GRIEVING DISCUSSION BOARDS > Caregiver Support Discussion

Delayed Grieving

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Mimi:
When my mother died over forty years ago of cancer that was never discussed, we carried on with our daily routines as if nothing had happened. Her closets and the medicine cabinet with her toiletries/cosmetics were not touched for another ten years. My mother was barely mentioned.  Speaking of her was just too sad, and dealing with this sadness head-on was not our way.
All seemed as well as could be ? except that our feelings were completely suppressed.

I became angry later at my parents for not having prepared me for the loss and at my mother for not sharing the dreams she had for her daughters, her expectations, her advice and her encouragement. My anger was mixed with guilt so I kept those critical thoughts to myself.

After I became a mother myself, I fully understood the pain that my mother must have felt, knowing that she was going to leave her husband and her two daughters. I became much more sympathetic to her issues. I began to understand how my mother must have suffered, knowing that she would not accompany her daughters into their futures. This newfound awareness and the resulting compassion towards my mother diminished my anger and allowed me to just feel grief and longing for her without the bitterness or the blame.

dsmyer1:
Mimi, thank you for opening such an important topic on the subject of caregiving and grief.  You have shared a profound experience of pain, insight and growth, taking place over a long period of time.  I am glad that, with your own life experience, you were able to find compassion for your mother that transformed your grief.  This was a powerful transformation and I appreciate your sharing it with us.

I wonder if others would share their own experiences with delayed grief, or the insights about their grief, that came later in life.  At the same time, please be kind to yourselves, for everything looks clearer in hindsight.  It might help to remember that we do the best that we can with the information and ability that we have at the time.

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