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My dad was 91 when he died. My mom died in 2003 with Alzheimer's. My dad wanted to join her since she passed. I'm the nurse and next door neighbor. I had cared for him for almost 20 years. It's been 3 months and I cannot motivate myself to move forward. I took a hiatus from nursing and after 30 years of nursing both as a career and a daughter caring for elderly parents, I do not know if I can practice as a nurse any longer. The task of working full time as a nurse and caring for my parents have completely burned me out. My daughter is in her 3rd year at college and is thriving. My husband is very supportive of me, but I've lost interest in most things. Ive become isolative, lack motivation and often do not leave my house for days. I am scheduled to see a psychologist in two weeks. Any advice?

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Martinamarie, my prayers are with you during this very difficult time. I too just lost my mother 4 months ago. The grieving process takes time and we all go through it in different stages. But that numb, lost feeling that you are in now is one we have all been through if we have lost a dear loved one. There is no one "best" advise unfortunately, but there have been many wonderful suggestions given here. The most important thing is, don't rush yourself. Give yourself time to grieve and process your loss. And don't make any real decissions about you future or your career yet. How you feel now may not be how you feel a year from now. Just take it one day at a time. There is a wonderful website, www.jw.org, that has beautiful bible-based information on how to handle death and grieving. I went to "Publications" and then "Books and Brochures". There is a brochure entitled "When Someone You Love Dies". It explains the 5 stages of grief and gives real comfort and hope. You can even download a copy for free. You can even get a free Bible from that site. I highly recommend you check into it. But whatever you decide to do, please decide to be good to yourself and be patient. Your feelings, your happiness, and your life will come back to you with time. In the meantime, please know you have a support group right here ready to listen and help where we can.
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These are all great answered your your question. You are on the right track. It seems to take longer to start to grieve when you have been the caregiver and it's normal to question yourself. Just don't beat yourself up about it. There is no right or wrong way as long as you try and try different ways. I saw a psychologist until that wasn't helping. Then meds and what really helps for me is this site and my fiance. All you need is one person to support you and just remind yourself how wonderful they are for that.
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You need to see a doctor and get on some anti-depressants. Walking, massages, breathing deep are fine, but take forever, get on something. You don't have to stay on it forever. You sound deeply depressed. After my mother went into the nursing home I felt so, so free, as light as a feather. But I wanted to go to a nice hotel for a couple of days and just relax, and eat, and sleep, without anyone WANTING something from me...so do that, see a doctor, you have a big gap of time and action in your life. If you had a child you walked to school every day for a year and she started taking a bus: that would be a big loss. If you cooked for your husband every night for 5 years and he was transferred overseas for a while: that would be a big loss. See what I mean? Whether it is good or bad, enjoyable or a chore, our brains are set in a pattern, and changes are difficult.
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The grief group I went to after my mother died suggested people wait about 6 months after their loss to give themselves time before joining, I don't know--to deal with the shock a little maybe.
I was lucky as it was mostly adult children of parents who had dementia, found through local Alzheimer's Association or Alzheimer's Foundation chapter.


We did some writing in the group. We wrote simple things (optional), prompted by a question like what would we like to say to them or what do we wish they had said to us, or how they influenced us, things to help tie things together. It's never a neat package, this traversing the grief. We would write about our parent who had died for a few minutes then would share in the group if we wanted. People who didn't feel like saying anything didn't have to.

In my case (and for many others) it helped to eat better, pay attention to sleep, (I had to put my phone on the other side of the room) and take walks.
I didn't feel like doing any of this but trusted the others who said it would help.

I also went to the library and paged through books about losing one's parent; essays by others about their experience helped.

I also enjoyed going to the animal shelter (when they weren't busy) when they let the cats out of the cages for attention and a "playgroup" of sorts. They let me sit on the floor and coax the shy cats to play. Helping someone else helped me.

