It's my mom, and I feel like I'm already grieving

thparkle Member Posts: 2

My mom has advanced lung cancer that has spread throughout her chest and spine.


The thing is, I have seen her suffer throughout most of my life. And for the past 12 or so years, her life has really been falling apart; not that it was ever all that put together. heartbreak is immense, and I'm already grieving her losses.  I have been grieving her losses since I was about five years old.


And I'm tired.  Right now, I'm her caregiver, but she is very independent still.  I treasure the time and opportunity, but I'm so tired.  I have two very young children, and health issues of my own.  


I went to my mom's condo and packed a bunch of her things this past week; it was just so hard to do, to gather up the remnants of her life, it's like a dagger in my heart.  I don't cry often, but when I do, I scream out of control with grief.  I have to do it when I' away from my family because I need to be strong for them.


My mom is still alive, she is trying so hard to not burden me, my poor mom.  I feel like she has always wanted the love I am now showing her, finally, and I feel so much guilt at how I've treated her over the years, and so much grief at the sadness she has had in her life, and the way it has to end.  I know it is coming, so I am almost pretending it can happen any minute, to prepare myself.  I think about moving away, thinking that is what I will do when she is gone, and I look at other places to live a lot. The truth is there is no escape.


I don't feel like anybody on the planet could possibly understand, but I would be so relieved if somebody did.


  • Teach76
    Teach76 Member Posts: 351 Member
    Sharing thoughts

    Hi.  I am currently going through cancer treatments, but 17 years ago I lost my Dad to colon cancer.  Like you, I was his caretaker, holding down a full time job, running his business from 3-6 pm and on weekends.  I had two small children as well.

    Many days I felt just like you - I grieved his losses (dx with cancer 10 years prior, sudden loss of a newborn, sudden loss of my Mom, etc.).  For him, his loss of independence was by far the worse.  He kept apologizing to me and my husband , "You should not need to do all of this for me."  It was difficult as time progressed to see his decline, and knowing that his time was short.  Unfortunately, his doctors never told me he was terminal; it was not until I connected with a hospice nurse that she was able to tell me.  

    So what is there to celebrate now?  I can tell you that I felt I was unfair to my husband and young daughters at the time, but looking back now, I would not have traded the time I was able to spend with my Dad.  Yes, there were moments of frustration when I just wanted to cry out.  Yes, I was angry at other family who could have, and should have been helping me.  Yes, I can not understand how I was able to juggle and manage as much as I did (God's grace).  Yes, I felt that was the worsT December of my life.  But what a blessing to be able to connect and bring him peace at the end of his day.

    at one point he lost the ability to speak.  I was at his shop while a friend stayed with him.  It was the last day his shop would be open before closing for the holidays.  His friend called me several times telling me how agitated Dad was, and she could not figure out what to do for him.  After closing the shop I went over.  He kept hitting himself in the head with his right hand and pointing above the room.  His friend said he was doing that all day.  I looked at his eyes and said, "Your Marine Corps uniform in the attic- I know, Dad, I won't forget that you want to wear that."  He began to cry, blessed himself and reached for my hand.  That moment I will always have with me.  No one else could understand.

    Know that your time with your Mom is so precious, and the bond between you will only grow stronger.  Don't be hard on yourself, but at the same time, allow your emotions to flow.  Share how you feel with her if you want - personally, I chose never to share with my Dad so as not to burden him more.  Thankfully I have a wonderful husband who was/is always there to listen.

    you are emotional because you LOVE.  I can't think of a better gift to give to a parent.  Now that I am on the receiving end of needing care, I think about my own children.  I am thankful that they were there to see how family lovingly cares for one another.  I hope that they now better understand why I did all that I did for Grandpop, and they will someday do for others.


    blessings to you and your family!