This often took more energy then I had and most often the family member or friend would agree, and then reiterate once more their idea on what I would be going through and what I should expect. “You are strong and have been dealing with this well. But one day it will hit you so be ready. You will grieve and loose it. It will not be easy. Be prepared.” Eventually, actually on short order, I just started saying, “Thank You” and leaving it at that. I didn't feel the need to explain, or educate, or council.
My own understanding of how I have been grieving is that I have been “HIT WITH IT” for over twelve years, especially during the last month Gregory was still at home, then hit hard with the realization for 18 months while Gregory was at Lieberman - even though he was well taken care of, and hit yet again during the four days he was preparing for his passage, and finally on the day that I sat with his empty body and held his hand and kissed his cooling mouth.
I have been processing and writing about Gregory and my journey with Dementia/Alzheimer’s for over five years on my blog of over 1,370 posts with 70,344 hits and this doesn't count the manuscript, consisting of over 300 pages, which I worked on before I began the blog.
I am often "HIT WITH IT" when I wish Gregory goodnight over my shoulder towards Grandma Carrie's sewing box where his ashes reside, when I find the need to cry myself to sleep, and when I feel the need to cry myself awake.
Grief does not happen all the time but when it arrives, I welcome the emotions and sit with them. Sometimes if I do not have the energy to cope, I welcome the emotions and thank them. I ask them to come back another time when I am feeling stronger. I do this out-loud. It seems to work and they leave me alone for the time being.
It happens when I write my blog as I process ideas, emotions, and experiences.
So I wonder to myself, "Either I am doing a wonderful job of grieving or I am doing a good job of hiding my emotions." I think that the former is true and not the latter. I think that I have been grieving for 12+ years, just to various degrees and with various triggers.
People say, "I am so sorry for your loss." And I say "Thank You." What I want to say is, "Thank you, but I have gained more than I have lost. I am NOT sorry, I am SAD but not SORRY! I am HAPPY, maybe even JOYFUL that especially Gregory, but also I, am no longer having to live in a Ménage à Trois with Alzheimer's being the dominant uninvited partner.
(Written July 4, 2012)
It came on unexpectedly and quickly.
Hospice expected him to leave that day or the next.
But he slowed it down, I believe, to allow me time to process as well.
He was unresponsive but most likely he knew I was there.
He most likely knew I was talking to him and loving him,
While I touched, stroked, and petted him.
So I did not feel the need to keep an overnight vigil.
He probably needed the time to himself to continue his preparations.
He was that kind of a private, compassionate (compassionate even with himself) person.
In the third day of his coma, he relied his energy and gave me one last kiss goodbye.
He was able to leave his body without anguish or pain.
He did so in the calm manner that reflected who he was his entire life.
I celebrate him more than I grief for him and I continue to love him.
MORE THAN EVER!