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Can’t seem to grieve after a loss of a loved one.

Pipp98

New member
Apr 25, 2020
3
Newcastle
I’m going to begin by stating that I don’t intend to upset anyone with my post, I know how scary and upsetting Dementia can be.

As a child, we were inseparable with our grandparents. My grandfather died when I was only little but my Nana lived on another 15 years with the help of her family.

My Nana was diagnosed with vascular dementia and living with that for 4/5 years, her life changed drastically. She needed to be moved from the bungalow she loved to a care home where she wasn’t at any harm. She hated this change the most and would be upsetting when she would tell you the same thing each time you visited her, that all she wanted was to go home.

From the everyday care of 3/9 of her children, although it was hard it was 100% worth it as you got to know what her new interests were, who her new friends were, her stories of the good old days and just being able to spend that precious time with her.

The downside to this, obviously being the Dementia. Some days you would visit and she would be the happiest woman in the world, she would ask you about your day and she would sing with you. Other days she would be angry and lash out at you, although you were told by professionals ‘it’s not her, it’s the dementia’, it was still very hard hitting.

Some days, even though you had visited her everyday- she wouldn’t know who you are, or she’d ask you how is your husband , knowing she thought you were someone else.

The first time I realised she didn’t have a clue who I was, was when we were talking and my mam had to remind her who I was & she would say oh yes, yes but the look in her eyes were still trying to figure this person out.

Some days she would ask of the children that did not visit her in the care home, what could we say? We kept telling her they were at work, or they were coming soon.

You realise, you tell little white lies to your loved one, and it’s for the best, for them. At first I didn’t agree with lying to them as it felt incredibly wrong. But she has already such a difficult battle, I realised I didn’t want such a kind and loving woman to know about her family not being bothered to visit.

Most days, she would sleep the entire time you were there, so we would talk amongst ourselves about her, hoping she would be listening. Giving her hair a brush ( she wouldn’t be happy if he hair wasn’t in place :)) or painting her nails.

My Nana’s time was up in February 2020 after a hard battle with the disease. For me, It didn’t hit me. I didn’t cry, she was such a special person in my life & I’m almost angry at myself that I didn’t cry for her.

After caring for her, and much of the family not even visiting her in the care home the years she was there, there was a lot of anger and bitterness felt against those individuals.

The family who were involved, planned the funeral, talked to the undertakers and cleared out her room for the next occupier and any other things needed to be sorted.

Even through this process, I was not sad, I reflected on what was happening but I still did not feel sad or mourn in any way.

The day of her funeral was the first time I truly felt lost without her, and cried and cried and cried. Seeing the other family members who never showed not shedding a tear for her & not paying the respect this brilliant woman deserved.

Since her funeral, I haven’t felt much since. I am quite an emotional person and that’s why I’m confused. I still think of her as being there, in her room watching the TV or sleeping. It does not feel like she’s left us. To me, she is still very much alive and I assume the way I think about her is the reason I can’t grieve her loss.

It feels as if nothing has changed, and I’m just waiting to go back to see her this week.

I’m not sure if circumstances at the minute have taken my mind off this.

I hear that people struggle with grieving for a loved one with Dementia as they experience their death twice.

If anyone is feeling similar feelings, or to normalise what I’m feeling... I’d appreciate some more experience or information.

Thank you all.
Take care of yourselves
Pipp
💙
 

May30

Registered User
Feb 25, 2017
48
Hi Pipp,
I lost my dad last week. I hadn't been able to visit his care home for a month and his quick decline was all quite a shock. I don't think it will really hit me that he's gone until things return to normal and I don't have him to visit anymore. Like you say, part of me still imagines him in his room watching telly. Every now and then it hits me that he's gone but it comes and goes. I think in some ways it's me subconsciously protecting myself and enabling me to function.
I spent a lot of time grieving for the dad I lost when he went into the care home. It has been a long process of loss. I don't think you should give yourself a hard time or expect to feel anything. People process it differently and you may find that, whilst you still imagine her there in her room, that every now and again you get a vivid memory of her or hear some music she liked and it makes you feel the loss. I can imagine you didn't cry at the time because you were in 'practical mode', making arrangements and clearing the room and had to feel numb and not fall apart, that was how it was for me anyway.
Thinking of you
 

