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Caregivers Who Have Lost Someone
Any orphans out there with any advice about the third phase of ?
I am an orphan, too. It's a hard transition from being your parents' kids, then to being your parents' caregivers/guardians, then to not having them anymore. I felt like I was moved into their role of the elders in my family. It's a weird feeling being in the position my mom was in before Alzheimer's entered the picture. I'm in my early 60's, but I still feel like a kid who needs her parents. I miss them. My dad knew how to fix everything, I could always ask him about fixing something in the house, he knew how to do everything, there's no one left like that now.
I miss being part of my original family. I have a sibling, but we are not close and now that my parents' home is sold, we'll probably not have much interaction. I don't have a close relationship with sibling, it was strained during the caregiving years. So I feel I've lost that, too. With the recent sale of my parents' home, well, that has been very hard, another loss, feels like a death, too. While it was still with us, I felt connection to my parents, now that it's gone, where do I go, where's home, where's my parents? I know that sounds silly, but that is how I feel. I feel lost, even though I have a family of my own. Just not my original family anymore.
My dear uncle has kind of been a surrogate dad to me since my father passed away 3 years ago. He is my dad's baby brother and he just turned 93. He hasn't been feeling very well and that scares me alot. He is the last of all the aunts and uncles. The last of our elders in our family.
I don't have any advice on how to get through this transition, I guess just time. It is a tough adjustment, another tough adjustment.
I guess we'll be okay, our parents lost their parents, too, but they survived it and concentrated on their own families and so it goes, we'll do the same, one day our children will lose us, but we'll leave them with the same kind of memories that our parents left for us.
I'm an orphan, having lost my Mom in June, 2012 and my Dad in December, 2014. Strange, though I didn't realize I was until somebody told me I was and it hit me like a ton of bricks when she said the word "orphan".
My Mom was always my go-to for everything. If I needed a recipe, advice on my girls, advice on something medical, anything and everything. She's who I would call. So now I am going thru a lot of medical issues with my youngest daughter and I find myself lost not knowing where to turn or who to ask for advice. I know Mom would tell me trust your gut, you know best, your heart will lead you. I've listened to all of those things AND Internet searches!! But I still miss her calm, reassurance that we are doing the right things for her.
I find myself now thinking a lot about the world I will leave for my girls someday when they become orphans. What memories, what keepsakes, what advice will they have left when I'm gone. So now that occupies my mind and my time. I want them to have a legacy left behind like my Mom and Dad left me. One of caring, loving parents who would do anything in the world for them.
The day my mother died, I was with her holding her hand. Though I always thought that I would not do well with that moment; in reality when the time came, it felt right being there with her. While I was not afraid as I thought I was going to be, it was still a heartfelt painful time knowing she was leaving forever. Mother of course had been with me the day I was born as she ushered me into this world. There I was, completing a circle as she left to go I know not where for sure. I was so blessed to have been there with her and felt the sad peace as her final breath was taken.
When I look back on that morning, I remember being called by the RN at the NH telling me I needed to come asap. My husband and I rushed at breakneck speed to get there. As I hurried into her room, I saw her breathing that odd last end of life set of breaths; without any conscious intent I blurted, "Oh, Mommy!" It came out of nowhere.
I had not called my mother Mommy since I was about ten years old. Yet; there it was. Mommy. It brings tears to my eyes thinking of that now.
Some days later, after all the hurly-burly of all we must do following a death, another thought came bursting unbidden into my mind and heart: "I am an orphan!" That stunned me. I sat down to think about it and I realized that no matter how old I was; I was now indeed an orphan.
The one person who was the history book of myself over all of my years was gone. I looked back in thought and memories flooded my mind. All the memories of small childhood; the things she did and was part of. Most of all though, was that connection. She was indeed my mother; my carer, my history keeper. She cared so much and the memories were many. Looking backward was now the only thing left. No more would I be doing "with" and "for" her. The little things to delight and the things shared. Before dementia, we used to talk on the phone almost daily about so many things. After her onset of dementia when all became difficult and nothing was the same, it was doing things for her. She had been part of my live forever. Now my forever is changed.
I only have "looking back," when I think of her. There is such an empty space, I had not been prepared for that. Something is surely missing and at times that feeling is rather "loud." I blush to tell you that sometimes I talk to her in my mind; and I blush further to tell you that sometimes when no one else is around, I may softly say a few words to her and even say, "I love you Mom." I also recognize that I had failures as a daughter and should have been a much better daughter; but that is hindsight. I had to let go of that.
It is odd that even though she has been gone awhile, I will sometimes have a thought that whizzes by swiftly and disappears in a nanosecond, where I think I should call Mom. Silly. The unconscious mind.
Now here I am; I am the "elder" in my family. What? Why that used to belong to my parents and aunts and uncles. No; it is now me. How odd it feels. What I find is that I am being much more conscious of my adult children and telling them often that I love them. I am gentler and listen to them more closely. I am planning to write them a letter soon. It won't be mailed, but I will put a copy for each in my Trust Notebook along with my Will. In it, I will tell them how much I love them and say what a joy they have been to me and how grateful I am for everything they have done that brought such happiness. Nothing is perfect in this life when life is moving around us throughout the years; but the essence of what we are is the love that was shared.
Yes; there is an empty space behind me and I do feel it. In front of me, that space too is empty and as my life wends forward, it is up to me to fill the forward space with whatever life sends my way. That is the big circle and some day it will be my turn to leave. And so it goes.
By the way; today, September 07, is my mother's birthday. She is buried out of state in a cemetery in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I have had a florist place flowers on her grave. Just a small token that I am thinking of her and missing what used to be.
With a soft hug to all,
Me, too.....adult orphan, that is. And here I thought I was the only one who thought about being an orphan at the age of 71! I can't quite describe the feeling; kind of like being lost, I guess.
But then I tell myself how lucky I was to have two, wonderful loving parents for as long as I did.
I still find myself in tears at the oddest times.
Count me in, too! I never thought about it until my husband said after his mom passed that he was an orphan. When my dad died, a part of me was lost. He was a great guy. He would have your back, even if you did something stupid.
I lost my mom in April, just before I turned 60. She and I had a tumultuous relationship, but. I still miss her and morn her. I have one sister that I am close to. Another, who is a witch with wheels on. My cousins live in Scotland, New Zealand and South Africa. Jerry's family, other than his brother, doesn't have much to do with us. (One reason, they refuse to awknowledge our two children whom we adopted. So, they don't need to awknowledge me).
Yes, I do feel very lonely and sad. I am glad I have my children and my grandchildren. I am so glad I have my friends, this site and my faith.