The loneliness of my grief is sometimes like my private torment, only visible to my heart and soul… I try desperately to hide my tears, to live inside my ‘denial bubble’, but every now and then the pain escapes. It is then that I realise that my eyes are filled with tears, and the indescribable sadness, sometimes escapes as a moan. The cold loneliness of the loss of living without someone I once loved stayed with me for a long time, and the similarity to life living with dementia, facing each loss of a function, is not dissimilar.
It is devastating, isolating, energy sapping and occasionally, almost soul destroying, the reason I ‘hide’ it as much as possible. When this happens, nothing makes me smile, no words can comfort, no rational thought seems to stay with me… When it is a death of a loved one, we mourn, others mourn with you, and send cards and flowers, attend a funeral with you, ask after you, at least for a while.
But the grief of dementia is different, most don’t even realise it is happening, therefore never acknowledge it. And it is complicated and complex – never going away and just as you feel like you are recovering from the latest grief over the loss of yet another part of functioning, another one disappears, and we go right back in the pit of grief.
Grief is not just a state of mind, but a physical thing, a void, a deadening blanket of unbearable and invisible pain. The only protection is to ignore it and when that is no longer possible, then to sit inside the pain and allow it to be over. Tears, intense sadness, loneliness, isolation, whatever it takes to get through the barrier of pain. My initial palisade of non-communication (with others about it) is my protection, and yet, once I start to get over the intensity of the pain, my writing is my healing, my salvation.
Grief can rob us of joy, inspiration, motivation and tries to steal ones life, and although it has to be experienced, it also has to be beaten, not with a stick, but with some sort of ‘therapy’ or technique to dissolve the pain, and writing, for me, does just that. It is the other side of my silence, the way I manage to heal, rather than being trapped by the grief.
When my mind is not bursting with memories, which it is more prone to these days, I try not to neglect it, or to ignore it, but to fill my being, my life, my belly, with laughter, love and tenderness, and friendships, and most of all with caring for others, so that it is possible to see I am not alone, and that there are others also are experiencing their own grief and pain, and loss and sadness… none of us are really alone, even though we can feel that way some days.
Thank you to all my wonderful friends for being you… I love you all. xoxox