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How do you live without your mother?

Posts: 4
Joined: Sep 2010

My mom passed away 2 months ago today. She was 65 years old. She was diagnosed with stage 4 non-small cell lung cancer on 12/29/09. She was a genuine woman. A wonderful, funny, caring, sympathetic, loving woman. She was my best friend. Her and my father were married 42 years. My brother is 41, my sister is 40, and I am 26. My mother smoked for many years, but hadn't since 1994. I don't even know if that it the cause of her cancer. She went through 6 chemo treatments. The first one gave her a severe asthmatic attack, she was apparently allergic to something in the medicine mix. She went purple and blacked out. I should have known that was a sign that this was bad. After 3 treatments, her CT scan in March showed that the masses in her right lung were shrinking. Hope. In June, her CT scan showed that the cancer had built up a resistance to the chemo. She began treatment with Avastin. She had two of those treatments & also a radio-isotope injection. Every side effect that this woman could have possibly gotten, she did. It was awful. I watched this strong, independent woman lose her hair, weight, pride. She became fully dependent on my dad & family. I live 4 hours across the state from my parents. I would spend as much time with them as I could when I did make it home. On Friday, July 9th, my dad called me and told me that he had taken my mom to the emergency room that morning, and it had been determined that she had a ruptured bowel. She was not strong enough to survive the surgery to repair the bowel, so she was given an antibiotic and put on bed rest to see if just maybe it would seal the hole in her bowel. After two days, nothing had changed. We had been informed that the cancer had spread to her adrenal glands, liver, shoulder blades, bones.. etc.. and the next step was to make her "as comfortable as possible." I hate those words. For a week I sat and slept in that hospital with her. I watched her go from awake & alert & laughing to asleep & out of it. She couldn't talk. She would just stare at me with that glazed over look.. like she was looking at me, but right through me. On Friday, July 16th, she started gurgling. It was the absolute most horrible sound I have ever heard in my life. The hospice nurses gave us information to read to prepare ourselves for what was going to happen, but there is no literature that can prepare you to live the rest of your life without your mother.. wife.. grandmother. The gurgle got louder as the day went on. I left the hospital around 11pm to go sleep at my sister in laws house as the hospital room was full of relatives. As soon as I walked in the door, my phone rang.. and she was gone.
Her visitation & funeral were the hardest days of my life.
I cry everyday, I think about her constantly. I don't know how to live without her. She did everything for my dad.. laundry, ironing, cooking, cleaning, yardwork.. he is so lost. Seeing him trying to live without her breaks me.
I'm getting married next year. I have to do it without her. My brother & sister got to have her around for their weddings. I would dream about being able to make an announcement at the reception that her & my dad had been married for 43 years and her cancer was in remission.
I go through each day like a zombie. I go to work.. go to the grocery.. do all of the regular things I used to do.. but I do everything without feeling anything. There is an emptiness inside me that causes me physical pain and I can't push past it. I just always thought she would be 100 before the time came when she was taken from me.. from my family.
I don't know what to do without her.

grandmafay's picture
Posts: 1639
Joined: Aug 2009

Give yourself time to grieve. You might want to look into grief counseling. Your mom and the many memories you have of her will always be with you. My husband died last Oct. of colon cancer. He was 63. We have two grown sons with families of their own. I know they miss their dad a lot. We often talk about him which I think is helpful for all of us. I am glad that you notice how difficult this is for your dad. You can be a great source of support and love for him. I don't know what I would have done without our sons and family. One of the greatest gift you can ever give your father and your mom is to live your life. That is what she would have wanted for you. I know that that is an easy thing to say and a hard thing to do. Take your time. Fay

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