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Coping with Loss/My mother died 4 years ago

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thank you, im 17 now and my mom died when i was 13, at the time i shut myself down from the rest of the world. i was confused on everything and i still am. i just cant see anything in the future ever. i have dreams every night of seeing her. i made some freinds last year and but i havent got close with anyone besides a girl ive been with for 2 years now. and she reminds me in so many ways of my mom. its been hard every morning and i hate myself for always being sad as it upsets my girlfriend as well. ive thought of suicide so much. i need something to help..ive gone to therapist every week for a year but it doesnt help. i refuse to take any depression pills. and i just want it to go away. i want to go away to a place where i can be with my mom again. share the memories in person and NOT in my head, i want to be with her more than anything and todays her birthday. i cant go to church anymore without breaking out in tears halfway through.. anything will help me. im not looking for ways to nececaraly cope. but i know theres no way of avioding it. i just need help from an expert..i could go on forever and ever about how i feel. its been a couple years now its been hard to sleep every night without thinking why my mother passed  away..

Answer
David, I'm so very sorry to learn of the death of your mother.  I encourage you to continue seeking support via your therapist -- even to have a talk with him/her about what else you all might try if you really feel nothing has worked in the past year.  It may be that they can refer you to some alternative supports in addition to therapy.  I can understand your reluctance to take medication, but so can you talk with your therapist about an even more foundational option like nutrition?  Can they give you a referral to work with a naturopath?  

I also wonder if your therapist can help you find a local support group?  While working one on one with a therapist or coach is a great support, it is also sometimes very helpful to learn how to communicate and connect again within a group of peers.  Other people who have had a loss like yours but may be farther out from the date of death or closer to the date of death -- they can give you ideas and perspectives for your own path.  Support group also offers you a space where you can actively communicate with people, through tears, through rage, through joy about all that is happening for you.  Where you can share in person and not just in your head, as you mentioned in your note to me.  Also, while church can be a great spiritual support, sometimes that space is just too passive and doesn't allow for the full expression that something like support group can offer.   

It is understandable that you are struggling if you've had trouble sleeping for two years, if you have no break from troubling thoughts and such.  You might talk with your therapist about PTSD, and see if anything around supports for PTSD experiences might help you.  

It is also understandable that you just want it to go away -- and that you want to go away -- but you are right, it doesn't really go away.  It should shift and change and integrate though.  Your mom is still part of your life and love.  I wonder if something like Lorraine Hedtke's "Remembering Conversations" might be something you could do with your therapist?  http://www.rememberingpractices.com/  Maybe you could plan to do a Remembering Conversation with your therapist and a few friends as witness to the process -- maybe as a way to honor your mom's birthday?

I also wonder if you've heard of the Kindness Project?  You can get free Kindness Cards from the MISS Foundation and go out in the world doing kindnesses for others in your mom's name.  That might be another way to honor her birthday -- or just honor her on any day you want.  You can find full information about that project at:  http://missfoundation.org/support/kindness

I also wonder if you've tried any creative approaches to your experiences?  The Centering Corp has a lot of interesting books and workbooks for people of all ages, experiencing all kinds of losses.  I wonder if a workbook like this one might be of help:  http://www.centering.org/index.php?page=book&id=108&pid=850&start=

Those are all starting points I can think of, David.  Some of them might be a fit for you, while others are not, and that's okay.  But I encourage you to explore.  While the physical object of our love might die, as your mom has and as my own sons have died, too, the truth is that our love does not die.  It is a process of learning to redirect all the love and time and energy you have for your mom into some legacy of her memory that will serve you best.  If I can be of service in any other way, please feel free to write back again, okay?  

Coping with Loss

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Kara L.C. Jones

Expertise

My specialty is using creativity to address grief, loss, and death issues. Creativity is not necessarily about being an artist, but rather about being willing to let go what we think we know and get a different perspective using creative tools such as writing, drawing, body mapping, painting, smashing, wrecking, mosaic, heART journal,and many other techniques. I can answer questions about how to have permission to grieve in your own way, how to become your own best advocate as you learn to live life again, how to approach a creative way of being even when you think you are not creative. Afterall, it takes a lot of creativity to find reasons to get out of bed the day after someone you love has died. I am glad to answer any questions about how to embrace that creative approach when we otherwise feel totally tapped out by the grief experience.

Experience

For 14 years, I've been studying grief and creativity specifically and have been part of bringing the emerging field of grief and creativity to the fore in our world. I worked for a decade with the MISS Foundation offering support to families around the world who are enduring the death of a child due to any cause from miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDS, accident, disease, suicide, whatever the case. I also co-founded The Creative Grief Studio with Cath Duncan from Remembering For Good as a brand new vision on the training, accountability, and development of the Grief Coaching and helping professionals fields. And probably most important, I've endured the death of three of my own sons and am always learning to live creatively with that reality. For more information, see: http://www.motherhenna.com/about.htm

Organizations
The Creative Grief Studio, Grief & Creativity groups on both LinkedIn and G+

Publications
See: http://www.motherhenna.com/seen.htm

Education/Credentials
Graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, Three-year Mentorship with Fred Rogers and Hedda Sharapan of FCI producers of Mister Rogers Neighborhood, Certified Reiki Master-Teacher, Certified Whole Systems and AI Coach (key model being The Hero's Journey)

Past/Present Clients
Confidentiality and a sense of ethics will not allow me to share private client information ever! If you are interested in testimonials from people who have worked with me and given full permission for me to share their experiences, please see: http://www.motherhenna.com/grief.htm

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