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My father, 91, passed November 27th at 23:00. I am the nurse, the daughter, the next door neighbor. My MIL passed 13 days after. I cared for both parents since 1999. My Mom had Alzheimer's and passed in 2003. My dad had been wanting to join her...very isolative , depressed and no living friends. My brothers are both attorneys in other states and didn't really know how to "help". I needed respite care for years. As care givers, you understand how obsessed you can be with small details. I could never enjoy a meal without thinking about left-overs for my Dad. Anyway. My dad wanted no obituary, service...to be cremated. I honored his wishes. I'm unsure if my brothers even cried. I have been crying inside and out for almost 20 years. I'm desperate to sell his house and ours because the memories are too hard to bear. My Mither-in Law passed 13 days after my dad. My MIL comes from a very large family and tears, memories, poems and everything being planned for this Friday. My husband is comforting his family. I'm happy for him. I feel selfishly sad, however, that my Dads passing was not celebrated due to dysfunctional family dynamics. I of course, will attend my MIL funeral, services, etc....but it will make me sad that ( selfishly) did not receive love compassion and support of my two brothers. The excuse " I really don't know what to do"....is unacceptable. I, even though a nurse, and daughter and next door neighbor didn't always know what to do but I did something....anything and everything I could to help. I want to go away after MIL service to be alone and grieve. I want to go to a spiritual place. By myself. Any suggestions?

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So sorry to hear of your circumstances. In the past, what places have brought you a sense of peace? Personally, find sanctuary in Yosemite(off season of course), the forest.
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Not to sound trite but you have had a large focus of your life taken away that you can never get back so you need to learn how to deal with the new reality you will now be living - this will be a very big adjustment for you & it will take time to get used to - hugs M
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Please accept my condolences. My mother passed away on Nov.23 after an eight year battle with Alzheimer's. I cared for her throughout her illness. Like you, I need time to process my loss. Take the time you need and be kind to yourself. I'm sure you will find your way.
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Was there a place your dad always wished he could go, then go there - take a small thing of his like a pix or other with you - they took a teaspoon of James Doonan's ashes into space as he always wanted to got there .... he was Scotty on original Star Tech - do something like that & try to get something off his bucket like that he ran out of time to do so you can accomplish for him as a last fairwell - take a few of his songs too to listen to when you take a walk [of rememberance] - good luck
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BlackHole, you make some interesting and insightful observations. I think there's also a flip side to the kind of people you describe. They might be completely suppressing their feelings, with very strong control. Some people can't control their feelings if they allow them to surface and govern.

I was watching a program on special forces training the other night and marveled (as well as shuddered and felt sad) at how the recruits were so completely intent on overcoming violent and frigid exposure training that they subjected themselves to what I would literally consider very poor and unhealthy situations.

The bodily contortions were such that I suspected they'll all have back problems when they age. Seriously.

One of the instructor's advice on immersion in cold water was just completely unrealistic, but I could see how someone who was highly functioning and had an intense desire to succeed could persuade him or herself to belief the rhetoric and overcome the discomfort.

I kept wondering over and over though, why do people suppress their natural instincts so much? I think there are various levels of this phenomenon, and it may be that families can often slip into this role - the "suck it up" role. I remember someone told me that when my father almost died several years ago. I didn't tell what I thought he should do with his asinine advice.
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Sorry, my tablet corrected wrong. St. Gertrude's in Idaho is run by nuns, not June!
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Nature, travel, meditation a retreat. St. Gertrude's run by June is lovely. My mom passed almost 3 months ago.I too medical person, caregiver and dysfunctional family. I had my own separate ceremonies for my mom. Each day gets better. You sound exhausted. Take care of you. Blessings.
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Martina.....I just left something to this effect on your wall: Hubby and family will probably disapprove of your plan to evaporate for a while. I take no pleasure in saying this. But there it is.

I'm sure hubby is a great guy and a good husband. This has nothing to do with that. This has to do with the bone-deep lack of understanding that comes from people who view "their people" as the standard of how to act, how to react, and how to relate.

People with highly-functional families -- like your hubby and in-laws -- cannot relate to those who did not grow up with (and grow into) that irreplacable security. They view those who are raw and off-script as a sad curiosity. In their limited purview....sure, get your angst out. Fast. Then hurry up and become more like them.