Please take care of yourself, and update us.
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I agree that a part-time job would be a big help for your mental state. When my dog died unexpectedly and my father died also, I was very depressed. I found that Cymbalta which is great for arthritis which I have also helped my mental state as it is also a mild antidepressant. I work as a food service substitute for schools in the area where I live, and I have also found that that helped me with my depression a lot.
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So VERY sorry for your loss. You may want to seek out a psychiatrist for yourself who can give you an RX for an anti-anxiety med. This allows you to sleep or aids with anxiety because a loss of a loved one is tough.
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I'm sorry to hear of your dad's passing. I can identify, and my stint as a caregiver was far shorter than yours, so I know you must be having a difficult time adjusting. Mom has been gone a little over 7 months now, and I am just now starting to feel like I can start dealing with all the details. Obviously the funeral and all that was taken care of right away, but the finer details of her passing that have to be dealt with have been paralyzing for me. Every time I try to take care of things, I just freeze up. I am finally reaching a point where I can start getting things accomplished, and the good feeling I'm getting from accomplishing things is enough to keep me moving forward and accomplishing more.

I wish you the best...I know how hard this is.
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I lost my father 12 years ago and my mother 9 years ago. I did talk therapy, grief share, and did Vitamin D and B12 panels; I was low in the Vitamin B12. I had been doing B12 shots but I think I'll go on the supplements; I was also low on the D so I'm doing that as well. The D is making my bones more strong and has helped with my balance as well; I can now jog a little bit now. But for anybody out there who has lost a parent, I suggest you do talk therapy and grief share - it works wonders
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My heart goes out to you for the loss of your Dad. I went through something similarly after my 94 yr old Dad died. I didn't want to go anywhere, do anything for months. Even though it had been a sometimes/mostly stressful 4 years of long distance caregiving/travel to care for him. I missed him terribly and felt at sea. Counseling was invaluable for me . I highly recommend finding someone around your age and with aging parent experience, if possible. Even with a loving husband, it is so valuable to have a counselor to share your experience with. It took about 6 months for me to feel "normal" again. I still miss Dad and Mom lots, but I know they would want me to carry on with living. Counseling, my husband and TIME helped me get back to wanting to participate fully in my life. Blessings to you in your process.
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I am glad you are going to see a professional for help. Also get a good medical checkup. Try to find a hobby or something you are interested in and PUSH yourself at first to get involved. You might be surprised. And I am not surprised you are burned out - perfectly normal. Good luck.
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I'd like to say that you are dealing with a new "normal". You got good at putting aside other things in order to care for your father and knowing exactly what was needed. Now he is gone and it took so much out of you that you don't want to go back to that role even in your career. Find the new normal. Could be a new hobby, could be a PT job doing something else. You have freedom that you didn't have before and there is no script. Allow yourself time and start by trying to live the day. Little kids are especially good at helping you get out of funk because they demand you pay attention to them. I am just behind you on this same path.
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Breathe, cry, allow whatever feelings there are to surface. They are there so allow yourself to not pass judgement and accept the support of those offering that. We are so used to as women to give, give, give and some of us have had little practice in receiving. Reconnect with old friends. All of us in this age group have lost parents and most likely have been their caregivers, so they will relate and it provides a way to remind yourself that you do have a life, even if it doesn't seem that way. Take a walk at least once every day, even if only to the end of driveway, then block, farther every day. Find some volunteer situation that doesn't require a commitment. Bake cookies for a fund-raising event and have someone pick them up, if don't feel like going out. Forgive yourself for being 'lazy' and/or out of touch. Do something easy on your 'bucket list' of things you've always wanted to do. Treat yourself to a massage or mini-spa day if can afford. Talk with your siblings and find out if their experiences are similar to yours if it doesn't stir up hard feelings. Smile, even if you don't feel like it. Just doing that releases endorphins into your system that make you feel better. Sort through old things you no longer need and donate them to charity. Choosing just ONE thing a day that YOU feel will make a difference will make a WORLD of difference. Know that your service to your Dad came from love and that his gratitude is always present. He chose to leave because it was his time to do so and not it is time for you to love yourself as he would want to. All love and healing on your awe-some journey, even if only one step at a time!!
