how do I put my life back together?

For anyone who is bereaved or no longer providing care.
I like the idea of a cookery course. It's always easier to mix when you are not especially confident if you are working alongside someone, rather than just a "social" event. I've often volunteered to do the teas/coffees at events, which many people seem to think is beneath them (!) In this way you meet almost everyone at an event, and find out which ones you like most, and might like to become friends with. In my area there is a volunteer bureau, matching volunteers with jobs available, perhaps there is something similar in your area? My son has "severe learning difficulties" because he can't read or write, but he can drive our 12 ton steam roller, no problem. Sadly, there are very few male support workers for him to share his engineering interests, take him to visit steam railways, rallies etc. Maybe you might like to consider this sort of work?
Thank you for your kind suggestion. Some day I might take it up. But for the time being I am still deeply upset a lot of the time. When I go out I hold it back but I get upset when I get back to my late mums flat. I have just found out my brother - who had little interest in caring for his mum - is now contesting her will. I looked after her ( I wanted too ) but he barely had contact. Now he wants half the money - not much to him but a lot too me. This is setting me back to and deepened my sadness further.
I count the days since my mum left and pray she is still about with me. I find a bit of comfort going to the cemetery ( nearby ) but still in a mess 8 months on. I don't want to go to the GP but counselling isn't helping much and I've nearly finished the 12 allocated sessions. It's the toughest time.
8 months is no time at all. However, you will only really move forward when you have started to deal with things that upset you. So how are you getting on with dealing with the contents of the flat? Tackle outstanding jobs before taking on new ones.
I agree, 8 months is nothing at all. At the very least you will need to see the year through, as until an entire year has passed, we look back and say 'this time last year xxx was still alive'.....and it hurts and hurts and hurts.

It's hell going through bereavement (like BB I am widowed) - one thing I did when my mother died was write her a letter. I sat down in a café, and wrote and wrote and wrote....telling her how much I loved her and missed her. I've written long letters to my husband too.

I wonder if your local hospice organisation can offer more counselling for you? Mine were wonderful when my husband died. Also, your local church/chapel may well offer it, or even from the ministers. My church has a service of rememberence every year on 1st November (All Souls Day), and since that date is coming up, perhaps your nearby churches or chapels would offer one. It helps to realise that we never mourn alone, that others, too are grieving the loss of those they love.

As for your brother, well, assuming that your mother's will favours you (as it should!), then tell him to get stuffed! Has the will gone through probate yet? That may make a difference. Whichever way, please consult your probate solicitor to see whether there is any chance your brother could possibly contest the will. It would have to be, I think, under the 1975 Family and Dependents Act, if he were, say, completely broke or whatever.

But if he has no legal claim at all (and I hope he doesn't) do NOT let him pressurise you into giving him anything at all, except maybe a few keepsakes. Remember, your mother made the will SHE WANTED TO MAKE, and if she wanted YOU to have more than him, then that was her will and her wish. It would honour her and respect her wishes for you to stick with what she wanted. If she'd wanted your brother to have more than he's got, the she'd have put it in the will! She didn't, so she didn't want him to have any more - so don't give him any!

I do wish you well. I know it sounds a cliché, but this time next year things will not be so bleak. Right now, they are, and it bears witness to the love you have for your mother. I do most truly believe that 'they watch over us' as we continue on our life's journey, and we never, ever, ever lose their love - their love for us is in our hearts, and keeps us safe. I am a mother myself, and I know that when my time comes, my son will never, ever, be without my love, all his life.

With kindest regards, at a bleak time in your life, Jenny
As a child, I was read the story of the little red hen. No one wanted to help with ploughing, sowing the corn, weeding etc., but everyone who wouldn't help wanted some of her bread. You reap what you sow, or don't as the case might be. You no longer have to be polite to your brother for mum's sake. So tell it straight. The second word is "off"! He was never there when mum needed him most, just the same as my brothers. My mum rewrote her will in my favour, as I always did my best (not easy with a mentally handicapped son). My fit and able brother was always "too busy"playing golf, going to the gym, having a perfect life. Now I can enjoy my inheritance with a clear conscience, often thinking "thanks mum", and you should do the same!
My situation is similar to Bowlingbun's. I doubt whether I will see my sister again except at family events where we are both invited. As she was busy claiming the silver from Mum and Dad's house, I claimed the photos and documents relating to their lives.
I have also come away with the stories they told me of their lives and lots of lovely shared experiences with them over the last years of their life. These things are never written in a Will but, in my view, are far more precious.
Juggler, I think there's a line in Shakespeare along the lines of...

'Who steals my purse steals but trash'.....

Sounds like your sister's heart is as cold as the silver she took.....

Your 'inheritance' of photos and memories is far more precious. Your sister took what she thought was 'valuable' - but you have what is truly valuable.