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All she focuses on is death
Posted: Thursday, September 12, 2019 9:54 PM
Joined: 8/5/2018
Posts: 22

I'm not sure if I'm looking for advice or just some sympathy. Maybe just need to get this out somewhere that others will understand.

Mom with AD is fixated on the first 20 years of her life as that is her firmest memory anymore. She focuses on my father, who died very suddenly in 2013 when mild Alzheimer's was setting in with Mom but we didn't yet realize it. It was incredibly sudden. He was thriving one minute and a massive heart attack took him the next. I spent the next 5 years coming to terms with my own grief over his loss and struggled for some sense of closure, which I did finally find. I had finally come to terms with his passing.

Now it's one of the few things she focuses on which is pulling me back from the progress I had made. I don't want to be insensitive (because she's still strangely attuned to that) but I also don't want to let myself get pulled back into that black hole.

All she fixates on is death while I focus on the positive. It's just so difficult to know how to respond while not letting myself be set back.

Posted: Thursday, September 12, 2019 10:13 PM
Joined: 10/24/2018
Posts: 990

Tlyoung this is so hard for you, and I'm sure it's hard on your mom too, as her emotions are no doubt intact. Please accept my deep sympathy for the loss of your father. 

I really don't have anything bright to say. Maybe your mom will soon enough lose that memory? And can you get away from time to time to see a grief counselor? 

Posted: Friday, September 13, 2019 1:43 AM
Joined: 8/25/2019
Posts: 11

My MIL buried two husbands (the first at age 52) and a long-time partner. We try to always bring her back to talking about happy memories with them instead of dwelling on the loss, often using photographs as prompts for her memories and stories.

This is difficult for my husband who was a young man when his Dad passed away. I try to take the lead these times and direct the conversation.

I'm sorry for your loss and that you're having to relive it.


Posted: Friday, September 13, 2019 11:46 AM
Joined: 9/12/2019
Posts: 9

I can really empathize with this struggle.. My LO is in MC and seems to be moving backwards in time but there are some major emotional grenades in her  (and my) past: my father lost his battle with cancer in 2016 and my sibling passed away very suddenly and unexpectedly in 2015.  I've made my peace and tried not to fester in the grief, but its so hard to hear her in pain and struggling with the loss as if they JUST. Happened. I want to support her and console her, but it stirs so much stuff up for me personally. 

I recommend you give yourself an Timed OUT for certain subjects. (I.E. After 30 mins of support, and talk and re-direction, you need to take a 10-15 minute break. Say you'll be right back, need to run an errand, etc. But make the time to stop and re-group. It's hard, and some may find it callous, but I think about it as rationally as I can. Its not healthy for BOTH of you to dwell on such a hard subject. And if You're down, then you're not at your best to pick her up when she is also emotionally down. 

I tell myself often: To be a great caregiver means that you need to make sure you're  taking great care of yourself. 

D in law
Posted: Friday, September 13, 2019 3:14 PM
Joined: 4/24/2017
Posts: 586

Instead of believing that this is all she is focused on, try to put yourself in her shoes. Maybe, not saying it is so, she cannot the grasp the concept of the death of  her husband, especially a sudden death.  To cope she goes back to earlier years.  If the earlier years are more of a comfort to her then when you are with her, change the death conversation to her earlier happier memories.  This maybe all her brain is capable of processing.

I also had a struggle back in 2014 when my father had a massive heart attack.  Did I not fully understand the situation with him and my mother?  Mom was PWD.  I didn't help enough or give him enough breaks.  I always ended up in the same place.  It happened and that's it, can't change it because it's no ones fault.  I do say from time to time I think he was tired and was ready to check out of the madness of his dear wife having no short term memory left as well as multiple other medical issues.  

 My mother mourned and called out for him many times in those 1st few weeks, maybe a month, but it became less and less.  It was so strange to us she seemed to have forgotten him over the course of that next year.  We let her be, and I was grateful she forgot and wasn't asking me everyday where he was.  Mom did bring him up again, and that was just about 4 weeks prior to her passing.    Maybe, another possibility is your Mom is having a decline?  I can't say for sure of course, just wanted you to know you have my sympathy.  It is really hard to lose one real fast and ahead of the one left living a slow death.  

Posted: Friday, September 13, 2019 5:54 PM
Joined: 5/22/2018
Posts: 359

Tylyoung, my mother often does the same. She was married for over 60 yrs to my dad, he died about a year prior to her AD diagnosis. She occasionally will say she just wants to die and join him. I know she still grieves him, she has been saying this since he died years ago. I will empathize with her for a few minutes and then redirect her at this point, otherwise she will stay dragged down in the sadness of it. Which makes us all sad. We miss our dad, too. Honestly I'm glad that she says it less and less, and I'll be happy for her when she really can join him, because this is all she wants.