1. Amy in the US

    Amy in the US Registered User

    Feb 28, 2015
    I am upset and unable to sleep (at an unholy hour in the morning here in the States) and thought maybe writing it out, would help me to calm down.

    It's not a crisis, just (what I sense is) the accumulation of a lot of small issues.

    A year ago, my mother, who was not then diagnosed, had a crisis, went into hospital (was sectioned, in UK terms), was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, and I was told she had to go into a care home. So we moved her from her home of the last 50+ years (the city; she'd been in that property for about 20 years) to a care home in the city where I live. She had been 100 miles away; now she's only 15 minutes.

    I'm an only child with a very supportive husband but no other close relatives on her side, as she is also an only child.

    My mother is doing well in the care home although early days were not great.

    My husband and I immediately started clearing the property, knowing it would eventually need to be sold. We usually only had one day a week where we could make the round trip drive and sort and clean. It took months, and it's still not completely cleared out.

    Of course I had to deal with the immediate health crisis, and then the financial issues, first, as well as getting my mother settled in the care home and all the issues that go with that. This all took more time and energy than I care to remember.

    I am finally making real progress on getting her finances and legal affairs sorted, and an outstanding issue is to sell the property. The first estate agent quit about a month ago, and we started all over again with Estate Agent Two. A week ago Saturday my husband drove down to the property to meet Estate Agent Two. My husband thought the guy was fine, and gave him a key to the property. The agent said he would begin his "market analysis" to figure out what it would likely fetch on the market, and would get us information soon, and that he could help us dispose of the remaining contents of the property, mostly furniture. There are a few pieces I am keeping but haven't arranged to have shipped to where I live yet.

    Tonight when I couldn't sleep, I read the emails that had arrived today from Estate Agent Two. One is about paperwork, the contracts and so forth we are meant to fill out, and how the property will be listed and so forth. One I don't remember, and the third one contained photos of the property. Lots of the furniture is no longer there. EA2 (Estate Agent Two) also asked if we want him to take the contents of the storage room and donate it. I was incredibly upset by all of this.

    I have thought and thought and finally figured out that I'm upset because:

    -although my husband told me that EA2 would help us dispose of furniture, I didn't understand that EA2 would do so without asking/informing me first

    -it's possible, but unknown right this minute, that EA2 has disposed of items I wished to keep (and also possible that my husband and I removed them already; I simply can't remember and can't bear to wake my husband to ask him). It's a set of chairs that belonged to my great-grandmother. Probably not worth anything, but one of those items where, as a child, you're taught they are full of sentimental value and must be treasured for all time. Two of them were in the house where I grew up and I was fond of them. This is doubly distressing because those chairs were saved, by me, when my grandmother wanted to dispose of them in 1992 (now I know that was the beginning of her Alzheimer's, but that's another story). I can't bear to think that I saved them from dementia and the rubbish heap once, only to lose them now. But as I said, this isn't certain, and I'm trying not to be upset in advance of the facts.

    -I was distressed that EA2 even looked in the storage closet. Most of what remains in there is my grandmother's china, crystal, and silver. It's not valuable by a long shot and I may or may not keep it, but I feel distressed that this man, whom I've never met, would suggest to take it to Goodwill (I think you'd say the charity shop in the UK).

    I wrote EA2 a polite but very clear email to say, I appreciate all your help, but don't dispose of the contents of the storage closet, don't even go into the storage closet, we will be in touch soon, and by the way, don't get rid of the desk, the armchair, and where are the other chairs? I copied my husband and will ask him, if he knows where the chairs are.

    Then I went and made a cup of tea and tried to read a book to calm down, but it didn't work, and here I am, spilling my guts on the Internet in the wee hours of the morning.

    The other issues are that in the past few weeks, things have picked up the pace quite a bit in terms of work with/for the solicitor, the accountant, the financial guy, an issue with investments, and other bits and pieces. There is also some personal stress (a good stress, but still stress). So there have been a lot of meetings and phone calls and emails and extra paperwork. I was already drowning in paperwork, and now there is more. I have also been offered a part-time job and that's also a major cause of stress right now.

