My Struggle With Grief



I’ll never forget that night when I received that dreaded phone call. I had just left the hospital for the night where my mother was admitted. It was late and I hadn’t eaten so I passed by a fast food restaurant close by. I arrived home shortly, since I lived nearby (about 10 minutes by car), and started to eat.

I’ll never forget the feeling I felt just moments after eating, right before getting that call. It was a mix of nervousness, goosebumps and adrenaline all in one shot, a feeling that one could not simply dismiss. A few seconds later my phone starts to ring. I pick it up, “Mr. Elyas?”, “Yes?” I replied, “Can you come to the hospital please? Your mother is not too good.”. That was the night I started my struggle with grief.

Denial

When I arrived at the hospital I climbed the stairs to the floor where my mother’s room was. As I approached the reception I could see the door of her room was open and all sorts of sounds going on inside. The “beep……..beep……..beep” of what I believed to be the heart monitor, a “whoosh……..whoosh……..whoosh” sound of what I believed to be a ventilator of sorts and voices of people inside, I couldn’t make out what they were saying. The doctor that had seen my mother earlier quickly got out of the room as soon as he saw me and broke to me the news “your mother has passed away”. I can’t explain how that news hit me, I was in a complete state of denial. He kept on talking and all along my eyes were fixed at the room’s entrance where those sounds were coming from. His words came into one ear and out the other. “Is there anyone you can call?”, that was the last thing he told me and what I heard throughout his conversation. Reliving those memories are making me shake at the core as I type this. I was completely numb of emotions, I did not even cry and it felt weird that I did not cry to the point where I was questioning myself emotionally “Why?”.

Whenever my mind entertained the thought of death and my parents I always hoped that we would all go at the same time (for example, a plane crash). I couldn’t think of bearing the grief from losing either one of them and I’m sure that they couldn’t either, especially my mother since I was her only child. I never let the thought of experiencing grief creep into my mind. I always thought if it ever happened I might have ended my own life. Fast forward to that night and what I was dreading happened. To make it worse it was my mother, the person that was more involved in my life than anyone else, the one that showed her unconditional love everyday to me no matter what, the one I talked to in my painful moments and the one that shared my joys with even more joys. I couldn’t believe that she was gone.

Anger

For a few days after my mother’s death I didn’t have the time to settle down for a moment and let my mind roam free. Right after the hospital I had to visit the morgue with an unsavory bunch. After a couple of hours of sleep I would have to face my aging dad and comfort him as he got the news. This was when my tears started flowing and I had just started to come to terms with what had happened the night before. A few hours later there was the funeral, then day after day receiving mourners. A few days later my aunt would be coming from out of the country. There was so many things to do, people to see and more that my mind had no free time to wander around and think. I would go to bed exhausted from the day’s affairs and wake early to get started all over again. This lasted just over a week, until my aunt traveled back.


My mind started wandering. I got a flashback from the last words my mother told the lady that comes to clean our house weekly “You will not see me.”, I remember the lady’s face sinking “I mean today” my mother replied (I don’t know if she felt somehow that it would be her last day alive…), before we got into the car to the hospital. I remembered the confidence of the doctor saying how all she needed was some fresh blood and things would start to get better (a doctor that arrived pretty late and seemed all too casual). I remembered people in the funeral laughing and having a great time while I was really the only one grieving. I remembered the bill from the hospital that had “CPR Charges” and the amount that was paid to attempt to revive. My mind started to pick out fights with everyone that was involved in any way with the death: the hospital, the doctor, the nurse that called me, the people at the funeral, all the way up to the heavens.

Bargaining

As time went by I kept thinking about the event that had happened. The “what ifs…” Started to arrive. “What if I had convinced my mother to get checked earlier?”, “What if I went with my parents during their travel, then maybe my mother wouldn’t have been so stressed?”, “What if I had just taken her to the best cardiac hospital?”. I hated myself for her death, I blamed myself for her death. To be honest, even today (almost 3 years later) I keep coming back to this stage as I relive those memories when they eventually come about. I hope that I can get out of this stage for good, but recently due to radical life changes I have feeling I will have to live with these thoughts for a while before coming to terms.

Depression

I’ve become a more depressed person after my mother’s death. Comparing before and after that night, I would say my mood and happiness in general dropped quite significantly. Things were no longer enjoyable, I decided to stop trusting certain individuals that clearly had their own interests in mind, I don’t know what is the definition of “fun” for me (even today) and the great outlook I had of my life simply vanished. I still have days where I wish I could just be left alone, days I just want to remain in my shell and ignore everything and everyone around. Sometimes I get on a daily basis “Why do you like sad? Are you OK?”, from those closest to me. It is one of those feelings where you can’t explain to another in words. It is a thing that you can only understanding by feeling, by following the individual’s train of thought.

Acceptance

This is not acceptance in the literal sense that everything is alright, that things are OK and the loss has been “accepted”. I have learned to live with the loss by sometimes lying to myself. I tell myself that my mother is still admitted in that hospital, I can’t visit her yet and I just need to be independent from now on because she is not around. It is not the truth but it gets me to accept my reality today. I sometimes look at the “positives” that this loss has made in my life: I am independent and completely responsible of my life now, I found out how people close to me really felt about my mother’s existence (good and bad people), I found out if the one would still be around me during the happy and sad times I face, I realized who I can trust and open my heart to and who I should wear a mask before interacting with them. I now have good days but I also have my share of bad days, especially on days where I am most likely to be alone or decide to bottle up my emotions. I still do cry and I am not ashamed of doing so.

I never thought I would have to go through the death of a close relative like my mother so soon in my life. I always thought she would see me get married someday, become a grandmother, keep all the promises I made to her and be there with me as I climb the ladder of life. I now believe that she is looking at me no matter the ups and downs in my life and that she would still be proud of me.

I will always love you mom and I am truly grateful for all the love and care you have given me.


2 thoughts on “My Struggle With Grief”

  1. It’s a tough thing to live through such a terrible loss. I don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing that I never experienced it, as my mother passed away while I was too young to truly understand what happened. On the one hand, I never had to experience this grief, but on the other hand, I never got to experience that bond, that relationship, that unconditional love that only a mother could give.

    What you had with your mother was special and will always remain so to you, to her and to anyone that saw it. She may not be here, but know that she will always be watching over you, beaming with joy at how proud of she is of the man she has raised, enjoying the joys of your life and supporting your sadnesses however she can from up above.

  2. @Ali

    Thank you very much for your kind words, you really made my day. I am really sorry for your loss.

    You really got to me when you mentioned that you never got to experience a mother’s love. It really made me appreciate even more the love I had.

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