(((Bridget))) I copied my response to you from what I posted on Starlight's post because I want to be sure you see it...
If I remember right, your mom lived with you for over 20 years. Please don't be so hard on yourself. It was only these past few weeks that you were so burned out and honestly, your mom would not have realized it. Knowing that your mom had Alzheimer's, as mine does, I can say that and know it to be true.
Caring for the elderly is so difficult, especially when you've been doing it for as long as you did and then through Alzheimer's AND cancer. Bridget, you are an angel, you truly are and you have my deepest condolences.
My mom is entering the end stage of Alzheimer's and I am dreading it, watching what she is going through. This whole journey has been so painful and it seems to become even more painful with each passing day. She still knows me and my sisters, at least most of the time, but that is about it. She does still come with me on Sundays, but she becomes so confused, I don't know how much longer I can continue to take her out to my home. Bridget, your feelings are normal, you are grieving and missing your mom. There will come a time when you will be able to remember your time with your mom with fondness and not feel so much pain. You are a wonderful daughter, please remember that. You did for your mother so much more than most. I will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers, Warmest wishes, Miriam
Thank you so much. Funny how the people who were helping me care for Mom and her friends became my whole world. Some of them are still in touch right now, but soon they won't have any reason to be in contact with me anymore. Strange, but I feel like I want to hold onto them, even the Hospice people, like I can hold onto Mom in that way. My animals seem to be grieving too. I have a cat who laid on Mom's bed right up till the end and now she lays on the floor in the room where the bed was before they came and took it away. My dogs lay around and just look sad. I will return to work in a week and a half and I guess that will really be hard on them, as Mom was always here with them and they weren't alone. In the past two years, I wouldn't say she actually took care of them, but she was here with them. I considered going back to work immediately after the funeral, as perhaps it would do me good. But that is what I did after my father died, thinking that I needed to get back into life right away and I regretted it later, not taking more time to let it sink in. Months later, I would start crying over his death.
Miriam, I am so sorry your mom is getting more confused. I know how hard it is. With my mother, I feel like communication between us began breaking down about two years ago because of the Alzheimer's and that is part of my heartbreak now. You and your mother are in my thoughts and thank you for being a friend.
Dear Bridget, Your animals are probably going through some grieving. I've seen it in mine, when we've had to put down one of our dogs, how the other ones become so very very sad, but they will be okay, like us, they need to grieve and go through their process. And, like people, they will all need their own time, some more, some less, but they have you, Briget, and your husband and family, so they will really be okay.
I hope you are able to take as much time as you need before going back to work.
As far as my mom, I can't really remember when we were really able to have a conversation where we really communicated, probably about two years ago. She speaks less and less now and hardly ever keeps her eyes open. Not that she is asleep, just prefers to keep them closed, which I find so strange, but then this disease is very strange and so hard for me to wrap my mind around. I have two sisters and they are both able to just let everything roll off their backs, like when mom declines a bit more and for me, it's another loss. I wish I could be more like them and I just can't.
Bridget, whatever I can do for you, please let me know. You do have friends out here, ready and willing to listen... Warm regards, Miriam
Lotsof loving hugs coming your way... you were so remarkable with your mother... more than many... I am sitting here understanding the guilt and mixed feelings... but with a huge smile, remembering when you took your mother to NYC... I never thought the two of you would have made it given her diagnosis and the stage she was in but you mastered it..
This is a time to connect with your mom soul to soul.. through your thoughts.. her soul understood all of what you were going through and continue to experience with no judgement at all... she knew you were a blessing to her.. filled with so much love and care and this is what is most vitally important for you to understand at this time...
Please learn from others who have lost a loved one.. we all begin to put the should'ves, couldves' etc on ourselves.. but when you truly look back as an observer, you did the very best that you could in any given moment, given the circumstances... even when you felt awful and wished the end was there already...All of these feelings are normal to a family caregiver.. they are a normal part of the anticipated and daily grieving we experience before our loved ones pass and part of the grief and healing process after their transition...
My thoughts and prayers are with you. I hope you will continue to post here as you have been such a wonderful part of the community...
richest blessings and may your healing be gentle and nurturing...
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