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First Christmas Since She Passed - Carers UK Forum

First Christmas Since She Passed

For anyone who is bereaved or no longer providing care.
Hi Everyone,

It's been quite some time since I've been on the forum. Hope you are all doing as well as you can be.As it's been a while, this is going to be quite lengthy (apologies!)

Many of you will remember that I posted when my Gran passed away in February from her MND. For a few months, I felt what I could only describe as numb- I carried on doing the things I needed to do and thought I was just coping well. Turns out that was quite wrong- my partner's Dad passed away suddenly in June (he went in to hospital, with a couple of broken ribs from suffering a seizure. The hospital transferred him to another hospital that had a dedicated pain management ward the following day- less than 24 hours later, we received a call to say that his liver was failing, suddenly. We didn't get to the hospital in time. We are still waiting for the answer to 'what on earth went wrong?' from the coroner). Anyhow, that event seemed to 'trigger' my delayed grief and, suddenly, life became very overwhelming for me. I was very emotional all the time. About 2 months later, my dog became quite ill (not sure what caused it, but he had the symptoms of some kind of poisoning)- vomiting through the night (which is always a trigger for me, as vomiting from the dog is usually an indicator for an impending seizure, which I don't handle very well). The vet gave him an anti-sickness jab, but that allowed the problem to travel further into his system, which resulted in another trip to the vet (2am on a work-night, of course!) A course of antibiotics and some other bits and we were sent on our way. That week, I had my first panic attack- unable to breathe properly, shaking, couldn't stand up, crying hysterically etc. I couldn't be around the dog at all (not his fault, bless him- I just cared so much about him that I was on constant alert for something else being wrong with him- I couldn't bear losing another 'person' I cared about and also couldn't bear the complete lack of control over what could happen- it was just too much). There was talk, for a time, of my not being able to keep him- this drove a bit of a wedge, for a time, between myself and my partner (who himself was trying to deal with his own grief). Needless to say, I felt awful and somehow responsible for the whole situation. I contacted my GP and he referred me to the mental health team and also prescribed beta-blockers. The beta-blockers helped, but I couldn't wait for the call from the mental health team, so started applying some CBT methods and exposure-therapy methods by myself. 3 months on and I'm much better now- I can be on my own around the dog (still a bit iffy at night, but my partner has been sleeping downstairs since his Dad passed away, as he is having some major sleep problems to deal with- but that's another story, entirely). Overall, I feel pleased with the progress and getting over half way to conquering the fear (which I know was completely irrational to begin with- it's funny how grief and traumatic events impact us, isn't it?) Let me say that this hasn't been confined to the dog- I've been battling with general health anxiety during these months, too (not helped by covid, of course). I'm hoping that this is the beginning of the end of these kinds of struggles for me.

On the flip-side, there's been some really good things happening- we'd been saving a deposit for a house for about 4 years and finally took the plunge in September. Found a house that is perfect for us, bordering the Cotswolds and ticks every box. We are completing next Friday (lovely Christmas present, despite being currently surrounded by boxes instead of the usual Christmas decorations!) I know that they say buying a house is up there with one of the most stressful things you can do in life, but I've found it to be the perfect thing to focus on, whilst trying to get over the issues above (I suppose it's a 'good kind' of stress, instead of the usual doom-and-gloom kind to which I'd been getting accustomed).

I had wanted to go all-out with the Christmas decorations this year, in memory of Gran (her house used to be like walking into a grotto, at this time of year- she was the Queen of Christmas). However, given the circumstances, I'm sure she wouldn't have minded and we've made a promise to do what we're calling 'double Christmas' next year, to make up for it :) My mind doesn't really 'let' me dwell on thoughts of Gran for too long- not sure if that's just another part of the delayed grief or my mind just trying to block out the trauma of last year, but I always have no problem remembering how she used to be at Christmas, which is lovely :)

I really just wanted to say, to those of you still going through your caring journey and who are worried about what to expect when it's all over, life will get better. Sometimes it has to get worse before it gets better, but it will.

Sending lots of love to you all xx
I can identify with the feelings you have been experiencing, for different reasons.
It takes a long, long time for the mind to settle down again, grief isn't a process that can be shortened in any way, it will take as long as it takes. Gran will always be in your heart, and you can look back and think you did your VERY best for her, and feel proud of what you did. She will live on in your heart forever, and in time, you will forget the end to her life, and remember her fit and well, and most of all, her love for you.
Think how happy the well Gran would be to see you able to buy your first new home, just before Christmas too.
Don't worry about decorations too much this year, enjoy the craziness of moving in, finding where everything is etc. etc. Next Christmas will be so different, you will be sorted and be able to share your joy and happiness then.
I wish you good fortune for the coming years, you deserve every happiness. Every time sadness creeps in, remind yourself to feel proud of what you did.
Happy Christmas in your new home.
Aww thank you BB!

I can hear what she'd be saying about us buying the house 'you're f***ing mad, you pair are!' haha!

She was never in a position to buy her own house and often thought that I was crazy for buying things like a car, for example! I know she'd have been proud, though :)

A very Merry Christmas to you, too! :) xx