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My 98-year-old dad, my little buddy, just passed away last week. I had been caring for him for the past 5 years as his age slowly caught up to him, and living with him my entire life. We were so close as a family, my mom and my dad and myself. My mom passed away in 2015. So the routine of caretaking and daily responsibilities was second nature to me and had become my life. He was relatively healthy for that age, but still needed a great deal of attention. I had a great deal of help from my fiancee who also gave him great care. My dad passed away at home in his bed with me there, and did not suffer. I honestly don't know how anything could have been better except that he were to live. He was generally immobile with no use of his legs and limited use of his body in general, probably from lack of activity. Moving him was hard, and we used a Hoyer Lift for bathroom duties. He had some Sundowning, but only a little. I guess my question is probably the same one everyone would have. What are the tips and tricks to get one through the grief process? I don't seem to be able to remember the good things that I did, only the wrong things that I did. I regret not showing him the Tom and Jerry movie ( He loves Tom and Jerry). I regret not sitting down and watching a football game with him. I feel as if we were so busy caring for him that we didn't take time for him. Does anyone have anything they can offer that I could try to get over this horrible feeling? I have great friends and family and I know it's early on in the grief process.. I just thought maybe someone who had experienced something similar might be able to offer me something to hold on to. I have been a member of this forum for quite some time, and have found very useful things to help me while I cared for my dad at home. There are so many great people out there who have had such harder experiences and who have dealt with them so well. I am always in awe of the questions and comments that I read from the things that people are doing to care for their loved ones. I was just hoping someone would be able to throw me a line that I could think about to deal with my feelings. I am a Christian and believe in Jesus, so I know there's a much better place and that he's with my mom and his family. I KNOW we will be together again and that the veil between earth and the afterlife is thin. I would just appreciate hearing what advice those so much more knowledgeable than I may have. Thank you again for this great forum and great people.

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I’m sorry for your loss.

Guilt is hard. It’s illogical, as so many of us put it onto ourselves when our loved ones would be the first to say that we did a great job. Guilt is the mark of a caring, compassionate person. Nobody greedy or heartless feels guilt.

After my grandmother passed, I felt pretty much the same way. I focused on all the fights, all the bad times. I didn’t paint her rosy, but I kept asking myself why I pushed so hard? So, I sat down and had a “conversation” with her. I closed my eyes and imagined her in front of me. Try to do the same. How would your father feel or what would he say if he read your post? Would he honestly give a d*** if he hadn’t seen the Tom and Jerry movie? Caring and loving, washing and cleaning, helping and laughing - this is what makes life worthwhile. You remove all of that, and that is hell. So, I’ll ask you, what did you give your dad? Heaven or hell?

Give yourself a break, because I swear to you, I’ll bet your dad would say that he got the best daughter in the world. That he was damn lucky to have you.
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Twatson Oct 5, 2021
Know know what? You are exactly right! Thank you so much for replying to me. I so much needed to hear this! My dad would be saying exactly what you said. Thank you for the clarity and for taking the time to respond. My mind is its own worst enemy. And you are 100% right. I forget about the good things, such as the laughing and the hugs, and I focus on the things I should have done, and that's just evil. God bless you! I see things more clearly because of the words you have written. May the relief that you have provided me come back to you tenfold. Thank you.
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Twatson, I am sorry you lost your Dad but as a Christian your hope is eternal life and that's exactly how I felt when my dad died a year ago. His life had been reduced to a life of suffering and he was ready to go home to meet Jesus and his family. I felt hope and joy knowing his earthly body was gone and he was in heaven. That doesn't diminish the sadness we feel for the physical loss of their presence.
Find a grief counselor to help you put things into perspective.
I attended a grief session where counselor gave these points:
1. Grief is a journey not a destination... you don't climb grief mountain and raise your flag and declare I made it...it changes us, the grief is always part of us, it's the new normal.
2. Allow yourself to mourn the physical loss of their presence, it's ok to cry, and cry, and cry. Do things that honor him in his absence, watch the football game, watch Tom and Jerry and laugh at things your dad would have found funny. Take care of yourself mentally and physically in honor of your dad, he would want you to.
3. We would rather feel guilt than hopelessness. You did everything you could to help your dad, loved him, ushered him to end of life graciously, please don't go through the regrets of things you didn't do... You did what needed to be done and it sounds like above everything else... You loved him.
I hope you'll find peace in this journey that unfortunately we all have to go through.
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Twatson Sep 17, 2021
Oh, thank you for the uplifting message. Your words are like a warm hug for my heart. It's funny how loss and grief make us forget the solid lessons of life events and make us skew reality. Your words ring so true, and you are right that my dad would not appreciate or approve of my guilty thoughts.
Thank you so very much for taking your time to lift me up. :)
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You can take solace in the fact you had him for 98 years, that in itself is a blessing.

