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Caregivers Who Have Lost Someone
Do people assume you're ok? so, you don't hear from them
It's been a couple of months since mom passed. All is quite............too quite. I know she's at peace and I feel it, which is good. I'm making positive changes to move on in my life, which is important. But, the void is excruciating! Some days I feel like I'm standing still while the world moves around me.
The other day I was talking to my sister and she asked me if I've heard from any family members. And, I said no. Strange isn't it? At the time of the funeral everyone is so sympathetic and it's wonderful. Then time passes and it's all quite. I don't want to dwell on the sadness and sorrow, but I was just wondering if that has been your experience. That's why getting support after your LO passes is important. I read what's happening on the caregiver board and it's weird because I'm not living that anymore. I feel sad for them and hear their pleas for relief, but this part isn't any better.
Grief certainly doesn't go away over night, does it now. (A hundred years ago, people would wear a black armband for a year indicating that they were in a grieving state.) It certainly is something we all go through at our own pace. I sure remember that feeling of standing still while the rest of the world continues rushing on.
All I can say is this feeling will subside. But it will take time. I still miss my dad. And yes, it does seem that once the funeral is over, we're expected to move on and the friends/family sympathy go away all too quickly. I think a part of this relates to their emotional distance with the LO, as well as the fact that (as a general rule) we don't do well with helping others deal with their grief.
As far as the caregiver board, I understand. Yet for me, I almost resented being on the Caregiver who lost someone side of it all. I didn't want to be here. I still wanted to be, and felt like a caregiver. But the other thing I always have is a dread of seeing all the new names. It breaks my heart that other people are starting this journey.
I'm sure sending you a hug today.
please add a hug from me...
Stage 8 is rough. The raw pain will lessen but the grief will find a way into your life for a long time.
Wgonzo, it's not that others don't care, but if they weren't close to the person who died, they pay their respects and move on. And life moves on. And others pass away. There have been 5 people I know of who recently died. There will be more. I can barely keep up with attending visitations, funerals and sending sympathy cards and memorial $.
So please understand that others just aren't in the same place emotionally (with your LO's passing) as you are.
You will grieve. But as you feel better, go out and do something to honor your mom.
Thanks guys! I was just feeling off this morning.
I appreciate your support.
BethL, no worries. You're absolutely right. My grief is greater then my other family members. I think it was just a moment where I realized just how quite things have become. It's a process....
I'm working on it. My mom loved her garden and flowers. So, I'm hoping to plant lots of flowers this spring.
I totally agree with the statement it seems like your world stops while the rest of the world keeps on spinning. That's exactly how it is. It's been almost 10 months since my precious sister left this world. My heart still aches for her so much. I find myself talking to her & hear my husband doing the same. I, also, experienced the fact that other family members, who surround you at the time of death, move on and assume that you're doing the same. Either that or their not comfortable asking you how you're really doing.
I, too, have found that doing something in her memory - something that others can benefit from - is so helpful. It's like keeping a part of her alive and with me. Planting flowers, as your mom would have enjoyed, sounds like an excellent idea.
God bless you and may you feel His comfort and peace as your life journey is changing.
This "after" can be so strange. Sometimes wishing for more connection, other times needing the quiet and a bit of being alone from time to time, but not lonely. Learning to live with that dreadful empty space and the pain.
People tend to drift away rather soon; that can make one feel rather unmoored. The world spins madly without having taken notice; how odd. It is not the same culture of our grandparents where the wagons circled and concrete, ongoing supportive connections went on and on; one did not feel so adrift. It has evolved into a different world with more disconnect; it seems that the yester-year cultural aspect of being consistently connected in a real way has mostly wafted away. This I have felt not just after a death, but during the period of long-term illness including the dementia journey.
I will continue to miss those who have gone before me and whenever we have a family dinner such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, when out of town family gathers, when wine is poured at the table, I always remember to raise my glass and toast, "to those we love who have gone before us."
In my life I have lost grandparents, aunts, uncles, father, mother, younger brother and infant sister. Not one is forgotten and yes; sometimes I softly speak to each of them letting them know they are not forgotten and I am thinking of them.
