My dad died 3 days ago. As most of you know I cared for him in my home for 5 years and for the past 6 months he's been in a skilled nursing facility. Technically, I am no longer a caregiver to my elderly parent. I have nothing to vent about. No questions that need answering. Nothing to be uncertain of or anything that's causing me any concern.
I found this forum a while back and just lurked for a while but I began enjoying reading the posts and becoming familiar with the people here and a month or so ago began posting. I found a rich community filled with caring people who are at various stages of caregiving. I loved this website (still do).
I had another forum for years but they shut it down Jan. 1st of this year because it attracted too much spam and the little community I had come to become a part of scattered to the four winds. However, one of us is here now (hey Rodeo!!). I guess my point is that I've been availing myself of online support as a caregiver for many years.
And maybe as time goes on I won't be spending as much time here, I don't know. On my other forum that I just mentioned when a caregiver lost the person they were caring for they didn't come around as much. I can understand that. But I still feel as if this community has something to offer and I also feel as if I have something to offer other caregivers. But since I am not a caregiver anymore do I still belong here? Are there other people here who are no longer caregivers?
And thank you all for the hugs and support. Being pretty new here I was very touched at the messages I've received. Since it's only been 3 days I'm still a mess and I'm really, really tired. I'm well aware of all the stages of grief and all of that stuff but nowhere in that list of things we go through when we grieve do I remember "Fatigue" being among them. While nighttime is difficult I do fall asleep and stay asleep but I'm sleeping later and feeling tired all day long. Today I took a nap for 3 hours and am looking forward to going to bed because I'm still tired. Is this my body's reaction to the loss of my dad? Depression? I can't tell. I've been busy, making arrangements, notifying people, that kind of thing. And tons of people are calling me. My dad was well loved. I spent about 4 hours on the phone last night just talking to people who wanted to talk about my dad. I'm not complaining, I so enjoyed hearing the stories and the condolences but it wore me out. I just can't seem to feel rested.
This Thursday is the memorial. I'm dreading it because everyone dreads that stuff but I'm also looking forward to it being over, going back to my life and trying to piece it back together without my dad. I have weird thoughts, I can hear his voice in my head. I wonder if his spirit is out there somewhere (he was an atheist) and if so, did I make him proud? Did I do what he would have wanted me to do? I can hear the sound of his voice wimpering, telling me how scared he was. I can hear him telling me that I'm the one person he can trust 100%. The only person he could trust. I tell the people I speak to on the phone that he died in his sleep and we all comment on how peaceful that is, etc. etc. etc. But what I want to scream is that HE WAS NOT AT PEACE! HE WAS TERRIFIED! HE LOST ALL OF HIS DIGNITY AND WAS OUT OF HIS MIND THE LAST FEW MONTHS OF HIS LIFE!
I spent so much time with him the last week of his life and I'm so grateful for that. I wasn't there at the moment of his death but I was there to comfort him and to just be with him for days and days prior to his death. I cry because I miss him and because I love him and I cry because he had such a horrifying last week on earth. The hallucinations, the pain....My being there made everything better for him and while I know he loved my brother dearly it was me he wanted. I was the caregiver.
But I'm not a caregiver anymore so do I still belong here?