After Alzheimer’s: Facing the Grief
There’s a fine edge to new grief, it severs nerves, disconnects reality and there’s mercy in a sharp blade. Only with time, as the edge wears, does the real ache begin. — Christopher Moore
Warning: Sharp Turns Ahead
Somewhere along the line, an article I read suggested that grieving might get more difficult before it gets better, that the pain could worsen before it eased. I distinctly remember thinking that was the most ridiculous thing I’d ever heard. I had always envisioned grief as linear — hairpin turns were the last thing I expected to see on this road.
Almost six months after Mom’s death, I’m just now beginning to realize how wrong I was to think grieving would be a straight path. Having never experienced the loss of someone so close and without delving deeply into the work of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, one might think it’s as simple as slogging through the five stages of grief, to miraculously emerge at the end feeling like your old self again. Wrong.
Living with a Broken Heart
It’s much more complex than that. I think the ache in my heart today is stronger than anything I’ve felt thus far. Maybe reality sets in gradually, so that it’s not too overwhelming. It still just comes in spurts, that realization that she isn’t coming back — that this isn’t a temporary situation. But when it comes, it’s like a kick in the stomach. It actually takes my breath away.
As much as I cursed that dreaded disease and what it did to my mom, we had so many special moments, even at the end. Oh to hold her hand again or see her smile. Or to hear her say, “I love you.” It’s selfish, isn’t it? I know that she’s in a better place, whole again, happy and finally pain-free after so many years. That should be enough, yet my heart is broken. I thought we had more time, and I miss her so much. It’s true that absolutely no one can take the place of your mother… Treasure every moment.
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