Saying good bye but will see you later

Discussion in 'Life After Caregiving' started by Chihuahualover, Jan 16, 2020.

  1. Chihuahualover

    Chihuahualover New Member

    My name is Darlene. I lived with my mom for 46 years, save the one year I was married. Ten years ago, my mom started with vascular dementia. Somehow, I went from being her daughter to being a full time care giver. At first, it wasn't too hard and was manageable. As the dementia progressed though? It got harder and harder. Towards the end? It was a real challenge.
    My mom collapsed and I found her on the floor. She was rushed to the hospital where the prognosis was not good. She was moved to an end stage board and care on Tuesday, January 7. On Wednesday, January 8th? My mom drew her last breath. My heart hasn't stopped hurting but I am confused.
    My mom had no will so I am having to pick up the pieces again. I took care of my mom 24/7 without a break for 10 years. I had no help from anyone, not once. I miss my mom in the worst way but then I find myself being angry with her for all the work and extra stress created over the house and her not having a will. Does it ever end?
    I feel guilty for being angry then, I feel sorrow at lising my mom.
    I find myself irritated at her not going to the doctor before all of this happened so she could've gotten better or at the very lwast, more confortable. Yet, she's not here now. Has anyone gone through similar circumstances? What helped you get through the hard times?
  2. Sheila512

    Sheila512 Well-Known Member

    First of all, you are in the depths of grief. It will take time for you to sort out your feelings. I was very angry with my husband for leaving me when he passed. he promised not to do that. You have no guilt in anything your mother did. You took care of her the best you could. You have to stop playing the 'what if" game. the game is over but you have to pick up the pieces of 'you' so your life will be meaningful. What helped me was caring for a pet. I am a natural caregiver and I need to do that to feel whole. Look for a grief support group in your area. Sounds like me yo need to talk
  3. Robert Rebilas

    Robert Rebilas New Member

    I am mourning for my wife, Mary who I lost last year on 9/11/19 due to pancreatic cancer. I took care of her for a year at home, and the last few months Hospice of the Valley in Mesa, AZ helped. I took care of her and we went to the Drs visits together. I am a former LPN---but am no longer. Afterwards my mind fell apart for several weeks' and I am now in a group home. I'm getting better---but I still often need to go my room and cry and pray. I know that she is safely home now with the Lord Jesus.

    Robert Rebilas.
  4. powiecakes

    powiecakes Member

    Darlene, I cannot imagine the struggles you've had. I can relate though, when I was 22 my mom had a stroke, and life was not the same since then. I am her only daughter and immediately I became her power of attorney for medical decisions. The process was slow, and her body broke down little by little she was diagnosed with congestive heart failure, kidney failure, vascular dementia, and had a second stroke too. I can feel your frustration for sure because why did she pick me? She has four sons too they could have taken care of her. In and out of the hospital, everyday functions, helping her bathe, eat, get dressed, it was a full time job that no one thought to say don't do it. I just loved her so much that I didn't care about the stress I was under from having to watch the person I grew up with change. Anyway, whatever you feel is justifiable and normal. Do not beat yourself up about your emotions whatever they are. I am sorry for your loss and I hope you find a way to forgive your mom. What helped me through the last few years is my partner, it's the only way I was able to let out everything. I'd be a different person without that support.
  5. paul tinker

    paul tinker Well-Known Member


    The life of a caretaker is a difficult one. Like you, in the end, I was drained and crushed over so many things. We are emotionally conflicted. Please give your self-time. Eventually, things will have grater proportionality but not now. To fresh and you are likely drained. Even nurses on this site did the work alone and knew how much effort goes into this noble job. My nerves were so raw and the end. I still can't tolerate TV. So, music and radio are fine. I would very much wish for your support and kind listeners. You did a very noble, dutiful act as comfort and caretaker for your mother. My deepest respect for your efforts. There were medical bills and more to do with relatives. That took a year to sort out.

    Most here know how challenging your task was and continues to be.

    Much Love to you!!!

    Paul M.
  6. edj9

    edj9 Well-Known Member

    Anticipatory grief is very complex. When a loved one looses his/her faculties, it’s almost like they’ve died before they are actually dead. So those who both love them AND care for them, have to deny their own grief and carry on caregiving. It’s torture.

    My husband’s health took a drastic downturn towards the end of 2017, and I was his sole caregiver until I finally hired a helper a few months before he died in Dec 2019, because I knew I needed to sleep and decompress occasionally or I wouldn’t be any use. I am not a trained nurse, nor ever wanted to be one, nor a cook or nutritionist, but my husband trusted no one besides me to care for him, so me it was, doing all the cooking, cleaning, tidying, driving, shopping, organizing, and planning on top of wound-care, medication management, medical advocacy, and devil’s advocate (when my husband would refuse this or the other procedure). There were so many conflicting and continuous feelings of guilt, anger (at myself, at him, at the medical profession, at the home care industry), regret, and panic/terror packed into those years, punctuated by very little joy and/or peace. I wouldn’t be surprised if I was diagnosed with PTSD at this point.

    And after he died, I was left with a mess of personal affairs that we had let go to pot because we didn’t have the wherewithal to deal with anything but keeping him alive.

    And this was just 2 years. So Darlene, who went through 10 years of it, you are nothing short of heroic, and I think that needs validation. You are human, and frustration and anger are normal reactions to extreme stress, especially when the source of the stress is the impending loss of a loved one, and a PARENT no less. Look at it this way: had you not cared deeply for and loved your mother, would her situation have evoked such strong emotions? The fact that you stayed with her to the end is testament to your devotion.

    As for getting through the hardships after your mother’s passing: people can only do what they think is best at the time, and fear can often cause paralysis. Your mom didn’t neglect to create a will deliberately to make your life harder; she either didn’t know any better, or by the time it seemed like a good idea, just didn’t have the bandwidth. That is not to minimize your frustration or anger, but if you can forgive your mother for being human and fallible, perhaps you can also be kind to yourself for the same.
  7. JMD

    JMD Well-Known Member

    You are amazing - she picked you because she loved you and she knew you could handle it - even though there are times where you didn't believe that you could. I took care of my husband in the last year of his life and as hard as it was, I believe it was a privilege. I would do it for 50 more if God would let me. I know that I loved him deeply and always gave him my personal best. I believe he knew that and appreciated it and loved me more. I never complained or made him feel like I was burdened, because those were n ot my feelings. I just wanted him to stay with me. I hope that your memories of what you did for your mother help you heal.
    LindaH likes this.
  8. paul tinker

    paul tinker Well-Known Member


    You are right that caretaking is such a meaningful and valued thing to do. So little can begin to prepare us for it. Perhaps child-rearing. I still feel so much gratitude toward the Hospice help that was indispensable. The fifty more times I would shy from but people do in SNF all the time.
    Best to you and your care of someone you love.

    Paul M.