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Sue,
Gosh, when I read your post it gave me a jolt as we all will have to face the same thing. I think it is natural to be frightened, you don't know what to expect.
I think it will be like grieving for a loss, as in a job, moving from a home after many years, divorce, what have you. The grief you will experience would be different than the grief you would feel at the death of your loved one that you cared for.
I think that for whatever time it was, your caregiving role was probably your main focus. I would imagine that we will feel adrift and naturally quit lonely. I mean, who else did you spend so much time with?
People who caretake are generally empathetic, sympathetic people throughout their lives. It has been said that some people thrive on chaos or crisis. Sometimes these people will come apart physically and mentally when that is no longer their focus and they are not needed. I guess they feel their worth was tied into their service to others. I sure hope that is not any of us, and that when our time has come to take care of only ourselves, we can all enjoy it.
Candi
Sue, {{hugs}}
I have had this feeling also, especially since dad was admitted to the hospital again. Although he is just around the corner, and I am with him much of the time there, when I come home, or when I get up and make coffee, or even sit in my family room for a change; I get that *lost* feeling. My father has only physically been living with me since Dec, and lived with me last summer as well, I have been his and my mom's caregiver my entire life.
I believe once our loved ones pass, we will be given so much in return and that we will then have another path to follow. Our lives will be so much more enriched, and although we will grieve and may feel alone, and empty, our hearts will be full.
WE are all God's angels on Earth.
You will be blessed Sue,
huggers,
Robin
Hi Candi and Robin:

Good points from both of you. Before I became a caregiver, it wasa just my daughter and I. I was used to her being off at school or with friends. I always had things I found to do. I didn't have a lot of money, but I would clean, plant flowers, paint the kitchen, etc. It's stange because I actually liked my alone time then. Now my mother was ill most of my life with a heart condition and she too had a stroke and went through rebhab only to pass away later of another stroke in 1994. But I kept myself busy. I think for myself, the difference is now knowing that once my father passes (and he has been with me four-five years now since his stroke)that I realize, "no more parents." This may sound childish to some, but I am 40, dating a great guy, but it's not like I have a husband of 20 years by my side. My sister was killed in a car accident years ago, and my two brothers have severe issues of their own. So there is no family other than my daughter and grand daughter. As much as I would love to keep them with me forever, I know eventually she will marry and move on, as she should. Now my boyfriend has mentioned us marrying and selling our homes and buying our own. Maybe after Dad passes I will consider that. But I cannot tolerate to much change all at once. When I analyze it deeply, I realize that these experiences change us, none of us are probably the same person we were five-ten years ago. Sometimes I wish that I was. I cannot say that I feel stronger either. I know what you mean Robin about coming home when they are in the hospital and feeling "lost." It's like, hey, where is that person looking for me and dinner? It hurts then and they are still with us.
Hugs to both
Sue
Sue,
Knowing my mother is still alive, surely alleviates that feeling for me of *no more parents*. I still have mom. What makes me anxious and nervous however, is the fact that she too will require care after my father passes, as she is *needy* now. I tell myself, and her, that I cannot do for her what I have done for my father. Although I love them both, it seems either I have just burned out, or the reality is, my mom will request too much of me. Demanding/Controlling. Sad to think it, but she may end up in Assisted Living or a Nursing Home. That then will be the beginning of a new journey.
Hugs friend,
Robin
Hello Sue,

You have shared this a few times under different themes.. the main question that comes up for me is exactly what is it that you are frightened of? Can you identify all that comes up for you in the terms of fear? I know it can shift moment to moment but underlying it all.. can you identify and share what the fear is about?

There is a saying and a journal exercise here at the boards: FEAR" False Expectations Appearing Real... this is so interesting...

And another saying ... the past is history, the future a mystery and the present is the gift of the now.. the present moment...

these are just two for starters and food for thought... for I too, can find myself worrying and frightened of the unknown when I focus my energies on things I cannot control.. and I can now laughingly tell myself to get more into the now...

but fear is lack of alignment with the universe and the bigger picture we don't have control over either..a lack of faith or trust....these are the immediate thoughts that come through me...

I think caregiving is different for everyone and similar in some respects.. the grief and loss over my husband was very different than that of my dad.. I have lost many dear friends who I helped to AIDS and I have lost pets.. and I too, have fears at times over the loss of my mother and what will that be like.. we will be orphans.. and in many ways especially because the way they treated us.. we are still their little girls in adult bodies..

In your particular case.. you have juggled all the caregiving with your full time work ... many of us left jobs to care for someone.. many of us become so entrenched, we don't take the necessary time for ourselves on a daily basis.. and I think that once our loved one has transition we become filled with a huge void from within.. a loss of energy and presence in the room.. and the giref can bring pain and sadness.. all of everything I am writing is all normal... there is no right or wrong.. the fear is all normal..it's just what each of us experience...

However, I do want to support you in knowing that once your dad has passed, you will grieve as you need to.. and then when it is time, you can consciously choose to fill the emptiness and void from within with loving experiences.. that fill you with a different purpose and motivation.. all in each one's own time of healing.. and most of all, hopefully, we will care for ourselves with the same loving concern we have cared for our loved ones.. being gentle and nurturing to ourselves, especially for not taking the time while we were caring that we needed.. and we will heal on even deeper levels...

gail
My mom just died. She was 87, and had been suffering the effects of several heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, and other problems, which made her wheelchair-bound

I was her 24/7 caregiver for five years. I helped with wheelchair transfers, cooked her meals, cleaned her apartment, went with her to every one of her doctor's appointments, and did her laundry.

I arranged for an eye test, causing her to have eye surgery, when I realized that she wasn't simply frail, but almost blind. She simply loved to watch good war movies, and the news, when she could finally see!

I cooked her favorite foods, the ones that she taught me how to make when I was very young. In return, She taught me how to make perfect chicken breasts, juicy and tender. Yum!

Every time that I helped her with transfers to and from her wheelchair I gave her a hug and a kiss. It made her weakness, and my efforts, easier for us both to bear.

After Mom died, I and others said: "She was old. It was her time to go. It was a kinder and gentler death than she might have had."

But what we didn't realize, when we said this, is that my selfish heart wasn't ready yet to relinquish my mother, when her every happiness had been my responsibility and joy for every waking moment.

Through my mother's tireless efforts, she made my life and those of her brothers and children better than they might ever have been.

So I did that for her, in return. I'm so glad that I did.
Thank you for sharing Callie.

What Angels you were to one another. I know you mother is smiling down on you now.
I guess I cannot say the same. I work full time and I cannot always cook my father's favorite meals, nor do I have the energy too. I am afraid I will regret the days I felt resentment and anger. After all, this is the last of his life. I try my best and he knows this and so does he. Sometimes I wish I had been more patient.
Sue
Hello Callie..

I am truly sorry to hear of your loss..Your mother is free of her shell..and I know how difficult it is to let go.. As I am sure you have read in other posts and articles here at the site, there is no right or wrong way to grieve.. just try to heal yourself in your own way.. be gentle and nurturing to yourself as you were to your mother.. take time to smell the flowers a bit differently... allow yourself to sit in gentle peacefulness and feel your mother's presence... we are here to support you so please keep us posted.. may your journey be gentle... blessings to you...

gail

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