Follow
Share

I cared for my mother for 8 years until she passed at the end of July. Day and night and now that the funeral has taken place, no one calls, no one shows, no emails or text. Then the family shows wanting to know when everything is going to be sold. Then you continue to get up through the night as you always have but don't need to now.


I want to move but at times you sit and just stare and wonder what's next?


I am social security aged so I just cant jump back into a corporate career.


What have others done?

I cared for my husband for many years in our home up until his death last year, and for months I found myself wandering around my house wondering what it was that I was supposed to now be doing. I am only 62, and I have still not returned to work as I feel that I deserve this time to just take care of myself, and try and figure out what I want to do next. And I cannot lie, I have actually enjoyed this time to myself.
It does take time to get out of the "caregiver" mode and into whatever is next, so just be patient, and allow yourself this time to grieve, and rest, as caregiving takes a lot out of us physically, mentally, and spiritually. In time you will find yourself feeling more refreshed and wanting to get out there more and find things to do that you enjoy.
But don't rush it. It's important to sit in whatever the feelings are for this time in our lives and actually feel them. So many people try and hide from their feelings by purposely staying very busy and ignoring them. That is not healthy, and you really won't be able to move forward until you have dealt with your feelings in a healthy manner.
So instead, maybe try taking some small baby steps for now, like maybe getting back into church and or a Bible study. Or maybe meeting a friend for lunch or dinner once a week, just to break your routine. Over time you will figure things out, but for now, just take care of yourself.
Now may "The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face to shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace." Numbers 6:24-26
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to funkygrandma59
Report
redroseman Oct 20, 2021
You need to write a book as your words are so on target and appreciated and I am extremely thankful! You are an inspiration! And let me send something right back at you....

Now may "The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face to shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace." Numbers 6:24-26

Thank you!
(3)
Report
I forgot to answer your question.   There are times when I can't or don't plan b/c I'm still adjusting to my losses.    I listen to music, a lot, sometimes all day long, then I can think better.

There are things I've always wanted to do, so I work on planning them and assessing whether they're doable.  E.g., for some years I've wanted to create a Victory Garden and grow food for Veterans.   Now I've learned the VA already has that kind of program in place.  

I used to play piano at rehab homes when my parents or sister were there.   I haven't played since my father died, not for lack of interest but just b/c my playing deteriorated so much.  So I've started learning all over again; it takes my mind off other issues.

I've also wanted to learn more about woodworking, so I'm locating all the stored magazines on woodworking, including marquetry and intarsia (which really intrigue me), and trying to be realistic about whether or not I should venture into these challenging activities.  And seeing some of the designs reminds me how much I miss embroidery and quilting.  

One potential craft leads to another, but it helps when the birthdays and holidays come around; that's when the sadness and loneliness are the worst. 

And if it's any consolation, I used to, but seem to be past getting sick on family birthdays or deaths.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to GardenArtist
Report
redroseman Oct 20, 2021
Thank you for the kind words!
(1)
Report
I feel like I lost much of my family when my last parent died. I’ve had to purposely find positive people and experiences to make up in some part for the losses of both loved ones and relationships. I’m back working part time, it’s nice to have the distraction even though it’s not a real career maker kind of job. I’ve joined a church ladies group that has uplifting to be around people. And I take lots of walks to enjoy nature. Don’t sit in the house or spend too much being sad over the relationships. I sloughed through cleaning out the house and selling it, it’s not for everyone but for me not dragging it out helped. And I let relatives come get things on my terms. I’m sorry for your loss and hope you’ll find a positive way forward
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to Daughterof1930
Report
redroseman Oct 20, 2021
Thank you for the kind words. Thank god for my mothers dog, it does force me out of the house and go for a walk. I am going to make phone calls tomorrow to see if there are any bereavement groups just to talk. Thank you again!
(6)
Report
See 1 more reply
Give yourself time. I also lost my mom at the end of July, and I'm just wandering around the house wondering what I'm supposed to do with the mental energy that for the part seven years was spent on worrying about Mom.

Ignore the relatives until you're ready to deal with them. It's sad that people don't think to check in on how you're doing, because I think people believe you're doing great now that the burden has been lifted. Unfortunately, it wasn't a burden -- it was Mom -- and you've lost her, your purpose, and your full-time job all at once. People don't understand that.

