To those caregivers that have lost their loved ones. When the grief has calmed down, do you find that you can regain your life back?

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After the stress, burnout, guilt and all the other negative emotions you have delt with. When the grief has calmed down, do you find that you can regain your life back? After all the years of the constant stress, work and messes you kind of loose yourself. Seperation from your friends, things you used to do and are now left with an empty bedroom and you are worn out, can you take your life and health back? I know a lot of you have done your duty, but stay on this board to help support the rest of us. Any input on your personal experiences you can share with us?

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This is an interesting post. My dad died in 1993 and my mother forbid that me or my brothers show any emotion. I never did grieve. I was at  the end of my abusive marriage and ex would have abused me if I had cried. My mother died this past May and I haven't cried. I don't whether I could. My brother died last month and I went thru the motions of the funeral.

I'm not sure if I know what normal is. I work hard to help others. I garden. I work on my home. I have someone in my life that I care for, but I honestly don't know what normal is for me. My other brother and I are going to counseling. We're both very honest in counseling. Sometimes the counselor looks at us in disbelief. We come home laughing sometimes because of how the therapist looks at us. Maybe someday I'll get to a different place or maybe not.
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Thanks for bringing this back to the top Send.

Its tough. Its almost 11 months since my dad passed and I too feel lost. All my siblings have moved on but me. I am still torturing myself about what I could have done for my dad.

The house feels so empty without him. I've never felt lonelier in my life. Everyone keeps telling me to make a new life. To live my own life. But I don't know what that looks like. I've always been the helper in my family and since my dad's passing, I don't even want to be that.

I keep putting one foot in front of the other. I keep hoping there will be a spark or a glimmer of something that might get a hold of me and carry me through another day. I know life is precious but sometimes I wish there was something or someone to make things better.
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Same here. Lost Mom almost 2 years ago. I still lack a certain .... I don't know what.

Once I hit adulthood (actually, inappropriately sooner), I thought I knew every pathetic thing about my low-functioning family. 

Then the last 5 years happened.
More is more alright. Whew. 

Lotsa nature and nurture to overcome. Which is something I've always known.

For many years, I was up for the challenge. Now I'm off-kilter.

And if I stay in this chute, I'm just another defective kook from the XXXXX family. 😐
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No, for me as well. After six years of never starting a project, never wanting to be too far away, not even reading a book for lack of concentration, wanting to go to bed by 9pm so I could close my eyes and make it all go away - I haven't the slightest idea of how to fill my time now and find myself doing a lot of aimless pacing around - as if waiting for the phone to ring again and me being needed.

My moms been gone one year and seven days. It took seven months for me to settle her estate - five months now of me not knowing how to live my own life again. I keep thinking it will come back. I don't know - maybe it will. But for now - I'm pretty lost.
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To those caregivers that have lost their loved ones. When the grief has calmed down, do you find that you can regain your life back?

No. At least not within 5 years, which is all I have to go by.
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Bringing this back to the top.....
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Good topic.

My dad died May 11, 2013. He had been living with me in a house that I rented for the sole purpose of taking care of him. It never felt like a home, just a necessity, but I did my best to make homey.

When my dad moved in it was a whirlwind, so stressful. I didn't have time to stop and think about anything. But after a while I began to realize that the roof over my head depended upon my dad's health and I began to realize how precarious that was. My stress level increased.

Eventually the day came where he went into a NH. He was in liver failure, had swelling of the brain, and was unable to walk. While all of this was going on I had to find another place to live because financially my dad and I had been roommates and his pension had to go to the NH. And with a new place to live I had to find another job. Another job aside from caring for my father because I realized that just because he was in a NH didn't mean that my caregiving ended. It just got different.

He died after 6 months in the NH. I thought I had grieved for him while he was still alive although I knew his actual death would still hit me. I wasn't prepared for how hard it hit. For years I was my father's daughter. His best friend. His caregiver. His nurse. His advocate. His bookkeeper. His business manager. His pharmacist. And once he died I was......free? Is that the right word? I don't know.

I don't know if I went back to my old life. That life ended years ago when my dad moved in with me. But I have tried to create a new life. A new apartment. A job. My dad never got to see our new place so this apartment is totally separate from my dad. And by the time I got a job my dad's cognitive abilities had decreased and he was angry that I had a job. He wanted me with him all the time. I definitely don't miss that.

Did I regain my life back? No. But I did make a new life.
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My best friend, 57, just last week lost her husband of 37 years after a 3 and a half year battle (that got very ugly) with brain cancer. She became the nurse, advocate, personal attendant, room repainter (after he bleed explosively from every orifice), bathroom scrubber, accountant and finally full time employee to support herself (after they lost their house in a sheriff's sale and discovered that he had, while in a financial find unknown to her before he got sick) dropped his life insurance policy. Her lover, her husband, her friend, her companion since she was 19 was gone for a long time. She and her husband used to run half marathons together. This race is the longest, hardest and the one she both won and lost the most ever. I spent a week with her during all of the funeral arrangements, spending long evenings with a lot of wine, but not 'whine'. My friend, who I have known for 35 years and we have been through so much and supported each other through most of it, has impressed me beyond measure for her strength and character. And I can tell you, I know more than just that 'he was a great guy' and 'she was by his side for 37 years'. There are many layers to this as anyone who does it knows. She beat up on herself for not thinking that he was just the fantastic, great guy the many friends who showed up to honor him and his family thought. I told her 'that's ok. You were the best wife ever. You ran the hardest race ever. Never be hard on yourself. I cannot express my admiration for you'. Here is to all of you, all of us, who care for others and then lose them. It is a hard, long run toward something that you know at the end you will not 'win' anything. But you have accomplished what many people never do.
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The transition back to my life has been extremely difficult. So glad I am not alone in this. I've had friends tell me to return back to work and things will all be better. I know I'm not mentally ready to be back in the work force. I can barely remember to pay bills here at home.

I am feeling so lost ....
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Anniegirl, loved your story, and feel for all of you who have lost their loved one. I too know how hard it will be to lose my Mom but I also wonder "is there life after caregiving" such as Lisbeth. My Moms immobile, incontinent, non verbal except a few words come out, and I use a hoyer lift to move her. Its very difficult moving her into a wheelchair straight, any suggestions Anniegirl? Hoyering into her recliner and bed is ok but I lift her on and off the toilet to bathe her and she will still do her BM's in there each morning if I give her prune juice nightly. Bless you all, I still get smiles from my Mom and love to be here for her every whim and spoil her, I also left my job for her. I sometimes wonder, how long are they immobile and what happens? Scary to me, I dont want any suffering for her, shes my sweetie pie. Thinking of you all...
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