    I try very hard to stay functional and keep going. I am grateful I no longer have to make the 100 mile drive to take my mother to the doctor and worry about her being alone. But there is still work to do, with her in the care home. As some of you know, I am not, and have never been, emotionally close to my mother, and do all of this out of duty. I really do try my best, but it always seems it is not good enough.

    Some friends and family have disappeared, but the ones that have stuck are good, and do care. I go to a carer's group a couple of times a month and have one activity I've managed to keep doing. I see a counselor from time to time. I try to keep going. I feel so much better than I did even a couple of months ago. I thought it was getting better.

    But I was completely blindsided, by the distress about the property and the estate agent. How could I possibly be so upset, about some tatty old chairs that might not even be missing? (I do know, of course, that it's probably not the chairs I'm upset about, or not just the chairs, but that's all the insight my sleep-deprived brain can provide.)

    The other issue is about feeling that no matter how hard I try, or what I do, it's just not enough. I've tried and tried and tried to take care of myself, and be productive and okay, and I don't think I've done a good job. I've tried to tell people that I am tired and stressed and overwhelmed, and I can't seem to make myself understood.

    If anybody actually managed to read through this, I'm impressed. If you have any advice for me, I will listen.
  2. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    Dear Amy, Take a deep breath, and try to prioritise.

    Reply to the the solicitor, the accountant, the financial guy, the issue with investments, and other bits and pieces when you are ready. They of all people are used to making people wait and waiting for replies in turn.

    Everything does not have to be done at once. Pace yourself.

    It looks to me as if EA2 is asking your advice and has not taken any action yet. EA2 may have put the furniture you think has gone into storage.

    If you can, have a day off. Do not even look at emails or paperwork. Treat yourself to something which will enable you to give yourself some TLC. Everything can wait.

    You are upset about your mum and the speed everything is escalating.
  3. Lawson58

    Lawson58 Registered User

    Hi Amy,

    I am afraid that I am unable to offer you any advice but you certainly have my understanding and sympathy.

    So often it is the little things that hold special memories for us but I think it is also the sense of connection that we treasure and hold dear.

    I was only four years old when my mother died and subsequently spent a lot of time with my grandmother. She died while I was in my teens and living several thousand miles away so everything in her estate was handled by my cousin. My cousin wrote and asked if there was anything I would like as a memento so I requested a couple of the old family photo albums which I thought as having that connection to my mother and her family.

    Strangely enough, in spite of writing to her several times, I never heard from her or ever saw her again and I have no idea what happened to the photo albums. That was almost sixty years ago but it still makes me feel sad that all those old family photos have gone and with them the last remaining connections with my mother.

    You seem to be very well organized and I think your estate agent has overstepped his professional boundaries. I hope that you can sort this out with a minimum of fuss. Caring for someone when you are no longer emotionally involved can be such a thankless task, just an endless round of things that have to be done and appointments to keep.
  4. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    Oh dear feeling so sad for you Amy xx
    It is a part of the grieving process I think - as Lawson said all those memories of how things are, regrets about how they should have been .....all tied up in 'things'. That is human nature and the only way through is to keep plodding - not very helpful. I 'get it'. A year on I still have a lot of my Mas things here and if anyone touched them I would be very upset - just because those memories belong to us and I'll do whatever I do with them when I want to do it lol. I went to 7 charity shops to find one which would guarantee they wouldn't just bonfire some of her thousands of books in the first 7 days if they didn't sell - barmy but necessary.

    When the house is sold you will start to feel a little better but between now and then is a little like the time between the death and funeral. Just keep telling yourself it is normal and that you will see the light but it might not be today or next week but it is there and it will return.

    Thinking of you xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  5. stanleypj

    stanleypj Registered User

    Dec 8, 2011
    North West
    I can relate to the feelings and worries you are having Amy.

    I think that so many of us caring for a PWD are trying to deal with so many things simultaneously that we forget something important or remember something we should have done, and may have but can't actually be sure. Quite often, for me, it's down to a chaotic 'filing system' (I wish!) that probably does contain the answers but......

