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My mom had a stroke and now is not all there cognitively. My dad died of cancer 5 years ago and my mom doesn’t remember this tragedy now.


In fact ALL of my relatives are alive in her mind. We have dinner parties for them all the time here. At first I tried to gently explain. But when I told her that my grandmother died many years ago she bawled and was unconsolable. So of course I never told her about my dad. But the lie has been he is at training for work. Now though I will find her crying and the reason is that she thinks my dad doesn’t love her anymore because he has been gone so long and any man that stays away is never coming back.


It is breaking my heart.


So any suggestions on new lies? Or what you have done?

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I posted this before: a charge nurse at my mom's MC pretended to be a resident's mother on the phone for many months. He was so consoled by it. It stopped his crying for her, although she had passed decades ago.
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Kate06 Mar 5, 2019
How very clever and thoughtful of the charge nurse! She/he is an angel!
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I often tell my husband his father is at work. He died in 1952. He thinks I'm his mother most of the time. Need to go with the flow. Social worker at geriatric specialist office told me if he thinks it's April and it's snowing it's April
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Keep telling her he is away.
Can you write letters to her from "dad"?
Put them in the mail and she can get mail once a week from dad.
Tell her about the training, the work, how difficult it is and how much he misses her.
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gdaughter Feb 26, 2019
This is a good idea...my mom seems quite focused on cards/mail she gets, and will often read and re-read it. Of course she reads lots and will re-read the newspaper, magazine and books. I'd be careful though about saying how much he misses her, because how ill daughter know...unless she talked to him...and if she did, how come mom can't?
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I will want the truth “bent” as much as necessary to allow me to be as comfortably content as possible when and if Dementia strikes me, and I will bend the truth as much as I need to for my LO’s comfort.
Dad is working overtime, Mama says to stay over because of the weather, sister Margaret will call in the morning.
All in love and care and concern.
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gdaughter Feb 26, 2019
I wonder if Naomi is still around...she was/is a fascinating person and I got to see her once in person. I work not far from where the original Montefiore was located; many years ago it moved to a new building even closer to my home. Thanks for posting this!
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How is your mom's time perception? If it's fuzzy, you might be able to say, "I know it seems like a very long time, but it really hasn't been. He'll be back as soon as he can."

If that's not in keeping with the situation, perhaps you could say, "Well, Dad was such a fast learner and got the best grades in his class, they begged him to stay on and teach for a while. He was really honored that they asked."

It was heartbreaking to read your story. I feel for you.
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OP, as long as no fraud nor actual abuse is done in the theraputic fib, we have all found solutions which lessen our LO anxiety, and agitation. Often they involve theraputic fibs.
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Reply to Segoline
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Oh gosh...I fear something similar could happen to me, with my mother if we lose my dad...will read the responses and hope someone has a good answer for you. I had a friend whose mother was in a NH, not for long, when her father died from heart related issues impacted by the stress and worry about his wife. They were one of those deeply bonded couples of the greatest generation. Her mom was becoming more out of it as I recall, and didn't even ask...but yours is keenly aware he is missing.
I don't know if this will work, depending on where she is/how she is...but when my folks visited my sister a few years ago we were clueless about how the dementia had snuck in under our noses...and so once there, and when she learned how long they would be there, and no explanation satisfied her, my sister simply began to white lie and respond "the day after tomorrow" which was soon enough and complex enough and/or vague enough to satisfy mom in the moment. Maybe that will buy you some time...that dad will be home the day after tomorrow....
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Send sweet loving greeting cards to her from him. Add some old photo, from time to time that say, "Remember when we...! I was just remembering that day. How pretty you are. Can't wait to be with you again".
Send them once a week or so, and then save them so she can look over them again when she gets down.
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gettingharder, this sounds so hard indeed, for you. You’re being so strong for her, good job. I haven’t had to do any of this yet, but could she be told he only just left and doesn’t she remember? Describe days your remember to her, and say that it was the other day? Maybe you could make that past very recent for her. Best wishes to you. I’m going to view the link above now.
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MargaretMcKen Mar 6, 2019
An interesting and different approach. Thanks!
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