How do you beat loneliness? I just lost my dad who lived with me. I was his caregiver for five years, with him 24/7. I feel so alone.
By Lynda from Kearny, NJ
The way to beat loneliness is the same way to beat depression --- GET BUSY! I read a story one time about a man that had lost a child and how he grieved so much that he had not noticed anything or anyone around him for some time. Well one day another one of his children begged him to help with a boat project for school. He concentrated very hard on working on the boat that later he realized that he had been so busy that although the loss & hurting was still there he felt better. So he went around his house and made a huge list of everything that needed doing. He got busy fixing things & cleaning things. He made it through the next day feeling better and then the next and the next. When he got to the bottom of the list he looked around at his neighbors and decided to get busy helping them.
Look around you and decide where you will get busy and get started. If there is nothing that needs doing at your house then I'm sure there is a need in your neighborhood. Put one foot in front of the other and walk your neighborhood-meet your neighbors, visit your local library or college (sign up for a mini class).
Time, it will take time, but talk with friends renew friendships, do things you would really like to do the pain of your loss wont go away but in time the pain eases slightly. I am a carer for a parent and can understand how you feel.
And continuing the post of notwrong, you can offer to help at a local church or church programs like a food kitchen. Even though you probably won't want to hear it Religion can help ease the pain as well.
I have no advice, because I've never been through what you have . . . but I want to offer my condolences. I'm so very sorry for your loss. I hope you find comfort in happy memories . . .
Lynda, I'm so sorry for your loss. What a wonderful daughter you were to take care of him during his last 5 years. I can imagine what a change this is for you.
I lost my mom about a year and a half ago. I didn't live with her but we talked and worked together nearly every day. I still miss her, especially this weekend with Mother's Day. It was very hard for the first 6 months, I would start to tear up almost every time she crossed my mind.
I agree with many of the posts. I'm sure there are things that you gave up to be a full time caregiver for so long. It might be a good time to take a class or get involved with a community group. Maybe there are some summer community events that you could volunteer for, meet a new circle of people.
Another idea might be to rearrange the house so it doesn't remind you so much of your dad. Maybe redo his room as a craft room or a library/study, or a guest bedroom for out of town family.
Since you were a caregiver, you must have had a relationship with his doctors and nurses or hospice care workers. There might be some grief counseling groups or other resources to give you a place to sort out your feelings.
All my best!
I am so very sorry for your loss of your daddy!
There are lots of excellent ideas and advice here but I am going to reiterate Jess's suggestion of talking to people about grief counseling! I won't go in to detail but I will say I wish I would have because when I lost my daddy 22 years ago I went in to a downward spiral emotionally trying to deal with it on my own and ended up needing serious therapy twice a week for over six months :-(
Be kind to yourself and let others be your 'caregiver' now until you have worked through your grief!
My best to you and to your heart!
I read the previous responses, and all are very considerate. My only thoughts, after caring for a husband of 39 1/2 years, until he died in 1997, are to get up each day with a plan. Plan to do something, fix something, go somewhere, volunteer at an assisted living/nursing home, to write some letters for someone who has trouble with their vision, or severe arthritis. Sit and read to someone. Just plan each day to get outside of the house, and outside of yourself. With time you will find all that's left are the great memories, and not the grief of the loss. I was fortunate, even at my age, finding a wonderful man who wanted a crazy old gal like me, but just decide to be happy each day. May you enjoy each one of those days a bit more than the one before. Loretta from alabamas gulf coast
When I lost my husband, I went to the Dollar store and bought a journal. I wrote down all my feelings, good times, bad times and it helped me get through it. That and knowing he wouldn't suffer anymore. You can always add things. I have told friends and family about it and they have done it and it has helped them. My best to you.
Lynda - you are so courageous to reach out to others - I really admire you for that. So you'll most likely try some of the ideas that have been offered here! why not make a list of all the ideas and give each one a try. Then you'll at least know whether or not it works! and, when you think about it, your dad probably wouldn't want you to be moping around the house - would he?
My mom passed when I was 21 - I'm now 58 - and I know she's always around when I'm laughing and having a good time - as well as all the rest of my life. I have some wonderful memories of her, and I continue on with my life in a way that she would be proud of. Good luck to you on your path, you will be successful
Lynda, I lost my husband of 30 years, in '01. After years of unspeakable grief, I began to find my way back. Much as you don't want to, get out of that bed (and make it). I see lots of excellent ideas here, many of them involving PUSHING yourself. I stopped in at a yard sale and after my comments (to the new widow) about how it takes time, she said she was starting to feel better already (after 2 weeks!) Don't be discouraged by the fact that it took me about 2 years, because every day is one day in the right direction. MY love and sympathy to you, Lynda. (and P.S., learn how to spell our name right :)
My sympathy for your loss. I took care of my Father and Mother for three years before his death and the last eight years have cared for my Mother. I know how you feel. Every minute is filled with care giving. We are blessed though with this opportunity. I find when I need a break that the library is a great place to go, also involvement in church, and voluntary organizations. Lots of clubs who welcome people as caring as your are and these are places that you can make individual friendships. Walking and exercise opens up new venues for friendships. You will be surprised how many people are in the same situation as you and are longing for a friendship where they can share a lunch, movie, or good game of cards, etc. together. Hope you find what you need to help with the loneliness. It is also true what they say that time will help. Just cherish the good memories.
Oh Lynda, I am so sorry! The best advice I ever got for grief was to help someone else who is worse off than you. You can volunteer at a senior center, a homeless shelter, an animal shelter, anything. Then you will be busy, meeting new people and helping others at the same time. It will be a wonderful distraction and you will feel good about yourself too! And be patient with yourself. It's ok to grieve and it takes a long time. I pray you will find some comfort soon.
