It Will Get Better With Time....

Hi everyone, I lost my Mum to lung cancer nine months ago, she never smoked or drank or did anything really, just one day she started coughing and that was that, she didn't die of the cancer itself but of the treatment she got that wrecked her kidneys, she died somewhat peacefully compared to what would have happened if she had gone the full route - a blessing in disguise but still painful. I was in China during their lockdown so wasn't able to come home and say good bye to her, the last time I hugged and kissed her was in 2019.

I am in Peru now, in the small, beautiful town on the Pacific Ocean where my Mum was from and where she grew up - because it is the Southern Hemisphere here, it is summer and the weather is beautiful and warm daily. I am here as I was meant to place her ashes into the beach where she used to swim as a child but my Dad wanted to keep her ashes with him and now when he goes, I will take both of their remains to this place, a tranquil, peaceful place of beautiful, friendly people with 'vibra buena' good vibes. I cannot think of anywhere better and this will be the place where I will end up when it is my time to go.

It has been a hard nine months without her, but it seems she hasn't gone anywhere, it just seems she is still with us. I don't know how that transpired, it feels like when I speak to her she is listening, it feels that I know what advice she would give me if I ask her a question about a problem that is bothering me, it feels that she is here and I talk to her as that is the case,  there have been many 'incidents' back home that have happened which sort of cements the case with me and my grieving father. It helps.

I am here in her hometown by myself but it doesn't feel that I am. I know I am lucky in a lot of ways I can afford to come here and do this and have this beautiful sunny weather, eat well and have all the good things - but I am here to spiritually grieve for my Mum in the place where she is from but I feel a stronger connection to her here and that I am not alone - I talk to her - in public - thankfully with the advent of those cordless headphones - nobody thinks you're a weirdo if you are talking to yourself (even if you aren't...) nobody pays me any attention and I am speaking to her in English, that also helps.

I am rambling on a bit here, I suppose all I am saying is that things do get easier, that I now know that she hasn't left us and that a holiday like this helps with the grieving process. Mum had a good life and now she is with her family and her family are all here with me or so it seems. Life has changed forever but if whoever you lost in your heart then they will never ever leave you. You will always have them around.

If you are going through this now, you have my sympathies and empathy and I wish you great strength. It does get easier, maybe not for everyone but I now know Mum is around. Thanks for reading.

  • Hello carlos1972

    Thank you for sharing an update on your journey with grief since losing your Mum last year. It's a cliche but time is a great healer and I'm so glad to hear that life is growing again around your grief and that as a result, you feel more at peace with things. 

    I'm sure that at some point your post will offer support and hope to others who are grieving a loved one. 

    Enjoy your visit to your Mum's home town. I'm sure she would be happy to know you're soaking up the sunshine and the 'vibra buena'. 

    Best wishes, 
    Cancer Chat moderator 

  • Hi Carlos,

    It was nice to hear from you again and know how you are doing. I am glad you have managed to travel to Peru and start processing your grief after losing your Mum to lung cancer last year, I can remember you messaged me after I posted the loss of my Mum, also to lung cancer/covid in May.

    The grief of losing my Mum whom I lived with is only just know starting to hit me and thats after 8 months after her passing. I lost my Dad is November and because I focussed on him during the months after Mum died I managed to push the loss of her as far back as I could and now I have nowhere to hide from the reality - I have no parents. Its nice that you feel your Mum is with you and have had incidents to confirm in your mind that she is right with you. I am hoping for this in future too, although nothing comes close to their physical presence which having lived and worked with Mum for nearly 20 years I am finding brutal.

    I am finding it harder. Its not getting any easier for me right now and I think my grief of losing Mum is just really starting so I can imagine I have a long journey ahead. I need to talk to her, hear her words, ask her questions, seek her advice, laugh with her until we cry, comment on topics, general chat together, walk together, hug each other, hold her hand, go to the cafe and browse in shops....I just can't accept this will never happen again in this life. The pain in my heart is so strong it feels like its so physical, it takes my breath away. My mind is jumbled, a fog, my memory is completely clouded, I forget her voice, our memories, I'm scared they will never return.

    I wish I could say I am finding it easier, I know my counsellor said it could be two years before it starts getting to the lighter moments maybe even longer because our life together and bond was so connected, some days I wonder how I will last that long without her.

    I am glad the environment you are in - the sun, the warmth, good food etc is helping you. I certainly think these things can only be a positive. You deserve to feel as good as you can after everything you have been through. Unfortunately after my Mum passed I have had a struggle with trying to secure my family home, my health has suffered with vertigo and watching my Dad suffer and pass away so soon after Mum has just left me a shadow of my former self. Gradually, slowly over the next few years I hope to pick up the pieces and form a new path.

    It was kind of you to reach out to everyone on here. I hope you continue to pick up the pieces of your life whilst keeping the love and memories of your lovely Mum close to you.

    Jane x

  • Hi Chrissy,

    I am sorry for the late reply and not responding sooner, thank you for your message and I want to wish you a Happy Mother's Day and am hoping you are having the best day you can and I hope your parents are around you today or you feel their presence. 

    I wanted to write something that could make things better but I realised I had nothing to say that could make things better, you have had a hard and horrible year with losing both parents so quickly. I was at the time going to write something trite about another trip to India in memory of your mum (which is why I was in Peru in the first place...) but it just sounded trite and meaningless when I wrote them on the page. I wish I had something more concrete to make it better and for you to get through these days easier but it's a bad time for us all by the looks of it.

    I am really hoping that you have sorted out your problems with the family home and that all your other problems have subsided and you are in a better place than you were last January. You deserve peace of mind and happiness after such a traumatic year. Sorry for this reply being so late, I tried a million times to write the reply but the right words wouldn't come to the fore, I doubt these are of any comfort either though I wish you all the comfort and happiness within my soul, take care.


  • Thank you for your post, Jenn, sorry for such a late reply.

    Happy Mother's Day to everyone who is remembering their mum during such a painful time if they have left us through this horrid and pointless disease.

  • Hi Carlos

    This is a beautiful post and I am wondering if you also felt guilt, anxiety or anything like that at the early stages of grief. I know each of us goes through grief in their own unique way but from your message I see a very healthy way of grieving which is very far from my experience! I lost my mother 15 months ago and I am so very sorry for your loss too... I have not yet found the way to be compassionate to myself and I am extremely confused. I feel sad, hurt, angry, guilty... I've tried any kind of therapy you can imagine, including antidepressants (that my body did not like at all so stopped after a few months). I decided to travel last month thinking this might help and I'm constantly thinking "what's the point if I cannot share this with mum? Cannot call her, send her pictures"...

  • Hi Betty,

    First of all, thank you for reaching out and your condolences and I am truly sorry for your loss, the way this horrid disease takes our loved one from us is never simple, never easy and there's always a lot of anger, hurt, blame, resentment and working through it all. I was working in China during their lockdown and I wasn't able to come home to see her but she deteriated really quickly and she passed away before I was able to get back because there was no flights and I thought we had more time left than what we actually did - so I have a lot of anger and resentment towards myself and my lack of foresight. I also do understand is that most of it was beyond my control - the restrictions with the COVID pandemic there was nothing I could do to change the course of what I was able to do so I think the first thing to do is accept that a lot of what happened was beyond your control and you did the best you did which I am sure you did.

    Two things that have helped me, I know my mum is still with me, a month after she passed, I was in China and I was asleep and she came with me in a dream, I could see her as clear as day wearing this pink jacket she would wear but it wasn't a piece of clothing I would associate with her but she was wearing it and she smiled and said hello and then I woke up, later on that morning I was listening to the radio whilst on the rowing machine in my house and something said in my mind 'the next song will be 'I'm Free' by the Soup Dragons' I don't know why it did that but that was the message as I was rowing away and the next song that come on the radio was 'I'm Free' by the Soup Dragons and I then knew she was with me and it was all fine and she was fine and that was the road to acceptance that she was on her journey and she was making sure I was all right. There has been a lot of signs since then - I speak to her about things, to me, she hasn't gone, it's like she has gone on a long holiday and I will see her again.

    Another thing that helps is that I am 51 now, I don't know how old you are but how I see it is I might have another 30 years if I am lucky and more than likely I won't be here, I'll be 81 and if I make it to that age, it will be a good innings but if you think about 30 years ago - it was 1993 and I remember 1993 like it was last week, it is like a nothing timeframe away that wasn't that long ago - I was 21, where does all that time go? But fast forward 30 years and I will be officially an old man who is in the autumn of life.

    We don't have long as it is. We are all here for a short time and we have to make the most of it, when my mum lost her parents, she was living in the UK and her parents passed away in Peru which is thousand of miles away but she never showed any outward grieving - she went to work, made our tea and was mum but it was only when we lost her and I was speaking to my sister about this today that when mum lost her parents that she held up stoically and that we never did anything to make her feel better about her loss at the time or I don't remember doing anything. I must have comforted her but she just went on as normal and kept her grieving to herself and now she has been reunited with her parents (I believe, anyway...).

    I think your mum is with you, she is looking after you and that one day you will see her again, one thing that might help is just ask mum advice because you know your mum like I know mine, if I ask her advice I know what the advice would be on any subject and I know how she would word it as you would know what your mum would say if you asked her for advice and that helps me. I still talk to her and I listen out to the responses, sometimes they come and sometimes they don't but I know one day I will see her again.

    My mum lived her life, she moved to the UK from Latin America, she had us kids, went to university, became a Spanish teacher, went all over the world and she lived to a good age, she had a good life, was married to my dad for 51 years - she used to go on her travels and bring back these fridge magnets to plaster all over the fridge, my dad didn't like all these fridge magnets all over the fridge but I am off to Mexico City in July and he has asked me to bring back some fridge magnets 'that your mum would like' and that's what I am going to do.

    I wish you well with this journey, it is something we have to go through as children of our parents, my mum always said it would have broke her to have buried us before her and that didn't happen, she had to grieve her loss of her parents and now we have to do the same like I am sure your mum did but she got through it to be mum to you and now it is your turn to go through but you will get through the other side.

    Mum hasn't gone anywhere, when you look in the mirror, there she is, if you ask her a question to a problem, she will answer you. Try it the next time, she is around. xxx


  • Hi Carlos and I'm sorry it took me so long to respond. Thank you so much for everything you’ve written, it really means a LOT. It's been one of those difficult weeks. My mother too said many times this is the narural way of life, parents need to go first and like your mother, it would have killed her to bury us or even see us ill in the hospital getting chemo.

    The big difference between our mums is that my mother got diagnosed with leukaemia when she was 38(same age I were when I lost her!). My father 10 years later with lymphoma. She had a difficult childhood, a mother that rejected her, and spent much of her life in and out of hospitals either for herself or my father. It kills me thinking that I could have "forced" her more to go together on a holiday but she had a lot of fears by the time I was old enough to be her "parent". She always responded with a "what if something happens? I don't want to spoil it for you or stress you out". She never got to travel abroad, she did not have the chance to properly enjoy life! She kept saying until the last weeks of her life that the biggest happiness for her was her 3 kids, their birth and seeing us becoming who we've become. But I feel that was the only one...

    And without her, I've also lost my role, the role of the carer that I've had since I was a child. 

    I can also see her, when I look at the mirror, even when I speak as our voices are very similar. But I quickly remind myself that it's me and my mother is gone. That I'm only trying to find ways to feel better.

    I've had many signs too since she passed away. One day I remember I could not stop crying, I thought I would go crazy and my anxiety was over the roof. I started cleaning up to distract myself and I found a letter directed to me saying all those things that she would say if she was around. To move on with my life and how much she loved me and how painful it was for her seeing me like that! That letter was written when I was a student at uni and hidden inside one of my books and for some reason I had never opened it to that page!

    But she is not here! All that is just myself trying to survive, looking for signs and coincidence yes, it happens. We used to have a very strong bond and still do. But now it's extremely painful. I see my brothers moving on, buying their house and getting married and I am stuck.

    I miss her and I'll never have her again. I'm angry at myself for all those things I should have never said. I was tired from her illness(and my father's too) and she could tell. I believe she thought she was the reason I was not moving forward, not creating my own family and being so stressed out about her health, calling twice a day as I lived abroad and spending much of my money for flights to see her.

    I don't know what else to do to heal. I really hope time will help.