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Carers UK Forum • Death of person I cared for
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Death of person I cared for

Posted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 2:19 pm
by cherish
I have been caring for my mum for the past 6 years, and in the last 2 years I cared for her 24 hours 7 days a week.

She died on Mother's Day, 18th March.

Nothing could prepare me for how horrendous grief would be, or how much the loss would hit me.

Last Friday I felt I could no longer go on, and, having had the thought that tablets don't always work, I went to the kitchen drawyer to see which knife would be the sharpest. The feeling of not being able to go on came on very suddenly - it all happened very quickly. Fortunately I rang the out of hours doctor, saw a doctor who arranged for a 'crisis team' (a psychiatric team) to come out and see me. They assessed me and told me that the good news was that I was not mentally ill, I was not suffering from depression, but this is actually acute grief. It was a relief in a way to know this. It was also a relief to let someone know how bad things had become.

However, it has made me wonder what support is there for carers when they lose the person they have cared for, particularly when their whole life has revolved around caring.

As well as the intense grief for the person you have lost, there is the fact that your days, once full to exhaustion with caring, are now empty. The future stretches ahead, and you don't know how to start to rebuild your life, when you just feel grief-stricken, exhausted, bereft.

Who supports you to make the transition to a life after caring? I feel I need something to occupy my days, but don't know if I'm strong enough to cope with employment yet. I became socially isolated through caring and lack support. Are you just on your own or is there anything in place? If there isn't, shouldn't there be? The fact that I was so close to suicide shows how there is a need for something - because I am not mentally ill, or depressed, so other people may feel this bad, too.

Re: Death of person I cared for

Posted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 2:44 pm
by Melly1
Hi Cherish,

I'm sorry to hear you lost your Mum.

The adjustments from caring, especially 24/7 caring to none is a massive one and I don't know what if any support there is. Others will be along with personal experience of this.

Sending you cyber support. (((hugs)))


Re: Death of person I cared for

Posted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 3:01 pm
by Maxi
Everyone grieves in their own way.Your deep grief is so normal.Its terrible,heart wrenching utter grief,despair and I can only place a (cyber) arm around you,and hold you.For EVERY carer has that potential grief to fear,Nothing prepares you for it.Theres no way to cushion the agony.Here,you have friends.I do hope that you do find the support you so urgently need.I hug you.

Re: Death of person I cared for

Posted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 4:54 pm
by Booksey
Cherish I'm sorry for your loss.
I too can only offer cyber hugs but I'm sure there will be someone along soon who can offer more practical advice.


Re: Death of person I cared for

Posted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 4:57 pm
by Tracey

Im so sorry for your loss.

Can only send some (( hugs ))). Sorry i have no advice x

Re: Death of person I cared for

Posted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 5:03 pm
by michael parker
Sorry to hear of your loss.I don`t have any easy answers.We all handle things differently.Have you tried a grief counsellor?In the end,it`s all about time.It takes time to adjust to loss,no quick fixes,no magic pills,and whoever you talk to will tell you how it was for them,and each person will be different.Best wishes,we are all here to read anything you have to say.(((((HUGS)))))

Re: Death of person I cared for

Posted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 6:28 pm
by Lazydaisy
Cherish, there is nothing out there at the worst of times.
My own GP turned his back on me less than 36 hours after the sudden death of my son.It was friends on the forum here who kept me here,and what it would do to my very frail 80 year old Dad if I did take my own life. It has been on my mind, a lot,less so lately. I have a very good friend who I can talk to about how I feel,she listens and she cries and laughs with me.I am blessed to have her in my life.
When my Dad died, 17 months after my son, I was thankful,because his was a life well lived,and he was ready to go.(and I was ready to let go).I miss him every day.
I hope that you are having support now.I had bereavement counselling,which my elder son's Diabetes nurse persuaded me to consider. It has helped me a lot, because it is easier to see why I feel the way I do.
Night times are the worst, and I am sure anyone who has been a Carer will feel that nights are very long. Sometimes,eight hours seem like 80.
You have just come through Easter,all of the holidays can be very hard to cope with, as they are all geared around happy families.
I have found a lot of comfort through being online,I talk to people who live with the same fears daily, the same horrors nightly,and it gets me through.I hope you are able to find some comfort, at the moment it might be all you can do just to take one breath at a time.
Thinking of you.xx

