Yes, the more invested into care and thinking of someone's needs, the more profound the loss and change for you. You will adjust. Just be certain to acknowledge that she need no longer suffer and you need no longer fear for her and stand witness to her many losses. She will not be gone from you. My mother passed long ago and is still very much with me. Remember to celebrate the fullness of a life lived. My heart goes out to you in your loss.
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Reply to AlvaDeer
Tmax1969 Feb 12, 2024
Thank you for the kind words. I just can't describe it any other way but "strange". My whole life revolved around her for decades and now ..... a void..... trying to fill it has proven just as terrifying.
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My condolences. My Mom passed 1 year ago. My Dad died 5 years prior. I moved both into my home 11 years ago and took care of them until they died.
It is incredibly normal to seem a bit lost. Give yourself enough grace to grieve.
Do the legal stuff you need to do...Wills, insurances, funeral stuff. BUT, aside from that don't do anything major right away
If you get an inheritance or insurance payout...don't make big decision for several months
Slowly re-integrate into life. Caregiving is extremely isolating.
A couple of things I did was finally getting into a church and
Simply taking my dog on her walks in different areas of my town.
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Reply to Cashew
Isthisrealyreal Feb 18, 2024

Well put Cashew and good to see you.
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I'm sure this is very normal, something is missing from your life. It's going to take time. I think about it now and then. Some Days I want this caregiving stuff to be over. But I know when it is I will be lost for quite a while. It will take time to figure out how to fill your extra time up. It's just the circle of life. Your not alone.
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Reply to Anxietynacy

Of course it's normal. All of us that cared for someone for any length of time, felt very lost after they died.
I know that after my husband died who I cared for for many years that I seemed to wander every day for months wondering what it was that I was supposed to be doing next.
Don't worry though, in time you'll figure out your new routine and what your life will now look like. And you will find joy again too.
So take this time now to take care of yourself. You deserve it.
God bless you.
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Reply to funkygrandma59
Tmax1969 Feb 12, 2024
Thank you, I have been running to care for my mother in one form or another for 50 years. Her terrifying decline the last 10 years had taken over my life completely. It's like I was drowning and then suddenly there was air. It really does feel strange now. Now I look around and everyone else in my family gone as well. I have a great wife and 2 step kids. They are wonderful but I thought, if she divorced me I would be alone on this whole planet. Scared the hell out of me.
When we suffer a loss of great importance, we do feel lost. We wind up having to recreate ourselves for the most part, finding new things to occupy our time and more importantly, meaning to life now.

I recommend a good book for you to read, Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief, by David Kessler 

In 1969, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross first identified the stages of dying in her transformative book On Death and Dying. Decades later, she and David Kessler wrote the classic On Grief and Grieving, introducing the stages of grief with the same transformative pragmatism and compassion. Now, based on hard-earned personal experiences, as well as knowledge and wisdom gained through decades of work with the grieving, Kessler introduces a critical sixth stage: meaning.

Kessler’s insight is both professional and intensely personal. His journey with grief began when, as a child, he witnessed a mass shooting at the same time his mother was dying. For most of his life, Kessler taught physicians, nurses, counselors, police, and first responders about end of life, trauma, and grief, as well as leading talks and retreats for those experiencing grief. Despite his knowledge, his life was upended by the sudden death of his twenty-one-year-old son. How does the grief expert handle such a tragic loss? He knew he had to find a way through this unexpected, devastating loss, a way that would honor his son. That, ultimately, was the sixth stage of grief—meaning. In Finding Meaning, Kessler shares the insights, collective wisdom, and powerful tools that will help those experiencing loss.

“Beautiful, tender, and wise” (Katy Butler, author of The Art of Dying Well), Finding Meaning is “an excellent addition to grief literature that helps pave the way for steps toward healing” (School Library Journal).

You can find the book on Amazon.

My condolences on the loss of your dear mom.
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Reply to lealonnie1
JLyn69 Mar 22, 2024
Thanks for the recommendation of the Kessler book - just placed a hold to pick up at my local library!
So very normal You have been on duty, needed and alert, for 10 years and now suddenly are NOT. There is an emptiness where all your attention (and stress) used to be Even though the caretaking had to be difficult, you are now dealing with the sudden and significant loss of who you were and what you were doing.

Be kind to yourself and give yourself lots of time to rebuild how you want to live your life. Do not rush the process. Put things back into your life little by little. It takes longer than you might expect, but that's OK. The things you build slowly will be more authentic than things you do b/c you think you "should," Rebuilding is a careful process.
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Reply to RedVanAnnie

I've heard the void described as an "absence of presence". Personally, I have flashbacks throughout the day. There were some pretty traumatic moments during my (shorter) caregiving journey. Flashbacks, deliberating over decisions that I had made, actions that I had taken, and regrets about actions taken at the very end...should'ves, would'ves, and could'ves. However, I've been reassured by many that I did exactly what I should've done and have been recognized by many for the sacrifice, which is helpful. It'll just take time to reposition ourselves and to reconcile our relationship with the loved ones for whom we cared and sacrificed.
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Reply to daughter1960

My mom will be gone one year next month, also from dementia and 3 months after my mom passed my only sibling my older brother unexpectedly passed. I still have waves of grief and still cry. I did not realize how much I was doing for my mom until I started recently going through a lot of files and paperwork and things that needed to be done for her. I to felt strange, lost and free all at the same time. I also just started being able to go through her photo albums. It is hard taking care of someone with dementia but after they are gone after a while you will start remembering the times before the dementia and you will smile. 🤗 It does get easier but she was your mom and has been there your whole life and now she's not. Take your time and grieve your way, whatever that might look like. I will love and miss my mom and my brother forever. ❤️ My condolences to you.🙏
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Reply to Kak2022

I cared for my husband for over 10 years with dementia. When he died, I felt like I had a giant hole in my life. Did I have any purpose in my life now? It took months (with God's help) to climb out of that hole. I'm praying that God will help you get through that "lost" feeling.
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Reply to WearyJean

Tomorrow it will be one month since my husband, age 99, WWII Purple Heart Veteran died as a result of dementia. He was my love, my life, my all! We reconnected having been former neighbors. Having grieved in the past for lost loves this is the most devastating. All of the previous comments are a comfort to me, and I thank each and every person who posted a comment. Someone said the deeper the love the greater the grief. I don't know if that is true but perhaps it will comfort someone.
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Reply to spaniel

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