Life after caregiving.

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I was a caregiver for almost 6 years. First my grandma and then my mom. I didn't receive much help so my life revolved around them. I lost touch with friends and family. Now both of them have passed away, and it is hard to pick up your life again. I'm trying to try new things and to make new friends, but some days it feels overwhelming. My mom was always the person I could talk to even when she would have a hard time responding. I loved them both and being alone is hard. I'm not sure what was harder being the sole caregiver without a lot of help, or trying to live without them and being alone. It almost feels like I gave up my chance at a family when I took care of them, but I can't regret doing it because they are so important to me. I just had to talk to some one and this is all I have right now.

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Little. you aren't alone. Many long-term caregivers have to rebuild their lives. You may want to read this agingcare article: https://www.agingcare.com/articles/caregiving-ending-after-death-148071.htm
Blessing my friend, you'll make it.
Carol
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cdn -- Because you are executor, it will be difficult to "move on" at the pace you might expect to (and others might expect). Don't beat yourself up over it.

I was not my late mother's executor, but I was the only survivor who lived reasonably close to mom. I became the executor's "shadow figure," because I was frequently the only one who knew so-and-so's phone number.... knew mom's neighbors..... knew where fill-in-the-blank was stashed.....had keys to certain buildings..... knew who my parents' insurance agents, handymen, financial planner & lawyer were..... "had time" to make a jillion trips to cemetery, family home, real estate holdings, you name it.

I didn't get to "put it all behind me" and just....mourn. One year+ of re-living every nook and cranny of a sad passing and half-baked estate planning. It's hard to properly grieve your parent when his/her immediate legacy is chores, phone calls, unanswered questions and reams of paperwork.

Hang in there. You will be grumpy and feel lost and have zombie moments. If your mourning is a slow burn with some dips and curves, so be it. We get so entangled with the last parent. It's a rough ride.
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Dear Friends, I am so glad I found this thread. I was looking for guidance. My father passed away 6 weeks ago. I am lost. I spent every day for the last three years after his stroke trying to make sure he had everything he needed. I miss seeing him every day. The siblings have seemed to move on but as the primary caregiver and executor, I feel stuck. I don't know how to go forward, maybe its too soon. The counsellor suggesting planning a vacation as a distraction. But I think that is only a brief distraction. I read about grief work and I don't know how to see the future at this point.
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That was very brave & generous of you Little! Were they easygoing or difficult personalities? I´m finding it extremely difficult with both my insane parents...thanks for your inspirational account!
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Oh Little, my heart goes out to you. I totally understand where you're coming from.Your statement is my story - except I was the solo caregiver of both of my parents and now just my mother. Just as you were very close to your mother, I was very, very close to my father and I could talk to him about anything. And though he's no longer with me/us, whenever I make a decision, I say quietly under my breath, "I hope this is a good one, Dad." And like you, my prime years to have a chance at having a family of my own were spent taking care of my parents. Caregiving consumed me/is still consuming me that overtime I, like you, lost contact with friends. And because of the caregiving, I don't have anything in common with them as I've changed. Caregiving really puts into perspective what's important in life. I think it's okay for you to be lost, to be sad, to be angry, to be lonely, to be whatever it is you need in order for you to heal and transition into the next phase of your life. You know you best. And if solitude and being on the AC community is what you need for now, then good for you. But you are willing and ready, I think you should consider doing something fun, something out of your comfort zone. Push yourself. Challenge yourself. Take a risk. Personal growth is how we really learn how to be ourselves.
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Little, how are you feeling after your appointment today? I sure found a great counselor to talk to. This site has also helped alot, so many people going through so many similar things.
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Little, these special days will be hard. They always are for those of us who lose loved ones, and I don't know what to tell you but echo the others. You could, if the idea attracts you, offer to help serve Thanksgiving and/or Christmas dinners at a local church or the Salvation Army. JudyJourneys mentioned checking local church websites which is a great idea. Your local newspaper may also have listings but checking the sites ahead will let you plan if you want to attend services or help out. If the Salvation Army or another organization that helps feel the homeless needs help - and they almost always do - you can call them directly.

Don't feel bad about yourself if getting out and being involved isn't what you want. This works very well for some people. Others need to work it though in a quieter way. Talk to your counselor about this and see what she/he thinks.

Please keep us updated.
Carol
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Check the websites of churches in your area for times of their holiday services.
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I have found that volunteering on holidays helps me feel less lonely. I volunteered at a nursing home two years ago and helped get residents to their church service. It was nice to be around other people on that day and helping others. So if you feel like it might help you, check out where they're offering meals for the homeless and volunteer. Good luck and please keep us posted. Many of us will be here on Thanksgiving and Christmas...so you won't be alone. I'm on my computer every day, so feel free to message me on my wall and we can share those holidays. Hugs...
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Little, it is a process. I think getting involved, as Ephesians says, is a way to avoid greiving. Those that can do it, just get involved with something, that is to their credit. But for me, it is going to take personal work and time.
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