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My mom died and I don't know what to do

Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 2011

I'm 20 and my mom passed away on April 18, 2011. We found out that she had stage 4 colon cancer, four years ago, and it had spread to her liver. Then in March of this year, we found out that it went to her brain. I quit work and college and temporarily moved back home to take care of her because my father was being an *** and was basically ignoring what was going on; he never treated me and my mom like he should've. My mom was my best friend, but now that she's gone, I feel so alone. My dad's family is basically drunk or high (including my father) and I refuse to be around that, and my mom's family tried to make a "pissing contest" about who would miss my mother more, and I don't want to put up with their 5 year old games. My boyfriend of 4 years has always been there for me, and he's known what I'm going through because he lost his father to cancer almost 3 years ago, but lately he's been distant. And my father doesn't want me in his life, because a year ago I told my mom something that he did. The only person I have left is my cousin, but he lives seven hours away and works over 50 hours a week, so we barely get to talk. I don't like feeling this alone. What do I do?

bluerose's picture
Posts: 1102
Joined: Jul 2009

While reading your comments, and I am so sorry for your loss, it struck me how you seemed to be the most mature and together person in your whole family about alot of things. Your Mother has taught you well and these lessons she has taught you, despite all the disfunction around you, will last you a lifetime and serve you well so please be greatful for what she gave you, I'm sure you are.

You have done a good thing for yourself by coming to this site. There are many people here who have been in your shoes and so understand what you are going through better than anyone. I can understand your lonliness because my Mom passed away several years ago and she was my bestfriend too. Come here when you need to talk about it, to this site, and just post how you are feeling and I am sure someone will offer up help, support and advice that worked for them.

I guess I would also suggest that you find something you are intersted in, passionate about if you can, like a sport or hobby or pursue a talent you have, and really work at it. Keeping busy is a big part of healing and in doing things you meet new people, new friends as well. The other thing is that you might want to talk to your doctor about him/her helping you find a good grief therapist. They can be very good in helping you through the stages of grief and loss and help you heal from that loss. I have a counsellor I check in with now and again and it really does help.

Your boyfriend who was supportive before I'm sure will come round but he has his own grief too and maybe sometimes he just needs a break from it all but I don't know the situation exactly so I guess you would know better than I what is bothering him now. Maybe try to do other things together that will take your minds off cancer and the losses, I know that is hard to do when you are so filled with grief and loss but you sound strong and I'm sure you can push yourself to get out and more active and it will help him too I'm sure. Helping others is often a great way to get over your own grief too, it takes you outside of your problems and allows you to help those around you too. I am talking of volunteering in something you have interest in or that your community needs help with.

I hope something I said touches a nerve with you to help you on your way in your healing and like I said there are many people here who will help you too.

All the best,


Posts: 1849
Joined: Aug 2010

Sounds to me like it is time to get back to college and reembrace the life you were building for yourself. School and your boyfriend, who may have been distant or it may have been your perception because of all you were going through, should be at the top of your list.

You have your whole life ahead of you: you have honored your commitment to your mother and now I'm sure she would want you to take care of yourself.

Look for grief support groups, a church home or just stay in touch with your cousin via email or facebook or whatever works for you.

For now, just breathe and rest and start making plans as you feel able.

Come back here - we will be here.

grandmafay's picture
Posts: 1639
Joined: Aug 2009

I am sorry that you lost your mother at such a young age. I am also sorry that your family is neither supportive or stable. Addiction is a difficult thing to deal with and it effects everyone around the addicted person. Growing up in a family where addiction is present also affects you. Now you need to deal with both your grief and the scars of that. First, get some help. A good grief counselor might be a place to start. Alanon can also be helpful in understanding how your father's addiction problems have affected you. It sounds to me like you are a survivor. I agree that you need to begin to rebuild your life by returning to work and college. Your boyfriend may not understand your grief as much as you think. Each of us has to grieve in our own way, and I suspect women do grieve a bit differently than men. Talk to him. Let him know what you are feeling. Trying times can strain a relationship, but they can also make them stronger. Take care of yourself now. Fay

Posts: 11
Joined: May 2010


I'm so sorry for what you are going through, and I want you to know you are not alone. I lost my mom when I was 18. I will be 20 in a little over a month. I was extremely close with my mom, so her passing has been very difficult on me. My mom was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer that had spread to the bone. She was very positive about her illness, so it was so painful when she passed away.

I am not close to anyone on my dad's side. In fact, I have met very few of my dad's relatives. I am not close with my dad. My mom was the only stable one on her side, so I am not close with her family. I have found refuge in my friends because of my weak family support, but it is really hard to see friend and even strangers spending time with their seemingly perfect families. I've had a really hard time not being bitter.

It's such a hard time. I really feel for you. I withdrew from my spring quarter classes at university because of my mom's passing...I then took the following year off. I am returning to school in the fall...I miss my mom every day and she is always on my mind, but I have adjusted a bit over time. I have learned that it's okay to cry and cry. I hope you have some friends who you can confide in. You can always come to this site. People really want to help you and many been in similar shoes to you.

Have you considered going back to school?

Praying for you! Feel free to pm me!


Posts: 8
Joined: Apr 2011

I'm 29 and lost my mother on may 25th. I'm an only child and she was my best friend to me she was the greatest person ever. My father is also a drunk and on drugs and not there for me emotionally. I've been with my children's father for 13 years and he was always very supportive but recently he has been distant and we hardly talk and when we do talk it's just a fight. We are living in my moms home with our kids and I still can't bring myself to go through her clothes or move any of her belongings. It's very hard to deal with this some days are tougher than others. One thing helping me is surrounding myself with only positive people and just ignoring people like my dad.

