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A bit of a tough day...

spandit

Registered User
Feb 11, 2020
114
Have you seen the Pixar film "Up!"? If you have, the following may strike a chord.

Today I've been sorting through a massive amount of paperwork that I've retrieved from my father's house. Most of it is old bank statements and tax returns but in amongst the chaff there were letters and a few photographs.

They started off addressed to both him and my mother about selling his business premises - a nice nest egg for retirement.
Valentine's cards to each other - "I will love you always" with their pet names for each other
An affirmation sheet my mother wrote, including how grateful she was that nobody in the family had cancer.
Then the purchase documents of a car he bought her as a "congratulations for beating cancer" present.
Then letters from her friends saying how awful it is to have heard of her diagnosis now that the cancer came back.
Then letters from MacMillan saying how she is going to be cared for.
Then letters from DWP saying she's entitled to disability benefit (helpfully dated 3 days after she died, in 2008)
Then letters of condolence addressed to my father only.
Then letters from cancer charities thanking him for his generous donation.
Then letters saying he has various hospital appointments.
Then letters saying his accounts/tax are overdue.
Then the letter confirming his dementia diagnosis.

Interspersed are various professional documents showing the intelligent man he once was (chartered surveyor). I come back inside to find him wearing pyjamas as he's managed to wee all down his trousers and can't work out (or explain to me) why the toilet has changed (it hasn't). I'm grieving and he isn't even dead.

I had my first counselling session today, organised by Care For The Carers. The overwhelming theme was my sense of guilt. Guilt for getting frustrated with him. Guilt for enjoying being away from him for a bit. Guilt for looking to sell his house without giving him the opportunity to say goodbye. Guilt for changing the locks so the people who did care for him for a while can't get back in (see my other thread on recommending a solicitor). Guilt for helping myself to stuff in his house that nobody else would want. Guilt for all sorts of things. I'm just hoping that over the course of the sessions I can reconcile some of these feelings.

Sorry for the long winded post.
 

Canadian Joanne

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 8, 2005
16,575
66
Toronto, Canada
@spandit Guilt is a useless and pointless emotion that so many of us have had to deal with over the course of our loved ones' illnesses. It is so very hard to accept the fact that we cannot be perfect in our dealings. What you should try to do is accept that you did and are doing the best that you can. Yes, it means that you might snap at your father, or be grateful to get away. I remember crying to a friend that all I wanted to do was to run away from everything and everybody, where no one would find me.

Finding all those letters must have been very difficult. I hope the counselling does help you reconcile your feelings.
 

Sarah1208

Registered User
Jun 22, 2020
47
Have you seen the Pixar film "Up!"? If you have, the following may strike a chord.

Today I've been sorting through a massive amount of paperwork that I've retrieved from my father's house. Most of it is old bank statements and tax returns but in amongst the chaff there were letters and a few photographs.

They started off addressed to both him and my mother about selling his business premises - a nice nest egg for retirement.
Valentine's cards to each other - "I will love you always" with their pet names for each other
An affirmation sheet my mother wrote, including how grateful she was that nobody in the family had cancer.
Then the purchase documents of a car he bought her as a "congratulations for beating cancer" present.
Then letters from her friends saying how awful it is to have heard of her diagnosis now that the cancer came back.
Then letters from MacMillan saying how she is going to be cared for.
Then letters from DWP saying she's entitled to disability benefit (helpfully dated 3 days after she died, in 2008)
Then letters of condolence addressed to my father only.
Then letters from cancer charities thanking him for his generous donation.
Then letters saying he has various hospital appointments.
Then letters saying his accounts/tax are overdue.
Then the letter confirming his dementia diagnosis.

Interspersed are various professional documents showing the intelligent man he once was (chartered surveyor). I come back inside to find him wearing pyjamas as he's managed to wee all down his trousers and can't work out (or explain to me) why the toilet has changed (it hasn't). I'm grieving and he isn't even dead.

I had my first counselling session today, organised by Care For The Carers. The overwhelming theme was my sense of guilt. Guilt for getting frustrated with him. Guilt for enjoying being away from him for a bit. Guilt for looking to sell his house without giving him the opportunity to say goodbye. Guilt for changing the locks so the people who did care for him for a while can't get back in (see my other thread on recommending a solicitor). Guilt for helping myself to stuff in his house that nobody else would want. Guilt for all sorts of things. I'm just hoping that over the course of the sessions I can reconcile some of these feelings.

Sorry for the long winded post.
That really does sound like a tough day. I am just in the process of starting to clear my mums house. She has just gone into a care home her anxiety of living alone and her dementia just got too much. I too have sorted through memories of a happy and organised lady who had paid bills meticulously in folders, letters from a school she helped at saying thank you....to tissue boxes stuffed with pieces of toast and dirty clothes folded back up in her drawers. It’s heartbreaking. I also found a photograph of my mother looking doey eyed into the eyes of a man who I can only assume must be my father. I never knew him. My counselling starts next week I’m hoping it’s money well spent.
 

