What assistance is there for caregivers who are now done
with their caregiving duties? From 1994 to 2011, I
cared first for my dad until his passing in 1999 and then my
mom until this April. During these years, I also
was raising my two children (who are now grown). I feel I
have lost my identity between letting go of my children and
now both parents are gone. I find that the greatest
challenge and hurdle I am facing is getting back on my feet
financially and emotionally. I need to continue to be
the wife, mother and grandmother to my immediate family.
They were a great help and definitely my angels sent from
heaven during my caregiving years, but I feel lost and don't
know where to begin on me, myself, my life.
husband and I and my children as well) have sacrificed so
much over the years financially, that we now are truly
hurting and will even need to leave our home of over 17
years. Any regrets? Absolutely not! I am
the baby of five children and my parents were 47 and 40 when
I was born. They both had decent lives till the end;
my Dad passed at 81 and my Mom was 87. I am only 48
and still have a lot of life to live. I just don't
know where to start.
Reply to Letter | View Comments
| Past Carenotes |
Location: Bristol, CT
Time: 04:48 PM
THANK YOU for sharing your comments and great suggestions and insight. As the author of this carenote, I always come back to read again your thoughtful words and suggestions!:)
Time: 01:20 PM
I have discussed this issue with many caregivers through my Caregiver Links Program. As an advocacy program for the family caregiver, I have found that once the caregiver role has pasted, it is very much like someone looking for a career change. (voluntary or not) Some of the same approaches work for both situations. First, evaluate your strengths, interests and establish both short-term and long-term goals for yourself. Second, seek out everyone that will listen, so you can bounce these goals and interests off them. You will find that something will gel and you will be working out a plan to start a new chapter in your life. Use your past to look forward and it will be good.
Name: JUDEE STEWARD
Location: SPRINGFIELD MO
Time: 07:32 AM
VOLUNTEER AT DIFFERENT NON-PROFIT AGENGIES. SOUNDS LIKE YOU HAVE ALOT OF PASSION AND CARE TO GIVE TO THOSE IN NEED. I WOULD SUGGEST VOLUNTEERING AT A HOSPITAL NURSERY. ROCKING BABIES IS THERAPEUTIC AND ALSO REKINDLES THE KNOWLEDGE OF NEW LIFE.
Name: Linda McCabe
Location: Reading, PA
Time: 07:07 AM
My heart goes out to you as I read your letter. I want to affirm your choice to care for your parents the way you did. As a hospice chaplain I interacted with a lot of caregivers, and I can tell you that the ones who gave when it counted and have "no regrets" are the ones who move on most successfully. You will be grieving for awhile, but the same strength and compassion that got you through those years will guide you into the next stage of your life.
This transition time is difficult for moms even without the loss of parents. Know that you are not alone and that you are not crazy. This is a normal response to what you have experienced and it won't last forever.
Please, find a good grief group for the first year. You need a safe place to be reminded of how your loss is still affecting you. Use some of that compassion on yourself. Give yourself permission to not be "over it" for awhile. Find support among others who have gone through it. Your place of worship if you have one, your local hospital or hospice, or even the internet can all be resources to find support. A good counselor may be needed if you are not close to someone who is able to listen non-judgmentally. Learning about the grieving process through books is helpful to some.
Trust yourself. Believe in the healing power of your mind to move through this transition. Enter into your feelings when they rise up so you don't get stuck in them. Cry for your loss, marvel at the sunrise, enjoy your children, hope in the future. Generations have done this, and so can you!