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What effect did it have you & your surviving parent? My parents' anniversary is also coming up next week and not quite sure how to handle it. Any experiences or suggestions are appreciated. Thanks.

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My boyfriend who is an only child and now 52 years old, cared for his parents when his mother was diagnosed with cancer 11 years ago. She passed away roughly a year after her diagnosis. He lived with them and continued to take care of his dad after she passed. From what he tells me his mother was very possessive and protective of him. Didn't want him to date or move out of their home. He did everything for her and sounds like he gave up having a family of his own for her. Took her to the mall, grocery-shopping, doctor appointments, etc.--things his dad should have been doing, in my opinion. She was practically his whole world, and his dad's, too. We have been dating for a little over 2 years, now. His dad is 95 with mild dementia and Altzheimer's, so unable to live alone. His dad is very possessive of him and will only let him go out with me 1 night a week. I've been very understanding, but there is no possible way fro us to move forward in this relationship with his dad being in control. I know this is off the subject, so, to get back on. It was devastating for them to lose their wife/mother. I kow different people cope in different ways. My ex's mother got rid of everything that belonged to him when their husband/father died. She did not want anything kept to remind her of him. Not that she didn't love and miss him, that was just her way. Now, on the other hand, my boyfriend's dad has kept everything just as she left it before she died for the last 11 years and won't let anyone touch anything. The house is like a shrine to her. He has even kept 11-year-old jars of canned tomatoes in the root cellar that she canned. I guess all I'm saying is everybody mourns different and you gotta let them do it their way. Good luck and God Bless!
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this is a tough time and I feel for you. my father died two years ago and I am with my mom every day (she is 91 with dementia).....every day she asks many times "where is Dave" and we talk about Heaven, that spiritually he is here with us, etc. etc. I will say that time has helped and it does grow less painful but it is truly one of the more difficult things to deal with. they too were high school sweethearts, married 68 years. It is so hard to watch and to deal with. a theme for the first year was "what do I do now" over and over.....her psychiatrist said that was very typical...married that long they truly became as one person and it feels as though you have truly lost a part of yourself. again, time has offered some peace so hang in there. I must admit it probably helped my own mourning for my dad because it is all we talked about for months.
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yes I cared for daddy for 3 months before we lost him. Now three years later we lost. The blessing of her having Alzheimer's is that she didn't ever realize that he was gone. She thought she was gone

she begged me to take her home
take me home please take me
home I think that she thought she
begged enough I would take her
where he was.so in my case her having Alzheimer's was a blessing. She didn't die of a broken heart.
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Thank you all for your kind words and
Encouragement. It helps knowing that others
Are going through some of the same sort of
Emotions & Struggles. Today I heard my mother
Giggle when playing with my year 18 month
Old Grandaughter. If only for that brief moment
It was quite a wonderful blessing. I may not
Be able to make Mom's daily (24hrs) life blissful.
But if I can facilitate some occaisional happy
Moments, I will feel I've been the daughter that my Very Special Parents would be proud of.
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So sorry for your loss. My father died this fall 1 month before their 56th wedding anniversary. Mom and I miss him so much. I have been working with a hospice grief counselor. She has been a blessing... just having someone to talk to. I have had to adjust to life without the routine of his daily care. I was dealing with burnout before he passed and have also had the help of my Dr. Mom needs my care as well. She has mobility issues among other things. She is not open to grief counseling. She misses dad and goes though the motions of the day, but has yet to find a purpose. We both seem to have sleep problems... grief comes in waves. When their anniversary came, I asked mom what she wanted to do, I was open to any way she wanted to mark the day. We ended up staying home and remembering her wedding day. She told me things she had never shared before. People keep telling me it will get better with time... I wish I could believe that. Dad would want us to find some happiness before we meet again. It breaks my heart to see mom so lonely. We are looking to move into senior housing closer to civilization. We are currently in a large farmhouse and a bit isolated, I'm sure it will help. We are sure to see more friends and family.
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I have taken my mother to her husband's grave at the VA and to a restaurant the two of them liked. At this point she does not remember much about him (he died 15 years ago) but she enjoys seeing photographs of the two of them. Sometimes I tell her stories about their marriage but with mixed results -- sometimes she likes it and sometimes it brings back memories she feels uncomfortable with. I try to emphasize how much they loved each other, how lucky they were to have more than 30 years together, and how proud he would be of her now for how well she is doing. That works for us.
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I came to my parents' house four years ago to take care of my father and mother. My parents were hermits. My father sat in a chair by the window for 20 years, rarely moving from it. My mother sat in front of the TV in the same room. My father died two years after I got here, leaving behind his wife of 64 years. My mother misses him, but the grief has not been too bad -- perhaps because he had been dying for so long. That, and she has a lot of confusion. Not having my father here is very hard on me, because my mother has no friends and family doesn't come around. I work from home, and I'm always torn between working and keeping her company. No matter which I do, it doesn't feel right. She is still quite the hermit, so doesn't want to go out to be with people. She won't go anywhere unless I am with her, so I am caught in a bind. I have to work, but I feel guilty that she is alone.
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facebook/TheMindfulWay has a helpful post from yesterday (Jan 14, 2014):

"Your challenges are your greatest teachers. Never underestimate the power of your strength and learning potential to overcome the most difficult life experiences. And when you do (overcome them), share this wisdom with the world. There is another being on this planet who could fit into those shoes you were wearing, who could benefit from receiving the wisdom you learned while walking in those shoes. When you share your story, you essentially reach for the hand of another and provide the support you once needed."
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Hi,

I passed up parenthood to care for my mom, dad, and live-in uncle.

