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I haven't posted much but I do read all of the recent posts from caregivers. My mom passed away last November 7 and I am still having such a difficult time dealing with her death. I cared for her here in my home for almost a year before she passed away. It was very hard for me at times because I didn't really have the support of all of my siblings. My sister had absolutely no hope at all for my mother and basically was waiting for the time to come for my mother to pass. My younger brother did visit more often than my sister but he also did not help me in any way. He never knew what to say after he would visit - especially towards the end when my mom started to really decline. My older brother was here every other week - sitting with my mom while I ran to the store, bringing food that he knew mom would like, etc. I had so much anger for so long mostly toward my sister. I felt she could have helped more. She took vacations and did not come to see our mother. When my mother was first diagnosed my sister and brother wanted to put her in a nursing home. My husband and I refused to go that route and rearranged our home to accomodate my mom. I miss talking to my mom, being with her and even though caring for her was not always easy or pleasant I wish she was here with me. My sister and younger brother just can't understand my feeling this way. I have since let go of the angry feelings toward them. I am a forgiving person. They don't understand that I still have trouble sleeping. I start thinking about everything my mom went through during her illness (colon cancer) and different dates have different meanings for me because I remember all of this still. I am taking medication for depression and my older brother feels maybe the medicine needs to be adjusted. I just feel like I could stay in bed all day if I had that opportunity. Housework does not get done the way it used to. My mother is constantly in my thoughts and dreams. My husband tells me I must subconsciously feel that I should have done more for my mother but that I did all I could have to care for her and make her days better for her while she was here. It's not a guilty feeling I have it's more of an emptiness. Does anyone else have this same feeling? I have been told that caregivers have a more difficult time with the death of someone they cared for.

I feel like I am rambling on and on so please bear with me here! Thanks for listening. I believe writing here will help me cope with the feelings I have.

Thank you for your support!

Jackie
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(((Jackie)))

I'm so sorry for your loss. November is not that long ago. It's okay that you are still grieving. The emptiness may never totally go away, but will lessen some with time... or maybe you'll just get used to it and learn to cope... hard to say.

So start with little things as you feel up to them. Pamper yourself at home or with a trip to a day spa. Pick one small thing you want to do, then reward yourself for doing it. No pressure or beating yourself up if it doesn't happen over nite.

Gradually start to think about your future. It there something you want to do to continue to honor your mother? What was your life's work before you were caregiving for Mom? Is it something you would want to do again, or is there something else you would rather try?

In the meantime, go ahead and grieve. And please do continue to post. We're here to listen.

Love n hugs,
Barb
Jackie - my heart goes out to you. I know the loss you are feeling. My Mom passed February 24th of this year and I too am having a difficult time moving forward.

I too have problems falling and staying asleep. I hate my day to end and I hate mornings. I can't get going before 9:30 a.m. and I relate that to caregiving for my Mom and that would be the time that I had her all settled and could then turn my attention to myself. I used to get so frustrated, but for now, I just give into it.

Look at what your life was the past year and realize you are going through a multitude of changes and my dear, you can only do one thing at a time! Try to pick just one single thing to take that baby step forward. Don't rush and don't be so hard on yourself. Some days will be okay, some will be just horrible. But that strong woman is still in you, just in another place trying to heal.

The empty feeling you have is normal. You may feel sometimes as if you lost a part of your life too because hers was intertwined with yours. And when you think of that aspect, how very precious that must have been. If you were the main caregiver, I'm sure you had precious moments with her. And in physically caring for her, as hard as that may have been for you, how special that bond must have been. That's why we hurt so much Jackie. They were our Moms. They probably were the only people on earth that loved us unconditionaly.

I don't know if you had the help of Hospice. My sister and I did and I have used their grief counselor a few times and have found that helpful. I've found in talking to people about how you feel, they immediately want to tell you their story (if I've done that, I'm sorry). Sometimes you need someone to just listen. It helps to get those painful memories out and be affirmed. This site too is a great place to let it all out. Many gentle people will listen and embrace you!

Now I feel like I'm rambling, but I guess we do because of this whole process we're going through.

All I can say is take your time. Your feelings are real and proper and be gentle on yourself.

