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Sad, bereft, lonely - Page 3 - Carers UK Forum

Sad, bereft, lonely

For anyone who is bereaved or no longer providing care.
I agree our loved ones wait till we are not beside them, then decide to go. My brother and I were with my Mum in hospital when she was very weak and sleeping all day. My Nephew had asked if he could visit his Nana as he hadn't managed to visit her during her last few weeks in hospital. He has special needs and my Mum and him had always been extremely close. He was her first grandchild and they had a special bond between them. We took him in to see her and stayed only a little time as she was asleep all the time we were there. That was the last time he saw her as I arrived home 30 minutes later to be told by my husband that the hospital had just phoned to say she had just passed away. I couldn't believe it, she definitely waited until she had seen us for the one last time before deciding to go.
I was in a very similar position to you, in looking after my husband for 8 years He took ill 2 weeks after I retired from NHS. Every one has to go through the stages of grieving in their own individual way-Denial,Guilt, Anger, Sadness and finally Acceptance, though never forgetting. I reckon it takes at least a year if not longer.
Try to do things automatically like eating, shopping and sleeping.
I keep busy volunteering and after 2 years began to travel-Saga are good, as you usually meet some people you can talk to.Got to visit my cousins in Australia which was amazing.
Dont expect too much of yourself. Live in the moment. It will get easier.
There's a simple reality to grief, or should that be the memory of the person we've lost? Grief never goes away. It merely lessens through time, and we learn to live with it. But, when the time, and the situation is right, we still remember - usually, all the good things we've shared together, and the loss, as they can no longer share those times. Treasure the memories, and share them - that way, they live on, through us...
It's been just over 2 weeks since Mum died. The funeral is later this week, and now that everything is more or less organised I feel like I'm in limbo. In a way I wish the funeral was over with already, but truth be told there was so much to do maybe it's just as well we weren't offered an earlier date.

I find that I'm on a really short fuse at the moment and can hardly bear to talk to people sometimes. I don't know if this is normal, or whether it's partly due to the fact that one of my sisters has been awkward over the arrangements, which made an upsetting time worse than it needed to be. Sometimes over the years I've felt like an only child, struggling alone with my elderly parents, but now, when it's too late, suddenly there's lots of input from this particular sister, who seems more concerned with the funeral arrangements than she was about Mum. She wasn't close to Mum, and I know that's just one of those things, but I find it hard to discuss anything with her because it feels like I'm talking to a robot, she is so utterly devoid of emotion. I'm trying not to fall out with her but sometimes I want to tear her head off! I wish I could be calmer.
She Wolf, yes, it's certainly a limbo feeling. You'll be really shattered once everyone has gone home. Can I suggest that when you go to the service, you leave a little bottle of water in the car in which you are travelling? It will help you after the service. I told the undertaker to just tell me what I should do, where I should stand, etc., at the service. Some people like to give some sort of speech/eulogy at the service. I'm accustomed to public speaking but knew that I'd be too emotional. Also, make sure you have something to eat before you leave for the service, it will help. This time next week it will all be over. For a while, you'll stew over the events of the last few months, I reckon it's the brain trying to sort everything out in the filing cabinet, but in time the bad memories will fade, replaced by happier times in days gone by. There is no right, or wrong in grieving. Just be kind to yourself.
SW, I know you want the service to 'go well', but do please always hold in reserve that the funeral is a kind of 'public ritual' and that you will be perfectly free, afterwards, days or weeks afterwards, to hold a little private ceremony just for yourself.

Humans evolved funerals basically to take care of the problem of the physical transition of the dead, whether that is by interment, or cremation. But that process is really only the 'banality' of a funeral. The part that really counts is what we feel, and what we say, both to the living, and to the person we have lost.

So what I would say to you is this - make the most you can of the 'formal funeral', but don't worry too much about things like your father's presence there (if he's still coming) or your sister's (I take it the difficult one is the kept-woman skier???!). When it is all over and done with, then you can say your own 'good bye' to your mother, in whatever way resonates most with you.

If you are having a religious funeral of any kind, I'm sure that if you speak to the minister concerned, they would be more than happy to set aside time with you to talk and pray with you, if that is what is most helpful to you.

I'm not sure what the deal is with non-RC churches, but I believe in the RC church it's possible to ask for a requiem mass to be said for the departed, which is, I think, quite independent of a funeral - again, this might be a 'private possibility' for you.

Something my CoE church does is hold a service once a year on All Souls' Day (1st November or nearest), when we are invited to remember those we have lost - all the congregation are 'the bereaved'. It's very comforting, and I've been to several now in respect of my husband.

The above are only thoughts, and perhaps the best 'private funeral' is the one we give by ourselves, to the person we have lost.
Thanks BB, that's a good suggestion re the water, and everything else you said makes sense too.

Thanks Jenny, I like the idea of a private ritual very much, but I'm unsure at this stage what form that should take, as I'm agnostic and struggle with formal religion. I have said a couple of prayers in the local churchyard, because the church itself is always locked, so I can't even light a candle for Mum inside.

