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Hi I am Celeste......my mother passed in September 21, 2016.  I was care giver and then Hospice stepped in.  She died in home and basically it was old age (92).

For the last four years before her death I was dealing with my daughter's drug addiction coupled with care giving & working.  The good news is my daughter has been clean for about 18 months and was in treatment for close to 15 months.  Thank God.  I have my daughter back.

After my mother passed, I crashed.  I went to work,  but I could not get off the sofa when I came home from work and on the weekends.  When my daughter's treatment was finished, I was filled with a fear of relapse.  I was finally able to let that go.  She has her own apartment and works at a large treatment center.

When mom passed I felt  relieved.  Then the crying started.  She was a handful but she was my rock.

I think I was okay for quite a few months.  Not now.

I have always been afraid of my emotions.  They scare me and remind me of times when I had depression and anxiety.

Two weeks back my brother had bypass surgery and valve replacement surgery.  I was gripped by a primal fear "Oh God please don't let him die".  He is fine.

Anxiety is back (not bad)  I learned how to stop it using the Techniques outlined in DARE (book).

In the last year I lost motivation ~ not wanting to talk on phone ~ go out and socialize ~ not wanting to work ~ I engaged in eating alot of ice cream (I go to OA for that) ~ On Friday & Saturday night's I started drinking wine. I do not drink any other time and do no crave it......I think  I am looking to zone out after a full week of work and probably grief.

After Mom passed and my daughter got out of treatment she did not come home.  She has her own apartment.  Empty nest?  I do attend an Al-Anon Grief meeting weekly + my regular

al-Anon meetings......

I have fear again which can translate into depression and anxiety and I do not want to go there......


Any advise welcome


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Hello Celeste,

Welcome to this special place where we share our thoughts without any judgment.  I am very sorry that you lost your mother in 2016 after a beautiful 92 years on this earth. Your daughter’s success at being clean from drug addiction is deserving of a big shout out. It is no wonder that these two major concerns in your life have taken a toll on you. It is time for you to give yourself a gift. The gift I’m thinking about is self-care. Emotions and feelings do not last forever. I can understand your concern about your brother. Is he all right now? I am not familiar with the techniques outlined in DARE that you mentioned but it sounds like a place to start. Spend some time here and read what others have written. You are not alone and this place proves it. The people who come here are very empathic and help us know we are not alone. 

Tears are good. They have a way of releasing some tension we all have when we face loss. I hope you have had a health check-up just to make sure you are in good health. You have already found this place and it is a place that will always be ready to listen.

I like guided meditations - sharing


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Thank you so much for contacting me.  I guess I wanted the grief and the yucky feelings to end already.  The last year has been up and down.  I am starting to socialize a bit more with friends who love me.  Trying to stay rooted in gratitude......

How does everyone deal with the emotions without becoming scared by them? 


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I am sorry for your loss, I too lost my mom three years ago at 92, and catch myself wanting to talk to her.  It's hard to lose the person who has always been there!

You must be very proud of your daughter, that took hard work and now she's able to help others with what she's learned.

As I read your post, you spoke of your fears and this came to my mind, I just read it this morning: http://www.griefhealingdiscussiongroups.com/index.php?/topic/10671-do-your-emotions-scare-you-mine-do/&tab=comments#comment-134343

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hello Celeste,

I feel your pain. My dad passed away July 28, 2017 from dementia. Although he fought it every step of the way, it was the one thing in his life he couldn't fix.

Dad was my rock and best friend. I was his main caretaker and we spent many good times together after my mom passed away from cancer in 2005. We kept each other going as I also went through a divorce at that time.

Life was good, Dad was healthy...until he had a stroke which he recovered from quickly. When he made up his mind to do something, it was done; yet he could no longer handle the responsibilities of a large home with a big yard, so we moved him into a beautiful apartment at an Independent/Assisted Living facility. He lived there for 5 years..paying his own bills, taking his medications like he should, etc.

There came a time later when he wasn't taking his meds like he should and started having seizures. One was very severe and he spent many days in the hospital. I was there 24/7, sleeping on a cot in his room. He recovered and went back to his apartment after therapy at a local Rehab Center, although he was far from ready.

I spent most nights sleeping on his couch making sure that he wouldn't get up in the middle of the night and try to use the bathroom without assistance. Got him one of those call buttons and he refused to use it. One day I went home to take a shower and he'd fallen. Didn't tell me about it, but had a huge purple bruise on his ear. We figured it would go away, but I still too him to his MD who said the same.

A few weeks later I got a call from staff that he'd forgotten how to use his legs while assisting him in the bathroom. I immediately called EMT's to take him to the hospital where they found he had a subdural hematoma, which is a brain bleed outside the brain. As the blood was building up, it was pushing his brain to one side. I had to decide whether to let him die like that, or to have a very risky surgery done to fix it. Of course I chose the surgery and prayed.

Thankfully he survived that also, but because I no longer trusted him in his apartment, we decided on a nursing facility. There he received therapy while learning most things all over again such as talking, using his hands, etc. Two months later he was pretty much back to his normal self and was dressing, using the bathroom, getting in and out of bed, etc., all on his own.

Yes, my dad was a fighter and I felt really blessed to have him back again.

