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I Did A Stupid Thing (Don't read if it will bring you down)
Posted: Saturday, June 1, 2019 6:41 PM
Joined: 7/28/2017
Posts: 176

We've just passed the 6-month mark of mom's passing. She went so fast from the first episode of delirium Memorial Weekend 2016 to her death in November 2018 that I have often struggled with the "whats" and "whys" and "hows." She never had a diagnosis; she had weeks of lucidity in between spells of great confusion until she was hospitalized for a serious medical issue, went to rehab, and fell into what I can only call psychosis. Within a month she died. Don't know if it was the meds they tried, neglect at rehab, whatever underlying dementia she had which took over: we'll never know.

So here's the stupid thing: today I realized I still had messages from her on my phone, going back to 2015. And I listened. And fell right back into that raw sick feeling. There were calls asking for me to come get her, she was in some "hotel" (her assisted living); wild calls for me to call her, she has something really important to tell me; a silly call (like from a child), saying "Hi Amy, I'm calling you, because sometimes you call me" (I called her almost every day of my life). One or two calls before her first episode of delirium. 

Why did I do it? That sick feeling had eased some but now it's all dark again. 

Stupider still: yesterday for the first time I almost sensed she was with me. I'm not wholly sure it was a "visit." It's just that I suddenly could almost see her in front of me, and she was smiling and completely happy. As if she was trying to tell me that "it's wonderful" where she is. And that she's completely happy. Why couldn't I just hold on to that?

Hoping you're doing ok, my dear grieving virtual friends. I am so grateful for all of you.


Posted: Saturday, June 1, 2019 6:57 PM
Joined: 5/21/2016
Posts: 2012

Yeah, I agree, bad idea to go back and re-live it. I don’t know the answer. Some say it gets better with time. Sorry you had to go through this.
Posted: Saturday, June 1, 2019 7:01 PM
Joined: 1/17/2016
Posts: 939

AmyJo, she did visit and she is happy.  May I suggest you make a recording of the phone recording and download it to a computer where it will be safe.  I have 20 minutes of phone calls from my mom asking me when I was coming to the hotel to get her, telling me that she had stopped there after a long drive to rest (no) and so many other things.

If your mom thought she was in a hotel it's because her AL was nice and comfortable.  Take heart in that because if she wasn't feeling well at that moment she may have thought she was somewhere bad.  A hotel is a good place.  My mom also said she had something important to tell me... it was her way of telling me she was thinking of me and wanted to share.  I bet your mom was thinking the same thing.  Your mom was thinking, I love AmyJo and I have things to share so I better call.  She knew she talked with you often and her call about "her" calling you was to be thoughtful so it wasn't a one sided thing.

This is what I take from the calls.  She loved you, wanted to share and know that she was always there to reciprocate the love.  Please don't feel sick.  Yes we have lost them, but we will never lose them.

Posted: Saturday, June 1, 2019 8:05 PM
Joined: 7/28/2017
Posts: 176

Thank you as always, Dear MPSunshine. Sometimes the presence of you all out there is "answer" enough for these huge mysteries. I send you a bouquet of virtual flowers.
Posted: Saturday, June 1, 2019 8:11 PM
Joined: 7/28/2017
Posts: 176

RockyM, Thank you. Your reply brought tears to my eyes. I think you are right about everything you said. I am still afraid to believe in signs and visits where Mom is concerned (though I know Dad has been with me and my siblings). I don't know why I'm afraid. I want to be sure. I have read your posts about your loved ones hanging around and they always give me hope. Thank you again.
Pearl W
Posted: Wednesday, June 5, 2019 6:29 PM
Joined: 5/14/2019
Posts: 6

Be kind to yourself. I understand the guilt that can come from a caregiver on so many levels...I've experienced it so many times myself. In fact, I have thrust guilt on myself so many times and my experience is that the result is that is simply shield the beautiful parts of the relationship that I had with my mom. My advice would be to focus on the many beautiful aspects of the relationship that you had with your mom as I am sure there are many. Calls like that are part of the disease. I understand that raw sick feeling. When I think of something that brings that feeling back to me, I immediately invite it to move over and think of a funny experience that mom and I had together. 

I have no doubt that she visited you. Cling to that. When things like that happen, write down every detail as they will fade. What a gift that she wanted you to know that she is happy. 

Wishing you peace! 


King Boo
Posted: Friday, June 7, 2019 8:18 AM
Joined: 1/9/2012
Posts: 3626

AmyJo, your post is timely.  I was thinking about posting but my relevance to these boards, full of people currently in the struggle, is not very useful, and therefore I don't post anymore.

But, I had an experience yesterday, and am shredding today, in a bit of cleansing.

You are still very early in your loss - I kid you not, this is a process.  3 steps forward, 5 back. . .the pattern slowly shifts so you go into positive territory, but not without relapses.  

It's been 10 years since my mother's death, 6 since my fathers.  I kept all of my old fashioned, daily planners, that detailed every horrid and beautiful step of my elder care journey, intermixed with the activities of raising young children.  So, right next to the days noted of hospitizations, signing DNR, beginning hospice are notes of birthday parties, swimming visits.

