A loving son and caregiver story for all to see, and hopefully understand.

by Mr. Dana
(Waconia, MN)

I am a mentally disabled 47 year old male who was 'brought-in' by 'the family' to help take care of mom, as she grew older and needed more assistance. I grew to call her "Ma" over the course of the last 2 1/2 years that we had been together, as a 'team' so-to-speak. "Ma" passed just two months ago in July of '09...three days after her 81st birthday.

Mom had become dizzy around February 23rd, and died exactly 5 months later at 1:30 a.m.. I had been 'beside her side' for the last seven months prior to her death, yet was just around the corner, at the sink, in the bathroom, of the nursing home room she had been in for about a month and a half when she took her last breath.

That really really sucked. After so long of a 'death watch' during her illness, I just had to wring-out the washcloth that I had been using to clean her face with at the wrong second. I know it's selfish sounding, but what a 'rip-off' that moment was. Why couldn't I have been holding her hand...not letting go at that point in time. She passed with me beside her as best as was meant to be maybe??

Yea right!! I'll never, never stop the tears over my mistake, and I hopefully will always remember that moment when I pronounced her, for there was no nurse around at the time. 1:30 a.m., and my "Ma" was gone. I then went to get a nurse, and to then call the family. Man this brings the tears to my eyes. It's hard to see the keyboard right now!!

One of the dilemmas that I am suffering from for awhile now is the fact that she IS GONE. It really is hard to imagine that she's not coming back, and that I can't even call her if I wanted to, as I have on so many occasion. My mind is, and has been preoccupied with her to the point that sometimes I feel that I've gone crazy. I do now know that this is part of the grieving process, but it's still overwhelming and all in compassing.

I can't seem to get anything done except for starting new projects concerning her, such as pictures, reading notations she made in the hospital, going from room to room in my apartment with too many thoughts racing thru my mind...as well as tears. God I miss my "Ma". I love her so much.

Life's not fair. Death's not fair. How will life be now that my role of caregiver is now also gone?? I am still 'caretaker' of some of her possessions, as well as memorial items that I have created since her passing. Passing to what???? Does she still know that I'm here?? We'll never know.

For now, all I can do is post tidbits at a time over these websites while at the library. I don't have my own access to 'the net'. The library is now closing, so I'll have to sign off for now. Tonight will be another in sequence of mourning and bereavement I guess. I hope that it goes well. It makes me nervous!!! Thank you so much for reading. Please send responses, and I can respond in kind. Thx again!!!

Comments for A loving son and caregiver story for all to see, and hopefully understand.

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Sep 21, 2010
"I look just fine"!!!
by: Mr. Dana

...and that is a problem in and of itself..."looking just fine" makes 'folks' interpretation of me often wrong. I am completely independent...live in a one-bedroom apt...have family support (sometimes) from my brother. He does let me use one of their cars, which helps considerably. I go to Day Treatment 3x per week at the University of MN, and I just try to stay busy. When I think about Mom too much, I start slipping and sometimes cry too much!! Life 'sucks' without her, but life does go on...esp. with the help of nice people such as yourself, who keep me going.
Thank you so, so much for your support. Dana

Sep 19, 2010
family support
by: Annie

Do you have family support here in MN? Are you living independently? What resources are you currently using for treatment? What do you do to keep busy or engaged in activities that help you feel good about yourself and maintain the level of independence that you can?

One year post someone's death is just one year...nothing more. It took me at least 2 plus years to even feel like I was breathing again after a spouse's death........please give yourself more time and be good to yourself.

Aug 10, 2010
TBI Issues
by: Mr. Dana

Howdy again!! My TBI came from when I was carjacked/assaulted in Denver, Colorado (Jan'95)

I was coming out from a wedding reception...brushing the snow off the windshield of the car. I woke up from a coma X number of days later in what was then called Denver General Hospital. My parents found me there listed as a John Doe, as my wallet was stolen, along with the car.

It has been quite the roller-coaster ride ever since.

Thanks for asking/caring!!


Aug 08, 2010
by: Annie

I understand that your mental illness is from the tbi..............but what caused the tbi? Do you have family support? I am also in MN.

Aug 05, 2010
Psych issues
by: Mr. Dana Rutherford

I have a number of cognitive difficulties from my TBI. Memory, concentration, etc. I take many meds, and after 15 years of therapy I look 'normal'. That is the hard part of having a hidden injury. Only the MRI's can show what's going on in the head...no one can see what's inside by looking at me, in terms of disability.
I went to a funeral today for a lady that lived in my apt. bldg. It was hard, for it brought out memories of my Ma's funeral. Awfull selfish huh?? Thanks so much Annie for keeping in touch. I am in Minnesota. What state are you in?? Just curious.......THX AGAIN Dana

Jul 13, 2010
Mr. Dana
by: Annie

Do you have family that supports you and grieves with you? What do you do to keep busy and active?

Jul 13, 2010
what happened?
by: Annie

Your TBI...........what happened to cause the psych conditions? My heart goes out to you. What hospital are you using? I'm wondering if I might have some resources for you.