We spent hours together. I'd take him out to eat, out for rides..and many times I spent the night in his room just talking; while he slept in his bed and I slept on the couch in his room. I was soo very proud of him and what he'd accomplished!! He too was proud of the fact that he could get in and out of bed on his own; oftentimes showing me how limber he was as he jumped in and out of his bed. He didn't really jump..yet HE felt like he was, as it was soo very exciting for him to be able to do the things he couldn't a few months ago.

He was happy and fairly healthy even though now and then he'd have a setback from what we believed to be mini seizures. Although it took a few months, before too long he was his happu go lucky self again.

As the few years rolled by though, it was obvious that he had Vascular Dementia from his stroke. Although declining slowly, he started to have his good days and bad. Time went on and he started having to have his liquids thickened. He started getting more Urinary Tract Infections..one so bad that he ended up in the hospital with sepsis. Hospital staff told him how very very sick he was and didn't think he'd survive, but I again spent every second in his room, sleeping on a cot and making sure he knew I was there. He eventually started eating again and they removed most of his IVs.

A few days later he was able to go back to his room at the nursing facility.

Time wore on and he started having more medical issues. He wasn't eating like he should and started losing terrible amounts of weight. Sitting in his room while the nurses changed him; I could see how badly his hips were sticking out so we tried him on Ensure. It helped some but not enough. He was down to 140# and eventually got to #120 lbs. That was when I knew that eventually his Dementia would eat him alive.

In the end, he could no longer swallow and was bed bound. I spent the last four days of his life sleeping on the couch in his room; making sure that when the nurses turned him to avoid bed sores, he could see that I was there. I knew he was in the process of passing away and stayed with him every minute until he was gone.

At first, I was happy that he finally went to be with my mom as this had been his wish ever since she passed away. She was the love of his life and he missed he immensely!!

I really felt that I was going to be okay; as with every day of his condition worsening, I was soo afraid that I'd end up in a crying puddle. As he worsened more, my nerves were so jagged that I was actually afraid of making a fool of myself, crying so hard that I'd never stop crying.

Before he left this earth though, I laid next to him and cried my eyes out on his shoulder..just as I had when I was little..and every time after that when I needed his shoulder to cry on. I didn't cry for him to stay though..I cried for him to go ahead and find heaven and Mom. I cried and told him to leave this old body behind. Told him that he'd take a piece of me with him..and I'd keep a piece of him here with me. Neither of us left nothing unsaid as he talked to me with his eyes.

He went peacefully and I was happy for a bit..thinking how happy he must be to finally be with my mom.

Yet now I find joy in little, even though married with a wonderful husband. He keeps me going, along with my job giving me a reason to get out of bed in the morning..

Yet I still feel so sad. Like something's missing in my life and that's my dad. No more visiting him in the nursing facility; no more late night into early morning chats with him. It's all gone and now I need to somehow fix myself.

If I can explain it, it's like I find no joy in anything anymore. I used to be such a happy go lucky person, but I hate the fact that I don't even feel like talking to my husband!! I have random anxiety attacks that come out of nowhere. My heart beats a mile a minute, I feel like I'm going to pass out..etc. Best thing is to lie down for a bit and wait for it to pass. I've missed work because of these stupid things and I wish they'd just go away as I love my job!!~

My counselor told me that being the caretaker of someone for 10 years..I've been going and going. I never felt tired then as I had a purpose..Dad. Now that he's gone, I guess in my own mind I no longer have that kind of purpose anymore. Being conditioned to worry..I still worry even though he's gone. Every time my phone rings I jump since I've been soo conditioned to worry that it's Grancare..even though he's gone. I hear an ambulance and right away thing it might be for Dad. Another conditioned response.

I was told that this could go on for awhile..the anxiety attacks. My husband wanted to go up North for a weekend but I told him I would rather stay home...in my safe place..our bedroom/my parent's old bedroom. We have no children living with us so to take off for a weekend together would be wonderful for our relationship..yet right now..I just can't. Again, I feel this big empty void in my life and it's taking the joy of even something simple like laughter right out of me.

I've become a real "Debbie Downer"

I hate walking around with this empty space inside me. It's not fair to my husband..nor is it good for our relationship.

He's been more than supportive; but I fear for the time that he's tired of my being tired and decides to move on.

He's loyal and faithful though..one of the best hubbies ever...it's me I need to fix.

And that's a tough one!!

So sorry for the "novel"..just had to share in case someone has some major great ideas on how to fix myself...


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My heart reaches out to you in your pain, my dear. I'm afraid there are no "fixes" for the grief you're feeling in the wake of your father's death. As our friend and colleague Megan Devine has often said, grief is not a problem to be solved. It's an experience to be supported, witnessed and held. We are here to do just that for one another, and we are here for you as well.

I invite you to read this article, in hopes that it will speak to you in a helpful way: In Grief: After Caregiving Ends, Who Am I?

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I am so sorry for your loss.  You were especially close to your dad, so it's understandable that it hits you hard.  I remember after taking care of my MIL for three years when she was bedridden with cancer, feeling at a loss when she was gone...missing her, but also feeling that emptiness after having been her caregiver for so long.  I had a husband and little children, but I felt a void where she had been, and that loss of purpose when something drastically changes for us.  It does take time to adjust and I'm glad you're getting help with your grief counselor.  Marty has given you a great article, so I hope you find it of some help, it's one I've saved.

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  • 3 weeks later...

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