You'll be in my thoughts and prayers,
Chris
Barb and Chris,
Thank you for your encouraging replies and your condolences. My heart goes out to both of you as well for the losses you have suffered. It's nice to know I am not alone in my feelings and I do feel like a weight has been lifted from me just from writing about those feelings.
Barb - I am fortunate enough to be able to work from a home office. That was a blessing when I was caring for my mom. I can make my own hours and usually did most of my work (and continue to do so) after hours so to speak when my mom was in bed for the night. While she was here, mom loved to sit outside and watch the birds come to the feeders - especially the blue jays and woodpeckers. So I continue to feed the "blues" (as my mom called them) their peanuts daily. The squirrels and chipmunks also come to feed as do the woodpeckers and other small birds. My mom had her own little nicknames for all of them. Even my husband still uses the nicknames! I also used to volunteer for a local animal rescue but had to resign when my mom got ill. I am thinking of volunteering again in a local food pantry or another type of animal rescue organization.
Chris - My mom and I had a wonderful relationship. She was my friend and best secret keeper! We had so many laughs together and great times even when she was so sick I can remember laughing till we cried together at the silliest things. I guess that's why I feel so empty sometimes. And you are right, some days are horrible and some are not so bad. We did have Hospice care for about a month and a half. I really could open up to my mom's nurse. She was going through the exact same scenario with her own mother. Her mother was the same age as mine, had the same diagnosis. I did speak with mom's home health/hospice nurse about a month ago. Her mom had passed away two days before Christmas last year and her feelings were very similar to mine. She was the one who mentioned journaling to me and said it helped her.
Thanks again for being there and "listening". I will continue to write.

Love,
Jackie

[This message has been edited by jacquie40 (edited 05-10-2008).]
Hi, Jackie and Chris.

I'm lucky to still have my mom, but this Mother's day is sad for me because I am really missing my MIL. The florists near where she is buried don't deliver to cemetaries and I don't want to bother other family to pick up and deliver flowers for us. They are all still grieving and having a much worse time of it than me and my dear DH.

Jackie, I think it's great that you are still feeding "the blues." Nature has a very healing power. We have a lot of mockingbirds and quail here, with the occasional bright splash of cardinal.

Doing volunteer work is a good way to get out of the house. Most organizations are flexible about hours, so you could start small and see how it goes and not make a big commitment.

(((Chris)))
I'm sorry about your Mom. It's good you are getting support from hospice. Keep posting here, when journaling isn't enough.

Prayers and hugs to all whose mothers are in Heaven this Mothers Day, and to all the caregiver angels here on Mother Earth.

Love,
Barb
Jackie, and to all of you who have lost your Mom......I too lost my Mom, it was 2 years ago in January. The pain is still there...not as intense...but I still have days when I just want to stay in bed. Mom lived here with DH and I for over 3 years. There were times when it was tough....real tough.....but today I'd give anything just to be able to pick up the phone and talk to her.

I am 55 and have a job, a great husband and 6 wonderful grandkids and my girls(3 of them) have all been so supportive and helpful,,,,but still something is missing in my life. I don't think we ever really truely get over the loss of our Mom's.

I did not get any support from my siblings either....my sister....was a total jerk....never came to visit Mom, never offered any help....to this day I have no contact with them and do not intend to. They hurt Mom terrribly many times and that I cannot forgive.

Hang in there..... it will get better. I think the first year and a half is the worst.
Time does heal the pain.....it's just a long slow process that you cannot rush through.

God Bless
Patty

[This message has been edited by plink (edited 05-12-2008).]
{{{{{{{jacquie40}}}}}}}}}

You are fortunate to have the support of your husband as many caregivers have no immediate support. It's difficult to define the depression as grief and loss can bring it on... coupled with taking medication.... sometimes the medication dosage needs and adjustment and sometimes, it is necessary to switch to a new medication.

As for motivation, etc, I think that all of us as caregivers set goals for our loved ones as we cared for them, but neglected to continue setting them for ourselves.

Part of my lessons learned from caregiving for all those in my life was to begin living my own life more fully. I now had a choice.. no one was in charge of me... my choice was to reclaim my life.. setting some short term goals and some long term..the three I chose immediately to do within a month were to go to the theater more often, volunteer at a museum and to take up the art of pottery.ceramics which I did..

It has been almost 4 years since my mother passed... the last of the caregiving... and I find myself caregiving to myself.. to heal myself emotionally, spiritually, physcially and mentally.. it is full time work..but as a result, I am truly finding more love, peace and happiness in my life and I am truly grateful for the choices I am making.

