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Anticipatory grief and staying strong for my family


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Hi there, I'm Elliot, I'm 27 and from the UK. I have never really posted on a forum about something like this but I am hoping someone may be able to give some advice or share their experience for my current situation, or maybe I just needed somewhere to get some of this off my chest. 

So I live in a household of five, myself and my partner, grandparents and my mother. Sadly in the last week or so my mum has been taken into hospital due to covid, and unfortunately after putting up a good fight and things beginning to look positive, I received a call from her doctor today to inform me that unfortunately she is very likely to pass within the next day or two. There is still a possibility of her pulling through, but due to the severity of the condition and other health issues, it's really a slim possibility. 

In addition to this, myself and the others are in isolation, after having ourselves all tested, my grandmother who is in her late 80s with an array of conditions has also come out positive for the virus and unfortunately her condition too has worstened. She is currently being monitored closely from home, on the advice of the paramedics we had in earlier as the additional stress of being hospitalised may be more harmful than good for her, unless we absolutely have to. 

I like to consider myself a realistic kind of person and don't like to "kid myself" (for lack of a better term) with false hope. So I am doing my best to prepare myself mentally for the worst should it happen, whilst remaining as positive as possible but its difficult as I have never had to deal with this kind of situation before. Here lies the real struggle I am experiencing right now. 

At the moment, I've really had to step up and take some responsibility (with the support of my partner who has been brilliant through this) particularly in making sure my grandparents are cared for whilst isolating, and supporting them mentally as not only is it my mum in hospital, but their daughter. I keep reminding myself of this and try to put a brave face on for them but it's getting difficult now, especially with a second family member now in a troubling position. 

Fortunately, according to our recent tests, myself, partner and grandfather are all negative for the virus, however as per the rules we're going to have to stay isolated until everyone living here is clear. This is fine as the last thing we would want to do is spread this to anyone else, but it does make it hard as the only person not considered "venerable" to the virus I have a new heavy sense of responsibility to stay strong and look after everyone here as best I can, as at the moment they don't really have anyone else. 

From a practical sense this is relatively easy with so many remote options available I have been able to make sure we have all the necessities delivered and so on.My concern at the moment is for myself mentally, as someone prone to depression. Something which I have managed well myself in the past, I need to make sure I can look after myself in order to ensure I can continue to support the rest of my family. 

I don't want to seem like I'm making myself out to be in any way worse off than anyone else as of course this is a global pandemic and I'm sure thousands are in a much tougher position than myself. I am counting my blessings that I have others with me right now and at least some of us are still healthy. But I was hoping that someone may be able to provide some advice or perhaps share their own experiences. 

Thanks kindly in advance. 

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Welcome, and sorry you are in this tough spot in life.  I think it's safe to say no one here would say that you're making yourself seem worse off, etc.  It's the crap situation you  find yourself in and it's very real, and very much untenable or impossible to sustain for long.  It's got to feel demoralizing, upsetting, anxiety-provoking, etc. and those emotions, experienced day in and day out, are draining and energy-sapping.  And when you are already prone to depression, you're that much more likely to get sucked into that depressive fog all over again.  No doubt you are already doing everything humanly possible to prepare for and provide for your household, and I hope that things turn out well for everyone in it.  💖

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I too am sorry that you find yourself in such difficult and challenging circumstances. I offer this article, which identifies a number of resources that you may find helpful: Caregiving in Serious Illness: Suggested Resources

I also encourage you to do what you can to take good care of yourself, both physically and mentally. As you say, you cannot take care of everyone else in your family if you fail to include yourself on that list. ❤️ 

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12 hours ago, Elliot said:

I don't want to seem like I'm making myself out to be in any way worse off than anyone else

What we are experiencing IS "the worst" because it is our own.  In the same way, someone newly grieving focuses on themselves and getting through this the best way that brings them comfort, the best way they know how, because out of necessity they have to.  That does NOT make them selfish, but wise to realize it.

I am so sorry for all you and your family are going through.  My little sister has Covid now, she will be 60 this year, she's diabetic.  Fortunately she's always been active and hikes a lot and eats healthy so I think that's in her favor.  I hope your mom pulls through, I know if you can help it you will give it your best.  

Covid times

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