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fedupwitcaddys's avatar

How long does it take for one to get over the recent death of one's mother?

Asked by fedupwitcaddys (417points) April 30th, 2009

I have a friend thats in his late 30s his mom has been sick and hospitalized. She recently passed some weeks ago. I used to hear from him at least 2–3 times a week, but since his tragic experience i havent heard from him. Last i heard from him after her death he said he still cant believe shes gone. he hasnt called me, i tried to call him and i get no answer. i try to be supportive and give him his space so i text him from time to time and let him know he’s in my heart and on my mind and let him know i love him. it’s bothering me because he was soo close to her and he’s such a big, strong man i figured he would have it under control. i drove by his moms house and saw him sitting on HER porch by himself. what do i need to expect in the future and how can i help confort him without bringing her up and being a nuisance to him. i wouldnt want him to snap out. besides i lost my mom when i was 11. i can relate, but im long over her death.

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23 Answers

Blondesjon's avatar

I haven’t had to deal with this yet. Not looking forward to it.Not looking forward to jonsblond’s even less. Sorry for your friend’s lost.

jrpowell's avatar

Placing a time-frame on it is silly. It will vary. I would just try to be normal. Reminding him of it isn’t helping. I lost my dad when I was ten and almost lost my mom in September. I just wanted people to not talk about it.

casheroo's avatar

Like @johnpowell said, you cannot put a time frame on something like this. I doubt he’s in the mood to reach out to friends, maybe you should call him or stop by with some food.
Personally, I think I’d be a fucking mess if something happened to my mother. I would never get over it.

MrKnowItAll's avatar

Losing your mother, is second only to losing your child.

cak's avatar

I just lost my father in January. January 3rd, as a matter of fact. I still have days where it hurts to take a breath. Sunday, my husband and I were sitting in an urgent care – and the receptionist called a patient, his last name was my father’s last name. I immediately (and my husband – they were very good friends) started looking for my dad and was reduced to tears. in fact, I’m feeling them well up, again.

Every single day, I want to pick up the phone and call him. I want to hear his voice and I am dying for another bear hug. I’m 38 and I miss my dad so much. I can laugh some days, thinking about things and others, like right at this very moment, I just cry.

I can’t even fathom what will happen when something happens to my mother. I’m so heartbroken about losing my father.

There isn’t a time limit.

casheroo's avatar

@cak big hugs!!!

cak's avatar

@casheroo – thanks

Blondesjon's avatar

@casheroohow about we give cak a group hug?

skfinkel's avatar

There are some very good books that can help a person who is grieving. One I found very useful was called, “A Time to Grieve.” On each page it had a short statement about how you might be feeling: “I can’t believe this pain will ever go away.” or something like that. Then it had a good little comment on that, and then some poetry or something. It was very helpful to me. I also found that most poetry was about either love or death, and spoke to me very directly. I often give this book, and some poetry to someone who is grieving.

Also, in the Jewish religion, I believe the active mourning time (time you say special prayers for the dead) lasts for 11 or 12 months. Of course, one can mourn as long as needed, but this might be a guideline.

I believe one needs good friends and lots of support during these times. I hope your friend accepts you and that you can just listen without judgment to him.

Jeruba's avatar

Common wisdom that I have heard is to allow yourself a good year and a half to two years to get over the death of a parent or other close relative. You can’t rush the grieving process.

My mother died last year at 86 after a slow decline. Even though it was long expected, I think I needed the year. It took me a lot longer for my father, who died 26 years ago at age 64. I was expecting him to be around to see his grandson grow up, but he died while I was pregnant. I think I was in mourning for the better part of two years, even though I went on with my life actively as a new mother.

Your friend’s loss is still raw, and he is very young and has probably not had to deal with anything like this before. Give him some time. If he isn’t getting back into his life pretty soon, it could be that he needs some professional grief counseling. Does he have any close relatives who are staying in touch with him? Your support may mean more to him than he is capable of saying or showing right now. Don’t give up.

cak's avatar

@Blondesjon hugs are always welcome

@skfinkel – Your book selections are so wonderful. Yet another book you suggested that I will be looking for, thanks!

SuperMouse's avatar

A long time ago on a television show, I heard, “you don’t get over it, you just get used to it.” That pretty much sums it up for me. I am still not sure I can say I have gotten over my mother’s death (she died over 30 years ago), but I have gotten used to it. I think the time it takes to get used to it varies wildly from person to person, but it is never easy.

@cak, here is a gigantic cyber-hug!

RedPowerLady's avatar

Grief is a nasty monster. I speak from experience.