Many people who had loving parents, aren't as fortunate, since their parents may have passed before they could get to their 90s

My mom would have been 90 this year if she had lived, and look at Norm McDonald, he did not even make it to 70.
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Twatson Sep 16, 2021
Thank you..I know. When it's your time, it's your time. I guess. I know how blessed I am...and so appreciative of our time together. God bless you for your encouragement and kindness.
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You did more for your folks than 98% of children do, so you have nothing to feel 'guilty' for. Guilt suggests you did something wrong, spitefully, to hurt your dad. Not watching football with him b/c you were caring for him meant you were too busy CARING for him to sit down & watch TV! Think about that statement for a moment. Stop being cruel to yourself, and instead, be kind to yourself for doing such a remarkable job as a caregiver and for showing such a level of love and kindness to an old man who needed an awful lot of help.

Grief takes time to soften; at first it's raw and it stings like an open wound; it hurts too badly to even think about the person you lost. That's okay, it's just how it's supposed to be when you love someone and lose them. Then as time passes, the wound heals up a bit and softens. You're able to start remembering your dad with humor about the times you spent together and how he'd laugh at your silly jokes, or how he'd smile when you cooked something he loved. I remember cooking my dad a sweet potato pie b/c he told me after WWII, the best thing he ate was a sweet potato pie and he'd never forgotten the taste of it. So I baked him one and the look on his face was priceless. I can recall that now that he's passed 6 years; I can think about it and smile b/c the memory is sweet and doesn't sting anymore. You'll get there yourself, but give it time, and give yourself grace, above all.

Wishing you the best of luck allowing yourself the time and space to heal this loss in your life and learn how to live with the empty space your dad left.
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Twatson Sep 16, 2021
Wow...you have clearly suffered a great loss or losses to be able to read a stranger so well from my brief statement. Your observations and recommendations hit me hard. Thank you for your sincerity..I believe you are right about not beating yourself up, but most times, you can't see what you are doing to yourself. So, thank you. I like the image of grief "softening." It helps to put things in perspective. God bless you as you heal, also, and thank you. P.S. My dad's post-WWII food of choice was fresh eggs. :)
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I’m very surprised by your site name, which reads ‘twat son’. Your new profile says that you are a daughter. As dad (your little buddy) was 98, you are probably in your 60s or 70s, you have a fiancee, and have lived with mom and dad your whole life. Please tell us more about your unusual life, so that we can be sure that our sympathies are helpful and appropriate.
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lealonnie1 Sep 15, 2021
Or maybe T Watson ? What is the difference what her user name is or what the details of her 'unusual life' may be; she's asking for help with grief and guilt.
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My heart goes out to everyone here and I appreciate all the kindness and advice. I am overwhelmed by guilt/regret since Mom went into memory care 6 months ago. Every time I visit she says she is ready to go home and asks what does she have to do to go home. She says she doesn’t know what she did to end up there but she must have done something but whatever she is ok now and ready to leave. It breaks my heart and I am responsible for her being there. I think the care is good from about 7-3 when all the staff is there but it seems like after that the residents just sit around bored and they never get outside or go anywhere they are just locked in. It’s not what I had in mind for her. I regret not quitting my job and committing to her care at home. We thought the environment would be better for her socially to keep the brain working but she seems to be sad and bored and not able to do her own thing. I think she was happy at home just watching TV and getting out once a day with the home care aide. I believe it was worth a try but I was always open to reconsideration if it wasn’t a better situation which I don’t think it is after 6 months. I don’t have the POA to bring her home and I can’t convince the other family members they think it is best for safety and health and don’t want to even discuss it I feel so bad Mom trusts me the most and I let her down by not providing better care and letting her go and now she is stuck…This disease has wrecked me and I don’t even have it.
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Cover99 Sep 16, 2021
Has the other family gone to see her?
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I lost my mom at the end of July, and here I am buzzing along like nothing happened. I know, however, that it'll hit me like a ton of bricks in about six months, because that's when my dad's death hit me.