The loss of my mother will always poignantly be with me. What I have done in her honor but also because it is comforting to my spirit, was to befriend several elderly ladies who do not have close families or who have become more or less housebound. Two of them have since passed; one is across the country from me, but I send cards, make a call at times and send little gifts now and then. Good chocolates, warm fuzzy comfort socks, flowers, creative cards both funny and beautiful, etc.
I LOVE the delight of my very elderly friend and am really touched when I hear the happiness in her voice. That is my gift to me and the memory of my mother.
When I think of loss, I think the worst would be the crushing loss of a child or a beloved spouse; how people manage through that must be at a much more deep level of the heart. I saw this first hand with my parents when my infant sister died. The grief and anguish defies adjectives.
As we ourselves age, our own worlds will become smaller. Those who have loving family near who are connected and compassionate are blessed beyond measure. But even families can have that odd disconnect and electronic world sparseness.
If only there was a magic concoction that would remove the pain of loss; but we must walk the path hoping that tincture of time will ease our aching hearts.
People do assume, rather too quickly, that things are "okay," and that we are "getting over it," but we certainly know that is not the reality.
Soft hugs and warmest thoughts are being sent from all of me to all of you,
I found that people moved on with their lives. They cared, they were sorry for the loss, but their lives absorbed them and they moved on. I felt standing alone watching everyone go. Some people expected me to move on, get on with it, move forward, times up, get going, it's over. It wasn't over for me. It's not the same for us who have invested our hearts, souls, lives, time and love to the care of someone. Our experience became such a huge part of our lives. For me, it became something that defined me. Then it was over, it was gone.
I think sometimes people don't know how to react to the profound sadness and loss someone else is feeling, so they may avoid us, they may feel uncomfortable, they may think they have to say something that makes us feel better, but they don't know what that something is. Sometimes in your life, you are fortunate to have people who will walk further along with you in this journey of grief. I think the best thing to do, is if those close by to you if they do not offer a hand during this time, there are grief support groups to reach out to. It helps to have someone to talk to, grief is a heavy load to carry alone.
Hi Wgonzo, it's been awhile since I've been here. It is not your imagination, for what ever reason people tend to move on living their lives as normal and seem to forget that you are still in that deep hole of grief. Each meaningful date or holiday brings more yearning and pain for me. This past Easter weekend was almost unbearable for me. Our wedding anniversary is the 16th of this month and I am already zeroed in on how I will handle it. It is unimaginable the amount of grief I have and how much I miss my Robert. One of my best friends just lost her mom on Thursday, such a lovely lady and one I loved too. Her services are tonight and tomorrow and I know it will be emotional for me with my grief so close to the surface. You are right, it is as though you are standing still and the world is moving around you... Unless you have experienced profound loss you just do not get it! I send prayers and loving, positive thoughts your way that you will heal and when you recall sweet memories of your mother that they may bring a smile to your face without bringing tears to your eyes. Take care,
Blond senior, I will keep you and your dear husband in my prayers as you both make your way through these last moments of this Alz journey together. I lost my dear husband on December 30th, just one day after my birthday on the 29th. Yes, he gave me that one final gift of not passing on my birthday, God bless his sweet loving soul. The pain is still so fresh for me. Stage 8 is super tuff and a journey I am finding out I will complete by myself at my own pace. Some days his death doesn't even seem real to me, but then other days it seems all too painfully real. Stay close to your dear husband now, for your final time with him will be something you will never forget, make it special for you and him. Hugs and blessings,
It's sad but true. People don't know the depth of grief unless they have experienced it. I have been there and done that. First husband died suddenly when I was 28. I got a divorce from the 2nd husband at 50. We were together for over 20 years, Ouch..clinical depression is horrible. The divorce was a horrible exp. I wanted to die but didn't. Took antidepressants and prayed. Went to work of course,that helped a lot.
Ignore the people who tell you to just get over it, because, we would like nothing better then getting through that.
What is so sad to me is returning to these boards after...and finding all the familiar faces from the "other side"--so many of us are now here.
