I'm grieving...how do I still care for my mom?

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I don't know your situation but my mother died last year while I was still caring for my grandma. My grandma has dementia so she did not understand my tears and heartache. In fact right after it happened, her caregiver left for the day, after being there for 3 days constantly, leaving me for the first time with her. I was so sad and in tears. Grandma finally asked why I was sad. I said because mom died. She started to bawl her eyes out. I finally looked at her after crying and said, "It wasn't your mom, it was mine." Her tears stopped and she looked right at me and said, "Well I'm still sorry your mom died." It was at that moment I realized why I was doing what I was doing. She didn't even understand that my mom was her daughter. She had lost her mom way before I was even born 38 years ago and yet she couldn't remember so the death would have been raw and new for her to deal with.

I had taken over caring for my grandma when my mom was dealing with cancer. She had surgeries, chemo and radiation, had cancer eating away her body and honestly she needed me to care for her so her caring for my grandma was impossible. That little second of interaction reminded me of how I was sad and heartbroken but that she needed me to continue to care for her.

At first it was hard. I'd start crying at the worst times. Sometimes when putting her to sleep I'd just sit there and quietly cry. Other times I'd be crying while fixing her meal at the microwave with my back turned towards her but still in her sight so she didn't get upset at being left alone. Other times while she was using the bathroom I'd pretend to read a book while really just crying while she was sitting and using the bathroom. It was hard. What I wanted to do was what a lot of people have the pleasure of doing and that was to go to bed and not wake up for days. I was so tired after caring around the clock for my mom. I had a caregiver with grandma (the state of CT was nice and gave me extra care for my grandma so I could be with my mom. In fact the helper we had, even stayed longer the last morning after I had used up my respite care hours when she knew it was time for extra hours just so I could sit with my mom. Her mom had passed away and she was with her mom and she wanted to make sure I was with mine when it happened.)

It was hard. When my caregiver helper would come in to sit with my grandma, I would escape to the basement where I could talk to mom and pack up my entire house to get ready to move to Maine because I wanted to be near my sister and her family. I spent that time really truly grieving. I'd cry at first almost constantly, then it got a little less but a box in her handwriting would set me off. Having those hours to myself to really cry it out helped. I'd come upstairs probably looking terrible after crying on and off for hours but I'd be tired so I was able to care for grandma tired but not in tears so often.

Take your time for yourself when you can. Don't be afraid to cry. Don't be afraid to look for help. Even if you can't get totally away from your mom, having respite care come into the house to really care for her while you take time for yourself is huge. As stated earlier there are resources out there. Don't be afraid that during this time you can't do it alone. It's ok. Everyone is allowed to need help sometimes. Just take it a day at a time. I personally found the fact that I had to carry on to care for someone else, something that helped as I couldn't lose myself in my grief, I was needed. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Hang in there. You aren't alone.
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Dear Mylupe,

I'm sorry to hear how are you feeling. If you are grieving the loss of a pet, another family member or friend or your mom's health and feeling overwhelmed, I would consider the following:

Seeking the support of other family and friends for help.
Looking for a counselor or joining a support group.
Seeking out respite care to give yourself a break from taking care of your mom.

Just try to take it moment by moment, but don't be afraid to seek out help. There are lots of community resources. You are not alone. Thinking of you.
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Are you grieving over someone else's death? (For example, your father died and now you are taking care of your mother?)

Or are you grieving over the decline you see happening in your mother?

A little more explanation will help us give relevant answers.
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Can you explain more because I don't understand?
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