When we started this blog in 2020, we had no idea we were nearing the end of our caregiving journey. The goal was to help others who unexpectantly found themselves caring for a loved one. We began adding social media (IG and Youtube) in December 2021. While our mother’s health declined rapidly in November, we had no idea we’d lose her at the beginning of the year. We naively told ourselves that we’d have months of her sleeping before losing her, but the truth is, my mother was up and in her chair, attempting to eat up until two days before her death. We were not ready to say goodbye, but is anyone ever prepared? We decided to continue with our podcast, and two weeks after her passing, we launched our first episode.
Looking back on it now, we were going through the motions. The shock of losing the person most important to us hadn’t settled in, and doing the podcast allowed us to “get through,” and we did.
We did weekly episodes and poured our hearts into providing information we thought would be helpful to others. We’d been in the helping others mode so much that we still hadn’t fully grasped how to help ourselves.
Caregiving during a pandemic can be isolating. Our isolation began in 2018 when we took our mother out of the nursing home. The pandemic increased our isolation so much that we went without CNA services for a few months. We didn’t know the level of danger or how to protect our already vulnerable mother against the deadly virus. We cared for our mother and had very little interaction with others. We depended on food delivery services and Amazon for all of our needs. Our focus was always on ensuring our mother had everything she needed. When she passed, we had to teach ourselves how to care for ourselves. As the months passed, we felt okay. We thought Mother’s Day would be difficult, but it wasn’t. It wasn’t until July 2022 that everything came crashing down.
Our mother’s birthday was three days before ours, and we always celebrated our birthdays together. The 4th of July (her birthday) was always the kick-off for our week-long celebration. We both began to feel the enormity of our loss. Everything reminded us of her. We were dealing with grief and loss and re-learning how to care for ourselves, including how to reenter our careers after a five-year absence. My sister sacrificed her career to be the physical caretaker while I worked jobs (not in my career) that allowed me to be at home while caring for our mother.
We didn’t plan on it, but we stopped producing our podcast. Talking about her was just too difficult. We've spent the last year and a half navigating this new world of grief and finding ourselves. The goal was to return, but we just didn't know when.
We are both excited to share that we are back. As we continue this new kind of normal (life post-caregiving), we are even more dedicated to this cause.
This is our purpose!
Thank you all for your support.
Ellen and Eileen