During WWII Uncle John stayed a confirmed bachelor to care for his parents.

God graced me with a mate when I was 39 who has grown children and grandchildren.

We all respect each other, and it is a beautiful peaceful life.

Mom passed in 2003 and Connie and I became 24/7 caregivers for dad.

When mom passed, the two older brothers tried to grab and steal all of their assets.

So, watch out for siblings -- Greed is a very foul thing.

They have a small business that the brothers tried to force them to sell and it was necessary to keep it going to keep dad in his house.

Never had the desire to have children after seeing Uncle John's freedom and ability to come from the old country after grandma and grandpa passed.

I Wish You Well,

Burt B.
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Yes. I was caregiver for mom who was diagnosed with breast cancer for 4 years or so and she passed from it. Right before mom passed, dad was diagnosed with Parkinsons. I have been taking care of him since mom passed (now 6 years ago). My husband and I got married a year before my mom passed away and basically we both have been caregiving basically our whole marriage. I am blessed to have such a great husband who is very helpful and there for me. I feel bad that this is the situation he married into, but he is my savior. I understand not being able to take time to mourn. I really haven;t had the time to really mourn and it does take its toll. It is really hard, dad is not as good of a patient as mom was, which makes it harder still and I know he misses her and with the Parkinsons he cannot do as much as he used to, which is hard for him, he was such a social person. He has done so much for me in my life that I am dealing with this situation until there is a time when I myself cannot continue taking care of him. It is not an easy situation, but as you see on there, there are plenty of wonderful people with suggestions that help and make me feel better about life right now. Hang in there. My thoughts and prayers are with you. You can make it through the situation, especially if you reach out to a bereaved group to help. I know it makes me feel better to have people on here to talk to. I hope your mom will be willing to go talk to someone - it will help her heal.
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Yes, I lost my father in 1960, my mother had to raise five children on a teacher's salary, and then I cared for her when she got Alzheimer's disease. Because I was only 10 when Daddy died, he was ill at home and I was taught how to give injections. My mother was devastated because she was only 43 yrs. with 5 children to feed. But, we all survived, with three of the sisters getting married within 13 months, and my brother joining the Navy. I was left alone with my mother and we had many more resources. I still grieve both parents' deaths (1960 & 2002), but know they are content as I am at 65 yrs. Keep the memories of your parents in their good and bad times, and keep what they taught you even closer (the good lessons). My condolences for your father's passing.
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Jaye, accepting that and being there however you are able is so important. You story is touching and shows what a loving daughter you are.
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thank you My Three Sons... I have 3 son's too... I have really tried to help my Mom however now very often what I hear is I am just so tired. She is 86, and she wants to go to heaven and be with Dad.
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FarmersDaughter, the first year is probably the worst. You're mourning your Dad's loss and caring for your Mom in her mourning, so you need to protect your health and mental state, too. Stay/get involved away from home. If you need someone to talk with, don't hesitate to find a counselor or support group for the bereaved. Maybe your mother will be willing to go as time goes on.

Either way, coming to terms with her situation will require great strength on your part.

Jaye's advice and experience are encouraging.
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Hi Yes I was my Father's primary caregiver and so I did also care for my Mother. My Father had cancer and passed away only 6 weeks after we got his diagnosis. He had been in poor health for over a year. We went back and forth to the VA center, 70 miles away, I always drove. He was very capable until shortly before he passed away. He was only in bed for 3 weeks! It is hard on the spouse and my Mom has really struggled without my Dad. They were married almost 63 years. I have just tried to be kind and gentle with her. We did have to move her from her home. She was not doing well alone. She is in a lovely senior housing complex. She has a nice 2 bedroom apartment and she gets one meal a day and housekeeping. My husband and I get her groceries and we do whatever we can to help her. I set up her medication and often go and wash and set her hair. We try to make sure she has what she needs and we let her know we love her. That is REALLY all you can do! I loved my Dad and I miss him terribly however I am doing the best I can. As for their anniversary let her know you remember. Maybe even buy her a plant or flower. She will appreciate that I am sure!!! take care...
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mslisadoll, I returned to my hometown over 3 1/2 years ago to care for my parents full-time (24x7 in the caregiver world). Mom passed five months later, shortly after their 65th wedding anniversary.

Dad was affected in his own ways after many years of living with Mom's untreated bi-polar illness and her anger. It still hurt to lose his wife. He and I would talk about their life together, and other times he would spend time by himself. I was fortunate to be available when he needed to talk, and to handle his care. At this time he is almost 97, still mobile (painfully), and mentally sharp.

We celebrate their anniversary, reminisce, and wish Mom "Happy Anniversary" as we look heavenward.

Throughout each year we share our memories, I ask questions I hadn't considered in the past, and I'm there to hug him when he's struggling with sad emotions. Over time we are able to laugh and smile about some of our memories, and still be sad about others.

I suggest you ask your surviving parent what he/she would like to do. Perhaps the first year is a good time for a special meal to "celebrate"/remember their lives and that they gave you life. Celebrate the deceased parent's life on their birthday, too, and on Mother's/Father's Day. All these special days can become happier occasions, though initially they are likely to be quite sad.

I wish you well. Please let us know what you're considering and how this works out for you.
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"Positive Influence" (sorry)
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Yes, I recently lost my Dad (81yrs old). And Mom (81) is still with me. They were happily married 61 yrs- High School Sweethearts. It is REALLY tough. Mom has always been the Optimist of the family.... Until now. She is Broken Hearted, depressed, sullen, cries, and basicly is waiting to be with Dad again. I try to be a
influence with her, but nothing is going to take the sadness away. We will just keep doing the best we can and enjoy the time we have left together. There is no other option.
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