Shedrech

Volunteer Moderator
Dec 15, 2012
9,258
Yorkshire
hello @Pipp98
a warm welcome to DTP

what a wonderful grandchild you have been to your Nana ... your love and respect for her shine through your post

grief is a strange creature and is different for each of us, and for each loss .... allow yourself to feel as you do ... if it is comforting you to feel your Nana is just in her room, that's fine ... in many ways she will always be with you; she passed on some of her genes to you, you are literally made of the same stuff and the woman she was, the time you spent with her has helped make you the person you are

enjoy your memories of your Nana and be proud that you stood by her ... how others were with her is for them to deal with, let that be

I felt as though I was walking through treacle when my mum died (after a stroke), everything was heavy ... I didn't weep, I didn't even get to talk much about her as dad didn't want to and I respected his need to cope in that way ... I put up a photo of her smiling and another of her waving at me and they brought me much comfort, smiling and waving back ... it was months later that I found a small thought would bring that catch of breath and tears ... still does once in a while, after 14 years

there's a Crystal Gale song and I find the lyrics apt:
Some hurt can make you cry, some make you wanna die, but some just goes too deep for tears
 

Shedrech

Volunteer Moderator
Dec 15, 2012
9,258
Yorkshire
thinking of you too @May30
so hard for you not being able to visit
I recognise the long process of loss you describe ... you walked beside your dad all the way
I hope there's some comfort for you that he is at peace
be kind to yourself
 

Pipp98

New member
Apr 25, 2020
3
Newcastle
Hi @May30 !
I’m so sorry to hear the loss of your Dad. Especially at such a strange time, it must be so difficult for you and your family. Your strength is truly inspiring.

Thinking about what you said ... it’s quite amazing how we can function on, getting things done in preparation and generally just staying focused on the tasks at hand.

But there is time needed to grieve about our loved ones aswell, I relate somewhat to what you’re saying in regards to losing them going into the care home.

Being a bit younger at the time and not having the knowledge of Dementia that I do now, I think I was very naive and believed the care home was temporary and she would spend her days back in a nice bungalow surrounded by her family like before.

It makes me feel much more ‘human’ at least to understand that others go through the same thing and even react in the same way, as you mentioned being in ‘practical mode’.

At the moment, I think of my Nana back at her care home watching TV. However I’ve realised that I feel her soul has returned with her loved ones that had left previously and she is at peace once more.
Wherever our beliefs lie, I think we can all agree that our loved ones fighting this horrid disease are now free from pain and confusion.

I hope this can provide some comfort for you, sending my condolences to you and your family at this difficult time.

Love Pipp
💙
 

Pipp98

New member
Apr 25, 2020
3
Newcastle
Hi @Shedrech !
Thank you for the warm welcome! I’m so glad I’ve found this community, being able to hear from others and their experiences and even being able to help others really takes away from the current situation of the world.

Thank you for your kind words, she was and still is my best friend.

You speak in the same way as my mam does, I think I still resent some of the members of the family for not being there, but you’re absolutely right- it’s time to let that go and just focus on the great memories that she left for us.

I suppose grief will hit you at any time, and more than just the once! And in those times we must remember them for the beautiful people they were, speaking of your mothers picture of smiling and waving... we also have one of my Nana doing the exact same and it’s my favourite photo of her, we have her in our dining room, I’m happy your mother still brings you comfort with a smile and a wave just as my nana does.

Reading your view of this has helped massively, I couldn’t see many of things you’ve mentioned from my point of view and I’m so glad I have now.

I have such a new found respect for these forums and the people who post, I feel almost a weight lifted just from posting my experience, getting it off my chest and receiving the support and comfort from both of you who have replied.

