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.”