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Mourning over one´s mother death.
Old 12-05-2009, 12:27 PM   #1
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Mourning over one´s mother death.

My mother-in-law died ten months ago of systemic sclerosis, from which she had been suffering for almost 20 years. Spent hes last 15 months at our home. At the hospital we were told that nothing could be done to her save loving care and painkillers, of which we gave her plenty.

Till the very end she was sweet and gentle, never complaining, always with a smile and good humor. Never in pain. But in her last days she was quite unconfortable. In the end she outlived doctors´s expectations by several months.

All of this was known to my wife from the very start.

By the way, my wife visited her mom daily when she still could live by herself and saw to her needs. And she saw for herself the deterioration of her mother.

The thing is, every other day, my wife still weeps a lot for her loss. She is receiving therapy on a weekly basis and goes to the cemetery almost daily. She keeps crying.

Her frequent crying worries me. Maybe I´m an insensitive guy but ... is her behaviour normal/natural/common?

Opinions, please...

Thank you.
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Old 12-05-2009, 12:41 PM   #2
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Vicente,

I'm so sorry to hear about your wife's ongoing distress over the loss of her mother.

Is this normal? I don't know, I would not think it is unusual for someone to have such a long grieving period, and it sounds like she is getting getting regular counseling. I think you can simply be as loving as you can and ensure she continues to receive the best care available.
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Old 12-05-2009, 12:50 PM   #3
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As hard as it is to watch , it is better that she grieves and cries than keeping it inside . My Mom is still alive but I grieved over my Dad for a long time and when my husband died I would cry so much I'd wake feeling like I had a hangover . It is good that she is going to therapy to deal with it . I think eventually she will get farther from it and not grieve so much . You never get over it . It just becomes less central in your life .
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Old 12-05-2009, 12:51 PM   #4
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When my mother died a few years ago, it occurred to me that the two most important words for our species are "my mother". All life in us flows from that bond. That kinda crushed me for some time.

A few weeks ago our family gathered to celebrate impending birth for a niece's child. My wife and I drove my sister-in-law (my brother passed at 54). At end of evening, the three of us came together to say goodbye to our niece. I can not explain the feeling that came over me as I looked into her eyes and we all realized at same moment that my mother and brother were not there. Even more important, my niece realizes that our closeness is due to my mother raising her dead sister's son as my brother. My "niece" is actually my cousin's daughter, but not in my mother's eyes.

I think you have to understand that the bond between daughter and mother goes much deeper than that. A mother gives to her daughter the gift that some day she may be thought of with the same two words, "my mother."
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Old 12-05-2009, 12:51 PM   #5
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I will say that my Mom's is gone 17 years and not a day goes by that I don't spend a few moments thinking of her. I'm not openly crying but hurting inside. I don't know if this feeling will ever go away. Some may say it's easier for a guy but I can tell you that it's not.
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Old 12-05-2009, 12:56 PM   #6
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The first year is very hard after losing someone so close to you, and your mother-in-law having lived her last months in your home means your wife is reminded of her every time she turns around. And your wife will likely find the holidays this year to be very emotional.

Grieving is therapeutic. She is handling her mother's death the best way for her, imho, and since she is seeing a counselor, I would think the best thing you can do is be supportive of her.

(My mother died 37 years ago yesterday and I still cry sometimes missing her).
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Old 12-05-2009, 12:57 PM   #7
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I believe everyone grieves in different ways.

I still have my mom and dad, but my mom has slight dementia and I am now mourning her even though she is still alive...as I am losing a little of her each day.

Your wife is going to therapy and is able to get the emotion out instead of keeping it balled up inside her. I know it's difficult for you to see her so sad, but I believe with time your wife's heart will be filled with sweet memories. I believe she may always feel the loss, but will be able to recognize the heart that grieves the most, is the same heart that loves the most passionately. She will be grateful she had someone in her life that she misses so much.

Accept your wife's grieving process; with your patient love, your wife will heal.
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Old 12-05-2009, 02:17 PM   #8
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I agree with the sentiments of the previous posts. I think about my mother and Dad and husband every day. I will never get over missing them, but eventually, especially in the case of my husband who died suddenly in the prime of life, I realized that making myself ill served no useful purpose. It made me less capable of dealing with the things that had to be dealt with, and I desired to make an example to my son of how one manages life's nadirs successfully. My son is my husband's legacy, and I don't want him scarred by my brooding and sorrow. Nor did I want to be a burden to anyone as I feel strongly that we each are responsible for making our own life work. But it took a couple of years to get to this point. I had great friends who helped me a lot, especially a woman who lost her husband 20 years ago in a motorcycle accident when her children were still young, and so was she. She had just started working in my office about five months before my husband died, and I sometimes think she must have been sent by God.....to be there when I would need her.
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Old 12-05-2009, 03:09 PM   #9
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Vicente,
I'm sorry to hear of the depth of your wife's continuing grief, and I can understand how it must make you feel--helpless to relieve her suffering. Yes, I would say that the symptoms of grief she is displaying are outside what most people experience, but averages don't mean much in cases like this. It's good that she's getting counseling and that you are there for her.

I'm not sure much can be gained from talking with her directly about it unless she shows that is what she wants to do. I don't think any of us ever "get over" grieving, but the strong emotions we feel on the loss of a loved one just gradually grow less strong as daily demands and other emotions that come with living slowly replace the overwhelming grief. To the extent you can help her get through each day and also find new experiences and other things that will help displace the feelings of loss, that would be good.

