1. graham

    graham Registered User

    Apr 23, 2007
    Hi everyone

    My Dad had Alzheimer's for 7 years and died at the beginning of the month - actually of cancer

    At the funeral all the stories and memories felt like ancient history to me because the Dad we nursed was a shadow of a shadow of the man we were grieving for who none of has had a real conversation with for 7 years

    I cried and was devastated to lose him but now I feel because of his Alzheimer's the grieving process is all jumbled up and I'm worrying three weeks after his death that I'm too calm and not dealing with my feelings

    Anyone had a simialr experience?
  2. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    Welcome to TP Graham. I`m so sorry you`ve lost your father and offer my deepest sympathy and sincere condolences.

    I wish you`d found us earlier, while your dad was still alive, as you could possibly have had some more support.

    Your grief will show itself in it`s own way and there`s no need to question the manner in which you are grieving.

    There`s always someone here, if you need to off load. Many carers stay with TP long after they have lost.

    Take care
  3. Skye

    Skye Registered User

    Aug 29, 2006
    SW Scotland
    Hi Graham

    So sorry you've lost your dad. It seems doubly cruel to have AD and cancer.

    Don't worry about how you're feeling. There is often a period of numbness immediately afterwards. After all the stress of caring, and the trauma of the loss and the funeral, there is often a period when everything feels empty and pointless.

    Everyone feels grief in their own way, and nothing is right or wrong. Just go with your feelings. One day the sense of loss may hit you like a thunderbolt, and you will start crying again.

    Don't worry about that either. You may feel that you are going mad, but again, it is normal.

    Just give yourself time, and go with your feelings. Post again whenever you need some support.

  4. RussellC

    RussellC Registered User

    Jul 6, 2006

    Thanks for posting. I wondered if I was the only one who has reacted as you describe.

    I too cried initially and then seemed to have an almost detached attitude to it all. My Dad died on 2 January and I now realise that I was in shock. Thankfully I have been able to remember the good times in a long life with my Dad. Alzheimers was part of all our lives for about 7 years too and I can now remember the good days, more than the bad.

    The advice you have been given is good. Grieve in your own way and in your own time. The undertakers arranged a bereavement seminar (initially didn't want to go, but glad I did) with a speaker who said just that. We grieve for the loss of a relationship and there is no right or wrong way.

    In my opinion we start to grieve when our experience of Alzheimer's starts. I recall being in shock at the time of the diagnosis. It took some time for me to go into fight mode and we made Dad's life as good as possible.

    God bless

  5. graham

    graham Registered User

    Apr 23, 2007
    Thanks for that Russell -sorry about your Dad

    I never thought i might be in shock but that seems to makes sense - it changes from day to day

    The last couple of days I feel the whole experience is all over with and there's no point getting upset any more but three weeks ago I was in a room with my family watching my Dad die - which took 3 days -

    Of course I know in my head it cant be right to feel this detatched and calm- I'm burying things for the time being - it feels like the emotions have a power to come and go all of their own volition and you just have to let it happen

    Its nice to know you had a similar feelings - all of the experiences are so intense it makes you feel so alone - and yet a site like this makes you realise there are so many people going through exactly the same thing
  6. chip

    chip Registered User

    Jul 19, 2005
    When my mum died i didnt cry. My insides were chirning though for a week. Friends took me to their house in England right after the funeral. That was 3 years ago. It done me the world of good. I still have never cried but i find i cant look at mothers day etc cards. My husband is now 5years into Alzheimers (early onset) i often wonder what i will be like when it happens again. Live can be so cruel.
    Getting away done me the world of good. I didn't want to go but it was the best thing. It worked for me. Is it possible you could get away.
  7. amf

    amf Registered User

    Apr 23, 2007
    same boat

    hi Russell and Graham

    I just wanted to say that may dad died too from AZ on 2 January. Similarily I feel pretty numb about it and have been surprised at how easily I returned to "normal" life. He was diagnosed 10 years ago, as a young man, although we feel he had the condition for quite a while before then. I reckon my grieving started as soon as he was diagnosed and then evolved as his condition deteriorated over the years. Its been a long journey really so I know where you are coming from. In many ways I feel relief for him, my mum and myself, if I'm being honest.

    Likewise I feel moments of intense sadness but my memories are still focused on his last years when he was a much changed man than the dad I remember. I hope those sad memories begin to fade a little and the happier ones begin to come to the fore.

    Just wanted to share that, as we're in a similar boat.

  8. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    Thank you for sharing amf, I`m sure it has helped Russell and Graham. And let me welcome you to TP. I hope you will be able to share again.
  9. Áine

    Áine Registered User

    hi graham

    sorry to hear about your dad. i think only 3 weeks after losing someone almost any feelings or lack of them can be considered "normal". sometimes the ideas about stages of grief do more harm than good because they can lead people to believe they should be feeling a certain way at certain times and should 'do' the stages in order.

    as well as shock, you're probably exhausted (emotionally, mentally and physically) after this whole experience. also, if it's 7 years since you were able to have a real conversation with dad, it's possible that in some ways you've done some of the grieving already.

    go gentle on yourself. there's always support here when you feel like posting.