My biggest problem -- and maybe yours, too -- is that I'm now "unemployed." I've been caregiving to one degree or another since 1993 when my first child was born. Now my kids are all grown, and my parents, whose care I went straight into when my youngest was finishing high school, are gone, too. Once I get Mom's estate wrapped up, I truly have no real job to do. I'll figure something out, though.

I do recommend the book, Healing After Loss, by Martha Hickman. It's a year's worth of readings and you only read one page a day, so it isn't too much to absorb at once.

As everyone else said, time is what you'll need. They didn't say "time heals all wounds" for nothing.
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Maple3044 Sep 15, 2021
Check with your local hospitals, after this stupid virus is over. Many hospitals need volunteers to hold babies, lots of them are born to drug addicts. These babies need lots of "skin to skin" contact.
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I would suggest attending GriefShare - a grief group comprising of people who are either currently grieving the loss of a loved one or have been through this process. They give the best advice and support. Many of these groups are held in churches.

If you can not find a GriefShare group, it would be helpful to navigate the grieving process with a Christian counsellor. Most local churches can point you in the direction of a caring and compassionate counsellor with experience in the grief process.

While trying to find a group or counsellor, it is helpful to know that grief usually follows a pattern. Dr. Kubler-Ross outlined this as "stages:"

Stage 1 - Denial - those feelings that this is not really happening

Stage 2 - Anger - those feelings that this wasn't fair or shouldn't have happened

Stage 3 - Bargaining - ineffective methods to try and bring back "normal"

Stage 4 - Depression - those feelings of sadness and regret (kind of where you are)

Stage 5 - Acceptance - feeling peace and able to move on in your life.

Praying that your navigate to Stage 5 in good time.
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Twatson Sep 16, 2021
Thank you very much for your recommendations and observations. I think your church-oriented counseling suggestion sounds healing. I also appreciate the knowledge that there is a process. Thank you.
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You will grieve for as long as it takes. There is no timeline, no rules. You should give yourself a huge hug for taking care of your daddy, and allowing him to die in peace with you there showing how much you love him.
There is no room for guilt, unless you did something to speed his journey off this earth.

You can " woulda, coulda, shoulda" yourself into a nervous breakdown, but it won't change a thing.

So cry when you need to cry. Then remember something fun you did with your dad. Talk to him whenever you want or need to. Your heart will receive his answer.
And finally, you now have a fierce guardian angel watching over you.
Hugs from another daddy's girl who still misses her daddy after 36 years.
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Twatson Sep 15, 2021
Oh my gosh...thank you. These words mean soy h to me. They ring perfecly true. I love the "fierce guardian angel." Awesome. God Bless you. Thank you for your response
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I am going through a similar situation. I lost my LO in July. I was the only 24/7 caregiver. Living through Grief is different for everyone. Please read the following: https://www.psycom.net/depression.central.grief.html
It may help you understand where you are and what you will go through. Almost everyday I wish I could turn back the clock.

