My mom had Alzheimers, and I was her main caregiver
for 11 years and she died last February. I am feeling guilty that we had
to put her in a nursing home and the things that happened to her there
were sometime awful. Now, I feel so lost without her and dont know
what to do with myself. I dont feel like I have a purpose in Life
anymore. I dont get motivated very easily to do anything. I know
I should go back to work but dont really want the hassle of that
either. I dont feel close to my husband anymore, I love him but
I dont think I am in love with him anymore. Sometimes I just dont
want to be near him or anybody else. I am so scared I am going to get
Alzheimers, I push people away. I know this is wrong too. I also
want grandchildren real bad and my son cant seem to find anyone but thats
another story. Can you help me maybe get some perspective on all this?
I am sorry to hear about the loss of your mother. Losing a parent is always
a challenge no matter what kind of relationship one has with them. When
a parent has Alzheimer's many times you begin to feel the loss much earlier
before they die and it doesn't change the pain you may feel when they
actually do die.
Thanks for Being her caretaker for 11years, that is quite a job with lots
of responsibilities. Thanks for being the type of daughter that would
be concerned about the "awful things" you said they did to her
there. I assert that if you had known about them at the time you would
have done what you could to prevent it. Also, thanks for knowing your
limits as a caretaker, sometimes a nursing home is necessary for them
to get their needs met and for us to maintain our wellbeing so we can
continue to attend to them.
In order for one to move on and be free from past constraints, guilt,
etc., one needs to be complete about what occurred. One way to do that
is to complete a three letter series. This is an exercise designed to
support one in cleaning up the past. It may be useful to complete the
three letter series regarding your mother as well as the nursing home.
The first letter is a sad, angry letter that gives one the opportunity
to fully express all anger and sadness. The second letter is an "I'm
sorry, I'm responsible for ..." letter. This is your opportunity
to clean up your side of the street regarding what you are responsible
for. The third letter is an acknowledgement letter, designed to acknowledge
the person for who they had been in your life and what you have learned
from knowing them in all of their greatness and all of their humanity.
The three letter series is never meant to be sent so if you choose to
do them regarding the nursing home, please do not send the letters.
A therapist may be of benefit to you at this time to assist you in processing
feelings, address any depression you may be having (frequently noted by
a loss of pleasure in activities) or anxiety you may have regarding getting
Alzheimer's yourself. A coach could assist you in identifying your purpose,
developing project areas to step into a new life sans being a caretaker,
that you can enjoy (without having to wait on grandkids coming about).
My suggestion would be to look further into these options to obtain full
support for yourself as you face this
crossroad in your life.
Thank you for the opportunity to respond to your concern. I hope that
you find value for yourself in the feedback.
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* Stacy Ekstrand, L.C.S.W., C.P.C.
*Stacy is a licensed psychotherapist
and is a Certified Professional Coach. As an Ontological Coach, she works
with people to obtain an extraordinary life by their design. Some examples
of her clients include; a seven time Emmy award winner who is working
to put a television show on the air, a computer business owner looking
to increase his capacity to be in an extraordinary relationship, an HR
Administrator at a major corporation wanting to develop his coaching skills,
a female business owner wanting to produce a book, an insurance salesman
wanting to save his marriage and increase his business/income, an art
teacher wanting to enjoy her job more often.
Stacy also assists in training other people who are interested in becoming
more "Ontological Coaching" click here to view back issues.