We’re continuing our June Blogger Series and exploring what a day in the life of a caregiver who has experience great loss. Today’s guest blogger is Anne, who was a full time caregiver for her mother until August 2012. We wanted to give you a glimpse into what a day in the life is like losing someone you love and how to cope with their loss.
Here is Anne’s story:
From the day of Mom’s dementia diagnosis I started losing sleep. I couldn’t stop thinking about it and how our family would be effected by everything that was about to come our way. I started looking for information online. One of the first things I realized was that I needed to find a support group.
I found a support group thanks to my Aunt Margaret. She had been attending this support group at a local nursing home, The Episcopal Church Home in Louisville KY. Margaret convinced my dad to go with her. He was hooked! Then I went. I cried a lot during the first meeting hearing of how one day Mom would probably no longer know me, my sister, my dad.
Margaret, Dad, and I went to this support group once a month for several years. The group consisted of family members who were caregivers. We all discussed, laughed, cried, compared our experiences. This group gave me the strength I needed to know that I COULD GET THROUGH THIS.
At night I would lay in bed, my mind going a hundred miles an hour, thinking and worrying. One night I got out of bed, went to the living room with my journal and started jotting down everything I was thinking. FINALLY, I found my way of coping! WRITING! I put everything on paper and I could let it go. I didn’t have to think about it any longer because it was on paper. Sleep finally came.
When friends and family would ask about Mom or how we were doing I found it to be tough to rehash everything so I decided that a blog might be the way to go. With the blog they could all read about Mom’s condition online and find out what was happening; we wouldn’t have to explain over and over.
I thought there may be other people we didn’t know who might stumble across my blog who were in the same situation as us and understand that they were not alone. Along the way I found other blogs very similar to mine realizing that there is an entire community of people just like me! I started looking on Facebook and Twitter. Again, a whole new group of ‘friends’ who felt the frustration, sadness, the helplessness that I was feeling; an entire community of people who are caring for someone with some form of dementia who want to talk, help, and hug you.
It has been 10 months since my mom passed away on August 8th, 2012. Congestive heart failure is what took Mom. She did not die as a result of the dementia but I lost her years before her physical death, the dementia stole all of who she was.
My advice to anyone who is caring for someone they love with dementia is to find help. Find a support group. Find at-home care. Plan for the future of your loved one.
You cannot do it alone!
Don’t forget to read our past Day In the Life Posts:
Day In the Life: Kirsty
Day In the Life: Chris