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Dealing with death

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
Hey, sorry if this turns into a bit of an essay, but I just feel like I need a release.

Just over a month ago my nan died of cancer. We were always extremely close, I saw her practically every weekend throughout my whole life, and when I lived away at uni for my first year we always used to write to one another.

We found out she had cancer about a year ago; they operated but decided not to give her any cemo or radiotherapy. A few months ago the wound area started swelling etc again and a biopsy showed that the cancer had returned. She was hospitalised and the doctors told her that as soon as an infection had cleared, they would start radiotherapy and cemo, and even produced a treatment plan for her giving days and times of her treatment. Then suddenly, out of the blue, one of the doctors told us that the cancer wasn't treatable and at worst my nan had a few weeks left to live.

As you can imagine we were all devistated; I went to visit my nan in hospital lots, trying to keep my head up and not let her see how upset I really was. At this time I had uni exams so it was difficult for me to be at home, but I made as much time as I could to go and see her. My nan always loved food but she basically stopped eating and I would bring her anything she fancied, just to try and get her to have something. But seeing how quickly she deteriorated was terrifying.

The last time I saw her alive she was on steroids, and so was feeling a bit better in herself but only had days to live. She had a terrible lung infection and could hardly breathe; speaking was also very difficult and laboured for her. I spent the whole day sitting with her; she was very confused, asking me about things that hadn't happened etc.

My nan and grandad have lived in a motorhome for the last 12 years, so have basically lived in the same room and shared everything together. That day he really broke down; that in itself was scary as he is very strong (both mentally and physically) and I have never seen him be upset before. He was crying and shaking and kept saying "someone will wake me up soon won't they" and it was awful knowing that there was nothing any of us could do.

My nan passed away two days later, and I had a holiday booked with my partner the following week. I considered cancelling because obviously I really wasn't in the mood and wanted to go to her funeral, but my whole family said that I should go because she wouldn't have wanted me to miss it etc. I went, but it was really overshadowed by the fact I had lost my nan.

Now a month later I still don't feel any closer to getting over it. It is one of the first things I think about in the morning and the last thing I think about at night. Some days I'm okay and although I think about it I function normally, remembering my nan in a nice way. But other days I can't stop crying, I can't bring myself to leave the house. I constantly feel lethargic and apathetic, so much so that I can't even bring myself to move sometimes.

Since I've got back from holiday, my family haven't really spoken about it. Although I love them I've never been that emotional with my immediate family, so I find it really hard to talk to them about it and I don't want to bring it up as I know my mum has her own grief to deal with. I've talked to my partner about it but I just don't feel like he understands. He keeps comparing to when his own nan died, but his relationship with her was completely different. It makes me feel selfish to think that my pain is worse than his was, but that is the way I feel sometimes. I have plenty of relatives that I would be upset over if they died, but not in the same way as I am about my nan, because we were so close and she was such a fundamental part of my life.

Before this happened I wasn't religious as such but I was inclined to believe in God and an afterlife of some kind, but now I keep finding myself forced into atheism and it is very bleak and depressing. I always thought I would find peace after the death of someone close, thought that I would somehow feel them with me, or see them in my dreams, or something, but none of that has happened and I can't help feeling that she is simply gone and that is that. And then it makes me think about my own life and how fragile and insignificant that is, and that one day I am going to be dead and for me that will be the end of everything. And that too makes me feel very bleak and very empty.

I can't help remembering how she was in her last days; I can't help remembering how frail and weak she was, with all those tubes coming out of her. I can't help remembering the wound she had where the cancer was - how shocking and disgusting it was and the dread of knowing that it was eating her up.

I just feel like everything as I've known it so far has come to an end and I don't really know what to do with myself now - as I said, I can function normally and feel happy and stuff but when the grief comes it is absoloutely crippling and things just don't seem right.

Well, apologies again for the essay. Think I just needed to express how I was feeling to someone. Any replies would be appreciated :) x

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    sorry to hear about your nan, it brings a few things home as my nan lost a long battle with cancer on may 11th. and strangely enough my sister (along with her husband and son) had a holiday booked for the time of the funeral but decided to go anyway - my nan would've gone spare if she knew they hadn't gone! my nan was a very cheerful person, and she always made it clear that she didn't want us to be too upset or feel sorry for ourselves when she died. her attitude was one of 'we all have to die' or 'something has to kill us' (weird i know but this has been comforting). because my nan wouldn't want us to be all sad...well, i try not to be!also my nan had cancer for a few years. first it was breast cancer then she developed bone cancer so this left her in a lot of pain and she became more dependant on my grandad which she hated. so it's reassuring to know that she's no longer in pain. my nan and grandad were married for 60 odd years and it's horrible when someone is widowed; especially after such a long time. all you can really do is be there for your grandad. pm me if you want someone to chat to. x
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Sorry to hear about your loss... I was pretty much the same when my Grandad died. For the first two weeks I barely spoke to anyone at all and just cried all the time (literally), I was the same as you (crying spontaneously and thinking about him first thing in the morning and last thing at night) for a good few months...more like a year actually. It really really does get better with time, although its probably impossible to imagine right now for you.

    A few years on and I still miss him terribly and think about him everyday but I dont cry as much and instead of thinking of him and feeling sad i now think of him and remember the happy times of his life.

    Pm me any time you want to chat.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Aww thanks for your replies and sorry to hear about both of your losses. It is nice to be able to come on here and ramble and not feel like you are saying the same things over and over to the people that are close to you. I guess it is just a case of taking it a day at a time for now.
  • **helen****helen** Mod malarkist Posts: 9,235 Listening Ear
    Hey FireFly85, I'm really sorry to hear about your loss.

    The main thing to try and remember is that you don't have to go through this alone and it's great to see you feel able to talk about your feelings on the boards.

    You might also feel the need to talk to someone in confidence about how you're feeling. Cruse Bereavement Care has a helpline that you can call on 0808 808 1677. The website also has some really good articles which you might benefit from reading. Take good care x
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    tbh i've been asking the same question for a few years... how can you deal with death?! and there is only one answer i can come up with. you can't. time is probably the best healing thing. but significant losses will always hurt. and thats life. just cherish what you had whilst they were alive. *hugs*.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    never feel like you're a burden on your family by talking about your nan. Everyones upset, but the thing is, you all need to be there for each other too. Talking about her may bring your feelings to the surface, you may all end up crying, but it helps. I went through... limbo I guess you could call it. Where I didnt feel like I could to anyone. They weren't qualified, they either didn't know my dad or had their own grief to deal with. My girlfriend was there when I needed someone for support though.

    I know the memories of them in hospital is haunting, but trust me, those memories fade and are replaced by memories (from my point of view) of happy times on holiday, basking in the sun with a cool beer. You remember the greatest things that make you smile about them :) their odd eccentricities.

    Really, I wish I could do something to help. After going through my own grief, it's made me a lot more sensitive to other people. I think people going through grief need to stick together, because other people don't understand wholly what its like (not that they dont help, just, sometimes you need someone who is going through the same thing). You can PM me if you want to rant at me or anything. I really don't mind.

    Time is the only healer though, I suggest in the meantime you try to do things to cope / take your mind off it. Being with friends is good when it can stop you dwelling on things, but also being around people you can trust to talk to is good when you cant stop thinking about it, because sometimes you need to talk, otherwise it will build up inside you and its horrid.

    Take care of yourself
    Rich x
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