Lost both parents unexpectedly 4 months apart

Discussion in 'Loss of a Parent' started by moonfx, Sep 10, 2020.

  1. moonfx

    moonfx New Member

    I'm really struggling with my feelings of sadness tonight, and mourning the life I'll no longer get to share with my folks. I've just turned 27 and only moved back to the same city as them in the last year.

    My mother was fighting cancer for the 3rd time with my father as her caretaker. She was in pain, but finding time for enjoying life-- they went on a cruise in December, a vacation in November. Dad went on a dude trip to Baja to go fishing with friends in November. They are older, but not even "elderly" in my mind.

    Suddenly, my dad became ill. Night and day. He had told me the last weekend before going to the hospital that he thought he had a stomach flu. He went from ER, to a terminal cancer prognosis of a couple months to live, to weeks to live in a few days. He died 6 days after going to the ER.

    My mom went to the ER 1 1/2 days after he passed. We immediately transitioned her into palliative care and I became a caretaker alongside other family and a home health worker. While we knew her cancer was not getting better, we did not know that the chemo was slowly killing her and degrading her lung function. She had probable pneumonia and begged I nurses to pay attention to her symptoms in my absence. She took antibiotics and seemed to get better. Then she couldn't breathe and was taken to the ER. Two days later, I had my final conversation with her over facetime before she was placed on a ventilator. She did not improve, and per her wishes her siblings and I ended her life support.

    I type this out in detail because some days I can't believe what I've experienced in the last few months. I never imagined that this would be how I lost them, and that because of the pandemic I could not surround them with the dozens of people who would want to be with them either at home or in the hospital. I can't even feel safe being with my large family, because in the days after mom's death we had a COVID scare as we congregated to supprt one another. Her (emotionally) closest sibling is in the United Kingdom. Her best friend in Hawaii. My best friend in Australia. And I feel so angry and sad that I cannot be with them to hold my pain with me.

    I am grieving the things that I can no longer share with them. I am sad that everything happened so fast, before I could enjoy the benefits of the hard work I did to make our relationships more honest and open. I worked hard to handle my trauma from other life events, but feel myself slipping again as so many memories and images of their last days trigger episodes of ptsd for me. I'm working so hard in therapy. I'm reading all the books and journaling and sitting with myself.I'm trying to handle all the paperwork. I'm still working full time because I do not want to have to worry about income and healthcare right now. And yet the "other side" of all these intense feelings is still so amorphous and feels out of reach.

    Thank you for letting me ramble here. I'm always open to suggestions for healing practices, grief penpals, whatever.

    Peace to you all. May you be happy and kind to yourselves even in distress.

  2. JMD

    JMD Well-Known Member

    I am so sorry for your losses. I lost my father to cancer in February and my husband to a complication of his cancer treatment in July. Sometimes it’s too much to bear. The grief can be overwhelming at times. It sounds like you loved your parents and worked hard on your relationships. I am sure they saw that and appreciated it. My dad knew I loved him because I cared for him. I showed my love by doing and he knew that. Same with my husband. There was absolutely nothing I would not have done for him. For some reason, after you lose your loved one, the memories of what you could have done, didn’t get to, forgot to say....feel stronger than the good memories. Grief can bring lots of doubt with it. I pray for peace and the hope that the good memories and strong love replace my doubts. You will find lots of kind people and understanding here. Healing is slow. Don’t push yourself too hard and be kind to yourself.
  3. Toni24

    Toni24 Member

    Moonfx... I am thinking of you this morning. The weight of what you have/are experiencing at your age is unfathomably heavy. I am so very sorry.

    I lost my mother in my early 20's but my Dad just 3 months ago. My Dad had a girlfriend of 20 years..they never married but she was family. She passed just two weeks ago.

    I told my husband last night before going to bed that I just can't wrap my head around all of what has happened this year... illnesses, hospitals, isolation, deaths... all on top of this crazy COVID stuff. It is hard enough to grieve but because of COVID, those once helpful outlets/connections are gone or missing. It has been a struggle at times for me. I miss being around people that love the people I hold dear. We are meant to be surrounded during grief and hear and experience how much our loved ones mattered to others. I have found some useful outlets like you...to try to keep me moving forward. That's all we can do.

    I had therapy when my mother passed and it helped me to move through and understand the grief. I hope you find it beneficial too. As a parent of a 25-year-old that is pretty darn mature, you sound wise beyond your years. You are handling more than you should bear at your age with grace. May you have a life filled with better days ahead.

    Peace and comfort to you.
    JMD likes this.
  4. moonfx

    moonfx New Member

    Thank you so much for your kindness. I am so sorry for your losses. I think often about what you mentioned, about moments where the grief feels overwhelming or unbearable. I am trying to sit with that more and recognize it for what it is-- a normal response to heavy, complex emotions all balled up with sadness. I'll mirror that reminder back to you as well, that our experiences are very fresh and that slow healing is valid.
  5. moonfx

    moonfx New Member

    Thank you for sharing with me. I am so sorry to hear about your losses. I think we will be looking back at this period of time as such a unique grief experience. I agree that these are moments when we want so badly to connect and be held by others. Or even have the option to indulge in healthy distance-creating by taking a trip. Not being able to be with one another also changes how we can "show up" for each other.

    Thank you for your sweet words. I will be extending my gratitude to you and yours in my spiritual practices.