Caretaker? Daughter?

Although my mother had lived with us for twenty years, it was only the last two-three years that had such a profound impact on my life. As her health began failing, my job as a caretaker increased. The last year was the most difficult as our strong independent personalities begin to clash. Although 91, Mom was still "mom.". I loved that about her but also struggled with her. There were times I felt incredibly unkind, demanding, and uncaring. Never having a relationship that functioned in this manner, it felt disrespectful and even cruel. Fortunately, we discussed the pressure I was under: working and coming home to care for her. This helped us cope; but I felt I was losing myself, and there seemed no end to it.

However, it did end. Mom passed away in her sleep, and I was totally unprepared for her leaving. The week she passed away, I cried constantly. The tears were part sorrow but more regret. "I could have been more loving and patient.". "I should have talked to her and listened to her more.". "I should have been a better daughter.". I prayed, asking my mom and God to forgive me. It hurt so bad because Mom and I had always had a very special relationship.

Well, I did find relief and begin to remember the loving things that I was able to do and give my mom. Everyday something would come to mind and I was filled with incredible peace and joy. I felt as if I were her daughter once again and not the caretaker. (A friend who works as a caregiver told me that as a caregiver, it was almost impossible to function in the daughter role, and I really missed that.)

So as I kept busy, cleaning out her room, taking care of her financial business, I really felt a peace. I thought I was doing quite well with the loss. However, as I returned to the activities of life: free time with my husband and family, vacationing, attending church again, I seemed to have lost something. I wasn't enjoying these activities. Mom had died the week after school finished for the year, and I had had all summer to get back the life I had pushed aside to care for her. However, as I returned to work as a teacher, I also found the job I loved so dearly was a drudgery. That's when it dawned on me: I am still grieving. I often feel a lack of joy, energy, or interest in jumping into a new activity. And a sadness will at times overwhelm me. It is so subtle however, that I did not recognize what it was.

So I am giving myself time. Time to heal, grieve, and take baby steps to return to "normal". What I am beginning to feel, however, is that the loss of a mother may never allow me to return, and I may have to look for a new "normal"

Comments for Caretaker? Daughter?

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May 12, 2012
caretaker, daughter
by: Anonymous

I hear and feel your pain..

My mom just died two months ago. I was a caretaker as she was in assisted living. She also had dementia chf and copd. I ran myself ragged. I was with her in the room when she passed, but she suffered and I didnt say enough to her like "I love you" i feel relief now. I am surprised by my grief as we didnt have the best relationship, but as a caretaker we were close. Today I cried the most I have ever cried in my entire life. again surprised that I had so much grief in such a difficult situation.

Thanks for sharing your pain

Dec 05, 2011
Glad to see I am not alone
by: Anonymous

I was so glad to read this...I so know where your coming from. I just lost my mother a month ago..I have been on here searching for something anything to help me to understand myself...i too was my mothers caretaker and it went on for 11 years...We always had a special relationship...Until I became the caretaker and as years went on I was getting old too and not in good health and it took its toll...Mom developed dementia along with congestive heart failure and numerous other health problems.the last year was an awful drain on me and I too did not demonstrate enough patience with her sometimes to the point she would cry because she would become frustrated and she demanded sooo much of me 24/7 I just was about to fall apart at the seams...Now that she is gone...I feel so guilty for the way I treated her as I didnt feel like a daughter either just a tired caregiver...I have cried and cried I just hate myself sometimes for how I treated her because I loved her more than anything and it was a relief to know that she isnt suffering but I just cant get over this miserable guilt of the way I treated her on the last....I miss her sooo and long to talk to her and tell her I am sorry but I know that its over and will I ever feel better about myself..

Sep 06, 2011
Daughter yes always

Have you been reading the post of previous grievers or are you just incredibly insightful ? That is what grief is all about, letting it take you where it wants. We have no control over grief we can not plan it nor know when it will end. It is a growth from within that stems from our loss. We will never be who we were and all strive to accept the new "normal" that we do not want initially. We want what was but can not be. My best to you as you adapt to this new life. Life has no flavor no zest at first, It takes a while to enjoy new experiences and a new found independence. The long road of grief brings many emotions and it is all part of where grief takes us. I too was my husbands caretaker so in essence instead of him being gone nearly 2 years he had been gone as I knew him for 3 years. I try not to think too deeply about it. The surgery that changed our lives is fast approaching. Sept 9th 2008. Thing will never be the same yet, is life supposed tone the same. Ever evolving only more so with grief...

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