To grieve before someone dies…

To grieve before someone dies is unseemly I guess. They say you go through all these stages with grief, but I find myself in several stages at once. I cry alot, mostly by myself in the car, or in bed at night before I fall to sleep. I’m angry a lot, just thinking about the ongoing deterioration of my mother’s mind and the difficulty of dealing with her because she forgets or denies she even has a problem. Also she’s begun to say the things she never used to say, the self-edited mental dialog that goes on inside her is seeping through. My mom, the kindest person I know, who taught me to be kind (and it’s generally agreed by others that my kindness is my most outstanding or notable attribute), who always lived by what she preached: “If you don’t have anything nice to say to or about someone, don’t say anything at all”, is now coming out with some real eyebrow-raisers. (I myself live by the same rule, but tend to think along the lines of “If you don’t have anything nice to say about someone, come sit by me.”) In any case, it’s further demonstration of her dementia, and freshly reminds me that the mother I know and love has died. There is now this similar, but oh-so-different in significant ways, person to contend with, and I’m supposed to love her the same as my mother, but she’s not my mother. I feel like I’m supposed to “suck it up” and carry on as though there is no change. But I’m so sad, and so fearful of what is to come. (“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.” ~ C. S. Lewis) I feel fragile, as though I’d like to be wrapped in bubble wrap and insulated from the world.

What if one day you woke up and everyone in your life was different? They looked the same, they sounded the same, they had the same experiences with you, but they weren’t familiar to you somehow. Your spouse, your best friend, your child, your co-workers, your neighbor. You know something isn’t right, but don’t know why. Have they been abducted and replaced by aliens? Are you in the twilight zone? The X-files? This is your life, but somehow it’s been turned upside down. Nobody else sees a problem. Everyone denies what you can clearly sense. What then?

What then? What now?

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3 responses to “To grieve before someone dies…

  • bethanythegreat

    that is such a painful experience. i’m sorry you’re going through it. but i’m glad you have moments here and there where you’re able to let out some of that grief, confusion, and fear. even if they’re just in spurts in the car–it’s better than leaving it in and letting it eat away at you. hope you have more spaces to let it out as you need to, and also the strength to keep on keeping on.one thing though, i did a lot of work as a hospice chaplain, and many of the people i met had varying stages of dementia. i’m not entirely convinced that the things people say at that point are really things they think or feel, that they have been suppressing during their more lucid moments. i mean, obviously i don’t know your mom at all, but just in my experience with a number of people with dementia, it was clear that a lot of those things were not things they actually believed or felt – they just came out for whatever neurological reason, or were trying to communicate something else, but it just comes out wrong. just wanted to throw that out.peace, sister.

  • Antonius_Bloch

    i’m sorry, this really sucks: i’m going through something similar with my grandparents right now, grandpa especially.  we just spent two weeks there, and he is … well, mean and ornery, to tell you the honest truth.  also with my mom, who is turning into the less pleasant side of her parents.  sorry.

  • weedorwildflower

    I wish you lots of luck in your new healthy endeavors!
    Also…Just read this post. I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I can totally relate. My dad died two years ago, but was sick for two years before that. When he died he was just a shell of the man I knew and loved, and I had such mixed emotions. But a lot of the grief, most of the grief, came before he physically died. You’re in my prayers.

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