Best wishes.
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Old 12-05-2009, 03:23 PM   #10
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Vicente,

I think your wife is just a sensitive, caring lady who had a wonderful mother who can never be replaced. I'll PM you about it a bit more.

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Old 12-05-2009, 03:33 PM   #11
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Vicente, no one from afar can say whether your wife's grieving is worrisome from a mental health standpoint, but prolonged and active grieving for more than 6 months bears careful watching. I am talking about the kind of grief that interferes with her lifestyle, relationships, etc. and which is more than a transient tearful episode which can affect anyone after such a deep loss for years.

The situational grief may have caused other suppressed mental health problems to emerge (such as non-situational depression, bipolar disease, or simply unresolved issues of an analytic nature).

I tend to trust your instinct that this is more than simple grief, and am glad she is getting the mental health that she needs.
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Old 12-05-2009, 03:45 PM   #12
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I agree that grieving is healthy, and you can never fill that vacant spot in your life when you lose a parent, spouse or even a child. It's been almost 40 years since my mother died and not quite 30 since my father died, and while I can make my self sorrowful over their absence when I think about losing them, I just don't allow myself to do that very often.

Think of that what you will, but I decided that grieving has to come to an end or you will lose your self in sorrow.

When I was young I was exposed to a lot of sudden death and the impact on the people who were left behind. While I had to remain emotionally detached in order to help the victims and survivors, I'm human like everyone else and I'm sure I was affected. Part of that experience is that I came to some sort of terms with my own future death and made my peace with it. Not that I was ready to go out, and not that I didn't plan on fighting like hell to survive and spit in death's face so-to-speak, but I knew that eventually death would find me as will it find all of us.

At some point in my exercise in amateur philosophy I decided what I wanted my family to do if I left them unexpectedly. Cry, wail and mourn for a while, but then dry your tears, take a deep breath, and move on with your lives and make the most of them.

I guess I see grieving as a process with an end more than I see it as a state of existence. As a process it is healthy and allows us to move on, as a state of existence it's just misery.
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Old 12-05-2009, 04:01 PM   #13
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Vicente,

Others have given you good advice but I'll add that I know a sociology professor that specializes in "death studies" and he told me that it takes a full year to recover from a loss such as this.

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Old 12-05-2009, 04:22 PM   #14
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Vicente, have you spoken to her therapist about this? Maybe he or she will have some words of wisdom for you on the topic. Also, maybe the therapist is not completely aware of how much her grief is affecting her daily life, still. Maybe he or she will think that anti-depressant medications are in order after all this time (I have no idea, although usually I would think allowing oneself to grieve and to feel that grief would be better).

Everyone deals with grief in their own way, but I would think that the objective here is to be sure the grief doesn't turn into a long term depression.

Since many on this thread are relating anecdotes from their own lives, I will relate mine. Like your wife, I knew my mother would be dying long before she did (since she was nearly 98, and died of old age about 26 months ago). I was so lucky to have some advanced warning that way. During her last two years especially, I realized that every contact with her could be the last. We told each other we loved one another and said everything that needed to be said.

When she died, I felt sad. But I knew that she was ready to die, and that she herself knew she would die and she was at peace with that. She told me so. Even though I do miss her, my grief has become a happy nostalgia as I remember her. I think of her always, not with grief any more but with a smile. If I miss her, I look in the mirror, and there she is. Or, I listen to myself when I am talking and I hear her voice in mine. I see and hear in myself, many of the same mannerisms that she had. In a sense, she will never be gone from the world because she lives on in me.
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Old 12-05-2009, 05:19 PM   #15
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Is your wife taking the advice of her therapist? Do you know? I am sorry, but I can't help but wonder about the advisability of visiting the cemetery nearly every day.

Take care.
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Old 12-05-2009, 05:33 PM   #16
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I think 99% of problems that occur after a loved one dies are caused by not grieving enough, not by grieving too long.

Tears are harmless; unspoken pain is dangerous.

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Old 12-05-2009, 06:32 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by haha View Post
I think 99% of problems that occur after a loved one dies are caused by not grieving enough, not by grieving too long.

Tears are harmless; unspoken pain is dangerous.
Ha, I think that lack of sufficient grieving (for whatever reason) is more likely to reflect underlying issues rather to cause them.

In any case, when you are unable to continue a career, or your friends and loved ones are distancing themselves from the behavior and from you, or you are suffering persistent vegetative signs of depression 6 or 12 months after the loss, it is wise to have it looked into. Some people just get "blocked up" from grieving from suppressed guilt issues and as soon as these have get surfaced, the grieving proceeds freely.
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Old 12-05-2009, 06:36 PM   #18
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Can't add to the good advice you are getting other than to say that it is important that you find outlets for yourself. Watching someone you love struggling with life's challenges is equally hard on you.
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Old 12-05-2009, 06:48 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by haha View Post
I think 99% of problems that occur after a loved one dies are caused by not grieving enough, not by grieving too long.

Tears are harmless; unspoken pain is dangerous.

Ha

I don't know. Sometimes I think that you need to put it away in a box for a while. It is still there but you don't have to look at it all the time.
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Old 12-05-2009, 07:39 PM   #20
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I'm no expert on the subject, but still going to the cemetery everyday after ten months seems a bit outside the bell curve.

Does your wife work, do charity work, or have something positive to focus on each day instead of her grief? It seems like she is used to caring for someone every day so beside the fact that she lost her mother perhaps she also lost a major activity of her life.

There are also some studies linking magnesium deficiency to depression, especially in women. People undergoing stress can lose more magnesium than normal so it is something to consider after what your wife has been through.
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