It takes time to get your head back above water, so give yourself that time. I still haven't done anything about my mom's house and I'm not too concerned about it. My brother is living there right now, so I can't do much until he moves in a couple of months. I've disbursed most of the finances, but other than that, I'm just floating in limbo for a while, and I've decided that's OK.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to MJ1929
Report
redroseman Oct 20, 2021
I am truly touched by your words and thank you. I am still living in moms house and let the others know I want to buy their share since it is in a trust. Of course delays. You said it wasn't a burden...it was MOM! Until you do the job no one will understand that. I still ask myself when I made mom comfortable or tucked her in why she had to think she had to say thank you! It was a privalidge! Then the times she would look up and ask me "do you know how much I love you?" You said it exactly, you lost your purpose and your full time job!! THANK YOU FOR YOU!
(4)
Report
I rushed into house clearing and resolution until I became overwhelmed by the grief and had to back off and give myself a break. 

On another level, I've also experienced the "hands out" experience.    The day after Dad died, a noncontributory relative advised what he INTENDED to take.  (I stopped that immediately and told him I was changing the locks to the house.)  
Another wanted a holiday tree Dad had designed and made.

During the rest of the week, I was advised by neighbors who did help what they wanted (outboard motor, specific lawn chairs, and a set of cupboards about 12' long that my father had designed and built). 

Later, another who wasn't even a neighbor told me he wanted to buy the house for the children of his lady friend who he'd been seeing for 5 years.    He didn't come right out and say it, but it was clear he expected priority consideration, even offering his lawyer daughter to prepare the closing papers!  

Reality set in quickly.    I told those with wiggly hands and greedy appetites that nothing could be disposed of at that time since it had ALL been transferred into the Trust, which established priorities.   That kept them at bay.   But it was a very abrupt awakening on greed.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to GardenArtist
Report
WearyJean Oct 22, 2021
Wow! It's mind-boggling that people could act that way.
(5)
Report
See 1 more reply
I'm so sorry for what you're going through. I feel you, I really do. My parents both passed away in June/July, I live by myself, and am the trustee and handling all the finances, etc. I find myself thinking "what now?"
I really think that people don't know what to say after the first "I'm sorry." They worry that if they say something, it will upset us. So they avoid. Grief is very lonely, I'm finding. Even though I have three wonderful siblings who love me, we are all grieving. Was she in hospice? Even if not, they are a good source of information for grief support groups and counseling. I highly recommend talking to someone to help you through. I started my first counseling session today, and even that one conversation has helped. I mean, it's still going to be really hard for a while. But I'm looking forward to her helping me figure out what's next. I wish you peace in your journey.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to LisaSF
Report
redroseman Oct 20, 2021
Lisa, I never thought of calling Hospice for info. Mom was not in hospice but I did have a nurse who has been a wonderful friend. She was the one to say be patient and that it will take time. Thank you for the kind words and please accept my condolences and prayers!
(1)
Report
I started reaching out when the phone calls stopped. It has made a difference and people know that I want to stay in touch with them and not just about my dad.

Try reaching out and asking people how they are doing. Be positive and hopefully, you will gain some refreshed relationships that aren't centered on your loved one.

I am sorry for your loss and pray that The Lord leads you forward with much joy in your life.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to Isthisrealyreal
Report
BurntCaregiver Oct 22, 2021
Isthisrealyreal,

This is in response to the comment you left for me on the thread.

Please don't patronize me. We all know that people always say if they can do anything or do you need anything when someone dies. That's because people don't know what else to say. They don't mean it literally. Close friends and family are a different story. Even they aren't going to be in grief and mourning with someone for years at a time. People have lives and they get back to them.
I certainly do not need you to pray that I "find someone with a sincere heart" who can show me that "there's still caring, kind people in this world". Thanks, but no thanks. Considering that you don't know me from Adam you would have no idea the kinds of people I've known over the course of my lifetime. Or whether or not they have been kind and caring with sincere hearts.
I live in the real world. You know, reality. The reality is after the funeral lunch has been served and the bar tab runs out, most people go home and get back to their lives.
I don't know if you have unlimited leisure time and can go and sit with a person for hours on end or listen to them on the phone for hours either, because they are sad and grieving. Most people can't do this. It's not because they don't care. They have lives and jobs and families of their own and homes to maintain and bills to pay. This is reality.
Grieving people often join bereavement groups to get attention and understanding they need. I belonged to one for years. Everyone there knew exactly what everyone else was going through. Either they were going through it themselves or they've been through it.
I left them when I no longer needed the group. Some people stay longer. That's what it's for.
(2)
Report
See 2 more replies
Have you thought about being a volunteer for somewhere? I’ve always said that when I can’t work I would volunteer in an animal shelter it will get you meeting people as well and get you out of the house
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to Taylorb1
Report

Like yourself, I took care of my mother for the past decade, who passed this June. Although I didn't live with her, I did spend a lot of time every week with her, and during the last months, daily - up to 12-14 hours a day- whether it was in the hospital, AFH, and hospice. As the only child with no other family members, I had to take care of and deal with everything -pre, during and post. She has been gone now for 4 months, and I am still learning how to 'be' without her. What to do with my days and nights, what to do with my time.

