I heard from an old friend the other day and it took me back years. We met through an Alzheimer's support network years ago when we were both caring for our moms at home. We were both out of our minds, handling our moms on our own, trying to keep up with the daily insanity that Alzheimer's brings. Those who have been/are going through this know about the bizarre conversations, arguments, confusion, the wandering, the hiding/finding of items...We both eventually lost our moms to Alzheimer's and didn't keep in touch as well.
It was really nice to hear from her and we both looked back at where we had been like it was a lifetime ago. It really does feel like it was another life now that it's over. However, I remember when you're in the midst of it, it feels like it's going on forever and there's no end or relief in sight.
I know a couple of people who have recently lost parents and are still grieving and recovering from it. It takes a while, especially if your life isn't really full otherwise (I don't mean for that to sound bad - it was my situation too). If you have spent day in & day out caring for your parent and put the rest of your life aside, you will definitely have a harder time recovering from their passing. The first while in "Club O" really sucks. You need to rebuild your life and start filling it with activities, people and work. I didn't do this right away and found myself in a bit of a rut. As a popular current song says "You can get addicted to a certain kind of sadness".
I have no doubt that I was depressed while my mom had Alzheimer's for 16 years and afterwards for a while too. How could you not be?! It was like the longest death sentence ever...it makes you almost wish for a quick death (my dad went quickly and unexpectedly when I was in high school and although that wasn't great, it was better than drawing it out over 2 decades). I wonder if there's a study out there that takes into account the secondary illnesses that Alzheimer's causes on the caregivers. I was lucky to be young and healthy physically to take care of my mom but I'm sure that many caregivers are older than me and suffer physically too.
So here I am, four years after my mom passed, in the new chapter of my life. I have a 2 year old baby who has become so enjoyable and I feel happy. As one of my readers says about her own son: "my son saved my life". It's true. He has given me a new chapter in my life even though it took a long time to get here. With my son, the first year was pretty crazy with the extreme colic and I often wondered what the hell I was doing but now we've gotten past that, both my DH and I absolutely love and adore him. We've become a family and it feels good.
My bottom line today? If you're in a bad situation right now, just remember that you'll get through it and have a new chapter one day too. My last chapter lasted a long, long time and I sometimes felt quite hopeless but I'm here to tell you that you'll make it too.