Re: Death of person I cared for

Posted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 7:31 pm
by bowlingbun
Dear Cherish,
I am very sorry to hear about your loss, and I can understand your reaction. I do hope that you are getting the immediate support which you desperately need. I lost 4 people in quick succession, the last being my husband, suddenly from a heart attack. Even when a death is expected, it still hits you, and you have lost not only your mum, but a whole way of life. I belong to a widow's forum, and we all seem to feel that the first year is a bit like playing an awful game of snakes and ladders. So, the main thing is to look after yourself, there are no prizes for getting through it at record time. Sleeping and eating can be difficult, just do what you can when you can. Try and go out for a walk every day. Take control of the paperwork. Put it all in a big ring binder and deal with it in order of importance. One thing per day is probably enough. Going through personal possessions is very difficult, so many memories. I did it bit at a time, tissues beside me. Grief is very tiring, draining, so don't worry if you suddenly find it difficult to get out of bed, or you just "drift along with the tide" aimlessly for a while, that's OK. Allow your head and your body to readjust. After 2 months without any sleep my GP gave me some medication. Don't be afraid to do the same if you need to, I was on them for a long time, but gradually reduced the dosage as I felt better, and then just gave them up all together when I had finally adjusted. Don't look too far forward just for a while, concentrate on getting through one day at a time. I do hope this helps in some way. Feel proud that you were there when your mum needed your help most of all.

Re: Death of person I cared for

Posted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 7:58 pm
by susieq
Hello Cherish

I am so, so sorry to hear of the loss of your Mum - my Mum died just 2 days after yours on 20th March.

People think I’m coping well, but the truth is that I’m just - numb. It still hasn’t really hit home that she’s gone and that I won’t ever see her again. I too had been caring for Mum 24/7 for 3 years (Alzheimer’s) until just 6 months ago when she moved into residential care - but the last two weeks of her life she was in hospital with one infection after another until finally on the day she was due to be discharged she died at 3.15 in the morning - I will never forget the call from the hospital telling me that she had so suddenly passed away. Even the hospital nursing staff were shocked as it happened so quickly. They didn’t even have time to call a Doctor to her.

Although grieving for the loss of our lovely Mum, my sister and I are grateful that she passed away before the full indignity of Alzheimer’s had taken hold.

I get periods of intense sadness when everything seems just too much trouble and I wonder why I’m still here - even in the care home Mum filled my life - my days were structured around visiting her and taking her out. Now I have all this ’free’ time and I don’t know what to do with it. I know that there are bereavement/counselling services available but I’m not yet ready for them.

I’m going to try visiting the residents in the care home where Mum was on a regular basis - some of them never have visits from their families. And I will eventually start volunteering - probably at a local charity shop or with my local branch of the Alzheimer’s Society - but beyond that I don’t yet know what I will do to fill my days. My sister has her husband, daughters and grand-children to help her through this time but I only have my cat to talk to through the long nights. Thankfully I do have my friends here on the forum and they have been my lifeline these last 3 weeks. Is it really only 3 weeks ? It seems like forever.

Grief has seven stages (I know, I’ve been there before when my Dad died)


Most of us will suffer some or all of these in varying degrees but not necessarily in the order shown. Bereavement counselling will help a great number of people to work through the stages - most GP’s can refer you for counselling or sometimes your local Hospice will offer a bereavement service that you can access.

But it all takes time - time to work through the grieving process and time to heal. All we can do in the meantime is to be kind to ourselves and take one day at a time.

God Bless You and RIP our lovely Mums.

Re: Death of person I cared for

Posted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 8:32 pm
by cherish
Thank you so much for your replies. IIt is so kind. I am so sad to hear , susieq, that you lost your mum 2 days after I did. I can relate so much to what you say. I will be thinking of you As you say, one day at a time xx