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To feel upset about this

(50 Posts)
Butterflyheaven Thu 06-Oct-16 16:42:58

My mother has been dead for nearly twenty years, since I was a very young girl, and so (obviously) my friends don't know her, although they know she's dead and I think most know it was cancer.

Anyway, recently the friend of a friend who I know a little has lost her mum to cancer. Obviously, this is really sad and I think it's something that's upsetting at any age.

However, my other friends have been talking to me about how awful it is, how immensely sad, how they don't know how she is coping.

I feel as if my own loss is so far in the past that no one gives a toss really. It occurred to me they've never asked me about my mum or what killed her - I think they know it's cancer. They've never asked if she had chemo, if she was ill for a long time. It's like they really don't care.

AIBU to want people to acknowledge she existed?

pabstblueribbon Thu 06-Oct-16 16:47:25

Yanbu. I lost my mum to cancer 4 years ago and it feels like everyone (including my dad) has completely forgotten or assumes I'm over it. They talk about other people going through similar things and how unbearable it must be expecting me to join in and inside I'm like 'Yeah I know how fucking awful it feels because I'm still going through it myself!' - some people just don't think op. It really is upsetting. Sorry that they're being shit flowers

myownprivateidaho Thu 06-Oct-16 16:47:35

Personally I would never ask questions of a friend about their dead parent unless they brought it up. I would definitely not assume they don't care.

And the concern about your friend - well that's clearly because it's a recent bereavement. They are worried about her and that's fine.

I do see what you mean about them saying it's so sad about that bereavement, and not having said it about yours. But I would really doubt this means they don't care about you. I would have thought they feel they don't have permission to talk about your loss. Why not try raising it with your friends yourself? If you express your sadness they may surprise you.

Summerholsdoingmyheadin Thu 06-Oct-16 16:47:54

Yes and no. People think the passage of time eases the pain of grief so they are likely to have more sympathy at the moment for your friend because her loss is new. at the time your mother did people pro any felt a similar level of sympathy but as twenty years have passed they are less likely to consider your grief to be raw.

Butterflyheaven Thu 06-Oct-16 16:51:46

Pabs that's it! If just one of them had sympathetically said "oh, you must know how she's feeling," I would feel better about it.

I think if I raised it myself people would feel very uncomfortable to be honest. My dad hasn't been dead anything like as long and I still notice nervous smiles and shifting on chairs if I mention him.

I also wonder if this is going to be how it always is: that my friendship circle will never really understand. Most people will have the pleasure and frustration of grandparents and the sadness of them ageing and dying. I feel shut off in a strange way of experiences. Sorry, I'm explaining this badly.

scater Thu 06-Oct-16 16:53:22

My mum died of cancer when I was young too. I think that after such a length of time people just don't associate the grief and feelings of losing a parent as a child as they do with losing one as an adult.

It's also possible that as they weren't around when your mum was her dying just isn't on their radar. I'm sure they don't mean to relegate your feelings.

Can you not just say to them ' I'm finding that friends mums death is bringing back lots of grief feelings from when my own mum died and would appreciate a shoulder every now and then'

Sorry it's causing you hurt, all grief feelings are valid in my opinion. flowers

ElsaAintAsColdAsMe Thu 06-Oct-16 16:57:25

I think it's different meeting someone after they have suffered such a loss as opposed to knowing someone while they are going through a recent bereavement.

I would ask about a situation that was happening now but I wouldn't ask about something that happened 20 years ago.

Not because I don't care but because I wouldn't want to drag up any old feelings or make someone feel uncomfortable going over things that happened a long time ago.

I can understand you feeling as you do though, this is bound to be bringing a lot of emotions and memories to the surface for you flowers

Butterflyheaven Thu 06-Oct-16 16:57:30

I could but then I'd be making it about me, which isn't on really! smile

In some ways as well I feel some jealous and mean feelings like 'well at least she had her mum for X number of years more than me!' which is horrible and I don't like feeling them. But it's not just losing a mother. I lost my entire family really. Nothing was ever, ever the same afterwards and I went on losing her when I got GCSEs and A levels, got my degree, got pregnant ... I've lost her a thousand times since I lost her.

Queenbean Thu 06-Oct-16 16:57:39

I think that most people don't want to clumsily bring someone else's grief in to the equation, especially if it's something that happened a long time ago and they don't want to bring it up again

Just because they have sympathy for someone whose mother has just died it doesn't negate the sympathy they'd have for you. But it must be upsetting to feel like it's all been forgotten, I'm sure it hasn't though


myownprivateidaho Thu 06-Oct-16 16:58:07

You are right that you don't really know what bereavement is like till you experience it.

But sounds a bit like you both do and don't want them to talk to you about it. Yes, people may well not know what to say - because what can you say? But if you don't want to raise it, I don't think you can blame others for not doing so.

I'm sorry for your loss. Do you have anyone you can talk about your mum with? Maybe finding someone to talk about her with would help.

Butterflyheaven Thu 06-Oct-16 16:59:15

I think it has been, but in the sense it's never been remembered really. smile Thanks for the nice thoughts. I completely understand now wanting to bring things up in case it upsets me but at the same time I wonder if close friends should, in a sense?

Nanny0gg Thu 06-Oct-16 17:00:07

It's not that they don't give a toss, it's just not on their radar. Why should it be? If it's upsetting you, talk to them about her and how you understand how your friend feels.

I lost my mum young too, and no-one I know now, knew her. And I don't expect anything from anyone about it.

