Feelings of grief and loss affect people in many different ways. Usual emotions include shock and disbelief (even if a death is anticipated), depression and apathy. When someone who has been ill for some time dies it is also not uncommon to feel a sense of relief. This can then lead to feelings of guilt. However, relief is a normal reaction. Many carers of people with MS experience ‘grieving’ throughout the illness, as each change in the person’s condition takes its toll. Most importantly, there is no ‘right’ way to feel when someone you have cared for has died. It is very important that you allow yourself adequate time to grieve. Only you will know how much time you will need. Do not feel pressurised by others to ‘move on’ sooner than you wish. 

Life after caring

Whether caring ends because of bereavement, a move into residential care or the breakdown in a relationship, individuals who have been caring have their own needs that can often be neglected. Grief or bereavement counselling may be helpful at this time and there are many accredited counsellors and psychotherapists available. 

You may need help or advice around a number of issues, such as financial help if your benefits have stopped, employment advice if you have been out of the workplace for a while, or general support to help you to talk through your feelings and concerns. It’s not unusual to need some support to cope with, and adapt to, life after caring

You can talk to the MS Information Line about any of these issues – on Lo-Call 0818 233233 or your local MS Regional Office

Building up your social life

Even though some friendships may have faded away since you became a carer, there may be opportunities for developing new friendships. Local libraries as well as the internet are both good places to discover what’s going on in your local area, whether you are interested in restarting an old hobby, finding a new one or getting involved in a local voluntary group.