My father just passed away and my mother is struggling from dementia. Do I tell her about my father's death?
I need your ideas and advice on how to handle my father's death. I've been going back and forth on what to do - so would appreciate all comments to help my thinking.
My mother has dementia for the past 15 years, from a head injury she sustained. She is able to learn and remember some new things - like her new cat's names and my husband's name - whom she did not know before her injury. But it is hard to predict what she can remember.
Both of my parents have lived with my husband and myself for the last 9 years in Japan. Dad frequently traveled back to the US - to see his doctors and friends. During his last trip, he took ill and died. Since these trips to the US are fairly common, we've gotten into a routine of keeping Mom calm. So when she asks where Dad is - we typically tell her - Dad is shopping, or out walking or on the computer checking his email. Mom typically accepts these answer and then goes on with other things. We use the method of distracting her frequently, as if we told her Dad was in the US - then she gets angry that he did not take her.
So the advice I need - do I tell her about my father's death ? And more importantly, do I take her back to the US for the funeral ? She is 79 years old and prior to her injury, was quite the world traveler - very use to flying. However, I notice that since her dementia, she is stressed when put into environments that are not familiar to her. So I expect that flying will cause her some stress - even if my husgand and myself are with her.
I do feel it is best to tell her, as they were married for over 60 years and at some level, she should know. Since she can remember selective things - I am wondering if I should take her to the funeral - which will be at Arlington National Cemetry. I think this could be something she might remember. But then again - I have no way of knowing.
After the funeral, my curent thinking is to use the same strategy, that if she asks about Dad - meaning she does not remember he died - then we keep telling her he is out. That way - she doesn't have to re-live the grief.
Should I take her to the funeral ?
Should I tell her that he died ?
Many thanks for your comments.