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Now what do I do?
Posted: Monday, April 14, 2014 5:00 PM
Joined: 6/20/2013
Posts: 311

Some of you may know if you read in the Caregivers forum, my Dad passed on 4/8, which just coincidentally happened to be my 49th birthday.


Since we put Dad on hospice care back in March, I went to see Dad every night to feed him dinner and watched as he progressed from soft foods to pureed foods to liquids in about 2-1/2 to 3 weeks time.  Now that the funeral is over, and the room at the ALF is cleaned out, and my brother is handling the estate, here's my question--Now what do I do?


I don't need to run out to ALF after work anymore to feed him

I don't need to compare notes w/ my brother on what happened today.

I don't need to listen to my brother's drunk phone calls or nasty text messages telling me what a lousy daughter I am because I don't care about Dad and/or don't do enough for Dad (which is his way of projecting his insecurities onto me, but still wasn't pleasant to deal with)

I don't need to do Dad's laundry

I don't need to read to him from his Bible (which he enjoyed to the end)

I don't need to massage his hands and feet and put lotion on them

I don't need to reassure Dad that it will be OK, because it is now OK and he's in Heaven

I don't need to give updates to family members (my sister and Dad's sister)

I don't need to pray for Dad anymore.  He's in the best place ever!

I don't need to deal with Alzheimers/Dementia issues any more.

I don't need to worry anymore.


I feel a little discombobulated at the moment.  I'm sad because he's gone, but relieved that he's not suffering anymore.  In some ways I've been waiting for him to go--ever since Mom died almost 5 years ago.  I can't go to Dad's house because renters are living in there.  They might not appreciate my dropping in.  Dad's personals have all been distributed, all that remains is his house, which my brother and I co-own.  We will sell it and distribute the assets 3 ways between us (me, my brother, and my sister.)


So, what do I do now?  It feels too soon to take up my life again, but I've missed  what was my life before Dad's final decline.



dj okay
Posted: Monday, April 14, 2014 6:46 PM
Joined: 11/29/2011
Posts: 1840



You have my deepest sympathy.  I totally understand where you're coming from as I was there over 1 1/2 years ago.  When you care for someone for so long it becomes a part of who you are and consumes so much of your waking hours.  It takes a while to fill the void that is left, not only by the loss of the loved one but by the loss of the care of that person.


You will find ways to fill that void if you look.


You might find comfort in creating a memory book of pictures and memories of him throughout his life.


You might find fulfillment in helping others at the ALF where he resided.


Writing your thoughts and feelings down in a journal could bring closure or at least give you a record of how you're doing in your grief journey.  And it is a journey, just like traveling the dementia road with your loved one.

Continue to read the Bible.  It will bring you comfort as it brought your father pleasure.  Especially the Psalms.


Be as kind to yourself as you were to your dad.  He would want you to.


Find things in your life that bring you joy, pleasure, laughter, and peace and do them, dwell on them, fill your life with them.

It gets better...I promise.

Posted: Tuesday, April 15, 2014 6:53 AM
Joined: 4/19/2012
Posts: 414

I am so sorry for the loss of your dad, especially on your birthday, ouch. But yes he is free now, and I hope that brings you some comfort.


You might want to find a grief support group, or a grief counselor to help you. Hospice can connect you with that type of thing.


Reach out to people who understand.


It takes time, you need to go slow, rest, and not feel like "ok that is over, now time to......????????" You have to go through a process with this. It is an odd road, many ups and downs, twists and turns.


Both my parents passed 1 1/2 years ago. 3 days apart.


I found comfort in honoring them. Whether it was sending flowers for holidays, birthdays, etc to their grave sites. It was too uncomfortable not getting them "something" after doing it all my life!


Last Spring I planted flowers and had a couple of tomato plants here in my abode to honor my mom. She was a fantastic gardener and always had tomato plants.


Share stories about your dad with others that will listen.


Look for things that bring you comfort.

And write here any time, we all know this road of grief.


Posted: Tuesday, April 15, 2014 6:45 PM
Joined: 6/20/2013
Posts: 311

Thank you DJ Okay and Faraway....good to know these feelings are normal.  Kind of like the support on the other boards when we've had a bad day dealing with a parent and their needs.


I know it will get better did after Mom will again.

Jo C.
Posted: Thursday, April 17, 2014 3:12 PM
Joined: 12/9/2011
Posts: 11999

Dear Cindi, I send my condolences on the loss of your dear father and also send my understanding.


It certainly is an odd place to find oneself after years of caregiving where nearly all of our moments were engaged in providing care or about care.  Your compassionate care of your father was who you were in identity for a very long time.