Stay strong! I know it's hard.

ButterflyLake's picture
Posts: 44
Joined: May 2011

I'm walking a similar road to yours.

I don't have much advice on what you should do...I think seeing a counselor (I found one since my mom was diagnosed, and it has been so beneficial), and getting back to school when you're ready for it (the structure could be really good to help you compartmentalize your grief, and all the social time and constant activity options may be a good distraction?) are good options.

Just to let you know about my road so far...I'm thirty-one now, and my mom is about to pass from Stage IV, with mets to the brain. I had to leave my career to caregive, and my husband is in a distant place like your boyfriend is now (he told me he had to "check out" so he can keep going on with day-to-day responsibilities).

I come from a family of addiction, which (like you!) I dealt with at a young age. It is more difficult, I think, when you want a family support system to help you through the hard times, and it doesn't exist. My father has not wanted me in his life for years (really, ever, but he was physically around when I was a kid).

I also saw my college boyfriend (back when I was your age) through his mom's cancer and passing. I remember how our relationship was then, and what I would do differently now.

Wow...very similar roads. My heart hurts for you. I feel like this is all too much to have experienced by my early thirties. I can't imagine doing it in the early twenties.

If this helps, even a little bit, please know that, with what you've been through, good will come from it. You can, and will, be a beacon for other people during their dark times. And you are so strong already...you are capable of anything.

Even though we're not acquainted, feel free to message me anytime. None of us are alone...

And, please take care of you.

Lost_But Strong
Posts: 1
Joined: Jul 2011

Idk where or how to start so I'm going to just go...I'm feeling exactly what you are feeling though. my mother had the same cancer as your mother (stage 4) and i have just recently lost her on 6/27/2011..I'm only 20...how can something like that happen to us right? Not only that but our moms were so young. Mine was on 39. It hurts...She always said though, its never goodbye its see you later. I have a younger brother to that is 13 and I cant even put myself in his shoes at that age and his childhood. Thing is , I don't know what to do myself. its easy to say ok ima do exactly what my mom wanted me to do. I feel that we do have to heal. There haven't been times that we have gone through with this happening so suddenly, to where we are like damn... I need my mom right now. I don't know whether it's something that needs to be figured out? like do I need a mind set to keep me going? My life outlook has changed. But I don't wanna look sad that I'm grieving over my mom I still wanna be the same funny outgoing talk a lil smack here and their kind of guy. Will this ever come back?

I have a girlfriend and through my moms last year I have been with her. She knows everything and how I feel to. And yea I'm with her but me being so young so optimistic I have big plans I wanna do something big and idk if it should be with her or not just based on the fact that she was through it with my mom.Its been on for a year...my longest but she has a baby boy and yes i love her but should I be planning that far ahead at this moment?

I haven't seen or hung out with any friends. They have reached out to me no doubt. But I don't wanna be looked upon as the guy that just lost his mom and have everyone feel bad for me.
There is just so many things to weigh out good and bad. We could take full advantage of this situation if we wanted to also.But at what point of that is taking bad advantage of it?

As you can see this has really confused me. My mom was my everything...being raised without a Dad. My shoulder my motivation, my scolder. I'm only 20 I'm not a full man yet im going to be 21 this year though. And thats what makes it hard to I feel like I'm being forced to mature now I don't have that shoulder to lean on. Alone? maybe but alone doesn't always mean bad it could be more time to focus.

If anyone can help, or relate please comment

ButterflyLake's picture
Posts: 44
Joined: May 2011

My heart goes out to you for your loss.

My college boyfriend lost his mom when he was 20. He was always a silly goof. It took a bit for the silly goof side of him to come back. But he made an amazing life for himself eventually...he became a firefighter and EMT, has dated several wonderful girls, traveled the world, and re-gained the joy in what he had enjoyed doing before (fishing, surfing, and what-not). Today, it is ten years later, and he is better for having gone through his mom's passing so early. He told me that he had some rough times when he had to withdraw from his friends, and it only hit him a few years later from when his mom passed that his mom was really, really gone. But that realization did go away eventually.

When my mom got diagnosed last year, I called him (we broke up years ago, but have always remained friends). His advice, now that we're both thirty, was to plan nothing, take a day at a time, and everything will unfold as it should. Not bad advice. Please plan nothing now...just let it all unfold as it will.

You are NOT alone. You are more mature than you know. You will mature further no matter what. Stay the course and don't give yourself a hard time. And there will always be a shoulder to lean on when you need it.

A big hug for you and yours...I'll be thinking of your brother especially. Thirteen is a rough age no matter what. He'll need a big support bubble to keep him going.

Much love.

lovingwifedeb's picture
Posts: 184
Joined: Aug 2010

I don't think it really matters how old you are when you lose your mom it makes you feel like an orphan. I lost my mom on May 19th to lung cancer, and then my husband on May 27th to melanoma which metastasized to his brain.This has been a rough couple of months for me but you would think at my age (58) I would be more prepared for death. Well, I was wrong. No matter what relationship I had with my mom... good days, bad days... I loved her and I will miss her and her sassy attitude. She supported me no matter what I did in my life and now that my life has fallen apart and I needed her most she will be missed more than I can tell you.

I am sorry you feel you can't depend on other members of your family. It does seem that death can bring out the "uglies" in people if you know what I mean. I don't know what happens but selfish behavior starts in with some people not even thinking that you, her daughter might need some help. Try to picture in your mind what your mom would like you to do. What would she say to you? Close your eyes and have a conversation with her and see if you can settle in your heart what to do. You might be surprised at what you hear.

Peace to you.

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