Doesn't leave much room for a solo trip to the tropics, does it? I hope I'm wrong. I really do. But there's a decent chance that deep down inside, hubby believes that turning your focus to him and his extended family is all the restoration you need.
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I'm caring for my Mom who has temporal lobe dementia...been doing it 24/7 for almost 3 years, on my own...she now has hospice so there is that support...Mom is a body donator to Emory University Medical School so when she leaves this planet I plan to going somewhere to decompress and grieve, in my own way, on my own terms. Sedona is where I would like to go to put a big red bow on the end of Mom's journey...you do what you feel is right for you...and don't listen to those who may criticize or try to analyze you and your family dynamic...they dont know merde...condolences on your losses...plan your closure and see it through.
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Honoring your Fathers wishes by not having an Obituary, or a service was good in one respect but it does not allow you to (and I really do not like this phrase...) have "closure"
The obituary and a service or call it a celebration if you want does bring people together and allows you and others to grieve together, it is a way for you to listen to stories from others that you may never have heard, it validates that this person was important to others and he made a mark during his time here.
Think of your Dad as the stone that is dropped in still water. The ripples that emanate from that point are all people that were somehow touched by your Dad. Drop another stone, that is you and see how each of the ripples touch the other ripples.
When my husband died I had no idea how many people would show up at the funeral home. I planned a 1 day, about 2 hours at the funeral home and then the burial. The place was packed. 2 people flew in from half way across the country and they had a return flight later that day, another drove 200 miles for 1 hour then returned home. (I am crying just thinking about it) I was amazed by the outpouring. It did cross my mind though...where were all these people during his 10 year "imprisonment" with Alzheimer's!

I think it would be good for you and your family to set a date, maybe your parents wedding anniversary date and have a Memorial Service for both of them. This will give you all a chance to celebrate, cry, grieve, and say good bye.
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Martina, can you be your own patient, i.e., create enough of an emotional separation that you can prescribe a course of treatment for yourself? The suggestions for retreats are wonderful.

A friend goes on a quilting retreat, held in a religious institution. I'm not sure if it's a monastery, but those quilters have wonderful time sewing and quilting and chatting.

I think the kinds of supportive activities we would otherwise engage in gradually slip away during the caregiving years, and we're left bereft, w/o that support. One of my friends used to use the expression to her friends: "you're like a bra. You lift me up."

So be your own bra and think of ways that you would lift someone up, then do that for yourself.

I've found professional gardens and nature walks so relaxing and restorative for nice weather respite. In the winter, there are museums, libraries, book clubs and more.

I think though that right now the sadness of your experiences is overwhelming and preventing you from moving forward. Sometimes if you can compartmentalize these issues, it helps to allow move positive thoughts to re-enter your mind. (This isn't a criticism, just some comments from experience.)

Blannie's insight into family dynamics is excellent. Her approach to rationalizing what she can change and can't is wonderful advice for everyone, including me.
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I have been to several Omega locations (Rhinebeck, NY and Austin, TX). They have different programs and things to do like yoga and hikes and talks. I just looked them up online and I can't tell if Rhinebeck is closed until spring or not. And it looks like the Austin one may have gone away. It's very "zen" in its atmosphere (i.e. no frills). I loved my experiences there. I also have friends who have gone to religious communities for retreats or to write books in quiet, so that would probably be good to consider too.

As for your brothers - I understand. My mom is 97 and she lives a mile from me. I took care of her and my dad for 7 years and my mom alone now for an additional 7 years so far (so 14 years total). My brother lives in another state and hasn't been back home for six years. He's a retired millionare, married, no kids. You'd *think* he'd want to visit his mom, right? Not so much. He also didn't come home when my dad died. My folks want no services and are cremated, so I guess my brother didn't feel a need to visit when dad died.

I used to be very, very angry about his apparent lack of care about my mom. I was finally able to accept that my anger and frustration was hurting me and not bothering him in the least. So I let it go. I also came to understand that the relationship between my brother and my mom was THEIR deal, not mine. So I no longer felt that pressure to try to make my brother care enough to visit.

Once my mom goes, I'll reevaluate our relationship to decide if I want him in my life or not. We have a "good" relationship in his mind - I think he's totally clueless about how I feel. In 14 years, I can count on one hand the number of times my brother or his wife have ever made an effort to thank me for taking care of mom and dad.

