Long term Caregiver, lost mother and sister within three months

Discussion in 'Life After Caregiving' started by amsongbird, Feb 19, 2020.

  1. amsongbird

    amsongbird Member

    I have been a partial caregiver for my mom for over 5 years but was her main caregiver from Nov. 2017 till her death in October 2019. Two of my sisters lived with her but both were disabled and one was on hospice also and her disabled daughter lived there as well. My youngest sister (the one on hospice) passed at the end of December 2019. We are trying to find a group home for her daughter. My other sister has found an apartment but within a few days of moving she fell and broke her arm just below the shoulder. We just got mom's house on the market (in just under 4 months of her passing) and that is another ENDing after it being the family home for 54 years. I am married to a wonderful man who is so very kind and understanding. He and prayers are about all that keep me going right now. I was ill when Mom fell and have been in the hospital for transfusions several times over the past few years for a rare blood disorder (not cancer) which required a short stent of chemo treatments which I just finished. I will find out in two weeks what my counts are and how successful they were. For now I am so very sad, tired, and overwhelmed...
  2. RLC

    RLC Well-Known Member

    I am so sorry for your losses, it’s heart breaking to see all you've gone through. Losing two family members so close, I can’t even imagine. One loss is overwhelming, you’ve suffered two!
    I see you have some health issues you’re dealing with as well, do your best to take care of you. Cry a river, let it out, I’m glad you have your husband for support, I’m sure he’s been there for you every step of the way
    I lost my husband to a massive heart attack, with no signs leading up to it. We thought he was healthy. He started having stomach virus symptoms, then changed to heart. Started at 9:30pm and at 11:34pm I lost my soul mate. That was 16 months ago today. I miss him terribly, this is a bumpy road we’re struggling to get through. It takes time, lots of time.
    I have my children as my support thankfully and you have your husband. This site is very helpful, the people here know and understand what you’re going through and feeling. Keep posting, I find it helps quite a lot, and reading other people’s stories. Take things slow, one day at a time.
    I’m praying for you, you’re not alone.
    Suntracker likes this.
  3. amsongbird

    amsongbird Member

    Robin, Thank you. It is truly one moment at a time. It is sometimes paralyzing alternating between the sorrow and pain, numbness, dealing with my own health and trying to be there for other sick siblings, as well as dealing with all of the estate details and we haven't even gotten to have a memorial for my sister yet so no chance for the beginning of closure. And now with this virus it seems the world has stepped in where my personal life left off. Yes, my husband has been here for me every step of the way and truly an earth Angel and my soul mate.

    I am so very sorry for the loss of your husband and soul mate. In 2010 my husband had the widow maker heart attack but survived. It was a whirlwind. One minute he was fine and the next we were calling the ambulance. They had a team waiting for him and in less than an hour he was back out. They got in just before he was closing off at 100% blockage. One stint opened it up. Even now my heart races and my head spins at how close I came to losing him. I cannot imagine my world without him and I am so sorry that you have suffered that loss. My heart and prayers go out to you. I am glad you have your children to be there for you! Mom was a widow for 25 years almost (the photo I used is her sweet face when she was 16) and she was so brave and went on with life and truly lived it but there was not a day that she did not miss Dad. But I know having us kids and grandkids and then great grandkids were part of what helped make life worthwhile for her. She was not only my mom but my best friend as well. Only 16 months ago, that is but a moment in the grieving process. Please feel free to reach out anytime. My heart and prayers are with you. You are the first and only one to have responded to my post (that I have seen anyway). I had actually forgotten about it but I am very appreciative of your contact.
    Please feel free to reach out anytime. My heart and prayers are with you.
  4. RLC

