How do you let go of your mother when she passes away?

Asked by

My mother passed away on Tuesday, November 2, 2010. Though I am coping well, I sometimes feel a sense insanity coming from deep inside. As if if boils over I will go completely insane. I feel like nothing I have ever felt before.

My mom and I got along in a way. We were so different. I feel so guilty that perhaps she was sicker than she led on and I was still so upset with her.

Not until she really got sick and couldn't do anything. And even then, I was so upset. But my momma was as stubborn as a mule and never truly accepted help from anyone until the very end.

It was hard to care for her and about her illness because she never let us get close enough emotionally because of her need to be so independent.

I already miss her though. I would rather a million nights more than to have her gone.

Do you just not think about it? Do you cry until feel like dying? How do you handle such agony? How do ask for forginess from some who is gone and with whom you had so much contradiction?

How do you let go of your mother?

Answers 1 to 10 of 18
Top Answer
I am so sorry for the loss of your mother. I am not a counselor,but perhaps it would be best if you were to contact one that conducts a 'bereavement group'. There are many stages of grief and this is one of them.

My mother also passed away this year (on my birthday) but I had a different type of relationship that what (it seems) you had with your mother. It would be unfair for me to tell you how "I" reacted once she was gone is how you should react, only you can. Sometimes I am really sad, sometimes I am relieved, knowing that her confusion is over. I already made 'peace' with her passing long before she died. I loved my mother dearly, and although she always showed preference to my younger brother, I still knew what I did for her was the best I could. I wasn't perfect, no one is.

Please don't feel you are alone in the way you feel. There are much that you must work through, take time, allow yourselfs the time to go through the stages of grief. I had five years (while my mother wasin the decline of Alzheimer's) to do so. Some think I handled my mothers passing too easily!! God bless you, and remember,when you are going through hell...keep going!

I'm sorry to hear of your mother's death. I noticed from reading your profile that she was 70 and you are 47. Is there someone you can talk with about your grief? What else is going on in your life and how are you going to spend your time, now that you have so much free time?

What exactly are you feeling guilty about?

Unpack the contradiction between you and your mother. Are you talking about conflict or how completely different you two are?

What do you need to ask your mother forgiveness for?

Why do you wish that you had died instead of her?

I don't think you are going insane. I think you are very confused right now and quite possibly could be having an anxiety attack or on the edge of becoming a danger to yourself. If either is true, call 911 and get yourself some help.

I guess this is due to my own experience with a mother who never met my emotional needs, but used me to meet hers, but I'm having a hard time getting my mind around the idea of having an emotionally distant mother and what on earth do you have to feel guilty for when you have been the one taking care of her? You didn't make her the way she was. You could not control how she was. Nor, even if she had lived longer, could you fix how she was.

If there is a crisis hot line where you live, please call it. If there is a pastor, a priest, a rabbi, ect. that you know then call them. How is your sister and any other siblings that you have dealing with this? Please keep coming back and writing, I'm sure some others will have input to give but I also think we need to know more about the whole situation.
Do you have friends that you can talk to or someone at church?
Sometimes we all need to have a good cry. One thing that I have learned is that we cannot change things. I cannot change that my mother has Alzheimer's and that her memory is getting worse. You cannot change that your mother has passed away, but you can be assured that God has a plan for everyone. Your mom is not suffering anymore and she is now at peace. I'm sure she would want you to have peace as well. It seems that you did everything you could to assist your mother. Let go of the guilt.

I want to thank you all for your comments. I know and understand and accept how my mom was; she was her own person. I just hope that she was happy sometime while alive. And I think she was, in some way. Life dealt her a hard hand because life dealt an even harder one to her mom, so it was a family legacy. One which I will not pass on because I have no children. I will let the emotions take their natural course and work themselves through. I will allow myself to cry, to feel guilty, and to feel mad, happy, and anything else that bubbles up.
My mom and I had a particular relationship. I am happy that the last 5 years or so she spend more time with me, in communication while she was living abroad or while living here with me. I know that I did, if not my best, at least some things to make her feel at ease. At least by leaving her alone most of the time, I think she was ok.
My guilt comes from perhaps not being more patient, perhaps not paying enough attention to her medications. But every time I would bring up her diet she would get mad, so I left her alone. Every time I would mention that she should take her medications as prescribed and not question everything, she would get mad, so I would leave her alone.
She felt in control that way, and I am glad that she did not suffer terribly. Though now that I have gone through this I know that unless you go fast by accident or heart problems, there is always some level of suffering.
I miss arguing with my mom, and with the recent events before her death, I even miss being angry at her.
Her sickness these last two months took so much of our time and thoughts (for my sister and me) that now I think both of us feel a bit lost. But I think we will both be OK.
Right now I feel confused as what I should do and what I can do. I feel like I shouldn't just pick up my life as before; and in another way I feel I should do so much. I feel I should live for her and the things she always wanted to do and didn't or couldn't do.
I know I can't live for her and can't do for her, but now that I have lost her, I feel life so short that I don't want to waste it.
There is not any reason for feeling guilty about meds when she was so resistant or about patience when she was so argumentative and controlling.