RosettaT

Registered User
Sep 9, 2018
500
Mid Lincs
Oh @spandit, your distress comes through so profoundly, I wish I could give you a hug so have a virtual one (((hugs)))

We all have regrets, I am sure you have done and are doing your best. I hope the councelling gives you some peace.
 
Last edited:

Cazzita

Registered User
May 12, 2018
582
I also hope the counselling gives you some peace. It's so hard seeing our parents change so much and then inevitably we all have to sort out their 'stuff'. Don't feel guilty, you are human and you are doing nothing wrong. Do it your own way, try and offload the guilt to the back of beyond and take time out for yourself. Best wishes x
 

jennifer1967

Registered User
Mar 15, 2020
389
thats a lot of guilt. you are doing what needs to be done. i expect your dad wouldnt be able to sort it out. i hope the counselling helps and you can see what you have to do in a different perspective. when my nan died, i was given all the photos, momentos even christmas cards and letters from her brother who was a pow in the war. it felt like i was intruding in her things but they were fascinating and brought a lot of pleasure. maybe this could be a way of looking at it.there was also hp payment cards from the 50s. its social history. keep going and you will get there in the end and ditch the guilt it wont help you.
 

Lalafatma

Registered User
May 7, 2020
19
Have you seen the Pixar film "Up!"? If you have, the following may strike a chord.

Today I've been sorting through a massive amount of paperwork that I've retrieved from my father's house. Most of it is old bank statements and tax returns but in amongst the chaff there were letters and a few photographs.

They started off addressed to both him and my mother about selling his business premises - a nice nest egg for retirement.
Valentine's cards to each other - "I will love you always" with their pet names for each other
An affirmation sheet my mother wrote, including how grateful she was that nobody in the family had cancer.
Then the purchase documents of a car he bought her as a "congratulations for beating cancer" present.
Then letters from her friends saying how awful it is to have heard of her diagnosis now that the cancer came back.
Then letters from MacMillan saying how she is going to be cared for.
Then letters from DWP saying she's entitled to disability benefit (helpfully dated 3 days after she died, in 2008)
Then letters of condolence addressed to my father only.
Then letters from cancer charities thanking him for his generous donation.
Then letters saying he has various hospital appointments.
Then letters saying his accounts/tax are overdue.
Then the letter confirming his dementia diagnosis.

Interspersed are various professional documents showing the intelligent man he once was (chartered surveyor). I come back inside to find him wearing pyjamas as he's managed to wee all down his trousers and can't work out (or explain to me) why the toilet has changed (it hasn't). I'm grieving and he isn't even dead.

I had my first counselling session today, organised by Care For The Carers. The overwhelming theme was my sense of guilt. Guilt for getting frustrated with him. Guilt for enjoying being away from him for a bit. Guilt for looking to sell his house without giving him the opportunity to say goodbye. Guilt for changing the locks so the people who did care for him for a while can't get back in (see my other thread on recommending a solicitor). Guilt for helping myself to stuff in his house that nobody else would want. Guilt for all sorts of things. I'm just hoping that over the course of the sessions I can reconcile some of these feelings.

Sorry for the long winded post.
Hang on in there spandit!
 

spandit

Registered User
Feb 11, 2020
114
I have another 10 sessions to go. Not sure it's doing much for me yet. One of the difficulties is feeling like grieving without the closure - I'm worried that when he dies, I'll be so relieved but I won't remember the years before he was ill. He's struggling again today with his mobility and processing - forgot how to flush the toilet (that he's used every day for 6 months)
 

Canadian Joanne

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 8, 2005
16,575
66
Toronto, Canada
The good memories will all come back, trust me. It has been nearly 4 years since my mother died and the memories of her true self have come back.

What you are feeling is anticipatory grief, which is understandable in the circumstances.
 

jennifer1967

Registered User
Mar 15, 2020
389
you are probably grieving for the man he used to be but may be able to just take one day at a time. is it worth getting a notebook and write all the different memories down or something funny he says or does in the past or in the present. dont know if that would work
 

Sarah1208

Registered User
Jun 22, 2020
47
I have another 10 sessions to go. Not sure it's doing much for me yet. One of the difficulties is feeling like grieving without the closure - I'm worried that when he dies, I'll be so relieved but I won't remember the years before he was ill. He's struggling again today with his mobility and processing - forgot how to flush the toilet (that he's used every day for 6 months)
I know just what you mean about grieving. I felt the same the other day. I feel like this is the hardest part and feel like I will deal with mum passing away much easier. And that seems wrong. It help so much knowing other people feel the same.
 

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