Dementia

My mother died Thursday of dementia. I don't know the difference between that diagnosis and Alzheimer's, because they sound the same, but it doesn't matter. I watched her die over years. She was in bed for five years, rotting away. Thanks to her delusions, she didn't know she was in bed. Occasionally, she could hear me, and I would ask what's new with her. She would say she had taken a walk or had visited with her sister. Her sister has been dead since about 1987.

It's a relief now, but I also feel broken.


Sorry to hear Tom; my heartfelt condolences.


Oh Tom we are so sorry for your loss. May her memory be for a blessing


I'm sorry to hear that too Tom.

I understand. My mother also is suffering from dementia. She's not yet bedridden but at times she is delusional. Two months ago she called me to tell me her father and mother visited and that they'll be coming over to visit me. They died over 40 years ago.

Its sad and painful watching my mother become a shell.


I am so sorry, Tom. I know how long this has been hurting you, and while it  might in some ways be a relief that it is over ("she's not in pain any more") I know from my own experience with my mother and dementia that the pain is not over for you.

It will be awhile before the things that come to mind when you think about her are good things from her life before dementia. I have been making a serious effort for awhile to remember Mom as she was when she was healthy and much happier. Some days it is easier than others.

I hope your good memories of her can float to the surface from time to time and offer you some comfort. It is so hard to be bereaved when you have spent years in anticipatory grief. 

FWIW, Alzheimer's is the most common kind of dementia, but I don't really have a grip on the differences. 

May her memory be a blessing.


The good memories have been flowing for years, and we speak of them often. My mother was a champion swimmer. I remember even when I was little, she swam slowly but without making a single splash. This meant she used her energy efficiently. She left the house every morning at 6 to swim at Riverbank. Once, she was in a race in the Hudson River, the length of Manhattan. That's 13 miles. She won in the age category of 45-and-over. That was when she was 70.

On Friday, we sat shiva at her apartment. A neighbor from the building came and told us that my mother was her swimming partner. She said my mother inspired her to swim every day and to excel. Now this woman is a champion, too. She appears to be in her 80s. She is lean and strong and straight. She said over and over how my mother was such an inspiration.


And the good memories keep coming.

And I break out crying throughout the day.


She lost most of her hearing years ago. It was very frustrating for all of us.

When she was in bed, sometimes I would hold up pictures rather than trying to talk. She had art and interior design books and magazines. I would turn the pages for her. Sometimes she would say something insightful, something like, "That rug doesn't go with that couch at all."

It was heartwarming to see her flashes of cognition shine through, but it also intensified the pain of the reality, which was that she was mostly not there any more and guaranteed to continue to get worse, which she did.


Once, when my wife and I were visiting, Mom turned to Carol and asked, "How's your husband?"

Carol put her arm around me and said, "THIS is my husband." For the most part, Mom remembered who I was better than other people, so that was a good move.

Mom said in a sneaky voice, "Oh, so you're getting a little on the side, huh?"

 grrr 


I am so sorry to hear this.  I know its been going on for a while but that does not make it any easier.  This is one of those things where you take it day by day and it does become easier over time but sometimes it takes a lot of time.

May her memory be for a blessing.

 


Condolences, Tom.  What a remarkable life she had!  And a fine son, too.


So sorry for you loss, Tom.  My mother is also a swimmer and kind of losing it too.  But, I'm not close to her the way you seem to have been to your mother.  I think it's touching to hear how much you cared for her and how much you miss her.  Makes me hope I can have a similar relationship with my son.  Inspiring. 


I am sorry, Tom. My condolences and deepest sympathy.


My condolences Tom.  It is hard to deal with a parent's death for any reason, but this is so hard.  I wish for you that as time passes, the best memories rise up to push away the more recent difficult times.


Oh tom, so sorry for your loss.


I am truly sorry for your loss, Tom.  The death of a parent is a very profound loss.  My thoughts and prayers are gathered around you.


I am sorry, Tom. My mother also died of some form of dementia. As you've said, she gradually retreated from us and into herself. Occasionally, she said that her sister or my dad had just visited her (both were dead long before this). Who is to say? Maybe they were in communication - we didn't argue the point, just told her to give them our love if they came back.

When she passed, my feeling was initially relief - I'd done my  mourning before then. I was glad that she was free and at peace. I am glad you have many happy memories of your mother to help you now and send my sympathy to you and your family.


I'm very sorry, Tom.

I used to swim with a man who competed in that race in the Hudson. He could swim the length of the pool with just a few strokes, barely leaving a ripple. Your mom must have been an amazing athlete.


So sorry Tom.

My deceased MIL did not have Alzheimer's disease but she had dementia following a heart attack and a stroke. Either way, it is a very heartbreaking and difficult situation to say the least. Deepest condolences to you and your family.


So sorry to hear, Tom.  My mother went through something similar....  Thoughts are with you.


I was just wondering about your mother; FIL had his birthday, and it got me thinking about MOL parents.

Tom, I'm sad for you and your family. Your mother was such a strong personality and so talented. May the memories, love and anecdotes continue to shine and warm you; may the pain of loss diminish as you share these memories. 

I know marksierra and family join me in these wishes.


Tom, I am so very sorry. I know how much you struggled the past few years dealing with this. Condolences to you and your family.


Folks, your words warm me very much and bring tears to my eyes. I'm very grateful.


My deepest condolences, Tom. May she rest in sweet repose.


Thinking of you, Tom. Take care.


Sorry too Tom. Glad you are finding comfort in your Mom's strength and how she inspired others.


There are a number of types and causes of dementia, Alzheimer's being the most well-known and, in some ways, one of the worst.  But any kind of dementia is usually devastating to the victim as well as their loved ones.  My father was diagnosed with Alzheimer's.  My mother also had dementia, although we never knew what kind. Their dementias were different, but it is hard to know how much of that was the disease and how much was just individual differences.  In each case, it was a lengthy ordeal, although neither as lengthy or difficult as your experience with your mom. The feelings at the end are so conflicted - grief, sadness, relief ...  Know that my thoughts and prayers are with you as you go through your time of mourning.


Sorry for your loss Tom.


I'm sorry for your loss, Tom.  My father died of a combination of Alzheimers and Parkinsons nearly twenty years ago.  



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