    When other people are involved (like EA 2) and may not be totally clear in their explanations the worries can really eat away at you, especially in the middle of the night!

    Chances are that things will all be explained satisfactorily. I do hope so.

    But sadly the anxieties come with territory I think. As one is resolved another emerges.
  6. RedLou

    RedLou Registered User

    Jul 30, 2014
    #6 RedLou, Jan 19, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2016
    Amy - you know yourself this is about more than the chairs. You need a break from all this. How much can you handle a day/a week? Do you need a full day (or more) off from your mother a week? Are you getting that? How about not visiting her for a bit (fill in time period) - if she's in the 'not good enough' phase you may need that. When I went through that with my father it was deeply distressing and affected my health and peace of mind more than anything else - it's absolutely the pits and I suspect this is at the root of your insomnia. All I can add is take care of yourself, be kind to yourself. I was taught a technique where you try to keep the dementia at arm's length - whenever I got a stressful phone call or other demands, I'd physically hold my arm out and envisage holding the problem that far away from me. It did help a bit.

    PS -- You may find the job a life-line - something to concentrate on so that dementia cannot creep into your thoughts for a few hours each day. ?? I certainly found my job (what was left of it after dementia had mauled it) a welcome distraction. It helped me feel like myself and not like some helpmeet to a horrible selfish ungrateful person, which was what dementia made my father.
  7. Amy in the US

    Amy in the US Registered User

    Feb 28, 2015
    Thank you all

    Thank you all very much for your kind replies.

    I was able to get a bit of sleep. I see there are emails from the estate agent and I'm ignoring those for the moment. He and my husband can sweat over this without me for the rest of today! Perhaps this will improve their ability to communicate.

    I will consider all your comments and suggestions. I had thought I was taking plenty of time "off" from the paperwork, but perhaps that's not the case, or perhaps that needs to shift in some way. I do have some things on my calendar that are just for me this week, plus something fun this weekend, so I will try concentrating on those appointments and not the dementia stuff.

    Stanley, you are so right about dealing with so many things, that I forget details or lose sight of something. I try to keep track of everything in a notebook/binder system, but often feel too busy to update it. But this is part of the anxiety, you are correct.

    RL, I am intrigued by your visualization technique and will consider that. I will write more about that when I have more time.

    Fizzie, definitely part of the grieving process, you are right. My lack of emotional closeness with my mother doesn't remove that aspect of dementia, it only changes it. Also, when I was clearing out my mother's place, there was a lot of stuff of my grandmother's that my mother hadn't cleared. (My grandmother also had Alzheimer's and my mother was her live-in carer for some years.) In some way, possibly because it was unexpected, that was very difficult--I can't quite articulate it. I know this is a piece of the distress I'm feeling now.

    Lawson, what you said about the connections made sense. I don't have a relationship with my mother, but she's still my mother, and dealing with all those things somehow underscores that. I also appreciate what you said about the endless round of tasks and appointments. I definitely feel that!

    Grannie G, yes, you're right. Even if I'm not close to my mother of course I'm upset. And while I'm glad that things are moving, the speed can be overwhelming.

    I have to run, to try to make that lunch date with a friend, but will think about this more. Thank you all for your insight and support. Now I know why people post about, "I shouldn't whinge while others are suffering so much more," but I'm trying not to say that!!

    Thank you all so very much.
  8. looviloo

    looviloo Registered User

    May 3, 2015
    Oh Amy, please take this great big {hug} from the UK. We've been in very similar situations so I can empathise with a lot of your feelings. I'm in the process of clearing my dad's house single-handedly, and it has been going on for months. It's so hard and mentally/emotionally draining. No-one on the outside can fully understand, even close friends find it hard to provide the support I need (bless them). Because in the end there's only us that can do it, to make the decisions and 'let go'.

    And I think (at least for me) it's the 'letting go' that's the crux of the matter. Different people react in different ways... some simply won't get involved, some are ok at organising the clearance but want others to do it, while others, like us, need to think and process and take time to come to terms with what's happening. It's a grieving process, and there's no right or wrong way to do this.

