Wednesday, September 7, 2011

How Much Grief is Enough?

I go to call my Mum many times through out the day. That's what I used to do, call her check up on her see how she is going that day, see if she needed anything. It makes me sad that I can no longer hear her voice asking what I am doing, what Boo is up to, laughing at the new funny thing he does, giving me suggestions on what to cook for dinner. I miss her.

I was telling Bea in an email after she asked how I was feeling "I don't know, a bit strange like I am grieving but almost feel like it's not enough. I keep comparing the way I feel now with the way I felt when Max passed away and I don't feel like I am crying enough I know that must sound really stupid. But I am scared that time will pass and I will regret not grieving my Mothers death. Perhaps it really hasn't hit me yet? I don't know it's strange." Bea's response made sense, she is good like that. I am struggling lately getting my words out.

Firstly, we know our parents are going to die, we are told usually at a young age whether we understand it or want to believe it is a different story. As an adult it is maybe easier to accept.  Also because my Mum had cancer for such a long time, I knew that death was on the cards it was a matter of when. When she was first diagnosed, I cried and cried for months, my whole world was falling apart. I was angry, no way was I going to lose my mother to cancer. I researched everything I could possibly find on her type of cancer and fed my head with it all. I looked into treatments and alternative treatments, spoke to Dr's , alternative health Dr's etc. I wanted and needed to know that my Mum was getting the best treatment that was available. My life was taken over by the need for information, sucking it all up like a kid drinking a chocolate milkshake, slurping at the very bottom, not content until I had everything I could possibly get. It was the only way I could help her it was the only I knew how to cope, to actually be doing something for her. This was 13 years ago, cancer did not touch everyone one you knew in some way like it does today. Back then when someone was diagnosed with cancer, it meant death. There has been a lot progress in curing or preventing cancer in since then (but that is a whole other post) I was pre- grieving back then, I have been pre-grieving for 13 years and perhaps that is why now I don't feel like I am grieving enough. Don't get me wrong I am still grieving, but just not like I was for Max. And I still hate that I can compare the two. It's called anticipatory grief and I first learnt about it when I saw a counselor before Max passed away. It had a name and I didn't even know. I thought I was just going crazy.

A couple of nights ago, my Mum visited me in a dream. I don't recall the dream but I do know that I was very emotional. Since then I feel a bit more comfortable with how I am grieving and the amount I am grieving. Maybe she told me not to beat myself up about it and she knows how much I love her and miss her. You probably think it's strange that I have to weigh up how much grief is enough, even wrong, but she was my Mother and I can never give her enough of anything.


It was Fathers Day on Sunday. So I took Boo to visit his Daddy, I tend not to take him too often, I usually go on my own, perhaps when he is a little older if he wishes I will take him to see his Daddy regularly. He made a present for him.

Happy Fathers Day - We miss you lots. xx


Penny said...

Vee I found you through Eden. Sending you warmth and strength.

Kristin said...

Oh Vee, I wish so much that I could wrap my arms around you and give you a hug. I am thinking of you and Boo and praying for both of you.

suzy hausfrau said...

Vee I have just found your blog via Retro Mummy's and am sitting here filled with such sadness for you...blogland has a strange way of connecting us all! It will be 4 years this month since I lost my mum, who taught me to do all of the hausfrau things that I now absolutely and totally embrace - that is my way of keeping the connection I guess. I kept (and keep) focusing on my dad and helping him with his grief - it is easier in some ways to grieve together...I too often dream of my mum which can be wonderful, but then so sad when I wake up to reality. thinking of you...

stinkb0mb said...

dad died over 3 years ago. we knew he was going to die 5 months before he did - granted we didn't expect him to go so fast but we still knew he was going to die.

i am yet to have a complete breakdown crying session over his death, i'm yet to actually grieve for him. i miss him more than anything, i'm sad every day that he's not here anymore but for me, the grieving just hasn't arrived yet.

there are no rules when it comes to grief, no rights or wrongs, never forget that hon.

to read about the dream was wonderful - dad has come to me in my dreams many times.

sending love as always my sweet friend.


Melissa said...

We knew my mother would die a year before she did. Becuase of what she had (ALS) we even knew roughly which month she would die. I grieved (very privately and only in front of my husband) intensely for the entire year I cared for her. So by the time she died, for that first year afterwards even, there wasn't as much outward sign of grief as one might imagine.

I think that were it Joel though, (my husbane) it would be all consuming. As much as I adored my mother, and desperately miss her every day (8 years later), I know it is different to what I would feel if I were to lose him.

But I'm a firm believer in 'you grieve how you grieve, you feel what you feel' and there's no right or wrong way to do it, no right or wrong way to feel it. And no set time in which to do so. It'll happen as it happens.

I've been thinking about you.

maytey said...

Just wanted to send you this link Vee, it made me think of you :)
Sending you love as always.

Lut C. said...

Anticipatory grief - oddly makes sense.

It's heart wrenching to see Boo visiting Max's grave. I can imagine you wouldn't want to take him too often.

Bea said...

Something else strikes me about this post. It seems almost as if you are worried (were worried, perhaps I should say) because you felt that your lack of grief was/is somewhat... disrespectful? Like it wasn't honouring your mum enough? I don't know if that's a fair comment or not.

Anyway, if it is, maybe it would help to remind yourself of all the other ways we can honour those we've lost. For parents, particularly, simply living a life they would be proud of might be enough, but I'm sure you already have many other ways of honouring your mum that have nothing to do with tears. Just thinking aloud at you in case anything gels. Although you seem to have become more peaceful with it already anyway.


Kir said...

God, I am so sorry that I don't come here nearly enough, I feel like you do, I am not DOING enough to be a friend, to read, to listen, to offer my shoulder.

Grief is always going to be on it's own timetable my sweet friend, it is never going to come on our clock, I find that when I think I have not grieved something enough, it comes to me in the most amazing ways, to show me that deep down my grieving is never really over for the people we love, you simply can't do that wrong.

I love you...with all my heart. I wish your heart was feeling this more. Miss your mom, cry when you feel it coming and laugh when you remember her..she is gone from your life, but not your heart and memories.


Earl said...

I found this blogpost in Google by words "grief is disrespect", because I wanted to read what people thinking about it

My father passed away. Since childhood I was told that it is important to let it go, and it was religious teaching. I also remember that I knew that parents don't live forever. But at current age I feel that is grief disrespectful according to my own life, because grief is actually depression, and depression is burden which don't let you live full life. That's my point of view right now and I am now trying to fix myself to not grief.

Your post is awesome, reading it I feel easier because I become to realize that I am not the only one who has such feelings.