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Mama_Cakes's avatar

Is it normal for grief (loss of a loved one) to hit you full-on years after your loss?

Asked by Mama_Cakes (10929points) July 23rd, 2012

Five years later, my Mom’s death has hit me full-on. I’ve been battling depression for a few years and knew that crux of my sadness came from the loss of my Mom. I couldn’t allow myself to grieve.

Now, it’s here. It’s physically and emotionally draining, but, it is happening and according to my therapist, once I allow myself to grieve, my depression will be lifted and I’ll go on to live a happy life. Not dealing with her death has held me back.


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20 Answers

Mama_Cakes's avatar

I’ve been reading this book and it has been helpful.

marinelife's avatar

Grief can be avoided but not denied. Your mind must consider that you are ready to deal with it now.

Take care of yourself. Grief can be physically debilitating as well as emotionally.

blueiiznh's avatar

I am sorry to hear that you are going through this. It is difficult emotional work that can hit you at any point if you have not worked through the grief.
The Kubler-Ross model of the Five Stages of Grief is extremely important to understand and go through.

God speed you peace on working through it.

DaphneT's avatar

Yes it is normal. Take care of yourself and remember it doesn’t have to stop you in your tracks, just acknowledge your feelings in a way that is meaningful to you. I feel the loss of my Dad from time to time, and it’s been over 10 years. Eventually it’ll settle into something manageable. Living simply forces us to move on, our reasoning doesn’t let us forget and sometimes the memories are strong and painful.

Sunny2's avatar

Sounds normal to me. Congratulations for finally getting it out in the open where you can deal with it. Your therapist should help.

stardust's avatar

Yes, it’s very normal. I experienced something similar with the loss of my brother. It took me years to allow myself to grieve, after running away from it and burying my feelings about it for a number of years.
Take your time and be kind to yourself. X

BosM's avatar

Yes, it’s normal. I find the Elisabeth Kübler-Ross model helpful, it outlines the five stages, all of which must all be experienced before you can successfully deal with this loss.
Stages: 1. Denial 2. Anger 3. Bargaining 4. Depression 5. Acceptance

I read the book in my undergraduate program and from what I recall they stressed that each of us is different and can remain in a stage based on our own timeframe. If you’re stuck in the “depression” stage then Acceptance will follow soon, which means that yu’ll have found some level of peace in order to deal with this and live a productive life.

I hope you find peace in the memory that your mother will live on in the hearts of all those who new and loved her. She will remain in your heart, no one can ever take that away.

Shippy's avatar

I am pretty much feeling the same way. I lost a lot of people all at once, and I didn’t grieve. Now, I am in a deep depression. I have real issues, but my thoughts go back to my mom or dad daily. Which I didn’t realize. I am not sure how the grieving process works at this time though, to be honest. I mean in a way it is in reverse? I think my becoming aware of the fact that I think of it often, is in itself, a revelation. I can sit in that moment and be sad, and be aware that in fact, my heart still aches.

I still have everyones ashes, so I have been thinking of scattering them. I think to me, that would be the true acceptance of loss, and also letting go of that loss. But I do believe we grieve forever, perhaps just the sound of the grief is a little softer over time. So for me, it is not about grieving so much, but more about accepting that they have gone. Plus all the loss and loneliness I feel from that. I do know people who grieved a lot, and still feel the same way I do. It still hits them at odd moments. I also believe my depression is a basket of issues, not just the losses of the people I endured. But also stuff that is going on in my that I need help with etc.,

I really hope I did not get off track with this question but it did feel so good to share that with you, a person who understands.

filmfann's avatar

Do you know what plateauing is? You hit bottom, then you emotionally recover, then you fall back, but when you fall back, you are higher than you were when you hit bottom. You recover more, then when you have another setback, you are still higher than you were when you fell back last time.

YARNLADY's avatar

Yes, it is. My parents passed away 25 years ago.

I am finding myself thinking of all the things I did to my mother without any malice or notice, because I’m afraid it will happen to me.

I lived at home until my baby was two years old, then my new husband and I moved to California without any thought to how my mom was losing a baby. I rarely sent a card or called on Mother’s Day and I was nearly always late with her birthday card. I called her less than once a month.

gailcalled's avatar

I think that using a judgmental term such as “normal” serves no purpose. You are feeling what you are feeling. If you are now ready to grieve, then you are ready.

