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?