Feeling guilty while dealing with a loss

Posted by sunshine @lizny, Oct 6, 2019

Took care of my mom for five years, in May my mom passed away. Since then I feel so loss and guilty, like I missed something in her treatment or I did not do enough. Then I do not know what to do with the extra time; I work full time on my day offs I would usually take my mom to appointments but now it quiet and it just different now. It just so quiet. Is this normal to feel this way after caregiver duties have ended?

@lizny, The quiet feels heavy and you are experiencing some doubt about your caregiving. Your mom passed five months ago. Was hospice involved at that time? My experience with those folks was helpful. They supported me for two years.

Grieving has stages and it takes some time before you can stop judging yourself about your efforts as a caregiver. Is there a support group that you can join? Do you play cards or Mahjong? Maybe it is time to emerge from your tenure as a caregiver. You need to fill the time you have now with activities that comfort you and/or bring joy to your life.

It is very important that you sleep soundly as you make steps towards acceptance. Ask for help if you are sleep deprived. The pain of losing your Mom can evolve into the joy of having had her for many years.

May you be safe and protected from inner and outer harm. Stay in touch. I will be looking for your next post. Chris

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@artscaping

@lizny, The quiet feels heavy and you are experiencing some doubt about your caregiving. Your mom passed five months ago. Was hospice involved at that time? My experience with those folks was helpful. They supported me for two years.

Grieving has stages and it takes some time before you can stop judging yourself about your efforts as a caregiver. Is there a support group that you can join? Do you play cards or Mahjong? Maybe it is time to emerge from your tenure as a caregiver. You need to fill the time you have now with activities that comfort you and/or bring joy to your life.

It is very important that you sleep soundly as you make steps towards acceptance. Ask for help if you are sleep deprived. The pain of losing your Mom can evolve into the joy of having had her for many years.

May you be safe and protected from inner and outer harm. Stay in touch. I will be looking for your next post. Chris

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Hi, no hospice was involved. My mom was in and out of hospital since September and was hospitalized in April and came home in May and I thought things will be okay but unfortunately it would not be.

Thank you.

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@lizny

Hi, no hospice was involved. My mom was in and out of hospital since September and was hospitalized in April and came home in May and I thought things will be okay but unfortunately it would not be.

Thank you.

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Hello @lizny I like your handle, Sunshine! I'm Scott and I was my wife's caregiver during her 14+ year war with brain cancer. She passed away two years ago now, but I still grieve, miss her, and am working on adjusting to this different life.

I first found Mayo Connect when I was struggling with the intense isolation that came with caregiving and continue to find this community fills a post-caregiving need in my life. Good to e-meet you here!

I hate the fact there is so many feelings of guilt among us caregivers. I hate it, but I understand it. We, as caregivers, can never do everything that lays before us. Our patient is #1, then everything else seems to fall to #99! There is always something more for us to do that is undone, something next, be it dirty laundry, food, dishes, the dust bunnies who became our new pets in our house, etc. Plus for me there are those times I think back to the day I lost my temper, said something I still regret, cried in front of her when I shouldn't have. It is a tough row to hoe, but I believe caregivers should take great pride in their accomplishments!

Personally, I don't believe my life is a 'new normal'. I believe my life after caregiving is a 'different life'. It is just different, never to be the normal I knew before. We were married for 41 years so maybe after the next 41 I will feel different, but I certainly don't at this point in the post-caregiving journey.

One of the things I did to help myself was to begin a personal 'to do list'. I began this while caregiving as I listed some things I would need to do whenever I could in the future. I kept this running list and still do to this day. It always gives me something to look forward to, something on the horizon, etc. I also never mark off an accomplishment when I've done it without adding a new one to the bottom. So my list always continues and holds future items. Some are tiny — call a friend of old, write a card to someone, etc. Others were larger such as go to see our children's homes, which I never was able to do when I was caregiving, visit the two friends who were incredibly supportive during my wife's illness to say 'thank you' in person, repair the gouges in our walls from the wheelchair 'accidents', etc. One of them was to learn to bake bread, which was something I always wanted to do. This won't be for everyone, but it helped me and continues to.

I also play music all the time now, which was too disruptive and confusing for my wife while she was ill. I still do not like total quiet in the house!

Do you think any of these might be a help?

Strength, courage, and peace

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@lizny Thank you for reaching out and sharing with us. It's a rocky period for you, right now, and might continue for a while, but you will look back and see healing in little steps, which is just where you want to go. I hope the comments by @artscaping and @IndianaScott are helpful to you. Please be gentle on yourself.
Ginger

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@IndianaScott

Hello @lizny I like your handle, Sunshine! I'm Scott and I was my wife's caregiver during her 14+ year war with brain cancer. She passed away two years ago now, but I still grieve, miss her, and am working on adjusting to this different life.

I first found Mayo Connect when I was struggling with the intense isolation that came with caregiving and continue to find this community fills a post-caregiving need in my life. Good to e-meet you here!

I hate the fact there is so many feelings of guilt among us caregivers. I hate it, but I understand it. We, as caregivers, can never do everything that lays before us. Our patient is #1, then everything else seems to fall to #99! There is always something more for us to do that is undone, something next, be it dirty laundry, food, dishes, the dust bunnies who became our new pets in our house, etc. Plus for me there are those times I think back to the day I lost my temper, said something I still regret, cried in front of her when I shouldn't have. It is a tough row to hoe, but I believe caregivers should take great pride in their accomplishments!

Personally, I don't believe my life is a 'new normal'. I believe my life after caregiving is a 'different life'. It is just different, never to be the normal I knew before. We were married for 41 years so maybe after the next 41 I will feel different, but I certainly don't at this point in the post-caregiving journey.

One of the things I did to help myself was to begin a personal 'to do list'. I began this while caregiving as I listed some things I would need to do whenever I could in the future. I kept this running list and still do to this day. It always gives me something to look forward to, something on the horizon, etc. I also never mark off an accomplishment when I've done it without adding a new one to the bottom. So my list always continues and holds future items. Some are tiny — call a friend of old, write a card to someone, etc. Others were larger such as go to see our children's homes, which I never was able to do when I was caregiving, visit the two friends who were incredibly supportive during my wife's illness to say 'thank you' in person, repair the gouges in our walls from the wheelchair 'accidents', etc. One of them was to learn to bake bread, which was something I always wanted to do. This won't be for everyone, but it helped me and continues to.

I also play music all the time now, which was too disruptive and confusing for my wife while she was ill. I still do not like total quiet in the house!

Do you think any of these might be a help?

Strength, courage, and peace

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Thank you for the advice, will try the list.

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