It's been a rough year. I'm 44 and an only child who emigrated to the USA from England 20 years ago.  I'd always been very close with my parents, especially my Mum, but I left them at age 24, to start a new life across the Atlantic - to live with my American husband who I met at university!

My parents were remarkably gracious about my move. They were devastated that I left England, but they loved and accepted my husband, and embraced my new life, and were happy for me.  We continued to keep in close, regular touch via email, phone, Skype, etc, every day, and made many many visits over the years.  We missed each other very much, but we made the best of it.

I lost my Dad earlier this year, on April 20th, 2015, and then I lost my Mum just 3 weeks ago, on 30th November 2015.  My Dad had been ill for some time with bowel troubles and other complications, then, after being hospitalized, had a big stroke, from which he never recovered.  I had to (temporarily) leave my husband and 2 kids here, to return to England to look after my Mum, while my Dad was hospitalized, because she had Alzheimer's.  (I had been visiting my parents quite regularly, despite the long distance, trying to help them both with their illnesses). 

After my Dad died, I became my Mum's sole care-giver.  I looked after her for 6 months in England, while I dealt with my Dad's estate, their house, their bills, etc.  Then, I brought her with me, back to the USA, to live with us, my husband and kids.  We thought she would live with us for many more years, since she was still physically fit, despite her Alzheimer's.  However, she had a big stroke in October, was hospitalized, then developed physical complications and became very ill.  The stroke worsened her Alzheimer's drastically.  She never recovered her ability to walk, talk or swallow.  She passed away on November 30th.

Both parents ironically went in a similar way - both had strokes, both lost their ability to walk, talk and swallow, both ended up on hospice, both had to be taken off life support and be left to fade away slowly.  It's been horrifying, having to make tough decisions on their behalf, and horrifying having to watch them both suffering with pain, confusion, loss of dignity, loss of basic functions, etc, and dying slowly.

It's especially tough for me right now, dealing with the grief of losing both parents - and being so far away from "home", i.e. England.  Even though I've lived in the USA for nearly 20 years now, and have a happy life here, these losses really mark the end of an era - the end of my childhood.  Even though my parents have been far away all these years - they have always been there, at the end of the telephone, or email, etc. 

Having no siblings, I have no one else who was as close to my parents as I was, to talk to.  My husband is my rock - he is wonderful, and is being very supportive.  And my extended family - aunts and cousins are also being wonderful too.  And I do have 2 lovely children, age 15 and 12.  So, I do try to count my blessings.

I'm having my ups and downs.  Some days I'm coping OK and feeling more or less fine.  But of course, there are moments when the grief hits and I'm reduced to sobs.  I hear about "grief attacks", and I'm finding I'm becoming familiar with this term.  I am finding it very helpful to read other people's stories.  I think sharing stories of our experiences of grief can be very healing.  I hope I can reach out and help others cope with grief, too, even if it's just to listen and understand.

Blessings and hugs to you all.  

  

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Hello Victoria. First of all my deepest condolences on your loss. Our stories are very similar. Except I'm not an only child and I didnt have to travel quite as far. I live in California and the rest of my family In Ohio. I brought my mom out to visit me in june. She too had a massive stroke she didn't recover from. I too was her sole care giver until she died. We were close she was my rock in the sense that no matter how hard I felt life was she knew how to make things better with just the sound of her voice. my father was never around growing up. My mom raised us on her own and I think she did well. I miss her so much. when I go to sleep at night I pray that I dream of her just so I can see her again. I can't even begin to imagine what your going through. I read your story and immediatly could relate. I still feel so lost. I can also relate with grief attacks. they happen unexpectedly. I Hope you continue to heal. And my thoughts and prayers are with you.

Aw - thank you so much Tonyah.  It is so nice to hear from someone who's been through a similar thing.  It doesn't matter how far the distance, it's still really tough.  My deepest condolences to you too.  Losing our moms is so harsh, so painful.  Especially as we were so close to our moms, they raised us well, and we looked after them at the end of their journey.  It's a roller-coaster of emotions - sometimes relief that the suffering and all that stress and anxiety is over, sometimes guilt for not doing enough, sometimes horror at how she passed, and then sometimes utter disbelief that she is really gone. 

I try hard to look for the silver linings - e.g. it's just as well my Dad didn't have to see my Mum suffering the way she did - and he didn't have to watch her die.  And it's just as well my Mum didn't have to languish any longer in the nursing home, where she didn't want to be.  (She was only there 2 months).... Also, I'm not religious, but I like to think my Mum's spirit is still around, trying to communicate to me now and then, to comfort me, telling me not to worry, that she loves me, etc.

I was never as close to my Dad either, so losing him was sad, but not as painful as losing my Mum.  I found myself becoming more fond of my Dad, ironically, after his passing, since I learned so much more about him...

I also hope you find comfort and healing too as time goes by.  Hugs to you.

 

so sorry

my dad had a stroke 2 sad thng wz he wz startin 2 get betr frm strije he gt bak hom  he wz hom fr abot wk a bit thn got ill bak in hosptl he did thn died 

nw mums nt well shes gt demsa she haz 

bt so mush loss in 1 go afftr my dad 

so sorry

Thank you.  So sorry about your Dad, too.  Blessings and hugs to you, and your Mum.

Victoria, I'm sorry for your loss of both of your parents. The waves of grief attacks still hit me too but not as frequently. This is the second year without my dad and the fourth without my mom. I was the one who provided their care which was a blessing since they were wonderful to me my whole life. I'm 63 now. They were 81 and 87. They died at home,where they raised their 3 children and lived since 1957. My sister and brother helped very little but my daughter and son inlaw were a big help with my dad. My parents were Christians and so am I so I find comfort in knowing that our parting is only temporary. I hope your grief also subsides and is replaced with happy memories.

i no mums demsa can get 2 me 

i no its not her falt its illnes wish is not grt

im not well my slf 

sorry if im go on 2 mush 

its mood swings she gets it maks her agresv

This is your first step, opening up about your feelings.  It'll get easier, for me it was in small increments, but I am doing better. I pray to God. I believe my loved ones are on a different plane of existence, right next to me! I know I'll be with them again. I need to keep the faith. Forsaking All I Trust In Him. I lost my only child, Candace on 4/09/10 and my little brother Doug, from PHT on 9/22/14. He was a Respiratory Therapist and was treating people with the same thing he succumbed to. My daughter's Spirit came to me the day b/4 her funeral. I felt her presence standing behind me and felt hands rubbing my arms up and down twice, as if to say, "it's alright, I'm still here!!!"  Please believe!

Thank you! And I'm so sorry for your losses.  I do think we can still feel their presence, if we are open to it, at times.  God bless you.

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