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Martinamarie,
How you are feeling is perfectly normal. I am sorry for your loss but if you weren't feeling as you were and were coping normally, I would actually be more worried! Allow yourself the time to process and grieve however you see fit, everyone grieves in different ways. I lost my oldest brother (my favorite) in my late twenties. Even though I knew this was coming, nothing can prepare you for when it actually does. I felt like someone hit me in the stomach with a 2x4! I cried for weeks. My youngest brother came up to me during one of my crying spells and told me "I needed to move on." I was livid. I believe I snapped at him and told him he had no business telling me how to grieve.
I processed it the way (I needed to) regardless and when I did, I had processed that he was in a better place, free of the struggles he went through everyday on earth and realized I was mostly upset because I knew I would not see him anymore and realized I was more upset for myself. I pictured him in heaven with our grandmother that loved him more than anything and I started feeling happy for him. Sometimes, time gives you a different perspective that we "the living" are the ones who suffer most upon a loved ones death and I believe if they could just come back to us for a few minutes, they would tell us they were fine and would want us to be happy for them. They are not in pain anymore and they are free. I hope this helps, it will take time but do not think your reaction is abnormal, counseling does help to get your feelings out and helps the process so I am happy to hear you are persueing that. Sometimes, a person (not personally involved) is much easier to speak with. I did. I even convinced my Mother, who was too proud to think she needed help, to go to counseling. She thanked me later for convincing her to go.
Please take care and listen to your heart. Grieve how you feel you need to, better than bottling it up for the sake of everone elses opinion. It will just come out later and you will carry that weight on your shoulders and in your heart.
*Hugs*
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I am so sorry for you loss. I was caregiver for both my Dad and Mom who died less than two months apart in 2010. Dad had Alzheimer's and Mom had Parkinson's and the dementia that goes with it. There is no time limit on grief and we all grieve in our own time and our own way, there isn't a right way or wrong way to do it. It is not at all unusual after having had your life composed of being a caregiver 24-7 to now look around and think "now what do I do with myself?" It takes time. And, no matter how old we are we all feel like an orphan when we lose a parent. It is such a good think that you are getting help - this does take a toll on your both emotionally and physically. Cut yourself some slack and be good to yourself - don't let anyone tell you "it's time to get over it". You will never get "over it". You only get one Dad and one Mom. Nobody will take their place and you will always miss them. Years from now, you will hear something, see something, be somewhere and there you'll be, a "bucket of tears" again and ask yourself - "where did that come from?" That is normal. The only think we can do is find a new normal and learn to deal with our grief - it isn't something that ever goes away - you'll always miss them. The process takes time. This first year will be the hardest - next year you can look back and say "I made it through the first year, I can do it again". Sounds like you have some wonderful support. Give yourself that same love and care you gave your Dad. God be with you.
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Martinamarie - you are clearly in mourning and grieving not just the loss of your father but the life that he and your mother had before it was taken away by her Alzheimer's diagnosis and eventual passing. I'm so very sorry for your losses and can only say from personal experience that we all grieve in our own way and no one way is right or wrong. It will probably help you to speak with a professional which may allow you to share some thoughts you might not otherwise but, really, time is going to be the real key in moving forward again and to looking forward to life. Sending lots of hugs and prayers as you continue this journey but as has been said in other posts, things will get easier as time passes.
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Dear Martinmarie,

My deepest condolences and sympathies on the passing of your beloved father. I'm so sorry for your loss. I know the pain and sorrow of losing your father is very hard. Grief is never easy.

I can identify with what you are writing about because I'm still feeling the same way 5 months after the passing of my father. I'm glad you are going to speak to the psychologist. And the other posters have given such kind and gentle suggestions. One step at a time, one day at a time is all we can do sometimes and that is okay.

