The Emotional Impact of Losing a Loved One to Dementia
“Carol!” The hospice nurse’s voice was quiet but urgent. I instinctively knew what was happening. She had been shifting Dad’s position so that he wouldn’t develop bed sores, but as she was laying him back on the bed, something changed in his respiration. This was it. His body was preparing for him to take his last breath.
I slid back in my spot beside Dad and took him in my arms. His head drifted to my shoulder and that last, gentle breath slipped by unnoticed by me. What I felt was the positive force of Dad’s spirit leaving his body. And then—joy!
Did I just write joy? Yes, I did.
What I knew was this. Dad was finally released from the cage that had trapped his spirit over this last decade. The decade since his brain surgery left him with instant, severe dementia. Of course, that momentary joy was closely followed by a jumble of other emotions and, sadly, the grim realities following the physical death of my beloved father. But yes, for a moment, we were joined as one over the joy of his release.
My next thought was of Mom, in the bed next to Dad in the nursing home who simply couldn’t bear to watch. She had been unable…
Continue reading on HeatlhCentral for more of this story and for comfort in acknowledging that you may have conflicting feelings once a suffering loved one passes on – and it’s not just okay, but normal:
Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories. “For anyone having to walk the last segments of life with a loved one, read this.” …Delores
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