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weather: sunny
outside: 15°C
mood: sad/resigned
userinfoThe Husband has been dealing with a lot of loss lately.

He was talking to me a while ago about getting over Guai-Guai's disappearance. He's a bit surprised that it had been less than a week and he'd already started to "get over it". And he said that he was also okay with Grandma's death in a short time as well — heh, we were goofing around in bed the morning after (no sexually explicit material; I'm not like that, sheesh =), but the debilitating sadness was pretty sporadic. I guess he thought that because he didn't feel sad longer, it meant he didn't love them as much as he ought.

I pointed out that losing someone who was suffering, as Grandma did, was always going to come with a little relief and the feeling that the death was actually a good thing, which is easier to accept. At Grandma's age and condition, that was the reality of it.

The bird... well, what's happened has happened. We've done everything we can to try to find him and there has to be a cut-off point where we say, "okay, that's it, he's gone". We couldn't keep escalating the search effort and our Rainy Day Fund — though I must say, is impressive for us — isn't bottomless.

No one can tell you how to grieve, for how long, in what way. It's highly individual in each case.

His grandfather, though, is a different kind of loss.

Grandpa was in town this last week and is slowly showing more and more signs of dementia. He's headed back to Taiwan now, but ... what a week. He forgets that Grandma is gone and keeps demanding to know (sometimes angrily) where she is. He blurs people together, often we're not sure if he's talking about Mother-In-Law, Grandma or his caretaker lady. He'll also transpose the caretaker lady and Grandma. He'll open the door, walk outside for no reason we know of and try to open other peoples' car doors with whatever is in his pocket (loose change?). He definitely can't be left alone.

He's still coherent when he's well rested. He asked me when we were going to Taiwan next and we had a pleasant conversation. But when Grandpa is tired, he starts hallucinating. It's very common in the elderly, but it scares everyone around them. Several times, Grandpa kept saying there were little kids. "What are those kids doing in our yard?!" ... there were no kids. Then he saw kids in his room and on his bed.

The night his jetlag hit the hardest, he completely flipped out about "the other people in the house", reamed us all out for renting out the house to other people (we're not renting anything out) and they were all stealing his stuff (he's already taken all his valuables with him the last time he was here). And he'd forget that he'd already yelled at us about it and repeatedly blew up several times about the same thing.

Watching a loved one deteriorate, mentally or physically, hurts just as much as actually losing them.

This is something Husband Guy hasn't experienced and I have limited exposure to. I offered to help him find a family support group or a counsellor or something if he needed someone to talk or someone who can help.



Apr. 13th, 2004 05:19 pm (UTC)
My heart goes out to you and your husband and his grandfather. Watching a person slowly slip away mentally and physically is much harder for everyone, in my opinion, than a faster death.

My grandmother began showing signs of Alzheimer's in the late 1980's and it took over two years of us watching her deteriorate before she had a bad fall and died shortly after. It was so hard to see the woman I remembered as the rock in the family forget all of us, one by one. The only one she never forgot was her husband. He passed away a few months after Grandma.

A friend's mother who has dementia was placed on medications to help her. It has made a dramatic difference, as long as she takes them. My grandmother passed away many years ago and there were not any medications available then. She also was a follower of the Christian Science faith(as were my mom and others in the family), so medication could not have been used for her anyway.

I feel the best thing anyone can do is your situation is to try to spend as much time as possible with them and to try to keep them safe. I firmly believe that the person knows who you are, deep down inside somewhere, even though what shows is the confusion.

Your suggestion of a support group is really a good one. Talking to others who are having the same experiences is really a good way to work through all the emotions.

I care and hope you guys can find the help you need to get through this trying time.
Apr. 13th, 2004 05:23 pm (UTC)
Thank you, Cheryl =)

It was so hard to see the woman I remembered as the rock in the family forget all of us, one by one.

That's it, exactly. ={
Apr. 13th, 2004 05:40 pm (UTC)
I often wonder why there we see so much more dementia/alzheimer's now.

Is it because people live longer or because our world is killing itself with chemicals?

Through my genealogy research, I have rarely seen any diagnoses that indicate dementia in my family lines, yet in the last three generations it is showing up a lot.

It just seems so strange.
Apr. 13th, 2004 05:45 pm (UTC)
It could be a lot of things. It also could be that it was never properly diagnosed and taboo to mention it before. People are only slowly starting to keep a record of these things and understand them.

But I did hear a while back that Alzheimer's was linked to deodorants (I think), but we don't know what is causing what, just that the two things seem to happen together.
Apr. 13th, 2004 05:57 pm (UTC)
Alzheimer's has been linked to so many differnt things in different studies, only to have some other study disprove the first one and "prove" something else.

I do agree with your idea that dementia problems were never really properly diagnosed before. The taboo part is good too.

Since doing my family history, I have found ways to get people to talk about all sorts of skeletons in closets. It has shed a whole new light on some of the family feuds I have known about. It has also shown me that I an descended from a hell of a lot of very bull-headed people!


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