Something Difficult to Think About

daughter

Registered User
Mar 16, 2005
824
Most people are going through life not even thinking about all this stuff until they have to. That's one of the 'perks' of having someone with AD (or any terminal illness) in the family, you get the fragility of life pushed into your face.

As Kriss says: "The only positive that I have ever been able to link to this awful disease is that we are given the time to consider these questions rather than having to deal with them at with no notice in the midst of the anguish of sudden loss."

I've been to a couple of funerals, of distant relations, but never a close family member, and I can understand your reluctance and fears, Jane. It'd be no good to say 'try not to dwell on it', I guess, but when it happens, we will find the strength to be there, from somewhere. You seem to be discussing them now, anyway, despite your phobia.

I had a dream, the other night, where my Dad was as he used to be before AD, and he was playing with my (2 years since she died) Miniature Schnauzer dog, Rosie. I initially woke from the dream feeling sad that my Dad isn't like that any more and that my dog has gone, but it also made me realise that both my dog and my Dad, as he was, live on in my memories. It's as if we're all grieving for their loss already, before they've gone, and I'm not saying that will make it any easier at the time, but..... I'm not sure if all this makes sense.

Best wishes,
 

Kriss

Registered User
May 20, 2004
513
Shropshire
Jane

your feelings about the funeral are quite common. I "grieved" for my Dad long before he died and if I'm honest then I'd tell you I had cried buckets just at the thought that one day he would be gone, and this probably as long ago as in my teens (hormones probably!) before I'd even heard of AD.

The mere thought of having to go through a service would leave me totally distraught and I couldn't imagine holding it together for myself never mind for Mum and his sister.

Maybe it was because of this that on the day nothing happened? Indeed for months after I kept thinking "when is it going to hit me?" OK I had many a night when I went to bed and would sob or cry myself to sleep just missing him so much and I would often get caught out by some song on the radio as I was driving to work that would trigger the melancholy thoughts but I haven't yet "lost it" if you know what I mean.

I'm not at all religious but there must be something even if it's only the strength of our memories because I still feel he's with me and from that I take great comfort.

Don't worry too much about it, if you are overcome with your grief then it is to be expected, one day the good memories will come through to help you through.

Kriss
 

Matzu

Registered User
Jun 7, 2005
11
South Carolina
KarenC said:
Since my mom may be nearing the end, in addition to feeling very sad, I've got all sorts of "practical" stuff going around in my head. One rather unpleasant one is about an autopsy. don't have any religious beliefs, no taboo on "desecrating" someone's body, and my parents indicated on their drivers licenses that their bodies could be used for transplants, etc. Still it's unpleasant to me to think about.

Hope this doesn't upset others ... that's why the kind of indirect title of this post.

Karen
A lot of good discussion on this. Thought I would add my thoughts. I plan on an autopsy on my husband. I want to know exactly what he has, mainly because it may benefit our daughter and grandchildren. I think this is important because his mother and sister both had this disease. Also, it may benefit many others down the line. Karen, I see you are from the US so here's a link that may be helpful.
http://www.brainbank.mclean.org/dONATE.HTML
 

connie

Registered User
Mar 7, 2004
9,519
Frinton-on-Sea
What is the quote "there is nothing to fear but fear itself".......I am sure that you will all face whatever is before you.

Of course you cannot face the thought of your loved ones funeral - why should you.......it is always in the abstract. Somehow we alre all given strength when the time comes.

I dread Lionel's demise, because of the difficulities with his family, but there is no point dwelling upon it. Having buried my parents (expected, that is the order of things) I buried my beautiful husband when I was 54. (Most unexpected - no time to worry)

What I am trying to say is - live life as it is, you will find the strength to do wahtever is necessary when the time comes - please don't anticipate. Love Connie
 

KarenC

Registered User
Jun 2, 2005
122
Los Angeles, USA
Funerals

Jane,

As to whether you "have to" attend your dad's funeral, I think that depends on who the rest of the family is and what they expect. Lots of people don't have funerals. We did not have any kind of service when my grandmother died. My parents' basic choice was the lowest cost disposition of their bodies, but they have said that if my husband and I want to hold some kind of memorial that's fine with them. I expect we will have very small, very low-key memorials of some sort for them.

