Losing Someone to Dementia

I found this on my Facebook feed while scrolling through one of the sites I am on that deal specifically with grieving the loss of a spouse. My husband’s overarching diagnosis was Parkinson’s Disease. However, in the final stages of this disease, 80% of those who have it will suffer from some level of dementia. As if the falling, the freezing of gait, the speech issues, and all the other “normal” pieces of the disease weren’t enough, the dementia was probably the hardest to watch and what made me feel the most helpless. The piece below was written specifically for those who have lost someone to Alzheimer’s or dementia, but I think that it speaks to everyone. There is so much for all of us to “unpack.” So much to come to grips with. So much to grieve. So much changing ahead. So much life yet to live. We’ve got this. Hugs.

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After your loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia dies, you should not expect to go back to the person you were before they got sick.

That would be impossible.

That person — that former version of you — had not yet experienced the trauma of slowly losing their loved one to Alzheimer’s or dementia.

That person didn’t know the pain, the grief, and the endless suffering that you now know so well.

You will never go back to the person you were before your loved one got sick because that person no longer exists.

But the good news is that you get to decide who you want to be moving forward.

You get to decide what parts of your former self you want to hold on to and what parts no longer serve you.

You get to choose the kind of person you want to be now — the kind of life you want to live.

You didn’t lose yourself.

All along you’ve been becoming the person you were always meant to be.

So no, you will never get that prior version of yourself back, but that’s okay.

Because the version of you that lies ahead is so much better.


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