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Funeral today but cannot cry
Dad died on October 30 at age 90 after a very rough month. He had been residing in a VA medical foster home for 2 years, but had been bedridden and on morphine recently due to heart failure. I had seen the first signs of problems about 10 years ago, but he was not diagnosed with Alzheimer’s until 2 1/2 years ago. Due to the emotional abuse he meted out to my mother and me over the years, I believe Dad had been dealing with some type of mental illness from a very young age, and his family was not very nice to him as well. I mourned the loss of a good relationship with my father years ago and, due to the advancing dementia, felt as if I lost my Dad quite some time ago. Funeral is today, and I find myself unable to even cry for his passing as it is a blessing he is no longer confused and struggling to breathe.
Mom, at 89, still lives in family home by herself (luckily close to me), so I still must check on her daily. She has some “age related” dementia but still is pretty sharp with her finances and manages to drive around town. Since Dad was a vet, I now must start the process of making certain Mom receives maximum benefits from the VA; I obtained 100% disability for Dad after 18 months, and his death was service connected due to heart failure.
Both of my in laws have dementia (FIL more so than MIL), so my husband and I are still dealing with them in a local Memory Care facility (FIL will walk out door in 5 seconds if he has a chance).
Should I be more upset? My best friend tells me that whatever I feel is correct, but somehow it seems as if I am missing something. My father’s behavior over the years robbed me of so much that I really do not wish to spend any more time dwelling on it. Plus, the thought of going through this whole process another 3 times with our remaining parents is daunting. My FIL is very advanced in his dementia (cannot even hold a conversation now), is sleeping more and more, and I believe he may not live but a few more months.
I can think of nothing worse than losing your memories of self and family. When 3 out of 4 parents have dementia, one must become the “adult” and put everything else aside as my husband and I have had to do (he is actually legal guardian to both of his parents). This task has consumed our life over the past 2 1/2 years, but we know it was the appropriate thing to do, even if it was the hardest thing we have ever done. Needless to say, our relationship has suffered as well, but we try to hang on as best we can.
Sorry for the rambling - to top off the week, I have a diagnostic mammogram this Friday for a possible breast lump. What else can happen to us???
Thanks so much for sharing and the kind words. At least I know that what I am experiencing is not unusual. My focus now will be the care of my mother who lives alone. She actually does pretty good on her own, but is the type who will never call me if there is a problem since she does not wish to “bother” me! I am an only child so guess I feel the weight of this burden a bit more.
I am not overly concerned about the upcoming mammogram as I did have a biopsy in 2008, but it was nothing to be worried about. Fortunately, I was only a couple of months late on my regular check (since I get the tests annually without fail) so I least I do not feel as if it has gone on for an extraordinary amount of time. It will probably be as you had experienced, but it is just the time and monetary cost that is aggravating at this time.
Stress can cause any illness we have to be worse, so please take care of yourself, your marriage, your own family, your mom doesn't need your health as well
As for not being the "typical" greiever or what people seem to expect, don't worry about it...you have been greieving already for years, so now is the time to try and embrace your hubby
I can relate. My father had dementia (I think my mother had hidden it from us until she died) and he had had mental illness for I don't know how long (it hit the breaking point when I was 13). As a result, I was not connected to the man who lived in my father's body, because the man I had known before the breaking point was mostly happy and interactive. When he died, I couldn't cry. It was like a stranger had died. I felt really guilty, but came to realize, through therapy, that to cry and mourn means you loved that person. I can see that if you had suffered from his mental illness, there might not be any real connection. Your feelings are your own, and no one should tell you how to feel. You may, at a later date, mourn the fact that your relationship with him wasn't what you wanted, but you may not. Give yourself a hug and say "I've done the best I can do." And move on to the next step, whatever that may be.
Thanks so very much for all of the kind words and thoughts. It is true that I really did mourn my father years ago when his behavior turned bizarre and it became nearly impossible to talk to him with any meaningful conversation. Today went as well as could be expected, and Mom is really doing well too.
I am thankful the funeral is over, and now can concentrate on obtaining the maximum survivor benefits through the VA for my mother. Both my parents worked very hard all of their lives, and Mom should be ok but is not rich by any means. What I can obtain for her through the VA should make certain she does not have to worry about money.
I will take care of myself too. I am attempting to take more “breaks” and find joy in small things. It is very hard when we still have 3 parents, 2 of whom with Alzheimer’s still. It will still be a marathon, but we will do our best. Many have commended us for our care of all 4 of our parents, but we could not have lived with ourselves (my husband and me) if we had done any differently. We are the kind of people who stand up and take responsibility, and could not step aside to see our parents suffer or be preyed upon by others, even when those same parents accused us of abusing them. I am just grateful we lived in same city so as to make it all happen.
Back to my job tomorrow, which has actually been very understanding. Grateful to have this forum to vent. Thanks to everyone, even if you did not respond. Many times I just read posts in order to make it through the day.
I know I did have a delayed grief reaction. On the day my Mother died, I met my son at the DMV and changed the car title to his name only, and then I fulfilled a volunteer shift at the Botanic Gardens. I was numb and did not really start "feeling" the grief for about a week, when I was making funeral arrangements, writing the obituary, and contemplating grave markers. I already had a plot arranged. No one way is the "correct" way to grieve. I was in turmoil for a while; mixed emotions of relief, grief, disbelief, and regret. It has been over a year since my Mom passed away, and I'm going to visit my father next week in New Mexico. I'm a bit frightened at what I might see and find out, but I know that I'm brave enough to handle whatever it may be. He's on oxygen 24/7 and has a bit of memory loss, but he has a cleaning lady visit about twice a week, and I'm lucky that she texts and calls me to update me on how my Dad is doing.
My deepest condolences go out to you at this time, and know that you are not alone in this "in-between" state with your parents; one has passed, and you're looking at the daunting task of needing to help out with the other parent now.
Thanks to everyone for sharing thoughts and experiences. I returned to my office yesterday, totally exhausted physically and emotionally. Mom has a medical procedure today so am off work for the day to assist her, so we will spend some time together starting on the VA forms for her survivor benefits.
I do have to say that in some ways Dad’s death is a relief, since I was always worried that he had adequate care and assistance from all involved. I have found a strength that I never thought I had. My husband and I never desired children so have remained childless, but this has been a small lesson in what it is like to have a child! I know we made the correct decision for us.
My in-laws are continuing to deteriorate rapidly in Memory Care. At least they have been in an excellent facility for the past 2 years. We feel so very fortunate that the care of our parents has not been traumatic due to lack of care or abuse, since it seems one hears horror stories about what can occur. I try to take these small items as proof that we have done well by all of our parents.
I go to my appointment on Friday for the diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound. Whatever comes to it, I will deal with it. I have a fantastic surgeon who did my biopsy in 2008, so know I can call on her for excellent advice.
Hope everyone has a better day. I am looking forward to a bit more sleep over the weekend!
Neuchatel, my condolences on the passing of your father. You may be numb to the grief by now because of all the little griefs you had during your father long illness. Caregivers for LO's with dementia grieve every time we work with our LO's.
Take care of yourself while you have a little reprieve, and I hope the testing will go well. Please keep us informed- we care!