Superstitious Fear of the Anniversary of my Parent’s Illnesses


I recognize that I have a form of seasonal affect disorder (SAD) and tend to get depressed as the days get shorter and the nights get longer.  I have lived in the north most of my life and have always felt more “alive” in the spring and summer months.  Dark days darken my mood.

Add to this the fact that November has been an unlucky month for me and my parents since 2010.  Early November 2010 mom fell, broke her hip and within 3 weeks she had passed away.  See “The Emotional Toll of Caregiving

Exactly a year later, in early November, dad’s ALF called to tell me that dad needed to go to the ER because of “too much blood’ all over.  It was a Saturday and the nurse wasn’t working that day.  I spent the day in the ER with dad and then he was discharged.  The following Monday I took him to his physician who sent him back to the ER and this time he was hospitalized for more than a week while they determined a diagnosis and treatment plan.

Dad ended up spending over a month combined – in the hospital and then the nursing home before he was finally back in his Assisted Living Facility. See “Looking Back: Looking Forward”. It took many months before dad readjusted to his ALF and began coming out of his room and socializing again.

Two years in a row – on exactly the same day in November – one of my parents entered the Emergency Room and then the hospital.  Last year as November approached, I worried and waited for catastrophe, and fortunately everything was fine.

Now it is early November again.  The days are getting shorter.  The nights are long and dark.  And again I find myself stressed with the unreasonable fear of a phone call in the early morning or evening with bad news about dad.

In fact, dad is pretty much the same as he has been these past two years.  He has good days and bad days.  Sometimes he seems engaged in conversations longer than others.  Often lately he tunes out even when several visitors are with him, and he stares into space or lays his head back in his chair.  Yet, he used to do the same thing when mom was alive, so I can’t really say he is worse than before.  I just can’t tell.

Dad is years older than he was before.  He has survived longer than any other family member in his family or my mom’s.  He seems content where he is and doesn’t worry about the future.  Dad has always been more likely to take each day as it comes.  It is probably a life philosophy that has kept him healthy.  Worry never prevented anything from happening, and so he doesn’t worry.  I wish I could say the same thing for me!

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About letstalkaboutfamily

I am a retired and the primary caregiver for my father. I have children and grandchildren. This blog is an attempt to connect with others who are also trying to care for a family member and share ideas and experiences. I hope you will let me know what worked for you if you had an experience similar to mine. The main issues I am going to talk about are elder care, death and dying, assisted living, family relationships and hoarders and hoarding. Other topics will come up as I address the issues around the care of my father and the relationship with other family members.
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8 Responses to Superstitious Fear of the Anniversary of my Parent’s Illnesses

  1. Terry says:

    I know how you feel about the weather. At first I get my white lights out and I make our home all cozy and nice. But as the months fade into more darkness I get an inner stirring. A feeling of sadness covers me and I don’t throw the blanket off until the days start getting lighter. I look at Al and I know what Hospice has said. In the back of my mind I find myself stressing out whether he will be here for the Holidays and how will I deal with everything, but then God only knows the answers and he wants us to live our lives, but it is hard to do when certain months or reminders of an illness linger over our minds. Hugs, try to relax, I know it is easier said than done, for I am the same way as you

  2. jmgoyder says:

    I’m probably going to be like this every October from now on because of the car accident – I hope not.

    • I hope not too, Julie. (Sorry I didn’t see your comment till I was working on a post today.) It is funny how certain events or holidays can make us think of past events that were troubling. Dad’s illness in November so soon after mom’s hospitalization the prior November make me November-phobic”! I hope we can pass through this month without any more bad events!

  3. My thoughts and prayers are with you. I have a history of seasonal depression. This year I intend to fight it tooth and nail. I truly feel your pain through your words and my own experiences. God bless you.

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