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message no. 126

Message from: Lucie - 11 Aug 03

Subject: isolation

i lost my mum from breast cancer nine months ago at the age of 22 and i feel so isolated from all my peers. i know some people have lost their parents much younger, but after arguing with her all through my teens i was just on the verge of forming an adult relationship with her. i was seeing her as a person with her own problems instead of just someone to rebel against. we were becoming friends, instead of the adult/child relationship. now i feel like i've had my heart ripped out. the first few months were a blur. then i went into overdrive: going out, getting drunk, being overly sociable and pretending to everyone i was fine. i moved out of the family home to get away from my dad who i perceived as being weak as i was his main source of support and i couldn't even support myself. i didn't want to be treated any differently from my friends, and as a result, everyone treats me like i am fine.
now, over the past couple of months, i feel like i am falling apart. all i want to do is cry. i am constantly stressed and snappy. i share a house with two close friends and feel incredibly isolated from them and all my friends. my brother and sister are a help, but they are ten years older, so not around my age and they are coping with their own grief. all my friends are students too and are only concerned about going out, getting drunk and uni work. their worries seem so trivial to mine. i feel empty and incredibly alone. i can't talk to any of them about my mum as they have very little experience of grief. they get all awkward and panicky when i talk about my mum. i don't blame them, i'd feel the same if roles were reversed. but i just want someone to hug me and listen to me. i've talked to older female relatives and even friends' mums, but they just come over all maternal and i don't want that. i had a mum, a wonderful mum, who loved me more than anything and i don't want another. i get jealous when my friends and older people talk about their parents. i hate feeling so bitter but i can't help it.
i'm so sick of being strong, as people tell me that i am. i'd rather be weak and pathetic and just have my mum back. i know people suffer losses all the time and learn to cope, but i feel this loss has tainted my life and my character permanently. i can't identify with the person i was before my mum died. i just want to stop feeling like this, but don't know how i can. i dread the future-how can i ever marry or have kids of my own, knowing my mum won't be there to help me or see me? i feel so groundless and lost without the unconditional love only a mother can provide. i suffered from depression and low self esteem before she died and now feel a thousand times worse. i know i have people who love and care about me, but it's not enough. my friends say they are there for me, and i know their sentiment is genuine, but in reality, they provide me with no support.
and worse, my dad may have cancer again. he had non-hodgkins lymphoma two years ago, a few months before my mum was diagnosed with breast cancer a second time. as we wait for the results of his biopsy, i'm trying to be positive, but the last five years have been a treadmill of waiting for the results from biopsies, scans, x rays, blood tests, etc., and after being told six months before she died that my mum's cancer hadn't spread, i don't have very little faith in the results from tests anyway. i don't know what to do. i feel lost. i keep imagining myself as an orphan before the age of 25 and the prospect fills me with utter dread.

Reply from: Ali - 14 Aug 03

Subject: Hi Lucie

What you are saying is an exact reflection of how I am feeling, although of course our situations are different so I can never know exavtly what you are going through. My Dad died recently and I feel like I will never get to know him properly now. Like you sayits only when your'e older that you start to see your parents as people with opinions and feelings. I realise that I have no idea what miy dad really thought about things, and although I can guess its not enough. My councellor said I should ask his friends and members of my family what they think he would have thought about things, but at the moment its too ainful. Maybe later you might find it helpful though. Don't feel too guilty about your dad - I often find myself resenting my mum because my parents had split up when my dad and i think if they hadnt split up i would have spent more time with him. I found it hard to think that my mum is grieving too. It makes you want to be really selfish doesn't it? My friends act like nothing has happened too, and I don't bring it up because its so awkward and i dont like making them feel like that. But I think they do remember really even though it seems like they don't. When you are a bit snappy they probably do know why at the back of thier minds. Somethimes I just wanna wear a teeshirt saying "hello - my dad has just died!" I know what you mean about feeling jelous of your friends who have parents. I get really angry that my friends take thier dads for granted because I would do anything for one last hug. Anyway good luck with the test results, and I hope things start to become less painful for you soon.
Love Ali xx

Reply from: Alexis - 29 Aug 03

Subject: Lucie

Hi Lucie,
I'm sitting here with goosebumps all over me after reading your msg; my mum died when I was 17 and I felt I was just coming to that point of being more like friends too, I have 4 older brothers and sisters who had reached that point with her so my jealousy was often directed at them.

Just over a year ago (I'm 30 now) my dad died, and I feel as if I'm becoming obsessed with the term "orphan"! I now experience jealousy all the time, I envy everybody around me. The only people I'm not jealous of are other orphans. For a while these concerns really started to get to me but I feel like I'm starting to come out of it now; I've seen a counsellor a few times which allowed me to be absolutely honest about how I feel, I felt like it was the first time I was able to do that, and I think that's helped lots.

Have you thought about looking for support beyond your friends and family? Maybe it's something to consider. I'll have to sign off now but I sincerely hope you feel better soon. Please feel free to msg back if you think it will be helpful, I'd love to help if I can.

Take care of yourself

Reply from: emily

Subject: i lost my mum aswell

hi lucie i lost my mum as well and i was much younger than you were. i was four and she just died in her sleep. i ddint know what was going on then and i really dont like talking about it. i completly understand how it feels to loose someoone so great but dont worry everyone is here to help

Reply from: laura

Subject:(no subject)

i know how u feel as i also lost my mum to breast cancer she was 41 and i was 16 she had 3 kids me my bro 14 my sis 11 and i miss my mum loads she onli died on the 14th october 2005 and i dont know how to cope with it u can always talk to me if ya need to

Reply from: Eliza

Subject:Earth Mother

Hi, i am 16 lost my mum 2wks and 1 day ago. To bowel cancer that had spread. In the begining of Dec they stopped her chemotherapy because 'she wont need it over xmas' she'll be fine to start back in Feb the doctor told us. Myself and my three older sisters and my father. We'll she did need it over xmas! She needed it
within a week from them saying that. But they didnt treat her for her cancer and her pain. Thanks to that she was in hospital all Dec. Xmas New years holidays. She was like an earth mother, she needed to be outside. Not confined to a grey room. She died at home, in her bed, in my father arms, after spending 11 days at home, in the garden, with her fanily and her friends, i am so thankful for that. So thankful the doctor let her home. Because they lent her to us when we needed her, when she needed us. To help treat all of us together for her cancer for our pain.

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