I'm feeling alone. Any guidance?


As you may know from reading my posts, my mom passed in March 2017. I had always been her emotional crutch due to her anxiety and depression. So during the last 42 years I had called her daily, and visited once a week. The last year of her earthly life I visited daily, sometimes twice daily. She had a breakdown when I was 13. I have felt the need to help and protect her ever since that time. It was my job, I felt. My responsibility. And after her passing, I still felt the need to visit her, the responsibility to protect her didn't vanish upon her passing on. But, during the last few days, I've come to realize and feel that she is no longer here. Absolutely gone from this life. I still want to visit the cemetery once a week. But don't feel the need to do that as much. And as I contemplate moving out of state in a few months, it dawned on me that I am very much alone. No family except for an estranged sister. And some cousins that I haven't seen since I was a boy. I feel that when I move, if I move out of state, I will be leaving my mother behind in some sense. And I guess I have some lingering survivors guilt. But I guess, the gist of what I am trying to say is that for the first time I am realizing that my mother is gone, not here anymore, and no longer a part of my daily life. And I am getting used to not having the "job" responsibility of looking out for her anymore after a lifetime of trying to protect her. It's yet another level of the grief process I guess and separation from my old life to a new life. I'd like to hear everyones comments and thoughts and any guidance you might have for me. Thanks.

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Over the years I’ve come to realize that I have 2 families....my biological family & my family of the heart. Open your loving heart to the new people you will meet & gather the ones you connect with close. How courageous you are to begin life anew! You take your mother with you wherever you go tucked Alain heart & mind.

Dear Bloom,

Thank you for sharing your journey with us. Every time I read your posts, I feel like I could have written it myself. Our thoughts and feelings are so similar. I think its brave and courageous to move to a new place and make a new start.

I am grateful for all the thoughtful replies. They give me so much hope and encouragement. I think BlackHole said it best about the freedom being bittersweet. I honestly did not know or realize how horribly painful it would be to start over this life without my dad in it. Baby steps every day. They say the second year of grief is harder than the first. I guess I will see where it goes. But I do hear you, I, too feel very much alone. I have colleagues, friends, family and even a support group but I can't get away from feeling alone in this world without my dad. Why couldn't my dad have lived a little longer?

Take care of yourself and keep us posted on your journey. Wishing you peace.

Bloom, you seem like an intuitive, insightful, analytical person. I think you're a lot stronger than you realize, and will eventually find a path on which to begin your post-caregiving life.

There are some positive aspects to being a stranger - you have so much to discover. Find new activities, new groups, new pasttimes (as you're doing with driving now), and try to think of how much life still has to offer.

Sometimes life gets stale when you're with people you've known for years. Sure, there's the comfort of familiarity, but there's also the excitement of meeting new people.

After all, you're ONLY 65 years young!

Thanks for all your thoughts. It is quite the journey, grief. I'm a stranger where I live now. Everyone is gone. I think I have one friend left!!! And this is a huge city. I don't feel I belong here anymore. So I have been planning moving back to the city I grew up in as a boy. And will visit there next week. I have been back several times to visit over the years. I am a stranger there too. Don't know anyone. But when I compare where I live now and where I want to move to. It's the exact same situation. I am a stranger in both places. But want to move back to where I grew up. Its a much prettier place, not so expensive, beautiful hills rivers lakes, etc. I will just have to start over at age 65! I thought my mother would have lived a few years more. But it was her time. When the body is ill at those extreme ages, there's not much that can change the inevitable. It's just the fact that I am starting over, moving to a different state 900 miles away. But I am familiar with the area. And I am an expert at moving, having lived in 13 cities and 7 states by the time I was 21. So I am not afraid of the act of moving, just worried or concerned that I can make friends, get established in some community, and start a new life!!!! And also leaving behind my family at the cemetery. It will be a totally new start for me.

Gershun, it's interesting that you drove back to the "old neighborhood." I did that for several years after my sister died. Seeing that house brought back so many memories.

They lessened though after the house was sold and the new owner made changes. Then it was no longer "my sister's house" and I began to lose interest in it, turning to the memory of how much work needed to be done and wondering if the new owner had ever dealt with some of the complications (need for extensive rewiring, separation of the front porch as it subsided every year) and problems with the steep slopes in the front and back of the house, to the point that the back was soggy and actually trapped a commercial lawn mower once.

It's interesting how much we become attached to homes we've lived in.

Bloomschool, I totally get what you are saying. I too always felt my Mom even when we weren't together. It was like we shared the same soul. I thought for some reason I would still feel this even after she died. I thought a love that strong could survive even death.