I encourage all to find some hobby.. no matter how unmotivated we might be... something that makes your heart sing.. lets the little child inside out to play.. so that you can choose to begin living your life more fully as well.

richest blessings.. may your journey be gentle and nurturing.

gail
Patty and Gail,

Thank you both for your encouraging words. I am very fortunate to have my husband's support. I really don't know what I would do without him. I have many hobbies that I put on hold during my mom's illness. My sons gave me an ipod for Mother's Day so I am in the process of loading my music selections. Hopefully this will give me the motivation I need to exercise more regularly. I enjoy word puzzles, jigsaw puzzles and reading. My husband and I also enjoy gardening and doing landscaping on our property.
Today was my sister's birthday. It was a good day. My husband kept telling me I needed to get rid of the anger I had toward her. My sons and I brought dinner, cupcakes and gifts to her home this afternoon. My younger brother was there as well. We had a lot of laughs talking about when we were younger. It really was a good day despite the rainy conditions here. The sun did shine when we were leaving!
As far as my medication goes, I do have a doctor's appointment next month so I will talk to him and see what he suggests. I know writing here does seem to help me "unload" and I am grateful to those that answer and to those that just read. I hope that maybe what I write will help someone else in the same situation.
Patty - I know what you mean about picking up the phone to call your mom - I would call my mom about the dumbest things but she never made me feel that it was stupid of me to call.
Gail - I am trying to do more things for myself. My family and I are really looking forward to a vacation this July.
Thanks again for listening and for your caring replies.
Love,
Jackie
Hello Jaquie40

Your energies seem more balanced in your last post.. you are healing... how wonderful to be able to garden and with dear hubby.. the earth is healing and cleansing... go for it.. as far as hubby... he sounds very tuned in to support you to forgive your sister..

So many of us carry pain and hurt from siblings and other forms of relationships.. even anger... the trth is that those we have the feelings towards aren't necessarily affected by it but our bodies are. The thoughts we have are vibrations and those vibrations go out to every cell, organ and system in our bodies...vibrating at a low, dense frequency... causing energy blockages.. opposed to having loving thoughts and feeling loved... these thoughts are of a higher vibration and are healing to our cells and organs.. we are all learning new ways of living abbetter quality of life... and hopefully, the site supports us all to grow and heal on these levels.

Where will you be going to on your vacation?

Please keep us posted... take care

gail
Barb, Jacquie and all.

Just checking in - I think about all of you.
Mothers Day was so sad, but it really wasn't different than any other day. My sister called last night and said the estate is settled and we just both sobbed. I would give just about anything to touch her sweet soft face. So many things I miss about her. Right now the memories still make me miss her more! I just hate this.
I will keep checking in and post more.
You're all in my prayers.
Chris
Chris,

Mother's Day was tough for me also. My brother took my family and myself out to dinner but all in all it was just another day. Today was a really bad day for me. I have dreams at night that stay with me for days - all include my mom. Not really nightmares just dreams with her in them. Sometimes she is ill in the dreams and other times she is ok. So I know what you mean about missing your mom and the memories hurting. My husband and I both think of telling my mom something that happened - like we used to look forward to telling her things that happened during our day. I too would give anything to have my mom back. I know she is happy in heaven with my grandma, grandpa and uncle but that doesn't make it any easier. I sound very selfish don't I?

I just think of my mom constantly. It seems that everything triggers memories of her. Maybe because she lived here while she was ill?

It does help me to write my feelings and thoughts here. I look forward to continuing reading posts and helping anyone else I can.

Take care.

Love,
Jackie
Jackie,

You don't sound selfish at all. I think we'll always feel that we want our Moms back. And it hurts knowing that all those wonderful things we shared with them just won't ever happen again. It's something we'll be working through on a daily basis. Which for me can be very difficult at times.

When I'm having a melt down, I think of you too and say a prayer for both of us that we'll be given strength to get through the rough times.

When my Dad died, I dreamed about him all the time. I have yet to remember a dream with my Mom in it. I know she's right where she wanted to be and I have to learn to be okay with her leaving. It's what she would want.

I hope you have a good day.

Chris
I know I have posted this several times before in another forum. But I read this a lot and when times are tough I thnk it helps..........

Your mother is always with you. She's the whisper of the leaves as you walk
down the street; she's the smell of bleach in your freshly laundered socks;
she's the cool hand on your brow when you're not well.
Your mother lives inside your laughter. And she's crystallized in every
teardrop.
She's the place you came from, your first home; and she's the map you follow
with every step you take.
She's your first love and your first heartbreak, and nothing on earth can
separate you. Not time, not space.

patty

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