    RLC Well-Known Member

    Kerry, when I saw you posted a month ago and hadn’t gotten any responses my heart broke even more for you. I’m sorry I didn’t see it sooner. My first post on here I didn’t receive any responses for quite a while either and I found it devastating. I didn’t find this site til I was at 11 months. I’ve read that people who suffer a sudden loss take longer to look for help. I don’t know but I didn’t even look for sites til 11 months. I’ve wondered if what Ron suffered was what they call the widow maker. I bet it was. The doctors were all ready for Ron’s arrival too, but they couldn’t get him back. They said they planned on putting a stent in but they couldn’t stabilize him long enough. I ache as I write it cause I feel the pain all over again.
    I’ll give you a little info on Ron and myself. We met when I was 16 and he was 19, we first saw each other while each of us were with cousins, we knew Ron’s cousin. Our first glimpse of each other was on the corner we ended up buying our home on. We have the same initials, so that’s why I chose RLC on here, in his honor and we loved that our initials were the same. We owned and ran a business together for 40 years, we were together 24/7. I had to close our business, we were down sizing planning on retiring this year. So was only the 2 of us working. Closing our upholstery shop was so hard! Going there the first time, I almost passed out, so emotional seeing where Ron had put his tools down for the last time. On the night he passed, he was on the stretcher in our driveway waiting to be rolled into the ambulance and he yelled, I love you Robin, at least 5 times! I can still hear him. for whatever reason I didn’t answer him. Such guilt. But I was sure he was coming back home. Makes me cry now. We were as one person, I feel I lost my left side and I can’t go on. It’s just so hard, I need him by my side, I have RA and he helped me with so many things, I didn’t even have to ask him. He’d open my bottle of water, tie my laces, everything. He didn’t let me go anywhere alone because I have arthritis in my knee and hip and walk with a limp and feel vulnerable. He’s my everything.
    Ron’s parents passed just one year before he did his dad had bladder cancer his mom had Alzheimer’s and his brother passed from brain cancer, I’m forgetting the year. We were still mourning his parents. I believe they’re all together and with my parents.
    Sorry I went on so much about myself. I feel awful for you, I can’t imagine all you’re going through. I love the picture of your Mom, so angelic looking. You’re carrying a lot on your shoulders, when realistically you need to take care of yourself. My Mom lived on 20 years after my dad passed, I can’t imagine living that long without Ron.
    I’m happy to know you have your husband as a wonderful support and help you through this horrible journey. I hope you’ve found a group home for your sisters daughter, you have so many things to deal with, my heart breaks for you. My daughter lives 15 minutes away and spends a lot of time with me, my son is in Florida but he supports me as well. We were supposed to spend Easter with him but we’re canceling that trip because of the corona virus. I needed to go and be with him but..... this virus has me feeling kind of anxious, I wish Ron was here with me, but I wish that every day. Thank you for saying only 16 months, so many people think I should be ok by now. That hurts, we were together 44 years, you don’t turn that off I’m a couple months.
    Keep posting, people will answer, everyone unstands your pain and knows what it feels like. There’s compassionate people here
    My thoughts and prayers are with you as well. Hugs!
  5. amsongbird

    amsongbird Member

    Robin, What a sweet and precious love story. And to have to go on with RA, oh my you carry quite a load yourself. I have suffered from Fibromyalgia for decades and it is not at all so bad as RA. My sister has Lupus. My older sister passed away in 2001 from an auto immune kidney disorder. My blood disorder is also an auto immune condition. Modern life seems to have some mighty strange effects on our bodies. My chemo did help with my blood count and they are hoping it may even keep it in check if not permanently then at least longer than 6 months. I was in the hospital three times in less than a year for blood transfusions last year. With this virus and those risks I really don't want to be near a hospital and the big companies that do annual or semi annual blood drives are not doing them right now so there will be a blood shortage. Soooo I am really hoping my body will take care of itself.

