Sorry to disappoint you, but after losing my mother, I've learned that the fact is, there aren't 3 steps, 5 steps or even 12 steps.
Everyone handles loss differently.
As for me? I'm not sure how I'm really handling it.
In September of 2012, my mother, Pamela, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. By July 26th, 2013, she was gone. She wasn't just a parent to me, she was my best friend.
For my entire adult life, she has been the rock of my family. Sure, a lot of people can say that about their mothers, but she truly was the cornerstone for my family. For so long it was just her, my brother and myself against the world. As a single mother, she raised my brother and I on a shoestring budget. She made the very best out of what little she had. She was the person I called after being heartbroken and she always knew the right thing to say to make my world feel at ease again.
Now, the rock of my family is gone.
As weird as it may sound, it was harder for me to put her into hospice care, than it was to say goodbye. Since her diagnosis, I told her that she needed to be my little fighter. I was ready to go to battle with her until the very end. Yet, when I was told in mid-July by a couple of medical professionals that continuing treatment would do more harm than good, that hospice was the best option for her, I broke down.
To understand signing DNR paperwork on a beloved parent is truly something that has to be experienced for oneself. I realized I could handle a lot of what life throws at me, as long as I had my mom by my side. Yet, on that day when I put her into hospice care, I realized that my mom's time with me was limited. I didn't realize just how limited.
Two weeks after entering hospice care, my mom passed away.
I remember how about a month before she passed, I spoke with her orthopedic surgeon in regards to my mother's condition. I asked him plainly, "What am I looking at?" He told me then that her condition was fragile and that if she were to "go south" it would happen quickly.
In its own weird way, her orthopedic doctor's words were comforting as I watched my mom's condition quickly deteriorate. It was almost like a balm to my heart. Watching her strength leave her, to a point where she was too weak to even swallow water, I felt as if somehow, I'd been given a chance, no matter how small, to mentally prepare for her passing.
There was no way I could emotionally prepare, I don't think anyone can prepare to lose their parent.
My mom's loss sent my brother and I into a tailspin for a moment. Not just emotionally, but financially as well.
You see, my mom didn't leave a will. While she was alive, I had general powers of attorney, but all that goes away upon death.
Since my mom's passing, I've been keeping company with lawyers out of sheer necessity. I've had to file paperwork with the probate courts and fight with my mother's townhome association.
I've also learned that my mom hadn't updated her life insurance since 1990, and still listed my grandmother as her beneficiary. Problem is, my grandmother passed away in 1993. Thankfully, my uncle is listed as a contingent beneficiary.
Plus, I've been fighting with social security to receive the benefits that she's owed so I can pay the nursing facility that she was in when she passed.
Did I also mention I have my own life that has bills and responsibilities?
Who has time to cry for their mom when they are bogged down with all this? The stress has become so intense that I've been taking dexilant (a PPI) so I don't get a stomach ulcer.
Is this how anyone should "properly" deal with grief?
I'm not angry.
I'm sad from time to time.
But most of the day, most of the week, I don't feel anything.
Is that normal?
I guess I'll find out as I go through this.