At the end of this 18-month period, I've now completed the two most important jobs of my life. I've cared for my mother during her final months, and I've written a book about that experience - and about the the experience of growing up with (then undiagnosed) autism.
With mum's passing, there's no one left. My brother - my closest-living blood relative - might as well be a stranger I've never met. I've honoured mum's memory in words... and there's not much else I can do.
I live alone, with my cat. I work with autistic people.
Apart from that, I go through the motions of a life. I pay the bills, I eat, I sleep, I get up in the morning and go to work, I come home, I watch a movie, I go to bed... I start again.
I'll be 60 next year. Life has largely passed me by. I don't really have anything left to do. I don't want to travel any more. I don't have anything I'm burning to learn. I don't have anything left. If it wasn't for Daisy, my cat, I'd probably take myself out of the picture permanently. It would be so easy. And such a release.
But she's here. And she needs me. So I must be here, too.
Until I'm no longer needed.
I count my remaining days with hers.
I was so sad to read this Tom, you are a remarkable person.
You have, as others have said, lost your sense of purpose, you may be burnt out from it all.
Give yourself time, it will take time to replenish yourself, see if you can get some grief counselling.
Please give these a go to see if they help you and persevere with them because at first they won't feel that they do.
Each morning think of a couple of your purposes for the day ahead - your cat needing breakfast, think of one your clients at work needing your help and what you have planned for that person, think of their parents trust and gratitude - how will you praise your client to parents that day - just one or two per week and it might bring returns back from the parents but then they are maybe so wrapped up in their cares they might not think to say anything but this might prompt them.
At the end of each day think of 3 things you are grateful for, even if it is only just 1 to begin with and then rises to two then three - a welcome from Daisy, you made a connection with a client, a client achieved x, a parent thanked you, your own front door......
So tonight, if you can, try to write down what things you are grateful for and get this ball rolling and your purpose back in your life.
They helped me at a time of loss, at first they seemed useless and it was hard to think of even one - it didn't rain today... I was just going through the motions but it was working somewhere inside and I was pleased when I found two and then got to three and after time I didn't need to do them anymore, but you do them as long as you need and have faith in yourself coming through. I hope you can do this and I hope it helps.
Watch or read A Streetcat Named Bob.
It may be that you need time to process it all and come out at the other side.
I will need you around in time to come when I am in your position, please be there for me.
Thanks so much for your thoughtful response. Actually, those things you say are things I know I should be doing - and I do do them. Sometimes, though, it comes crashing down. But yes... I'll pick myself up again with what you say.
I've seen A Streetcat Named Bob. Great little story. I often think that Daisy came into my life at an important time. If I didn't have her to be responsible for after mum passed away, I could easily have gone off the rails.
I can't really see a way through to the other side of my current way of life. I can't really earn any more at the job I do, and that makes it impossible to move. But I take it a day at a time, and try my best to look forwards. I have a lot to be grateful for, really.
Thanks again. Being here helps to keep that faith going. Sometimes, though - as the other night - it can backfire.