Loss of My Mum and Looking After My Dad

I lost my mum to a rare form of cancer 6 weeks ago, it still doesn’t feel real. She was my best friend and I would speak to her everyday on the phone. I miss her so much, everything seems to remind me of her.

I helped my dad care for her when she was ill, but it all happened so quickly that we’re both finding it hard to come to terms with.

My mum did everything for my dad so although I no longer live at home I’ve stayed with him during the school holidays. I stayed a few days with him and a few days at home, I’m staying more at home now as I go back to work soon. He has let me do everything, which I have let him do during these early weeks as the funeral was only a couple of weeks ago.

I know it’s early days but I’m worried about a few things

  1. How do I grieve when I’m looking after him and don’t get much alone time?
  2. How do I make it so he doesn’t become reliant on me?
  3. He seems to not want to cook, I’m going to get him to do the cooking while I guide him. I’m just worried he won’t cook otherwise.
  4. I now feel like my life is on hold and I’m going to have to stay with him at the weekends. Any advice?

I want to be there for him, but I need my own time to grieve, I feel like I’m doing two lots, a limited version at their house and then another lot at mine.

Luckily I have an understanding partner, I don’t want to put everything on him. But also don’t want to have to run two households.

I’m sure this is all just grief talking and things will work out, but I’m just so worried about him. My mum was worried how he would manage and I don’t want to let her down.

I’m just feeling very overwhelmed, coping with not having my mum here anymore, coping with my dad, housework x2, missing my partner and my dog, preparing to go back to a very stressful job and whether I can have a life.

Thank you for any help and advice. X

Hi Bee,
Don’t worry about the future Just take one day at a time.Thats all you can do otherwise worrying about what will happen to your dad,when you are not there,whether he will make food etc will all get too much for you and it will overshadow your own grief. When you are at your dad’s house take some time out to be on your own eg have an hour in your bedroom which will give yourself time to grieve on your own.Go into the garden for a while.Just think of things to do that can take you away from your dad for a short while.
You will find a way to deal with it and help your dad.He may not feel like eating at the moment but when you are not there he will probably make something just to get by. That is fine for the time being
I used to live 40 miles away from my mum and cared for her.I used to stay with her for 4 nights then she would come back with me for 3 nights then I would repeat. Not ideal but it was the best I could sort out.Thankfully my husband was wonderful about it so I was lucky. Every situation is different though.
There were many times that my mum didn’t make food for herself so I batch cooked food for her and put it in her freezer.That way I knew she would have decent meals and she only had to put them in the microwave.
I would try to get your dad to make the meals when you are there or do it together so it’s not all left to you Stay with him one night on the weekend and see how he manages. Could your partner also stay there with you so you have him for company? It would also release you to have some time alone.
Is there any other support you can get for your dad ?
Thinking of you
Deborah x

1 Like

Thank you, that makes a lot of sense.

My partner can’t stay as we have animals that he is looking after.

I have got him to do the cooking this evening and it was no problem.

He has relations that come and take him out for a meal sometimes. He is friends with my in laws so he can see them sometimes too.

I’ve looked at local groups he can join, which I’m sure he’ll do when he’s ready.

Thanks for the advice though. X

Thats all good so far so well done
Involve everyone you can to help you get through this and take as much help as you can
Deborah x

Hi Bee

I lost my mum in June and have been helping to care for my dad since.

Initially, my experience was very much like yours. My dad was so caught up in his loss, I didn’t get any support and I did everything for him. After about five weeks of this, I needed to take a step back, as like you I was conscious I didn’t really have time to grieve myself. So I started taking mornings to myself and not being around for dad until lunchtime or after. This space really helped us both really.

I am now almost four months on and things have improved. Dad is starting to establish a new routine for himself. He has joined a local coffee morning, a seniors group and an exercise class. Since he is busier, I don’t feel like I need to be around as much. This is good as work has been so busy and previously it was a real strain on me to juggle such a busy job and supporting dad as much.

I still cook for him most days but I am happier leaving him on his own for longer periods of time now he has a routine and seems better in himself too.

There are still days he struggles and I have to rush around but largely things are settling down. We both still have days where we cry a lot. More recently, I have been experiencing some flash backs which have been upsetting. I think work being busy again is triggering it as I don’t have much time just to sit and relax.