Do you like arguing and being angry?

I think you and your sister will be fine. I also think you two need to talk with and support each other.

Your confusion sounds very confused to me. When you say that you feel like you should live for her, etc. you sound like a mother. and then like a daughter when you feel like you should just pick up your life as before. Sounds like some serious questioning of one's identity. Are you yourself that you were before or are you an extension of your mother's identity. Life is too short and you are not your mother or your mother's mother to seek to live for her and do the things she always wanted to do and either did not or could not do. You are you. Do what you want to do and can do. Be yourself or at least discover who you are apart from her.
Callalilly: I have a feeling you ARE going to be ok! Just knowing that you want to will help you too! Keep talking, crying, hoping, laughing, living and loving life! That would honour anyone!
It is entirely normal to feel the way you do. I sometimes get so caught up in my Mom's medical needs, doctor's appointments, and day-to-day care, that I feel like I cannot simply "enjoy" my time with her. I am constantly aware of her decline and it kills me. She was a vibrant, active, social person in her youth. Most of the things she loved to do are impossible now. So I feel as if I am greiving those losses for her too. When someone passes, it intensifies those feelings tenfold. And we, as caregivers, are natural "fixer-uppers" and think that we could have somehow stopped the progress of aging or even death.
I think your Mom's decision to refuse medical help or watch her diet was her way of deciding when she wanted to go. I saw this in some of my older relatives. My mother, too, is very independent and the distance she keeps from everyone makes her feel like she still has some control (although, it is sometimes tough for me to handle because it comes off as self-centeredness.)
There is no way around just needs to burn itself out....then you can figure out how to proceed with your life. You were so consumed with caregiving that there was little me time to figure these things out.
I would suggest getting out around "fun" people. You may still feel depressed inside, but it is important to surround yourself with positive, uplifiting influences now. Join a social group, take a short course, take up a creative hobby, and please continue to share your experiences with everyone here. Your advice and experience are invaluable.
Echoing others' comments that you are weathering this the best you can, and urging you to just keep breathing and putting one foot in front of the other. Don't look to anyone else's timetable or techniques. Take what is useful from our experiences as we share them, and leave the rest. You're going to make it somehow. Take care.
I recently lost my mother Oct. 29, 2010. We were close, but different in many ways..this last month we had our ups and downs...but that last day was a good day and we were looking forward to her coming to live with us, but she never had that chance. I also lost my dad when I was 16 and for years and those "teen years" I wasn't the kindest or most loving and so felt sad, mad and guilty for not being able to let him know how much I really loved him...I finally had to realize that he knew that I loved him and that how we were with eachother was the way it was for us to learn lessons to be better people, to ourselves and others. I had been with my mom just about everyday for these last couple of years...and so I too am at a loss about what to do now that she isn't here...but I know that this is a new chapter in life and I have to feel that she is in a better place and no longer suffering with her dis-ease. She was very stubborn, hated losing her independence and having to lean on me for support, so sometimes her words and fights with me I think were her insecurities that she felt about herself and not me...and so that may give you some comfort to know that your mom loved you and that maybe she didn't know how to take help from others and the only expression she had was thru anger and frustration. Please find someone to help support you at this time and hopefully someday soon you will find your life in balance again. My heart goes out to you (-;
I am so sorry for your loss. I don't think you ever let go.. It just eases with time. My mom, also, was very independant and stubborn. We got along really well, and my husband and kids oved her very much. We begged her for years to come and live with us. She finally relented when diagnosed with terminal cancer. She came to live with us in the final months of her life, and I would repeat those months in a heartbeat. You only leave this world once, and you should leave it with loving arms around you. It has been almost 10 years since her passing and I still miss her every single day. However, my thoughts now are of all the good times, her delicious meals, the holidays, her smile and laugh... It takes time, but the grief diminishes. So many things in day to day life remind me of her, and that just makes me smile. My heart is with you, embrace your grief, give into it momentarily and then move on. Your mom will live in your heart forever.

Share your answer

Please enter your Answer

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support