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Coping with Grief

By Dorothy Womack

Today I am talking to those of you who are the remaining spouse, having placed your loved one into a care facility.

Perhaps you are the type of person who needs to stay busy rather than just sit at home when coping with this condition known as Alzheimer’s. I would suspect that this is the case: God is making a way of escape for you by leading you to influential people in order to make a significant difference in the lives of other Alzheimer patients and caregivers. As far as your personal life goes, you are in the midst of living your grief out already. Even though your mate is still alive, you are daily suffering from the loss of the intangibles that make up their unique persona. Their personality is deteriorating along with their body; you are completely separated from your companion of a lifetime. You know that nothing is ever going to be like it was before. Your shared home is just an empty reminder of better days.You live daily with the memories of the trauma endured when you two lived there together.

Grief started for you long before your loved one entered the care facility. These feelings will continue on after their physical death. The thoughts you have are normal. Remember that you are suffering losses every single day, in some form or another. You probably never intended to be apart from each other until one of you died. Instead, every day, they are dying in front of you on many levels. Although you know that their spirit remains unchanged and lives on forever, seldom will you see that side of them when you are together. Right now, it is hard for you to grasp that you are never alone, even though they are leaving your life a little at a time. You know the grief of caregivers around the world; the grief that is caused by separation from a lifetime partner who has not left this world yet. You will one day face and accept that they have gone on to Heaven and left you behind in this world. Please remember that none of this was by their choice. We may never understand why this disease took them away but we do know they cannot come back as the strong, dependable, communicative and protective partner that they once were. Those days are gone for good.

Part of the process of grieving is to face these undeniable painful losses as they occur and then find the strength to overcome their staggering impact. I believe this is what you are attempting to do by continuing to be a part of the world around you. The longer you have loved someone, the longer and more pronounced your grief. You grieve now while they still remain in their body. You will grieve more when they leave. Eventually that grief will turn to a form of peaceful acceptance. You will know they have gone on ahead of you. Then it will no longer bring you pain and devastation. You will come to a place of acceptance over all of this, every single bit of it. Grief does not end overnight and the more sensitive you are, the longer it takes. You can expect grief to last as little as 6 months or as long as 5 years, depending on the person. It is because you are so sensitive and love so deeply, that you grieve so much. Never lose sight of the truth; you and your loved one are one for eternity. Remember that love is the most important commodity we have on this earth. Walk in it always, and you will be okay in the outcome.

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