Thinking of you. Sending you love and hugs.
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Martinamarie - I am sorry about your loss. Everyone's situation is different, but time will help you.

I lost my husband of 29 years last summer. He was much older but was doing fine till 5 years ago, and his final days started when he had a stroke 9 months prior to his passing. So my care giving experience was much shorter than you were. However, I couldn't move on and only very recently (7~8 month after) I started pulling my life together out of necessity.

I sold the house in a hurry after his first stroke so that I could move him to a facility where they can properly care for him, but kept boxes & boxes of his belongings in my small apartment. I work as a computer programmer and my job kept me busy. So I dismissed that the mess in my apartment is from my laziness, but I finally realized recently that the issue was in me than outside. I wasn't be able to bring myself to touch or clean up his items.

I started to move on but very gradually. My advice to you is to allow yourself some slack, but listen to yourself and follow what you feel. You mentioned you arranged to see a psychologist. The action you took by itself is a sign that you are ready to move on. There is no need to rush.

Again, everyone is different, but let me dare say this: you are not alone. My best wishes to you and hope your visit to the psychologist helped you.
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Hi, my daddy just passed this March 5th. It's very hard on me as well. There are grief support groups everywhere. I'm laying my dad to rest today and I'm just going to let God handle my emotions....I'm sorry for your loss and will keep you in my prayers....Good luck and God Bless🙏
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I am sorry about the loss of your father. While I'm not a healthcare professional, I can tell you what my mother said to me before she passed away nearly 9 years ago. She told me to mourn her death and then move on with my life.

When my father passed away 3 years ago I did the same. Mourned his death and continued moving forward with my life.

Basically, in order to get to the other side, you have to walk directly through.

Take care of yourself by letting yourself feel... good or bad, happy or sad. Don't worry about the future. Just take care of yourself TODAY. Tomorrow will worry about itself.
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having taking antidepressants in the past and dealing with the side effects and in one case withdrawal symptomsI would have to really disagree that antidepressants all right answer two depression that is caused because of a good reason. antidepressants are good for people who medically need them.but in cases where do you pressure is caused by the loss of a loved one or another trauma it is best to just pull yourself up by year bootstraps and get through it on your own.research has shown that a walk and just playing moving around and getting exercise is as good as taking antidepressants. Unfortunately she doesn't feel like moving around. she needs to find a different way to cope through this transition.
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Hi MartinaMarie. Give it time, take a long vacation to that Place You have always wanted to visit, New Zealand is a fabulous Country to visit, and when You return back home You will have Your zest for Life back again. Please do not even consider giving up Your Career because You have a wealth of knowledge and experience and You are invaluable to the Nursing Profession. Having too much time to think is not good. Start spoiling Yourself, go for a Body massage twice weekly, and a facial and begin to Love Yourself again.
Believe me I know where You are right now, because I was there too after I Lost my Mother Who was my best Friend. It took me 8-months to snap out of the bubble I had been trapped in, but I'm back. Give Yourself time MM, there is no time Limit to grief. From John Joe, ☘
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Martina Marie, I am so sorry for your loss. I had experienced the loss of my incredible dad in 2015 and it still seems like it happened yesterday. I was truly blessed by a wonderful therapist and in addition an extraordinary support group! By utilizing both avenues of grief counseling it satisfied all my needs at that time: personal grief counseling as well as grief support with others who were suffering as was I. It was in its entirety an amazing experience which helped me tremendously to achieve wholeness again. At the time there was a young woman who lost her dad as well and I found myself reaching out to her because it was evident to me that she was drowning in pain and sorrow. Within time we became friends in her own time and I began to realize that our friendship was not only a life line for her but for me as well. When the group was over she thanked me for helping to save her and I said " while I was saving you I was saving me". It really took me a year and a half to find me again because when we take care of our loved ones we lose ourselves in the process and it is important to acknowledge that. If you can afford to take some time just to heal by what ever avenues are available to you , please do so. I am not working right now and I just focus on finding my joy again. You are an awesome daughter and you will one day revel in that fact but now it is time for healing. Please think about a grief therapist as well as a grief support group. I pray that it will change your life as it did mine.
Blessings and peace
Gloria
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Sorry to hear of your loss. It sounds like you are in situational depression which is normal and your doctor could prescribe some short term anti-depressants to help you through this. It takes them about 2 weeks to work but they are worth it. You may find it helpful to talk with someone as well.
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do something that is very low stress. I found that crocheting a monotonous repetitious Afghan kept my fingers going and let my brain just recuperate from all trauma and all of the tough decisions I had to deal with as a caregiver. I compare it to being on a high-speed Highway and all the sudden exiting to a 25 mile an hour Zone. it's a transition and it takes time to rearrange our lives. I also found that when it was really stressful that praying for my mother gave me some peace. do thingss that are not demanding and let yourself heal. we all deal with the grief of death in her own way.
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It takes time. Caring for your dad has been a big part of your life for many years. Not only are you grieving his loss but you now have all this free time you don't know how to fill. It gets better. I promise. Counseling is a good idea to help you get an outside perspective on your thoughts. Your husband is a jewel.
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I empathize as I have been caregiver of my paralyzed and speechless, though alert sweetheart for 12 years...I too am quite inactive personally. One thought comes to mind:

