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Impossible Decisions

Dad says he is now thinking about not bringing Mom at all to the wake. (Already decided not to take her to the burial.) Not even to take her early just to say goodbye and then take her home. Nothing.

Says that it might make her slip more. And her friend June this afternoon, during her semi-annual visit, said maybe not to bring her too. Too much stress.

But this is her brother. I think it's intensely wrong not to allow her to say goodbye to her brother.

Doesn't seem to matter to Dad that having Stacey watch her, my brother's girlfriend and for all intents and purposes a stranger that Mom sees twice per year, is incredibly stressful.

I don't know. Knowing my mother as she was, she'd want to say goodbye. She's still locked inside there. I know it because she surfaces regularly.

So who are we really talking about here? I don't know.

When she slips, who is it worse on? Her or us? I don't know.

Is it right to deny her to chance to say goodbye? In private with him, I mean. Not with crowds of people around - we will not expose her to that, Dad finally agreed.

Or does it matter?

I don't fucking know.

Will it eventually occur to her that Dad's not taking her to see her brother anymore? I don't know. Dad has told her that he passed away, but other than sleeping a lot more than usual, she doesn't seem to have registered it. Actually, I think she has gone way deep inside.

Is it torturing her by forcing her to see her brother in the coffin? Or does it do her a kindness, because pictures mean more than words?

I have no idea.

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sweetmeow
Dec. 26th, 2012 11:42 pm (UTC)
Yeah ... you said it. Impossible decisions.

I wouldn't know how to answer any of this, but I will tell you one story about my father in law right after his wife died. Both of them had dementia (of some kind - in my father in law's case it probably was not alzheimer's, but simply old age "garden variety dementia". In other words, it was never really diagnosed.)

When his wife died, we told him. He understood it and started to cry uncontrollably. (She did not live with him in the same room because of the differing nature of their medical problems, though they would visit a few times each day) But - he quickly forgot he'd been told as evidenced by conversations we had with him later. So - - we told him again. The grief repeated itself with the same intensity.

From that point on - we decided not to tell him anymore. It was counter productive to have him keep repeating that same awful grief. He could not process it. In other words, each time you told him, it was like he was hearing it for the first time.

I don't know about your mother, but wonder if this might not "stick". Yet -- I personally do think she should know as I feel that in some place inside of herself she might integrate it. I'm just suggesting that it not be a continued conversation and not prolonged. So -- choose one part of the funeral for her - and then let her go home to her routine.

As for my father in law - he never did go to the memorial service for his wife. He really was too weak at that time to leave his nursing home bed for the memorial service we had for her in the chapel at the nursing home on Hilton Head Island where they both were residents. The actual funeral was on held Long Island where she (and eventually he) was buried.
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