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When Grief gets Complicated

Updated on November 5, 2012

My mom died seven months ago, my life will never be the same.

Death has a way of interrupting life that we can never prepare for. My mom died seven months ago, and each day has been a new day of surviving the crushing loss of my mother and best friend.

When she first died, I found myself on hub pages journaling my feelings and learning how important this process would be. The support of having others who have walked this journey of grief has been vital to my mental health.

Ironically, healing from the loss of death, or grieving, is not like healing from a physical condition. With a physical condition or illness, healing involves rest and time. There is always, or usually always a certainty that the future will bring better health and well-being. With grief, I expected it would be the same type of recovery. Time, rest and taking better care of myself, that should surely deliver recovery in "good time".

I can not honestly say that has been true. I think back to the time of my mom's death, and I could not imagine a day that would be any worse. Facing the reality that one moment she was doing wonderful and the next she was on a ventilator fighting for her life and losing the battle. Although that day and the day leading up to my mom's death were horrific, the journey of grief has moments that I found myself wondering how to breathe, how to move forward, how to live without her presence.

What I am finding as time continues though is that every day is unique on this journey. There have been days that were ok, that time seemed to be moving and my heart seemed at peace. There have also been days that my heart is so heavy and broken, that I wonder how I will continue on this journey without my mom.

Having others that need us are certainly important to this journey of grief. My children, whom I adore and thank God for, my husband is a wonderful man of God, my elderly father who is so very fragile. Yes, each one of these people "need" me. This very idea helps me focus on the blessing of today and the future. In my heart however, is the sadness and pain that I will carry every day that I live on this earth without my sweet mother.

I have sisters I grieve with, and the most wonderful friends who have supported me. I thank God for each person He has carefully picked to walk alongside me in this journey of life and grief. From these relationships has come great wisdom for moving forward. So many things has been shared and used to encourage. Such as, "When you love someone as deeply as you loved your mother, you can expect to grieve deeply."

I had a very special bond with my mom. She birthed me, she nurtured me, she cared for me with a long childhood illness. When I was an adult, she became one of my very best friends. I enjoyed spending time with her as much as anyone else in my life. We were so much alike, it was easy to be with her. To laugh with her, to solve life's problems. To attempt to fix what was wrong int he world... and to pray for everything and everyone. My mom was the very best person I have ever known.

How do I really get through it? My hope. My hope is in God and His promises. That He wil never leave or forsake us. That if we believe in his son, that he entered this world to carry our sins and die on the cross, that we can have eternal life. John 3:16 -- For God so love the world that He gave His only son, whoever believes in Him will not die but have eternal life.

This is what my mom believed. This is how she was able to get through the death of her own mother 40 years earlier. I have wondered how she was able to grieve her loss and wished I would have asked her. Now I know, God has the answer. BELIEVE!

I also know that people do not like to discuss death or pain. This is why my mom and I did not discuss how she grieved her own mother. It didn't feel right to discuss pain and loss. It avoids the inevitable, and that is dealing with our own loss.

I recently said to my doctor, "how do I know if this is grief or depression? I have been fatigued, sad, and not the same since my mom died". His reply was that I had a very close relationship with my mom, and that letting go takes time. He told me to be good to myself and to take time each day for me. I received what he said, and am working harder to take time for myself almost every day.

For those who may be entering into their own personal grief journey, I wish you peace, and comfort. The bible talks about peace that surpasses all understanding. This is the peace I wish for you. Be kind to yourself, take time to feel the loss. Feeling loss is honoring the love you shared. The most important advice I can give is have hope. Hope in the God who created us.... and for those who aren't sure of God... ask Him to show up in your life like only He can... and show you that He is real. For God so loved the world He sent His only son, whoever believes in Him shall not die but have eternal life. John 3:16

Mom, I miss you so much it hurts -- but I will see you soon!

God bless each one of you!