It can take a very long time to overcome grief so that it is less of a monster. I understand that children are more resilient than adults so grief in children is a bit different (but no less painful) from grief in adults. Anyhow I would say it takes a month to even be able to function. Three months to start re-entering the world. And a year to start feeling better. Even then grief is still present. I use these timelines from experience.

I do not think you should expect this grief to be over anytime soon and such an expectation can actually isolate your friend and prolong grief (I am not saying you are doing this just talking about a possibility).

Also I would say that talking about his mom is not a bad thing to do. It is a good thing to do. He probably wants someone to share his mother with that won’t be bothered by his sadness and his need to be with her in whatever way he can. So talk about his mom. Let him know you think it is okay he is still grieving and it doesn’t bother you. And your little reminders are fantastic. They can really help him feel not alone. He may not be able to express what this means to him yet but I think it is fantastic of you.

To help him out you can be there for him. You can talk about his mother. You can be in his presence (if possible) and not expect anything from him. You can send him notes to remind him you care. You can give him comfort gifts that will help him take care of himself. Calming herbs can help. And you know what else helps? Anything that takes your mind off the pain. For us watching TV shows on DVD helped a bunch and then painting our house. Sending him something like that so he can engage in something other than his grief. But it is also something that doesn’t require anything from him emotionally.

Sending love to your friend.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@cak sorry for your loss, sending you hugs and love
@Jeruba sorry for your loss, sending you hugs and love

Shreyas's avatar

I can understand how one feels after loosing his/her closest person. But this is what we call life. It will take some time for your friend to come out of this situation and that time should be given to him. When we are in sorrow the biggest help is God. I would suggest you take him to the church regularly. The reason is, after such incident its a need of time to bring that person back from sorrow and this can be done if he/she mixes with others to his surrounding. But this is not the right time to have gettogether or party like that. So the person should be taken to spiritual places or plesant gardens where he will see elder persons, playing children, flowers, trees and this would really bring new life to him. He will understand that the sorrow which he is facing is faced by each and everyone in their life and no one can neglect it. These things totally depend on God and so the best way is to pray almighty for the “rest of his mother’s soul” and start the life with new beginning, because his mother too throughtout her life would have expected that her child should remain always happy. God bless you.

cak's avatar

@Jeruba – Oh, I’m so sorry for your losses.

@RedPowerLady Seeing what you have written before, your advice is amazing – your strength, even more so.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@cak thank you very much, i really do appreciate the kind words

jbfletcherfan's avatar

I lost my mom coming up on 10 years ago. It’s something you NEVER ‘get over’, you just cope. Living here in the house that I grew up in is a comfort. My dad & mom both are here everywhere. The grief gives way to remembering the good times & holding memories in your heart.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

I lost my Mother in Law over five years ago, and that woman was one of the finest people I have ever known in my life. She was too incredible for words, and I have yet to get over her death. I probably never will. Think of the kindest, nicest, smartest and most loved person you have ever known and that was Dot, times ten. I miss her every day. She always referred to herself as ‘your mean old mother in law’ and if she was anything, she was never mean. Opinionated, yes, but not mean. The woman had no enemies and enjoyed the respect of every person she ever came in contact with.

Learning to deal with the loss of loved ones is probably the hardest thing we will ever do as humans.

janbb's avatar

@cak A big hug and love for you.

I think it does really vary, partly depending on where you are in the relationship. My father died three years ago at nearly ninety after three years in a nursing home. He had some dementia but always knew who I was and asked about my sons and my teaching. He gave me a lot of affirmation and we had a very sweet relationship in his last years. I loved holding hands with him when I visited him; his grip was so firm. I was sad when he died, but it has not been a raw wound; in many ways, I got what I needed from him and felt also that I showed him my love. My relationship with my mother is much more fraught and I don’t know how I’ll react.

I guess my point is that each relationship and each loss is different. If I had lost my father when we were at a different place in our lives or when I was much younger, it would have hurt more. Your friend will have to go through his own process and all you can do is show you care.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

@evelyns_pet_zebra What a heart-warming story. Some people are truly blessed with good in-laws & you definately were. I’m sure she knew how much you loved her. You were both lucky.

skfinkel's avatar

@cak: wishing you much strength during this time. I felt grieving was like a sacred time—away from the worldly and everyday into another place altogether. I hope the books are a help to you.

filmfann's avatar

I lost my mom 4 years ago. It doesn’t matter how strong you are. When your mom goes, all bets are off.
My dad passed 25 years ago, and I still miss him terribly.
So you never get over it. I would say after my Mom’s death, it was a full year before I was fully functional, but it still drains me.

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