For 4 years I've taken care of both of my parents and grandchildren as well. On Jan. 21st, my father passed away, here at home, just as we had all wanted. 5 weeks later my mother-in-law passed away in NY.

I am still caring for my mother and my grandchildren, but I feel empty, sad, angry, depressed, overwhelmed.....I am a different kind of caregiver now. I am still not "free," but I find I don 't even know who I am.

The house is full, but the additional caregivers and hospice support system is gone. I feel lonely and tired all the time. I walk by my father's room and I still think he's going to be there and then another time, I plan what else we will do with that room. I am so mixed up and so tired. Advice, PLEASE.

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Rachel, Lilli is so right. You need time to grieve, to step back from caring for others and take care of you. When have you had any quiet time to reflect and think about all you've done, all you've been through and who you've lost. No demands from others, no interruptions, just time to cry, reflect, rest and heal. I'm sorry for your loss.
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Dear Lilli,

Thank you so much. Something about your message struck a chord, touched my heart. It's true. If I were sick, what would they do?....And in ways, I am sick right now. My body, my mind, my heart and soul ache. It has to be time for me right now and I have to stop feeling guilty about it. LOVE
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Rachel: You really, really need to regroup. You need a "serious" vacation - not just a little break. It is time for other family members to step up to help you take some time off. You will not clear your head until you can get away from the sorrow, stress, caregiving, and all the medical issues. Think of it this way, if another framily member or friend wrote the note above, what would you advise them to do?
Also, why are you taking on so much child care in this stressful time? Can you reduce the number of days of hours that you babysit? Isn't your son/daughter concerned about your health? If you become ill, they would have to make alternate plans...why not make them now and save your health.
Caregivers (I know from experience) just take on way too much then wonder why we are falling apart. We need to take care of ourselves, our marriages/relationships, and spiritual lives...then we can take care of others. (think about when you are in an airplane and they instruct you to put YOUR mask on before helping others.)
If family cannot pitch in, consider paid caregiving for just a few days so you can do something that does not have to do with "work" of any kind. Please post and tell us that you are going to get away.
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