    It sounds like you're doing all that you can on a practical level. I hope you local the chairs that matter so much and that this quells your anxiety. Maybe you'll relocate them and still decide to pass them on, but it'll be your decision. If you don't find them, then you will still come to terms with, it'll just take more time. Don't underestimate the enormity of what you're going through and be gentle with yourself. I'll be thinking of you :).
  9. CeliaThePoet

    CeliaThePoet Registered User

    Dec 7, 2013
    Buffalo, NY, USA
    You've gotten great advice above. Take it all. Definitely slow down the process if you can.

    A visualization/meditation which helped me during the worst of times with my mother (hospitalization, clearing her apartment, moving her to assisted living) was to imagine that I was a mountain--still, tall, solid. Many things go on on the mountain--hikes, weather, animal travel--but the mountain just sits, at least for the 15 minutes of time I used to meditate. This was the only time I didn't feel urgency, overwhelm, horror, worry.

    Thinking of you.
  10. Slugsta

    Slugsta Registered User

    (((Amy))) I am so sorry for your distress. You have had some very good input - from people far more knowledgeable and experienced than me. I will say just one thing - whatever your mother and your Guilt Monster might tell you, your best IS good enough.
  11. jknight

    jknight Registered User

    Oct 23, 2015
    Dear Amy,

    All I can offer is support and a shoulder to cry on! You have shown me such compassion as a new member of this forum.

    Here for you

    J x
  12. Amy in the US

    Amy in the US Registered User

    Feb 28, 2015
    Goodness, now I'm overwhelmed by all the kind responses here! Thank you all so much.

    My therapist has been urging me for some time to find some sort of meditation, visualization, yoga, stress relief, whatever you call it, class or workshop to take. Every time I found one, it conflicted with something I had to do, to care for my mother! (I imagine a lot of you can relate to that.) I have finally found one I can attend and have an informational session tomorrow. It's something like, mindfulness based stress reduction and it's an eight week class. Maybe this will be just what I need.

    I do like the visualization techniques that RedLou and Celia described and will see if those work for me.

    You will be pleased to hear that I took the day off from paperwork. Okay, maybe a couple of emails, but nothing major. I see that Estate Agent 2 has emailed and left me voicemails, but I will read them/listen to them tomorrow, and in the meantime, my husband can sort him out. It will keep. If the chairs are gone, they're gone (and I won't have to figure out what to do with them! and maybe Estate Agent 2 will feel guilty and be more careful with people's belongings in future!) but if not, no harm done.

    I had lunch with a friend, which is a nice, normal thing to do. The sun was shining so although it was chilly today (a high of 17 F which is...minus 8 to you lot in the UK) it was nice in the car. Then, I went to the massage therapist. She mostly works on my back pain and knee pain and neck pain (I know where the pain in the neck comes from, and it's an old back injury, but the knee problem is new) but was able to get me relaxed overall today, which was great (she is a lifesaver) We will have a nice dinner and maybe I will rot my brain with stupid television as a treat. We have a show on one of our food channels, called Chopped, a cooking competition, which requires no thought to watch or enjoy. (I know there's a Canadian version, but not if you have it in the UK. Mystery baskets, last chef standing wins the prize, that sort of thing.) And we've been watching a UK television series called Episodes which promises to be very funny.

    Best of all, I have kind words, support, and good ideas from everyone here on TP.

    It's truly much appreciated. Thank you all very much.
  13. jugglingmum

    jugglingmum Registered User

    Jan 5, 2014
    Amy - read this in work today and so couldn't post. So much describes my initial period of dealing with my mum's crisis. Finding her somewhere to live whilst she yo-yo'd between my and my brother took 3 months, meanwhile I visited her house (round trip 400 miles) to assess and then start clearing. This took all my spare time, including time off work. Then catch up with house. Feeling guilty as had used holidays to sort mum out so couldn't take them off with kids and OH. Then brother didn't clear house so I went to clear it - this took a while - and inbetween visits was a big catch up on housework etc. A friend came and helped, but he ended up clearing my old bedroom - I'd have got all sentimental over things but still wish I'd had a chance to get sentimental. I might have kept some items, but I had managed nearly 30 years without them (never visited mum she came to me due to extreme hoarding). Know I didn't need them but still sort of with I'd had a final chance to see them. Now over 2 years later still trying to get ontop of paper work, I manage some progress each week but really need to have it boxed off by early March when other bits of life kick in again.

