Psych Central

Grieving Mother’s Death: How Long?

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

From a 63 year old man: I just do not understand what is going on with me but I think I am losing my mind I have had a hard time with my memory. I think that there has been too much going on lately My mother passed away a short time ago and the rest of the famley wants to sell everything I just do not know what to do.

A: People grieve differently and at different rates of speed. Some people want to take care of things like settling an estate and distributing possessions quickly in order to distance themselves from the loss as fast as they can. They then process the grief later. Others need to sit with the loss for some time before they are ready to let go of the things and places that remind them of the loved one who is gone. There isn’t a right or wrong way to do it. What’s important is that various members of the family respect each other’s needs during the difficult time of mourning.

It’s also not unusual for people who are grieving to be forgetful or to feel disconnected. Sometimes people go back and forth between times when they are able to go on with things as usual and periods of distraction when they just can’t seem to function.

Please give yourself a break. Losing someone dear is hard. I suggest you talk to the other members of the family. Let them know that you respect that they want to get on with things but that you need a little more time. Ask if you can choose a few things of your mom’s to keep in her memory. See if you can negotiate what really needs to be done immediately and what really can wait. These discussions are often difficult for families but when done with compassion and understanding, they can also bring people closer.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 22 Apr 2012

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2012). Grieving Mother’s Death: How Long?. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 18, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/04/22/grieving-mothers-death-how-long/