1. bumblebea

    bumblebea Registered User

    Oct 23, 2011
    5
    south yorkshire
    Having been an observer of this forum for several years, I am finally sharing my own thoughts. My mum was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2008 and through the last years, I have seen her disappear from my life bit by bit. Being an only child and my dad dying in 1983, I think my mum and I were as close as could be and she was a great part of my life and family. My mum passed away on 21 October and I have been stunned how upset and sad I feel ,as I thought I would feel relief as the illness had destroyed her for some time. I find it hard when everyone's memories of her is fun and laughter, in fact I feel quite jealous of them,as all I can see right now is her last few years, when friends and family did not see her . I know I am angry that others did not visit, but I see in my attempts to protect them in her latter stages, I would be the one to reassure them that she was'ok' and they would find it upsetting!! I'm sure the happy times will come back to me in time, and her funeral tomorrow may help as I am determined to celebrate her life.
    I think I have finally written here as I do believe it is all something to be experienced to understand .
     
  2. Chemmy

    Chemmy Registered User

    Nov 7, 2011
    7,593
    Yorkshire
    I'm sorry to hear about your mother's death and I - and many others - do understand how you must be feeling right now. I found the time leading up to the funeral very stressful and I hope indeed that it gives you some closure tomorrow.

    It's nearly three years now since my mum died and I do seem to have been able to put those last ten Alzheimer's ones to one side. Like you, I expected to feel only relief when she finally gave up the fight, but I cried as I never cried before. We all only have one mum; it's a very special relationship and it's hardly surprising that we feel their loss so deeply.

    One thing I did do was to remove the more recent photos of her that I had in a couple of frames and replace them with a couple of happy snaps taken from earlier days. One was a really silly one with her raising a glass of wine (it must have been Christmas as she was not a wine drinker:)) and looking slightly giddy. Not the sort of photo you would usually put on show. But it made me smile every time I went past it and, little by little, memories of the earlier days gradually began to displace the later ones.

    I wish you well tomorrow.
     
  3. Shedrech

    Shedrech Volunteer Moderator

    Dec 15, 2012
    7,397
    Yorkshire
    Bumblebea I wish I could wrap you in a quilt of your lifetime memories of your mum.
    I can only send my warmest condolences.

    I lost my mum after 2 years of semi-paralysis after a stroke. Not quite the same, I know, though for some time I could only 'see' her as she had been then. I did the same as Chemmy. For her funeral tea, which was at dad's house (he's the one now with dementia) I filled as many photo frames as I could with pictures from all ages of her life, with people she'd loved and all smiling. Dad kept them up afterwards, so I guess they helped him too. And for me in my house I chose one of the 2 of us taken by dad, of the last time she'd been up and about - we are paddling and look a right state but happy - and another where she is waving at the camera, so she's always waving at me and I have to wave back and smile, don't I.

    In the weeks after her funeral, of course I allowed myself to be sad, weep and mourn her. I did, too though, when I found myself dwelling on images of her recent self, actually deliberately put a smile on my face and remember instead a happy moment. I didn't want to erase the last years but I did want to put them in perspective.

    I also recognise your thoughts on those who haven't visited - for whatever reason. Mum and dad moved back near their extended families, and I know dad was disappointed that so few came to visit them. Many did come to the funeral and I know that helped to ease his heart. I read out a eulogy I'd put together from what mum had told me when we'd chatted about 'life' - moments she'd treasured about her loved ones - just simple stuff - example: as a lass she cut up the oranges for her brother's football team. That's what helped soften my anger with them, knowing that she thought of them with so much fondness.

    Let the others just be. You're a grand daughter; you've stood by and sat with your mum, held her hand to see her through with love and kindness. Be equally gentle and kind with yourself.

    Best wishes for tomorrow being the celebration of life you both deserve.
     
  4. stanleypj

    stanleypj Registered User

    Dec 8, 2011
    10,561
    North West
    Thanks so much for posting bumblebea. I'm sure others will be helped by the way you have posted so honestly about your feelings and by the helpful and constructive replies from Chemmy and Shedrech. I certainly appreciate and try to store up all the advice, ideas and feelings passed on by those who are further along in their journeys.
     
  5. bumblebea

    bumblebea Registered User

    Oct 23, 2011
    5
    south yorkshire
    Still feeling jet lagged after the funeral, thank you for the kindness and most of all the understanding of the replies. Two bright points that helped, my 16 month old grandson waving when the celebrant talked about saying good bye, clapping at the final song -Bring me sunshine by Morecambe and Wise, and me getting very wet feet and a bit lost in the crem, taking some of mum's flowers to my husband's plot as it was very foggy ( could hear mum saying I should have borrowed her walking boots!)
    Realise that people who have not experienced dementia will always say things meant to help , but may have the opposite effect. Plan to talk to my cousin's wife at a later date, to offer support as she is just at the beginning of her mum's dementia journey and I could see a kindred spirit in her eyes.
    Planning to join the local gym to help look after myself with some of my free time and make the most of any sunny days that come along..
     
  6. LadyA

    LadyA Registered User

    Oct 19, 2009
    13,453
    Ireland
    Hello Bumblebea. Sorry to hear you have lost your mum. I lost my husband in August. To be honest, like others have said, I don't think about his final days so much. I think about when he was at his best - which, oddly enough, in recent years was when he was in the late stages of dementia, and already in the nursing home, which was only September last year! He was so happy there.

    My dad died of leukemia 14 years ago, and like others, we replaced photos taken of him in the last year of his illness with ones taken in happier, healthier times. Mum just felt she didn't want to remember him as looking so gaunt & ill, as that illness had been, in reality, such a small part of his life.

    I often find that although I am full of good intentions, and have things I should do, some days (a lot of days!) I just don't get anything done. "The inertia of grief" some refer to it. It's also the accummulation of exhaustion after years of caring. And suddenly not having the caring to do - not having to fit everything in around that - means nothing gets started! So, take your time. Take plenty of rest. Grieving is pretty exhausting. xx
     

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