Each year, many people get diagnosed with terminal illnesses. Although never uncommon, we still can’t bear the thought of our loved ones suffering from their illness. Since family members are usually the core caregivers of their terminally ill loved ones, we would basically do anything in our power to make their remaining days as comfortable as possible.
Family caregivers would find ways to provide the best care and comfort for their terminally ill loved ones. Most of the time, dying patients would prefer passing at home than in a hospital or any other facility. As a result, their family caregivers would find the best home health care service providers to honor their loved one’s wishes.
But what happens after your loved one says goodbye? How do you start moving on if you are still hurting from his death? Where do you even start?
Challenges of Moving on
You may have physically said goodbye to your dying loved one and spend their last moments with them. But why is it so hard to move on? Why is it hard to rebuild your life after being a primary caregiver?
Feelings of Guilt and Regret
Most of the time, family caregivers sacrifice many things just to care for and support their terminally ill loved ones. They spend hours after hours caregiving. They often take their needs and priorities for granted just to be there for their patient.
Most caregivers sacrifice their relationships with others, their studies or budding career, even their own needs, and finances just to care for their loved ones. They spent most of their waking hours caring for the sick. But once it is over, they end up feeling negative emotions, including guilt and anger.
Even if you already sacrificed a lot, you could be feeling guilty about his death. It is easy to think you could have done so much more when reality, what you did is more than enough. The feeling of guilt often stops you from moving on.
You Feel Like Life No Longer Has a Purpose
Now that you have no one to dedicate your time and effort to, it is easy to feel at loss. No one else could be highly dependent on you. In short, it could feel like you lost a 24/7 job.
Most family caregivers feel like they lost a huge part of their identity after they no longer have their terminally ill loved one. They are actually left with two voids. The first is the void left before your loved one’s passing and the second being the void of your caregiving career ending.
Improving Your Life After Caregiving
Since you already made lots of sacrifices just to care for your loved one, you may find it hard to continue living after they pass. Know that you also deserve to be happy and move on with your life. If you have been depriving yourself of a good quality of life, now is the best time to start thinking about yourself first.
Did you know that according to research, caregivers of patients with terminal illness are more prone to mental health problems? With all the stress you have to ensure when caregiving, you are more at risk of anxiety with depression. It is important that you start taking great care of your mental health now that you have more time in your hands.
Give yourself time to grieve but don’t simply wallow in sorrow and despair. Find healthy ways you can move on and start living the life you have always wanted. Remember that your loved one would never want you to waste too much of your time grieving when you should be living.
Start taking care of your health. Practice self-care and self-love. Pursue something you are passionate about and embrace routines that will make you successful.
Find time to relax and explore different hobbies. Reach out and re-establish lost connections. Don’t hesitate to go to a pro if you need more support coping and moving on after their death.
Now can also be a good time to focus on rebuilding your career or shift to a new one that you find quite interesting. With the skills and knowledge you learned while caregiving, you can actually use this as a career advantage.
Anyone who has ever cared for a terminally ill patient would agree that life seems to be at a standstill after their loved ones bid farewell. But then, life goes whether we like it or not. Now that you are free from the stressful, time-consuming, and demanding role, it is time you go back to prioritizing yourself. Your dedication greatly helped your loved ones to the point that your focus is always about them. It is time you say hello to a new beginning and start with a renewed purpose.