Take care
Love Pipp
💙
 

crybaby

Registered User
Jan 8, 2017
44
Hi Pipp
I am sorry to hear of your loss, and glad you've found this group.
My husband died in November, after having had a very rare kind of dementia, which left him bed bound for the last 2 1/2 years. He had carers in to deal with his personal care needs, but basically it was just me.

He died after 2 episodes of pneumonia in 3 weeks, and the hospital were very good while he was slipping away, and left me with him for about 6 hours, enough time for me to sing him our favourite songs, chat, and cry, and even, incredibly, laugh. Mostly, of course, he couldn't hear me, because I believe that he actually died quite early in that 6 hours, but it helped me enormously to cope.

Immediately there were things to be done, of course, and I did not do any crying then, because my sons had all come home, and although they are all middle aged men now, I didn't want to upset them!

It's only now, 5 months on, that I am reduced to tears so often. I find it hard to remember the times when he was still Terry, because while he was an invalid, he became my life. My youngest son reminded me that I can do anything, go anywhere I want ( this lock down apart, of course!) and I could, if only I could be sure that the slightest reminder of him would set me off again.

I don't know how long it takes to stop grieving, especially if you've grieved before, over the effect of the dementia, but maybe never, maybe you just learn to accept " a new normal", but you will probably cry enough in your time, when it is time.

You are certainly not alone

Love

Gill
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
13,420
South coast
My mum died just over 3 years ago and for many months I just felt numb. I could not cry or grieve for her and I went through the funeral dry eyed. It worried me so much that I posted about it on here and got a lot of support - everyone saying that it is different for everyone and the way you grieve and when is the right way for you. I can now look back and see that they were right. The tears come in their own time. We have to go through the process, but the details are different for everyone. I am now at the stage where I can remember the good times - even during the dementia years. I have not forgotten the bad times, of course, but they no longer swamp me.

You will get through it - in your own time and way
((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((hugs))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))
 

crybaby

Registered User
Jan 8, 2017
44
Thank you so much for writing this, Canary.
I have felt so guilty that I haven't been able to remember the good times, but now I realise that that will come, in time.
I have been taking an anti depressant called Sertraline for about 3 years, because in the earlier dementia days, hubby was so difficult to live with, and inclined to be violent. When he died, I realised that I wasn't depressed any more, just sad, and I asked the doctor if I could stop taking them..She agreed, provided that I did it spread out over 3 months, which I've done, because I wanted to be able to grieve without any chemical "calming mechanism."
Well, at least now I feel as though my grieving is natural, the way nature intended!
 

AliceA

Registered User
May 27, 2016
2,858
I feel grief comes in many guises, do not judge yourself, do not judge others.
Many of us have grieved time and time again as dementia is a series of small deaths.
Sometimes we feel just grieved out, then a trigger of a small loss has an almighty chain reaction.
Our grief is for ourselves, we are human, it is the price of love.
Some people do cope by trying to avoid pain, they avoid visiting, ultimately they may be poorer for it, but judging them, hurts us more.
I honestly do not feel death is the end, people live on in many ways, our genes, our thoughts and our in our joy and experiences. I have always felt connected.
At some point I trust that you will remember the joyous moments and tears will be through smiles as you remember,
It is tough, a time for self care, my grandmother died sixty years or so ago, her words of wisdom and love still guide me. X
 

Cariad71

Registered User
Oct 14, 2019
10
Hello Pipp, I lost my own mam to dementia and at the moment my mother in law is end of life with it.

What you are experiencing is completely normal. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, although we are conditioned to think that there is. You have felt sad (cried and cried), numb ( I don’t feel anything), anger (at family members)...... all of these are completely normal emotions.
You also feel that nan is still with you and you wonder whether the way you think of her stops you grieving. No! We take those that we love with us. You don’t have to leave her behind/ get over her. Look up ‘continuing bonds and grief’..... it’s about ways that we keep our loved ones memories alive.
Also, you have grieved along the way. Remember the time’s when you visited and nan wasn’t herself. Remember when she lashed out. Remember when she first forgot you. You experienced grief then no doubt. Be kind to yourself. Whatever you feel is ok. Sending love.