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Grieving before death – losing mum to Dementia and grieving whilst she is still alive

mum and dad

mum and dad 2007

I realised, lately, that I am grieving my mum’s death, yet she is still here, alive and local to me. She has vascular dementia and so is not the same person she was before. I am grieving the loss of her as she was, yet also feeling sorry that her suffering continues, in her confused, upsetting, isolating world in her head, and double incontinence.

I speak to the care home with my concerns, and talk about her, without emotion, as if she is just a person I care about, but not my mum. It is strange to talk about her in that way, but it’s a coping mechanism. Then, later on, the emotion hits me, and I cry.

I am triggered by things. The other day I popped out to a local shop and they played ‘Downtown’ by Petula Clarke on the radio. I was wiping tears away as I got to the shop.

I do visit her regularly, but sometimes I just cannot face it, then I feel guilty and sad. Maybe I could put a smile on her face, or take my cat, Titus, there to brighten her up, but what I might find on visits scares me now, as she deteriorates weekly.

I just find it bizarre to grieve, yet still go to see her. She is there in person, albeit a much smaller person than she was, and she does still recognise me most of the time, but she can tell me she loves me one minute and call me a pig and push me the next, then cry the next and tell me she doesn’t want to live anymore.

My relationship with my mum was rocky at the best of times. But she was my mum and did what she could with all her mental health issues in the mix. She showed her love by buying me things. We went shopping together. We went for countless lunches together. We went to pubs sometimes. We went for walks and talks. We shared some lovely memories. She always loved to show me off. ‘This is my daughter’ she’d smile.

I write this, not for sympathy, but just because I know many of you out there have been, or still are, in similar situations.

Dementia sucks. My mum’s schizophrenia sucked, but her Dementia is much worse, and at such a vulnerable age, we all know we are just waiting for the inevitable; the only way out of the nightmare that is Dementia for those who have it. And a relief, as such, for those who watch their loved ones go through it.

Happy Christmas everyone – look after you and yours. And if you are going through a hard time right now, let me send you a virtual hug. It can be especially difficult to deal with loss at Christmas time. X

photo collage

photo collage

mum, dad and I

mum, dad and I

Me in the pushchair

Me in the pushchair

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2 comments to Grieving before death – losing mum to Dementia and grieving whilst she is still alive

  • Debz Hobbs-Wyatt

    Great post for its sincerity and honesty. Well done. A friend recently lost her mum to this and another her husband. He got cancer on top of dementia but in an odd way it was a blessing as it accelerated the inevitable. Love and hugs. Thank you for sharing. Debz xxxxxx

    • amandagreenauthor

      Thanks for reading, Debz. Sorry to hear about your friends’ experiences. I think anyone with Dementia would want it accelerated if they knew. Horrid thing to suffer with. Hope you are well and nice to hear from you. Take care. Sandra xxx

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