I have been having overwhelming feelings of sadness from anticipatory grief and from what seems to be the withdrawal of my longtime friends.

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My father, soon-to-be 97, has been with us seven years. We recently brought in hospice and that really gives me a break; however, he is doing quite well. I suppose the guilt comes in whereas I know he will die someday but not knowing when is so difficult. I know this sounds terrible but I am ready for him to go but he keeps going like the energizer bunny. At the same time, I know I will be devastated when the time comes. Does this make sense? I just want my life back and now that it seems my friends are nowhere to be found it makes it even harder. My husband and I now have a sitter who comes on Tuesdays and we get away for eight hours. I am trying to get back to the gym. I recently sent an email out to two friends telling them I have set aside Thurs evenings for movie/pool/get together if they are interested. Tonight is the first night and i have not heard from anyone. So, I will watch the movie and have my wine by myself I guess. Is this a problem with any other caregivers and how do you cope with it?

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I'm sorry you are having such a rough time with this, but just because your siblings are not struggling doesn't mean you are alone. Many people go through what you are going through. You love your mom and don't want to lose her. That is natural.

You are compassionate and caring. Some people are just more sensitive than others. Acceptance is key here, as no amount of worrying will change it. It may sound trite, but if you try to concentrate on the blessing of having her this long, and look at how well she's done up to this point, it may help. Then, know you'll be there for her as she gets more frail. When she is worn out, she'll probably be ready to go and you may find it easier to let go of her at that point. You will still feel the pain, but knowing she's lived a long life will help you cope, and you won’t want to see her suffer
Carol
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september21,,dont worry about what your brothers and sister thinks . just do what you can do , if ure a caretaker then nobody on the outside of the family can understand whats going on daily like you do . just do what you can and enjoy helping your mother live , happy , feel the love . she respects you very much . shes at home to her daughter that looks after her . it means the world to her .
bless your heart .
dont worry about ur siblings .
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I am a caregiver to my mom who is 88. I hate seeing her decline and it causes me sadness. I have spoken to a few counselors which have not helped. I have one sister and 3 brothers who do not understand what I am feeling about her aging. They see her once every few months and are not concerned about her because I am here with her and they have their own lives. They tell me to focus on the positive but of course they do not live with her nor face her aging on a daily basis. She is becoming more frail and it is difficult for her to walk sometimes and I worry about what lies ahead. Many of her sisters lived into their 90's and if I am having a hard time with her being 88 - how can I handle her getting older?
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I read here, and listen to so many others say, "I feel terrible feeling this way," when they are watching suffering, and hope and pray the person can finally let go and die. I reapeat what I've said before only because most of us need to hear it often: you are not bad for having these thoughts. You are a caring and compassionate human being.

Give the most comforting care you can to your loved one and also to yourself.

Carol
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i know the feeling , i always pray and ask the lord to take my 86 yrs old father . sounds terrible to say that but honestly why let this man sit here and suffer , he cries i dont feel good . i hurt all over . makes me sad to see dad suffering and all i can do is make sure hes comfertable .
as for friends , they call and comes and vist me when they can, and its too bad i could never go to thier house and have a good time . i thought it was just a matter of time he be on his way out , well its been almost 3 years now , i honestly think he s going to live many more years . lol .. thats ok whatever dear good ole lord has plans for me i shall go down that path . wink
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Hello september 21, I feel your pain. I have recently gone through this and it is difficult to make peace with the fact that I am losing my dad and the gradual decline that has taken place over the seven years I have had him in our home. Get as much help as you can. I recently brought in hospice as they will come up to two years before, and they have been wonderful. I have an aide, nurse, chaplain, and social worker. It really helps to know I am not going through this alone. I am not one to take meds, but I have just started taking lexapro 5 mg, a very small dose, but I find it really has taken the edge off. I now have more energy and can let things go without spinning my wheels as I was doing. My husband and I have a sitter so we can get away during the week days. We really have to take care of ourselves as well. I spend as much quality time with dad as I can doing the things he enjoys such as my husband and I going to Beaufort tomorrow to get crabs and we have a sitter for the day. We are from MD so my father always had crabs for July 4th and labor day. My husband and I are planning a trip to MD as we have to have a life as well and I so trust my sitters and hospice in order to be able to do this. Being a Christian really helps me as I know dad will be in a safe place when God calls him home. So, take heart and know you are doing the best that you can, but PLEASE take care of yourself as well.
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My mom is 88 and I feel such sadness seeing her age and I live with her also which is difficult to be here 24/7. I love her very much but my heart is breaking because I am grieving also. I miss the Mom who was vibrant and active and now she is very tired and sleeps a lot and this distresses me. I am fearful of losing her and need to appreciate the time I have but it is very hard,
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Wonderful suggestions for social time without a lot of work, CGL. I've never been a social person and haven't ever really liked huge gatherings, but a good friend or two with some popcorn and some iced tea is a great idea. Much depends on whether or not this can give the respite a person needs or if they need to get out of the house, of course. But, it's a start.
Carol
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1215, I agree wholeheartedly with Carol, that your feelings are normal. You are not superhuman. We all have our upper limits in various life situations in which we find ourselves, and you reasonably sound frustrated that your life feels as if it is going nowhere, and, neither is your 97-year old Dad. Of course, you want him to live, and, you also want to enjoy your life before you run out of precious time in your life. We want our cake and we want to eat it too. Nothing wrong with our internal conflict!