You're right of course, in a sense the funeral is a public ceremony for anyone who knew the deceased, unlike a wedding - by invitation only. I just feel it may go very badly if they take Dad along, for him, me and everyone else. I've worried about it from the time I broke the news to everyone and they immediately started talking about ways to support him through the funeral etc, and it didnt occur to them that it might be too much for a man with advanced dementia, who can barely walk, and has spells of incontinence (but refuses to wear "nappies"). I dread the funeral, dread falling to pieces in front of distant relatives who I hardly know, dread seeing Dad become the centre of attention for all the wrong reasons, and dread losing my temper completely with my siblings. Permission to run away, far away, and never return is what I'd like please. A one way ticket to anywhere, away from all of them.

I'm thankful to my husband, who has been brilliant, but I'm also worried about his health and feel horribly guilty about leaning on him too much. He's the only person I have to rely on, and has had a lot to put up with over the past couple of years, especially the last few months. We both need a holiday and that is a high priority, as soon as possible.

In truth, nothing Dad can say or do can hurt Mum now, though if she looks down and sees him causing a stir at her funeral, I imagine she'll be scowling, rather than smiling! Maybe she'll get her revenge by haunting him mercilessly... Maybe she's already doing it? Or maybe I've just watched too many horror films?
SW - only a thought, but could you run to hiring a professional carer for your dad for the duration of the funeral, almost a 'baby sitter' so that you will know that there is an uninvolved person (ie, not a relative or anything) who can make sure your dad either behaves, or takes him out of the service, or gets him to the bathroom or whatever, and who maybe takes him back early to his care home (and doesn't come on to any wake afterwards.)

Sorry to hear your church gets locked, but I wonder if they have anything like a 'garden of rememberance'? Mine does, and it's a nice place to sit and have a 'remembering session'.

I know you feel bad about your husband, but thank goodness he's there for you - there's only, now, a little while further to keep going, and then, when you've 'seen your mum off well', and had your own thoughts and goodbyes, then please take some opportunity for you and your husband just to have a quite 'recovery weekend' by yourselves, or even take a short break away at a quiet hotel somehwer in the countryside or by the sea. You won't feel like 'going on holiday' but just to be in a peaceful location, with no one 'plaguing' at you, nothing to organise and so on, could be therapeutic.

Please, too, do NOT worry about 'breaking down' at the funeral. For heaven's sake, she's your Mother, and it's her funeral - when else can one 'break down'?????? You are entirely entitled to!

Again, just a thought, but if your mum is currently at the funeral home, would it make sense to call in there - I'm sure they must have a quiet room or some such, even if you do not wish to view the body.....

There are NO RULES about anything for you now - you are free to do as YOU wish, and feel what YOU feel, and react how YOU want to.

You've stood by your mum (and your dad) for so long.....the time to 'stand down from duty' is coming very soon now, and you will have well, well deserved it. Your mum is at rest now, and hopefully at peace, and is now beyond your care - but never beyond your love, and your thoughts, and your memories.
Thanks Jenny. Yes, we've already let the care home know that we will need to hire one of their carers for the afternoon, to accompany Dad, if he attends the funeral. They are being very good about it and will help us, even though they have strong reservations about whether attending the funeral is a good idea for Dad.

I viewed Mum's body last week at the funeral director's chapel of remembrance. I felt I had to make sure that they'd sorted things out properly and presented the body in a decent manner, but afterwards I wished I hadn't gone, because it seemed to freshen up my grief to the point where I was back at day 1. At least I had plenty of chance to express my feelings and say goodbye, even though it was upsetting.

I'm resigned now to the fact that Dad will probably be there and it will make things difficult at times. I bought him an outfit for the funeral today, plus a spare pair of trousers (he needed more trousers anyway) so the carer will have what she needs if there is any sort of toilet accident. My sisters are both aware that I'll be in no fit state to help Dad on the actual day, but I've paved the way for them to enable him to attend. Whether they'll regret it is another thing, but maybe they'd regret it more if they never tried?

So, all arrangements now in place. I go from falling to pieces and being convinced I can't attend the funeral, to being strangely calm and feeling that I've got past the worst of the grief, but then it catches me unawares and I'm sobbing again. Oh well, all part of being human, I guess. Thanks for all your support fellow forum members.
SW, it sound! s like you're covering all the bases - great! However, don't be upset if a couple of 'googlies' come your way unexpectedly - always happens at these things.

The 'zigzag' emotions are perfectly normal - it's the mind's way of coping with emotional distress and exhaustion. Just go with the flow - as time goes by they will even out, again, perfectly normal.

Whether to view the body is always an incredibly difficult decision, and no 'right or wrong' because it's as easy to regret not seeing it, as seeing it, and until you do see it you won't know whether you were glad you did or not, and ditto with not seeing it.

As for tears, oh, SW, I always hold to the mantra 'Our tears are our tribute'.....it's proof of love, and wouldn't it be awful to be someone whom NO ONE cried over when we died? You might not have had the best mum in the world, but she was your mum, and that bond is unbreakable. She was a lucky, lucky woman to have you stand so steadfast by her, through all the vicissitudes of her final years.