I kept them to refer to when I was in doubt:  Did I do enough?  Why didn't I visit every day from out of state?   To reassure me when siblings criticized my actions.   To keep in case of legal need.

But their usefulness and need is gone now.  To see them only brings back bad memories.  They are not needed anymore.  Page by page, I relive those days one last time and am shredding them.

I do wish I had save a message from my parent when they were cheerful.  It all went down so fast, how could I know it was the last chance to hear their voice?

But, to my suprise, even as I sit here now, I can close my eyes and hear their voices.  REally.

Save the messages to your computer as Rocky suggests, back them up, and leave it for another year.  Then you will know whether to keep or not.  

A decision for another time.

Posted: Friday, June 7, 2019 11:42 AM
Joined: 11/30/2011
Posts: 2105

I don't think you did a stupid thing by going back and listening to the messages.  It's what you felt you needed to do.  Grief is difficult and there is no way to make it easy.  You have to go through it to get to the other side where it's a bit kinder.  I think going through the tough aspects of grief is almost necessary because there it is, facing you, and there's no pushing it away.  Let it sweep over you, in time, you are more used to it.

I thought of grief as my friend.  It was the only thing that understood me and what I had to go through.  I didn't have to explain to anyone, I just felt the grief and it allowed me to feel the loss, the devastation, the doubts without judging me.  That's how I thought about it.  Grief doesn't go away but it does start moving towards the background, doesn't disappear but it does let the better parts of life come forward.  We will always miss our loved ones, we will not forget them.  With time, lots of it, we are able to remember the better times.  Grief reminds us that we are human and complex and we have feelings.  I wish you peace, it will come.

Posted: Monday, June 10, 2019 8:56 PM
Joined: 7/28/2017
Posts: 176

You are such a good and understanding person, Pearl, and I am grateful you shared your advice with me. I will try to more consciously, intentionally address grief when it hits hard, try to balance or counter it with good memories, of which we've had a life time together. 

And I so admire and envy the strength of your convictions. After my Dad passed, I knew he was present sometimes and was always euphoric, as I had just experienced something otherworldly. It was almost like that with mom: the strangest of apparitions but she was there for maybe a second, younger, and so incredibly happy. Thinking about it now I'm filled with warmth: what if that's the way it is? What if we are gloriously happy when we cross over, returned to our best happiest selves. I'll try to remain open and alert for a visit without forcing it onto my imagination.

I am grateful for your wisdom again, Pearl. Take care: I wish you peace as well, and I'll be here if you need me.

Posted: Friday, June 14, 2019 7:19 PM
Joined: 7/28/2017
Posts: 176

I so appreciate your sharing, King Boo, lit with the wisdom of experience and time. I can't even imagine having to care for parents and young children at the same time, though I know many people here juggle children, parents, and so much more. Thank you again for sharing: your words were kind and uplifting.
Posted: Friday, June 14, 2019 7:27 PM
Joined: 7/28/2017
Posts: 176

Thank you, KML. Your words are so kind and thoughtful, and I am grateful you took the time to share your story of grief. Starting tonight, now that I've had time to come back and read these posts, I'm going to try and treat grief as "my friend," as you write: truly truly. If I am kinder, more accepting of grief, perhaps it won't be quite so dark. Thank you again.
Posted: Tuesday, October 15, 2019 7:54 AM
Joined: 8/12/2017
Posts: 252

AmyJo, I have no wisdom for you, just relaying that I understand that sick and panicked feeling about the messages.  I have many voicemails from my father when he was in geri psych two years ago, still on my phone.  Angry that I wasn't calling him back right away, outraged that he was being incarcerated without charges. I feel paralyzed on the decision to archive (which I don't even know how to do) or erase.  But you have reminded me not to listen to them right now, and I thank you for that.  Hugs to you.
Posted: Thursday, October 17, 2019 8:42 AM
Joined: 5/14/2018
Posts: 256

Hi AmyJo:  I feel compelled to respond to this because our mothers died a few months apart and I am also finding myself doing something similar. I have videos on my phone of mom (and I feel so fortunate that I do) and from time to time I watch them as well.  It scares me because sometimes I think I'm forgetting her face and I need that reminder so I watch the videos. I cry my eyes out when  I watch them but it does also bring me comfort to see her face and remember her.  I too hope to one day get to a place where these videos make me smile instead of longing for her presence. It''s certainly not stupid to want to hold on to our memories.  As you know grieving has no time table or time limit so we have to do whatever we need to just to get through the day. I surely hope we both can get to the place where we smile when we see our mother's pictures.  I will pray that you find peace my friend.  I'll leave you with this quote.


"A mother's love is always with her children. Losing a mother is one of the deepest sorrows a heart can know. But her goodness, her caring, and her wisdom live on-like a legacy of love that will always be with you. May that love surround you now and bring you peace".

Love and hugs to you

xoxoxoxox -Kat