Apa’s struggle

One of the more despairing moment when taking care of someone who has dementia or any other form of cognitive decline (and is declining rapidly) is that the person they used to be is gone, but their bodies is still there. Occasionally, a glimmer of the person shines through; it might be with their smile, a joke, a gleam in their eye. And then, it’s gone. They are gone again, and they forgot that they were back, even for that brief moment. That shade of who they were is swallowed by the disease that has taken their minds, invaded their bodies, conquered who they are.

They have become less than a shell of who they are; they are gone but their bodies hasn’t caught up. Something else inhabits them.

In a sad, twisted way, they have become a walking dead.

It’s heartbreaking, but much more for them. They know they have died but they are still walking.

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2 thoughts on “Apa’s struggle

  1. (hugs) It is indeed a heartbreaking despairing time. After all, we have experienced the death of everything that made them someone we loved. Our life has suddenly changed dramatically as we step into the roll of caregiver. Top that with the fact that we’re not really allowed by society to speak about our loss. Nor do we have time to process our feelings and mourn that loss. We barely have time to breathe while we’re about the business of caring for and trying desperately to find ways to love who they have become. Often, just speaking of our pain when we know our loved one has suffered a loss we see as much greater than our own, brings guilt. There’s hope though, if we break out of the ‘society made’ box of things we are “allowed to feel/not allowed to feel” and take the radical step toward loving ourselves enough to let the feelings in, life for both the caregiver and the one cared for can become more peace filled and joyful. Hang in there, it’s a long road but there are little joys scattered along the path.

    Like

    1. 🌹
      You are very right—we do not talk about death or even losing someone. Dementia steals identity, sucking who they are whilst leaving an animated corpse. And we can’t really talk about it; as you said, we are prevented by society, who has sanitised the messier details of life.

      It’s a long path, but it’s one I’m willing to talk about frankly and openly. Before he phased down, my father also spoke about his cognitive decline quite honestly.

      It’s always a one step at a time and finding humour and honesty, and acknowledging that this sucks.

      Remember to take care of you and to focus on your every breath 🌹

      Liked by 1 person

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