Unexpected Loss

My mother died on December 15, 2009. So it has been about 6 months.
I recieved a call in the afternoon, as i was on my way to work. It was my mum's husband, who in a choked voice informed me that she had suffered a heart attack whilst playing tennis and died instantly. She was 56, and had no history of heart problems. She was extremely healthy. It turned out that she had ischemic heart disease, but we had no knowledge of this at the time.  Some things are just unexpected and unavoidable. Fortunately it was a quick death - she would have hated to go slowly in a hospital bed.

That day was the most traumatic of my life. I was 22 at the time. It felt exactly as though a solid foundation upon which i had built my life had been torn away.  I had to learn how to live in a new way. I knew that i had other family members, but somehow i couldn't feel them there. i felt utterly alone. I felt an awful, aching hollowness, within myself and in the world around me. I couldn't make sense of my surroundings. That evening i went for a long, aimless walk by myself, and i didn't have any idea what to do, where to go, what to think or feel or say.

I never even realised that my mother occupied that much space in my psyche - we are not a very close kind of family - i would never, for example, go out shopping with my mother or have coffee with her. But we were close in a comfortable, deeply respectful way. I know she was proud of me and I always was proud of her. There was no antagonism.

Suddenly this person, who i admired for her independence, humour and energy, was no longer there to fall back on. I felt as though i needed to take up her role somehow, to become her, because the world was lacking her. When people tell me now how much i resemble her, or when i hear her voice in mine when i sing, i feel myself grasping to hold those little pieces, to make them bigger, trying to embodying them.

Often people speak of the naturalness of death, how it is someone's "time to go". But i didn't, and still don't, feel that this applied to my mother's death. It was not her time to go. My stepdad (who i never called as such until the event) has been left devastated - his soul mate, who he found only 5 years before, has been taken from him. He would always be supporting my mother's various pursuits. He is grieving, naturally, but nevertheless it is a sad fact that he really doesn't have any reason to live, now. Or at least, he will need to find a new reason.  

Meanwhile, i fluctuate between thinking that i have become stronger since her death, or weaker. I feel everything so much more keenly now - love, loneliness, beauty, pain. I feel the alone-ness of life.  Social situations often are tiring. I cling to my friends' love desperately, but a part of me is always aware that people are ephemeral, and so much can change in an instant. My painful awareness of life's uncertainty is the result of my mother's unexpected death, and i would not say that it has made me a stronger person, but it has definitely changed me.
mackerelsun mackerelsun
22-25, F
8 Responses Jul 17, 2010

I am 56 and lost my Mother December17 of this year. I am an only child with no children of my own or siblings. I have a wonderful husband and it has been. Me, my mother and Alec only. My mother and I have always been very close and she took care of my Grandmother until her passing in 2011. My mother had epilepsy and I've always been very protective of her. She lived in Ky and I moved to Ga in 1992 but always went home every 4-5 weeks. She had a massive heart attack and I cannot get pass the fact she's gone. I don't know how to live without her and miss her so much. I would go pick her up and bring her down for 2-3 weeks at a time. I can't look at her picture, I can't go shopping where we always went. I can't listen to music. I have never felt pain in my heart like I feel. I'm just lost. My husband travels and I'll be by myself for the first time since she died. Went to work 2 days last week and back tomorrow. I hope work will help but then I will be home by myself. She was our life. I had even bought a little Honda Hybrid to have when I retired in 3 1/2 years. We were going to travel with my husband and go places by ourselves. What do I do with myself. I am so sad.....

I am so sorry for your loss. I have too lost my mother this year and I know how difficult and painful life can be without her. Mothers are the most precious gift that we had in our lives and I cherish every moment i spent with her. I just miss her so much and life has become meaningless and lonely without her but I am still trying to live and find joy in life. I just wish we all will be able to cope with this tragic loss with time.

There is a special bond with a mother. A unconditional love that can't be replaced. I'm so sorry....

Hi I am so sorry for your loss. I can relate with you a lot because my mom died at 56 as well just a month ago and I am just 21, so we are technically of the same age when we lost our mothers. I just find it very hard to think of my whole future ahead of me without her. It's the hardest thing ever. :(

Hi - So sorry for your sudden loss. As you did not get to say 'good bye' to your dear Mom, why not write her a letter? This is important as it helps you say all the things you wish you could have to her. Also: take your time figuring out who the new-you is. Yes things are forever different without your Mom there BUT eventually you will be able to be a bit tougher and hold her in your heart. By that I mean that all your best memories and learnings and love from your Mom will be inside you. All she ever taught you will still be there but in a new form. It takes time to get used to having this all evolve. Some friends never will understand the zone you are in, for they still have mothers. (this is okay). Surround yourself with friends who believe in you and care for you. What you may find is you get 1 friend who enjoys tennis as your Mom did, and another friend who is all about some other aspect of your Mom. It isn't as if you are trying to replace your Mom but if you can find others who have some similar traits-areas as your Mom did, it is comforting. Also: talk to your Mom as if she were still around. Remember you are only a thought & memory away now. Different, yes but connected forever by love. It is a help to 'talk' to your Mom and over 60% of adults who have lost a parent do this (so you aren't alone in 'talking' to Mom). You may find your Mom comes to you in dreams if you open yourself up to this happening. If you are able to it could also be a comfort to put some fav pics of your Mom in frames and have her in each room where you live (in this manner). Or put up some pictures of your Mom's or things of hers....to remind you of her presence in a gentle, steady way. Be easy on yourself. I learned all of these things I am telling you after losing my own mother. Take care & you can do it.

I came upon your story again and i have the same feelings it has finally sunk in after 7 weeks that i will never see her again and i am having trouble dealing with it. My mother and I were very close. I miss her so much and keep seeing her in my mind when she was younger.<br />
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I wish I would have done this or that or at least not moved away. I feel so alone now... No one can take her place.

Same with me. I wish I had never moved away. I lost so much time with my mother.

Hi: 22 is very young to lose a parent. My mom had an illness when i was 25 and i acted just like you and she pulled through, here we are 30 years later. im 52 she was 87. I am devestated, feel different. will never be the same.<br />
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I miss her so much, i sing don't feel like singing, i was proud of her and she was of me. I took her to calif when she couldn't walk anymore.<br />
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Then we came back to jersey and it all fell away, the hospital insisted i put her in a nursing home and she only lived 6 months in there. I cry alot and am an only child, i feel alone, i try to be strong but she was my everything. Well if you ever need to chat i am here. It has only been one month and a week for me. I am still feeling really wierd about it. I hope you are pursuing your dreams. I wish i could share everything with her and i feel guilt maybe i should have done this or that, i hear that is normal. God bless all of us Debbie

I am an only child with no children of my own and my mother had a massive heart attack December 17th. Me, her and my husband were the 3 musketeers. I am lost. Your post was 4years ago so can you shed some light on what worked for you. I am beyond sad and have never felt such heartache in my life.

Hi dontbl<x>inkk,<br />
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I'm glad my story has helped you. Some time has passed since i wrote this, and i can say that i am gradually becoming able to view the death of my mother in a different light - one that is not just anger. I think the process of grieving leads to an understanding which can't be explained in words. But that process is definitely ongoing, even over a year later. Don't feel like you need to "hurry up and get over it" - people who think this way really have no idea about life. <br />
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Thank you for sharing your story. I recently lost my Mother and it helps somehow to read of other experiences about how to cope. I hope you are doing well and you are happy.