I've heard the term "orphaned adult" but I never really understood its meaning, until my mother died. I lost my father when I was 26, our relationship was volatile. From his death bed he told me he was proud of me. That was bittersweet; I wish he had felt that way while he was healthy. My father died of cancer of the colon and liver at age 56. My mother survived him by fourteen years. She died Memorial Day of 2005, of congestive heart failure from a lifetime of smoking. She was 68. I was 39 when my mother died.
My mom died the end of May and I turned 40 a couple of months later in August. I always thought 40 would be a turning point for me. Among the things I wanted to accomplish in the decade was to write a book. I had big dreams, and all of them included my mother. I lived with her and was her primary caregiver. I wanted to have a best-seller so I could buy her the home of her dreams. A big ranch style home with a gazebo in the back. In my dreams, I never thought I would turn forty without her.
Her death left me feeling lost. I was so busy running back and forth to the hospital, then mom came home with Hospice and I provided around the clock care. Her hospice bed was in the living room so I slept on the couch right next to her. When she died, I sat down and its been hard to get back up. The feeling of exhaustion is one that not even sleep can extinguish.
I have a lot of resentments towards family members. I have siblings, but evidence of that was lacking with mom's care. I lost some very special dogs during my mom's final days, Reggie, Star and Pugsy. They were rescues with special needs. Three of my seven rescued dogs had needs that conflicted with my mothers. I spoke with the vet who said they would need placed carefully in special homes but there was still a very big risk of the separation anxiety being too much for them to handle. They had been physcially abused and emotionally damaged. The vet and I decided together the most humane thing would be to put them down. I devoted my life to those dogs, I fought for Reggie in court. His abuser sued me to get him back and lost. Reggie was special to everyone who knew him. I held each dog while they died and whispered "I'm sorry" in their ears. My mom died three days later.