Losing family members
About 3 years ago, my beloved grandfather was diagnosed with cancer and wasn't given much time to live. Then just weeks later, my mother was diagnosed with cancer as well. Just 2 years ago, my grandfather passed away from the cancer, and since then, I often get tearful and panicky moments when I think about losing another family member. My grandmother has a lot of mental health issues and has lost the will to live, and everytime I talk to her, I often end up in tears after the call. I keep fearing that everytime I talk to her over the phone could be the last time I speak to her, and I keep getting morbid thoughts that she could suddenly pass away in her sleep the next day. My mother is in remission now, but I sometimes get paranoid thoughts that the cancer could return and end her life prematurely; other times, I keep fearing that she might be killed in a plane crash when flying home. Anyone have any advise on how to deal with these worries?
Thanks in advance.
I was only a young child and like you it was very frightening to have another member of the family pass away, and everytime I cried uncontrollably, and everytime my OCD increased to unbearable levels.
I want your family to stay well and hope that they live to their late 90's, but more so feel so sorry for you, not much help, I'm sorry to say. Geoff.
Grief is a difficult thing & everyone reacts differently even in similar situations so it is important not to compare yourself to others. I have lost both parents, my grandparents & my MIL & FIL but each case was different so my reaction was different & coloured by the other things happening at the time. Your mothers ca ncer made it much harder for you to deal with your grandfather's passing.
I would suggest you get some grief counselling to help you deal with your feelings. Having someone to talk to who you can open up re what is going on inside your head is essential. I found talking to my brother after my dad died really helpful but for you I imagine it would be difficult to speak openly to a family member because you don't want to upset them talking of your fears of them dying. The sooner you get some help the sooner you can learn to deal with your fears & less likelihood of long term anxiety issues.
Remember that losing a loved one is difficult & most people need some support to help them deal with it so don't feel you are abnormal or over-reacting.
I hope you can find someone who can help you come to terms with what has happened so you can enjoy the time with your other family members without it being spoilt by fear of them dying
I'm sorry to read what you're going through but can also relate.
Cancer is a horrible disease mainly because it is so unpredictable. So much in fact that even the doctors get it wrong, even the statistics are not indicative of how any one person will go or how their diasease will progress. And that is so difficult to live with.
My mother had cancer 8 years ago and went into remission, we all thought she was cured especially when she hit the golden 5 year mark.
It came back a few weeks ago, and is now referred to as 'advanced' because it's in a distant spot so it travelled. It's not curative and basically treatments will buy her time and temporary remissions.
But regardless of stats no one really know how it will progress for her, how long each treatment will work for, if it will spread elsewhere or if it will stay where it is. Thus could mean the difference between months and many many years.
I find it hard to deal with this, I wake up every morning sick thinking it's a dream I'll wake from. I have flashbacks of my childhood and can't believe all that could come to an end. I have deep sadness when I think of all the things I may not be able to do with mum or the anticipation of her ageing and growing old been something that might not happen.
I took myself to a new psychologist that deal with grief counselling. There is a thing called 'anticipatory grief' this is where nothing has yet happened ie the loss, but you're grieving the fact that it could happen.
And there's a number of coping mechanisms for this as well as the ability to open up to someone independent so your thoughts and anxiety don't get out of control.
One thing I decided is want to enjoy my time with her without it been clouded by 'the end' because I want good memories and not sad ones. And I know that's what she would want too.
Best wishes x
Hi everyone! Thanks for all the advise and help. Things still aren't easy for me, but I'm finding ways to cope.
Sorry to hear about your mother The Possum. I really hope everything goes well for her and you get to spend many more years with her.
I've been getting a lot of awful nightmares about my grandmother lately in which she has passed away suddenly, and I wake up panicking afraid that she might have suddenly died in her sleep. I've been calling her nearly everyday, trying to talk to her as much as I can while she's around. I don't want to have any regrets when she goes and wish I had talked to her more etc.
All the best to you and your mother.
Thanks for your well wishes. Much appreciated.
I don't think there is anything wrong with calling your grandmother each day, if it gives you some peace of mind. It sounds like she is pretty special, so it's lovely that you like to catch up with her regularly. I bet she loves it!
But if you're still struggling with over whelming fears and sleep disturbances, I strongly recommend you speak with a professional about it. They really could offer you some insight and coping mechanisms to make your life just that little bit easier to deal with.
I understand how much dreams can be a problem. I posted just recently 'Dreams Dreams Dreams' on the forums here, because I often have restless nights and wake up feeling like I haven't slept at all!
I am working on this though, and hope my persistence with my psychologists help will help me sleep better.
Take care and feel free to check in on here whenever you'd like. I'll be around but if not there are plenty of great people on here to help out.
Best wishes x
Hi The Possum,
I'm so glad for all you lovely people here on Beyond Blue. 🙂 Makes me feel less alone in this struggle.
Yeah I love talking to my grandmother every day, it does give me some peace of mind and it cheers her up too so I'm definitely gonna keep it up. I have talked to my GP about my anxiety issues, and she has prescribed some medication for me. I have been sleeping a lot better on it, though the nightmares still happen more often than I like.
Thanks again for your kind words.