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    • Tami Fite profile image
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      Tami Fite 4 years ago

      Azure Sky -- you have a beautiful peace about your writing, I am thankful you have taken time to read about the journey that God has be traveling. You have a wonderful calling to be with people at the end of their life.... May God bless you & multiply your efforts! Tami

    • azure_sky profile image

      azure_sky 4 years ago from Somewhere on the Beach, if I am lucky :)

      So very sorry for your loss Tami. I lost my Mom 16 years ago.....it has gotten easier to deal with over the years. I'll always miss her, but I find myself still "talking" to her often....which helps a lot. Loved reading your hub!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Tammy, I am so sorry for your great loss. I lost my mom, my best friend, over twenty years ago. I still miss her today, but God has helped me to overcome the sadness and grief of losing such a wonderful mentor, friend and parent in my life. It takes time. The steps you are taking are good ones and will help you to get through the pain. I am thankful for the times I did have with my mom and how much she taught me about life, especially introducing me to Jesus. Praying for you.

    • Tami Fite profile image
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      Tami Fite 4 years ago

      Michele, thanks so much for your compassion and wisdom. I feel blessed to have had my mother for so many years... and thankful I had such a wonderful relationship with her, you are so entirely right. YES! Aboslutely, I covet your prayers and anyone who is willing to keep me and my family in prayer. This is a new journey without my mom to "glue" the family together, and to be very honest, I wasn't quite ready to step into her shoes...but with God, I will do whatever is required. Bless you and may God keep you in perfect peace! Tami

    • Michele Travis profile image

      Michele Travis 4 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

      I understand how you feel. My parents died 12,10 years ago. I still miss and love them both very much. Yes is does hurt. But loving them is much better then people who have been angry with relatives and have not talked to them for years.

      I am so sorry for the pain you feel, if it is ok, I will pray for you.

    • Tami Fite profile image
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      Tami Fite 4 years ago

      I am so sorry about your brother :( Nothing can prepare us for the loss of someone we love so dearly! I have studied grief, and looked for wisdom in words, but the truth is, we can't escape death... we are all terminal... we can't escape grief, it is a process that we must endure. There is nothing pretty or graceful about it... it hurts, it is devastating, and the only thing I have learned I can do is to cry out to God... and while this helps, I know that it is my pain to carry. Bless you -- thank you for your very wise words... I cherish each piece of wisdom you have imparted. May God meet you in your own grief.... and keep you in perfect peace. Tami

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      EvanSean 4 years ago

      Tammy ~

      I am sorry for the loss of your mom. As I read your words I could not help thinking that it has only been seven months. In some ways I cannot believe you are functioning and focused enough to write about your grief. I am a therapist and have dealt with loss in this context and can recite all the theories, stages and phases according to the experts. More importantly, i can tell you that after losing my brother almost seven years ago I am certain I will never be the same.

      Upon much reflection I believe that the experience of losing a cherished, sustaining relationship in death alters us beyond what can be put into words. What was once a two dimensional experience becomes three dimensional. It has to change us.

      Most of the great theorist believe that there are specific stages that one goes through. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross writes of : Denial, Anger, Barganing, Depression & Acceptance. Implying that once we "reach" the stage of "acceptance" we are somehow finished with the process. Personally speaking, I view her stages not as a progression from one to the next but instead a "circle" if you will. Any day, regardless of time passed, I have 'bounced' from one to the other. Somedays between more than two.

      I think of my brother every single day and I am functional. Immediately following his death I was numb yet still functioned. The following year I became progressively more sad, withdrawn and finally, clinically depressed. Unable to function.

      I have come to understand 'mental illness' in terms of ones ability or inability to 'function'. When sadness becomes so heavy that you cannot get out of bed, or get to work, or feed yourself, in other words, impeding your ability to function, then you (one) are in trouble.

      There was recently a debate about putting an additional diagnosis in the DSM 5 (what therapists use to diagnose) regarding sadness & grief. Yet again an attempt to make sense out of, quantify & qualify the experience.

      It seems a futile exercise. Akin to quantifying and/or qualifying love.

      There may be no words, actions or theories that get you back to the Tammy you were when your mom was alive but you will continue to evolve. Please do not be too hard on yourself. Feel what you need to when you need to.

      We are a compilation of those who we have loved and even those we may have feared. You are still Tammy but you are missing a very integral 'piece' of your composition.