Hi, My name is Christine. I’m new on here. I’m 57 years old

I have cared for both mum and dad together until July this year when dad passed away from Alzheimer’s.

Mum became paraplegic in October 2012 following a messed up endoscopy.

Since dad died, mum got pneumonia and is now bedridden and a shadow of her former self.

I am scared of how I will be when mum passes away. I feel like a small child who won’t cope.

Does anyone else feel that way?

It’s like fear and loneliness and a sense of utter impending doom.

Hi Christine,
Welcome to the forum

I’ve now lost all four parents. My mum in law was like a second mum to me, especially as mine was disabled. After my own mum died after a long battle with illness and disability, my main feeling was that of relief that she was no longer suffering. I’ve also lost my husband, my brother, and my sister in law, although I’m only 66.
I miss someone my own age to share things with, but I’ve built a new life now.
After my husband died I read a book called “Starting Again” by Sara Litvinoff, really designed for divorcees, but very relevant to my own situation too, because it was all about building a new life. It was easy to read, and lived in my bedside drawers for a long time.

It will help you work out what you would really like to do when your caring role is over.

Have a diary/notebook or similar and write down all your worries and fears, then work out what you can do.
Then the fun list, what you’ve always wanted to do, but never been able to. Large or small, whatever you want it to be.
I struggled to be myself again, but then started going to a hotel for singles only, in Crete. NOT a dating hotel, but somewhere single travellers could feel safe and have a really good holiday. Some are married but partners in the forces, unable to travel, etc.
Next year I’m going Island Hopping in Greece with one of the girls I met there, something we’ve both wanted to do for a long time, but didn’t have anyone else to share with. We’ve just had a fun couple of weeks booking flights, accommodation etc. She is in Norfolk, I’m in Hampshire, but it’s so easy to keep in touch with the phone and internet.

Finally, the Elephant in the Room. Are you prepared as you can be for mum’s death?

Do you
have Power of Attorney
have brothers and sisters
know if mum has over £23,000 in savings (if under, Social Services will help with care)
know if you will be able to stay in mum’s house after she dies
know how much money you will have as savings and income afterwards
know what funeral director you will use when mum’s time comes
have a list of who needs to know
have a list of mum’s favourite music for the service.

I know it’s horrible to think about these things, but the more prepared you are, the easier it will be for all concerned.

Hello Christine, I’m very pleased you’ve joined this Carersuk site. I am 56 and both my parents are still here but they are very old. I feel like you do - I can’t imagine life without my mum and dad. My mum and dad moved to a bungalow very nearby 26 years ago because of my health problems. Now I am helping them. Mum is my best friend. I have a husband - he looks after his mum and we are very supportive to eachother.
I am with my parents every day so they are a very important part of my life. However, I realise they won’t always be there so I am trying to add other interests into my weekly routine. I have now joined a pilates and yoga class and these are great because it gives me a break from caring and I meet other people. Each session is only for an hour and is local.
What I am saying is that I’m going to be devastated when my mum and dad pass on but I am trying to add other interests into my life so that I have other things to think about when that day comes.

I always say that it doesn’t matter how old we are when our parents die, we still feel like we’ve become ‘orphans’.

Know that you WILL survive, and WILL have a future life of your own, and it is one that your parents will have WANTED you to have.

It’s impossible for you to see that now, you see, very naturally, only the ‘past’, not the ‘future’ - as in, the future is ‘empty’ it is just ‘not the past’ (ie, ‘not with your parents there’).

Take things as ‘gently’ now as you can. You WILL be able to deal with the future, when it does arrive, but for now, focus on having your mum, and caring for her. Make all the good memories you can, for they will, I promise you, sustain you in the years ahead.

You will NEVER forget or ‘lost’ your parents. My father died half my life time ago, but he is as ‘real’ to me now as ever - I can ‘hear him and see him’ in my head, and my heart, ‘whenever I want’. And it is the same with my mother too. They are just both ‘there’.

Those we love never leave us…

Hi Christine
The loss of one’s parents is always sad. The trouble with losing them after caring for them is that it is also the loss of a job and a way of life. Because you have identified this early you have time to plan and prepare. So build up work prospects or other interests and social groups while also be aware that grief does need acknowledgin and you will need time and space to grieve.

Whatever and whenever it happens, you will get though it and you will forge your own life, in time

I speak as one who has been an orphan over 40 years (the Mum I still have is actually a step mum ). Yes I miss them but I survived and coped. It is the way that life goes on.


Hi you never know whats round thd corner# do ad much ad you csn now…go on a holiday/a cruise, mord fsmily meals, celebrate everythkng ie birthdays, christmas, easter. take lotsa pics and videoa on yourphone. organise a family portrait. get the entire family togethef for s bbq. write their life story down/ family tree. you get my drift…

Shaun is right - it is poignant, and painful emotionally, but make all the memories you can now…for your future when your mum is no more in this life. Anything and everything.

You could, maybe, also start to put together a ‘memory box’ of all the ‘little things’ that sum her up, and her life, and what she meant to you. I think most of us have ‘virtual memory boxes’ …as in ‘bits and pieces scattered through our remaining possessions’ that came from our parents, but maybe if you do a deliberate memory box, and ask your mum as well (might be tactful NOT to tell her it is to remember her by after she has died! )(but on the other hand, perhaps she will WANT that - it depends on her attitude to death. It was something I could easily have asked of my own mother, who was perfectly OK with discussing her death - indeed, it was a frequent topic of her conversation!. But with my MIL it was a total taboo- she hated and feared the thought of dying.)