Life After Caregiving

This is a group for caregivers who are dealing with surviving the loss of the loved one.

Having been a caregiver for over 5 years, I know that our efforts don't get enough recognition and we personally have a difficult time getting support

Members: 21
Latest Conversations: Sep 27, 2021

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My mother

Started by B. Walker. Last reply by Mike Jose Jun 29, 2015. 3 Replies

I live in MS.My mother moved from AL. 9 months to the day and lived with me and my husband.On 1-26-12. I laid my 48 yr old husband to rest. We would have been married 28 yrs in May.On 2-12-12. I laid…Continue

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Comment by Leslie Gillin on June 20, 2015 at 12:52am
P.S. I'm really missing my mom now, too, for some reason. It's no accident that I got the email with your post and was led to write here. I'm grateful to have this avenue. I'm thinking of going to see my brother whom I haven't seen in one-and-a-half years, now. It's the longest I haven't seen him.It feels so uncomfortable that I'll be there without mom. I've never gone to see him on my own. It's almost like going to see a stranger. We weren't close growing up because he's nine years older than me. My dad had negative feelings towards him for not being able to trust him, and not following through with his education; for 'screwing up.' That was all I knew for so many years, that I adopted those judgements, too. Through these later adult years, I've also had occasion to not trust him, yet after confronting him, he's always come around. Grateful. We don't have that much in common. A process... all for now.
Comment by Leslie Gillin on June 20, 2015 at 12:42am
Cynthia, I so relate to your words. I was my mother's caregiver for fifteen years. She did not live with me, and I had help, but the responsibility felt overwhelming. My mom died the end of April 2013. Reading your post made me realize the reason I've been feeling for so long, that dread of coming home to an empty house. For some reason, I had not put it together, but the shoe fits. So, thank you!

No doubt that the dog was grieving. Your husband lived so much longer than his doctor gave him because of your love, devotion and caring presence.
I, too, would do it again if I had to.
Comment by Cynthia Murphy on June 19, 2015 at 10:09pm

I was my husband's care giver for 17 years taking him to doctor appointments, talking to the doctors, giving medication, all w  working a full time job. I didn't have nurses until the last few weeks of his life . He died on Thanksgiving morning 2013. It was just the two of us and 911 on the phone. A police officer stayed with me until someone came to tab me to the hospital. My husband died in the hallway of our house that morning. I couldn't stay in the house and might go to a Wal-Mart at 2 a.m. but then I couldn't stay in the store. It was a vicious cycle with everything. I felt like I was going mad. I went back to teaching but hated for the school day to end. There was no reason to go home anymore. His dog was even grieving. Some people suggested that I let others help me with his care but I couldn't trust anyone else with him . The doctor gave him 5 years and he survived 17 years. I didn't want him to think that I was tired of my job. I would do it again if I have to.

Comment by Lori Salisbury on February 8, 2012 at 8:11am

Thank you I need to hear that from someone who understands!

Comment by Adrienne Gruberg on February 7, 2012 at 8:02pm

Lori -

I can't say it's my pleasure to help you, because after all, this isn't about pleasure. It is, however, very satisfying to be able to help a fellow caregiver in pain. It doesn't get easier girl, it gets different.

Comment by Adrienne Gruberg on February 7, 2012 at 2:28pm

Lori -

So many people who have been caregivers have the same feeling - :" have no reason to go home" - which both makes perfect sense and is ridiculous.

It's time to make it your house. Your own. Everything is really new and fresh for you and I'm not suggesting that you do anything now, but eventually you'll feel like it. A new bedspread. A new shower curtain. Just things to make the house change.Even bringing home flowers will change the surrounding emptiness for the better.

I got a dog. I had wanted one forever, and the loneliness a caregiver feels is dreadful. So I had thought a dog would be wonderful company. I waited after Steve died to make sure I wanted one. I needed the finality to settle in, but I discovered I DID really want a dog. She is my savior. She makes me smile. I talk to her instead of myself. I have a big hello waiting for me when I come home. I take her wherever I can - she's a mini wire haired dachshund - and she's well behaved.

I discovered the house is the hardest place to be. When I went to the cemetery for the first time  was prepared to fall apart. It was no big deal. Coming into a house where he is absolutely everywhere is a lot more difficult. But, it was our home. We built it together and it was our only child.

So I'm alone and doing what I can to make a life that I can call mine. You will too. You say "I let her go on 1-5-12" - just try and remember that she was ready to go that day. You didn't cause it. Really letting go emotionally will take time.

I would look into bereavement and grief groups in your area. Wait just a while before you go - let your feelings settle.

Keep in touch.

Comment by Lori Salisbury on February 7, 2012 at 7:58am

My mom became unresponsive 12-25-11.  They spent days trying to find the source of her fever despite her blood cultures becoming negative.  It wasn't until 1-3-12 (30 years to the day my Dad died) that they found the problem. I let her go on 1-5-12. So, it is still very fresh right now. I do work but it is those quiet nights that I am having trouble with.  I no longer have to rush home from work to make her dinner.  I don't have any reason to go home. 

Comment by Adrienne Gruberg on February 6, 2012 at 1:54pm

Lori -

17 years is an awfully long time. I'm glad that you're at peace with her passing. It sounds like you have no regrets which is a very important part of moving on.

How long ago did she pass? Do you work? Do you have a desire to do anything? What you're going through is very common - even for people who spent less of their lives as devoted as you were.

There is nothing disloyal about moving on. If you're worried about what others think, you should ask yourself why. Who could begrudge you, after all those years, of wanting to make a life for yourself.

Let me hear from you again. Please. You can fill the void with LIFE.

Comment by Lori Salisbury on February 6, 2012 at 10:31am

For 17 years I became my mom's sole care taker. I lived my life around her and her needs.  Now, I am lost.  I do not have a husband or children so I can't fill my free nights with that. I know exactly how you feel or felt about moving on.  I am at peace with her passing but I feel judged by those around me that if I move on too quickly than I am happy my mom passed. I have such a void right now of not being needed it hurts.

Comment by Adrienne Gruberg on September 27, 2011 at 12:39pm

Joyce - It's not disloyal, and I'm sure in your heart you know she would have wanted you to move on. I'm not stuck in guilt about moving on, I just don't know what to do yet, so I'm doing a lot of things. Just try and get your feet wet.

I see you wrote me at 3:33 in the a.m. I'm not sleeping well either. I'm putting off taking sleeping pills unless it gets absolutely ridiculous, but I sleep late. I don't have to face a whole day if I sleep til noon! I miss my husband terribly. His birthday was on Aug. 26, our anniversary would have been on Sept. 12 and the 6 month anniversary of his passing was on the 19. Talk about a double, no - triple, whammy.

Keep writing. I'm sorry I didn't get to this until now. Forgive me.


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