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The Apartment
Still Waters
Posted: Wednesday, December 21, 2016 10:18 AM
Joined: 2/6/2012
Posts: 1092


Since I have no desire to be social and I need to make myself feel productive, I started to clean out my mother's apartment about 3 weekends ago. Doing so was very upsetting to me. Seeing the shoes she wore for years on the closet floor, the sandals she wore this summer, the scarf she wore every winter on her walks with me, all the items I ordered from Medicaid that I worked so hard to get. How I paid attention to every detail of her needs, what a beautiful place I created for her to live. Then of course as I always do, I beat myself up for letting her die. So I started small and easy with taking the things I wanted to keep for myself. Socks, slippers, wash cloths and sentimental items. Then I started to throw things out I won't be keeping or donating. The next thing I knew I had 3 bags filled with trash. I had a momentum that I did not expect and just went with it. I took the framed photos off the tables and house hold ornaments and brought them upstairs where they came from. When I had enough torture, I turned around and looked in the living room, and what it felt like to me was, mom left. She no longer lives here. Not a dead feeling as though I would never see her again, but a feeling like she went somewhere else. Maybe because most of her things are still there, I don't know. The wheel chair is still there, the bed is still there with her comforter on it, pictures still hang on the wall but all the items that make a place feel like home were gone. So I went back downstairs yesterday and I felt the same thing. Maybe when the apartment is completely empty I will be devastated, maybe I am still in denial, but so far it has been an unexpected feeling as though she is not gone forever, she is somewhere, just not here. I can only hope.


Posted: Wednesday, December 21, 2016 1:03 PM
Joined: 7/29/2014
Posts: 217

Hi Still, 

  Baby steps, baby steps. Great that you got done what you could on your own terms. I know this process takes a lot of time going through memories.

You sound so much better than a month ago, and time is all we have.

After my dad passed in 2010, my mom would not let go of any of his things, so I had to deal with that and my mom's as well.

Please give yourself a break you did and are doing a fab job! She was blessed to have you as a daughter.

When I went to close on the sale of their home, I did one last walk through before turning over the keys reliving lots of memories.  I then closed the door, and have never been by there again.

They will always be in our hearts and minds.  And thank God they are free of the ALZ mind.


Still Waters
Posted: Wednesday, December 21, 2016 1:42 PM
Joined: 2/6/2012
Posts: 1092

Thank you Anib. I would have left the apartment untouched if not for the fact that I am going to have to rent it if I don't sell the house and move out. So I did it very reluctantly. I wanted to get started on it now so I could do it alone and take my time. It is nice to see some of my moms things back in my living space, where they came from, rather than an empty dark apartment. I am doing better. Like everyone said, it does take time. You are right, baby steps. I have a lot of help; counseling, therapy, medications, reading, resting, spending a lot of time alone to sort out my thoughts. I find myself very angry and bitter now. I know this a stage but I am afraid I will be stuck there now too. I blame so many people for not helping me in the end make better decisions. I hate everyone and I want to tell everyone off but if I do I will have no one left (maybe I am better off with no one). I still feel like I have no purpose, I still feel like I am lost and I still don't have the energy I had before (but I wonder if that is the medication) and of course, I still miss my mother terribly (that goes without saying). The fog has lifted and because of that I see things so clear now and I am infuriated. I am mad at Hospice, the doctor, the agency, my useless sibling, friends and relatives for agreeing with me to let her die ! They tell me they were more worried about me, than her. So instead of offering to help me, they tell me to let her die ! Who does that ? And me, the idiot took their advice. I am mad at myself more than anyone because I know better than to take anyone's advice when it comes to my mom's care. There had to be a better solution to the end of her life than what I chose. It is so sad that no one cared (I don't know why that surprises me). Another aspect of this new life is finding out that all this time I thought I was missing something, I was wrong. I was missing nothing. There is nothing more gratifying than caring for and being with someone you love. I am so disappointed in myself for the bad decisions I made in the end. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

Posted: Wednesday, December 21, 2016 4:44 PM
Joined: 12/16/2013
Posts: 352

Still Waters,

 It seems like you are making good progress. It's 13 months today that Kathy, my wife, passed away. I'm still trying to cope and am still looking for that part of me that was lost. I'm realizing that I'm not going to find it and have to move on. I wish you the best. Stay strong.

