Dealing with numness and feelings of relief

For anyone who is bereaved or no longer providing care.
My father died in hospital last week. We did not have an easy relationship as he tried to force me into being his carer and i am already my husbands carer. I did my best to organize quality paid care for him.
He had to be taken into hospital against his will. He was not co-operating with the carers, not eating or drinking and was going downhill. GP and ambulance crew spent 5 hours with him trying to get him to go into hospital. (it was GP's half day too)
I saw the GP yesterday and have no regrets. He felt I would have found my father dead within 24-48 hours had he not reacted the way he did.
So I am now having to arrange the funeral and start sorting through things. Not easy as he would not fill in the financial assessment.
I really should feel something but I don't. Is it maybe because as an only child I have so much to do and organize? I could not put 'beloved father' in the paper notice but did put 'father. The last few months were horrible as my father was always a difficult man and the dementia made him actually quite abusive. I know his friends may be critical but I would rather be called a hard bitch than a hypercritical one.
The shock of his death was hard too as the social worker phoned me lunchtime to say they wanted to discuss a package of care for him to come home, and he died at 3.30am the next day!!! I had intended to go and see him and take clothes in as he went into hospital in his dressing gown. He had refused to go into a nursing home which is what the doctors at the hospital though was the best solution. The other one was to go through the courts for guardianship to force him and the social worker did not wish to do this. He did agree there was a good chance of him going downhill as he was not eating in hospital - heavens knows why they wanted to send him out.
So yes I do feel it was probably for the best but I do feel quite guilty still maybe because I feel I should feel more than relief.
He did tell me to 'get out' when I went round and that I had ruined his life by getting carers involved.
thanks for reading - feel better just putting things in writing. I will do my best to organise his funeral in the way I hoped he would have wished.
This is the time to be kind to yourself. Your father was a difficult man and I'm sure he did not wish to live any longer having more and more intrusion into his life from people he didn't know or want. Frailty is the price you pay for a long life. My mum was very, very brave the last year of her life, stuck in a nursing home with a catheter, pain, endless problems, wanting to go home. I was hugely relieved when her suffering was over. Allow yourself to do very little for the next few days, whilst your brain processes the last few months, or years. It's OK to do things aimlessly for a while. Focus on getting the funeral sorted out, making sure those your father would like to attend are there to pay their respects. Don't worry about the house until after the funeral. Are you an only child? Did he make a will? If you know that his house and money will eventually become yours, then think about asking one of his cleaners to come back and help you with clearing it out. Alternatively, take what you want and leave the rest to a house clearance company. In some areas a hospice team will do this.
Thanks Bowlingbun. Yes I am an only child and yes the will does leave everything to me. the lady who did his cleaning/washing is going to help me clear his flat when time is right.
At the moment I am treating the whole thing as a 'business project' that I have been given and have to complete to the very best of my ability. I know I sound hard but right now having lists of things to work through is helping me and there are things that only I can do. But I am getting there.......
That sounds like my approach too. I had to empty my mum's and my brother's house. I started with two dustbins, one for recycling, one for rubbish, and then put any really important paperwork which needed dealing with promptly in one pile - bank, insurance etc. and then a "go through it presently" pile in another. If you haven't met Really Useful Boxes yet, I can really recommend them for making sorting and storing easier. You can get them in Staples, Smiths, Homebase, or online. (I seem to remember you don't drive, so ordering online is good) They come in a variety of sizes, one size takes A4 paper really well. They are vermin proof so you can put them in a garage without worries about mice. I found I could only work productively for two or three hours at their houses, it was easier to do the paperwork in my own home. The "should I keep/chuck?" problem is easier if you think about it like a marriage ceremony. "Is this of sentimental value? Do I really want to keep this in my own home till I die? Do I want to house it, keep it clean, dusted, and warm? Do I have room for it? If I sold it and then decided I needed it in the future, could I afford to buy another one"? Most of the time the answer after this was "Chuck/Donate it".
Dear Helena

I would say that numbness is perfectly natural at this stage. It's a kind of self-protective instinct that the brain/mind adopts, like a cocoon, or a hedgehog rolling itself into a ball. It's to enable you to get through the coming time, until your mind is ready to 'emerge' and explore what you are feeling about your father and his death.

Till then, don't worry about the numbness. When you don't 'need' to be numb any more, then it will go.

I would echo what BB says. Your father did NOT want to be in hospital, and he did NOT want to go into a care home. So he took the only alternative left to him. He 'left' this world. In the end, in the words of the song 'he did it his way'. He did not let 'the doctors' or 'you' 'control' him - he took control of things, and sorted it out for himself.

Any alternative - whether going back to his own house, limping along worse and worse, or going into a care home to be profoundly unhappy, would have been worse. There comes a point in life when death IS the best option, and that's what I think he saw at that point.

You did as much for him as it was possible to do. Yes, maybe you could have given up even more of your life to 'eke him out' a little longer, a little longer, a little longer.....but to what purpose? He had become incapable of living the life he wanted to live, and that was the source of his frustration - as BB says, it's the price we pay for extreme longevity.

