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My mom died at the end of August. I was fortunate enough to be off work in the summers and went back to work about a week after her funeral.

My mom and I, heck, my parents and I had a complicated relationship. Not all "they were my best friends". More like, they gave me what they thought I needed. They did the best they could.

Each week, I seem to realize that I'm getting past some hump of "non-normalcy", but am not experiencing that in the moment. I wish I could be more present to work on this stuff.

If anyone has any advice, I'm happy to hear it.

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Barb, I can only think of a two things....time and love. Time to allow the healing, which cannot be forced. And love: loving yourself to provide self-care, whatever that need may be. Don't wait for someone else to provide it; comfort yourself by giving yourself what you need to heal, be it a long walk in a peaceful setting, that book you've been wanting to read, or something as simple as an ice cream cone!
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Garden Artist,
Well said, it makes sense to me.

So sorry everyone who has lost a loved one who will no longer be at the Thanksgiving table this year. Whatever your holiday traditions, I sincerely hope some good memories
will be in your thoughts this year.
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Barb, you've been such a critical and consistent part of the experience of posting here. You've always shared your insights and offered good advice, with experience gained through your profession.

And you're stalwart, strong, and adaptive.

I gain so much through reading posts by you and others, and that helps me in my own journey. Your current post, which I've read several times, reminds me that this is a subject which all of us will face, if we haven't already. And the more prepared I can be, hopefully the better I'll be able to handle it. So I'm interested and concerned for what you're facing now.

As we all probably know, our caretaking and grieving experiences have some common elements, but are unique to us. Some folks can compartmentalize their grief; some are very stoic, or so it appears. Some are more emotional.

Until the death happens, we don't always know how we'll respond, and I think are sometimes surprised as we're forced to adjust to a dramatic life change.

I think our unique personalities are a primary factor in how much we go forward, and experience some sense of normalcy, although it's a new normalcy and won't ever be the same. I think also that we have to learn how to adjust to the new normal. Perhaps recognition is the first part of accepting the change, followed by reminiscence, some regrets, and a variety of other thoughts.

I think what you're experiencing is in fact normal, as you adapt to your mother's no longer being a physical part of your life. But she will always be a part of your emotional, family, and historical life.

Perhaps this aspect is the hardest to deal with - how will the physical presence of a loved one become one in a different state? I think that's part of our post-death journey. And it's probably one of the most challenging journeys on which we embark, and one which we would not choose if it weren't a part of life.

My mother died in 2002, my sister in 2003, and I still think and dream about them, sometimes in a very real sense. The dreams are so realistic that when I wake up I often feel as if they were right in the same room with me.

I still have dreams of being together with them, and although sometimes initially unsettling, I think in the long run these dreams reflect bonds which I didn't realize were so strong at the time they were alive.

So I'm trying to turn what could be an unsettling dream into a positive one, and try to think of ways that their presence can guide me and enhance my life going forward. I suspect you may have a similar bond with your mother, as you're "sorting" out your life together, adapting to the "new normal", and trying to sort out what are probably intense emotions, and find your way forward from here.

I don't know honestly if all this makes sense b/c I'm emotional when I write it. But I hope it does offer some comfort.
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Hi, Barb

I am so sorry for the loss of your mom. It’s been a year for me (this week). Mom and I had an odd relationship. She was the principal decision maker in our house. Dad was content to let her do so. I know she loved me, but living with her could be challenging. She spent the last 3 years of her life in a nursing home with dementia. As everyone here knows, that’s not pleasant. She blabbered a lot of ancient family history (read: skeletons in our family closet) and some of them were heart-wrenching to me. It’s not the way I wanted to remember my mom.

I have just recently started grieving for my mom. I am beginning to understand why she did some of the things she did. I guess some people weep and wail for weeks and months after, but I was a cinder block of stoicism. There are no rules or normal time table for grief. Maybe it’s the approaching holiday season. The important thing is that you’re functioning. Some people can’t. We will be ok. We will never be the same as we were before, but we WILL be ok! Hugs...
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Miss Barb,
I know getting over grief is hard. All of you "Old Crew" helped me so much when I first came on here. You are all special in my eyes. I miss my Dad and M.I.L. too. All I can say is it really does get better with time. Grief seems to take its own sweet time. I run the store, love on my husband, play with grandchildren and work 8 hours a day. This seems to help me. Also as time goes by, anything that the dead loved one's did that aggravated me....it is forgotten. Only the good memories remain now after 2 and 5 years. Time is a wonderful healer but we don't really want to speed it along.  Sometimes when I am lazy at the store I think of what my Dad would say if I was just sitting around. He would tell me to get my rear in gear. If your the boss, you Still have to "Boss" yourself! Sometimes it is hard to get going when your grieving. The first holidays are always hard. May you find a little peace and joy in this holiday season and don't sweat the small stuff. It will get better. I promise.
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Dear Barb,

I'm very sorry for the loss of your mom. I hear you. Be kind to yourself. Grief is a long journey. Its been 13 months since my father passed and I think finding a new normal has been very hard. Our whole identity was wrapped up in our parent's care. It feels so strange not to think about their care every day.

What you wrote really resonated with me. I think with my dad's passing I have a terrible regret about not asking more questions about my dad's childhood and young life. Never telling him how much I cared and wanted to make him happy. That I appreciated him. The opportunity to fix or ask any question is gone forever. We know they tried their best, but there is still part of us that probably wanted to talk it out some more with them.

Moment by moment for now. I'm like Freqflyer, I use to burn through things but now I barely have the energy sometimes. It will take time to come terms with everything.

Sending you love and hugs!
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Barb, I know what you mean. I can't believe it's been a year for my Dad, and almost two years for my Mom. And I had followed your journey for the past few years.

My mind still seems to be stuck in neutral.

I think it just take a lot of time to get over how much effort we needed to put into caring for an elderly parent, it takes the wing out of the sails. And here I wasn't even hands-on, logistical. I know I am still dealing with post-stress issues. Seniors should not be taking care of older seniors !!

Thank goodness for work. Glad I dug in my heels and never left work. I love getting up in the morning and going to work. Work keeps mind sharp, but as soon as I get home my mind slips back into neutral. I just drag my feet on getting stuff done, like finishing up the paperwork for my Dad's estate. Pre-parent-care, I would have had that paperwork done the next day.
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BarbBrooklyn

I'm sorry for the loss of your mom
What your feeling is normal. You've had a loss, now it is almost time for the holidays not to mention the recent time change (if where you live does that). It will take more time before you can get back to "near normal"
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