Sat | Jun 25, 2016

Still mourning my mother

Published:Tuesday | March 5, 2013 | 12:00 AM

Q: It has now been more than six months since my mother died, and I am still in mourning. She was more than a mother. She was my best friend. She raised me without help from my father. My father had the financial means to help us but abandoned us. My mother had to do two jobs for me to eat and go to a good school. She was my confidant to whom I would turn even though I am an adult. She did not go to high school, but she had great wisdom and I relied on her often. The advice was always spot on. We would also go out together like sisters. She died suddenly. She was not sick. She just died after a heart attack. I was not prepared for her death. Sometimes I hope to see her coming through my door. Often I do not sleep well and I am not eating well either. I wish I had done more for her when she was alive. Some persons are telling me to move on, but I am still mourning. Am I mourning too long?

A: It is easier said than done to move on from the death of a mother. The death of a loved one is one of the most stressful events of life. It is more stressful because for you your mother died without warning. And most stressful because you were close. Death of your mother makes you feel as if you have lost everything. She was an important part of your life.

It appears as if you have times when you are in a state of denial that she is dead and you are hoping that she will miraculously reappear. This state of denial is helping you to cope with a painful death. It is allowing you time to collect yourself and, hopefully, give you time to overcome this death. Denial can be a healthy way of dealing with a rough and excruciating situation. Denial is a temporary defence against this painful situation. Denial can become a problem if you are refusing to face the fact that your mother is dead even after a year.


You are also having guilty feelings over things you did or didn't do with your mother. This, too, is a normal emotion. What can help you is to recall the precious times you spent together and what you did for her and with her. In time you will realise that there is no basis for feeling guilty.

Fortunately, you are not blaming others, such as doctors. Neither are you angry or resentful to anyone. It does not even appear that you are bitter towards your father, which is good. Your mother's death might not have been as sudden as you think. Perhaps she was getting warning signs and ignored them. You need to ensure that you engage in a healthy lifestyle and get regular check-ups.

What you need to do is change how you are coping with the death of your mother. If you are willing to take an honest look at yourself, it will help in your own growth and maturity. You need to learn to accept and deal with the reality of your mother's death. You need to move towards acceptance. Acceptance does not necessarily mean instant joy and no more mourning, given the pain and turmoil you have experienced. However, you can find a way to function normally by sleeping and eating as you are accustomed to.