    You certainly had your share of losses. It makes it hard to not be over one before another comes along. We lost my dad in '95 (at age 69 from WW2 disabilities), my niece in '98 (18yo car accident and only child of my older sister), Mom fell down an 8' stair case and shattered her scapula, broke three ribs and punctured a lung but survived it in '99, my older sister passed in 2001 (51yo to her kidney disease), my sister-in-law 2004 (unexpectedly to a pulmonary embolism), then my husband's nephew in 2006 to cancer (20 yo), my husband's sister 2008 (suicide after losing her son), his brother-in-law 2010 (suicide after losing her). We had a reprieve from all the losses for a while but it was filled with so many illnesses in between it seems there was no time to breathe. I had emergency gallbladder surgery in spring 2010, my husband the widow maker in August 2010, I shattered my arm in Feb of 2011 (fell on the ice holding a baby), then back surgery in July of 2011. Mom had a heart attack in 2012 and between her and my sisters I was staying at the hospital almost all of the time for a couple of years with one of them. Then Mom had double aspiration pneumonia and we almost lost her (in the hospital a week and rehab for three and I never left her side that month), followed by bout of shingles on her face the next month and in the hospital for several days and had PNH from that for the rest of her life. From there in '14 it was pretty much downhill for her. I live only two blocks away so was over there most everyday for the past five years. In November of 2017 she fell and bruised her spine and hips and was in excruciating pain for months. I followed the ambulance to the hospital and they sent her home the same night. I stayed there most of the time for the next two years with her until she passed away at home in hospice. My sister was in hospice at mom's house at the same time. When we lost her I was in the hospital getting a transfusion and couldn't get to her. It was not expected for her to go so soon. And from there it has been a non stop blur of taking care of things and crying and trying to think what to do next.

    Oh my I have gone on. I'm sorry. I know we will get through it and for the most part I seem to function fairly well. Do take care during this tumultuous time with the virus going around. I'm sorry you won't get to see your son but for now I'm sure it is for the best to stay in. As for "being over it"... I have found with each loss you have lost a different part of yourself (but that place is filled with the part that each person left behind in you), the pain and sorrow are always there, it is just with time they are easier to bear, you learn new ways to cope and go on. You become able to remember good things more than the sorrow and loss and talk about them and laugh again with the memories. In dealing with mom's estate I have had to get death certificates for my still born sister, my older sister, my younger sister, my niece, and my mom to prove heirship...it dredged up the losses as if each one was yesterday plus the memories of Dad. But with time it will all settle back down. There will always be tears that they are not here but the laughter and gratitude of having had them in my life will become stronger than the empty places they left. Right now it is just so soon and I miss my mom and sister dreadfully at this stage. I just can't imagine being in your shoes without my soul mate...my heart goes out to you.
    Thoughts and pray to you as well! Hugs!
  6. RLC

    RLC Well-Known Member

    Kerry, I really hope your body takes care of itself and you’re ok for quite some time. I totally understand and agree with you on staying away from hospitals and the concern over a blood shortage.
    We've certainly had our share and then some of illnesses and losses. It’s overwhelming not being able to deal with one emergency or loss when another one happens. Our bodies and minds need time to accept and work towards healing. And that’s not been happening. You had one right after another. It’s so difficult. Ron’s parents passed 6 months apart. They lived in Florida, the added problem of distance was hard and we had a business with obligations causing us stress. Closing our business was a second loss, it was my life for so long. I miss the routine, the schedule of our shop. And sewing was therapeutic for my RA in my hands. Shortly after Ron passed my second cousins son passed unexpectedly, his wife woke up on New Year’s Day and her husband passed in the night. Brain aneurysm, 40yrs old. I had a terrible time going to his memorial. Was too soon. But I went because that whole family was a good support for me. And you had 2 close family members I can’t even imagine losing them so close to each other.
    Thank you for your kind words and understanding. Lately I feel I’m missing him more and more, I keep feeling like I should be doing better. But i know this takes time and there’s no time frame, everyone is different. Never in a million years did I think I’d be all alone, mourning my husband. We were perfect for each other, we’d see older couples shopping and holding hands and said that’s us in 20 years. We actually had discussions about how hard it would be for the one left behind. Neither of us wanted to be the one left behind. Too hard and devastating. And that’s exactly what I’m going through.
    I feel for you and your losses.
    Hoping for better days ahead.
  7. paul tinker

    paul tinker Well-Known Member


    Condolences on your many losses. I am glad you are here and I hope some relief comes your way. Robin has shared with you and both are supportive.
  8. amsongbird

    amsongbird Member

    Oh Robin, it is amazing what all can be a "final loss" on top of someone dying. My heartaches at your description of having to close your business. That is such a life altering thing on its own and having to do it alone... How old were his parents. Six months is so close together. I know how much distance can effect things too. We lived in Georgia when my older sister passed and then in Texas when my husband's, nephew, sister and brother-in-law passed in Georgia each two years apart. And seems you have really had your share of losing people so young. That is so very hard.

