Follow
Share

In April, 2018 I lost my beloved 95 year old Mother. I had been her caregiver for the previous 5 years, managed all of her needs, admissions to ALs, navigating her changing abilities as dementia took increasing hold, hip breaks, SNFs, final fall & hospice. I imagine most on this site understand the output of physical & emotional energy. In the process, my one sibling, a brother, his wife, all of their adult children and their children became increasingly hostile towards me, as I moved my mother from living alone in her apt in the frigid east coast winter to my home in southern CA to be with me daily. I am an OT & was best able to oversee her care but truly, we were also dear friends. I gladly took complete responsibility (personal care, all finances as mom had very little, everything else) but was sure to maintain regular contact with my brother, facilitating calls to the family as mom's dementia progressed & her assistance needs grew. Essentially I'd discovered that my east coast family was leaving our 90 yr old mom in her apt for weeks at a time post rehab, reasoning that "Hey, mom/grandma has always been so independent, she doesn't need or want any help." No one other than mom & me wanted to accept that she of course did need help and support in every way as her body and mind declined. My concern grew to alarm as I found she'd become dangerously more thin upon each visit to her on the east coast. Once she agreed, I made the call to move her to be near me, which most importantly were her wishes. Point being, my entire family is now gone from my life ~ their choice, not mine. I can only imagine this is fueled by their guilt for neglecting her so long and in that case, someone must be made the bad guy. Ironic that the sole caregiver is somehow painted to be the bad guy but all must be rationalized I suppose. During those 5 years of caring for mom daily & living alongside her heartbreaking cognitive decline, propping it all up, there were also countless precious moments that I would not trade for anything ~ even for those parts of my life that I chose to stop in their tracks in order to care for her. Exhausting, depleting, financially devastating as it was, above all my heart knows that life handing me that job was a a gift to me on the deepest level ~ an honor. Mom passed in my arms after 9 days in the hospital due to complications after a fall. I feel I may have a PTSD type of trauma from those final days & nights awake at her side 24/7 in particular. Cut to: It is now 2020 & though I know intellectually all of the conventional modes of healing support & have engaged in many in earnest (1-on-1 grief counseling, loss of parent group, talking w/my dearest friends, taking time) I still cannot get my "life force" back for any period of time. There is now always a dull pit in my stomach, a presence of deep sadness that seems to override all else. Despite my meditations, reasoning and faith practices I cannot manage to find peace. It feels like a psychic bruise on the heart that I cannot share my grief or connect in healing with any of my family who knew & loved her. Regardless of their behavior and any tension between us, one would hope that the profound nature of losing our matriarch would lift us to our better selves. I reached out but was shut out and for my own sake, must forgive & surrender those relationships to the past. This leaves me with this grieving that seems to have no end. I do not want to burden friends as it has been what is considered "long enough" to heal and I feel I've reached my statute of limitations on discussing my loss with others at this point ~ I am expected to "just get on with it" now and cannot say I disagree. I just for the life of me can't seem to dig my way up and out again. Agingcare.com is clearly rich with the wisdom of empathic caregivers. Would anyone have some guidance, however unorthodox re how you may have found your way? Thank you for reading & for any insights you may share.🙏

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
A wise beyond her years therapist told me the old rule of it taking a year to grieve is gone. Replaced by one year, plus one month for each year of the relationship. So if you are 60, you would expect it to take an additional 5.5 years to find your new normal.

Grief is a gradual process.

you also need to work your way through your feelings about your brother and his family. About a third of your post is about them. Until you can let all that go, you will be stuck and unable to move forward.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report
LoveourMamas Jan 4, 2020
Thank you, Tothill for your insights and for that new, what feels like a much more realistic formula for the "new normal." I am understanding better each day that this will take time and will go in stages.

You are correct that I am still working on the loss of family. Because I have no way to communicate with them to make peace in 3D or at least come to a truce, I end up having my conversations with myself ~ which takes much longer than I'd hoped to move through. I am making progress but in baby steps. I think you hit on it initially ~ I believe I need to see a good longer term therapist. My grief therapist was wonderful but there is a shelf life on those services offered by hospice and I wanted to be mindful of others' needs with new, more raw losses and counseling needs. I appreciate your kind candor and time in responding.
(0)
Report
My sincere condolences on the loss of your mother. You had a very special relationship, and your grief is understandably hard to shake.

You're not only grieving the loss of your dear parent, you're grieving the loss of your family, too. That's a lot to deal with, and it's obviously very difficult for you to feel that you're "all alone in the world."

I remember a very poignant post from early last year. Reading it, and the responses, might give you some insight: https://www.agingcare.com/questions/parents-died-of-old-age-months-apart-from-each-other-i-am-an-only-child-how-do-i-recover-from-loneli-446738.htm

Keep up with the grief counseling, and perhaps consider talking to a therapist about some medication for depression. You spoke of "faith practices" - are you a member of a church of any kind? A pastor/priest/rabbi may be able to help with counseling, and if you attend services, involve yourself with others of the congregation in any activities. You may develop a new, extended family in the process.

Your relatives may have cut you off from their lives, but nothing should stop you from enjoying the society of other members of the greater Human family out there. You have lost a lot, but remember that you have much more to gain.

I hope you find peace.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report
LoveourMamas Jan 4, 2020
Thank you for taking the time to read my post and for your helpful, considered advice. It is comforting to be reminded that there are others who have come through it. I will surely look at the earlier post you have linked & appreciate the resource. All the best to you & yours, PeeWee57.
(0)
Report
So sorry that you are struggling, grief has no timeframe. It appears that you devoted the last five years of your life to her, and possibly extended her life, feel good about that and accept that we are all born to die, each day we move closer to the final solution. She is no longer in pain, she is in good hands.

Honor her by letting go of her, honor her by continuing to live your life and looking forward to tomorrow.

For some, buying a large balloon and going somewhere special and releasing it helps one to move forward...say what you have to say and let her go...I am sure that she would not like what you are doing to yourself.

I wish you the best!
Helpful Answer (1)
Report
LoveourMamas Jan 4, 2020
Thank you for your kind and thoughtful response, DollyMe. There is great truth in it and I will take it to heart. Blessings to you and yours.
(1)
Report
This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter