Dying Man’s daily journal – Struggling with loss.

Last evening I came to the computer and was taken back. Blogging friend Joy left a comment on her struggle to deal with the loss of her mother. Her feelings are so raw I can just feel them through her words. I do know there are still those that don’t always read the comments. I encourage all to do so. So very often contained there you will find far more wisdom than I could ever imagine. I am asking please for prayers for Joy, her family and all those others that are in similar situations. Her comment and my reply:


March 31, 2012 at 9:57 pm  (Edit)

“No one ever said life would always be easy, just so worth it.”- I am still waiting for the ‘worth it’  part!

Hi Bill,

I am one of those read only and post rarely types… But this quote automatically made me question the worth it part.

I posted on December 18th 2009 about my fears on possibly loosing my mother to cancer. She passed away  nine months later. Those last months have been imprinted in my memory and are in my thoughts each day.  I doubt that I will ever get over what I saw her go through.

It’s been a year and seven months tomorrow and I can’t begin to tell you how hard its been.  I wake up everyday as though I have been dreaming, I walk in her room to make sure that it is really a dream. And its empty. And that memory of running through the hospital, and opening her room door, and finding my mum lifeless is killing me.

Those last days … It was heartbreaking, seeing her deteriorate. She didn’t know who I was one minute and the next minute she was asking me if I wanted her to die. What child can forget a mother saying such things. I know it was not her but the cancer. But you can’t forget… I stayed with her for five nights  in the hospital and could not sleep as she asked me to make sure she didn’t “fall asleep”. She held my hand all night and would not let go. I did not sleep at all for five nights … It was spent listening to her breathing and praying. On the sixth day I couldn’t keep my eyes opened and my sister stayed with her that night. My mum asked me to stay but everyone said not to worry as I needed rest. I will never forgive myself for agreeing to go home.  The next morning at 6:00am, a phonecall from my sister telling me to come down now as mum was unsettled and in pain. I drove hysterically to the hospital and she passed away a few minutes before I got there.

I was my mums strength and I let her down that night.

The feelings are unlike anything I imagined in my post. The pain is unbearable. I miss her voice, face, smell, warmth, her words… I just miss her..

Life is not fair, and I am in doubt that its worth it.

…so sorry for a depressive post Bill..


 Hi Joy, firstly please never feel you need to apologize for sharing your feelings, that is what the blog is here for. “No one said life would be easy” wow you are most certainly going through the not easy part. Reading your comment it was like I could feel your pain, so hard to bear. My heart aches for you and my prayers go out to you. I wish I had some magical words to say that would take the pain away but there just are none. If there are any such words that would help you please imagine I said them. Joy what you went through and are still going through is awful. The hurt, the pain, the loneliness, the self anger such a terrible place to be in your mind. With all that you went through I can easily understand why you are feeling as you are. Joy, I don’t know you and obviously didn’t know you mother. From your level of feelings of loss I fully imagine that in life she was a truly wonderful person, with a big beautiful heart full of love for you and your siblings. I imagine she was a big part of your life and that it is difficult to see life going forward without her in it. Let’s face it with her loss you life has been changed forever. Joy while I really can understand your feelings that you let your mother down, you were her rock and let here down when you weren’t there when she passed. Joy, I have to take exception to any feelings of guilt or what ever that you might be feeling in that regard. You went far above and beyond the “call of duty”, anything that might be expected of a daughter or anyone else. You spent 5 days and nights at her side, from a purely physical point of view I am in awe of the mere fact you were able to do that. It is beyond anything I could have done even in my best of days. You are human your body needs rest. I do not know a lot about cancer other than it is a hideous disease causing a world of hurt and suffering and destroys it’s victims from within. Now i hope I can word this in a way that makes sense, I certainly mean no offense to anyone by it. You Mentioned the you knew that some of the things your mother said were in fact the cancer speaking and not really her. That is so important to remember. Now Joy, please remember I am not a doctor, a therapist nor a man of the clergy, I am just a guy sharing my thoughts. I see cancer as a horrible disease that destroys us from within. I imagine it starts off somewhere in our bodies quite small. Then for reasons beyond me it grows and may or may not spread through out our entire body. It consumes us, takes over our bodies from within. I am not sure if this is a good comparison or not and this is where I am really struggling for the right wording. As the cancer gains more and more control of our physical bodies, it has to affect our minds our thinking to the point that it is as you said, you knew it was the cancer speaking and not your mother. I know it is difficult but try to take the cancer out of the mix for a moment. Ask yourself, what would your “real” mother have wanted you to do. After 5 sleepless days and nights. My guess is that she would have wanted you to go and get some rest. Cancer as with virtually any disease physically destroys the patient. It is not content with that, it can reach it’s ugly arms out to infect all of those around. Not physically but emotionally which can be just as deadly and life destroying. Joy, please don’t let the terrible disease that took your mother claim you also. Don’t let something so ugly,so terrible that power over you. As i said before you life has been changed forever but a change in your life doesn’t mean it can’t still be very good with time. I thank you for sharing with us as you have and I invite and encourage you to do so again as often as you would like. Bill

4 Responses to Dying Man’s daily journal – Struggling with loss.

  1. souldipper says:

    I wonder how many times we Hospice Companions have seen/heard how the dying person slips away when the loved one is gone. It seems they know who is going to be most devastated and wait for that person to be away. It happens repeatedly.

