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Attending a funeral

Pierwalker

Registered User
Apr 1, 2017
24
0
My 76 year old wife is 7 years into Alzheimers and still manages to stay reasonably cheerful and stable, and just loves working on her puzzle books, although all memories have virtually gone. Her younger sister died this week but she hasn't reacted emotionally and if I mention the matter she has no memory of either the fact or of her sister. My question is whether I should take her to the funeral when arranged (Covid permitting)? I worry that she might find it very confusing, stressful and upsetting, but I also think it would be wrong not to involve her. Has anyone an experience that could advise me on what I might expect?
 

Lemondrizzle

Registered User
Aug 26, 2018
117
0
We had exactly the same issue with MIL. There was no merit in taking her to the funeral as we felt this would cause her distress. We did think she would understand it was a funeral but not the concept of whose and as she hadn't taken on board the loss of her sister we did not want to labour the point. Her other sister would have also been there and she was an "invisible" who didn't respect the compassionate communication we were using with MIL so she was more than likely to tell MIL over and over again who had died.
 

Canadian Joanne

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 8, 2005
16,859
0
66
Toronto, Canada
If it were me, I would not. I never even told my mother about the deaths of a sister, brother, husband and ex-husband. She would not have remembered. She didn't remember her parents had died (in 1970) and at one point kept wanting to visit them. I would agree and say "We'll go tomorrow". Tomorrow never comes.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
14,385
0
South coast
People need funerals in order to remember the person who has died and obtain closure.
Your wife, unfortunately, is unable to remember her sister and wont obtain closure by attending the funeral. It will probably confuse and distress her. I honestly wouldnt take her.
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
589
0
Is it common to forget a relative like a sister? I thought long term memory was usually good and obviously a sibling would be remembered from childhood!
 

Jessbow

Registered User
Mar 1, 2013
3,281
0
West Hertfordshire
Forgetting a sister is common, people with dementia often forget they have been married ( and many have been married for very many years)
 

Lemondrizzle

Registered User
Aug 26, 2018
117
0
Forgetting a sister is common, people with dementia often forget they have been married ( and many have been married for very many years)

Of all the heartbreaking things with MIL it was the day she asked me if she had ever been married that really got to me. By the time her sister died she had long stopped talking about either of them.
 

Canadian Joanne

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 8, 2005
16,859
0
66
Toronto, Canada
Is it common to forget a relative like a sister? I thought long term memory was usually good and obviously a sibling would be remembered from childhood!
Yes, a sibling may be remembered but the fact they died would not. My mother remembered her parents but at the beginning, before I knew anything, I told her my grandmother had died (30 years previously). Floods of tears because it was like she was hearing it for the first time. She actually said "Why didn't anyone tell me?".

So taking a PWD to a funeral may only set them up for sad and difficult emotions, while they will not remember the cause.
 

Just me

Registered User
Nov 17, 2013
494
0
Is it common to forget a relative like a sister? I thought long term memory was usually good and obviously a sibling would be remembered from childhood!
I don’t know if it’s common but it happens. I was always hearing that long term memory was the last to go, not in mums case, she has no long term memory and doesn’t remember her sister or brother.
 

Pierwalker

Registered User
Apr 1, 2017
24
0
Thank you to all those that showed an interest in my issue. In the event I didn't take my wife and I'm satisfied it was the right decision, also agreed by the friends I asked and the husband. The church was full (30 people), a lovely service and later committal supporting my brother in law with two other family. All very emotional for me and I very much doubt my wife would have known what was going on during the one and a half hours. Only one question since - have I got a sister - and I simply told her she had died and that was it. We move on.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
14,385
0
South coast
Im glad it was a lovely service and you were supported by your friends in not taking your wife.
Times like that really bring it home how much someone with dementia has lost
xxx
 

Pierwalker

Registered User
Apr 1, 2017
24
0
Im glad it was a lovely service and you were supported by your friends in not taking your wife.
Times like that really bring it home how much someone with dementia has lost
xxx
Thank you. It seemed incredible that a 70 year old relationship could be wiped like that by this cruel disease but questions about closer family are also beginning to arise. I am dreading the point when I am no longer recognised after my 55 year relationship!