No one talks about the aftermath when your loved one dies.

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Hello all, I'm Shaddy and I came to this board last year. My Dad had just suddenly passed away from shingles going into his spinal cord, then his brain & causing seizures until he passed a few days later in March.

I moved from my house, my husband and my cats and moved in with my Mom (she had dementia)....I was there 2 months and she stroked. Came home with hospice and died in July.
I was alone with both my parents when they died. My Dad was 93, Mom was 90 and they had been married 70 years. I came here often to read more than post.......as I was the only child and the only caregiver. I had taken care of my parents for several years.

I don't know why I keep coming back here, but I do. I read and I feel your pain. It's like I need to be with others who have gone thru the same situations.

But I've noticed that not much is said after death. People state their loved one is gone....but not the aftermath of what happens in the weeks to come. After the funerals, after everyone has gone away and then it becomes a reality that they are gone forever and you will never see them again.
No one tells you how you will be doing fine and then when you least expect it, a wave a grief will wash over you and almost take you down.
No one tells you that when they die, you feel like your heart has just been ripped from your body.
No one tells you of the different emotions you will have to face.
THEN IT HAPPENS........YOUR body falls apart. Talking care of my parents did a number on my body. Things you make yourself not notice while you are caring for them......and then....wow. Your back is messed up from all the times you have pulled them, tugged them, helped them out of the floor........turned them over in the hospital bed to change them......your neck pain, stomach pain.....Aside from that the emptiness you feel in the days to come. Always feeling as though you are needed somewhere, to realize NOT ANY MORE! The sleepless nights, the nights you can't help but see their faces as they died.......you want to remember the smiling face, not the dead face......but the dead face is the one that comes into your mind.....it haunts you.

No one tells you about everything you need to do after they die. My parents had wills. Dad had his and Mom had hers.......which is almost useless because you still have to go thru probate court, you still have to get a letter from Medicaid that they don't owe them any money before it goes thru probate. (My parents never had Medicaid)......then you have to send a letter to IRS to see if any back taxes are owed.....then you have to let their estate run in the paper as a notice to creditors.....4 months.

So much to do, so many rules and regulations.....this hasn't included funeral arrangements and what you have to do there in the middle of your grief.

It's been over a year.....and I'm still tired.
So even when they died, it wasn't over.

Just had to write this out. I thank you all for holding me up last year. God Bless you all!

15 Comments

Thank you for sharing this.
Oh Shaddy, bless your heart. WE DO talk it out after our loved ones pass. There really is several of us on here, whom have been here for awhile, that are still struggling with the aftermath. You are right... no one tells us how we are supposed to just keep going. It's been less than 12 weeks... nightmares? No...but I wake up every hour listening for mom, to see if she's pacing, has fallen or is asleep....

Yes, my back hurts from trying to lift her off the floor... I'd sit there and just cry in frustration, mom was soaked... it was 4:00 A.M. No one to help... mom was
such a trooper and would tell me not to cry, she was ok. I WAS NOT OK!

Shaddy, you're not alone. I see both my parent's dead face. Both died in my arms and that is something I may never come to terms with. Especially my mothers.

I'm so sorry Shaddy.....
Thank you both for the response.

I think I left out one thing........one big thing. GUILT! Shoulda, coulda, woulda.....when does that go away? You do the best you can & you still feel the guilt.
Jeanette, I'm sorry you have been thru this and I'm sorry that I must have missed these posts. I sure needed to hear someone that understood.
I didn't know if it was just me seeing the dead faces.....how horrible!

I don't know either Jeanette......I don't know how to come to terms. It has been a long year, ups & downs.....going thru all the firsts (birthdays, holidays, etc) We have to keep going...but it is hard.
Shaddy what a poignant post. I got goosebumps reading it.

All I can do is reiterate what Jeanette just said. Her Mom and my Mom died within days of each other. We prop each other up as well as Countrymouse whose Mom died recently too.

All of us on here have gone or will go through this. The part where you said you picture your Mom's dead face and not when she was alive. God.....don't I know that feeling.

I remember one night in particular. My sister-in-law who is such a sweetie and I were sitting outside my Mom's hospital room knowing it could be anytime. We held hands and cried and I remember saying that I couldn't remember my Mom's face when she was laughing and just being Mom, alive and well.

You are not going through this alone my dear. Try to keep strong. I know how hard it is.
You're right, Shaddy. It seems everyone but the caregiver move on or tell you how relieved you must be that you don't have the burden of caring for your elderly parent anymore. I wasn't relieved nor was I able to move on right away. The truth is that it has taken me 3 years to move on and feel somewhat normal again. I will never be the person I was pre-caregiving and I'm not sure I would want to be emotionally. Physically is a whole other thing. My mom passed in 1988 and I spent several years feeling guilty that I did not stay at the hospital the night she took the last turn for the worst. I was with my dad in the home he and I shared the last 6 years of his life, the home I grew up in, when he died. While I will always be glad I was able to honor his wish to stay in his own home, I also realize the toll it took on me. I miss him every day but I have come to terms with the fact that he would have been gone much sooner if I had not been taking care of him, managing his heart failure symptoms to keep him out of the hospital. I know how grateful he was, he told me all of the time. But I tell my daughter to put me in a home, not to take on that responsibility no matter how much she wants to because I don't want her to live through the exhaustion, the depression, the ever present conflict of wondering if you have made the right decisions. I hope she listens to me. I'm so sorry for your pain and your loss, Shaddy. It is never easy when you give yourself to another human and lose them but I think it beats the alternative of never letting yourself feel that love, that sacrifice. God bless you and give you peace ~ Kuli
Yes, I have the shoulda coulda woulda too. Otherwise known as guilt. There have been many times I wished for a do-over, all that hindsight is 20/20 stuff. Nothing would change. I did my best. You did your best. I gave my everything to both my parent's.... somehow, from your post, I know you did as well. We loved our parent's. There are those of us who really are just super sensitive when other's can be more diplomatic about it. I find it very hard to do...

Without being morbid, yet letting you know I DO understand, yes, the faces after their spirit is gone is very hard to come to terms with. I crawled in after daddy... for one last kiss. Sorry, I can't say much more..... those images are forever in my head.

There, to my knowledge isn't one particular thread about this.... there are a few of us on the "whine" thread, that are going through exactly what you wrote about.... don't be alarmed if we cry.... it's still so fresh, but maybe we can figure this out together? Yes, it's hard.
Whether it was a long goodbye or sudden overnight shock, the physical part of our loved ones is gone. We get through it by remembering the best reasons to carry on. I honor my Mom's memory by fighting for my son's future and my own present. I tell her stories to keep her history alive. It doesn't get better, it gets different and my heart aches for your loss. Live well to honor the ones no longer here.
Gershun, thank you! It is a relief to know that others see that face and not just me. Sometimes I've felt so crazy. Lordy day, when you are growing up, no one prepares you for this part of life! I'm so sorry about your Mom.
Kuli, you are so right. When you come thru that storm you will NEVER be the same. I think you are changed forever. Losing them both in 5 months did change me.....and I stand in faith knowing they are together again. I do have that assurance.......but OMGosh, how hard it is to watch them take that last breath. I called out to God for mercy on my Mom & he took her in a matter of 10 or 15 minutes......Nope, I will never be same.
Shaddy I understand perfectly. When you say no one prepares you for this part of life you are so right. Even when your parent is elderly and you think you know whats coming it still doesn't get any easier.

I hope coming on this forum and hearing that you are not alone eases the pain somewhat. I've been trying to shut those sad images from my mind and immediately replace them with a more positive one. Lets just say I'm a work in progress.

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