One thing that caregiving does is to help a caregiver like you and me recognize how time flies, even as the support we provide sometimes seems to be occuring in slow motion. Nothing lasts forever, though. Today, I am happy to be able to see my Mom's face every day. She has always been my best friend, even at 84.

I am fully understanding your situation about greater distance between you and your friends. It happens to many of us caregivers, for various reasons.

In my situation, I am only too happy for a social breather from too many evenings out, too many happy hours, just schedule overload when all I really needed was to slow down in order to become a better caregiver. In my case, I would say that caregiving has taught me that I prefer moments of simplicity and more, rather than less solitude and reflection, instead of the social rat race.

I have gladly chosen to refocus and created new friends in my community, and, enjoy morning coffee visits now and then with my new friends, including neighbors I never got to know when I was always either going to work, or working too late. I increasingly turn down the requests to meet for happy hours, lunch, etc., but that's just me. My heart and Spirit are now in a different place because I recognize that life is short and I don't want a full schedule; just a contented Spirit and simply abundant days.

If your former friends have since moved on, is there anyone in your community you might be able to introduce yourself to over a cup of coffee in your garden, maybe? I am not a church-goer, but if you are, if your husband stays home with your Dad every other Sunday, allowing you to go to your church, or visiting a new church may be a way to connect to others real-time, as much, or as little as you wish. Or, how about a concert, or inviting a neighbor to a play, or for ice cream, or for a drive?

It depends on how much and how badly you wish to reconnect.

Another thing you may wish to consider is hosting a mid-morning coffee get-together with a couple of your neighbors in your garden? I am all for coffee minutes these days, and, hot tea, or iced tea, only because I do not choose to spend my precious moments of respite preparing complex meals and elaborate place settings, etc. Coffee and end-of-workday wine get-togethers on my deck require no preparation on my part, just getting comfortably dressed.

How much socializing are you wanting to do? Maybe host a movie night with popcorn and soft drinks only? Once a month? Every 2 weeks? There are always things to do; just depends on scale and scope of what you want, and, how involved you wish to become. Also, look for local charity events if you are wanting more, rather than less social visibility. I choose less. Hope my musings help. You are not stuck. You just have to think outside-the-box. Hope you get to restoring your sense of social balance really soon! Hugs to you and your beloved Dad!
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Thank you all so much! I am interested in that book Grief, dying, and death by Therese A. Rando. Thank you LoisW; I will have to get that one!! I am talking to the hospice counselor about this. No one has ever mentioned the ambivalence, but that certainly nails it as that is exactly the feeling accompanied by the grief. I have read a book All our losses, all our griefs which is a resource for pastoral care by Kenneth Mitchell and Herbert Anderson; however, the one you mentioned speaks to caregivers specifically so I am going to definitely read that.... thank you so much!!
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