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jc1030

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...will be the last one for my aunt to stay with my mom, and she will leave the area and then eventually return overseas. She had been staying with my mom since November and had arrived a few days after my dad died.

Why am I mentioning this? Because for the first time since my dad died I admit I'm feeling a little bit scared and anxious. It'll now just be my mom and I. I live pretty close by, and my mom wanted my aunt to leave the area before the weather takes a turn for the worse, and she knew that sooner or later she has to learn how to live alone. She wants me to call her at night to checkup on her and to make sure things are ok, and I'll probably stay over now and then.

I hope things will be ok, because god help me if anything happens to either me or my mom. We've already been subject to so much the past few months. I hope that the anxieties I'm feeling right now aren't so unusual.

Jeff

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Jeff,

Your anxieties are pefectly normal. For one thing, any kind of change after a loss is anxiety producing. Your whole life has changed, and each new change, no matter how small or big it is, is unsettling. Also, I think maybe you're realizing that you are going to be totally responsible for your mom and that is scary. I know, because that's the position I'm in, even though I have a brother, I still am my moms primary caregiver. It is something you're more than glad to do, but scary! But as the days progress and you settle into a routine of sorts, it will get better and the anxiety will lessen. Good luck.

Hugs,

Shell

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Your concerns seem very normal to me. My dad died a month ago, and between my siblings and me, we have not left her alone since we had to have him hospitalized the day after Thanksgiving. I live 175 miles away, but my sister and brother live in the same city Mom does, and they have spent a lot of time with her, especially my brother (who lives alone).

But my mother is now sounding like she kind of wants some time alone. She cooked for my dad all those months (before he got sick, they cooked together), and now she is cooking for my brother. She seems to look forward to a break. Plus, she knows she needs to learn to live alone. And, her and my Dad's best friends live literally around the corner.

I feel worried about her too. But I can't save her from grieving, and I know she is a strong and smart woman, and she will get through it. She has her sister, too, who was widowed 9 years ago, and that is a support. She knows she can call me and talk anytime, too. And I am going down there this weekend.

I really think our moms will be fine, and will adjust over time, but I know that feeling of worry. I'm just trying to be available and visit her often, without overdoing it. I guess I will just play it by ear as the weeks and months go by, and see what works best.

I think your mom is lucky to have a loving concerned son like you!

Ann

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Shell, Ann,

Thanks. My hope is in a few months, my mom will start to entertain and invite people again, whether it's friends or relatives. That's the one thing that was missing the past few years. Sadly it was because of my dad's depression which resulted in his being suspicious of everyone that made the home very unwelcoming. It's sad (and I hate saying it) to think that it took my dad's passing to make the possibility of making my parents' home welcome to people again.

Jeff

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Well, my aunt flew out yesterday. Certainly in the short run my parents' home was a little more quiet than before, but hopefully my mom will eventually adjust. I definitely told my aunt before she went through airport security that she can visit again.

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Hi Jeff..

As I read your email about your aunt leaving,the thought occurred to me that your Mom really hasn't been "alone" yet. I think there is a difference when you can have the comforting distraction of another person with you when you are going thru "hell". I've found that it's the time when I am alone, that I am left with my thoughts and fears and really get into doing the work at hand.I say this because if your Mom starts to feel more..she may feel like she is getting worse and can't deal, when in fact it may be that she is just alone with the process of grief...as we all are.My thought was that it might be good to find a local support group for her...for people who have lost their partners. I think that if she does start to feel isolated/more afraid or aware of her feelings..that for her to remember that while your aunt was there it was easier not to be in such deep touch with her grief..as she may be now. My prayer for her and you is that she has processed alot already and will be okay. It sounds like she has wonderful support in you.Just thought I'd add my two cents worth in an attempt to offer you and her support.

Peace to you both..Marie

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Hi Marie,

On the day my dad died, the chaplains had offered her their services in their support groups and she declined. She's actually been doing better than me. I'm the one who's been taking this really hard. I know that we'll eventually be ok. We have to be because it's just the two of us and we can't afford to get sick.

My mom has also gotten a lot of help and support from family friends. My dad was one of four guys who became friends and had all met when he first came to this country for grad school, and he was the last surviving one. We still stay in touch with the family members, and they've helped my mom get through this.

Jeff

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I don't know your mother's age, but in my mother's generation (born 1928), they don't generally have as much interest in "group therapy". I went through all that when my husband died. I have given my mother some of the handouts which list the symptoms of grief, and that they are normal, and she appreciates the information. But she declined the hospice's offers of counseling or groups.