    Unfortunately that absent person is usually the one who has been very diligent and attentive. Thus, they are left with guilt, “I didn’t…I should have…I could have…” It’s hard for that person to believe that they could have done nothing more. The death is beyond their control.

    Going without sleep for that period of time would mean one’s strength, mentally and emotionally, would be compromised. To be sleep deprived means that it is far more difficult to maintain clarity through the maze of emotion. It is harder to grasp that it simply was time for their loved one to go. To let them go, in itself, is an act of love.

    Not being there at the actual time of death is not diminished love.

    My 96 yr old mom was near death a number of times. I’d rush to her bedside and she’d rally! Suddenly she’d eat – because it was me feeding her. She didn’t want to let me down.

    I was away working and I wrote her a letter (that the hospital asked if they could keep and use – who knows for what.). I thanked mom for all she gave me. I listed the strengths she passed on to me. I noted the most significant memories we built together. I told her if she wanted to go, not to linger on my account if she wasn’t living the way she wanted.

    I told her I’d love her just as much whether she was with me or not. And it’s true. In fact, I probably love her even a bit more with time.

    Even though she died alone, I am at peace. She’s far better off now.

  2. Annie says:

    I am new to this blog and hope I am not speaking out of turn by leaving this comment. I have been so moved by your words Joy, so much so that I felt their impact physically. I wish I had words to soothe or comfort you and ease the intense feelings of guilt you seem to be suffering but I suspect the only words that would comfort would need to be spoken in a voice that you can no longer hear, the voice of your beloved mother. Please remember that death ends a life, not a relationship and that your beloved mum lives on in every best of your aching heart. I am holding you in my heart and my prayers.

    Hi Anne and welcome to the blog. Loving supportive comments are never taken as being out of tur. Please feel free to join right in as you will you are welcome.

  3. rangewriter says:

    Joy, I can only echo what Bill, Amy, and Anne have already said. You did everything humanly possible for your mom’s comfort while she was here. It is unspeakably sad that you just missed her passing, but, as Amy pointed out, perhaps she didn’t need your help at that moment. She needed you before and you were there for her. She completed her physical duties here with you. Now it is time to become better aquainted with her spiritual presence which is probably grieving over your feelings of guilt. She is still with you, just not in the same form. Reach out to her with your heart and I think she will ease your pain.

  4. Mel says:

    (((((((((((( Joy ))))))))))))))))))

    Oh, I am so sorry Joy. What a devastating moment in time this was for you. I know it well. As a young child I attempted–begged and pleaded–to see my mother the day of her passing. I was denied–it was too cold (December 31st, subzero…frigid and dangerously cold). I just knew I could have done something. Even if it wasn’t to stop the inevitable, I just knew my presence would have made the world of difference. She stopped breathing and that’s how they found her…..If only I’d have been there, yaknow….. Instead, I was left to pray as my father raced off when they called to tell him she’d ‘taken a turn for the worse’.
    I begged and pleaded again, this time in prayer–asking G-d to just let her live to see the New Year. Not live forever……just a few more hours, I prayed so hard.

    I wasn’t granted my wish…..not even for those few hours of time.

    The situation made for years of rage with G-d..and plenty of self loathing. I should have been there. I could have made the difference. They would have known sooner and things wouldn’t have happened as they did. Maybe I’d still have my mother……

    I was five years old and the memory still lives on.

    And today, I’m done hating me…..and I’m done hating G-d.

    It was a process to forgive myself. It was a process of letting go and trusting the bigger picture……the one I couldn’t see and still don’t get to see but choose to trust.
    Today, as an adult, I can ‘reason’ out that folks were doing the best they could. They made responsible decisions. Death gets to happen….it just does.

    But it’s truly been a process.
    I suspect yours will be a process, too. And at some point I can hope for you to find some self forgiveness, as I have. It took a good chunk of time and a lot of work to arrive here, but I have to believe that my mother’s heart is glad that I’ve arrived. She loved me beyond, beyond….and I don’t believe she ever wanted me to think or feel the way I did. But I did–and being on this side of all that pain and guilt and self loathing….it was worth the work to get here.

    I am so sorry for the loss of your mom. I know you spoke of how much you loved her and hated to see pieces of her flitter away with the disease. Cancer works that way–it cheats you a bit at a time, and it’s a horrible thing to have to walk through with anyone. But you walked through it, day after day after day. You loved her well. And she knew that. She still knows that.
    I believe that with my whole heart.

    ((((((((((((((((((( Joy )))))))))))))))))))))))

    I pray for you to find that peace that you’re so lacking right now–and to know that love is stronger than that. It just IS.

    (((((((((((((((((((((( Joy )))))))))))))))))))))))

    My thoughts and prayers to you….and to your sister.

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