Dealing With Death in Pain


In September my Mother in Law passed away suddenly from a brain aneurysm. She was a lovely woman who unfailingly supported me through all these pain years.

I was lucky to have known her. She taught me compassion, charity, empathy, kindness and love.

She was my biggest cheerleader. For us Painies we know what it is like to feel so alone. Not once did she ever doubt or criticize me.

Over the past 2 years, she had not been feeling that well. Fatigue was taking her over and she wouldn’t go to the Dr. Finally, after prodding and pushing from her friends, she finally got help. She had kidney stones that were ripping her kidneys apart. After two surgeries, she had been feeling much better.

After her second surgery we went on a “family reunion” vacation. There was a bunkie that she and I stayed in. More like a small cottage, but we called it our Convelescence Cabin. We didn’t have the energy to keep up with everyone else, so we stayed back. I am so grateful for that time. For the first time in her life, I think she felt her mortality. We talked about what would happen if she died. We laughed about who would take care of my Father in Law, but mostly we made promises to each other.

I told her how I really felt about her. She was the only mother I ever had. That she was a lovely, kind, wonderful person who gave me everything I could ever ask for. She gave me my husband and of course the kids. She taught me how to love and how to be loved. I didn’t trust that at first. I was always waiting for the other shoe to drop. It didn’t.

I have never seen a grandmother love and care for grandchildren like she did. Each one of her 5, were precious to her. She appreciated all their individual personalities and quirks. She built snowmen, took them to the park, read to them, gardened with them and played with them. Most importantly she knew them, I mean really knew them.

She was married to my Father in Law for 48 years. They had a unique marriage, in that it was traditional, yet not. They adored each other. They had a mutual respect and a rythm that worked. They set an example that is hard to match I tell you.

I miss her calls, her voice, her support and her friendship. It is rare in our situations to have one person that never lets you down. She never did. She was my biggest cheerleader and support system. I am not sure how to proceed without her. I want her back.

Physical pain sucks, but emotional pain is worse. In my darkest days when I didn’t want to continue, she would be there to tell me a joke or a silly story. Sometimes it was as ┬ásimple as a hug. There is a hole in my life, that I don’t know how to fill.

Loneliness, misunderstanding and isolation are things we Painies endure endlessly, it is a large component of our situation. One that gets overlooked too often by friends, family and physicians. One of the reasons I started this blog was to be able to try to reach out to those who felt like I do. It has been able to allow me to survive this pain. I just wish I still had her to be here too.


5 thoughts on “Dealing With Death in Pain

  1. your story really touched me. i lost my mother in 1997 and i still cry for her regularly. she was my biggest fan, as you stated. unconditional love is a great gift and i was lucky to have it. it’s a huge loss that i have never recovered fully from. i hope to see my mom on the other side. that would be great! i have chronic pain, and who knows…..maybe my grief contributes to, or even causes it. i keep looking at the possiblity. cindy in calif.

  2. I’m very sorry for the loss of your amazing m.i.l. I feel that way about missing my dad.
    The only thing that helps to fill that hole, and give me the comfort and peace we all long for, is my faith in Jesus. He is my strength, perhaps He can be yours too. I really liked your story, and hope one day my d.i.l.s feel that way about me!

  3. I’m just getting back into the cyberverse, and only read of the death of your mil this afternoon.
    I know she will always be with you — in spirit and in your heart.
    After a more careful reading of your recent posts, I will be in touch via email or message.
    This must be such a hard time for you and your family. In my thoughts, and sending gentle (((((hugs))))).

  4. You were lucky to have someone like your mil in your law, just as she was lucky to have a dil like you.
    I still talk to my father (1991), my mentor at grad school (1995) and to my mother (2010). Some are when I’m able to visit the “physical” space of graveyards, but mostly just when it feels right. They answer in their own ways; I haven’t really lost them so much as they have relocated.
    I’m sure you’ve heard that everyone grieves differently — and that’s true for painies as well as non-painies. For me, it’s not the times you would expect: holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, but when something I enjoyed doing with my dad (the playoff and world series in baseball), something I know my grad school supervisor would enjoy or appreciate, or thinking, I should tell my mother about . . . Eventually, as you probaly know, the good memories replace the tearful ones.
    I am truly sorry for your loss; we all need cheerleaders and special people in our lives.

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