Hi, I lost my Hubby Dec 10.......others do move on and 'leave' us, but they have their own lives and most of them don't really understand what we are feeling. When you have been the caregiver.......it felt like suddenly I was 'unemployed', which was unsettling also. I think it helps to get busy helping someone else but for the first months it took all my energy to take care of myself. I have been seeing a Counselor and she has helped me......it really does help to be able to talk to someone about how you feel. Physically, I am more rested and feeling better so I am getting more busy and feel like doing more. So with time, a lot of time, it gets easier.
I have three step-children and two of them were too 'busy' so they said, to call or come and visit for the 5 1/2 years we've lived here and they both live about 30 miles away. I was really irritated with them......but they didn't cause any trouble. After reading what some of you have gone through, I realize I am very fortunate. My other step-son lives about the same distance from us but he called often and came to visit his dad. While Hubby was in the hospital, this son came and stayed all day several days......he would let me know ahead of time and tell me I could stay home and rest if I needed to. He was very sweet and helpful. I did stay home one day but as Hubby got worse I needed to be at the hospital. My thoughts go out to all of you.
I can relate to a great deal of what has been written in this thread. The three week mark of Mom's death is here, and I'm feeling the isolation.
There are people who either mistreated or abandoned my mom now coming out of the woodwork saying they want to attend her upcoming memorial service. Then there are those who were legitimately prevented from visiting Mom due to constraints such as distance, health, or personal problems; why are these things suddenly not hindering them from attending her funeral? I feel like one of those cartoons where a character has an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other. The angel says, "Just be gracious and thank them for wanting to come." The devil is whispering, "They want to say goodbye, but they missed their chance. Too little, too late."
All my feelings are like a hamster on a wheel, spinning around and around, but going nowhere. On top of this, my husband is going through his own health issues, and I have also joined the ranks of those on these boards with adult children who are absent from their lives, either through apathy or hostility.
I am mentally and emotionally exhausted. Thank goodness for people like all of you, who understand.
Dearest Deb, there are not words sufficient.
There are many of us who felt things were different, way back when, before we lost our naivete along the path of these journeys and realities.
I understand and send a big hug your way,
Deb, the way I looked at it is the service is about me and mom. It was up to me to pick who I would call, invite, etc. I feel my mom wanted it this way and I am sure your mom would feel the same. I was as grown up as I could be in keeping the service private. We had a small and beautiful gathering. There were a few I didn't want there and they weren't. There were a few I could have done without, but kept conversation to a minimum with them.
Mom wasn't religious so although it was at a Jewish cemetery, I kept religion to a minimum. I spoke and then let others speak and then played three songs. I know people come out of the woodwork, but if you don't love them or your mother didn't love them, I feel it isn't their time to have closure on anything. I also wanted a quiet meal afterwards and it is usually customary to have a gathering at a home or restaurant. I decided I only wanted my immediate family and a couple of cousins to eat with me so there was no mention of food afterwards. Not typical since Jewish families usually eat and talk for hours. I didn't want it, so I didn't do it.
Maybe some people thought I was selfish, I don't. I took care of her, I did the entire funeral arrangements from the coffin to the flowers myself. I did what I thought was best and not what anyone else may or may not have thought was right. Do what works for you. Ask yourself how you will feel in a year or two if the crappy people are there. You can tell the mortuary that you want things private. I didn't even do an obit for this reason. The obit came later.
Eff the graciousness... some people suck. Just remember if you let them come, they may not ever come around again. Will you be double ticked for that? I understand the hubby thing, but I do hope you can make peace with your kids. Mine are 16 and 20 so I am in a different world then having adults. Either way, good luck, do what's best and I wish you the best.
Wgonzo, thanks for starting this thread. You are wonderful at reaching out.
I agree with Rockym on how she handled her mom's service. Keep it simple. I also had pre-paid our mom's funeral which made it easier when the time came. We decided not to have any luncheon after the funeral because we just didn't have it in us to expend that energy with people who although sympathetic were not there for us. We actually would get upset when someone would say to us "You girls did such a good job taking care of her." Really? Of course we were going to take care of our mom!
So, just do it the way you want to and even if someone shows up that you don't care for it doesn't matter because chances are you won't see them again. They were not there before and they are not there now. The only ones that I talk or text to are the ones that matter most to me. And, my connection with you dear people here have kept me going.
Positive thoughts and prayers for everyone