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Old 11-20-2014, 09:56 PM   #1
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How do you cope with losing a child

I feel like there must be other moms out there, like me, who have lost their young daughters to breast cancer who might have suggestions for coping. We lost Tera in April (at the age of 36) after a 4 year battle. She was living the life most dream of before being diagnosed - great husband, beautiful home, young daughter (and looking forward to trying for more children), job she enjoyed, etc. There was no history of breast cancer in our family, but she was already getting mammograms due to Fibrocystic Breasts. Her tumor was at about 7 cm before it was discovered (by breast exam) and she'd had a mammogram a few months prior which didn't show it (although I am interested in having all of her scans and records reviewed to see if someone missed it).
In August I had a mammogram that revealed calcifications and ultimately had a double mastectomy 3 weeks ago due to DCIS.
As if the grief is not enough, I now deal with the guilt of why she had this horrible disease and died an agonizing death while my DCIS was caught before it ever became invasive. There was already the "normal" guilt that a mom has for not being able to protect a child, but now the "why her and not me". It's very hard to rejoice and be thankful that mine was just DCIS when she ended up with Stage IV that eventually went to her brain (among other organs).
When I am alone and my mind is idle it always goes to the darkest places and I can ONLY remember the really bad times and particularly the last 3 months of my daughter's life which included much hospital time as well as a hospice facility.
How do I cope? Has counseling been helpful for others? I still go to church, but I am so angry with God - I feel like I don't really know what to believe any more. How can God do this - or did he do this? He didn't answer any of my prayers.
If you are a parent who has lost a daughter to BC, do you have any words of encouragement? How can we possibly deal with this?
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Old 11-21-2014, 02:34 AM   #2
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Re: How do you cope with losing a child


I haven't lost a child to cancer, but I have lost a child, and I have lost ladies that I grew very fond of to cancer. I have a bit of survivor guilt with one friend. She was a mother with teen twins and really, really did NOT want to leave them by dying of cancer. I remember how awful it was in the end, a very painful experience to see.

I found a group at my local church. I am actually meeting with these wonderful ladies later this morning. They are wonderfully encouraging and prayers for each other are abundant.

I believe it is okay to be angry with God. You are extremely hurt. He understands. I personally don't believe God is responsible for disease. I tend to believe things such as cancer come from a more negative source in life.

No, he did not answer your prayer. There might be many reasons for this. Perhaps your daughter's work here on earth was finished and it was time for her to go home, to a better place. She is not suffering anymore, and I don't believe she is really gone, she is just different, in a different place. Likely she is watching over you, her husband and daughter.

The pain and suffering that you feel shows that you truly loved her to the very deepest part of you.

No, it is not really fair that your DCIS was found early and your daughter's breast cancer so late. I suspect that she should have been receiving ultrasounds and MRIs. Much of my cancer didn't show up on the mammogram, nor the ultrasound. Two of 3 tumors were found by MRI. I had dense breast tissue and I was 44.

I'm very sorry for your loss, your pain, and your suffering.

I'm glad that you found us. Perhaps others can add their perspective and help you in this painful time.

Prayers and love, 'lizbeth
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Old 11-28-2014, 07:48 AM   #3
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Re: How do you cope with losing a child

Mom - I have. Our stories are very similar. My daughter was diagnosed at 33 and after fighting nearly 6 years she recently passed away. It is the worst nightmare a parent can imagine. I will never be the same as a part of me died with her. My daughters cancer went to her brain too and she spent the last 2 weeks of her life in the hospital. I try never to allow myself to think of those days - its too painful. I haven't been angry and stopped questioning why this beautiful young woman with 2 children was taken way too soon. I focus on honoring her memory because its all I have left of her. That has helped me. I spend a great deal of time with her children too. I am new to posting so I hope I am doing this right. I think we can PM (private message) each other if you would like to.

Just know you are not alone.
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Old 11-28-2014, 09:22 AM   #4
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Re: How do you cope with losing a child

Mom - I just wanted to add that I have attended grief counseling and it did help me. It was in a group so you are able to share with others who have experienced a loss.
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Old 12-02-2014, 10:07 AM   #5
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Re: How do you cope with losing a child

I can only make this one comment. I don't know how fast a tumor grows, BUT a guy in my apartment complex shared
the story about HIS WIFE. He found the PEA SIZE tumor on
her. It took a week and 1/2 to get to see her primary care Doc.
By the time she was scheduled for a mammogram HE KNEW
IT HAD GROWN TO AN INCH before the xrays were done. I was
was SHOCKED to hear about their experience and how fast
something like this could grow. I am deeply sorry for your lose.
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Old 12-13-2014, 01:12 AM   #6
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Re: How do you cope with losing a child

Dear Mom, I just want to say how sorry I am that you have lost your daughter, and to pass on a thought that I hope might be helpful.
I had a good friend Trish whose husband Steve carried a defective gene that resulted in their daughter having severe physical and mental disabilities. He carried this gene because his mum was the first NZ survivor of polio to have kids so they xrayed her frequently through her first pregnancy. Steve was the next child, conceived with an egg damaged by all the xrays. Trish told me that while Steve was responsible for them having a severely disabled child, he had no reason to feel shame, guilt or to blame himself. Doing so was only going to hurt him and waste his energy and deprive him of happiness. The only useful approach was to decide how to make his role and the involvement into a useful one that inspired him to be a better husband and father.
You too have no cause to feel guilt, to blame yourself, to feel shame, to believe you did anything wrong. I am sure your daughter was glad you gave her life, and so are your grandchildren, even though they miss her. But now you can turn your sadness and grief into a quest to bring good things into the lives of those hurt by the one bad thing, to support your grandchildren as your daughter would like to have done herself, and see them through to successful lives as adults. Or maybe there is some other but similar quest that would help you to turn this meaningless tragedy and grief into something profoundly valuable. A redemption.
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Old 12-16-2014, 05:42 AM   #7
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Re: How do you cope with losing a child

Dear Mom,

I'm very sorry for your loss. I have children, and if I were to outlive any of them I would be devastated.

As a member of this board I experience a kind of survivor guilt. Many of the women I've gotten to know and come to love have died. It is especially heartbreaking when a young mother dies. I'm 60, my kids are grown and launched. Your daughter was just getting started. It's so unfair.

I strongly recommend you find a grief group. Also, don't worry about being angry with God. Read the Psalms, and Job. God can take it.

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