  10. DeborahBlythe

    DeborahBlythe Registered User

    Dec 1, 2006

    Dear Graham, very sorry to hear about your dad and the shock that you are going through.
    My dad died quite suddenly when I was in my teens and at the time I don't recall feeling upset, more stunned. I think it was several years later that I began to mourn his loss. We're all different. Just go easy on yourself. Sincere sympathy
  11. Lila13

    Lila13 Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    I don't think I've started grieving properly yet and it's been nearly a year, I am still stuck with disbelief (all this can't possibly be true) and anger (if it is true it must be someone's fault).

  12. Skye

    Skye Registered User

    Aug 29, 2006
    SW Scotland
    But you're getting there, Lila. You're doing so well.

  13. nicetotalk

    nicetotalk Registered User

    Sep 22, 2006
    Hi All

    Its been just over a year that i lost my mum, although i dont cry as often as i did,i just can not get over the last 3 weeks of her life. From day one she went in to hospital we did not think she would last the night, this went on for 3 weeks you can not put it in to words to anyone how you feel. Only them that have gone throughit would understand. My sisters and i was with her right at the end, total shock surpose in one way i find it to painful to think about it. I can not at the moment think of happy times this illness is just awful i know iam not alone, i think talking point is so helpful, it has helped me anyway

    take care all
    kathy x
  14. blue sea

    blue sea Registered User

    Aug 24, 2005
    Hi Graham and all
    I don't know whether this will help at all but you never know. After dad died a year ago now, I couldn't get the last years when he suffered so much, and the last few weeks in particular, out of my mind. In a way the dad I had before the dementia seemed to be so long lost, that at the funeral I felt relief more than grief. I couldn't somehow release the emotions. One day I decided to put together an album of photographs from all different parts of his life, his childhood, war years, his wedding, family holidays and so on. I thought it would be something to share with relatives. In the end I found it absolutely absorbing , going through all the many albums and boxes of photos and selecting ones that best reflected the special moments in his life. The tears flowed, of course, and it helped me re connect with the dad I had known all my life and perhaps put the last years into some sort of perspective. There is such a complexity of emotions involved in losing someone to to an illness like dementia that the actual death in a way is only a small part of it. Does that make sense?
    blue sea
  15. Sarah-Anne

    Sarah-Anne Registered User

    Mar 17, 2007
    Hello Graham.
    I am grieving too....my dad died on valentines day 2001 ...then again 28th feb this year......yes....i know...in my eyes he died twice.....
    How can anyone know how it feels...how to cope....
    So sorry for your loss
  16. graham

    graham Registered User

    Apr 23, 2007
    Thanks for everybody's replies

    My Dad died eventually of cancer which we think he had had for the last year

    Because of the Alzheimer's he could tell us if he was in pain or any symptoms and the doctors were guessing he had bowel cancer as he had been bleeding regularly

    We didnt want him to have chemo but just wanted him kept comfortable on morphine

    He was given two months to live in March but only lasted weeks as our GP thinks the tumour perforated

    What I will never get over is that we let him go into respite having just started the morhine tablets because my mother needed the break

    He marched into the ambulance quite happily and four days later came back bed-ridden after falling and a terrible 5 hour ordeal in a hospital alone with a carer he didnt know

    We wish so much we had kept him home - but our thinking was even tho he was poorly we had to be practical and take the respite as it had been organised weeks before and my mother was desperate for a break

    He died four days later - he looked at me when I arrived on the first night and touched my face and played with my hair which I'm so grateful for because the next day he lost consciousness and didnt know anyone was there

    I take comfort from the fact that he was able to die at home and all his children and grandchildren were there

    I do feel relief for my mother and sister who cared for him day to day but I would easily swap that relief and go back to the nursing and changing pads and the restrictions socially to have him back again

    But I wonder if his illness caused him suffering he couldnt express - I just tell myself its all over for him and thats the main thing
  17. RussellC

    RussellC Registered User

    Jul 6, 2006
    I would like to add my thanks for the replies.

    Graham has touched on the dilemmas this disease creates. To have the double misery of his Dad's AD and cancer, and then have to choose between the needs of his Mum's health and his Dad's health is awful and I can only sympathise.

    On a smaller scale I sometimes had to choose between visiting my Dad or staying with my traumatised Mum. The many what ifs I have about our situation are there. I tell myself I did my best and made decisions that worked at the time. With hindsight I would have done some things differently, but life, and particularly AD do not give us that luxury.

    The overwhelming message of the posts is that we should be kind to ourselves, particularly when we are grieving.

    Thank God for TP.

  18. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    #18 Grannie G, Apr 24, 2007
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2007
    Hi blue sea, trying to make a positive from a negative makes perfect sense to me.

    What a lovely idea, and something permanent, a history of your father`s life, in pictures.

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