reading , commenting and providing feedback. Sadly at the end of my Mother's life she was in so much pain and was so abandoned besides me and my son she didn't have faith in anything. So it is hard for me to imagine her anywhere. It will take time.

      I tried to speak to her about spirituality but she was closed to it as she was dying. She was really angry and felt very betrayed because the doctors told her she would be fine, all 20 of them.

      Thank you for your kind words.


    • teacherjoe52 profile image


      7 years ago

      I am glad you finally cried. Crying is Gods way of washing away the pain.

      Yes dying alone is a treeable way to die and I commend you and your son for giving her all the loving care you did.

      Do not think of her as dead. Think of her going to sleep to be awakened by Jesus to be taken to heaven.

      You are a very good daughter. God bless you and your son


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