I wanted to get back here and share some of my thoughts and emotions as it will be 3 weeks Tuesday that my mom passed. I'm still not able to go a day without crying. She lived with us for 10 years, my kids are at college and my husband still works outside of the home. I work at home and the hardest part is the quiet. Her O2 machine was running constantly for the past year, and turning that off after she passed... the quiet. And now, during the day when I would normally check on her and get her something to eat after finishing a conference call...the quiet and the loneliness.

She was mentally strong, but her COPD and heart issues took their toll. For a good while she always got up every day, dressed, read books, got on FB, even baked for us sometimes. Then the past couple of months, I saw her slowing down..until within the last couple of weeks she started sleeping, didn't have much interest in getting on her iPad to read or do FB. But she still got up and came to the family room until her very last day. I feel I was in denial that it was actually happening, and then happening so fast. I feel I wasted time I could have taken off work to spend with her in those final weeks. I know she was comforted to be here with her family, she watched my kids grow up, she was loved. But this regret, the guilt, the would have, should have, could have... these thoughts still make me sad and then I cry.

I'll try to keep checking in here and sharing thoughts. It helps so much to read all of yours. Thank you, all of you, for sharing your stories here.

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You should not be so hard on yourself. You did a great job, you loved her and she FELT your love. What more could we ask for? You are human and you are very special to care SO much about her. Be kind to yourself…. I bet that’s what she would want for you. May your days be sunny once you have grieved her loss . You will ALWAYS miss her. You will carry her in your heart forever. 💜💜

Please left your grief be for the loss of your mother, not guilt, regret, the would have, should have, could have for yourself. Everyone who loved someone thinks about things that could have been different, at the end or earlier in life. We all do the best we can. My experience is that grief for loss is a ‘J curve’. It gets worse as things sink in, and it takes quite a while for it to get better. Hang in there! Yours, Margaret

PS: Yes, any sound like the morphine driver (a small solar pump was the worst) sends me right back. And she came to see me twice when things were crook. Once in hospital when I had just had a hysterectomy, the other when I was badly jetlagged. I looked in a mirror, and she looked back at me. It may have just been that my face looked prematurely aged, but I still said ‘Thank you, Mum’.

dear onlychild,

my deepest condolences to you!

your mother sounds like she was very sweet:
…through her illness, still baking for all of you!
…and came to the family room until the very last day!

wishing you lots of strength in this very difficult time.

big, big hugs!!!

i really like tynagh’s words below. so i quote here:
“you gave your mom the best. She was loved and lived with family. You were great!!! You'll be great again, but it will take time.”

That was what it was. You were not in denial. You saw the changes but I bet your mom would not have wanted you to change a routine that had been so much a part of her life and yours for 10 years.
You should have no regrets and absolutely no guilt. You did an amazing job, you were a loving caring daughter.
I know what you mean about the quiet. The morning the Funeral Home came to take my Husband and I shut off the bed I could not believe how quiet the house was. I actually turned the bed back on later and slept in it just to hear the "noise". For months I would wake up at the same time I did for 5 years to check on him, change him and make sure he was not tangled up in sheets. (and to see if I needed to change the sheets as well) For a long time I would check my watch to see if I had time for 1 more thing before I had to get back before the caregiver had to leave...only to remember that there was no caregiver that I had to get back for.
All that passes.
The difficult thing now is to find your "New Normal" and to find out who you are now that you are no longer a full time caregiver. Rediscovering yourself, finding out who you and your husband are as a couple.

Forget what I call the "Wouldacouldashoulda" you can not change what was, you can only move forward.

Your mom is still with you. I bet there are times when you see her in the mirror, when you laugh you hear her laughter. When you see your kids, there is a bit of here there as well. She is gone physically but she is still with you.

I will leave you with this, I have this taped to my wall right in front of me now...
Grief never ends
But it changes
It is a passage, not a place to stay.
Grief is not a sign of weakness
Nor a lack of faith.
It is the price of love.

