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Old 01-26-2018, 06:05 PM
 
Location: WA
616 posts, read 300,973 times
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My mother died 4 years ago. I never thought it would affect me so much and I'm wondering if this is unhealthy or abnormal and/or what to do about it. I did have grief counseling soon after she died but not sure it helped and it seems like in some ways I feel worse about it after 4 years.

I'm a 61 year old single woman and feeling alone in life now because I actually am (father long gone, my only sister and I are no longer speaking, a couple of long distance friends). I've lived away from family most of my adult life and wasn't that close to my mother but during the last year or so of her life I came and lived with her and tried to help her. I began to feel very attached to her and enjoy her in a way I never really had since I was young. She died sort of suddenly and it was shocking to me.

Anyway, I continue to miss her but mostly it feels like it has destabilized me. It feels like my foundation and roots are gone and there's no real purpose to life anymore. I think this is kind of strange since I went most of my life not being that close to her. But knowing she was there even though miles away grounded me and helped me feel secure I guess. Without her I feel ungrounded and insecure and nothing seems to be worth doing anymore if she is gone. Can anyone relate? This seems kind of extreme to me but I feel like I can't deny it anymore.
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Old 01-26-2018, 06:30 PM
 
1,359 posts, read 652,296 times
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I'm sorry for your loss, october2007.

I felt ungrounded and insecure when my first husband left me, like I was floating in space, all alone. I think most of us need someone to be an anchor for us, like your mother was to you. Some people can live alone happily, and some cannot. If you keep your eyes open, you can find someone to anchor you again. Good luck to you.
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Old 01-26-2018, 06:39 PM
 
Location: WA
616 posts, read 300,973 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldgardener View Post
I'm sorry for your loss, october2007.

I felt ungrounded and insecure when my first husband left me, like I was floating in space, all alone. I think most of us need someone to be an anchor for us, like your mother was to you. Some people can live alone happily, and some cannot. If you keep your eyes open, you can find someone to anchor you again. Good luck to you.
Thank you oldgardener. That's a good comparison and explanation. I realize I felt similar when my marriage ended too. It's sort of an abandonment anxiety feeling. I like the idea of an anchor...I always thought I was so independent and didn't need someone there but I was deluding myself I guess. Life feels pointless alone. Maybe it's not just that my mother is gone but that I am very alone that is affecting me so much. But it does feel my foundation/roots are gone now.
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Old 01-26-2018, 06:42 PM
 
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Do you have adult children?
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Old 01-26-2018, 06:45 PM
 
Location: WA
616 posts, read 300,973 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ClaraC View Post
Do you have adult children?
No never had children. I think if I had my own family it might be different.
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Old 01-26-2018, 07:40 PM
 
6,723 posts, read 2,615,382 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by october2007 View Post
No never had children. I think if I had my own family it might be different.
I agree. It would likely be very different if you had descendants. As it is, you're kind of an island.

Now's your time to connect to people, if you can. Coworkers, friends, neighbors, cousins.

Best wishes.
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Old 01-26-2018, 07:56 PM
 
Location: WA
616 posts, read 300,973 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ClaraC View Post
I agree. It would likely be very different if you had descendants. As it is, you're kind of an island.

Now's your time to connect to people, if you can. Coworkers, friends, neighbors, cousins.

Best wishes.
Thanks. I will have to try but I'm not a real social person. I like having a best friend but must start somewhere.
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Old 01-26-2018, 08:04 PM
 
Location: North State (California)
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I also missed my Mom terribly, after she died, it is an indescribable feeling, becasue I was not living with her, or even near her, so the sense of loss was strange, I mean, I was used to being without her.

What helped me, was to do volunteer works in her honor, for instance, she used to feed an elderly neighbor, home cooked meals, so I cooked some meals for a friend undergoing chemo, but any act of kindness in her name, might help. Then when I get home, I say, that one was for you, Mom. I also participated in the cancer Society Relay for Life ( she died from Cancer.) Hugs to you. Think of something she did, & do it, for her, in her honor.
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Old 01-26-2018, 09:11 PM
 
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My mom has been dead for eight years now and I still have intense moments of missing her. Both my mom and my MIL died within a couple of weeks of each other. I remember driving down to the nursing home to see my MIL for what turned out to be the last time I would see her alive and after my mom had died.


