About one year ago, this forum helped me keep my sanity while being the primary care-giver to a special needs older brother and my elderly mother. My brother passed away in January, 2018. My mother passed away last week, one day after suffering a massive stroke.
Mother took us through it all and wore me out. I won't bore you with the details, because you are all living your own story, or nightmare as it often seems to be. I'm going through a gamut of emotions, ranging from sadness, relief, emptiness, and feeling free for the first time in several years. (a bit guilty over that last one.) No more wheelchairs, depends, potty chairs, feeling like we can't go anywhere because you never know when the phone will ring, multiple weekly visits to her assisted living facility, where you never got credit for a visit under 1 and a half hours. No more setting up medical appointments only to have her refuse to go. No more talk about how she's going to go back home. She is home now.
No more worries about mini-strokes, no more spinal stenosis, no more trouble swallowing, no more being practically blind, no more of her desperately missing my dad and my older brother, who have gone on before her.
But also no more stories about the cute things I did as a little boy. No more having her as a source of family history when you can't remember the details of all the old great aunts and uncles. No more having a mother who, even after a knock-down argument over how she was going to "leave this dungeon where I've been locked up", would tell me she loved me just as I left.
Strange thing as I write this. I know she's in a better place. But after the hell of the last few years, I find myself wishing I could talk to her one more time. My mother was a loving person in her younger days. The personality change only came on in her later years of physical and mental decline. But the personality change was severe and left me exasperated many a night. But when you know down in there somewhere is the mother who gave you life and loved you, you're still not quite ready for today to be the day.
God blessed me with the opportunity to spend her last night with her in the hospital, to talk to her when she couldn't speak, to pray over her and read her favorite Bible verses to her, and to hold her hand with her fingers slightly squeezing mine, her only method of communication. I was there for her final breathe and will go to my grave thankful that she didn't have to die alone.
For those of you still fighting the fight, take heart. Don't feel guilty for taking some time for yourself. Take care of yourself physically and spiritually. And know that a day will come when it ends. Take care, my friends.