The immediate aftermath of her death with all the emotions, I didn't feel the loss as greatly but now 2 and a half years after her death her absence is a definite presence in my life if that makes any sense. I too have moved, just last month and drove back to the old neighborhood on Halloween and felt this deep sadness. It felt like since I moved from the old neighborhood that she and I shared that I really left her.

I wish there was some profound advise that I could offer but I'm really in the same boat as you. I think maybe I've seen too many movies where people feel their dead loved one's presence and I suppose I thought I'd feel that too but except for the odd dream of my Mom I've really not felt that. She is gone and here I am.

She was a strong Christian and I know where she is, she is happy and that she would want the same for me. I'm sure Bloom that your Mom would want that for you too. Try to honor her memory by living the best life you can.

Bloomschool, I will pray tonight over the regret you’re feeling, asking our Lord to have mercy on you. What I hope you’ve been told by the Hospice folks is that in many, many cases the loved one passes away once all the family or visitors have left. I have heard that so many times. I was told it is almost like they’re waiting for you to leave. The same happened when my husband passed away and I had only gone outside for some fresh air for a short time. So many people have told me how frequently that happens that it did help me. You’ve been so good to your mom and so attentive that I am more inclined to believe that had she been cognizant when her time came, she would not have been thinking she was alone but rather what a wonderfully loving son she had and how blessed she was because of you!

I guess I still feel responsible for my mother even thugh she has passed. She always had to hear from me daily and visit her. I still feel that responsibility. So now that she is gone I am feeling confused. Feeling the need to still visit her at the cemetery and on the other hand realizing I don't have to do that. Also feeling like a stranger where I live. She was my "home". She is gone, no immediate family. So I am feeling lost in some ways. Don't know where I belong anymore.

Yes, I suppose and actually know that I will feel better and more normal in the future. I just got back from the cemetery, and it was raining. But I stood out there in the rain praying and talking. I never had a problem when my dad died when I was 21. But with a mom, it's different. Plus she was there my entire life. I guess the big lesson is to appreciate each other while we have the chance. I am just now learning that. Darn!!!!!
The thing that I greatly regret was that I wasn't there when she passed on. I was there almost everyday for two months, and the day I decide I need to stay home and rest, she left this earthly life. I had no last words with her, and I would visit in the morning and at night I would call her up and they'd put a phone up to her ear and I would tell her I love her and it's ok for her to pass on. She was of course in hospice at the time, pretty much out of it with dementia and or sleeping. But the nurses said she responded when I called and would move her legs. I so regret not being there in her last moments. A regret I probably will always have. And when I go to the cemetery I cry and tell her how sorry I am that things weren't different, that she suffered, and that I wasn't there when she passed. I think if I was there, it would have given me some closure. I guess there's no easy way to deal with death. It's not a pleasant experience. Perhaps if she had some religious belief it would have made it easier, but she fought to the bitter end to stay alive. Thanks everyone for your post, it helps me a lot.

BloomSchool: You will feel your freedom. Someday. Sometime. It will probably take longer than you want it to. And the freedom is bittersweet.

My mom died almost 2 years ago. I am finally — now — emerging from the fog of......

*Transitioning directly from stepdad’s funeral to being mom’s caretaker.

*The general sadness and frustration of mom’s decline.

*The infuriating distortions of truth that came from Mom’s clear-headed moments AND Mom’s not-so-clearheaded moments.

*The despair of Mom expecting me to heartily accept her self-neglect

*The despair of everyone else expecting me to fix Mom’s self-neglect.

*The slanted perceptions of relatives and those in Mom’s limited social circle.

*The concurrent churn of workplace drama and nonsense from the in-laws.

*The roadblocks that emerged from Mom’s estate “planning” — or lack thereof.

Honest to heavens, BloomSchool, I thought I’d never be “right” again. Almost came to accept it.

I am finally feeling better. Somewhat.

Still, I cringe at many of the memories, old stories and triggers. Mom always expected me to identify with her way more than was healthy or appropriate.

Since Mom has passed, well-intentioned people will tell me an “awww” story about Mom and the supposed good-old days. The intent is to share a fond memory. Nothing wrong with that! But often I have to put on “my mask,” because there’s a subtext or backstory that Mom dumped on me....and the recollection is not as feel-good as the speaker thinks it is.

Time and distance are helping. Cliche, but true.

Just recently, I am able to say things to myself like, “Damm, now I have no one who shares my great love of rhubarb” — without it devolving into a rabbit-hole of neurotic circle-thinking.

It’s just....a memory. A shared thing that Mom & I had. A common bond that was not fraught with my old role as Mom’s parentified partner in dysfunction.

I am hoping for more moments like this.

You’ll find your way, BloomSchool. But it might take a while. Be patient and be kind to yourself. (((hugs)))

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