How do you deal with the loss of your parents after caregiving? - AgingCare.com

How do you deal with the loss of your parents after caregiving?

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I am not sure where to start. I lost both my parents in a span of 30 days. Mom passed on Dec 29,2010 and Dad on Jan 29,2011. Dad was ok, mom was the one who was sick with cancer, terminal. I left my job to take care of her, and to look after my father cause she could'nt. Took a family leave of absence. After a couple of months of total crazyness with the both of them, mom finally said i want to go to the hospital. I sat there and stalled on the ambulance cause i knew that if she went she would never come home again. I was right. I finally said ok, after a hour of just looking at her. At the hospital they wanted to start radiation on her with a 6 month to will live statement. I said no she can come home, with hospice, I will take care of her. I was ready and knew what i was in for with both parents. We were all ready for hospice, papers were signed and I had prepared myself for whatever. Long story short she passed on Dec 29. I was at her bedside when she left, and was ok, cause i had asked God to take her. Until the undertaker walked in and I lossed it. Anyway, i stilled had to take care of dad, and i did. I promised him I would take care of him no matter what. And I started to. 4 days after the funeral of my mother, he falls and breaks his hip. This time i was angry and yelled at him, he would not stay in bed and after a night of running after him he finally fell asleep and so did I. But he got up at some point and fell. Broken Hip. I yelled and back to the hosp we went. Hip operation the whole thing. Into rehab. The last day i saw him we talk and he had a discharge date, i sat told him i would be there for whatever he needed. We would be O.K. Next morning I got a call he had passed. 3 days after that I got a letter for my Job that I had been terminated. And here I am. 6 month point. Its been very hard. I have friends who support me, but how much can u talk about this to them without them saying "oh no, not again". I had a dream at the 3 month point, of my mother standing behind my dad as if to tell me they are ok. Last nite I saw her in my dreams at my door, i called out to her as she moved and came up behind her to hug her and POOF she was gone. There are easy days and some not. Holidays are tough, b'days,so on. But it does get easier. I found myself laughing at some stupid thing she use to say because I said it and realized I sounded just like her. And all the funny things came into my head. So, i smiled alot that evening just thinking. But for anyone who is having a hard time just remember that it passes, it gets easier, find somehow to not be by yourself on holidays. And just breathe. You'll get through it. Someone please write back, i am ok, but i still need support.

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Ballie,
I am sorry for your losses.
I do not know if it will bring you comfort but as I read your story I saw many signs of healing. Your choices and problem solving during the last stages of your parents life came from a place of love. Even your anger at your father's fall and ultimate promise to be there for him indicate great love and caring. The ablility, willingness and active sharing of your story is an important step in the healing process, as there is "healing in the telling". If you feel a little uncomfiortable retelling our story to friends try other avenues. Journal about your story, join a support group, continue to visit this website. Above all do not apologize for your story or the need to tell it. The way to move through grief is through grieving.
Your dreams about your mother are another indicator that your healing process is unfolding. Those experiences are a blessing and very real on an emotional level. It is the emotional level that counts you know. I have many clients that long for a dream or emotinal memory of their deceased loved one. If your grief turns to concrete there is no room for dreams or emotinal memories. It is the space of healing that allows for dreams, memories, a funny thought or reflective story. There will continue to be bad days amongst the good ones. That is normal.
Grieving is a process that unfolds over time and vulnerable moments can be unpredictable. This is the importance of a journal because it is your own writing that can remind you of good days and insights during those lousy sad and painful days.
Good luck, stay in there, be hopeful...........your journey, experiences and timeline are textbook classic. Our capacity to love and understand ourselves grows as a result of survivng great challenges such as the loss of people we love.
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Dear ballie,
I'm right there with you. I cared for my 96 y.o.mother for 3 years, both in my home and in long-term care. She passed away in March, and I am constantly seeing and remembering things that remind me of her. She loved tomatoes, and burgers on the grill, and every time I eat a tomato I think of her.
If you can, just remember how you took care of them. It might be good if you can find a grief support group- no one there will think to themselves, "Oh no, there she goes again" when you want to talk about them and your feelings. There is no timetable for grief- it only subsides, may not ever go away completely.
Your parents may visit you in your dreams, to reassure you that they are OK. I firmly believe that all is understood in heaven, there is no anger or any regrets. And be honest with yourself and believe that you did the very best you could to care for them. Jean
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Ballie..I wish I could give you a hug. We have much in common and I know exactly where you are coming from. Taking care of both parents- as Julie indicated above- is not an easy task..and one that indicates great love and caring..I had a similar situation in that my dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer the same day that my mother was being discharged out of rehab for a massive stroke. So I, like you..was thrown into a double caregiving role. We had to pack up our apt and move in with them in a day-had absolutely no choice. If you need to vent, or just need support in any way- feel free to contact me. I often find myself in a very weird place as well- even though dad has passed, and mom is currently in a SNF under hospice care. We have all gone through these feelings..and don't even get me started on jobs and how difficult it can be to get, or maintain one while all this is going on. I also think they visit us in our dreams, to let us know they are okay..I dream of my dad all the time. The fact that you are smiling, laughing, and remembering things that your mom said is a great sign of healing. Continue to do that- it's very important.. I'm sure your parents would want to continue to bring you joy even though they have passed. You'll find that eventually- you'll appreciate even the hard times you went through with them.
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You have such clarity about what has happened in your life. That is such a big step. Most of the time I feel as though I am walking around in a fog.
I have a more spiritual point of view when it comes to dreams about loved ones who have passed. I think it is so much more than just an emotional reaction to such a intensely personal event. I truly think that others who have crossed over to "the other side" visit us to release us from some of the pain and let us know that we did the very best for them. IMHO the next life is free of pain, guilt, judgment and fear. We have no knowledge of these things in our "human" life, so our loved ones come back to give us a glimpse. It is a blessing of the biggest magnitude.
I had a dream about both my aunt and father who had passed. It was as real as my waking life. I know that there is a difference between regular dreams and visits from family who have gone before. I find these moments comforting...
I hope you will continue to come to this site and share your thoughts with all the caregivers here who have firsthand experience with what you have gone through. No one here will think, "oh there she goes again." Unless they walk in our shoes they have no right to turn a deaf ear or judge your need to heal in any way you see fit.
My condolences on your loss...Lilli
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