My mom died after a long illness of almost eight years. It started with a TIA eight years ago. While at the hospital for some testing, she fell to the floor and stopped breathing. They revived her, put her on a respirator for a few days and she recovered. Similar things happened over the next seven-and-a-half years. She had congestive heart failure, COPD, among other problems. She would always bounce back, maybe a little weaker than before, but she always came back. She was intubated about seven times throughout these last eight years. On Sept. 23, she couldn't breathe and the paramedics came. In ICU, they intubated her once again and tried to wean her off the machines. She was not strong enough to come out of it. My older brother lives in Texas and, with the doctors and palliative care people, my younger brother, and I talked (my older brother on speaker phone.) It was decided that we had to let her go. My brother drove up to Ohio from Texas, picking up his thirty-something old son on the way, and we took her off all the machines the next morning. It was exactly eight years to the day that our dad died, both on October 3rd.
Although she lived alone, I was the one who was there for her whenever she needed anything. I lived only half a mile away and could be at her house in two minutes, if I had to. My older brother is three years older and he lives over 1200 miles away. My younger brother is 20 years younger than me and he lives only five minutes away. Mom's house is four stories tall and I'm the only one working on getting things done over there. All the memories are there. My younger brother only has half the memories I have. Three whole rooms are still filled with his stuff. He doesn't want me to touch it. But my older brother wants things done. It's very hard to go there by myself and work. Mom was never well enough to get Dad's things taken away. So all of that is still there, too. My older brother told me, as he was leaving to return to Texas the day of Mom's funeral, that I needed to have everything taken out and put into groups of things to give to people, organizations, etc.. by the time he came back up for Thanksgiving. I'm finding it very difficult to let go of 81 years of someone's life, especially since I was so close to her during these sick years. My brothers don't care about the stuff, but I do. Even if I'm going to throw it away, I still want to hold it and look at it and think of the memories. I can't just start in one day and have it all done a week later as my older brother wanted me to do. If my house was big enough, I would bring everything over here and look at it here and not have to worry about them complaining that nothing is getting done.
Does anyone else have the same stuff going on... being pressured to go through everything and throw it all away, when you aren't quite ready to do it? I about lost it one night because the pressure was so bad, that I was letting brother A down because I wasn't working and working and working at Mom's house the days right after her funeral. Brother B hasn't done a thing at the house yet, nor has he taken any of his things home that occupy three of the bedrooms. I also wrote every Thank you card that was sent out and letters to out of state family and friends who needed to learn about our Mom's death.
For my own sanity, I told my brothers I would do a lot of work over there, as I am the only one retired and here to do it. But I would have to do it on my own time and when I was ready, not on their time when they want someone else to get it done for them.
Question: Is it because I'm the only female that they think everything needs to be done by me? While I'm the only one doing the work, if there's something I think I would like to have, do you think it's OK that I take it? I have to tread so lightly around both my brothers as they both have tempers and are used to having their own way. One has always been in charge of running big factories and the other was raised as an only child, as he is 23 and 20 years younger than us. He's also a police officer and, to put it simply, he's used to calling the shots with everyone and getting everyone to do things his way.
I miss my MOM alot. We would always chat about how my brothers were. When she was able, we'd have fun going out to lunch and maybe a short ride to see things she hadn't seen in a while. As other posters have written, the phone is a big thing. It almost never rings now, but there have been many times since she died that I've picked it up to call her to tell her something trivial, as we both always did. Cooking over the holidays, I kept thinking that I should have watched her and payed a little more attention to everything she cooked, and everything else she did. I can't call her and ask her. The next best thing was that I called her sister to ask her stuff. I think I could write a book about what to do, and what to ask your Mom and/or Dad so you were sure you knew what you needed to know before they are gone.
I wish the best for everyone. This is very hard. I feel really jealous of my friends who still have both their parents. But I also feel bad for them because I know they will be having these difficult times in the not-too-far future, as their parents are all in their eighties. This sure is the most difficult thing I've ever been through. At least when my dad passed away, I had my mom to lean on. We helped each other. It's really different when they are both gone. I must say, at 58 years old, I am finally thinking of myself as a full-fledged adult.

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Replies to This Discussion

My deepest sympathy to you all. Debbie, box up your stuff. Tell your brothers you are done with your part. Take what you want. Label the boxes to deal with as you can. Let them know they need to get their stuff out of there by a certain date, whatever is reasonable if you are intending to sell the house. That is a job in itself.

We all need to let go of the stuff. How I don't know. The best thing is deciding that we don't need the stuff to still have the love and connection with our parents. If our houses burned down and nothing was left, we still would have the memories and the connection with them in Heaven. We need to rely on our faith that God will help us heal, help us regain our sanity and our strength and our relationships with the rest of the family. Hopefully, that is possible. Because we are supposed to take care of each other.

I did that for my Mom because I loved her and I know that was the right thing to do. I hope someone will do that for me one day, God willing.

My heart goes out to all of you in your struggles. None of it is easy. My Dad died twenty years ago and my Mom died this summer. I am going through all the stages of grief and I wish it were over. I want to be able to be carefree again like I was when my parents were alive. They took care of everything.

Yet, I was the parent for decades, when my parents could not deal with something. Now that they are gone, I realize that I have to enjoy my life while I have it, before I too will need care.

So I am trying to deal with these things as quickly as I can. Luckily I have friends who are more to me than my family. they are seeing me through it. So is God. Without faith and friends, I would be in a real terrible state.

I wish you all the best. This too shall pass.
When our Dad died he was still living in the house. There were 3 of 5 of us children close by where we could go every weekend and divide up the household belongings. It got to the point that I decided the things we did not want or thought to be junk, went into another box. One of us could keep it for awhile, and then if none of us still did not want it, we could throw it away. Well the box did not have much in it. Everything was divided up according to how much each of us wanted. I had to re-arrange my place everytime I brought a load home. Now after 3 years (not quite 3 for Dad), I am finally getting my place organized. I have gone through some of it again, but not all of it. I know it will still be there later down the road. I did finally wash my Dad's suitcoat. It really helps to have something to hold onto. We had divided a few things up right after the funeral so our other 2 siblings and their children could take something back with them. God bless you all.
I completely agree. I feel so grateful that I found this wonderful place.

Debbie said:
Ya'll help me so much too. I don't feel so alone on this journey. I love each and everyone of you and pray for you daily. Take care,
Debbie

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