    I have felt overwhelmed with so much to do, and I wanted to clear paperwork first and OH wanted me to clear her house (brother was meant to but that's another story). Hopefully nearly there - but I keep reading & posting on here when I should be doing paper work.

    Plenty of insomnia along the way.

    Just sympathising really - just so chimed with my feelings for about 15 months. You'll get there.
  14. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    Looks like you're doing the right thing! I should do more massages.

    Episodes is fabulous, Matt LeBlanc is great at poking fun at himself! There's an episode where he has to downsize because his accountant misappropriated his funds so now he has "only" got 11 million dollars left! The meeting with his financial advisor on what to get rid of had me in stitches. I'd like to have his problems!
  15. tigerlady

    tigerlady Registered User

    Nov 29, 2015
    Dear Amy - sending you my love . Cant add anything to all the advice here, but just wanted to say that you give so much good advice and comfort to others while going through such troubles yourself that you truly deserve some "me" time.

    The chairs were the "last straw that broke the camels back", and opened the floodgates of frustration and stress that you have experienced over the whole year.

    I see from your second post that you are taking the others good advice and I'm glad lunch with your friend and a massage helped you relax a bit.

    Take care xx
  16. RedLou

    RedLou Registered User

    Jul 30, 2014
    Amy - so glad you are building in something for you into your routine. That should be non-negotiable. My weekly yoga is a necessity for my back problems and of course I missed classes during dementia-helpmeet stage but when I did get there it was restorative.

    The other trick I learned after our house burned down :roll eyes: was to build one nice activity into every day. Without fail. It could be something as simple as walking the dog in the sun. Or listening to one track of music I loved. Or emailing a friend. Or buying a really nice face cream online. But having that on your to do list does help you feel as if you matter and give you a few moments of enjoyment.

    JM - sorry but your brother really is a bit of a divvy, isn't he? But if posting and reading on here helps you through, then it's not wasted time. *hug*
  17. DMac

    DMac Registered User

    Jul 18, 2015
    Surrey, UK
    Amy, I just hope you are feeling better today? I can so relate to your description of feeling overwhelmed. I get like this quite often. It seems to me that there is no logical connection between the issues I get overwhelmed about and their relative importance in the scheme of things, either! It doesn't matter how much I achieve, or how much rest I feel I deserve, I too have that constant feeling of trying my best, but somehow never being quite good enough. So I really 'get' what you are saying.

    Are there any answers? I feel sure that the massages and mindfulness techniques will definitely help, as well as keeping in touch with friends. I find that exercise, and walking in the fresh air, help me best of all.

    You also mention that you are about to start a part-time job - well, CONGRATULATIONS!! I wonder if that might be a sub-conscious source of anxiety for you though? After all, it's quite a big deal! I, too, hope to be working soon. I am really anxious about that, but also looking forward to it, as I know it will give me some much-needed mental stimulation and a complete break away from family issues. Not to mention financial independence and sense of self-worth!

    Anyway, I do hope you are feeling better. It would be interesting to know what happened to the chairs, but more importantly, how you feel about the whole situation now. Please let us know. xx
  18. Mammamu

    Mammamu Registered User

    Jan 10, 2017
    Hi Amy,
    I have no solution to give you, sorry. You will have good days & bad days. Try not to be to hard on yourself!
    I'm sure you have something you really enjoy & are good at, concentrate on that for a few minutes every day. I started running,to begin with I only managed a short run, now I can run and run....
    I 100% believe that we all have something that can make us feel better. Only you know how you feel and you are allowed to feel the way you do (you might not want to feel like it). I have learnt to be happy over little things, and even if I have only a few moments of happiness I grab them & enjoy every second.
    Sending you a hug & hoping you are feeling better already[emoji847]

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