New Here - Glad to Find You

kimnkittiesNovember 17, 2004

We lost my Mom 8 years ago after a quick (2 week) illness. She was the buffer between my sister and I and our Dad. We managed to keep it together, and Daddy and I became pretty close. (My husband always commented that Daddy and I could spend hours together and never say a dozen words, but knew what each was thinking.) Daddy was in a car wreck Christmas Day, 2000, and after 18 months in various hospitals, we brought him home rather than put him in a nursing home. My husband and I quit our jobs in the "big city" and moved back to the country where I was raised. I became caregiver to Daddy 24/7. He had traumatic brain injury and was paralyzed from the upper abdomen down. The brain injury was such that he sometimes didn't realize the condition he was in. He had constant infections from Foley catheter, and respiratory problems from not being able to cough up the stuff that settled in his lungs. With the last bout of pneumonia, his veins were shot and IV was the only option, but he didn't want that. The illness kept him from sleeping, and DH and I were getting worn out, so we put him in nursing home for respite where he passed away. He kept telling us "they" told him his life expectancy was 2 years, and as it turned out, he died 2 yrs and 1 week from the date of the accident. Since our brother drowned when he was 13, some 32 years ago, my sister and I are what's left of a family of 5. We weren't that close until Momma died, but have gotten close since then, and Daddy's trauma brought us even close. I had been rocking along pretty well recently, but I think the holidays are starting to affect me. I took my cat to the doctor with an infection in her foot and was feeling bad that it had gotten to the point of causing her so much pain, when I saw a man who reminded me of Daddy and ended up standing in the grocery store milk aisle with tears running down my face. I talked to my sister later in the day and found out she had been in a store watching a mother and daughter buying gifts for the grandchildren, and she had to go to the car and have a good cry. She and her husband had gone through years of invitro and trying to have a 2nd child (first one is a boy - 13), when they were told it wasn't going to happen, so they gave up. Three months after Daddy died, she found out she was expecting, and her little girl just turned a year old last month. (Daddy had been telling me about a baby before he died, but we didn't know what he was talking about) The hardest thing for her is seeing her children without grandparents on her side. Her inlaws aren't that "grandparenty". Momma was the ultimate grandmother and would have been beside herself with a little girl to make clothes for and love on. (I have a 28 year old single son) I still have spells of feeling guilty about having to put Daddy in the nursing home for what we thought was a temporary break, but I was on the edge of sanity. My husband tries, but his family has had no tragedy and all are still alive and healthy. I really don't feel they appreciate their good fortune. Sometimes I have to push him to spend time with them (preferably without me). They are odd creatures to me. DH had a mild heart attack a few months ago and ended up going to a hospital near his mother's house, but she didn't come to see him (we live about 60 miles apart) because she had a nail appointment. My mother would have moved heaven and earth to be with me if it had happened to me. That's what I miss the most, the comfortable feeling of someone who would do anything to help me. I don't suppose you are ever too old to feel like an orphan.

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Kim, I'm glad you found us also. First of all, I am so sorry about your mom, dad and brother. I can imagine what you are feeling with both your mom and dad gone. I lost my mom in June of this year and my dad is 80. Even though he is in good health now, I know that I will probably eventually have to bury him too and I dread the day. There is no love like the love of a parent for her/his child. I also lost my precious 19 year old daughter to a tragic accident. She was trying to save our dog who had been hit by a car (I think he was already dead), but she didn't want him to be hit again. She got hit. She was beautiful inside and out and I miss her so much.
I always notice moms and daughers when I am out because I am without my daughter and now my mom and I was always with one or the other.
Try not to feel guilty about having to put your dad in a nursing home. You did what you thought you needed to do at the time and it sounds like you were a very loving daughter. Your dad would not want you to spend a second of your time feeling badly about your decision.
Maybe as your dad grew closer to death, he "saw" the baby who was to be born. There is so much that we don't know or can't understand about life and death.
Please stay with us. The forum doesn't move real fast, but you never know when someone pops in here who really needs our help and being that you have lost your parents and a sibling, you might very well be a great help to someone else.
I'm so glad that you have come and shared your story with us. God bless you.
Meet my beautiful Christin at the site below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Christin Cosby Memorial Web Site

    Bookmark   November 17, 2004 at 2:41AM
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Hi Kim,

It's true, you are never too old to feel like an orphan. My Mum lost her father and mother a few years ago, and they went only a year apart. She has a sister who she is very close to. I am so thankful that they have each other. They have said on a few occasions that they are orphans, as well. When you lose people that you love, it is important to pull in your family and friends who love you unconditionally and who understand how you are feeling.

I understand how you feel about your husband not "getting" your emotions on your loss. My boyfriend is the same way. I had a really hard time communicating with him after my brother Joel died because he didn't treat his family or value his family how I valued my bother and my Mum. I still to this day try and urge him to make more of an effort and give his parents and his little sister more credit and more of a chance to be close to him. But, I have realised that relationships (even family relationships) need to be a two way street. Chris made an effort to be a better son and brother and was met with a complete lack of interest on the side of his mother and sister. So now, being able to see the inside of their relationship, I can see why my boyfriend doesn't value his family as I once thought he should. .

It is important that your husband tries to understand your grief, but I have found that using your partner more as a distraction than someone to talk about your loss with is more appropriate. For talking about my loss (our loss) I talk with my mother, my aunt and my step-dad - They understand how much I loved my brother and they understand the emotions and the anger that I have, and the big gaping hole that is sometimes present in my life. My boyfriend doesn't understand that and I have found that trying to force him to "get it" is more stressful and that I should limit the communicating to my Mum and Aunt.

I am not saying shut your husband out and don't talk to him, just don't expect him to fully understand what you are feeling. And when you need to vent, find people who can relate more to your emotions. I am sure that your husband will always be there for you, regardless of whether he understands your grief or not.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2004 at 11:36AM
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Nell Jean

Sometimes people, including family, just don't meet our expectations. That's okay. I'm big on 'chosen family.' If your family isn't picture book perfect, you can choose some folks who suit better. A Thanksgiving table surrounded by family is great. So is a Thanksgiving table surrounded by 'waifs and strays.' For many years, I was privileged to have a friend who never had children but was always surrounded by the children of other people at every holiday. She had a marvelous time.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2004 at 8:29PM
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