Yesterday after the funeral service we followed the hearse to lay the shell that carried my father's soul and spirit for 81 year to rest. I earlier said that this was the hardest thing I ever did.....and indeed it has been. Dad has been so much a part of me and my life. I looked after him since 1995, saw him through a difficult and long death if his second wife and in 2003 he came to live with us.
Over those almost eight years my dad's health declined and I became his Caregiver. It was a long and difficult role at times but something I am not sorry that I did. My dad lived a good life and ended his years where he wanted to be, in our home, which quickly became his home too. The last many months were more than difficult but he never lost himself and always professed his love and gratitude for my love and care. He left me with many gifts than only a great father can leave their daughter.
But this post is about Caregiving and not about my father or I. To all of you that care for loved ones, rather it's a grandparent, a parent, sibling, son or daughter, please know that in the end it is worth every moment that you sacrificed your needs over for their needs. Say the things that need to be said while you may; leave no stone unturned no matter how difficult it may seem at the time. The time will come that you will be glad you went there.
There were moments that I doubted my choice to keep my dad at home...it was the greatest gift I could have given him...but again it was the hardest thing I ever did. I promise you that you will not be sorry for what you are doing. If you still have your Mom or Dad on this earth than please hug them today. Let them know how much you love them.
God Bless each and everyone of you. I will be and am forever grateful for the time I had with my dad......and of course for all you support and kind words.
What a wonderful post Tuck. In a way, I think that when we caregivers lose a loved one, we have two empty holes in our lives and hearts. One for the person himself, and another in all the empty hours now in our everyday lives. We get the double-whammy in the grief and recovery department. But as you said, it's worth every moment - every minute of exhaustion and worry and despair. God bless you my dear. :-)
thank you for sharing your story. your father was Blessed to have you as a daughter, i to am careing for a mom with alz and my dad who is 76. i love them so much. yes its very hard and there are days i sit and cry and want to give up. but they never gave up on me when i was little and growing up they took great care of me made sure i was safe and loved and now its my turn. GOD Bless you .Barbara
It's been a year since I wrote this post. The one year anniversary of my dad's passing came and went with extreme pain... I relived those extremely challenging, heart breaking final days of dad's time on earth and those days that followed until his burial.
I miss him more today then I did a year ago. The pain has eased a bit but I still find myself sobbing or the tears just quietly roll down my face. Some days it's like it was yesterday and other days it's like it was eons ago. I am told I am going through the normal stages of grief...it can be pure hell. It comforts me to some degree to know that I am not alone.... And even more comforting is knowing that my father left this earth with the Holy Spirit and that he suffers no more.
I want to share with all of you Caregivers that there is no guilt. When you do your best and give your all in Caregiving you are NOT left with so many, "What ifs." That is a true blessing and I think it helps in the healing process. Your efforts are not in vane.
My father was much wiser then I. He worried how I would handle his passing and life without his unconditional love. He expressed these concerns to the Hospice Staff numerous times and more gently to me. He instructed me to go on with my life after he was gone and enjoy it and live it to the fullest. He knew me so well. It has been and continues to be the hardest thing I have ever done or experienced.
I just want to encourage all of you that are caregiving to continue doing so to the best of your ability. Be sure to take care of yourself too. Find some time everyday to be good to you and find some time to get away periodically. You must care for yourself before you can effectively care for a loved one.
Thank you Caregivers.. for the sacrifices you make to continue to do what you do. I am sure your loved one appreicates all you do and probably more then you'll ever know. You are all blessed!!!
Your post brings tears to my eyes. My condolences to you.
You made many good points in your post.
Your father had a wonderful daughter. He must have been a wonderful man. I have recently lost a parent so I have an understanding of how you feel. You never really expect that moment to actually arrive.
I always try to be the best caregiver that I can be every single day. I am not always perfect. Some days I am exhausted. Some days I just cannot keep up with all the housework, medical appointments or medical paperwork or outside interruptions. Those are the most difficult parts for me as a caregiver. But I keep trying. I love just caring for my family member more than anything in the world and if the outside forces would sometimes just go away and let me do my job, there is nothing more rewarding in this lifetime than the job of a caregiver. I know that I have been blessed to have been given such a vocation directly by God Himself.
Sorry for your loss. Reading your post I understand your grief. I have lost all my family and many friends. I am alone BUT I have the help of a compassionate caregiver, who to this day, fights to keep my health up to dated. He does research on the doctors I see, researches the medical equipment I need, makes sure I eat, and does more than his share of care-giving.
