Dad died in July 2021 and mom has been in AL now for nearly 5 months. We are selling their home next week. It’s almost empty now. I’ve been so busy as I’ve rushed to go through their stuff, pack up, keep, donate, or throw away, plus doing minor repairs and also keeping track of my mom’s condition as she went back into the hospital recently. I can’t explain how much grief I have about letting go of this home where he lived for so long. I’m feeling like I’m saying the final goodbye to him. On the other hand, I know it’s right to sell. Mom needs the money. And dad would be in complete agreement of selling the house to get the money for her care. I just feel a constant lump in my throat & chest and I keep feeling like crying though I don’t dare let myself weep much right now because too much to do. Everywhere I look I see all the telltale signs of his care for this home. He fixed everything and loved to make little improvements that made things easier for mom. I hated emptying his room, going through things he had used or appreciated having. When he died, I cried a lot. But now it feels really final and my loss feels overwhelming. Has anyone else gone through this? Any advice?
Tears are healing, so let them flow and quit holding them back.
Second. I am sure you really did not grieve as you were busy caring for mom, getting things sorted out along with all the detail that go with a death of a loved one. (were you actually able to sit down and have time for yourself let alone actually grieve the loss of your dad since 2021?)
Third. Every time you turn a corner in the house you are hit with memories. And to realize that there will not be another Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, Birthday party, Anniversary party there hurts.
Fifth. This is what mom and dad called home. This is a chapter that is closing.
Endings are hard no matter the reason.
What you are feeling is normal and if you were not sad, were not having a difficult time that is when you might want to worry.
Take the memories. Cherish them.
Know that another family will be happy in a home that was filled with love and care.
I still have times when his loss overwhelms me. That's okay. I then take the word celebrate and my memories go back to things in our lives to celebrate. At first I felt guilt - guilt I wasn't a 100% perfect caregiver. In my heart - I gave all I could just as he would have. My most precious memories are those we made by being creative the last six years of his life. He demonstrated his love to me in the most tender ways - although the disease would poke it's ugly head and we had to go through this together - I would never want to lose those cherished moments.
I have donated most of his things to those who needed them. I kept his old jacket he didn't want to part with, his shirts he wore repeatedly though he had new ones. My husband and I believed that if you can make someone's life easier - then do so. I was happy to donate to others the clothes I bought to make his life easier with dementia, the tools and activities that we did during the disease - all donated to help others.
When I have to fix something or arrange for someone else to do it - I get overwhelmed because he took care of it in the past. Now, I am celebrating life and all we did together and apart from each other. Memories are a special gift God gives to us. I am planning on writing down my memories which I understand is a great way to go through the grief. I'm so thankful that he is happy in heaven. Celebrate your blessings.
I didn't grieve for my dad almost at all in the beginning, because overnight I became responsible for my mother's care, arranging his funeral, her nursing home placement and all their affairs, and that was a full-time job. (Theirs was the classic case of the caregiver dying first.)
For me, a terrible dread settled on me as the first anniversary of his death approached. (Very odd, as I don't "do" death anniversaries.) I think I feared for my mother's broken heart mostly, but as it turned out she had no concept of the date by then nor did she even remember Dad anymore, so that great heavy weight in my chest was all my own. Somehow when that date passed, I was OK from then on. It never happened after my mom died, because it was very much her time, and I'd been grieving her loss for years as dementia stripped away everything but the shell.
We sold their house last July a year after my mother's death, and after the Realtor's people did all the "lipstick on the pig" work to make it appealing to buyers, it was unrecognizable as my parents' house or the home I grew up in. Oddly, it didn't affect me in the slightest, and I haven't given the house another thought.
This was my childhood home. Sometimes, I drive past where I grew up and see a brand new house standing on the property. It affected me very deeply at first. I felt like my life there had been erased altogether. It’s kind of hard to explain.
Anyway, as I said in an earlier post, everyone grieves in their own way. Wishing you peace and healing in your journey of grieving for your parents.
Be kind to yourself, let yourself grieve and don’t do it all alone. Find and allow people, family, friends to help you go through the house and experience the memories with you.
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