Your mother was like mine: tough and strong right up until the bitter end. Like my mother, she got up and got dressed every day, went into the activities room at her Memory Care ALF, and was the cheerleader for others. I marveled at how she could DO that, day in & day out, at 95 years old, with more issues than Newsweek. Yet she did. Until one day she went to bed and became unresponsive, and died exactly one week later. Without much 'warning', either. But the way I look at it, she lived life to the best of her ability, right to the very end. And so did YOUR mother.

You didn't miss anything, nor were you in 'denial'. Your mother played the game of life beautifully, until she could play it no longer. She was loved and cared for by you and your family and she felt that love on a daily basis. Stop beating yourself up for what you 'didn't' do or what you 'missed' and realize this: Mom didn't want you to know she was fading away, as my mom didn't want anyone to know SHE was fading away. They lived life to the fullest until they couldn't anymore, then God took them Home, as mercifully as possible.

It's okay to cry and to feel the loss that mom's absence has made in your life. It's not okay to feel guilty for something you 'should have' or 'could have' done but didn't. You did everything to ensure she had a good life, and mom is smiling at you from up above and saying GOOD JOB, dear daughter!

Please don't waste your time on the would haves, could haves and should haves. That will get you nowhere fast. Your mom would not want you now crying over theses things.
Instead she would want you to focus on the fact that you were able to live with and care for her and give her the best quality of life possible under her health circumstances. That should bring you great peace and joy.
And know too that feeling a sense of what do I do now that I don't have someone to care for is quite normal for us caregivers. I cared for my husband for many years and after he died, I wandered around my house for months wondering what it was I was supposed to be doing now. He too was on oxygen for the last 22 months of his life and I had to get used to the quiet in my house after he passed without the oxygen concentrator running, but I can tell you now that I really enjoy the quiet in my house, especially first thing in the morning.
So give yourself time. You will adjust to what will now be your "new normal," and allow yourself time to grieve, and remember the many good things about your mom, and that how very blessed you were to have a mom that you actually wanted to care for and have in your home. Not all of us have been that blessed.
I pray God's blessings over you as you now walk through your grieving process.

Thank you so much, onlychild. So good of you to share thoughts with us. Remember to try to change out your G-WORDS because words matter in our brains. GUILT means you are an evil doer who did things all wrong on purpose and everyone suffered for it, and would you have done things altogether differently your Mom would be here. Those in our world who SHOULD feel guilt are for the most part incapable of it.
But GRIEF knows that you suffered in pain WITH your Mom, in confusion about what was best, and that you tried to do the best FOR her, given you are not god, but a human being with limitations, and no magic wands.
You saw her comfort, and you know now you need never fear for her again; she is at peace. You can remember the comfort she had, and can celebrate her life. The experts say sometimes we stay in "guilt" so we don't have to face Grief, because grief feels so final. It means you have to let go. And you will have to, but you will do it in your own way, your own time, and while you live, on some level your Mom will always be there with you. I am 80. My Mom is Frances, and she is there for me still, a friend, a helpmate.
When my beloved brother died, a man I always exchanged long letters with when we didn't live in the same city, I continued to write him, tell him things I wished could have been different, told him what I saw that day that made me smile and remember him, decorated it with pressed flowers and collage. About one year later, a bit before, I felt myself letting go (more, it felt as though he were "moving away" from me, "moving on"). Whatever it was, I think of him daily still, always with a smile, wonder sometimes if I am changing him into a mythological creature who was "almost always good". I just embrace the "magical thinking" of this time. And I let myself wonder.
Please stay on Forum. Please answer and help others. You have learned more than you can realize, and can be a help to those still moving through those passages you are.

I feel for you Onlychild. I'm an only, too. Caretaking my mom at home. Only I have not kids/spouse to deflect from the "onlyness". As burned out as I am, I am in tears thinking of the day I will live in that house alone without a soul to love or be loved by. Ahh, but this is life, isn't it. Anyway, you gave your mom the best. She was loved and lived with family. You were great!!! You'll be great again, but it will take time.

Dear onlychild
im so sorry for your loss.
she would have been so comforted to know that she was there with her very loving caring family over the years, seeing them grow, knowing you were all there and having family time together.
thinking of you all

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