Now, as you start to 'sort things out' from his life, please don't feel under any kind of particular urgency. I would say the paperwork is the first task, moving towards probate, but personally I wouldn't say you 'have' to clear the house or anything (you may get a council tax 'reprieve' if you get it to 'uninhabitable' state, which could last six months?).

There is no actual rush, is there? If you wanted to do it 'little by little', that's fine. We all have our own ways of doing this. My MIL cleared every last bit of her husband's 'stuff' within about a week of his death (everything she wanted to keep of his went into the garage - and got cleared out later most of it). I am the total opposite - I don't think I've got rid of anything of my husband's! (Though that's also because it is for my son to decide what he wants of his dad's stuff, and a lot of it he's still growing into!)

You may find the numbness 'breaking' as your sort things out - you may find you are opening a box, and suddenly you are in floods of tears, quite helpless with it. Or your feelings may come through in a quite different way, or not at all.

There is no timetable, there is no 'right or wrong', there is only your own way.

And most definitely 'go easy on yourself' right now.

Kindest wishes, at one of the most difficult times in anyone's life, Jenny
So yes I do feel it was probably for the best but I do feel quite guilty still maybe because I feel I should feel more than relief.
Hi Helena
I've been following your posts from the begining and its obvious Dad wasnt happy and you werent happy either so it seems to me perfectly natural that your current feeling is one of relief and no you shouldn't feel guilty about it.
Never ever apologise for a feeling. Feelings are to be acknowledged. Some are fleeting, others of longer duration but each is real so just take it fir what it is at the time. You may feel something different over time, or unexpectedly one day. Then again you may not. C'est la vie. Just go with the flow and don't be hard on yourself
In fact be kind, very kind to yourself
Helena, just a thought, which may resonate with you or it may not.


At some point, when the time 'feels right' how about having a personal 'commemoration' for your father? I know he was a difficult person, and you had a 'tricky' relationship with him, and there were tensions around your marriage and so on, but you are his daughter, and maybe if you could sit down quietly, and make a list of 'his good points' and 'things that were good between you' and 'happy memories'....something like that, to see if you could 'mine' the 'gems' out of the 'dross' so to speak....

Hopefully, even with the trickiest relationships with most 'difficult' people, there were some 'shining moments' that you can 'commemorate' and perhaps even 'celebrate' I say, when the time feels right for you.

As I say, only a thought, and it may not resonate.

Another though ....I know I wasn't the only person to 'write a letter' to my mum putting into it wishes and hopes and many many memories. Maybe that would make emotional sense to you, again, 'when the time feels right'.

I would say, over and above everything, right now, 'follow your instinct' are, in a way 'steering by the stars' and they change their course, and therefore you can too.

Kindest wishes still, Jenny
My neighbour's husband had dementia, got very abusive and aggressive and ended up in a Home.
However his funeral was a joyous occasion as his family could remember and celebrate the earlier, more major and happier parts of his life. It brought the real man back to us all and helped us forget and forgive the past few years. Was one of the best funerals I've ever been too and his family still say how much it helped them.

Helena, not intended that you emulate this, just to say relief is natural in the circumstances
Thank you for this. I am looking at this for the first time since my husband died in July. I loved him dearly and we had a wonderful marriage but I also feel numb - and relieved much of the time. He was diagnosed with front temporal dementia six years ago and went downhill much more quickly than we expected but we did make the most of those last years. I think I could have done more - who couldn't? But we did a lot together and he was only in a nursing home for the last six weeks. The last couple of weeks were awful, he was still aware of some things - two days before he died, we stood hugging each other in the home and I cried myself silly when I left. The day before, he was unaware of me and couldn't eat or drink properly. I cried myself silly again when I left. I was with him all the next day while he was dying and his family and friends came as well, it was a peaceful good death as much as it could be. It was such a relief that he was no longer struggling because that is all his life had become. I miss him as he was and I miss his physical presence with me but not as he was those last weeks. It makes me feel like I am not honouring him because I rarely cry but that is how it is. He was a man who was wholehearted about life and I feel I should honour him by doing the same now he can't but I still feel bad as well. Is all grief this complicated?
Thanks everyone. Godrevy you sound as if you really went the extra mile for your husband and who would not be grateful for a loved one to be free of pain? You sound as if you did your very best and that is all any of us can do. I know that dementia is a very very cruel disease.

I do know that the grieving process is different. WE are going to scatter his ashes in the park where he walked his dog - just me and two close friends and the dogs he used to walk.

I am seeing the Reverend this afternoon.. I have said we had a difficult relationship and I want to focus on his job and hobbies rather than his relationship with me.He was fine - he actually said it was quite common for someone to say this.

The flat is a Council Flat but they actually allow 4 weeks free to clear things. I have asked if I can have until end September and I am prepared to pay the extra 2 weeks rent and that seems to be ok. I am taking clothes in tomorrow to the Chapel of Rest and a picture of his dog to go in the coffin with him.

I have had to spend hours going through paperwork to try and sort out the finances but at least I have some sort of order in the things going to the solicitor.

So thanks for your kind comments. I suppose I am mourning the relationship I wished I could have had with my father. I am sure there were faults on both sides. I know he would not have coped in a nursing home and may have become aggressive so all I can do is hope is at peace and is free of pain.

Thanks again. Will see a counsellor if I need to but want to get through the funeral and clearing the flat first.