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My Mom passed away 1/5/14. My mom had a heart attack on Christmas eve, then to rehab then back to the hospital, then was to come home on hospice but passed the day they were to bring her home. My partner and I are still in shock and grieving and that's natural but as I stated we have spent so much time caring for my step-dad for two years, then my mom for five we are lost as to what to do next. I work full time and went back asap to stay busy and do any crying at night. We both love each other deeply but the time spent being as caregiver has has taken a toll on us as a couple not noticed until now. I feel we are starting all over again with our lives and not even sure where to start. Has anyone else felt this way and do you have any advice? We still enjoy each others company, love each other but seem to only be able to talk about her final wishes, things to do, clean out, give away, sell etc. but nothing for ourselves.

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Start small. Talk to your loved ones. God, my dad showed me constantly the first few months after his death. Amazing. He wasn't a believer. Yeah right. anyway, small things, clothes, maybe you can give to a board and care in your area. Someone there may need them. Habitat for Humanity for larger things. Sometimes just giving things to people you know who may need them helps in healing, passing it to someone who needs....Take walks, talk, smile, and small steps.
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Thank ya'll for your thoughtful and caring post. My mom had just turned 85, I'm 54. There was one mistake after another with the hospital sending her home on hospice so as I waiting for them to show up, she passed alone. This has been the hardest part for me. All that said, I fell apart Saturday then seemed to bounce back Sunday and was able to start deciding who gets what and what should be given to local charities. It was hard but healing at the same time. It is definitely one day at a time. We did take the time to have our daughter over for dinner a couple of nights and rented a movie and relaxed last night. The first one we have been able to watch without my mom being my mom LOL...it's a start to find time for us again. Thank all of you again. This site has been a God sent for me from start to finish with good advice, place to vent or just a hug now and then. God bless you all.
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C, I think that your post was one of the most thoughtful and caring posts I have read on this site. Thank you so much for it. It was great advice and I hope Rfox takes it so that she and her partner can regain their relationship. Blessings to you, Lindaz.
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I am sorry to hear about the death of your mother on the 5th of this month. I read on your profile that she was 54 which is rather young in the scheme of things. Since she was 54, I assume that you and your partner are very young.

It is not unusual for a couple to loose each other or for one in particular to be abandoned by the other during the journey of caregiving.

Often one of the two will notice that something is dying in the relationship and either say something or stay quiet hoping things will improve with time, but it does not without both realizing what is going on, setting some boundaries to protect their relationship and then actually doing things that nurture the relationship to keep it alive and current. What normally breaks things down is when the relationship gets put on hold and the relationship with the parent becomes primary which sometimes happens without the person realizing it although I have read some stories here where the partner who was the main caregiver was aware their relationship with their partner was declining and there was a possibility of the relationship failing and it did, but they blamed their controlling mother for wanting that to happen and making it happen which was a royal cope out.

While it is not the same as raising children, I think what you have experienced is what happens to some couples while raising children in loosing each other in parenting process that they cease to be a couple and when the empty nest comes as the children grow up and leave, the couple is left with a huge need to rebuild the relationship if they even want to try. There are plenty of stories on this site where couples totally loose their relationship with each other for various reasons while caregiving.

The good news for ya'll is that you two still love each other deeply and still enjoy each others company.

Right now, it has only been 4 days since she died. That memory is still very sharp in you heads the pain of grief still very strong in your heart. As you wrote, you are still in a state of shock and that is normal. I think you are carrying to high of an expectation of yourselves as this near date to be able to talk about much more than her final wishes. You are talking about things to do, clean out, give away, sell etc.for that is a normal part of what people do after a loved one has died and doing all of that sort of is part of the process of bringing some needed emotional closure to the whole death of a loved one experience. So, in the state of shock that you are understandably still in and the emotional exhaustion that you each and together are carrying from 2 years of caring for your step dad and then spending 5 years taking care of your mother, it sounds like you feel totally drained and are in more of a function because I have to take care of these various responsibilities following my mother's death. Does this sound like where you are? Has the funeral even taken place yet?

It also sounds like you have done very little for yourself individually and for yourselves as a couple. And to a large degree your comment is correct in that it feels like you are starting all over again with both your individual lives and your life as a couple. Having an individual or couple life, it sounds like, was put on hold for 7 years. That is a long time and now you have your life back, but in your shock over your mother's death and in your exhaustion from 7 years of care giving, it is like you have been freed from a prison but don't know how to live in the free world anymore and don't feel all that free quite yet. Am I anywhere close with my analogy?

What I suggest to rebuild is to remember one or two things that you remember that you once enjoyed doing before all of this caregiving and start doing those once again and see if over time life begins to feel like it is returning to normal. That may take some time, but the grief process take time with all sorts of ups and downs combined with a few sleepless nights hear and there and occasional crying that just spontaneously happens. I think each of you need to get out and walk, jog, ride a bicycle for doing physical activity is not only good physically but emotionally as well. I think both of you need to make sure that you are eating right just in case that slid by the wayside in these past 7 years also and obviously get plenty of sleep or as much sleep as your emotional state will let you get. Physical activity will help you sleep better too which I'm sure that I'm not telling you anything that you don't already know. Lastly, for the rebuilding of your relationship as a couple try to remember what first attracted you to each other and what things you enjoyed doing a whole lot in those very early years of your relationship. Pick 2 or 3 of those things to do once again and while doing those things might feel a little mechanical or forced at first keep pushing forward.

If after about a month or so, if doing these things does not reinvigorate your life and your relationship to begin growing once again, then you might be emotionally stuck and see to see a counselor as a couple to help you two rebuild your lives as a couple and as individuals.

I wish you and your partner the very best as you turn a new page in your life and start a new beginning!

In addition, there are several articles here that are about rebuilding your life after cargiving that I encourage you to read @ the link below

https://www.agingcare.com/search.aspx?searchterm=rebuilding+a+life+after+cargiving

Keep in touch and let us know of your progress.
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Rfox, I also want to say that last night as I lay in bed, a music box that I have on the other side of my room (and hasn't worked in awhile) started to play. It played for quite awhile, and I knew it was my mom. It was a first a little scary and the room become warmer and I thanked her for coming and letting me know she was OK. It was very comforting to me. Blessings, Linda
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I'm sorry to hear about your mom Lindaz. Yes it's seems strange as what to do but hopefully will start to seem normal to do things again without planning way ahead and feeling guilty for leaving her. So as with most things one day at a time. Blessings to you and others for sweet and good advice.
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Rfox my mother passed away on 1/4/15, was pronounced on 1/5/15 at 12:06 am. She had been battling ALZ. for at least 8 years and my dad and I were her primary caregivers, with my brother flying in from Co. every 3-5 weeks to help us. Where do we go from here? One day at a time is the way I see it. It's hard to think forward when I'm still in the care-giving mode, she took up so much of our lives, no time to ourselves, that I'm still trying to figure out what to do. I think as time goes on it will become more 'normal' to have my life back, right now it just seems odd. Blessings to you and your partner. be gentle on yourself and let time take care of the rest. Linda
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totally understandable . anything you do for yourself at this point seems wrong and selfish . forget about any small mistakes you may have made along the way and imagine your mother is watching you from afar . shes dam thankful for all your pain and sacrifice and wants to see you thrive .
my parents werent even caregivers for their parents , my aunt edna was . by comparison , i think i done a phenomenal job with my moms final years and months .
i think good things will come your way . you deserve them , accept and enjoy them . im 1.5 yrs post caregiving and feel like im in a good position to comment on this subject . my life is getting better , my deceased mother approves ..
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Sorry for the mistake, 1/5/15...last Monday
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