The first funeral I went to was my granddad's when I was 4 years old. It was also my mother's first funeral; she was 32 (it was her father-in-law, not her father, who was already dead).

What I'm afraid (? not quite the right word) of is dead bodies. When my grandmother died and I went to see her body at the nursing home (the last I saw of her, since there was no embalming, no funeral, etc.) I was afraid (?) she wasn't dead. I thought I saw her eyelid move or something like that (which it may have; I think bodies do kind of settle for a while after death) and it freaked me out. I think in me this is a combination of a kind of E. A. Poe type fear of premature burial, the primitive fear of "living dead" bodies coming alive to haunt or harm the living, and my emotional unsureness that consciousness ends at death, even though intellectually I do not believe in any kind of personal immortality. Maybe it is all a part of non-acceptance of mortality on an emotional level.

Anyway, I've wandered off in another gloomy direction here, but I hope some of the other replies here help you realize that everyone may grieve differently and your feelings about funerals are nothing to be ashamed of.

Karen
 

Mary Poppins

Registered User
Sep 20, 2005
19
60
Yorkshire
My Dad is in his 6th year of AD and my husband is a funeral director!
There's a combination.

It is true that those who do not want to decide what to do with their loved one's ashes can leave them with the funeral director to look after. The funeral director will accommodate the wishes of relatives and they understand that not everyone can deal with the issues of dealing with the deceased like they do. My husband treats his work as a privelege - to complete a final befitting tribute to the memory of the person who lays before him - and although emotionally he has to take a 'step back' (otherwise he would not be able to do the job) he treats every person as though they were personally known to him with the respect they deserve. I know he would feel honoured to look after my Dad when the time comes.

As far as AD is concerned, I feel as though I have been grieving for years, each time after visiting my parents I would weep as though my Father had already died, now each change in his behaviour brings about a sadness that he is slipping further away from me. I am all cried out I think.


I am not a medical person and not particulaly religious but I do believe that the soul leaves us when we pass away and what is left is a shell and what we do with that shell depends on our beliefs and the comfort of those left behind.

Hope I haven't upset anyone
 

Fran

Registered User
Jul 8, 2005
7
60
Hampshire
death/funerals/me

I haven't felt able to access this site for a while as Mum died only two weeks ago. She was diagnosed with Alzheimers two years ago but she started to go downhill quite suddenly from June onwards. Apart from the obvious memory and confusion issues, eating became a major problem and severe incontinence for the last 3/4 weeks of her life left her so frail and weak, I think she just gave up. I know it was good for her that it happened so quickly, but at the moment I cannot get over how harrowing the last few weeks of her life were. She lived at home with Dad as her main carer and me staying with them as often as I could and, (people say it was good), that when she died, all the family were with her.

Her funeral was as she would have wished, very private, close family only and a cremation. No fuss. Afterwards we arranged for the flowers to go to a local care home which had residents with Alzheimers and they were able to bring some pleasure to others.

I can't think of anything constructive to say to anyone reading this other than to say, try and make the most of the time you have with your loved ones. Despite the difficulties of helping Mum and upsetting though it was, I miss her so much now, in a way I'd love to be able to go through those times again - just to be able to hold her hand and tell her I love her.
 

Sheila

Registered User
Oct 23, 2003
2,259
West Sussex
Dear Fran, thinking of you at this sad time, I hope you and your family can take heart from the knowledge that your Mum is now free from her suffering. I too lost my Mum 14 months ago, I still feel cheated. But I find she is constantly there with me in loads of ways, I am sure your Mum will be there for you too. With love, She. XX
 

Kathleen

Registered User
Mar 12, 2005
639
65
West Sussex
Fran

Sorry to hear of the very sad loss of your Mum.

Look after yourself and your Dad. Like Sheila, I am sure your Mum is still around watching over you, but healed and whole again.

Take care
Kathleen
xx