Riding the storm of grief

Rest in Peace dear Deb Tanner

Yesterday was the third death of another friend with younger onset dementia. We will attend her funeral over the next few days, and mourn her loss, and support her family and friends, and each other as best we can. With three deaths in as many weeks, it seems I am currently experiencing a deepening grief, and a deafening fear of what is ahead. Somehow I will need to ride the storm brewing inside of myself.

Uncharacteristically, I have booked a session with a grief counsellor from the Palliative Care service team we used for our friend Michael from Modbury Hospital. The nurses and doctors from this particular team were nothing short of amazing, like guardian angels coming to care for Michael, but also to care for those of us supporting him. I’m looking forward to my meeting next week, and in the mean time my private blog is getting quite the hammering, and my tears have been flowing freely.

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross said the stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. As far as dementia is concerned I have been through them all, and accepted it. There is also the sadness, and with dementia, the fear of your own future. And then every time a new symptom appears or worsens, grief, sadness and more fear reappears.  As belledelletres said yesterday in a comment, there probably cannot be grief unless there has been love, or some sort of ownership of something within a relationship. For now, I will be gentle on myself and my loving husband.

12 thoughts on “Riding the storm of grief

  1. You have been such a tower of strength to Michael and our family, that I hope you are getting all the love and care that you now need whilst you come to terms with your grief. Don’t think too far ahead, just enjoy your family, friends and the quiet times. Look after yourself Kate. xx

  2. I’m so sorry that you’ve had a triple “whammy” in the last weeks ……. but I’m so glad that you’ve been wise enough to realise that you might benefit from some help and have booked in to ssee the counsellor – most people wouldn’t even think of it or consider it. And it will help you, even if just to say that what you are experiencing is a normal reaction. Then at least you will know that you’ve tried to help yourself. And I think the stages of grief are for one event that’s caused the grief …… not an ongoing event like living with a serious disease that is ultimately terminal. You will go through those stages back and forth according to what new challenges you’re faced with …. you don’t have only ONE cycle when you’re facing something like alz. Know what I mean?

    A big hug to you …….{insert heart symbol}

  3. Oh Kate! I am so, so sorry. My heart feels for you. I cannot begin to imagine the dread, sadness and loss you will be feeling. I wish there were something I could say or do to make you feel better.
    But, you are a smart woman and you’ll see right through anything I have to offer!
    I know that your loving husband, family and friends will support you all through this rocky time. Just remember they are as blessed to have you as you are to have them.
    For what it’s worth, death will get us all, eventually. I’m not sure if it’s better to know in advance and be able to say what you need to say, do what you need to do, or to just be taken one day unawares….
    Do you have any thoughts on this?
    Sending more smiles and support from over the ditch! E xx

    • Thank you Esther. Regarding knowing in advance, I think I’ve decided I’m grateful for it because of the fact I can plan things, make sure the people I love know it, and so on, but I suspect that is simply because I’ve no choice, and I’d really rather just drop off the planet like my uncle and cousin did, no fanfare, no stress, just quick and pain free! As I have written and said many times – we live until we die being born is a death sentence – and – live every day as it it’s your last, just in case it is. xo

  4. It is hard liking this post dear Kate. You are experiencing “anticipatory grief” and you are a wise lady going for the counseling. I am so sad for you losses. I do not have words of solace but I do care. I wish I had a cure. Hugs and warm wishes.

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