Not a question, really. Dad died. Actually, it happened back in November, and I’m still working my way through all the estate settlement stuff. Every time I think I have a handle on it, something else pops up. (Currently it’s taxes) Mom is still in memory care for her Alzheimer’s disease. She almost seems to be doing better since dad died. Lots of things at play there, but the kindest thing to say is she worried about him and without that worry, her spirits are up. They’ve been in care since 2015; starting in independent living and progressing to assisted living. Then dad took three serious falls on his head in three days and everything changed. They moved to skilled care and then the memory care unit. Six months later, dad died.
All that was background. Here’s the thing. This damn disease (dementia in general) has not only stolen my parents, but it stole from me my ability to mourn their loss. I want to cry, to feel my heart break over the loss of my dad—my first hero. But he needed to die. He never wanted to live the way he was living, nor be the person he had become. So I do have peace over the fact that he died. I miss the man who was my father—but I missed him for a good while before his body gave out.
I am the oldest of two daughters. I live across the country from my parents and sister. It took a while and some ugliness for my sister and I to reach our balance of roles in this journey. She does the day to day visiting and I do case management, including business stuff and advocacy. I’m also sister’s emotional support, and I visit in person once or twice a year for a week or two. Looking back I can see that to cope with my full time work and case management for my folks and emotional support for sister, I intellectualized everything.
So now, I don’t know, maybe I’m emotionally numb. There’s a school of thought that we mourn the loss all through the journey. It felt more like adjusting than mourning, but maybe now I’m just done mourning. I don’t know. I guess I’m just confused and needed to “talk” to people who understand. Bless you all. I stand in awe of those of you who care for your loved ones at home. I do not know where your strength comes from.
And thank you for “listening.”
Same here. My brother is dead. He was a heroin addict. Died of HepC. I too am able to recall good memories.
It’s liberating to be able to put our memories in perspective.
It’s not that I am in denial of the horrific memories of what occurred in our lives but they no longer have any power over my mind, heart and soul.
Years have passed, many many years. As an adult I didn't hold a grudge or anger at my Dad. As I am now close to 69 - I marvel at all the wonderful memories I can recall and what a difference that has made. My Dad loved us but the social side of drinking led to an addiction and altered personality. When I was in high school, he stopped drinking and joined AA.
I mourned for what I had never had nor ever would receive and I mourned them for the way they both died. I have sought to love and honor the good memories and keep a positive attitude. Pain endures for a while but soon joy will come in the morning. Sorry for your loss and may you feel the comfort you need.
I grieved over the loss of my Mom and what could have been. Now, I realize they both had problems like most people do. I know God has brought those memories to my mind to show that they did love me and thankfully I did not become embittered.
Thank you for posting this. Your thoughts are very insightful. I have to say that I absolutely agree with you on many of the points you make.
I lost my dad too. He died in 2002, different circumstances than you. He had bladder cancer, beat it, heart surgery, which was successful but while in the hospital recovering from the surgery he suffered a stroke. I cared for him until his death.
Mom has Parkinson’s disease and it robs a person of independence and mobility. Yes, these situations such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or whatever it may be takes away the parents we once had in our lives.
We do experience many emotions during their living years and after their death.
Neither of my parents have ever suffered with any form of dementia but I did visit my godmother who had Alzheimer’s and lived the last years of her life in a nursing home. Towards the end she did not recognize who I was. It was terribly sad to see her deteriorate in such a horrific way.
When I think of such suffering it only enforces my thoughts of wanting a quick and painless death for myself. I do not want to live or die in that fashion, nor do I wish for my children to deal with it.