Dear Barbara, I am struggling with unresolved grief years after the death of a beloved mother and the development of depression.
Unresolved grief is not having figured out how to go on living after the death of a loved one. There are a lot of reasons why this happens. Here are a few:
- *There is something in the relationship with the person who has died that is unresolved; unfinished business, unsaid words, undone actions.
- *The relationship was all encompassing, overlapping each others space, submerging the individual personalities. When one person dies then the other one is lost and has the challenge of finding themselves.
- *When the relationship with the person who died was not a particularly positive one. A relationship with a lot of unresolved negative feelings. Feelings that we are not even aware we had and still have.
- *Feelings of guilt that we can’t let go of. We can carry thoughts for years of “I wish I had, what if, why didn’t I” mixed with guilt and make ourselves miserable.
Now, what to do about all this? It isn’t so important the why this is happening but how to get on with life. Sometimes we look backward instead of forward. We concentrate too much on the past and miss our present.
You are alive, today is bright and beautiful, nothing bad is happening. Your “beloved” mother would want her child to live and enjoy what life has to offer now that she is gone. Write Mom a letter, put your sadness on paper, put all the feelings (positive and negative) down where you can see them. No one will see this letter except you, no holds barred, say it all, let the tears come, let your tears cleanse whatever is keeping you from living a happy, joyous life. Mom is gone, having parents die is a part of life for all of us. Your job now is to show Mom’s spirit how resilient and strong you are. Let how you continue to live life be the tribute to a mother much loved and missed.
Something More... about My Unresolved Grief
I don't know what the circumstances were for your mother's death. If she had an illness or her body was old and simply wore out were you her caregiver? Did you understand her dying process?
There are also times when a loved one dies after a long illness and the caregivers haven't been educated on the signs of approaching death. Since people don't die like they do in the movies, the death can be traumatic and affect our grieving process. If that is the case, please read my two little booklets, Gone From My Sight and The Eleventh Hour. They will help clear up questions you may still have about how things happened and perhaps relieve guilt if there is any.