July 6, 2012 - submitted by Marie, United States of America

Q. TEAM ORACLE QUESTION #78
I graduated from uni a year ago but I've had to take care of my disabled mother (not the greatest recent graduate story). I found out early this year she has terminal cancer and has about less than a year. I've tried getting support from friends but many of them don't understand what I must be going through and many have flat-out told me I've been too emotional. I'm starting to feel incredibly alone in this situation as I'm losing friends and any form of support (other than my family - but we're collectively having a hard time too). How do I get through these times? It's hard enough that I'm probably one of a handful of 22 year olds going through this. I have the strength sometimes but there are times I just can't help but feel more and more alone with no one to turn to.


The Oracle replies:

You are experiencing something that nobody should have to, let alone someone of your young age. I would imagine that most people felt angry when they read that people have said you are "too emotional". I don't know how anyone would expect you to be anything but!
I suggest you look into support groups for carers where you can openly and confidentially discuss your feelings without feeling guilty or judged. It would be a great release for you emotionally to let out what you feel and to share with people who understand what you're going through because they are.
Respite care can really offer an amazing short term relief for you and family members.
I do feel it's important for you to get time off and away from your caring duties. Time for you to be you and do things that you enjoy. I understand that's probably very hard to think about with what you are facing but I'm sure all the family would benefit from some kind of rota system so that everyone can have some fun time - even if fun is the last thing you feel like having.
If you have even just one friend who is offering support - take it. You can't do this alone because while you're caring for your Mum, who is caring for you? Take support where you can and do talk with your family as they are going through the same as you - it will help.
If you have someone at a church (you don't need to be religious) or a community centre you could talk with, take that opportunity.
Also you may find help via the doctor/hospital who have been treating your Mum. If you visit cancer charities websites, they have sections aimed at carers and families of cancer patients - try and contact them as they may have some great advice and/or other people in your area that you could talk with.
You are no doubt exhausted by this so you can't be expected to have strength all the time but believe me when I tell you - you are doing great to cope with this so don't give up.
I wish I could do more for you. Hopefully some of the words this week will bring comfort in knowing we care.
Over to you.

'm very sorry for you and for what has happened. You need every bit of support at your side, and it's disappointing that your friends don't seem to understand or provide their care. It's reassuring to know that you have support from your family, and you can talk to them about how you are feeling whenever you like. When you have time, keep yourself busy with fun activities, or take up a new hobby. This will give you a break from the current situation and give you a more positive mindset. In addition, keep a journal and write down everything you are experiencing. When you are sad, jot it down. When you have strength, make note of it. Next time when you are overwhelmed, read your own words about having strength and let that inspire you to keep going. Warm regards, Blake.

I just wanted to say that I admire you for being such a help to your mom, and I'm sorry to hear she's sick. Your friends don't know how you feel because they aren't going through what you're going through, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't try and understand you. Your true friends will stick by you when you need them most. You're probably feeling overwhelmed sometimes which can lead to unstable emotions. You should look for a healthy way to let all your stress out. It usually makes me feel better when I talk to someone, or even just exercise. Try not to keep everything bottled in though. If you don't communicate how you feel with those around you, you end up isolating yourself even more. Although it must hurt to see your friends move on with their lives, and you might feel like you're being weighed down, keep your head up. Try to make some time for yourself and do things you'd like to do, you definitely deserve it. Plus, you always have us here at Coldplay, you aren't alone. Wish you and your family the best. Love, Darem.

Praying brings a marvellous peaceful feeling to the soul. When you pray, you know there is someone beside you, taking care of you. There is someone who is listening attentively to every word you say, someone who will not judge you, someone who is sympathetic and will do everything to heal your wounds. Even if you are atheist, you still know there is a supreme force in the universe. Go to church, close your eyes, feel the energy. Take your mother by her hands, close your eyes, and pray together. Carolina.

First off, I want to say that I’m very sorry for your family’s hard time right now. Secondly, I want to say that I think what you’re doing is amazing. Taking time to take care of your mother is selfless and very kind, and I hope you give yourself a lot of credit for that. True friends are there for each other no matter what, and it saddens me to hear that some of your friends aren’t being that supportive. My advice to you would be to let them go, then. You need to focus on helping your mother and of course, on helping yourself. So think of the people who do support you, because ultimately, it’s from them that you’ll get strength and encouragement. As I say often to people: you are never alone. Please remember that. I wish you all the best. Stay strong and good luck. Sincerely, Medina.

Listen to some Coldplay albums. Coldplay fixes all.

How sad a circumstance to be in. I feel for you greatly and anyone with an ounce of true character would be far more supportive. It is likely that the friends you have are so young and so untouched by death and suffering they don't appreciate what you need.
Perhaps the hospital where your mom receives treatment could help - a support group perhaps. Wwhat you also need is respite care for her, so you can be by yourself go for a walk, read a book...
Beyond that you need an ear to listen to you. Someone who you can tell your frustrations to. Maybe an older person could be a great support.
For the record you are not too emotional (what are they KIDDING!).
Believe me when I say I admire you and all you are doing.
I wish you all the strength you need as you carry on with this battle, do take care and remember, there are people who do care, Laurie.

It seems there is only your family who understand right now. You didn't mention whether you have a Dad at home or siblings but whether it's aunties, uncles, cousins, grandparents... talk to whoever you do have around. You wrote to the Oracle so that's letting some of your feelings out. Maybe you will feel a little better if you share them with your family. They are probably going through similar feeling to you so it may help you all to share. Best wishes. Alex.

Thanks to all those who replied to Marie at this incredibly tough time. Remember, Team Oracle is open to anyone so if you fancy replying, click to read this week's question, and send us your answer.