There was no funeral because the only living friends she still had were either cross country or out of country, and since mother was 95yo, most of her remaining friends were either same age or older and unable to travel.

Prior to her passing, I received weekly calls, emails from those whose lives she had touched. After she passed, except for the immediate 'sorry for your loss', noone has reached out since. I think it is because everyone else has gotten on with their lives and also, perhaps, contact with me might remind them of their own or immediate family mortality. It is all o.k. with me - they were not part of my everyday life, so they have their own set of issues and problems to deal with.

I did sell my mother's place (I couldn't afford mine and hers), but I packed everything up and placed in storage. And I am now going through the storage, only 1-2 boxes a week making the decision - keep, toss, donate. That way I am not overwhelmed. I am also spending time resting - physically, mentally and spiritually - for I now have the time. Also, taking care of all the medical appointments I 'should' have had. Although her passing has provided me with the freedom of choices I didn't have in the past 10 years, not making any big life changing decisions right now - I would say I am in my 'cogitating/planning stages' right now with an eye to perhaps doing changes in another year or two.

I have, though, started participating in some 'lighter' activities I have always wanted to do but didn't for various reasons - learning to tap dance (something fun), learning to play the guitar (mother didn't allow it), joining a bookclub (where I can start expanding my circle beyond caregiving). Not too many, not overcommitted. Maybe I will continue with these, maybe I will find something else.

Everyone grieves differently - there is no 'right' or 'wrong' way. Some pick up and move on quickly, others need time, a lot of time, to process. Some transition within a few months, others might take a year or two. Only you know what will be right. If you need to talk to someone, please do contact a bereavement/grief group- sometimes it is easier to share with those who do not know you/your family/your history. And for those individuals who were there but are no longer, and you might want them in your life, reach out and let them know you would like to stay in touch. As others have said, many do not know what to say or how to say and do not communicate because of that. Maybe they will want to stay in touch, maybe they won't, but at least you will know.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to Annabelle18
Report
Tootieboot Oct 22, 2021
what a very thoughtful response, I just lost my nephew and have wanted to contact his wife, as it still grieves me as well. Thank you for your thoughts on this matter. Helpful
(2)
Report
So sorry for your your loss. I cared for my Mom for three years before she passed at 91 but I was still working and had hobbies that I'd neglected. I am an only child so I didn't have to deal with greedy relatives. I think you need to give yourself time to adjust to this new chapter in your life .... big exhilation!!! And now as you talk to you Mom (because she is still there loving and watching you, you just can't physically see her) slowly begin to live the life she would have you live. You know that she would want you to enjoy yourself and continue to learn and grow. Remember also that "reaching out is a two way street". As someone posted before frequently people are somewhat afraid of saying something that will upset you so they kind of stay away. Reach out to them with a text or phone call saying that you are thinking of them and miss their communication. Not all will replay but you may be surprised by those who ask you out for lunch or invite you for tea (or cocktails if that's their thing).
Of course, with the economy almost everyone wants volunteers so when we have a better handle on covid, think about volunteering at a local hospital, child care center or senior center. Travel - short trips, long trips, places you only looked at on the map? Quite a few travel agencies catering to us more mature and single folks.
Any hobbies or sports that you always wanted to try? With the proliferation of the internet you can take photos and post them everywhere. Have a friend about 70 who started playing with a cheap digital camera 6 years ago. Signed 5 wedding photography contracts this year without even advertising he is so good now.
Wanted to play the piano all your life - perfect time to learn and if you don't have a piano, keyboards are cheap and don't have to be tuned (although when they go........ they are really gone!) In touch with the music them, lots of dance studios out there looking for students (defnitely a good way to meet more people and get in shape at the same time). Ice skating lessons for adults - some rinks have senior classes. Target practice............ great for coordination of hand and eye skills. Trail riding on a well trained horse.
What about working on the family genealogy ( be prepared to be shocked, lol) or writing that short story (could even be about Mom) or a total work of fiction. Whtever you do.... please stay in touch with us on this forum.
The world is open to you and your Mom would be the first to tell you to go out there and enjoy it while you conquer it.

Wishing you peace and new found joy on your journey through life.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to geddyupgo
Report
redroseman Oct 22, 2021
Where do I begin to say thank you. You final statement put me in tears and it is so true. This is exactly what my mom would say! But of course I would be concerned about her prior. This is a woman who was a giant but I will spend the rest of my life wondering why she think she had to thank me every time I made her comfortable. Honestly, it was a privalidge and an honor to do it! Yet, what keeps me going is her looking up and calling me over to her bedside and with the gleem in her eyes ask me, "Do you know how much I love you!" THANK YOU!
(6)
Report
See 1 more reply
See All Answers
Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter