Recurring dream after losing mum

Good morning everyone, 

My mum died just over 4 years ago to lung cancer. She was 53, I was 31. She had been ill for a while before getting progressively worse with no help from the dr until my boyfriend drove us to a hospital near her house begging for help - we found next day it was stage 4 lung cancer. It was a brutal 12 weeks from there until she died in the hospice. 
I keep having a recurring dream, or nightmare more like, of the run up to my mum dying then her actually dying. Sometimes she’s just in the hospice bed lying there unconscious then dies. Last night it was her being ill, shouting at me for doing stuff wrong (this happened a lot - she would wait for me to get to the hospice ask me to help her with her nebuliser etc rather than asking the nurses and it would cause a fight) then dying slowly in the hospice. I woke up last night feeling so awful I burst into tears in my bed at 1am and couldn’t get back to sleep. What on earth can I do to try and stop this, silly question I know as it’s my mind, but it’s been going on for 4 years I don’t know what to do. The dreams are so horrifying I really do not want to keep re living that moment of watching my mother die. 
I didn’t really cry when my mum died, I cried during the entire run up to it. When she died I went home, had a bottle of wine went to bed and then had to get up and collect her things, register her death, arrange the funeral, clear her council house of her possessions, take her cats to my house, have the funeral and then I went back to work almost instantly. I think about her and scenario almost daily but I’m starting to think perhaps I should have got therapy for it - I refused any help from the hospice. 
has anyone else has a similar situation I just feel a bit sad and wondered if this is even normal I just want to try and stop having these horrible dreams 

  • Hello Tatties, 

    I am so sorry for your loss. What happened was clearly traumatic, your mum's sudden late diagnosis and the horrible twelve weeks that followed. All this will have left a deep impression on you and this can then manifest itself in your dreams. It can be distressing as we have no control on our dreams and you are having to relive the run up to your mum dying and her passing away in the hospice. These recurrent dreams show how much you have been affected by this and it must be exhausting for you if it's been going on for 4 years. Perhaps these dreams are also your way of grieving or a manifestation of your grief especially as you mentioned that when your mum passed away you went back to work immediately and sorted all the practical things and it sounds like you didn't have time to process things, you felt a bit numb and therefore this is now all expressing itself through your unconscious in your dreams. It's not too late though to get help and I think it would be a good idea to try therapy or grief counselling. I would suggest you make an appointment and speak to your GP who will I am sure be able to advise you on what would help you the most at this stage. It's important that you take this first step to get help with this as I am sure there is help available so that you break the pattern of these recurring dreams and get peaceful nights and dreams again. So do make an appointment to talk to your GP as soon as you can. 

    There will be other members of our community who have experienced recurrent vivid dreams in a similar way and I hope they will be along shortly to share with you how they managed to overcome these and what helped them regain a good night's sleep. 

    Best wishes, 

    Lucie, Cancer Chat Moderator