    I do hope that time will soon start to bring you some relief. When my husband and I met (we had both been in bad marriages before and so we met later in life and oh God yes he was/is worth waiting for, we will celebrate our 20th anniversary next month) my little niece said one day...."ya'll will live a long time and die together..." I don't know why a five year old would say that but I do pray it will be so. I just can't begin to put myself in your place. Almost being a widow shook me to the core. It will take time as close as you were. And I'm sure right now is an especially rough time being right on the anniversary of losing him.

    May you find some rest and peace and soon be able to occasionally smile or even laugh, even if it is with bitter sweet tears at the wonderful memories the two of you made.
  9. amsongbird

    amsongbird Member

    Thank you so much for reaching out Paul. Relief comes in waves and the relief comes in tsunamis right now but I know it will get better. Having somewhere to share with people that understand is priceless in getting through it. I hope you are doing well with dealing with the loss of whomever you have lost.
    Thank you again for contacting me.
  10. amsongbird

    amsongbird Member

  11. RLC

    RLC Well-Known Member

    Thank you Kerry, in essence I did close our shop alone, because it was all on my shoulders. I’m thankful that I asked him, if somethingthing happens to you what do I do with everything here. He said, well I’m not going anywhere and when we retire I plan on keeping the industrial sewing machines and some goods and tools. If something should happen don’t worry about anything sell or toss. I kept the machines, tools, leather some things were sold and a lot tossed. Broke my heart doing it all. But I did have people helping me, nothing was tossed without my so say. Rough couple of months.
    Ron’s dad was 87 and he was the sole care giver of his Mom who was 82 when she passed. I have their ashes here with me. Ron’s grandfather lived to 90, Ron said I plan to live longer then each of them. They’ll take me kicking and screaming. We wanted to go together, so neither would feel this pain. But the chances of that happening are kind of slim. So here I am.
    I believe this site has helped me emensely, knowing people know what this feels like is so helpful, reading people’s stories some how is helpful, and reaching out to give support, so helpful. Since I’m on here, I can listen to music where before I just couldn’t, still difficult but I can. Our wonderful memories are becoming easier to reminisce. Still difficult but I do smile about them sometimes. And just last week, my daughter took me for a ride on the beach, we walked a little and we took a selfie. I’m actually smiling a real happy smile. I believe that’s the first real smile since that horrible night. My kids bought me a digital frame for Christmas, we put it on there so I can see, yes I can smile and it could be more often. They send pictures to the frame regularly and I get to see what they’re up to. Such a nice gift.
    Your losses are very recent and so close together, plus putting the family home on the market. Take your time to cry, reminisce, and try to get healthy. Step outside in your yard and get fresh air. But take things slow. People here on this site care and understand and are going through the same feelings, loneliness, and everyday things.
  12. powiecakes

    powiecakes Member

    I understand your story and am sorry for your lost. It must be difficult to move forward, especially facing an illness yourself. I was a caregiver for my mother until she passed away. I hope in some ways that you get to experience an ounce of happiness with your husband, and that your condition improves. Truly your story is incredible, and I know at some point the overwhelming feelings will slowly disappear. I know saying time heals wounds is cliche to say, but with time you can face life again, and face grief head on.
  13. venson_eric

    venson_eric Member

    I am so sorry of your double loss no one knows how you feel losing to loved ones because all of us who have lost one loved one is very sad and devastating but I am so sorry for your loss I really am may God be with you and I hope I really hope that you have someone with you can help you to comfort you as well as us Grievers here