I don't know how to feel!

Discussion in 'After dementia — dealing with loss' started by Drusilla, Feb 3, 2007.

  1. Drusilla

    Drusilla Registered User

    Feb 3, 2007
    Today I saw my grandmother for the first time time in 4 years. She is in residential care and is suffering with severe memory loss. She had no idea who I was and it was so hard. Last time I saw her she was only at the beginning of this journey and now she is totally lost. Due to circumstances I won't bore you with I am not close to that side of the family and so consequently don't see my grandparents as often as I should or would like. But when I saw her today and she had no idea who I was it was really hard because I had missed the decline. I know that's not easy either but it was just such a shock. I feel like I never got a chance to tell her all the things I should and I'm just really confused about how I should feel. I just keep remembering her when I was little and now I feel like she has gone without me telling her how much she meant. I just feel really bad.
  2. Áine

    Áine Registered User

    Hi Drusilla, welcome to TP. Sorry to hear you've had such a shock visiting your grandmother.

    I honestly don't think there's any such thing as should when it comes to feelings. You feel what you feel, you don't get a choice. Sounds like it's a whole mixture of things tonight - regret that you've not seen more of her, anger that circumstances have prevented you, loss of the grandmother you remember, shock at how awful this disease can be, anxiety re what's to come next .... and more .....

    Don't give yourself a hard time about what has and hasn't happened ... you can't change that. Think about what you can do now and try to make the best of it. Once the shock has settled it might look a little different.

    Keep in touch.
  3. Skye

    Skye Registered User

    Aug 29, 2006
    SW Scotland
    #3 Skye, Feb 3, 2007
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2007
    Hi Drusilla, and welcome to TP.

    I'm sorry you had such a shock when you saw your grandmother.

    Áine has described the feelings so clearly, there's nothing I can add.

    You have to work out what you want to do now. Do you want to keep visiting her, and get more used to seeing her in this condition? Or would you rather stay away and remember her as she was? She doesn't recognise you, so she won't wonder where you are.

    There's no right answer to this, you have to do what's right for you. Will you feel guilty if she dies and you haven't visited? Or would you be happier remebering the gran you knew as a child?

    As I said, no right answer, but whatever you decide, don't feel guilty, I'm sure your gran knew you loved her.

  4. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    near London
    Welcome to TP, Drusilla
    Will you be seeing her again? If so, why not then try to tell her those things?

    Dementia sits like a mask on someone who has it. I have been amazed at how much gets past the mask, when it appears nothing can. Tell her what you wanted to tell her - it can't do any harm - at worst confuse her [but only until she forgets again], at best she will know, even if she can't tell you that.

    And, not an insubstantial thing, you will know you have told her.

    When someone has died and we have not told them things - as happened with my Mum - there is no chance whatsoever of redressing the problem. When someone has dementia, we can at least try..... and we may succeed. We can at least believe that is so.

    don't beat yourself up about it.

    Best wishes
  5. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    Hello Drusilla, Welcome to TP.

    I`m so sorry about your grandmother.

    Drusilla, we can`t re-live the past, so there`s no point in you beating yourself up. Your grandmother may not know who you are, but you know who she is. I`m sure she won`t reject you if you sit with her quietly, hold her hand, stroke her arm and talk to her gently. You never know, something might get through to her.

    If you haven`t seen her for 4 years, your appearance may have changed, as hers most certainly has. She might not recognize you. How is her eyesight? I am partially sighted and I often don`t recognize people who change their appearance, ie. hair style, hair colour. My vision is not good for faces, so I hang on to a specific attribute. If that changes, I`m sunk. Could this be the same for your grandmother?

    If you keep trying to make contact with her, you may be rewarded. I hope so.

    Please keep in touch. Love Sylvia x
  6. Drusilla

    Drusilla Registered User

    Feb 3, 2007

    Thank you all for your kind words. It was much needed advice and I feel a lot more able to deal with the situation now I have thouroughly read your website and done some further reading. Well, I say deal, but can anyone ever truly deal with this very cruel disease? Anyway, your words have encouraged and helped me.

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