Every night for a week I've been having massive 'death' nightmares.
Most nights I dream that mum is dying again.
Some nights I dream that dad is dying again.
Last night I dreamt I was dying, then my brother in law, and then mum (all from cancer). They were three separate dreams all on the same night.
I find myself going back to the 'why' questions after each nightmare - more "Why is this happening"; not so much "Why did this happen to my mother"; not anymore.
After last night's nightmare-fest (about 4am this morning) I was right into the 'whys', and then I suddenly realised how much guilt I have been feeling - I had no idea until then! SOOOO much GUILT!!!
The guilt is basically:
"Mum, I am so sorry that I didn't push you to keep going back to the doctor when you said you were feeling really tired and we had no idea it was the early stages of cancer. I live in daily mental anguish that I was unable to protect you from the horrific pain and suffering that you went through as part of your cancer illness and treatments. I keep thinking that I could have and I should have done more to help you with the pain especially. Remembering you writhing and calling out in such agony is killing me inside; and I find it so incredibly difficult to accept that I could not have done more to help you. I know that I must do something to stop this from destroying my own life, and the lives of our living family. Therefore, I hereby promise that I will try something new to restart the healing process."
I'll go back to my doctor on Saturday. I can't believe this is happening again. I guess there's a lot of unresolved stuff that I still need to work on.
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I know you are trying to help, but at least this blog allows me to vent and express my sorrow without being a burden on my loved ones and without being judged.
We who are left behind after nursing our loved ones through the most painful deaths are left with the horror of the agony they went through, and what for?
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I feel as though I am in a dream.
I so wish that my family were all together again; mum, dad & siblings all under the same roof. Mum's hearty dinners and dad's practical jokes. Family ABBA dance routines and trips to the beach to swim, play and collect seashells.
Whenever I attempt to 'move on' I feel guilty - as though I am trying to replace mum's memory.
More & more nightmares, and as a result I am now afraid to go to bed. I usually put the toddler to bed & I will either go straight downstairs or if I fall asleep on the bed I will wake up within two hours and then end up going downstairs because I just can't sleep. Most nights I will eventually fall asleep & then I often don't dream at all, thank goodness - perhaps I'm too tired to dream on those nights? I am incredibly tired all the time, and it's making everything more difficult. I feel like quitting work, but in a way it helps to keep me going.
Mum's birthday was last month. My sisters didn't come to the cemetry for various reasons, so I was there alone. It was good to clean the grave and arrange the flowers. I just felt so very alone - like a lost child. Thinking about it, it would have been better to have somebody there with me, to hold my hand, to lay my head on. They could have said "It's ok, I'm here for you". I want to visit frequently, but not alone. I didn't expect all my sisters to avoid going - one or two maybe, but nobody showed up. I just assumed all the sisters would band together after mum's death, but perhaps not. Being the youngest in the family I have not been looked after or looked out for by the others, as they either left home early or were simply not the nurturing type. Now that we are all well into adulthood it looks like that is not going to change.
So I have this hole in my life. In attempting to fill it I feel that I'm betraying my mother and her memory. Is it possible to leave the hole there - to simply accept it as a sad and painful part of my life? Perhaps it might consume me, like one of those black holes in space. Maybe it will close over and form scar tissue; stronger than before... a trophy scar, or a memorial tattoo stitched forever in my heart.
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Thank you all for your comments of support. I have been seeing a counselor; with mixed results - I need to accept what has happened, but as you have mentioned it will take time.
I hope you are all coping well enough despite what each of you may be going through right now. xx
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My mother passed away from Stomach Cancer on 12 August (2 & 1/2 month ago). Her months of suffering and her death are haunting me in the way of flashbacks and constant nightmares.
How on earth do I 'get over it' when it's so raw; replaying in my mind over & over again. The nightmares are terrible, and they are a mix of what actually happened and my mind adding more awful things. Last night I dreamt I was her during her final stage; trapped inside a dying, almost comatose body filled with excrutiating pain & experiencing embarrassing bodily functions in the presence of blaze nurses & doctors who were taking stabs in the dark in trying to alleviate my symptoms. How on earth my mother really felt, or what percentage of the time she was 'all there' is unknown, during that last week anyway. Then again, being such a proud woman who hated to burden her family, the pain and suffering was probably a lot worse than she let on. During the last two months of her life it was impossible for the doctors to get the pain meds right. And what's she up to now? Is she at peace? I haven't had any of those post-death contact experiences with her, and it's something I crave. Another family member will tell me that mum has appeared to her, & she passes on little messages sometimes; but this makes me angry. Why on earth would my mother pass on a message to me through somebody else, instead of contacting me directly? (especially when I'm so desperate to see her again??)
That's it for now; rant/cry over.
Apologies for the sadness & anger - I really need an outlet right now, and this seems an appropriate place for that.
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Cancer Council NSW would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work.We would also like to pay respect to elders past and present and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal people.