Dear Barbara, I lost my mom to cancer. I had taken 2 months off work to be at her home. I have lost my way since her dying. Lost my job, home, family, friends. I am struggling as I write. Why is this still the core of my downfall. I saw my alcoholic dad to his last breath too, 20 years before, and although at that time I walked out on a job I loved and people in my life to care for him, I was able to stand on my own two feet afterwards. Any writings for stunted grief process would be appreciated.
Grief can be very complicated: as complicated as our relationship with the person that died. In fact when we are having challenges with our grieving, with figuring out how to go on living now that our special person is no longer with us, I always suggest we look at what the relationship was like in the years before the death. Most often the more complicated and challenging the relationship, the more difficult it is for us to figure out how to move forward. It is as if all that was unsaid, or maybe loudly said and can’t be taken back, is between us and living our life in a healthy manner. Often after a person dies we forget that there is no perfect relationship, that there are easy times and difficult times. Somehow once a person dies we elevate them to sainthood. By doing that we lock in the hurts, the guilt that is part of any relationship. It is healthy if we can acknowledge all of our feelings for the person that is gone, positive and negative.
You didn’t say how long ago your mother died but I would suggest you write her a letter. In the letter write everything you need and often didn’t say to her---the good times and the difficult times. Let the tears come, let the anger, the loneliness, the confusion all come forth through your pen onto the paper. When you are finished, reread it then burn it. Let the ashes, along with all the held in feelings go into the air.
I also think you should see a counselor who specializes in grief. Not all counselors understand grief so find one who specializes in grief. Most hospice programs have grief counseling available to anyone in the community, not just those connected to hospice patients they have served. Generally there is no charge for grief groups that Hospice offer.
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As complicated as grief is, I have written a book that may be able to help. It's called, MY FRIEND, I CARE The Grief Experience.