Last Thursday was the first anniversary of my mother’s passing.
All day long I toyed with what I could or “should” say on social media. I thought about all the tributes and photos that people place on Facebook at such a time, all the comments from friends and acquaintances alike who never met my mother, but who would in all probability post something kind or predictable.
I guess I’m just not a Facebook person, and frankly, I don’t know that I will ever be one of those people who advertise what they were thinking, eating, doing – although I acknowledge that for people of other generations, that is a perfectly good way to stay in touch.
However, since Mom’s passing, I have realized that I am now a Senior Citizen and therefore not compelled to act like a Millenial, Gen-X-er or Boomlet. I am a BOOMER, and proud of it, and I still say VCR and ‘surf the web,’ which, according to http://www.dictionary.com, are several of the ten words that will show my age. If I were they, I’d be less concerned about advertising my age than I would be to not recognize that ‘surf the web,’ ‘wet blanket,’ ‘Dear John letter,’ and ‘long distance call,’ are phrases and not simply words (of which the article declares there were supposed to be only ten).
It’s been six rough months.
I am about 180+ days into my new life as an orphan, and it’s time to do an ‘about face.’ (Play the music if you want the mood.) I got through the holidays all right, reached my birthday in February without falling apart and for the most part have sorted through the majority of my mother’s belongings. But now it’s time to move forward. Now it’s time for me to answer the question posed in my blog title: What happens to a caregiver after a loved one is gone?
After combing the Internet for answers and talking to friends who have lost their loved ones (including one who is a psychologist), it seems there’s no right or wrong way to go about this. I was hoping for some guidance about time frames, some hurdles to get over or benchmarks to look for – that sort of advice. Alas! Like everything else, there’s no magic bullet. You just have to muddle through the best you can. And I’m also learning that just because you’re fine one day, doesn’t mean that grief won’t pop up years later and make you ‘surprisingly emotional.’
I haven’t visited my favorite caregiving website as much as I used to. It’s still too painful. But this morning, I did. And there was a question from someone whose father had dementia, and I found myself answering her question with more detail than I had anticipated.
I’ve just discovered old movies on YouTube. (Yeah, I know… but I just never looked!)
I mean… real oldies. The ones with Clark Gable, Loretta Young, Bette Davis, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Maureen O’Hara, Robert Young, Errol Flynn, and all the others too numerous to list. My sister would know the titles. My Dad and she shared a love of old cinema.
I was reading the latest J. Peterman catalog (Mom collected them as they were such fun to look through) and came across a statement that piqued my curiosity: “Your ancestors slept twice during the night.”
I had never heard of such a thing, and Googled it to learn more.