Caregiving has many tags attached to the role and as you begin the journey, or you’re at the end of the journey, you feel loss. Loss is one of those tags.
In the beginning of my own caregiving years I didn’t understand why I felt lonely and so afraid. I was seeking out the best information and doctors to the best of my ability. I was trying to educate myself on this whole idea of what dementia even meant and how it was going to affect my loved one’s life. Little did I know how it was affecting my own life.
When we think of “loss” we usually think about the finality of life, in other words, dying. But that isn’t always the case.
I learned early on that my loss was associated to losing my mother to a dreadful disease that took her brain away piece by piece in a long and slow process. Trying to understand and deal with the changes associated with dementia/Alzheimer’s was the beginning of “loss” for me.
The more I sought out help to understand what was going on with my mother, the more I began to see how this disease was making me grieve; grieving the loss of who my mother had been and what she was becoming as her dementia advanced.
Loss and grieving began the moment I heard mother’s diagnosis. Loss is grieving. Grieving is ok.
Caregiving is exhausting. Taking time to feel the loss and let yourself grieve is healthy. Sound crazy? Not really.
There’s no way to explain your personal feelings and why should you have to? No explanation is necessary. You are the one who is on this journey and you have to find what works for you in dealing with the rollercoaster of emotions associated with caring for someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s. Prayer was my go-to. It may have been slower than I wanted, but it never failed me.
Take time out of the busyness of your schedule to reflect and find what helps you to cope with the loss, and give yourself permission to grieve. This is not being weak. This takes strength. That strength is buried deep within you.