My dad just died - still grieving for my mum

I lost my dad suddenly on Friday 29th September.
Although he was poorly the suddenness was unexpected. I feel so bad as I hadn’t seen him for 4-5 weeks due to having issues of my own. I had to have my dog put to sleep last week.
I am still struggling majorly with the grief of losing my mother 2 years ago.
Only this community could possibly understand the intense emotional pain and heartbreak I feel. The realisation that I’m now an orphan and now have no connection to my childhood. So many questions - I feel even more alone…and I’m in my 40s!
I’m struggling with the whirlwind flashes of memories of my dad and of course the guilt. Trying to distract yourself but your mind soon wonders back to them. It’s like a self torture on repeat.
I have to empty my dads belongings this week as his partner is going into the care system due to her dementia.
I had to clear my grans and my mums houses also.
I find it so very hard and almost undignified for them that I have to go through their life long belongings, their treasured sentiments, and collections - making decisions to ‘keep, throw away, sell or charity shop’. It feels wrong and horrid and I’m finding it so hard. I have still kept so many of my mothers belongings as I am unable to let go of them due to my grief for her and fear I am going to do the same with my dads.
Both of my parents were hoarders (divorced 30 something years ago) of different types and anyone else that has had experience with their parents hoarding and sorting their houses - knows it can be extremely unpleasant and upsetting at the same time. I did not realise the extent of the problem until I started to look through my dads house yesterday. I feel guilty for not trying to help more but argue with myself that I did try and you can only really help people if they want it.

Anyway sorry for the waffling, I’m just struggling to keep going right now.

1 Like

Hello @Ceej,

I’m so sorry for the loss of your parents. Thank you for sharing this with us. I’m just giving your thread a gentle, “bump” for you - hopefully someone will have some thoughts to share.

Take good care,

Thank you, I really appreciate it x

@Ceej I am sorry for your loss. I have lost both of my parents in the last year. Dad a year ago this week and Mum at Easter. The guilt is crippling at time, wondering if I did enough for them. I have friends that tell me I did so much but it doesn’t stop that feeling that I could have done more.
I have had to go through their stuff and it is upsetting seeing how they were living. I was nearby next door but one but I am disabled and physically couldn’t do much for them. When Dad was alive it wasn’t so bad because although he was poorly he was sharp as a tac he kept an eye on things. Mum however had Dementia. I did everything I could to keep her in her home. I arranged carers (she wouldn’t engage with them at all) A cleaner (who she loved but wouldn’t let her get anything done) I saw her daily but she still ended up in a home for the last week of her life. It was taken out of my hands because she was taken in hospital and they decided that she couldn’t cope on her own.

Going through their things has been difficult but sometimes a comfort as well. My parents hoarded stuff but it made me smile that a lot of the things they kept were from my childhood. I think the hardest part for me was getting rid of their clothes. I felt I should keep some (I don’t know why) . I think you have to be kind to yourself. That is what I am trying to do at the moment. As for it not being dignified. It is you going through their things not a stranger. If you need to hold on to some of your Dad’s things if that gives you comfort then do it. Equally don’t feel bad about letting some things go.

You are correct you cannot help someone if they don’t want to be helped and that was my situation. You have to keep telling yourself that. I have started adding up the positive things I did every time I have a guilt pang. Yes mum was in a home for a week, but I did everything I could to keep her out of there and I saw her every day that she was in there etc. Try to focus on you. I am waiting for grief counselling and I do hope that it will help me. I rushed back to work when my mum died threw myself into work when I should have concentrated on me and my feelings. I ended up having a meltdown a few weeks ago. I am now focussing on my own health. Please look after yourself. Take care.

Hi Ceej, my twin brother was a hoarder and his wife is still clearing out the house and his daughter has regularly come up from Ormskirk to help with the clearing,the radio sets he collected have mostly been sold(he was a radio ham and collected many war time radio sets, some out of Lancaster bombers and quite valuable) and while he lived there the place was unimaginable, radio sets, tools, bits of old clocks, clothes, plates of glass and enumerable unrelated bits and pieces strewn all over the floor to the extent that you had to be careful ware you walked, could not get to the back door and even the dog struggled to move about and it was hilarious to watch, my brother died from a brain tumor after a long, slow decline on the 4th September 2021, my mother died on the 5th January this year at home at the end of 4 years with dementia, I was her principle carer and my health was wrecked at the end of it to the point ware my GP put me under a mental health nurse used to dealing with battle field stress, apparently I Have a form of it, I suppose your mother dying in your arms on the stress level 1-10 is 11, enough about me, you have lost both parents are like me you are an orphan and for you from what you say the pain is not yet over, I am lucky in some ways, living with my mum in her house I have a roof over my head AND I do not have to clear the house out, I feel very sorry for you having to clear out your dads apartment with his partner going into dementia care, I suppose you will have to sell the house to pay for care, my mother wanted to pass away at home and I was available, I was determined she would not be left to die alone and what sort of son would I be if I had not done that for her?, it was the hardest thing I have ever done but I did it because it was the right thing to do, and with the help of others I was able to fulfill her wish, we were alone in the house when she passed, it was 2010 hours at night,I felt drained, exhausted and numb, I was in some sort of shock, the following days I just wanted to die in my sleeping bag and would have done so had I not been found, basically I am alone in the world with my old life gone forever, between 2012 and 2017 were the happiest years of my life, I went for direct cremation and return of the ashes followed by a service in April, her ashes are mounted in a casket on the lounge wall and form the center of a memorial to my family, there will always be a place for my mother,even if only her ashes, it is still her house,so often the ashes are put away at the back of a wardrobe or under a bed, until recently my brother was in a plastic bottle with a barcode on it, either they should be mounted properly and respectfully or scattered.I take it you are alone in the wrold?,life is not easy, and we all have are cross to bear, we all have one thing in common on this site, that is a need to reach out to others, we all have a form of bereavement depression or post bereavement depression and you are still coming to terms with the loss of your mother after two years, for me its 9 months and I have good days and bad days, some compare bereavement to getting over cancer, and yes, it can be like that, we can do a lot more about cancer then dementia(still a death sentence and kills more people then anything else, a dementia diagnoses is invariably a death sentence unless you die from something else along the way and at the end it is a crucifixion, you drown in your own fluids, clinically you die the death of christ, (I stepped up my mothers medication towards the end knowing what was coming, I did not want her to suffer)
Do not feel guilty about having to go through your parents effects, I know it feels tromatic, but it has to be done and is just one of those things, I have got rid of my mothers cloves (age uk) but I have kept most of the furniture, I have let the garden have its way this year having put a steel toe cap through my left foot and just after 2 days in hospital with cellulitis I was leading my mothers funeral including a 20 minute Eulogy that I did standing up, I carry on, as my mother would expect me to who at 95 grew up during the war and learnt about life at a very young age losing her cousin in the middle east on the 22nd May 1941 in the Crete operation, she was 13.
thinking about you.