Updated: Jun 26
The Internal Conflict Caused by My Mother’s death.
It wasn’t my mother’s death that made me feel sick, that had been expected, it was the sudden and fierce rush of conflicting feelings that did it. My mother and I never had an easy relationship and it deteriorated on more that one occasion to the point where for my own health, I had to cut off contact. However, I reached out once more time and for the last few years of her life we managed to forge a kind of friendship.
She was dead and suffering no more agony. A portion of our suffering had ended too. No more watching her struggle for every breath and fiercely fighting to keep some form of independence for as long as she possibly could. No more need for my father to be going round to take her out and various other things, it felt sometimes like he was constantly at her beck and call. I felt a rush of relief flow through me closely followed by a very strong sense of guilt. What sort of monster was I? I was glad she was dead, how horrid! I was mostly glad for her, but for us too. Well meaning comments from colleagues did not help. Things like “You must want her back” made me feel like screaming “What? So she and the rest of us can go through all that again, no thanks!” I didn’t, I knew they meant no harm but it just made me feel even more like a horrid person. The shame mounted up within me.
I couldn’t bring myself to express how I felt fully for a while, even to my father who I have a very good relationship with. How could I tell him that I was relieved that she was dead? Eventually my feelings could not be ignored any longer and I found the courage to open up. The relief I felt when I was not vilified, especially by my father, took a huge weight off me and with the support of him and other loved ones, I worked through my feelings of shame and guilt and grew to accept that my feelings were valid and that no one had the right to tell me how to grieve or how I should feel.
Please do not let people, no matter how well meaning they may be, tell you that what you feel and the way you grieve is wrong. The heart feels may things and relationships are not as clear cut as people may think they are. Be true to your feelings and your grief.
Thank you so much for sharing this with us and the world Lorna. Your honesty I am sure will resonate with so many people.
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