I took care of my mother for the past two years. On Monday, my time as her main caregiver came to an end. She was 95, and, as I was told, lived past her expiration date; but still it was a sad day. It seems so surreal....

Somehow I was expecting that I would immediately be able to sleep later and not have to go to her house every day. I thought that I would stay home and just clean my house for a change. So far, none of that has happened. Even when I get home early enough, I have to force myself to do something — and it’s not the cleaning I set out to do. I feel like I am trying to beat the depression.

I have never been through this before and am now overwhelmed with all the loose ends to be tied up — like cleaning up her bedroom, arranging to have the hospital bed and wheelchair picked up, contracting with the cremation service, contacting a lawyer about the Will, worrying about a memorial service (though I have tried to pass that on to my siblings, no one is making a decision...”It’s no rush” my one brother says....).... It still seems like my (much older) siblings are not doing what I had hoped or asked of them — to take over the responsibility.

I realize it has only been a few days, but how long does it take before you feel like life is back to normal (whatever that is....)?

I’m two years, nine months and twenty days... and still counting.

It changes as time goes along - morphing from one thing into something else.

I’m better than I was, but not as good as I use to be - before it all.

I think its fair to say you’ll never be the person you use to be. How could you? The experience from beginning to end changes you. Into something different. But with time and effort I do believe it can be just that - not less than, hopefully better than - with wisdom and lessons learned. But definitely different.
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Reply to Rainmom

It's been a little over four years for me and I can honestly say that every day I am rediscovering who I am. I won't ever be the same. I look at the world differently and I guess with every momentous thing that happens in a person's life they are permanently changed.

I think I know now that there is no such thing as normal. And that has to be okay I guess.

I think any time you sacrifice for someone you become a greater version of yourself even if it may not seem so right now.
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Reply to Gershun
BlackHole Jun 21, 2019
Touching and true, Gershun.
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I have been reading this thread.,my mom passed June 4th.
You know, so,many of us have had a whirlwind. Getting care. Selling properties to,pay for care. Dementia behaviors. Putting on psych meds to deal with same. Feeling like an ass for doing.

I am still sorting out my feelings here on a multitude of issues. And frankly you have caregiver PTSD. Whether at home with you, or in a facility.the feelings don't change.

All of us going through this, gosh. Wish i had some magic words. I don't.but I am right there with you.

Strength and peace to us all.
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Reply to Segoline
elaineSC Jun 23, 2019
You are right, Segoline. Went to my parents’ house today to check on how it is being cleaned out and getting ready to put it on the market. Every time I go, I want to cry seeing their possessions removed little by little. Still have the memories but it is still fresh. I had not thought of it as PTSD but I think you nailed it.
Mapotter, I'm so sorry for your loss!

Give yourself some time. Your grief is very new and that alone can be overwhelming. There are tasks to be done that have to do with the loose ends (the hospital bed, cremation); those can be useful "distractors" from the grief.

If you delegate tasks to your siblings, let them do it their way.

Are you the executrix of the will?

It takes time to get back to any semblance of "normal". Please be gentle with yourself and remember that we're here. (((((Hugs))))))).
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
Mapotter Jun 20, 2019
Thank you, Barb. No, I am not executor. My oldest brother is. (I am the youngest of 5. My oldest brother is 72. I am 62.) He has major health issues, if you remember from my previous posts. I give him 6 months at the most now. So, I will be doing this all over again soon. But, it may not be the same as losing a mother. He has never been married, and has lived with Mom since my dad died almost 40 years ago. He will continue to live in the house until he passes. I am the personal rep in his Will, and have medical POA.... So, I guess it won’t end for me for a while....
There is now a new ‘normal’, and that includes a lot of memories and also a lot of work. In many cases, as in yours, there are more memories being made right now of things not working out well in the family, bringing new miseries. Have courage. You need to live through this stage, because there can be better things ahead. Best wishes, Margaret
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Reply to MargaretMcKen

Speaking from experience, a full year as far as the financial business and loose ends due to Probate, etc. I dealt with all of this for 6 years as far as care for my parents. Dad passed in 2016 and Mom passed just this past December. So, I am still doing the last loose ends and the leg work. I also just had their home appraised and I broke down and cried looking at all of their life's material things that I knew and remembered so well. My sister is a stroke victim and wheelchair bound so I had to do it all myself. It won’t be over until December. I am totally burned out now and can barely do what I am required to do and I am 66 years old with arthritis. But, my parents trusted me to handle everything and I am just going through the motions. Hardly had time to grieve. YES, I sure did go through depression when Dad passed and there I was dealing with the nursing facility with my Mom. She was a dementia patient who could not walk due to rheumatoid arthritis and lost her eyesight on top of everything else so she needed 24/7 care but I had to run back and forth checking behind that facility that she was receiving proper care and still handling her finances and keeping records. I will tell you this.... I did not touch anything in their home after Dad was taken to the hospital and he passed. I felt as if they were both alive but just not home if everything stayed exactly like it was. I know that sounds crazy but it helped me cope but I don’t suggest that for everybody. We just started cleaning out their house and it is dawning on me that they are really gone. I am just taking it day to day and making myself do my own errands and housework and getting some things done at my own home that I put off. It helps. Winter is worse for me with the depression. I am going to come up with something to do such as a hobby to get me through this coming winter. I am so sorry for your loss and wish you health and happiness. It is not easy losing parents.
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Reply to elaineSC
Mapotter Jun 21, 2019
Thank you. What a story. I feel for you. I can also relate to what you are feeling. My sister is in a wheelchair also (disabled with MS). So, she could not help me with Mom.

I am trying to get my siblings to handle the memorial service and luncheon afterwards, but somehow I think I should have just done it myself.... I am being sucked in anyway. Like today, my sil texted me and told me that their priest friend can do the service on the date we selected. She told me to call my sister and have her call the church to see if the chapel was available. Why couldn't she have called my sister, or better yet, tell my brother (her husband!) to call my sister??? It is hard dealing with 5 siblings, trying to coordinate, get everyone's input.
You are exhausted for one. Caring for a loved one takes alot of energy and it sometimes isn't until the caregiving is done that we realize just how exhausted we have become. Also you are grieving which is overwhelming and hard work. It is now time to focus on you. Get rest and don't worry about all of the things you think you need to do now. They will get done and there is no rush. If there are things others can do instead of you, let them. Sometimes people just assume we will take care of things because we always have. Let them know you need help.
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Reply to sandy1955

I feel that my future after caregiving is a "new normal", cuz we are forever changed by experience with sacrifice & loss...(which is ok BTW). Maybe its comparable to other life transitions, like children leaving home, or divorce... For me, I think the empty spot will remain until I make new friends or get a job, (just SOMETHINg new). Those who have grandchildren are SO very lucky, cuz that newness of life & their energy is contagious:) I may seek a job with children to help me enjoy life again. Good luck on your journey🙋
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Reply to Tiger55
Doublewhammy Jun 22, 2019
I felt I had to change my life after my husband's untimely death or I would go crazy. I couldn't stand to live in the house we built any longer. So I moved away and bought a farm, something I always wanted. I don't regret it. I did wait about a year to sell the house , but some people might not have that luxury.
Feel for you Mapotter. Lost Dad January 12th this year and just lost Mom June 13th this year as well. I considered it an honor that my father choose me to be his POA and estate representative in handling the end of life loose ends. Fortunately he had sold off most of his property but it was still major work. Like you said cleaning out the apartment, moving mom from Assisted to Skilled nursing, and getting compliance or help from siblings all wears on you. With my father I was busy making arrangements and contacting companies and sending off Death Certificates morning til night. Thankfully we did not rush the services and had him cremated and waited a month before holding a memorial service. My sister took on a lion share of this ( organizing a video of pictures, designing a card and memorial booklet, etc). Remember- You were chosen from your siblings because you are the strong one!! You can do it.
Grieving takes a long time. I was with my Dad and those last few hours entered my dreams for months as I second guessed myself and every move made or thing said, or not said. I was 5 time zones away when Mom passed away quietly in her sleep so my feelings are different. Although I am spacey and forgetful (left my purse at a restaurant the other night) and clumsy ( tripped on a speed bump in a parking lot last week) and have a difficult time focusing or following ( or making) conversation, I know these moments will end. My new focus will be on learning to be the best elder I can be.
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Reply to Milesaway

The waking up in panic at two in the morning because her alarm hasn't gone off and you haven't checked up on her gets better after a few weeks, I found.

Uneasiness about leaving the house without handing over to a caregiver first takes some months.

It's now been over three years, and I'm coming to the conclusion that I am just not the same person any more.

Each anniversary and holiday gets easier year by year. First birthday, Christmas, Mothering Sunday etc. are going to be tricky. Fortunately, you only have to pass these milestones one at a time - whereas I think you might possibly be trying to do them all at once.

You have had a week. Why do you have to "beat" anything? Don't you deserve time to grieve?
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Reply to Countrymouse
Mapotter Jun 25, 2019
Hi Countrymouse. I am starting to realize that I don’t have to take my cell phone everywhere I go — even into the bathroom....
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