I would add to take one day at a time. If you need to talk to some,one for emotional support call a 24/7 WARM Line 800# via the internet. Sometimes or many times you just need to cry (period.) You are wired to the caregiver process and now it has stopped, and you need to adjust. Hopefully, you can focus on another friend or family member, or perhaps another LO. I think you will find yourself going through and repeating the different stages of grief as you heal. As time passes you will feel a little stronger then suddenly fall back down, later fall down again, and again. If you can volunteer or do part time work it will help distract you from your grief. There are also grief books and support groups available. You can search for them on the internet too. Life goes on and bills will come in to be paid. Go see your doctor and take care of yourself. Start thinking about your future. Give yourself daily goals. Listen to calming music it helps tremendously. I think you never get over grief, you just get used to it.
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Twatson Sep 13, 2021
Your observations are remarkable...I will check out the website, and I have start to look for books. Thank you for practical, tangible ideas. It's only been a week, but I feel the rythmn of the loss that you speak of. These are such good suggestions...I really appreciate it. Please also follow your own advice and take care of yourself, too.
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I'm so sorry for your loss.

Only thing I could add is Therapy; it may help you be able to work through your grief.

Blessings.
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Twatson Sep 12, 2021
Thank you...I know it's still early, but I've thought about it. Thank you for your kindness
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You've been a caregiver for many years like many of us have or had been, and there is no easy fix when it comes to grieving the ones we lost. That takes time. You will probably wander around for a while wondering what it is you're supposed to be doing, and that is quite normal for a long time caregiver, so be patient with yourself. This too will pass, and you will once again fall into a different rhythm of life. One that will hopefully bring you much joy.
And wasting time on the should haves, could haves, and if only I would haves, is not healthy nor productive for anyone.
You did the very best you could, and that is all any of us can do, so give yourself a pat on your shoulder and know that both your mom and dad are very proud of the great care you gave to both of them. That is a real gift you gave them both, and neither of them are up in heaven wishing that you had done things differently, so please be kind to yourself, and rest in the knowledge that you did your very best.
In time you will only remember the many good times you had with your "little buddy" and they will make you smile. That is how your dad would want it.
I pray that God will grant you His peace, strength and comfort in the days, weeks, and months ahead.
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Twatson Sep 12, 2021
Oh, thank you. Thank you for your kind, logical words. My aching heart appreciates your message.
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Ok, first..Push the guilt away because you have nothing to be guilty about or for.
You did all that you could for him. And more than many would or could have done.
So please rest easy knowing that you did well.

Now the tough part. the grief.
TIME
I know sounds over used, trite but it is true.
Time will change your perspective on the last 5 years, the last year, the last months.
With grief so fresh it is no wonder you can not recall good or happy moments.
Are you going to have a service or memorial? If so just jot down a few things you remember for childhood ..those will be happy memories from before he was ill, before you were a caregiver first and a daughter second.
Keep your heart, mind and eyes open. He will send you messages. You have to be open to receive them .

One of the notes I keep by my computer...
Grief never ends
But it changes
It is a passage
Not a place to stay.
Grief is not a sign of weakness
nor a lack of Faith
It is the price of LOVE.

((hugs)) to you and 🙏 for the loss of your dad.
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Twatson Sep 12, 2021
Your message gives me the clarity that I can find in nothing else right now. Thank you so much. I appreciate your kind words.
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It seems like whatever we've done for our LOs, how compassionate and loving we were to them, how unselfishly we gave of our time, there's often regret. I'm pleased you used “regret” instead of “guilt”. Unless you were complicit in causing his illnesses or his death, there is no guilt. Regret, sure. But who wants to look thru the rear view mirror the rest of one's life. So instead of feeling regret, choose to replace it with gratitude. Be thankful for the love and life your family shared, for your ability to care for both parents, for the faith your parents showed you, and search your memory for more to be grateful for.


Grief is the validation that we loved someone we lost. It'll take time to resolve. It's not just time, but what you do during that time. Accept your grief, cry if you have to. Spend time reminiscing, looking at family photos, talking about your mom and dad. Lucy Hone's book, “Resilient Grieving” is a good book to help you understand and resolve your grief. How long does grief have to last? What actions and thoughts help us get thru grieving faster, and which holds us back? Death of a LO invokes many questions. What was the purpose of his/her life?


Everyone experiences grief differently. I wish you well in working thru your grief. You are not alone.
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Twatson Sep 12, 2021
Thank you for taking the time to make me feel better. I like "grief" in place of "guilt." That makes sense to me. I appreciate your book recommend action as I was wanting to buy a good book on getting through this.
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