The Cruelity of Dementia

dejavuI have watched as my parents have gotten the same bad bit of news over and over again. It’s like a sinister twist on deja vu.

When we started to get them diagnosed, we were hopeful that the third meeting with the medical team assembled would make a difference. Then, I watched during a 3-hour meeting when my parents got the results of their cognitive mental testing and finally realized that no matter how many times; who the information came from; or how much data was behind it, my parents were unable to receive that they had symptoms of dementia. The conversations were painful to witness.

Some of this was due to their dementia, and some of it I think was due to their united front. Their behavior seemed more like co-dependency, but together, they had managed longer independently than they would have had they been alone. I likened them at one point to a gang of two.

And now there is just one. My Mom is having a very hard time remembering, accepting and dealing with the loss of her husband of 60 years. For the first week, she would call and ask if her husband was still in the hospital or if it were true that he had passed away. I remember the burst of grief I felt when the Chaplain told me and am sad that my Mom has to experience this repeatedly. Angered.

10 comments on “The Cruelity of Dementia

  1. Ugh. That hurts just reading your words as I tear up. Hang in there. I have very distinct memories of a hospital chaplain finding me as I entered the hospital after my sister’s accident. I can feel that scene now. Being sought out by a hospital chaplain – not a great thing. Hang in.

  2. After my Mother died, my Dad called my sister to ask “What did you do with my wife?”.
    He called her because her name and number are first on a list above the phone. It took him about a month to realise that she was gone.

  3. It is such a cruel disease. And having to relive such terrible moments over and over again is soul-crushing for the entire family.

  4. Reblogged this on Creating life with words: Inspiration, love and truth and commented:
    Kay and I have followed each others blogs almost since we started writing, and have been able to offer each other a window into our opposing worlds. It has been informative, sometimes very painful, but most of all, insightful and inspiring. Her blog today covers a very important topic, the reason I wanted to reblog it. Thank you Kay, and sending hugs as always.

  5. […] My Mom has been calling at night and asking “Where is your Father” or “Why didn’t you tell me your Father died?” in a very mean and accusatory tone.  I would gently walk my Mom through the timing, direct her to the summary on the refrigerator and the picture on her bureau. The information calms my Mom. She doesn’t remember and has to reabsorb this loss many times each day. […]

  6. OH crap – is it time to break out the ultimate FIBLET and say that Dad is at the hospital, he’s doing ok, and we’ll go visit after dinner… to save her the agony of the fresh realization of her husband’s death, over and over and over.
    (Or Dad is shopping, or he’s at work, or he’s visiting a friend, or working on the car, or …)
    I hate this disease!!!!!

    • What is so confounding is that things eventually sink in. I’m a huge fan of the FIBLET, but she’s getting visits and letters expressing condolences and even cleaned out the closet in a moment of clarity.Plus, being in the retirement community means there were signs reporting his passing. She’s still wicked crafty! The seas seem to be calming. Thanks for your note.

  7. […] Kay Branford’s blog last week reminded me of Robyn Moore and her own very personal stories of living with a number of […]

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