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swilkinson

rebuilding your life, rebuilding your friendships

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I have seen caregivers on here, myself among them, complain about lack of support, worry about loss of friends, decide in the end it is just them and their loved one and that is all that matters. He/she will be their BFF.

 

In the next stage that is not enough. You are alone, and I mean alone. The family flock around for the funeral, the friends phone or send flowers or cards...a week goes by, family members may even stay a week or two. And then they are gone and you are in the silence. There is no-one there, you are alone.Coping with those sleepless nights and that cold and lonely feeling you will crymore than you have ever cried before, even though you thought you had mourned all through their illness those tears keep on coming.

 

At this stage the lucky ones are those who still have a job to go back to, part-time can maybe build up to full-time. It must be hard going back, working with your sorrow still heavy on your hearts but having an income of some kind sure helps.There will still be some financial worries, sometimes health scares (because you have neglected your own health while looking after your loved one) and a lot of crying, more than you have ever cried before. After that slows down and you feel you are over that initial sadness starting to reach out to others will be the way to go forward.

 

Why am I telling you this? I am urging you to keep life in perspective. Don't write people off because they can't handle the situation you are in. Keep in touch with as many people as you are able to regardless of whether they visit or not. Use the phone and the computer to stay in touch. Sooner or later you will again value the old friends, the ones who knew you is a teen, as a mature adult etc. These family and friends will be the keepers of your memories. Even in-laws have the photos of your kids, the little stories to tell about your beloved that you love to hear.

 

When you are lost and alone and your loved one is still with you is nothing to how you feel after they are gone. So keep your friends, you will value them again in years to come.

 

Sue.

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Sue those are well spoken and truly things that can help. Thank you for that

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You know I'm glad Steve created this Forum and it will serve it's purpose for many of us as time pass by and loved one are no longer with us here. It's like we can come sit and remember how love has it's way in all our lives so being a stroke survivor or a care giver it's both the same when one is no longer with us. I had a little of the feeling when I lost wife one, two and three. You tell yourself never again but that doesn't last long when you are so used to being a couple in life and manage all things together in the household. Now that is gone and the house seem empty.

 

I tried for a time to be alone it didn't work for me so I'm happy knowing togetherness is a must in my case but I know one day will come that will not be the case and I will have to deal with it at that time.

I have a good idea how our own Sue must feel and we know that's life without your mate of so many years. It's sorta like the rainbow bridge. We see it and feel it but just not there yet!!!

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Sue I have always said you are my future....I hope I can continue to be strong and I hope I can continue to keep people in my life/ our lives that matter... I hope I don't sour so much that, I become unbearable... You are none of these things...... You are the light, keep it lit, we caregivers need it...you will always be a caregiver.. It is who you are.And their is nothing more noble, as are you... Strong , peaceful and noble.....Thank You...

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Sue, thanks for that insite to the future. You are right about friends. Larry and I have lost touch with some of our friends and we both need to keep in touch. I keep telling Larry to call friends and family. I think he feels since he has nothing new to talk about, other than his recovery, they are not interested. I am going to try harder to keep in touch and encourage Larry also. Since this is our second marriage, I doubt if my stepkids will keep in touch if something happens to Larry. Hopefully, my kids will be there. Friends sometimes are more like family and keep in touch more.

 

Julie

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When you lose a loved one one of the things you want to do is talk about them. When they were sick you bottled up a lot of things, not knowing who to tell. When they died you had the funeral and suddenly no-one wanted to talk to you about them any more. They are "dead and buried". But in order to revive your own memories you NEED to talk about them. To someone, to anyone and to everyone. That has been one of the reasons why I decided on grief counselling because that gave me a way of talking to someone about my loved ones, Mum and Ray, their long term illness, their deaths and the effect it has had on me.

 

Well someone else's misfortune has given me a tremendous gift.One of Mum's friends who lives five hours drive from here was on the Central Coast and broke her femur and carcked four ribs. Her daughter phoned me and asked me to visit her in hospital. It has been a real pleasure as she can talk for hours about Mum and Dad, memories of before they both got ill, what they did, what they said, who they were friends with etc. Some of it I had forgotten, a lot of it made me smile and some of her stories even made me laugh. I needed that.

 

I can talk a little to my family now about Ray but they are not telling me their stories as yet, maybe it is too soon for them. I wish they realised how healing it is just to talk. Maybe some day I will find another friend who is willing to talk about him and share their stories.

 

Sue.

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Sue, Such a good post, I think most of us can identify with it. It seems people do not know how to deal with another person's sorrow. It's almost like they are afraid and sometimes even avoid the one who is grieving, as though it may be contagious. My dad died at the age of 43, he was sick for 3 yrs. I was 15 when he died. We were very close and even though I knew he was dying, when he was gone, I was lost. My mom did not want to talk about it or much about him. Maybe she was so tired after watching him suffer for so long, she just wanted to put it behind and go on. My brother moved away for college the same year, so there was no one. So I just started keeping it all inside, pretending everything was ok, when inside I was still grieving. As a result, I eventually had an emotional breakdown.

 

People that are grieving do need to talk, or cry or let out whatever they are feeling. So very fortunate are the ones that have someone who allows them to do this. Joni

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Woke this morning to find an acquaintance has passed.  Never met her in person.  Was through having a stroke got to know her.  She was even receptive to idea of me coming for a visit.  Just feel funny when we form these bond with other survivors and then they're gone.   Good memories and advice yet your alone as no one really knows.  Seems like this has been a tough winter for my friends.  

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So sorry to hear about your friend Mark. The power of words and honesty is remarkable when it comes to making friends we have never met. We love them and respect them as a part of our lives and hold the truth that we are a part of theirs. Surreal. Grief is still the same. I'm happy to hear you are enriching your life after stroke and not living in a safety box. Kindred spirits are healing. God bless you, your friend and her extended family and friends.

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Mark, I have made many friends due to Ray's strokes and our stroke recovery joirney together. When I posted this topic my grief was still fresh and painful but now going on for six years later what I felt then is still true. I deliberately reconnected with old friends and I am so glad I did. Now some of them are closer in heart than family. I am so grateful to my Strokenet family too particularly the Blog Community for always being there for me. Sorry you lost a good friend. I hope you make many more.

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Yes Sue forming new friendship is wonderful.   I have yet to form one I can meet for real yet.  I was hoping to meet her this fall.  We were planning on me trying to drive to her place.  Three hours there.  Had started googling routes and pre planning.  

As I get better I am noticing I'm getting more comfortable here even.  

I have 1 close friend who will address the stroke and generally make fun of me now.  He hasn't let the stroke bother him or let it bother me.  Was there for me when Dad passed and that meant a lot to the both of us.  

I am trying to distance myself from my old job.  I loved it but can't do anything other than reminisce now.  Find that starts the emotion cart in gear.  I'm trying but its what I knew.   

 

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Mark, I totally get you about the job thing. My two episodes happened at work. Now, even after all this time, I cannot go back. Not even to say hi or have a coffee.

 

Sue, beautiful words. 

 

You are right, we shouldn’t be cross at people dealing with all this in their own way.  After all, isn’t that exactly what we do?

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