Butterflyheaven Thu 06-Oct-16 17:07:02

You're right Nanny I should STFU

nancyblackett80 Thu 06-Oct-16 17:14:33

In the very nicest way I think you are a bit U. Grief isn't a competition and you have lived, and are still living, through yours.

Your friends Mum has only just passed away, they have been there with her for the duration and are possibly feeling their own grief too.

I'm trying to be diplomatic but imagine this from your friends POV. Her Mum has just died, her friends are being supportive but you want to bring up your own grief?

It really is a fucking shit thing to happen to you both and there's no right answer here. Just be kind to yourself and if you can share a bit of love with your friends then all good.

Perhaps you could take some time out of the group even until its s bit less raw?

sonjadog Thu 06-Oct-16 17:35:36

I think this is just normal human behaviour. Your friends aren´t any more insensitive than the average person. My Dad died in 2013 and I get people who knew me at the time now commenting to me on how awful it must be losing a parent, in a theoretical, "wouldn´t it be awful" way. Memories are short and people are generally fairly self-absorbed.

mysistersimone Thu 06-Oct-16 17:54:12

I understand. My mum died of ovarian cancer 11 years ago and the pain is still very real. I was 28 when she died, and yes be it unreasonable or not I'm angry I didn't have her longer. I get annoyed when people whinge about their perfectly lovely mums being mums. I'm angry she didn't meet my kids, angry she can't guide me through a tough time I'm going through. Angry that as every year passes I'm approaching the age she was when she died and that feels so bloody freaky. I'll never get over it, I'll live with it because I have to.
You are entitled to feel this way, because you're still the hurt little lost girl that wants to be comforted. you're not alone, but people's general belief is time eases grief. We know it doesn't but maybe best to just acknowledge your friends grief to mutual friends with empathy.

HateSummer Thu 06-Oct-16 17:55:31

No you shouldn't stfu. I know how you feel butterfly, and sometimes talking to people isn't all that easy. Especially in this situation.

I've never thought of it the way you have. Yes. I did lose my mum a thousand times and everyday.

When one of my friends mum died recently, my other friend acknowledged my loss too, even though she'd never met my mum or knew me back in my teens. its just little things that make a big difference. So for your friends to not understand that you went through this too, is pretty shitty tbh.

mylaptopismylapdog Thu 06-Oct-16 18:04:39

Like you I lost a parent when I was very young and I have similar feelings when someone else is bereaved, for me I think it's about grieving for the years I didn't have that a relationship with that person as I grew up. I think most people who have had a significant bereavement of their own are reminded of that when they see someone else bereaved. It's not a competition but I think the experience of losing a parent as a child is different from losing a parent as an adult. Sorry for you loss, please be kind to yourself.

Butterflyheaven Thu 06-Oct-16 18:08:39

Thank you. It isn't about it not being a competition, it's more about something that is apparently awful for an adult to go through is okay for a child to go through and that's the impression I had at the time, too (I guess 1990s bereavement support wasn't up too much!)

LotsOfShoes Thu 06-Oct-16 18:16:19

I don't think that I would bring it up if I were them unless you brought it up (unless you were a very very close friend). I would be afraid of being insensitive. I don't think most people would bring up someone lese's bereavement without them saying sth first because you don't want to put them on the spot. It doesn't mean I'm not thinking it or that I'm oblivious to that person's feelings. Sorry for your loss, OP flowers

flowery Thu 06-Oct-16 18:28:42

"something that is apparently awful for an adult to go through is okay for a child to go through"

I really don't think anyone thinks that. It was 20 years ago and your friends didn't know you then. They are talking about a recent bereavement which is not the same.

I lost my mum when I was 4. It is hard sometimes but I wouldn't expect anyone expressing sympathy for an adult who has recently lost their Mum to feel they need to be extra sensitive to me or anything. I certainly wouldn't assume they "didn't give a toss" about my loss, or didn't care.

If you feel you want to talk about your mum a bit then ask your friends if you can. I'm sure they would want to help if they can.

Butterflyheaven Thu 06-Oct-16 18:30:59

I think most people would feel embarrassed flowery and in any case I don't want to talk about her.

If you'd lost your leg and someone else lost theirs, wouldn't you kind of expect it to be mentioned in a 'oh, it's so awful for Sarah, did you know she's lost her leg? Isn't it awful? I don't know how she's coping. I'd be so upset if I lost my leg."

That's how it feels for me. Just a slight acknowledgement that I went through the same, albeit many years ago now smile

Letseatgrandma Thu 06-Oct-16 18:40:00

AIBU to want people to acknowledge she existed?

I have a good friend who I met when our eldest children were at pre school. They are now 15. We see each other loads. I have met her mum, her brothers, we spend weekends with our DH plus kids etc etc. This is just to show how well I know her.

She has never once mentioned her dad. I don't know if he left her mum, whether they are divorced, whether he has died and if so, how. Because she has never mentioned it, I haven't either and I don't feel I can/should now.

Just to be aware that people don't always want to mention things like that unless you bring it up. They may not even know your mum has died.

nancyblackett80 Thu 06-Oct-16 18:42:15

Is it just the one friend who said she couldn't imagine it that's upset you?

Or the whole group as a whole?

I would let your other friend have her sympathies in this immediate period without bringing up your loss with her or others tbh. Perhaps have this chat with other friends who are not so closely involved and get some support for yourself x

Wendalicious Thu 06-Oct-16 18:42:58

People are so rubbish about death and grief, they just don't know how to handle it so inevitably say nothing which hurts xx

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