Oh Lynda, I don't know what to tell you but my heart breaks for you. I lost my dad almost four years ago and I feel like it was yesterday. Everyone says time heals, you'll see; the first year is the hardest, but then it gets easier. Easier my foot. I can't think of my Dad without crying. God bless you. Pray. Pray. Pray. I've literally gotten down on my knees and begged. I can't say it's worked yet, but I do believe in the power of prayer, so don't stop. Put yourself on every prayer list at every church you can find, try doing it on line. I don't care who someone prays to (not evil) I believe in it and I still believe in miracles. Will pray that you will experience your own miracle. God bless you and mend your broken heart.
It's so sad to lose a loved one and be left alone, but one day you will be able to speak of your father with a smile. I know this from experience. Try to remember what a blessing it was to have him. Don't dwell on your aloneness. Be sure to do things to keep your mind occupied. If you love animals, get yourself a little best friend to keep you company and at least you won't be alone. Get in touch with friends and loved ones. It takes time for the pain to subside, but it eventually does. You will never forget your father, and you will keep loving him, so that part of him remains with you.
Please accept my heartfelt condolences on the loss of your Dad.
My Mom passed away in January and our family has started going to a grief support group, which lasts for 8 weeks.
My Dad, my siblings, and our spouses have all found comfort and support (including one sister and her husband that we didn't think would go, let alone continue).
It's non-profit and the only thing they ask is that you sign up at least once to bring dessert. Everyone eats together from 6:00 - 6:30 and then we split into our various groups (loss of a parent, loss of a spouse, etc.) from 6:30 - 8:00.
Maybe there is something similar in your area.
Yes, read your Bible (James is excellent) & start attending church to meet new people to socialize with. God Bless.
So sorry for your loss. You've been someone else (a caregiver) for a long time, and have forgotten who you are, and what you liked to do. If needed, do get grief counseling - it will help. Visit your family doctor as well. It's time to take care of yourself.
Make a list of what you did before and begin to revisit those things. Get back in touch with old friends and family members. You can do that through church, clubs, community center, or a social media website like Facebook.
Whatever you do - take it slow. Take all the time you need. You've been though so much, you need to relax and process all that has happened.
Best of luck - keep us posted.
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How do I beat loneliness and self doubt? I had been a caregiver to my parents for the past few years. They're both gone now and I'm so lonely. I don't know what to do. Can anyone offer some suggestions? Thank you.
By Lynda1972 from Kearny, NJ
I am so sorry that you have had such a hard time. You must miss your parents very much.
You have valuable experience as a care giver. If there are any "support for caregivers" organisations in your area, they would be really grateful for your help, if you would volunteer your time. This might lead to paid employment if you wanted it.
I'm sorry about your loss, with prayer and trust you will get through it. Notice I said through it, and not over it. My best suggestion is to volunteer your time to whatever organization that needs people with things you like to do. For instance if you like animals, call your local Humane Society and offer your services, how about church or a nursing home.
The best way to get out of yourself is to help others. Just do it. Don't procrastinate. If you do it just once, you may become more self-assured and will do it again and again. Hope this helps and all the best to you.
Lynda, I am so sorry for your loss & your feelings of emptiness! I can only imagine how you are feeling, it hurts me all the time to just think about losing my mom, who is my best friend. I just wish I had the opportunity to move her in with me so that I could take care of her & we could share our last remaining years together.
I already lost my dad when I was 19 & both my grandparents. When my mom's gone, I'll be an orphan! At least that's how I feel! Not complaining, just sharing my thoughts in case that's anything like you feel. However, you devoted so much time to your parents, you probably lost yourself somewhere in there - sort of like parents who's kids go off to college & now you don't know what to do with yourself.
You've received several good ideas on how to deal with your grief, things you can do to occupy your mind, so I won't add to that. You may not want to get involved with others right now or you may want to jump in & stay to busy to think.
Everyone grieves in their own way, no one way is right. It's going to take time for you to get through this & it's going to be hard. But it will get better - not the same, but better. Just take care of yourself & be aware of your emotions & physical state. If you feel like you aren't dealing well at all, are more depressed than would be normal, shutting down emotionally, withdrawing from life - any of that stuff. Then please take yourself to your doctor & tell them how you feel!
Grief can take a tremendous emotional & physical toll on a person's mind & body. It can knock everything completely out of whack, including the chemical balance in your brain, & you may need to take antidepressants to get things back in order.
Good luck to you & keep us up to date on how you are doing. Judy L.
So sorry for your loss. I, too, am watching over both of my parents in their 80s and with failing health; body and mind. I hope to be able to handle it ok too so am very interested in these posts. I lost my husband 6 years ago and dealt with my grief by allowing myself to cry. It is ok to cry.
Just make a time for it everyday if you need to. I know it sounds silly but give yourself 30 minutes to 1 hour a day to cry. But no more! You can take it up tomorrow again. Also, it helped me to get out and do things with my friends and relatives. Every time they would ask if I'd like to do something, I would tell them yes, even if it really didn't appeal to me but it made me interact with others. And I didn't say no to anything and that helped fill the emptiness.
Don't be afraid to talk about them all the time with others. People understand. Tell them you may want to do that so they don't feel bad about talking about them with you. People don't always know what to do in consoling people in their grief so this will help them help you! Sometimes that helps the most. Just talking. Oh, and it does get easier over time. You will get through this!