"Move a muscle, change thought."

Easy to say but incredibly hard to do for me..

One thing that helps me greatly is my friendly little dog, Elsie...I talk to her like she is a person...

Grace + Peace,

Bob
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PS: I am presently both my parents caregiver. During the first year or so we had very little help. I was quickly going down. I am the one living by their side, the load is mostly on me. I have very little time for myself and am employed full time although taking some time off work to take care of family issues and myself.
There are many families in this situation. We need to find help. Nobody has the capacity to bear the cross on their own.
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In March 2015, my sister died of 47 of cancer 7 weeks after being diagnosed of that killer disease and both my parents outlived her. My father had two VACs prior to her death and is now 100% dependant; she was the love of his life. My mother is in deep depression and is being medicated. She spends most of her time in bed. I don't know how she resisted this long. My eldest sister, who was like a mother to her, accompanied her in her last weeks of life and saw her take her last breaths in her death bed at the hospital where the doctors had been barking in her face, as she lay there waiting to depart, how many days, hours she had left without giving a d*mn about the terror in her eyes. She is also on medication to help her cope with the pain.
We never expect our loved ones to die especially half way through their right to life.
Time will help you, there is no other way. Your daughter is thriving. Hold on to that!
All the best.
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Everyone is different but just realize that you are very tired. You need rest. Physically and emotionally. Especially from the stresses of caring for others. Try music. Try nice baths. Try laughing. Try walking. Notice what does interest you. Watch out for carbs, tv and alcohol numbing you out even more. Journaling is good. Going to theaters and galleries or nurseries or farmers markets can feed your emotions. Notice your breath. Meditating even for just a few minutes a day or several times a day can refresh you. Acupuncture. Deep tissue massage. Physical therapy. Get or give yourself a facial or manicure. Something nurturing to give youself a small boost to stimulate your energy and boost your mood. If you don't have a walking buddy try walking while talking on the phone with a friend. If you can't get yourself out of the house, be sure to open the drapes and let the light in. Be patient. You will get better.
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If you're in a financial position to do so, I think you should get away for a while to decompress and recharge. If you don't want to travel far because of family, then how about renting a hotel room for one week and pamper yourself like crazy. If you don't want to go full-course on the pampering, then maybe just watch movies, eat pizza, sleep in a big comfortable bed. Your mind and body need time to adjust - and the grieving process will be ongoing; however, you need to do something now to put you on the course of grieving. You need something to get you unstuck.
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