24 years old, lost my mom to breast cancer while in nursing school and newly engaged

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Occasional Contributor

24 years old, lost my mom to breast cancer while in nursing school and newly engaged

I don’t even know where to begin...I’ve been going through this on my own for what feels like a very long time and today I’ve decided to reach out to people that can relate to my situation on a level that most of my family and friends will never be able to. I lost my mom to breast cancer on March 18, 2019. This woman was a warrior, she was tough, she was the type of women that everyone admired. All of her siblings looked to her for advice in difficult times and she was the favorite aunt to all of my cousins, simply because she treated them no different than she would treat her own children. She had been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008. Chemo, mastectomy, hair loss, you name it. She went through all of the treatments for about a year and I had no clue she was sick until she was cancer free! I am the youngest of my siblings (two sisters and a brother) so they thought it was best to shield me from her being sick. Fast forward to September 2016, the cancer was back and this time it was worse. The doctor said she had about 3-5 years left....

 

Now I am here, typing this and I still can’t believe it. I have been in shock for 4 years. I began talking to my now fiancé 2018. My mom and I would bond talking about my new relationship with him. He‘s from the same small town in Mexico that my mom was from. His dad was even her teacher growing up! I knew she didn’t have much time left but I felt so grateful that she had a chance to meet him and that she gave us her blessing to get married....

 

But it wasn’t until I started nursing school in January 2019 that I began to learn just how close she was to the end. I had moved back in with my parents and I would care for my mother before and after school. I was under so much stress and I was constantly angry with my siblings and my father for not being there for her like I was. She began losing sight of reality (hepatic encephalopathy) and being as I had learned about it in nursing school I was the only one that understood that if she took her medicine she would return to her normal self. It just took a lot of patience to try and calm her down enough to take the medicine. I had it down to a science and I knew exactly when to give her each pill so she wouldn’t feel nauseous or paranoid. If you know what hepatic encephalopathy is then you know exactly what I’m talking about. It was like this for a month where my dad began to lose his patience with her and would wake me up the night before my clinical days at the hospital to stay up with her all night. He would sleep in the guest room and I would be up all night rubbing her back or calming her down. I could go more into depth but in the end none of this mattered to me. At the funeral, I never felt closer to my siblings and my dad. I held no grudges for how they dealt with her being sick, I just wanted us to be together and be strong for one another like she would have wanted. 

 

In the beginning things were hard but I didn’t feel alone. My family was united and my fiancé was supportive. But in August 2019 I discovered my dad was talking to another woman. Not just any woman, a MARRIED woman from his past. He became very hostile towards my siblings and I and our relationship hasn’t been the same since. He is now talking to a different woman but he is no longer present during family time. One of my sisters lives out of town and when she comes to visit he leaves to be with his girlfriend. During thanksgiving and Christmas he left to be with her. Even on my graduation (December 2019) he left during the ceremony to talk to her on the phone. 
I’ve come to accept the fact that I can’t make decisions for him and that he is doing what he needs to do to move on with his life. It’s just hard to lose my mom and feel like I’m losing my dad too when he’s still here. 
And now all I want to do is start my life with my fiancé and have children of my own so that I can feel that bond between mother and child again. I want to teach them everything she taught me and I want them to know how much she loves them. I should mention that since we got engaged our relationship has become long distance. He lives in Mexico and he cannot come into the USA while our case is being approved so we can get married here. I love him so much. He is exactly what I’ve always wanted and it was truly love at first sight.  But sadly this whole ordeal has taken a toll on my relationship.  I went from being engaged in February and celebrating to grieving my mother’s death in March. I felt like the rug got pulled out from under me. I became depressed and difficult to understand. I feel like it was hard for my fiancé to see which parts of me were grieving and which parts of me were always there. We began to fight all of the time and with school and the distance we began to grow apart. I fought hard for my relationship and I would go see him every time I had a break from school. We got to a point where we thought of just ending things and moving on without each other. But after I graduated in December things changed. We spent Christmas break together and everything felt just like before. I felt like I could finally relax now that I had graduated....

But now, I’m left with all of this grief. Everything that I tried to be strong through. I distracted myself with school and my relationship so that I wouldn’t have to deal with my dad and my grief. But now it feels like someone cut into that wound again. My fiancé doesn’t understand how I’m so depressed all of a sudden. He was so proud of me for how I kept myself together enough to finish school. I just want to be understood by him. After all, I am going to be spending the rest of my life with him. 

Our communication definitely needs work and I don’t know how to organize everything I’m feeling so that it will make sense to him and me. I have thought about premarital couples counseling but this seems like something completely different then what other newlyweds have going on. I know a lot of couples go through this type of thing after losing a loved one so if you have advice for me and you’ve read this far I would truly appreciate anything that will help me get a new perspective on things. I would also like to offer my condolences to everyone of you who have lost loved ones. We all know that only time makes things better but after reading some of these posts I feel like my healing process will be faster with this type of community. 

6 REPLIES 6
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Re: 24 years old, lost my mom to breast cancer while in nursing school and newly engaged

Hi Livden96,

 

Thank you so much for sharing this.

I'm so sorry to hear about your mother and what you and your family have been through.

This is just so difficult.

 

Well done on finishing your nursing school while supporting your mother through all of this.

I'm sorry to hear about your Dad. I guess we all deal with this in different ways, I'm just so very sorry to hear that it sounds like you've also lost your father through all of this too.

 

How are things with your fiancé now?

 

-s

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Occasional Contributor

Re: 24 years old, lost my mom to breast cancer while in nursing school and newly engaged

Hello S,
I recently found out that my fiancé has been cheating on me while we have been apart. I’m still in shock and not sure who’s to handle this....
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Super Contributor

Re: 24 years old, lost my mom to breast cancer while in nursing school and newly engaged

Hi Livden96,

How awful to find out about this after what you've been through.

I guess you need to work out whether it's worth trying to stay together.  From my view,  it seems like a pretty crappy thing to do given everything that has happened, but I think that's really only a decision that you can make. Is he worth it?

At the least I would take a break so that you can approach this decision with a clear mind.

 

-s

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Occasional Contributor

Re: 24 years old, lost my mom to breast cancer while in nursing school and newly engaged

Thank you so much for your kind words! Recently we went on a trip together to visit my sister and I could see he was making an effort to fix the relationship with us. I’m going to be open what the future may hold.
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Occasional Contributor

Re: 24 years old, lost my mom to breast cancer while in nursing school and newly engaged

S,
I don’t think he is worth it. I love him so much but this was the last straw for me. I’ve forgiven things in the past but nothing like this and he is not even willing to admit to it! I have already told my best friend and his mom about this to keep myself from changing my mind later. I am still in shock so I know it will hit me later but I know this is what I have to do.
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Occasional Contributor

Re: 24 years old, lost my mom to breast cancer while in nursing school and newly engaged

Hey Livden96,

 

I am sorry for your loss. It must have been and still is a harsh time. I can relate, I lost my mother when i was 24 aswell to kidney chancer. 2 years later i lost my dad. (now im 28).

 

it's important you give the attention to your thoughts and emotions as they come up. Take some alone time to process them. Listen to your body, its trying to tell you there is work/healing work to be done. You will get stronger out of this and make your mother very proud. Im sure of this. 

 

What would you say are your two biggest struggles?

 

Take care Livden.

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