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My BIL passed away on Friday 9/11 ‘yeah, bad day all around’. He lived in a nursing home up in DE, we live in Florida. Today we ( MIL ( w/dementia), BIL (mentally retarded), hubby ( bad back) & myself) are preparing for the 1200 mile car ride, what fun!! Last minute flight would’ve cost us $2k+ One way!! and MIL refuses to fly. I did not want to take a chance of putting out that money and having her have a meltdown at the Airport. In the past 24 hours we have explain to her many, many times, that Johnny had died. Backstory: Johnny at 17 years of age was in a car accident on Christmas Day 1985. He has been in a nursing home for literally 34 years. It truly is a blessing that he has passed. Sally keeps thanking that Johnny died in the car accident. Or she completely forgets Johnny all together. I am leaving in about one hour to start this 20 hour trip, any suggestions to keep me from killing everybody in the car with me I kid, of course. But the quote “and that’s why I killed them Your Honor”, Will not hold up in court. Gotta laughter, right? Cause you cannot scream into a pillow while driving.

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I can’t even imagine what you are going through. I’m glad you are having a few laughs along the way! Hang in there!!!
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Lindajc2 Sep 15, 2020
Sunnydaze,
Laughs, tears, exhaustion, sadness and smiles. All the ingredients for a beautiful funeral
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Would you really want Misty to give her life to care for you?
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Lindajc2 Sep 13, 2020
Missy is driving right now, which is why I am able to answer you. I just read your post to her and she just bust out laughing. She says that is the only way she will be able to come to Florida
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They say humor is the best medicine...keep that in mind when you need a good belly laugh!

Sally sounds like she isn't even aware of Johnny anymore. In some ways that is a blessing. Maybe when you get there she will remember a little, but don't be surprised if she doesn't. We all grieve differently, and it may be that she "grieved" long before now and so not remembering him is okay. You don't say if she has memory problems in other areas, but it would be surprising if she does.

Sit back, hunker down, and be prepared. When I drove my mother to my uncle's funeral, and when I drove her to FL from NY, she chose to sleep most of the way and talk some of it. I let her do what she wanted (within reason) to make the confinement of a car more pleasant. The only thing I took control over was when we stopped because I was too tired to drive.

Letting go of the control make things easier to bear - she chose when we stopped to eat and where, and even chose the radio stations as we drove through large cities. She also controlled most of the conversation, and I let her talk about whatever was on her mind - even though I had heard it all a million times before!

Keep your sense of humor, look for the humor in all the situations you will encounter on your long journey, and hopefully all will be peaceful. If that fails, when you are the passenger pretend to sleep - that trick does a lot to keep me out of a loop I don't want to be in. I also poke silent fun at what others say - talking back in my mind...careful to keep it light and humorous so that bad feelings do not well up.

Have fun!!
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I cannot fathom why you are even taking this trip. Your husband should go alone.
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Enjoy the trip. Hope you have a great visit with family.
Oh..and here's one for a laugh...(no need to turn to the Jokes post)
My grandfather was a lucky man. He died in his sleep.
Unfortunately, the passengers in his car at the time were not so lucky, and died screaming and yelling...
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Lindajc2 Sep 15, 2020
Grandma1954, I should not have read your joke to my DIL while she was driving. We both just bust out laughing. It’s like 2:30AM, we’re both exhausted, fueled up on horrible coffee, and I was telling her about how this forum has been such a godsend to me. So I started reading some of the posts and came across yours. Going from reading about POA, MIL, MC, LTC, (so many abbreviations) and then to reading YOUR joke was... well it couldn’t of been timed better... thanks for sharing, Linda
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Perhaps it would be best if just your husband went -
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Lindajc2 Sep 13, 2020
Well we’re 1/2 there. I could ask him to just drop me off
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Linda,
There's nothing I can add that hasn't been said except I love your humor. Should I be laughing at your situation? Maybe not, but can't help it. Thank you for your levity. You'll do well.
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Lindajc2 Sep 13, 2020
Yes, humor is a great stress reliever. Definitely , laugh with me. Been down this road back in 2013 with MY mom My wonderfull DIL flew down this morning, just to help with the drive back. She literally was in 14 states within 12 hours. Misty /DIL is getting a glimpse of my daily life w/sally. She gets a kick out of answering the same questions over & over. Patience of a saint. Best news is: misty will be MY caretaker when/if I become unable to take care of myself.
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Leave your husband and MIL and make the trip yourself.
It will give you a break and a few hours to have some solitude and enjoy a visit with family and not have to worry about MIL
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Lindajc2 Sep 13, 2020
Well Taylor UK said that my husband should do the trip alone and My response was ‘ we are 1/2way there, I’ll ask him to drop me off.
To answer your post ‘ we’re 1/2 way there, I can just drop THEM off’.
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Well, you are on your way---but before you head BACK, can you get some kind of antianxiety med for MIL? I would think you could find a dr who would feel your pain. Keeping MIL quiet and calm would make the trip a LOT better. And she probably isn't going to be 'happy' or 'comfortable' by any means.