HE IS THE ANGEL ON MY SHOULDER. I am lucky to have him because I think I would have given up by now with all my pain issues. He continually researches new medical areas of treatment and I am currently seeing a NEW pain management doctor for treatment that is helping. He has pushed me on bad days and good. He has been there when the pain was so bad, I was in tears.
I encourage people to FIND SOMEONE THEY CAN TRUST and look at the long term of what they can do.
Do they fight when you argue with them or do they just listen and then walk away?
Are they willing to hang in there for the long haul or do they give up easily?
Are they emotionally stable to handle a person in need?
Do they have the incite to get a second opinion or a third opinion for your health?
Are they compassionate enough to understand pain?
There are so many questions to ask but TRUST is the starting point to begin. Then they have to be emotionally stable to fight for your rights when you can't.
Feed back is appreciated to understand what a caregiver needs in order to be the person who speaks for you when you can't.
I cannot believe that five years has passed since my beloved father left this earth. My grief never stops. I miss him as much today as I did when I originally wrote this post four years ago.
The message remains the same. Do your best when caring for a loved one. Follow their wishes to the best of you ability. When they are gone you'll be at peace that you did so.
I "talk" to my dad often. I'm told may ppl do after they lose someone they love, either that or I'm just crazy. I can accept that. :0)
I still wear his old bathrobe in the cool months. I also wear a few of his shirts. It helps me feel close to him. I miss him more than words can say.
Dad didn't leave me any great material inheritance. However what he did leave me is far better. I call them "gifts of the heart." He taught me I was only as good as my word. He said he gave me a good name and I should always honor it. He judged ppl by how honest, hard working and kind they were. It didn't matter how much money a person had, but it did matter how much they gave of themselves. He loved and cared for God's Earth. Is it any wonder I was a workaholic in "helping" careers and that I continue to garden? I was Blessed to have such a wonderful man for a father. Excuse my reminiscing.
So Caregivers know that all your hard work and sacrifice is very worth it in the end. And don't forget to tell your loved one how much you love them. Hug them at every opportunity. There may be a day you won't be able to do either.
Bless all of you Caregivers. The world is a better place because of you.
I read your posts with such incite. I understand your grief.
I lost all my family and I am the only one left, not to mention the two wives I buried so I can see how memories still linger.
I went through grief counseling which helped but that is me and that is what I needed at the time.
Just remember, no one can take those memories away from you and they are yours forever to keep so hang in there.
I can't go through the past because it is too painful for me but I live in the present, just enough to get by and I am.
I am better mentally focused on what I need to do in my daily life and that is enough I am happy to get by with.
I could tell you so much more about what I learned when a love one passes but each person is different and I respect that point in everyone's life. I know that I am stronger now mentally but that comes from the strength I learned from my family and what wisdom they passed on to me. That is my loving memory I will have forever and I am so proud of what they taught me. I learned so much about my family history that I never knew as a child and now I stand strong and proud of what I have learned in the wisdom that was passed on to me. That is just how I get through my day and I wish the best for you.
Thanks for your addition to my old thread. You're right on. I'm sorry you have lost so many.
The best gifts I've I received from my beloved and departed grandmother and parents are what I call "Gifts of the Heart". I couldn't list them here as they are many like values, faith and love.
I'm getting to the point you have reached, "I can't go through the past because it is too painful for me but I live in the present..." My grandma use to tell me, "You can't live with the dead." Though I cared for her in my home and was blessed to have her well into my 40s, I didn't truly understand her words. Now they often come back to me and I am beginning to understand.
I'll always cherish those memories and lessons that were passed onto me - but I'm learning I have to go forward and live in the present. My daddy told me that shortly before he passed. I haven't been real successful in doing that but after losing my mom 11 months ago I know I have to learn to live without them. Finally I am healing.
God Bless and thank you for your insight. It's been very helpful.
Be patient with yourself. Healing is not an over night thing. It took me years to deal with all the losses I have experienced. Recently a friend reminded me of the old days when all I could think about related to those memories were horrible memories until my friend reminded me of when I first got married. (he was best man and those years were some of the best memories).
It takes the right type of focus and time to learn so much. Just know you are being cared for and watched. Give yourself space and time to learn but know you are always a thought away. I share those sentiments and wish you the best.
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