Last year was a very difficult time for us in lots of ways, my husband and I had both retired, age 67, his day was taken up by his 87 year old mother who lived about half a mile away, she relied on him completely although he wouldn’t do personal care and we got carers in for that. It was obvious that something was wrong but she refused to let the doctor investigate so I bought packets of baby porridge and he would walk round to make it for her meals. At the same time as this was happening I was driving about 15 miles to my parents house several times a week, sometimes every day to help my parents. Dad had a catheter which there were constant problems with, also he was unable to control his bowels so sometimes there were horrendous messes to clear up. Eventually I told them I wasnt doing it any more and got carers in for him. My mother refused to have any help and completely ignored them. Eventually last May he got taken into hospital and spent several weeks being moved from ward to ward, then he was transferred to a residential home (self funding) but was back in hospital within 5 days. Mother in law was taken into Hospital beginning of August where she was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer and transferred to the cancer unit. At about the same time we got Dad into a nursing home as the hospital said they couldn’t do any more for him. While all this was going on my sister was back and forth from her home in Cornwall, driving Mum to the hospital etc, there is so much to deal with. I was also looking after grandchildren. Sorry to waffle on. Anyway Mum in law died on 27 August and Dad died 17 September. There was a lot to organise funerals etc., dealing with finances and I suddenly realised a few days ago that I had never cried for Dad, I was always closer to him when I was younger, Mum was very difficult to deal with and still is, at 97 she won’t move out of the house so I’m still back and forth every other day. Should I be worried that I haven’t grieved for him?
Grief is a very strange thing. We all experience it in many different ways. I believe we un-subconsciously we choose when to grieve. I think we just keep going until our brain starts to kick in. Should I be grieving etc.
The fact you are now thinking and asking the question. Does that mean you are ready to except it’s possibly time to grieve.
For some it can be many years later. We go about are daily lives. Sometimes I suspect when there is a period when we are less busy or feel more calm. There is comes from the back of the mind - been hidden away.
It up to you to when to except this message.
Just trust the right time is when you say it is.
There’s also a school of thought that there can be something called ‘ambiguous grief’ and it covers the situations where, usually because of circumstance or illnesss, we have already grieved for the person they were before they have actually passed away. So on actual death or after our grieving is less because a lot of it has already been done.
I’m doing this a bit with my Mum who is now 96 and is a shadow of the former independent feisty woman that I knew, loved and admired for over 60 years. That Mum is long gone and I mourn her. I will feel sad when she finally passes but I don’t think I will feel huge grief, more a sense of release and relief.
Grief takes many forms so don’t be surprised or guilty about where , when or how it manifests. Be proud of the efforts you made to care and to love, and do expect to feel numb and shell shocked when all the caring finally stops. You have been under enormous pressure and stress and it will feel weird when it stops. Your body and mind will take time to recover, but recover they will.
I’ve lost all four parents,husband, brother and sister in law, but each death was different. Only cried buckets for my husband, Kleenex shares must have gone up that year! Just remember that the people you love live on with you in your heart.