Good Luck. I won't take care trips longer than 500 miles for ANYONE. I hope the visits with loved ones make this worthwhile.
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Lindajc2 Sep 13, 2020
sally is actually taking the trip quite nicely. The car has reclining seats so she can be comfortable. Just gave her the night meds which has adivan in there so she’ll probably sleep the rest of the way
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Maggatha gave gentle questioning to where I would go with all this, in that I wouldn't be going with all of this. I would be staying home. The logistics, the reality of the whole thing is more than I can begin to imagine. As you have said, this death, in so far as any CAN ever be, is more or less of a blessing.
All of that said, my own perspective is not yours, or you wouldn't be doing this, and you ARE doing this. As you describe it, and as I imagine the trip, I kind of hope you will blog the whole thing to us here.
You seem very level headed about it all. If anyone can have this together--or better yet know that it cannot and will not BE together--you do. I wish you the best of luck and hope you will update us.
Perhaps you should take up writing. Take a journal with you, OK?
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Lindajc2 Sep 13, 2020
Been in the car for two hours and MIL is already stuck on her loop.... “have I been on this road before?”, “where’s Billy?” (BIL in backseat), “where are we going”, “where’s his body”, “have I been on this road before?” Ahhhhhh.... and it’s only been two hours!
Thanks for your kind thoughts. I’ll do my best to update the journey
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Linda, I am sorry for your families loss. I agree that it is a blessing that this life cut short is now over. How tragic to lose a young man in such a way.

I pray that you have the best reunion ever with your grandchildren and children. I am for living in faith and not fear. Hugs go a looong way to boosting our immune systems and, well, we can't live forever but we can live in a way that makes it feel like forever and not the eternal forever that believers are looking forward too.

I used to do crossword puzzles when travelling with difficult traveling companions, it helps everyone not focus on their own discomfort or agitation.

May God bless your journey and give you travelling mercies.
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JoAnn29 Sep 13, 2020
I get car sick. Not my DH or daughter.
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Quick question: do you really, really have to attend this funeral?
All things considered-including COVID-19- you gotta pass on this one.
And then PLAN a trip to see your sons.
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Lindajc2 Sep 13, 2020
Too late now! Haha But yes, because I really really really want to stay married LOL
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Sorry for your loss.

I have done this trip from NJ to Ocala. Two days of driving and a sleep over. Doing this with a Dementia person is not going to be easy. They don't like being out of their comfort zone. Sitting in a car for hours on end and not understanding why? And I agree with you, wouldn't even consider a plane with what people go thru now.

But you and hubby seem to want to do this. So I wish you lots of luck and patience. Angels on your bumpers.

Tell us how things go. We learn from other's experiences.
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Lindajc2 Sep 13, 2020
I mentioned in another post that my DIL flew down to drive back. Having another levelheaded person in the car with you helps tremendously
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It seems to me you are asking the equivalent of how to walk across coals hot without burning your feet. Since you are determined to go and the trip is imminent I doubt there is really anything helpful we can offer beyond grit your teeth and prepare for the worst - engage the child locks on the car, make sure someone competent is sitting beside MIL at all times, prepare yourself for bathroom problems and take along some ear plugs or headphones. And of course you need to assume that you may encounter covid at every stop along the way.
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I appreciate all comments about the funeral. The funeral has been prepaid. There is no wake, but will be a mass. Plot already purchased. We could just lie to her and do the cremation which WILL make everyone’s life easier, but my husband couldn’t do that, this is also HIS wish. My 2 Children, actually they are men now, live up in New Jersey and I am looking forward to seeing them and all my grandchildren so it’s like a win-win
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Invisible Sep 13, 2020
I think you knew all along that seeing the rest of the family would be the upside of this trip. One day at a time.
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I have to agree. Why do you need to go up there. Who would attend a funeral especially in all of this? My father died of covid in July. He was a larger than life guy in his younger years but in this situation we had all of 15 people there and 5 of us were immediate family. There would have been no way I would have ever attempted what you are doing.
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InFamilyService Sep 13, 2020
My dad died in June but we were restricted to 20 people tops. Had a memorial meal at my daughter's house. Safe for everyone.
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My mom is a 3 day drive from me, even if I flew, I could not stay with my aunt because of Covid. I will be doing what you indicated... I’m sure I will take some heat from aunts and uncle
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Looks by what you said , leaving in an hour...
if you see this and your still traveling, have a POW wow, you’ve rethought this and are turning around.. do what Grandma 1954 post indicates
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Lindajc2 Sep 13, 2020
LOL. If I did that, it’d be MY funeral. Seriously, it’s OK. I am looking forward to seeing all of my family which all are up north anyway, and my sons and my grandchildren.
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COVID Has caused us all to have to rethink how we would normally do things. Going go DE sounds like a knee jerk reaction. There won't be much you can do there that you couldn't do from FL.
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Lindajc2 Sep 13, 2020
This definitely was not a knee-jerk reaction. As Johnny’s condition deteriorate over the past several months, we knew that this was going to happen. Trust me this was definitely planned.
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Linda, I'm with grandma.

Have poor Johnny cremated and hold a Zoom service if there are others who need to attend a memorial.
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Sunnydayze Sep 15, 2020
This was wise. I always appreciate your wisdom and clarity!
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Hire a company to pack up whatever is wanted to be kept. I cannot imagine there is that much.

And what grandma said.
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what are your plans when you get to DE?
Arrange a funeral...that almost no one can attend?
Why not skip the trip, arrange for a funeral home to cremate him and send the ashes to you. You can then have a celebration of his life.
There is no need to bring MIL with you and your husband with a bad back does not "need" to make the trip if it will cause him pain, discomfort and aggravation. You can easily take care of things for them
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Lindajc2 Sep 13, 2020
Funeral HAS been arranged, and paid for. Nothing to pack for Johnny as he was in nursing home and we told them to simply give it away.
I honestly appreciate everybody’s input letting me know that there is an easier way to do this, but as I’ve stated before, I am actually looking forward to going up north and seeing my family. I just have to get through the next 20 hours. Ativan anyone?
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