Jul 12, 2010
...Can't stop the tears...
by: Mr. Dana Rutherford

...the tears just don't seem to stop. Damn I miss my "Ma" so much. I loved her so. Take care all....Dana

Jul 12, 2010
Thanks so so much for your feedback....
by: Dana

To Annie and all: Thank you so so much. Every day is difficult. It is almost one year now...July 23rd at 1:30 a.m.. Yes, I am crying right now, and it's hard to see the keyboard and screen. I miss "Ma" so, so much. Beyond belief. I have been hospitalized three times since her passing for my psychiatric condition. I am bi-polar manic, but have been depressed as of late. I wish that I could still hug her, although I am glad that she is no longer suffering...but I AM...when will it ever stop?? I was brought here to Minnesota to help take care of Mom...now she's gone?!?! I am perm. disabled due to a severe traumatic brain injury that I received in January of 1994, in Denver, Colorado. This is where my illness is. Thanks again you all!!!!

Jun 18, 2010
To Dana
by: Annie

How are you doing? You're hitting that one year mark--it means nothing except that you've survived 12 months.

Jun 18, 2010
Dearest Dana
by: Annie

Your Ma has been gone less than a year..... Please be good to yourself. Obviously you are a trusted and much loved son, to be entrusted with your Ma's care.

What is the nature of your illness? I find your comments regarding being called in by the family to care for your Ma in her final months.

Jun 18, 2010
Dear Dana
by: Annie

You are grieving.......and it sucks. It's now been 11 months for you I note. Truly it takes much longer than months or even a year or two for many people to work through their grief.

What is your mental disability? You obviously function very well to be entrusted with you Ma's care.......and you were certainly devoted. Your Ma was very lucky to have you.

Many times, a dying person purposely waits until their loved ones turn away to go.........knowing a mother's love, that's simply what she did for you.

How are you doing now? What are you doing to keep busy and work through your grief? Has this intensified your illness? Have family members helped you in your grief?

Know that you are in my thoughts

Jan 04, 2010
Thank you so much!!!
by: Dana

Thank you ever so much for your feedback....it is more than appreciated beyond all else. Keep it coming!!!

Dec 29, 2009
Hello again
by: Tanya


Hope you are getting better in your healing after losing Ma. I thought I would stop in, being the holidays and all. I just attended a funeral for a sweet woman who passed away Dec.22. She was a distant grandma you could say. It took me to a flood of emotions of both of my parents' funerals.

It never goes away (the hurt) but I have found in life you do adapt to it. I hope that your New Year is filled with peace, patience,and love. Remember the good, forget about the "what ifs", and "why didn't I". Life is hard enough to get through without kicking yourself while you're down. Speedy healing, my friend, and know that time heals all and God wipes away every tear!

Dec 29, 2009
Please hear me "Ma".
by: Dana Rutherford

Dear "Ma", It's been exactly five months yesterday that I left your side in Denver. I am so sorry that I cannot come to visit. Somehow this summer I want to. Maybe I can save the money. Can you see me crying for you mom? Can you feel how much I miss and love you beyond all else? Please help me through this "Ma". Why did you have to go?? Why did you have to suffer so??

I love you so so much. Dana

Dec 21, 2009
Five months...
by: Mr. Dana

Five months of heartache over the loss of my "Ma". She warned me that she wasn't going to be around very long. Damn if I'd of only listened. We could have done this or that. Gone here or there. Had conversations to no end. A multitude of things that 'could-of'. I miss you mom. Can you hear my heartache and loneliness???

Dec 04, 2009
Maybe getting through....
by: Mr. Dana Rutherford

Greetings, I've been hospitalized due to overwhelming grief the last two weeks. Now I start outpatient therapy. We'll see what the road ahead may, or may not be. Somewhat scary. Take care, Dana.

Oct 31, 2009
3 months / 2 'daze'!!
by: Dana

Hello again. It's been just over three months right now that I left "Ma's" gravesite in Denver. I wonder if, or how I'll ever be able to get back to visit her. Damn I miss her so, so much, and I wish that I could at least tend to her burial site, as well as other relatives that she's buried around and beside. Mom doesn't have a gravestone yet. I've got to help my brother figure that out. I don't have money!!! Somehow though.... Any suggestions from people out there?? I haven't received any comments in a long time. Please assist. Thank you so much.

Oct 08, 2009
Therapists reminder
by: Mr. Dana Rutherford

Greetings to all!! One of the therapists that I frequent has reminded me today that it has only been alot less than three months since "Ma" passed, and that all of the numerous, somewhat 'weird' things that I have been doing are to be expected. My thinking is that it is quite the roller coaster ride that I never get off!! I guess it all has to run its course. Thanks to you all for listening. Responses back and forth would be great. Thanks again,
(ed note: email address deleted to avoid spambots)

Oct 05, 2009
Thank you so much!!!
by: Mr. Dana

Your kind and thoughtfull words were well received and much appreciated. I just haven't got to that point of 'moving-on' yet.... It'll come, with the continued help from 'folks' like you. Thanks again, Mr. D

Oct 03, 2009
by: Tanya

I can't say I know how you are feeling, but I too have been in your shoes. You are grieving and it is natural to feel the way you feel. I lost both my parents. My mom in 2005 and my dad in 2008. It was devastating. I am 36 and they were too young to leave me and I miss them terribly.

I also went through not being able to do anything without thinking of them and felt like I was losing my mind. To the point of feeling like I could not breathe. This is all part of loving and losing someone. Then I had to switch my way of thinking, would they want me to live my life like this or would they rather be looking at me with smiles and knowing that I could be strong and carry on. I wish you love, peace and recovery from losing your mom.

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