Posted: Wednesday, December 21, 2016 6:36 PM
Joined: 7/29/2016
Posts: 319

When Mum died, in September, my brother, sister-in-law and my daughter all helped me clear out her apartment. It was in an independent living facility and I wanted it done quickly. I wanted the help of my family, I absolutely could not have done it alone. I brought home bags and suitcases of stuff -- and still, three months later, I am not able to look at the contents. 

Little by little though, I start to use things I want -- I use her wallet, I wear her rings, I use some towels I like, and a side-lamp. But it's a slow process. 

Posted: Thursday, December 22, 2016 6:42 AM
Joined: 5/31/2014
Posts: 124

Hello Still Water,  It has been 8 months since my mum died and I have been very slowly clearing her apartment.  Like you, her apartment is downstairs from mine and I will be renting it.  But it is a step by step process.  My goal now is to clear most things away by February, then I take things off the walls like her pictures and her funny, crazy hand-written notes - and have it repainted to prepare to rent.  I know it is not an easy task.  Many friends have said they will help but it has to be the right people to go through our "stuff". I've sold some of the collectibles on ebay, have put others away for future sales, other boxes are labeled for either give away or throw out and others for "save".  I have to organize my apartment too because for 2 years I lived downstairs so it is a double project!  But, it will get done.  I say hello out loud every time I go downstairs, sometimes I cry just a little, but it is all part of the healing process.

I will be thinking of you as I do more clearing out, knowing that I am not the only one having to do this . ..


Still Waters
Posted: Thursday, December 22, 2016 8:42 AM
Joined: 2/6/2012
Posts: 1092

Ukie, I also know I will never be the same person I was when she was alive. I am not going to look for that person inside of me. Its gone. Forever. I have not moved on and I don't plan on it. I am very content wallowing in my sorrow and going thru the motions of life, avoiding social situations that will make me sad so I can concentrate on my guilt and grief. I look at photos of myself when my mother was alive, I look at the smile on my face. I know I will never feel that kind of happiness again. I spent a lot of quality time with my mother, said everything I wanted to say a thousand times, I went above and beyond what most people would do to care for someone, and still I wish I had more time. So I guess there is never enough.

Moish, I thought I could not clear out the apartment alone, but then after time passed I realized that I wanted to do it alone.   

acb10- I wish I could afford to leave the apartment the way it was forever. I have the same goal to have it all removed by end of February and repainted also. I am not as organized as you are yet. I hope to get there. I also talk to her whenever I go downstairs and I cry too. I will be thinking of you too. Keep me posted.

Posted: Thursday, December 22, 2016 9:48 AM
Joined: 12/4/2011
Posts: 20118 it or not you have moved on. You are not the same person as you were before your mother became ill. You are not the same as you were when she was is a facility. You are not as you were when she came home nor the same right after she died. We change, always, with the circumstances around us. No choice.

avoiding social situations that will make me sad so I can concentrate on my guilt and grief. 

did you mean to say social situations that make me happy? I know that when death has entered my life I respond with hibernation. It is how I I grieve.

Perhaps your need to concentrate on your quilt is your way of punishing yourself for believing that you killed your mother. I hope not.

Still Waters
Posted: Thursday, December 22, 2016 10:47 AM
Joined: 2/6/2012
Posts: 1092

Yes you are right, happy social situations make me sad. I feel better when I am home alone too. I also need to hibernate. I don't feel like I have moved on. I just feel scared, lost and alone. I am punishing myself because I killed my mother. No matter what I do, who I talk to, what I read, what I hear - I know - what I know. That is who I am.
Posted: Thursday, December 22, 2016 12:31 PM
Joined: 12/4/2011
Posts: 20118 I understand what you meant about happy makes you sad. Something I did yesterday that made me feel "warm" was to visit those I knew who were in placement or homebound. They all seemed to glad to talk to someone and boy how they talked. I did not need to say a word...I could hardly make it out the door! It certainly got me out of myself...this is harder this year.

Still Waters
Posted: Thursday, December 22, 2016 1:52 PM
Joined: 2/6/2012
Posts: 1092

I visited the nursing home twice where my mother resided years ago. The first time I felt good. The second time, I sat with someone that had late stage Alzheimer's for about a half an hour. Not good. Brought back too many memories. I kept comparing him to my mother. She was so much more alert and better taken care of than him and it made me mad to see him still alive and her dead. I have a lot of anger in me, it seems to surface everywhere. Not sure what it is going to take for me to feel better about myself. Maybe I never will. Sure feels that way.

Posted: Thursday, December 22, 2016 6:29 PM
Joined: 12/4/2011
Posts: 20118

Good point. I think it would be very hard to go to a place where my husband had been placed.