I Am Lost Without Mom
"I spent the last three years caring for my mother until she passed away. It was day and night, a labor of love, and I have no regrets for the time spent. What I have found difficult is filling the extra time I now have. I find myself a bit aimless most of the time. My mother consumed all of the energy I had, and now there is a void I don't know how to fill. Is this normal?" - READER
My sincere condolences on the loss of your mother.
You are in a period of transition. You likely spent the last three years using every ounce of energy you had to care for your mother and yourself. It likely consumed more hours in a week than working a full-time job, maybe two. When that experience comes to an abrupt end, you should feel a loss.
The change you are experiencing is quite normal. Therefore, it has left you with days to fill, no plans and no caregiver obligations. The world is now open to you, and a little bit of aimless wandering would be expected.
You may also be experiencing some grief. The mother who had been part of your life since your birth is no longer. That loss, alone, will create quite a void for most individuals. An initial period of disorientation is quite common. That can be followed by reorientation to living your life without that key individual.
It might be good to reconnect with siblings and friends you may have distanced yourself from while you were a caregiver. Schedule a lunch, movie, or shopping trip with an old friend. Take this time to try out new volunteering opportunities. There are many opportunities out there, and by merely searching online you will come across quite a few.
Do not be afraid to reflect and ponder the loss you feel. It is okay to be a bit out of sorts right now. This is also an opportunity to be out there trying new things, meeting people. One wonderful way to meet people experiencing the same thing as you is by attending a grief support group. Whether your grief is profound or not, the sharing of experience is quite helpful for most individuals.
Know that what you are experiencing is common as you transition to a new life pattern. Do not hesitate to seek new opportunities and support if it feels like a fit for you. I am certain that your mother would want you to move on to a full life and was grateful for everything you did to support her in her final years.
I wish you the best.
Family Caregiving Advice Column
Written by CEO, Mary Haynor, this newsletter is packed with useful tips, resources and practices that will make the lives of family caregivers easier.Learn More...
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