Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Grief Is Complicated

Prolific author Anne Lamott muses about life, its meaning and people-pleasing. She gets it. She has forged a life as a writer. I am still trying to forge a life as a recent widow for the second time.

Here are my musings about my husband's  death from mixed dementia that has jarred me into a new reality.

We feel entitled
It’s all so simple
We spend to have
We collect people
To not feel lonely
We plan and expect
We think we have life all figured out.

Then life throws us a curve ball
Dementia strikes
Demands multiply
The loved one dies
But does not die alone
We are so glad to have
Those precious last moments,
They leave us with
That ever-present
Complicated grief.

It is we who are now alone
Our grief is complicated
No longer are we entitled
To our loved one’s presence
To that special companionship
Things have little meaning
Grief is all the meaning.

But we are entitled
To forge a new life
Rearrange the furniture
Get out of the lonely house
To be with others
But it’s not so simple
In time maybe
It won’t be so complicated.


  1. I think you expressed your grief and grief in general very well, Carol. We think we are entitled to so much, but in reality we aren't; God never promises that, says when trouble happens, etc. We are given no guarantees about our tomorrows except for eternity with Jesus if we accept him, yet we do think we are entitled to so much and then it is taken away and you are right, you'll have to establish your new normal so to speak; your new routines, your new schedule, how you life your life while you continue to grieve your husband's death. I think expressing it like this is a good way to help deal with it.


    1. Thanks, Betty. I am going to a Hospice grief support group in August and think that it will help me grieve. I have had two grief counseling sessions--one with an Alzheimer's Association counselor and one with a Hospice counselor.

      Since this is the second time I have been a widow, I have learned some principles--such as make the house YOUR home, and do not hurry grief. Be with people I learned.

  2. Yes, in time we can make new memories that will crowd the grief to a lesser part of our lives. We can make daily choices to accept God's sovereignty by His blessed grace. It's really quite amazing and we are so dependent on His strength to make it through each and every day.

    1. My Hospice counselor gave me The Mourner's Bill of Rights which include that I have the right to experience my own unique grief, to feel a multitude of emotions, to have "grief bursts", and to move toward my grief and heal.

      I am going to make a memory photo album which I also did for my first husband.. It was very helpful when I did this for my first husband. I will do this when I am ready to do it for my second husband.

      "Accepting God's sovereignty by His blessed grace"--love what you wrote, Georgene. I am glad that my husband had me to the end and he didn't have to experience grief. A high percentage (around 60% I think I read) of dementia caregivers die before their loved one dies.

    2. I followed a blog for the longest of times that he was the care giver for his wife with multiple sclerosis. He did it for years at home until the care got too much and then he reluctantly put her into a nursing home. Even in the nursing home he would go and put her to bed 4-5 times a week, take her on outings often, etc. He got lung cancer then went to the brain and within 18 months he died. It just broke my heart with how devoted he was to her. We were always "glad" in hubby's family that his mom died before his dad because she had dementia related to Parkinson's and we were wondering how she would process his death and would she remember it from day to day or would constantly ask where he was.


    3. That is a concern for Sally and I about Jake's remembrance that my husband has died. How is he processing his grief? One day while hubby was going downhill, I listened while Jake was trying to comprehend (like we all were) that hubby was dying.The buddies had joked around about how they had flown in a plane together (not true) and other escapades. After he died, I gave Jake some of hubby's shirts that Jake really liked with the note that hubby wanted him to have these shirts. So far Jake is accepting that my husband has passed away--I think. It used to be the two couples doing things together as I wrote on this blog for years. Now it will have to be the three of us.

      I am so glad that I did not die before my husband--that I could be his caregiver all his days.