How do I deal with my dad's grief?

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by Finding it hard, Feb 4, 2008.

  1. Finding it hard

    Finding it hard Registered User

    Feb 4, 2008
    9
    My Mum is now in the final stage of the end stage of Altzheimer's, and we've been told it's a matter of weeks before she dies. My dad (who is 88 and her carer at home) seemed to have accpeted that this was the end and began thinking of ways of making mum more comfortable. However, i spoke to him last night and he's filled out her passport renewal forms because he wants to take her on holiday. She's entirely bed bound, doesn't speak and eats intermittently. He seems to think that if he tries hard enough she will recover. It's heartbreaking. Does anyone else have any similar sort of experience?
     
  2. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    69,569
    Kent
    Hello. I`m not surprised you`re `finding it hard`.

    I don`t think there`s any way to make life easier for your father. If he`s cared for your mother through the whole period of Alzheimers, at his age, it`s not surprising he is trying to wish for a better outcome.

    I`d just let him be. He might have filled in the renewal form for a passport, but I doubt he`ll send it off.

    Try to be strong for your parents, and off load on TP. I think you`ll find support and understanding which might help you, just a little.

    Love xx
     
  3. Finding it hard

    Finding it hard Registered User

    Feb 4, 2008
    9
    Thank you for your kind reply
     
  4. Cloudwatcher

    Cloudwatcher Registered User

    Nov 2, 2007
    33
    West Sussex
    Hello Finding it hard,

    I'm sorry to read about your Mum, it is very tragic. Your Father is doing a wonderful job looking after her by the sounds of things. You must be very proud of him.

    My Mum has AD and is around stage 5. I think my Dad is only just beginning to accept it now, he is her carer. I find it hard dealing with my Dad's grief. On a recent trip home to Glasgow, after Mum had gone to bed, he broke down in tears. Which sent me off too, I was more crying for him than for Mum on that occasion.

    Once again your Father has done a remarkable job caring for your Mum at home to this stage.

    My heart goes out to you and your family at this difficult time.

    Love Lee x
     
  5. Finding it hard

    Finding it hard Registered User

    Feb 4, 2008
    9
    Thanks a lot Lee. Yeah, my Dad is the MOST amazing person I know. He has been incredible with and for my mum and letting go just doesn’t have a place in his head. I think he feels it would be letting her down to accept that she will die. The road has been long and it’s been filled with him battling against all the odds, refusing to give up and even working a few miracles for mum through his sheer refusal to accept that she’s very ill. I admire and respect him greatly and can’t bear to contradict his dreams. But, I do worry about his denial. I guess it’s just another stage to get our heads around.
    Thanks for your reply though – it does help to be able to write about it.
     
  6. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    12,413
    near London
    Hi Finding it hard

    There always has to be a dream.

    I'm only thinking how I might be in his situation but here goes:

    For your Dad the dream is that somehow he can once again go on holiday with your Mum. To him she isn't how she looks to you, to him she is the same as she ever was.

    He needs something to do, and planning takes his mind off things. What else might he do? Dwell on what is to happen?

    Doing something positive does help and there are stages to grief. We can only try our best to judge when the time is right, but maybe if you asked your Dad to write [or tell] their story - how they met, etc, and put that together with any pictures he might have, that could help him start to celebrate the life they had together. It would give him something to work on over the coming months and if you told him you would really value it, then it might spur him on.

    Or it might not, of course. It is all individual, and there is no way of knowing what would work best. Trying things is the only way to find out.
     
  7. Finding it hard

    Finding it hard Registered User

    Feb 4, 2008
    9
    Hi Bruce,
    You are right, of course. I don't want him to live the next few months in anxiety and terror. And, in that context, it's positive for him to dream as you say. I think your idea about writing their story is brilliant and I think it's just the kind of thing he'd love to do - especially with photographs. Thanks you so much for your thoughts.
     
  8. Finding it hard

    Finding it hard Registered User

    Feb 4, 2008
    9
    Well, all is not so well I think. Dad has decided that the doctor has told him that Mum is dying just to avoid having to treat her. He’s telling people she’s got years left in her and is fitter than he is. I spoke with him tonight and he’s saying he’s getting her out of bed and into a chair tomorrow because he knows she can walk. He’s also become fixated on ‘his’ situation of having mum in bed in his front room – this was his choice and still is, but his story is that the social workers and doctors have made him a prisoner in his own home saying that mum is ill and can’t walk. He wants to sue everyone concerned. I wish he could focus on having quality time with mum, his kids and his grandkids. I’m travelling from north to south to spend time with him and mum tomorrow and am absolutely dreading it, but at the same time wanting to be there. I want to be able to talk about mum's dignity and end of life care,but it just doesn't seem possible.
     
  9. Kit Kat

    Kit Kat Registered User

    Feb 10, 2008
    16
    Manchester
    Hi Finding it Hard

    I have just joined the site. My Mum was diagnosed with the illness 12 months ago. I really identify with how you are feeling.

    Go safe
     
  10. Finding it hard

    Finding it hard Registered User

    Feb 4, 2008
    9
    Thanks Kit Kat - some days i just don't know what to do...
    I guess you trust your heart and be prepared to change direction if what your heart says doesn't seem to be right for people.
    thanks for saying hello anyway - i guess you're on the site because things aren't so great with you
    FiH
     
  11. BeverleyY

    BeverleyY Registered User

    Jan 29, 2008
    716
    Ashford, Kent
    I so agree with you Bruce.

    I lost my Mum three and a half weeks ago (she didn't have Dementia, it's my Dad that does). Before the funeral, I made two collages with my daughters of photos of my Mum to display. One was black and white photos, showing my Mum as a child, then teenager, newly married etc. The other board were colour photos showing her as a young mother, mother of the bride at mine and my sister's weddings. It was sad, but it did help me to celebrate her life. The pictures told a story of this young woman's journey through life. A child herself, through to photos of her with her grandchildren. From my Mum, came 2 daughthers and 4 granddaughters.

    This weekend we have watched our old videos, and we have cried, but we have smiled, and remembered our Mum.

    Now I'm tearful and terribly choked - but, glad to have had her as my Mum. I am thankful for that.

    Beverley
     

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