To see us, you would think my mother is doing better than I am. But she simply deals in a different way. In fact, some may think she is "doing worse" right now, because she has turned down some social offers and is staying home a lot. But that is because she is very tired (normal for grief, and also because of the stress of caring for my dad the last 10 months), and lack of motivation (also normal in grief.) I encouraged her to take it easy and decline invitations for the present if she wants. She's been saying to friends, Thank you very much, but I'm not quite up to that yet -- perhaps later. This seems to work -- they are understanding that she's worn down, but she isn't cutting off the relationship. I remember how I felt the same way when my husband died -- I didn't want to go anywhere or see anyone. I got a lot of crying and journaling done instead. Eventually (several months later), I became much more social. I am sure it will be similar for my mother. We each have our own pace, so if your mother seems to "become worse", I agree with Marie that it's because she is doing the real griefwork -- thus, making progress. Lots of people keep telling you to "keep busy" -- that's not always the best medicine for grief.

Ann

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Ann,

Thank you for bringing up the fact that staying busy is not always the best medicine for grief! My moms friends (the ones who live in other states) would constantly ask me, in the beginning, "Is she getting out of the house?" She goes grocery shopping with me once a week, to the doctors, and sometimes other places or we go for a drive, but that's it. She doesn't want to "get out of the house"! And now that her dementia is getting worse, she wants to stay in even more. I'm so sick of people telling me she should "stay busy and get out of the house". So thanks again for bringing this up. For some people (myself included), we want to stay in and NOT be around people all the time.

Hugs,

Shell

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Jeff

I remember when my dad died (3 years ago at age 82) my mom who was the same age at the time was very reluctant to go anywhere at first. She didn't drive and when her friends..the few who still drove..wanted to take her to lunch, she just didn't want to get out. I live on the west coast and she was on the east coast, so I couldn't be there all the time to get her out. My brothers who lived near her were able to get her out once in awhile to the grocery store, out to dinner, etc.. I would call her every day and would talk to her and try to make her laugh. I would try to encourage her to go out to lunch with her friends, but she would always say "I'm not there yet". I never really understood that until she passed away in Oct. 06'. I don't know how old your mom is or if she still drives, and how far you live from her, but just realize that there may be changes now that your aunt has left and for you not to be discouraged. It's just going to take time. Just be there for her, but also take care of yourself as well.

Take care...Lori

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It has been 19 months today since George died and I still don't feel "normal". I'm not sure I ever will. I have holed up a lot and yet go stircrazy when I do. I am still not comfortable at church where we spent so much time...people there have moved on and it's still unbearable for me to do it alone or see the empty or replaced spot in the pew in which we used to sit. I can't sing in the choir, etc. anymore because it involves looking out and seeing he's missing. Even though I remarried this month, I still feel these losses. It's about a part of OUR lives being gone and not being able to do it.

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Lori,

My mom's 72. She drives, and she's still working though retiring soon. So she's fairly active. She took two weeks off from work after my father died. I live pretty close to her, so if she ever needs anything I'll be there. Also, she talks to her other siblings (my aunts and uncles) all the time (she's one of six), and they are there to help her.

AnnC,

To be honest I'm not that surprised she doesn't need grief support. Just a guess, but to a certain extent I think my dad's passing has been somewhat more of a relief for my mom.

In the last 10-15 years of my dad's life, the relationship between my parents wasn't very good. His depression and mental problems that made him extremely paranoid of the outside world (which got much worse after he retired) almost tore this family apart until he finally got on medication the last year and a half of his life; it didn't get rid of all his paranoia, but at least he didn't bother my mom every day. And over 20 years ago when he was in an accident that resulted in an amputated leg, he became more cut off from the world. I know most people would try to overcome the adversity, but his personality type always made him so negative and pessimistic so when it came to many things he didn't even bother trying.

So while my mom did go through her share of grieving, she's been there more for me because I've been taking this a lot harder. With some of the things she's gone through and experienced in her life, I think she will be ok.

Jeff

Edited by jc1030
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Jeff,

Well it sure sounds like your mom has had her share of issues to deal with and like you said, maybe it was somewhat of a relief for her after your dads passing. And she sounds like a very active woman.

Being a mom myself, it is a natural instinct to make sure that our children are ok. I'm sure with her love and encouragement that you will be ok, too. You are lucky that you have each other to help each other out in these hard times!