That feeling of wondering what do I do now?  And the bigger one that begs for an answer; "Who am I now?   I am not the same, but I am still me!"


This is that transition time when one simply lets oneself "be."  Contemplation, sitting quietly with a book, quiet times with no demands . . . sitting in a park or next to a lake or ocean; a trip to a day spa, getting hair and nails done; meeting a friend for lunch or dinner; in other words, coming back down to your own independent life again slowly but surely.  I had to learn how to be "quiet" all over again.


You will find the quiet and your own way of moving through this transition.  It takes tincture of time.


Connections are worthwhile.  If you have a bereavement support group in a Hospice or church or other setting near you, it might be a good place to go for awhile.  You will find others who are transitioning or who have already been well on that road and it is good to talk and share.  If one group does not suit; try another, each has its own personality.  There are often potluck sharings and one can even make a new friend or two in such a group.


As I moved through the phases, I found that one of the changes in me was that I dearly loved the elderly moreso than I did before my LOs dementia.  I understood so much more at a deeper level. 


I honor my mother by doing little things for other elderly ladies who have no one or who see their own relatives rarely.  I send cards to them, make a visit or a call; I send little unexpected special gifts.  I have three such friends and I choose different times during the year to even send flowers; a birthday, Christmas, Easter; I send to one person at a time so as not to break the bank.  They are delighted, but not as delighted as I am.


My mother's ashes are far away in another state, so I do have flowers put out on her grave from time to time on special days; I know she cannot "see" them, but she is too far away for me to visit, so that is how I visit her . . . with flowers.  The florist that is across the street from the cemetery is wonderful, they always take a photo of the gravesite with the flowers and email me the photo.  Lovely to do that and I feel as though I did visit.


You will sort things out and soon begin to find your path.  Also, you are completely welcome to continue to come to this Message Board and communicate with others on any Forum if you wish to do so; you have a wealth of experience to share.


I send my heartfelt sympathy on your loss and also send a soft hug along with a basket filled with best wishes for solace, peace and light to find you.


From one daughter to another,



Hiren Murthy
Posted: Friday, April 18, 2014 5:14 AM
Joined: 4/16/2014
Posts: 2

Now when your Dad sees his past from heaven and sees you about how careful you were in those days he will be very proud and he will ask you as a daughter in all this next lives.


Posted: Monday, April 21, 2014 6:21 AM
Joined: 12/2/2011
Posts: 726

Oh, CyndiR -- I am so very sorry for your loss.  Yes, your feelings are normal.  It is all so new.  Please give yourself time to grieve.  I was in your spot less than 2 years ago. I am still trying to figure out what to do with myself, but I am moving forward.  It's a big change.  Take your time.  Baby steps.  Hugs...
Posted: Tuesday, April 22, 2014 9:09 AM
Joined: 12/30/2012
Posts: 3520

I watch Call The Midwife on Sunday nights PBS. Sunday a man died in the show and the girlfriend asked how does she go on without him. 

The answer given by a Holocaust survivor was "you keep living every day until one day you feel Alive again." 


That is what I had to do when my Daddy and others have died. 


Praying you find rest, peace and something that brings you joy each day as you grieve. 

Posted: Friday, May 23, 2014 10:01 PM
Joined: 11/30/2011
Posts: 70

My husband died almost six months ago and I also had the feeling "what do i do now?". some of this slack was taken up with the details one must take care of after a death - paperwork and so forth. Then there was a period when I just vegetated.  I let myself do that, it was winter and a good time to adjust, sit by the fire and read a lot.  


When spring came i took a few short trips, my first time away from home in five years. I started having friends over for dinner (I love to cook), I joined some groups.

I  like the phrase i picked up from a book about bereavement: 

 You do not work through grief: Grief works through you.

Don't put too much faith in all those books that tell you there are "stages" of grief, which sometimes makes grieving people feel they aren't "doing it right."  There is no set pattern, everyone is different. Don't deny yourself the emotion, let it come. 

For a while i worried because i could not remember my husband in his good days of sound mind and body, and just had the images in my mind of his poor bewildered face and his confusion. But gradually this has faded and I remember him laughing and strong.


 Of course if you are still stuck after six months you probably need to talk to someone, but otherwise,  get some rest, take care of yourself, mourn but recognize that life is different for you now. Don't feel guilty if you have a sense of relief.  We did a long, hard job and we did it well.

Posted: Tuesday, July 22, 2014 10:30 PM
Joined: 7/14/2014
Posts: 26

My deepest sympathy about your father. May God bless him and yes, I read that deceased relatives do need our prayers, so keep praying for him when you feel like.
But also, with your rich experience, may be you can start volunteering in a local caregivers' group and share with new-comers your rich experience? That will make you feel really good and help them.