I have a hole in my stomach.
It’s horrible, achy, painful and black. It expands and contracts as I breathe. It’s getting bigger and I’m scared it’s going to swallow me whole. I believe it’s called grief, but that seems such a small and insignificant word to describe a feeling so big and all-consuming.
Tonight, I spoke to Dad. I rang him up to discuss a website and various other bits and bobs. My uncle had sent me a photo of the family from the weekend. I enquired who a few people were (I get confused by distant relatives) and asked after Mum – she looked small and tired.
She’s sleeping more. Her bloods are fine. She’s just tired. There’s no point in scans now so we don’t know how the disease is progressing unless there are markers in her blood results. I guess her body is just tired of fighting this crap.
We spoke about summer. We don’t know how well Mum will be then… if she’s still with us then. Once again it hits me in the stomach, ripping me in two. Sometimes I forget for a moment – but never for long. Grief doesn’t allow that. Cancer doesn’t allow that. It doesn’t let you forget. As soon as your drop your guard, even for a second, it will strike again.
I spoke to my brother. I had to explain who the family members in the photograph were, how they fit, who they’re related to. It occurs to me that we might not only lose Mum when she dies.
Nights like these I don’t know what to do. Crying seems so pointless, yet often it just happens and I’m left exhausted when it finally stops. I want to curl up, I want a hug, I want someone to tell me it will be okay; thinking like that reminds me of being younger when Mum or Dad would stroke my hair and tell me it will be okay. But they can’t right now, because they’re not here, and it won’t be okay. I want to run and run; to keep running until I can’t. But realistically, it’s gone midnight, I’m crying – it probably wouldn’t be the safest idea.
So I’m left in a state of confused grief; clinging onto hope that we might have a few more weeks or months whilst attempting to accept that we probably won’t. I feel utterly lost and alone in this strange situation. Imagining a future without Mum seems impossible, I’ve never known a life without her and thinking about it sends me into a state of turmoil, so I don’t.
I wish I had someone to talk to who knew how this felt. My brother has gone to bed. I don’t want to burden my friends – I’ve been banging on about this cancer thing for over a year now and I imagine they’re getting bored of it. They have their own issues too, their own lives. I live with a cancer cloud day in, day out, but they shouldn’t have to, too.
Someone sent me a list of organisations in my area the other day. I look through them. There’s some ‘bereavement support’, but I’m not bereaved (yet) so that’s no good. There’s one for parents, siblings and grandparents. I am none of these. It only serves to make me feel more lost and alone. I know there are no words that can fix this. I know that it has to hurt, but sometimes hurting with someone who understands, instead of hurting alone, can help.
It’s half two, now. I’m hoping to get a night of unbroken sleep but I can’t remember the last time that happened. Lately I’ve been going to sleep with the radio on; it feels less lonely. The darkness can be scary when all you have are your thoughts, sometimes it can feel like you’re the only one in the world.
There’s no grand meaning to this post. No take-home message. It’s just me, speaking to you, whoever you are. Thank you for listening.
12 thoughts on “Nighttime Thoughts”
This isn’t about saying it doesn’t hurt and that it doesn’t feel like there is a hole in your stomach. This is all very real. It is a reminder that you are human. Like other humans you have feelings – emotions, those things we Feel in our bodies. The greater the love the greater the pain. Accepting these feelings as normal, as a way we express our grief, breathing slowly and deeply sometimes reduces the size of the pain. Fighting it makes it bigger.
The other part of all this is recognizing that you and your mum and your dad and everyone else connected has a energetic or spiritual aspect. This part is what allows us to connect with those we love. If you can find a way to experience some peace eg listening to music, exercise, meditation, prayer, writing, in fact anything that makes you feel better it will transfer to your mum. Talk with your mum and send her love during your quite times.
Hope this helps a little.
Thank you, this really does help. Sorry it’s taken a while to reply, it’s taken me some time to absorb your words. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment, I really appreciate it.
I’m so sorry that you and your family are going through this. I read your blog after seeing it retweeted (you write beautifully by the way, I wish I could share my thoughts so eloquently!) and I just really wanted to let you know that I think I do ‘get it’. I lost my mum to cancer just before I turned 20, while I was in my 2nd year of uni. That was 7 years ago but I remember exactly how I felt then, and what you’ve written pretty much describes it word for word. I don’t want to sound patronising by saying I understand how you’re feeling because of course we’re all different, so I don’t know if I do. All I know is my own experience and feelings but it sounds like that may be pretty similar!
Anyway, you said you wished you could talk to someone who knew how it felt so I just wanted to let you know that I’m out here in case you want to get in touch. I wish I could make it hurt less for you, though I realise that nothing really can. But as others have said, you’re not alone and as you very wisely said yourself, it can at least be better to hurt with someone who understands rather than hurting alone. (Perhaps even if that person is someone you don’t know!?)
Thinking of you and your family. R x
Thank you so much for commenting, I really appreciate it 🙂 It sounds like you really do ‘get it’. I’m so sorry you had to go through a similar thing.
All the best,
What an incredible blog. I really hope this is helping process everything that’s going on and get it all (our at least some of it) out.
Think of the fort: parts often fall down a bit at night but that doesn’t mean they can’t be boosted back up again in the morning. The pegs, sellotape and blue tac supplies are far from running out. Don’t hesitate to use them.
Give me/a friend a call. Write a letter. Keep listening to the radio as it seems to help. Treat yourself to a new colouring book. Watch Gilmore Girls. Take each day just one at a time and know that your friends are always here for you. Always.
You’ve got this. I know you can do it.
Thank you. I wondered whether the fort analogy was universal until I realised this was you! xxx
Beautifully written Naomi, thank you for sharing your feelings so openly and so eloquently. I think many people will read this and hold you and your family in their thoughts. I will. Sending love x
Thank you so much x
Grief is such a personal emotion. We all believe there is nobody else on earth who could possibly know how we are feeling. When we love and are loved in return,it’s impossible to understand how we could possibly cope if and when that love is removed from our daily lives. The beauty of love, is although it’s something we cannot see,hear,smell,taste or touch,we can feel it surrounding us like a power greater than we could ever comprehend. Have faith wonderful lady in the power of love. Your mother has this in abundance. She knows she is going to an everlasting place,where until you meet again,you may not see her,or hear her voice,yet her love will be with you always.
Thank you, this is incredibly comforting and such a beautiful way of looking at it x
It’s hard. They are in pain, you are in pain but you can’t share the pain together. For them you need to be strong. It’s hard when none of your friends are going through it. It’s just hard full stop but you are not alone. There are others going through it too. Unfortunately too many.
Thank you. Sometimes just knowing you’re not alone can help x