Thoughts on end of caring

Share information, support and advice on all aspects of caring.
Good morning all. As of yesterday, my time as carer for my dear mum came to an end, as she passed away in the early hours at the care home where she had been for just over a year. I had cared for her at home for three years before that.
This post is just to share a few thoughts and emotions of mine, in case it may be of any help to anyone else going through this.
Firstly, how powerfully and immediate the sense of loss has been, despite the fact that I have had so many times over the past four years, longed for the time when we would both be free. Mum from the ravages of extreme old age ( she was 96), and how it Rob's you of almost all you hold dear. And me from the day to day drudgery of always having to consider ones caring responsibilities before anything else ( when she was at home), and then the guilt of having 'given up' and putting her in a home. But. . . Wham!!. . . the guilt of having felt like that for so long has settled like an even heavier cloak of misery now she's gone. Crazy I know, but I almost feel like I've willed her to go? And am minded of my gran's favourite saying 'Don't wish too hard for what you want: you might get it'. Never has that felt more apt than today!
Secondly, as much as I found visiting mum at the home, depressing and upsetting, I'm amazed to find that I'm experiencing huge waves of regret and wistfulness over the fact that I won't be going there any more!! This is with regard to the lovely staff, some of whom I have come to almost regard as friends. Inevitable I suppose, as over the year, they have been so closely involved in mum's trials and tribulations, and they have supported me so much too. I am going this morning to clear her room, and I can't believe I'm going to then walk away for the last time.
Finally, what has caused me the most heartbreak, even compared to when she actually passed, is when the care home manager phoned me last night to say the funeral director had collected her. She has lived in this semi rural area almost all her life, and the care home is only ten minutes walk from where she lived with me. I used to lie in bed at night and was comforted that she was tucked up in her lovely room, only just up the road from me. The thought of her being taken in the vehicle, up the country lane from the home, into the outskirts of the city and now being all alone there has nearly cut me in two with grief.Well, I'm lucky that I have the support of my wonderful husband and daughter, and some great friends, to get me through this but it's going to take some time to work through the emotions and be at peace with myself. I haven't posted much on here, but when I did, I was grateful to receive swift and excellent help and advice. Thank you all, and I wish you strength and courage to cope with all of the worries and issues that being a carer brings. Look after yourselves as well as your loved ones and bless you all xx
Jillian, so sorry to hear about mum, nature has taken it's course, and she is at peace now.

This is the time to be kind to yourself. For the next week or two, focus entirely, and only, on what MUST be done before the funeral. Everything else can wait. Let the world carry on without you for a while. My mum died three years ago, I miss her every day, but could not wish her to have lived an hour longer in the state she was in. It is a roller coaster of emotions, even after all this time I hate people ringing me late at night or early in the morning because that "Action Stations" feeling snaps in before I've had a chance to think properly.

The inevitable paperwork can be daunting. Put it all in a ring binder, most important on top, and plod through it, one job per day.

This is a forum for current AND FORMER carers, so if there's anything you want to know, or share, we are here for you.
Of course your feelings are torn in all ways - with your 'head' you cannot but be glad she is released from her sufferings and the exigencies of extreme old age, but with your heart you are mourning the loss of your beloved mother. You will be 'all over the place' and that is entirely natural.

I do understand about your being upset your mother has been 'taken away' - I can remember when my father died in a hospital about 40 miles from where we lived, how GLAD I was that he 'came home' , as his coffin rested in the dining room overnight, before the funeral the next day. I was so glad about it.

I hope that your mum can be laid to rest, or her ashes if there is a cremation, close by 'at home'.

(My husband's ashes are in his study, on the shelf behind his chair. They comfort me every time I go in there.)
Jillian, just to say that your post about your mum moved me to tears and I am so sorry for your loss. My Mum is 91 and I sometimes resent the 'drudgery' of caring every day, but I know when the time comes I will be as devastated as you are. Take care of yourself Jillian and may happy memories of your Mum help you to overcome your loss. Kind regards. Joan x
Jillian
Thank you for posting that most thought provoking and heartfelt post which will be of help to many I'm sure. A time of mixed emotions indeed.

Just take each day, each hour as it comes, and just remind yourself that Mum knows you love her, wherever they may take her

Xx
MrsA
Hi Jillian

I'm sorry to read of your loss, I thought I should reply as been through a similar loss at Christmas so a couple of months ago now. No one can take away the loss the you are feeling but as the weeks pass try and console yourself with the thankfulness that you had mum for so long, many many others are less fortunate than us ( I lost Dad at 91 a fantastic age) .
Like Jenny, I found bringing dad home at the start of the funeral was a big help, he didn't come in the house but we started the procession from outside and this eased my consience that he died away from home as he had been in respite for the last 3 weeks. Dad was collected from the home an hour or so after he passed and was accompanied by a fierce storm that brought a tree down outside the home, this made me smile thinking that Dad was having his last say about things.
Everyone manages with the practicalities differently. I think I Was opposite to BB in my approach and dived head first into sorting as much as possible as soon as possible. I'd cleared Dad;s room within the next day and spent the day after making 20 or more phone calls and the next day letters. It passes the time until the funeral , When I wasn't sorting things I carried on with my job and worked between loosing Dad and the funeral. Probate has now been granted and I will be spending the next couple of days submerged in paperwork again.
Your mum wouldn't want you to stay grief stricken for long would she, try and get on with life as she would have wished for you when you are ready. I'm giving myself a break from things in April and will be going away for a weekor two.
Just wanted to echo what Henrietta says about the funeral cortege. With my husband, though he died at home (another thing to be PROFOUNDLY grateful for - we got him out of hospital for end-of-life care at home), the funeral directors had to take him to their premises (luckily in my local town), and since it was winter there was quite a wait for the funeral to take place (I went to see him at the funeral parlour - very glad I did - it helped me 'accept' that what was there was only the poor stricken shell of my husband - he 'himself' had 'gone')(hopefully to a far more cheerful existence, finally free of his cancer.....).

However, for the funeral itself, the cortege came to my house, and I was so glad that he'd 'come home' even if just to 'say goodbye' to where he'd lived, and been so happy with me and our son. (Oh Lord, I'm tearing up as I write!).

Then we set off on his last journey (and I smiled even at the time - he'd have LOATHED the slow pace of the cortege - he never drove slowly!!!! :) )

I hope that with your mum you will, in time to come, look back with a strange mix of sadness at her death, but relief that her suffering - and your work - is now over, and that overall you realise the one blinding truth of life and death - that death may end life, but it cannot end love. They may have 'gone' but the love ALWAYS remains....always.