Hugs to you and your mom...Lori

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Jeff

When my Grandfather died in 1985 after a long illness, my grandmother grieved with relief. She had been taking care of him for so long and it was frustrating and draining for her. After awhile, it was like spring for her. She bloomed and she began to dance again. She joined a "dancing grannies" group and lived like every day was her last. She deserved to have some joy in her later life and we were happy to see her so active. She was diagnosed with cancer at 87 and was told she had a year to live. She said she needed another doctor. She will be 95 this year and she has danced and led a very active life until last fall when her illness made it to painful to keep going. She has decided to quit fighting and go dance in heaven. I am grateful she had the time to do what she loved and it is more unsettling to see her in so much pain than hear her say it’s time to go.

Your mother may not dance, but there is something she loved to do. Encourage her to find her “dance” and when the time is right, hopefully she will find the joy in it and it will lead her forward.

Janine

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Oh Janine, your beautiful post takes my breath away. Encourage her to find her “dance” and when the time is right, hopefully she will find the joy in it and it will lead her forward. What a wise and inspiring statement! Thank you so very much for that :wub:

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Janine,

I don't think my mom will have any problem finding interests, or the right "dance".

That was the difference with my mom and my dad. Granted, my dad had his issues, but he was never really one who had a ton of interests, and as a result he would just simply stay home and sit around which would make his paranoia worse. As much as I miss my dad, I sometimes resent him for making my mom's life a living hell and for not getting help for a long time.

Anyway, back to my mom. She had been involved in plenty of activities before my dad's stroke, and I know she'll resume them once again.

Jeff

Edited by jc1030
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Marie,

As people have said, it's day to day. Last week when I thought I was starting to transition a bit, I was feeling lost again. Recently, my mom and I had a bit of a cry. In my case, I was still thinking about one incident with my dad that I still kind of beat myself up over, and my mom was crying over the fact she's resentful of how life has turned out; wishing that my dad would've taken care of her instead of everything being the other way around.

I can understand her resentment, especially when she had to deal with his worsening depression and paranoia. She was saying that maybe right now up in heaven there are moments when my dad is kicking himself and thinking of things he could've done differently. Of course, it's too late to change things, but if there's one thing my mom prayed for in the hospital was that she hopes he can watch out over us.

Every night before I go to sleep I have a quick prayer. Actually it's more of a few minutes of silence hoping that my dad and the man upstairs will look after us.

Jeff

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Jeff...

I guess that's the nature of grief...in the beginning it feels like a constant state of intense confusion. Then things begin to spread out alittle...more moments of "neutral" times...thankfully those moments come more and more and are longer in their duration. I remember the first time I had a "somewhat peaceful" span of time and I thought.."thank God,it's over"....only to find myself in the thick of it again. After a year and a month, it has settled down somewhat...although I am still surprised at the moments when I suddenly start crying over something that seems so small, but somehow related to my best friend. I lost my best friend to breast cancer after she fought it for two years.

Those things that we beat ourselves up for are normal it seems...lots of moments of regret in what we said or didn't say...what we did or didn't do. All part of the process I guess.The depths of emotion are amazing...I had no idea of what grief was like. It is to ride it out..day to day and keep breathing through it. Cry it out, talk or write it out...is what I've done...seems to be all we can do. Hopefully we can be easy on ourselves and realize that it's real easy to beat ourselves up over things right now. So I wish you peace of mind, forgiveness of yourself and your Dad...for whatever reasons. I also wish you courage to keep moving through the process of grief with the open mind and loving heart that it sounds like you have.

Peace to you...Marie

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"lived like every day was her last."

I think that is one way I feel affected, I know that having gone through this has changed me, changed my outlook, everything in my life. I feel like I can't put off things like wills and beneficiaries because you know how tenuous a hold you have in life. I want to live and do things while I can because I don't know if there'll be a tomorrow. And I regard those I love differently...I realize all the more how important it is to spend time with them and tell them how you feel about them. I am considering options I never would have considered before.

Everyone...find your "dance"!

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I know what you mean Kayc, I am driven as well. I am looking forward to spring and my gardens. They are going to bloom up a storm this year!

Jeff, grandma said grandpa was "an old poop" when they met and the life she lives now is the one she really wanted. It's never too late.

I hope both you and your mother leave your sorrows behind and both of you live a new life of hope.

Janine

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