I found that my grief over a profound loss had no rhyme nor reason. It popped up (and still does, although very rarely) in inexplicable ways; it was unpredictable and illogical. It simply was and simply still is.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

The book I am reading talks about Kübler-Ross’ five stages of grief. What it mentions, though, is that after you have “completed” the five stages, it isn’t over. Your wedding day; the birth of your first child; perhaps, divorce or illness, you feel that loss all over again. You want your loved one there with you.


Taken from Motherless Daughters – Hope Elderman:

“We’re an impatient culture, accustomed to gratifying most of our needs quickly. But mourning requires a certain resignation to the forces of time. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’s Five Stages of Grief, so popular as a bereavement model in the 1980s and 1990s, were originally developed for terminally ill patients receiving news of their grim diagnoses, not for the family members they would leave behind. (One grief counseling website now suggests renaming them “The Five Stages of Receiving Catastrophic News” and ditching them as a bereavement model because they’ve done mourners more harm than good). I prefer J. William Worden’s Four Tasks of Mourning: accepting the loss (task 1); dealing with reality of the loss (task 2); adjusting to the new environment (task 3); and emotionally relocating the lost loved one (task 4). But truly, I’ve found there are really only two stages of grief that matter: the one in which you feel really, really bad, followed by the one in which you feel better. The transition from one to the other is bound to be slow, sloppy, and emotional, and neither has hard-and-fast rules.

_Whitetigress's avatar

As long as she can be remembered she is with you.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

I just had a big cry. I miss her so much.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

Crying can be a cleansing process which you should allow yourself to do quite often. You will find that as time passes she will be a background part of your daily life, thoughts, choices, happy and sad moments, she will be there constantly in the sweetest most discreet way possible. Yes, what you are going through is normal and the dust will soon settle since you are at the last stage of the grieving process. Just remember mum is there within you, by your side for the rest of your life.

bkcunningham's avatar

One thing I’ve learned about myself and my grieving process is that I sometimes use my grieving as a cover for something else going on in my life/and or another issue from my past that I don’t want to face head-on at the moment.

I sometimes hid in the dark cover of my grief because I knew it is was a safe place where no one was allowed to enter and question my motives for being there. When I finally allowed someone I trusted to come with me, I found I had hoarded many other miseries under my cloak of grief.

blueiiznh's avatar

It will always be there and that is a sign that you had a wonderfully tremendous bond. Know that it will never go away, but you have the tools to help deal with it. Touching those feelings is a good thing in the long run.
There are things that are going to hit you out of the blue and at any moment.
I am only on the beginning of that road after loosing my Dad this past January. I still want to call him every single day and it hits me. But in the end, it is part of keeping the memories alive even if it means touching some emotional hurt by missing him.

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

I think it’s ‘normal’ if there is such a thing. Two months after my Mom died and I’m only beginning to feel the full trauma of my grief. Try talking to someone if you can—a grief counselor maybe. I wish I could afford to right now but I will as soon as I can.

Inspired_2write's avatar

Sometimes we repress our feelings until we cannot anymore.
At these times we are then ready to understand the loss and feelings accompaning it.

PullMyFinger's avatar

At 21 years old, I made it home after a year in a combat unit in Vietnam. A month after that, one of my closest friends was killed, which I’d learned via a phone call from another great friend after he’d arrived home.

Over the decades since then, I remembered my lost friend fondly, just smiling to myself over some of our dopey behavior, and how he loved to dance in circles, waving his index finger to Mungo Jerry’s ‘In The Summertime’ whenever it played on the ‘AFVN Radio Network’.

Only a few months ago, I woke up at 4:00 a.m., wondering why I’d written lots of (pretty good) songs, but never one to remember this great guy. I hurried upstairs to my little ‘music room’ and wrote the majority of ‘Almost’, about how close someone can come to having a life like mine, but then never even get to see 21.

Anyway (and I’ve shared this with no one until this moment), while working on this new song, I choked hard on the lyrics, and tears rolled down my face. I thought, “Where the hell did THIS come from ?”

So, long story even longer…..yes, emotions about special people lie deep, but apparently never go away…...

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