Discussion in 'Loss of Both Parents' started by missinthem, Jul 9, 2018.

  1. missinthem

    missinthem New Member

    I lost both parents in a year's span. Dad was expected/after a long decline, then mom got a sudden diagnosis and passed a few months later in hospice care at home - I took care of her the final weeks. Not only did I lose my best friend, but despite being the youngest, as the only daughter, I found myself handling much of the arrangements in the aftermath. My siblings and I have been navigating all of the things one has to deal with afterwards - and I just returned from finishing clearing my childhood home (that my parents lived in 50 years) - a task I've been undertaking (long distance) a weekend at a time for months.

    I can't even describe how I feel. My friends don't get it - I know I'm not terribly young (mid 40s), but most of them have not experienced this yet - a few coworkers are actually more empathetic. I honestly feel physically ill. I threw up as I left the house. The move (some of their stuff to my place) left me physically wiped out. I feel like I left my own reality for so long with all that's happened the past few years, I don't remember how to be me anymore. I've managed to handle my job okay, but my larger goals are blurry. I'm single and can't even imagine mustering the energy to do online dating - its like my life sort of hit a big pause. Mom was my best friend and I'm so glad I was able to be there for her, and wouldn't trade that time for anything, but crawling out of the hole that was left behind is proving difficult.

    The grief itself is lightening - I don't feel as devastated as often as I did at first, but I am just wiped out. Its like I'm so emotionally exhausted I can hardly think. Anyone been in this spot?
  2. Debs

    Debs Member

    Hi MissInThem.. I can relate to your loss and I'm sorry for your pain. Back in 1996 I had been trying to get pregnant and was in a good marriage. My Dad - who I was very close to - was diagnosed with colon cancer in 1993 and I was there for him as much as I could. In Aug 1996 my Mother in law passed, then I found out my mom had esophageal cancer in October. I had a miscarriage a few weeks later. My Dad passed in November and then my Mom passed in March 1997. I remember asking God at the beginning of my losses to just being it all on, things can't get any worse. And I got what I asked for. So I was grieving on parallel levels and like you, I was numb for a very long time. The trite but true cliches "Time heals all wounds" and "what doesn't kill you, only makes you stronger" really are true for the most part
    I know this in my brain, but it all still hurts. Things will get better, but they'll be different. Be good to yourself and I get that you aren't interested in dating right now. Just be careful not to isolate yourself too much .. it sounds like you have a great work family. I found going to support meetings helpful too.. I loved my Cancer Care group. We really lifted each other. One day at a time and be kind to yourself. The more we love, the more it hurts. One of those crappy paradoxes of life...
  3. Sciguy

    Sciguy Well-Known Member

    Sorry to hear about the loss of your parents. I lost my mother suddenly at the beginning of May and I am now caring for my father. I still have flashbacks of finding her. Luckily, they don't happen as often.

    I can relate to going through their house on weekends. It is certainly emotionally and physically draining.

    I can also relate to being single and not having any interest in dating - although I am much older than you.
  4. missinthem

    missinthem New Member

    Thanks guys. I think walking away from the house just hit me much harder than I expected - I felt very "back at square one" emotionally. I feel I'm bouncing back quicker this round though - the feelings are still there, its just odd - I had friends actually joking about me moving stuff ("best way to organize is to toss things" - that sort of comment) and found it really hurtful, as what is left/carefully chosen from my childhood home is hardly clutter. Again, I know that most friends my age haven't experienced this yet so just don't know - and I'm sure they think I should be over it by now. And I certainly am better than I was right after the loss, but I had no idea how complex grief is.

    Sciguy - I had a few months between my father's passing and becoming mom's caretaker, but know what a toll it can take - take care of yourself as you care for your father too!! Its taken awhile, but the images of mom's passing have thankfully faded and I'm able to remember the healthier, happier times again
  5. missinthem

    missinthem New Member

    Also, Debs "I know this in my brain, but it all still hurts." - so true!! Its like logically I get it, but it doesn't make wading through any easier - glad to hear from someone who went through so very much all at once that time does heal - and you're right - there's only pain because there was so much love.
  6. Debs

    Debs Member

    HI Missinthem - here's an idea that may help you too. My house is full of mementos from the people I've loved and lost. I put a lot of stuff in storage at one point but then let it go. Being physically away from it compounded by the monthly bill made it make sense to do. In trying to declutter my life, it seems the less stuff you have makes the few things you do keep all that more special. So as time goes by try to honor those physical objects that seem the most special and let others go.... to good use. All in time..... Debs
    griefic likes this.
  7. missinthem

    missinthem New Member

    Thanks Debs - I'm sure its different for everyone. I live in a one bedroom apartment so don't have much in general - mom's hope chest means more to me than the ikea dresser it replaced. As someone who just lost my "home" and never had a wedding or family of my own, these things make my little 1 bedroom apartment feel less lonely. Maybe in time that will change. Although I ended up with a chest, a dresser, an end table, and some china and crystal in addition to a few accent pieces and pictures I liked. Hardly a large horde :)
  8. Debs

    Debs Member

    Sounds right.... just attach happiness
    .and, HOPE! to those items. It's often hard to stay positive... day by day...
    griefic and missinthem like this.