When I held all that anger, I imagined going away for a month to a fat farm to reset my mental state and lose weight when my mom died. Now that I've kind of let that anger go, I don't have that need for that kind of release and reset. I'm more at peace with my choices and my brother's choices. So I wish peace for you too...you've done your best and that's who you are. Let your brothers deal with their choices.
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Pamstegma has a good idea. Florida is peaceful and spiritual for me. Hawaii might be good. It depends on your personality. There are monasteries all over the world. There are retreats. You could go overseas and live in a room in a castle. Prince Charles has some Duchy of Cornwall cottages. Just some thoughts.
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I think that is an excellent idea to go away to grieve. When my husband passed away many years ago, I worked all week in the Bay Area and would go home to our condo on the weekends. It was my way of grieving for him. It takes quite a while to get over losing a family member, none of us our immune. Please take care of your needs now.
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Yes, I do have a suggestion. I live in Virginia, and there are several monasteries and nunneries of the Catholic Church that offer spiritual retreats. You don't have to be Catholic to attend. You aren't left completely on your own (unless you want to be) there is a retreat leader who will guide you in your prayers and meditation.I would call your local Catholic diocese or church. I applaud you for recognizing what you need while being sensitive to your husbands family
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It sounds as though your parents (or just your father?) have orchestrated your family's detachment by pushing your brothers away, in honouring his request you too became isolated from your brothers. You say dad wanted no obit or funeral service, does that mean you and your brothers didn't get together at all?

You wonder if they even cried at all, of course they could not have felt the level of grief that you feel because they were not intimately involved in your parent's daily lives, but may they be grieving that they were kept at arms length?

I don't know your family dynamic beyond what you have shared, but I hear a longing for better, closer ties to your sibs. Perhaps it is not too late to extend an olive branch and to build a closer relationship in the future.
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So much love, memories, poems and family getting together supporting each other is beautiful to observe for my MIL family. It just seems as the past 20 years caring for my Mom and Dad there was really nothing. I wish my family would have been more supportive and I could have found comfort in sharing. Part of it was my isolative father. He didn't want his 2 sons to see my mom with Alzheimer's and his decline. I helped every day. My dad didn't want my brothers to see my mom with Alzheimer's so I think for 5 years they did not visit per my dads request. I went along with it, so it's partly my fault to. There is still the house ( next door to sell....which my husbands brother is real estate agent, but the sign painters, etc were supposed to be here last Saturday, but my MIL dying...so of course, understandably that's on hold til after MIL service. I have had issues even seeing my parents house from my own home. I feel like there's death all around me and can't wait to sell both my parents, and our own. I've lost two friends because they couldn't deal with someone like me talking so sadly. I'm thankful for this forum
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A week in Florida sounds good. Ocean waves are soothing. GO.
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Could you go somewhere you and your father liked, and stay for a day or two in a hotel and just remember him and better times? You may feel better for it. Good memories are a wonderful relection on a life
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You are correct I believe in your statement that despite your medical profession, dealing with your own grief is a different dynamic. You can't step back and view it w/o emotion, as you're trained to do as a medical professional.

Two deaths so close together would be a challenge for anyone, let alone without the sympathy of family. You probably know that you can't do anything about their responses; you can only focus on your own reactions, feelings and trauma.

What relaxes and brings solitude for you? Being outdoors, reading, listening to music? (I find solace in being and communing with nature, even if it's just a walk in a quiet, peaceful area.) Artwork? Crafts? Helping others?

Experiment with different things you do that can be transcendental and focus on yourself. Your family will deal with their loss in their own way.

And please accept my condolences on these deaths so close together. That would challenge anyone, so please recognize that and be very kind to yourself.
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When you were practising did you have colleagues or a supervisor, anyone like that you got on well with on a personal level? I'm wondering if they could help you work through the feelings you have towards your brothers, is all.

This must be especially hard, given the "physician heal thyself" aspect there is to your situation, and I'm very sorry for it.

My relationship with my siblings - two brothers and a sister - has broken down irretrievably, only partly (if quite a big part) because of caregiving. But of all the difficulties I still have coping with the fallout, I do understand that people's relationships with their parents vary enormously and I don't blame them for not wanting to be actively involved in my mother's later life and care.

Unfortunately, well-meaning comforters do tend to hand out a lot of clichés - like "grief is not a competition" - and hooey - like "they DO care, in their own way." The first part does remind you that your brothers' responses to your parents' passing really can't be your problem, which is some help; it's the second part that grates. "No they didn't care, but that's a choice they had a right to make" sits a little easier.

Just looking again at the dates: you are still at the very raw stages, don't you think? Perhaps it might be best to get MIL's rites completely out of the way, and then explain to your husband that you need a break to sit still and think. Is he likely to be understanding of your need for some solitude?
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I'm the counselor I have the psychiatric nurse experience. I wish I could listen and do what I would suggest. It's a whole other dynamic. 💕💕
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I don't have any suggestions for a retreat, but I want to send you a (((HUG))) and say I'm sorry for your loss, and I'm sorry that your family isn't there for each other. I think that you might want to investigate getting some grief counselling at some point, others here have found it helpful.
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