how do I put my life back together?

For anyone who is bereaved or no longer providing care.
Hello

Sorry to whinge here again, but I don't have Anyone else to turn to.

My mum died last month after a long period of ill-health, during which I was her sole carer. I lived with her for two decades, providing higher with increasing levels of care. I did this willinglybecause I loved her.

I dealt ok with the funeral and all the formalities, but now i am faced with putting life together again, and it feels impossible. I don't know if I can do it. I am so alone, despite kind friends who try to help. My house no longer feels like home. It is so empty. I come home at night to a cold house. I have no family nearby and I feel utterly alone.

How on earth do I try to go on? I'm fairly young but I feel like an old man. I am now rootless, able to go whenever I want and do whatever i like, but all i want to do is be with mum. I would never hurt myself, but I miss mum so much. It's like a physical pain.

How do other people cope with the emotional aftermath of a death? I need to look to the future, but i have no idea how!
It all takes time, and grief can not be rushed.

Your mum will always be in your heart wherever in the world you are.

Some people like to keep things in the homestead just as they were, but when mum died and hubby became ill with cancer we had no option but to move rooms around and redecorate to make the house fit for purpose.

I am sure others will be along with better suggestions, just didn`t want you to think you were being ignored.
It's a long journey back to any kind of 'sanity' (for want of a better word after bereavement). When my husband died, it was like my life was amputated - even though there was my son, and my brother, and my home and my work, etc etc.

I felt life to be utterly pointless, utterly hopeless. I can well, well remember the awfulness of coming back to an empty house, and the bitter bitter irony of knowing that I could do 'anything I liked'.....but without my husband it would all be ashes, ashes, ashes.

It took months and months and months, and still longer, to 'adjust'.....but I did in the end. So will you. This life you have now, without the person who was the centre of it for you, will, I promise you, become 'the new normal'.

But it cannot, cannot be rushed. Your grief now is your tribute to your mother, but day by day by day, in dribs and drabs, with set backs very often, little by little by little things will become easier. You will still 'walk over the cliff's edge' as I call it, when you think you are 'getting better' and then something will remind you, and you just collapse in grief again, but, as time goes by, those moments become rarer and rarer, and eventually may hit only at special times, like birthdays.

With kindest wishes at this darkest time in your life - Jenny
Hello Jim

It's very early days yet for you - I'm still getting my life back together nearly 3 years after my Mum died in March 2012.

I'm lucky I know - I have a sister and nieces, but they are tied up on a day to day basis with their own families so I spend a lot of time alone - if it wasn't for my elderly cat some days I wouldn't talk to a living soul.

I've recently started helping out in a local charity shop and that has been a great help - giving me structure to some of my days. I'm now looking round for other volunteering opportunities in my local community - in time, perhaps you could do the same ?
dear jim!
i am so sorry for your loss,
i lost mr lovely mr bigbear in aug 2013
still cant believe it was nearly 2yrs ago
and i'll neversee him again..
mr bb was my earth (excuse grammar, big bear smile)
now i feel uprooted and my new earth is my happy memories of him,

sending sincere condolences dear jim
and you're not wingeing
you're grieving!
sending virtual hugs as and when needed
big bear x ;) :)
Hi Jim, I was widowed in 2006, I found my husband dead in bed from a massive heart attack. In the early stages, just concentrate on eating well, sleeping well, and going for a walk. You need to look after yourself well for a while, to recharge your emotional and physical batteries. Then make a list of things you would really like to do. Anything from paint the house to swimming with dolphins, going to a local swimming pool, absolutely whatever you like. Then choose one thing off the list, and do it. It may not be what you thought, or really wanted, but you did it. Gradually, you will once again find out who you are and what you enjoy now. You may find that, as a result of caring, your priorities have changed. Gradually, if you keep adding to your list, crossing others off, you will be moving forward, slowly but surely. If you fancy a good holiday in pleasant company, I stay in a hotel for single travellers in Crete, where you can do as much or as little as you like. I've recently lost mum too, and still have a son with severe learning difficulties. Crete is my escape from my world, where I can rest and be happy.
dear jim,
thinking of you as the days get longer and the trees get green
we all go through it its never easy
but hope that a cheery dandelion flower
or a happy memory will light your day,
love and hugs
big bear,
xxx ;) :)
Hi Jim,
I see you sent your post in February 2015. I wonder how things are for you? I think I might be in a similar situation to you Jim. I cared for my mum for 4 years upto her passing on 4 February 2015. I am wrecked and lost. Every day is awful. I had total responsibility for helping mum during the terrible Late Stage Vacular Dementia which we fought together across the years. We were very close and I gave up my career to move back in. One's whole life becomes orientated around caring. I
Am lost now in the way , I think, you sound in the post. I don't think there is an answer or solution as it's not like that.Time.
Dear Poppet, Jenny, Susie, big bear, Bowling Bun,

I just logged in tonight, for the first time in ages, and I wanted to thank you for your kind words, which were such a comfort to me at a time when I literally did not know if I was going to make it through the day. I read your messages months ago, but I simply didn't feel able to write a reply at a time when I felt so empty.

Over the years when I was a carer, I visited here only sporadically, but I always learn something, or feel better when I read your posts. thank you so much for your compassion and support.

Jx
Dear Jeff

Thanks for your reply to my post. I hope you are coping.

In your post, you asked how I am doing, and the answer is that I am not really sure! Each day is different, and i still think of mum all the time. This year has been more difficult than I could ever have imagined.

I miss mum, every day, with a grief that I can't yet console, or reason my way out of. I miss talking to her, sharing our news, telling her how work has been. I even miss all the mundane work that comes with caring: taking her to the hairdressers, or to the doctors, or arranging prescriptions.

I am not quite sure what my role is in life. I have been a carer for nearly two decades, and since mum died i have looked around and realised that a whole part of life has passed me by. Most of my friends have partners and kids, and I am now realising that that might never happen for me. To be honest, I am not sure whether i ever really wanted that, but I am a bit shocked to realise that I am quite alone. I have a sister and her family, but they live far away. I love them, and they are a comfort, but day to day, I am alone.

It's not all bad now though, and I am sorry if I sound self-pitying! It is true that life goes on. It has taken effort, but I am making progress. I count myself lucky in that I have great friends, and they have kept me going this year. When I was at my lowest, just weeks after my mum died, a good friend told me that I would be going on holiday with her, and that I should plan that for May. Being able to look forward to that got me through the first half of the year.

I have learned that every day is different. I feel fine today, but I might wake up tomorrow and be struck again by the hopeless feeling that I will never talk to mum again, never share tea with her, never just sit watching crap telly with her. i miss all these things, and a lot more.

I find going home difficult. They house is empty, but full of memories. I think I might move, but I change my mind on that often! I've decided to wait a while, until I gain perspective.

I hope you are coping ok, and finding a way to look to the future. Bowling Bun gave good advice above, when she suggested making a list of things you want to do. I have been trying to do that, and asking myself how I want to spend my time, now that I have some to spare. Keeping busy is a way of fending off grief, so I have enroled for a cookery course, visited the cinema often, and tried to spend as much time with family and friends. I am basically doing anything I can to feel connected to the world, and busy.

I hope you have found a way to feel better this year. You deserve to find a way to enjoy life. It is what your mum would want for you.

When I wrote my original post on this thread, I asked: how do I put my life back together? I still don't have a definite answer to that. I still feel bad a lot of the time. But we can't live on memories, and we honour those we have lost by living our lives as fully as possible. So far, the only answer I have to my own question is that I am putting my life back together slowly, with many setbacks, and with an acceptance that I have no other choice.