Suddenly I felt distinctly three-years-old and all the grown-ups had gone away and left me home alone. That was the exact feeling I experienced for a moment. Fear, abandonment and panic. And I was in my sixties. I can't help but laugh now at what a surprise it was.


I wondered if I'd know how to be the oldest generation, if I could do it right, who could I turn to for help when I had family decisions to make. Of course that all passed with being occupied with all the things that had to be done and rationally I understand the absurdity of feeling like a toddler at sixty.


It was just such a sudden and stark jolt of reality. I think the grief process for a parent is probably lifelong and nuanced. I'm glad we are occupied so soon with tying up loose ends and it has been my experience that my grief is mellowing into a bittersweet remembrance. Sometimes it brings smiles and gratitude and other times a tear or two.


We need to write a new chapter and it takes a while to find our way. It's certainly one of life's larger passages.
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Old 01-26-2018, 09:55 PM
 
5,102 posts, read 1,533,917 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by october2007 View Post
My mother died 4 years ago. I never thought it would affect me so much and I'm wondering if this is unhealthy or abnormal and/or what to do about it. I did have grief counseling soon after she died but not sure it helped and it seems like in some ways I feel worse about it after 4 years.

I'm a 61 year old single woman and feeling alone in life now because I actually am (father long gone, my only sister and I are no longer speaking, a couple of long distance friends). I've lived away from family most of my adult life and wasn't that close to my mother but during the last year or so of her life I came and lived with her and tried to help her. I began to feel very attached to her and enjoy her in a way I never really had since I was young. She died sort of suddenly and it was shocking to me.

Anyway, I continue to miss her but mostly it feels like it has destabilized me. It feels like my foundation and roots are gone and there's no real purpose to life anymore. I think this is kind of strange since I went most of my life not being that close to her. But knowing she was there even though miles away grounded me and helped me feel secure I guess. Without her I feel ungrounded and insecure and nothing seems to be worth doing anymore if she is gone. Can anyone relate? This seems kind of extreme to me but I feel like I can't deny it anymore.
Just a quick comment that I am not a mental health professional so take what I say as nothing more than friendly advice from a personal perspective. I do however have the experience of loss of many loved ones.

It is normal and there is a wide spectrum that describes the grief experience.

Its hard losing a parent...the constant most of us can count on thru our lives, the people biologically the closest to us, who raised us, nurtured us..the idea that they are gone, and we are alone is terrifying.

Even for people that weren't especially close to their parents.

I suspect that part of your issues may stem from regret over having not made more of the time when she was alive...and that's normal too. Perhaps your sense of identity has been disrupted because you have constructed an image of yourself that relies on her validation - which of course no longer can be obtained. You may have some feelings of guilt, and the lack of interest in your own life may be a form of self-inflicted punishment. The mind and its sub-conscious activities are very tricky things.

Maybe some more therapy to explore these feelings you described might help you better understand them, and perhaps find some closure and allow you to focus fully on your future and enjoying your Life.

Here's a potential CBT exercise that has been helpful to me: I'm sure your mom would be pleased if she knew you were happy - so start there. There's no harm in trying an exercise like this - if you're happy its a win for you and an improvement in your life, and you have validated a parent's hopes for her child at the same time.

Focus on things like this that are affirming or positive and that can help retrain your brain not to focus on negative images or thoughts.

Other than that I guess I would just say I think having regrets over things we did or didn't do in our lives is normal and it seems that these thoughts tend to increase as we age.

But you also can't change the past, and focusing on it is not helpful to us. We have to accept the past, including the things we have done (or didn't do) that we regret or view as mistakes.... so the only path forward is to focus on the future...remembering of course the lessons we have learned from our past.
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