Orlando's picture

    Grief and Stuff

    This feels like a strange thing to share so publicly, but since I've written about my mom a few times, I also feel compelled to tell you that she has finally passed away.

    The end was as fast as the disease was agonizingly slow. I got a call and six hours later she was gone. There were no signs that the end was coming, at least that I would have recognized. Monday she was fine. Tuesday she was gone. It was a very peaceful death. She simply slipped away, with her family around her.

    Grief is weird. I've been numb, manic, and sad. Eating hasn't been a priority but drinking has been high on the list and I've temporarily reinstated smoking. At times, I don't know quite what to do. But there are things to be done. I told someone yesterday that they should teach this stuff in Home Ec (or whatever they call it now). I learned how to cook, but I never learned how to proof read a death certificate or shop for an urn. Like I said, grief is weird.

    I've been grieving already for so many years that I didn't know what to expect at the end. But amongst the muddle of feelings and list of strange and mundane things to do, what I feel most is great relief. Her suffering is over. My suffering is over. Life can finally go on.

    It feels almost too personal to be sharing this, but when I've written about her before, people have shared their own stories of Alzheimer's and other instances of grief and loss and it's been comforting to me. So, thanks to everyone.

    That said, please do not feel like you have to leave a comment on this post. If you don't know what to say, or don't have anything to say, it's cool. It's been a weird few days, capping off some very hard years. And I feel lighter than I have in a long time.



    I'm grateful that my parents are both still in good health. I don't really want to think about them dying, although both parents have given me some indication of what to do in that case, with my father being far more explicit.

    Explicit is good. When the call came, the first thing they asked was "Do you want us to send her to the emergency room or make her comfortable?" I knew exactly what they were asking, and even though I'd signed all the DNR papers long ago, they still make you say it. I think it was the hardest moment of all, knowing what I was agreeing to. But my mom was very clear, both in conversations and in signing a living will, what she wanted. I can't imagine what that moment would have been like if I had actually had to make a decision. 

    Thank you for sharing, O. I am glad the ending was peaceful, and the suffering is over for your mom, and for you and your family. what an awful, awful disease.

    Much love, Orlando. q

    We all appreciate that you chose to share, O. It's what friends do.

    Orlando, I am so sorry.  I wish I could bring you food, run some errands for you and sit next to you for a while.

    Orlando, I just wanted to leave a note in sympathy.  You have probably heard a lot of shared stories about Alzheimer's...those of us who have lived on the other of this disease that ravages ones we love don't have to say a word, really.  But, I will share this...my older sister died last September after a ten year struggle.  We were all at her side in her home with the wonderful help of a hospice.

    When things calmed a little, I looked over at my niece and could not help but notice how lighter she looked.  She carried a lot of the care of her mother on her shoulders and it was a heavy load in more ways than one, not the least of which was the fact that her mother did not recognize the 'girl that comes to take care of me' as her own daughter.

    I remarked how unburdened she looked, and she told me she had been grieving for five years already, ever since the last time her mother looked at her and she saw that brief flicker of recognition in her eyes before it went out forever.  She was glad her mom was released finally from this terrible disease.

    So, yeah.  Grief.  I hope you soon find peace in your heart, Orlando.

    Latest Comments